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Monday, October 31, 2011

Android Apps Get Big Break on Google TV

Google unveiled a software update for Google TV on Friday that includes a slew of apps.

These are based on Android 3.1, Google spokesperson Jacques Herbert told TechNewsWorld. This is the latest version of the so-called "Honeycomb" release.

An update based on Honeycomb has been expected for a while.

Sony, a long-time Google TV partner, reportedly demonstrated a Google TV set running Honeycomb at CEDIA Expo 2011, the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association conference held in Indianapolis, Ind., last month.

The Google TV Software Update

The Google TV software update released on Friday focuses on four areas: simplicity, improved search, a custom YouTube experience and Android apps.

The interface is simpler, the customizable home screen has been redesigned to offer swift access to an owner's favorite content, and all shortcuts are shown within the "all apps" feature, similar to how it's done on an Android smartphone or tablet, Google said.

The search feature has been improved across the board. Further, a new app called "TV & Movies" lets consumers browse through 80,000 movies and TV episodes across cable, satellite, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and other sites.

Google has also integrated YouTube more closely with Google TV search so consumers can turn any topic into a channel.

The YouTube experience for Google TV has been revamped so consumers can get to videos more rapidly.

Finally, Google TV now has access to the Android Market. So far, 50 developers have put up Google TV apps on the Android Market.

The update will be available on Sony devices early next week and on Logitech devices after that. More updates and more Google TV partners are in the works.
It's The Apps That Count

Google reached out to devs to create apps for Google TV at the device's launch back in May of 2010, so why have only 50 devs responded, given the phenomenal growth rate of Android mobile apps?

"We worked closely with these developers to get their apps ready for the update," Google's Herbert said. The update itself will include Android and Web apps from more than 100 partners when it's released, he added.

More than 50 of these partners have developed new apps for the update, and there will be about 800 Android apps available on the Android Market, of which 30 will work well on television.

"With thousands of developers, we expect new apps to appear on Google TV all the time," Herbert stated. Apps will be offered by partners including CNN Money, Flixter, Fox Business, Kraft Cooking, NPR, Motor Trend and The Wall Street Journal, he elaborated.

"Supporting a new platform such as a TV is not simply about porting the code over," Simon Khalaf, president and CEO of Flurry Analytics, told TechNewsWorld. "It's about developing a great experience."

It will take time to develop Google TV apps, "but the excitement [among devs] is there, and in big numbers," Khalaf added.

On the other hand, perhaps Google hasn't funded app development efforts sufficiently, suggested Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.

Another factor could be that few Android app devs are really making any money, Enderle told TechNewsWorld.
Who Wants Set-Top Boxes Anyhow?

Longtime Google TV partner Logitech had to cut the price of its Google TV offerings twice this year, from US$299 to $249 and then again to $99, in an attempt to boost sales.

To put things in perspective, Apple quietly discontinued its 40 GB Apple TV set-top box and slashed $100 off the 160 GB model to bring the price to $229 back in September of 2009.

One year later, Cupertino announced a new version of the Apple TV for $99.

It could be that consumers may not want to shell out money for a set-top box from a third party when cable companies offer them as part of a subscription package, Enderle stated in a previous interview.

"HP was in this market and it got out," Enderle elaborated. "NetGear and LinkSys had products that never sold well. The only product that has really moved well is the Xbox, but that's probably because the vast majority of people bought it to play video games."

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Android 4.0 & Its One "iPhone Killer" Feature That's Gone Unnoticed

Not a day goes by when we don't find another hidden gem Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich has to offer. While the first Android 4.0 device (Samsung Galaxy Nexus) is yet to be officially released, developers who have access to the APK and some individuals who have access to the actual Galaxy Nexus phone are offering small treats to Android fans by posting tidbits online.

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and its "iPhone killer" feature goes unnoticed

However one major feature that we've seen left out of most Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich stories (or not given enough attention) is hardware acceleration.

When many users compare Android against the iPhone and its iOS platform, two things come up frequently: battery life and the iPhone beig more "smoother" than Android. Well the latter is thanks to hardware acceleration employed by iOS for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. And now that ability is finally available with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

Furthermore, not only will hardware acceleration correct this issue but will also optimize battery life. So what we're looking at here is as big as Android 4.0's other more publicized features like resizable widgets, face recognition for the lockscreen and the new Gmail and People UI.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Android-powered video game consoles: the time is right

Just over one week ago, Google officially debuted Ice Cream Sandwich, the next version of the Android mobile operating system, which for the first time unifies smartphones and mobile tablets under the same operating system.

Android 4.0 adds support for cursor hover events, stylus distance/tilt/orientation, and mouse button events, but the most exciting new HID support was highlighted in a tweet from Google framework engineer Romain Guy last Friday:

"With Android 4.0 you can use USB gamepads and HDMI to turn your Galaxy Nexus in to a video games console!"

This tweet set off a wave of speculation about Android gaming, and how HDMI output and USB controller input could help complete the puzzle for the first Android game console.

But the idea of a mobile OS-powered TV game console has seemed like an inevitability for quite some time.

This is because of the increasing popularity of lightweight media set top boxes, advances in wireless communication, the growth of innovative streaming services such as OnLive and the continuing success of centralized multiplayer gaming services like Xbox Live.

Via the new AirPlay feature, Apple TV now has a multi-device multiplayer game called Real Racing 2 HD, which in a way turns Apple TV into a game console, so this "inevitability" has already sort of become a reality.

And with the impending update to Google TV that will allow the installation of Android apps happening alongside the Ice Cream Sandwich OS update, which brings HDMI support and USB game controller support, Android really looks primed for a video game console.

To add further fuel to this fire, Sony Executive Kazuo Hirai recently said the company's PlayStation Suite for Android will make its way to other Android devices not made by Sony.

Sony Internet TV
We asked Sony and Logitech about the Google TV update, and how it might affect their products such as the Revue set top box and Sony Internet TV, but neither company was willing to speculate on future platform developments.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Android Ice Cream Sandwich: No Update for Nexus One

Which each Android update comes the agonizing process of figuring out which phones will actually get the upgrade--and Android 4.0, or Ice Cream Sandwich, is no different.

Phone makers are already offering a mix of firm answers and cryptic clues about which Android phones will receive Ice Cream Sandwich. Here's what we know so far…

No Ice Cream Sandwich for Nexus One

Google's director of Android product management Hugo Barra told the Telegraph that the Nexus One will not be receiving Ice Cream Sandwich. The Nexus One, Google's flagship Android phone, is too old to get the update, according to Barra. PCWorld confirmed the news with a Google representative, who declined to elaborate.

Barra also told the Telegraph that the Nexus S will be getting the Ice Cream Sandwich update in a matter of weeks. It's not clear why Google is leaving the Nexus One behind, considering it also has a 1GHz processor and 512MB of RAM, but the Nexus One's lack of graphics processor could be to blame. An unnamed Google representative told CNet that there are no specific hardware requirements for Android Ice Cream Sandwich.

Motorola Makes Promises

Shortly after Google announced Ice Cream Sandwich, Motorola said it would update its upcoming Droid RAZR in early 2012. The company then told Boy Genius Report that it's planning to upgrade the Droid Bionic and Xoom tablet to Ice Cream Sandwich as well. Timing will be announced after Google releases the software.

HTC Gets Vague

HTC says its goal is to upgrade as many devices as possible, and the company is currently evaluating its plans. "Upgrades require a careful balance of hardware and software to ensure the best possible performance and usability, so please stay tuned as we assess our product portfolio," the company said in a statement. So far, HTC has not confirmed update plans for specific phones.

No Word from LG, Samsung

So far, LG and Samsung have said nothing about their Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade plans. Neither company has a great track record for upgrading their phones, and so their silence isn't encouraging. Hopefully we'll hear more once Ice Cream Sandwich is released.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Iris for Android is what Siri is to iPhone

Iris is an attempt to use existing Android voice actions technology to clone Apple’s Siri feature, whereas you can talk to the phone and it not only talks back but performs your instructions. Developer Dexetra claims to have pulled it off in only 8 hours too. Although the app is currently in an Alpha testing state, when you ask the correct questions it does come back with responses and can perform simple tasks such as call & text someone, search something on the web, or look up a contact; plus have conversations ranging from Philosophy, Culture, History, Science to general conversation. What is lacks in complete functionality it makes up for in quirky humor (check the vid below). Noted is a prerequisite, the TTS Library app must be installed.

Download here

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Ultimate Android 4.0 Update List: Which Tablets Will Get Ice Cream Sandwich?

We’ve already talked about which phones we believe are likely and unlikely to see an upgrade to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich but what about the current crop of Android tablets that are on the market? Which ones will be getting the boost up to Google’s latest and greatest piece of software?

While not as tricky of a question to answer as the phones were, the situation is still unclear for many Android tablet owners out there. Only a handful of tablets have been confirmed to be getting the bump up to Android 4.0 while the others remain in the dark.

So that means that we’re going to have to make some educated guesses.

Here goes.

Amazon Kindle Fire

Yes, we know. The Amazon Kindle Fire isn’t even out yet but that doesn’t mean that we can’t speculate about whether or not the Android tablet with the $199 price point will see Ice Cream Sandwich.

Amazon has essentially made Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread unrecognizable with the amount of tweaking it has done. As many of you with Android phones might know, UI’s, especially extensive ones, do not play nice with major Android updates.

It’s too soon to rule out an upgrade completely but we’d be fairly shocked to see Amazon take the Kindle Fire up to Android 4.0.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

HTC looking over Ice Cream Sandwich to determine upgrade plan

Just like most manufacturers probably are doing, HTC is looking over Ice Cream Sandwich as we speak and are trying to device and determine their upgrade plans. We can expect many of their newer device will most likely receive Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, otherwise many users will be angry and they don’t want to relive the Desire Gingerbread debacle.

Like mentioned above most devices that are fairly new should receive an update to Ice Cream Sandwich — although a few HTC Thunderbolt users waiting for Gingerbread might have a thing or two to say about that. Today HTC has updated everyone officially on their Facebook page and had this to say:

    Since Google unveiled Ice Cream Sandwich earlier this week, HTC has been looking closely at the new OS’s features and functionality to determine our upgrade plans. We’re a recognized industry leader in providing fast and consistent upgrades to our Android devices, and Ice Cream Sandwich will be no different.

    Upgrades require a careful balance of hardware and software to ensure the best possible performance and usability, so please stay tuned as we assess our product portfolio. Our goal is to upgrade as many HTC devices as possible and we’ll be sharing details on specific devices and timing in the coming weeks!

We didn’t expect to hear any sort of confirmation on any devices, or where they’re headed with the HTC Sense UI they are widely known for, but most likely we’ll still see it on ICS. With a user interface as gorgeous as Android 4.0 I don’t know why you’d want to skin it up with a different look, but HTC most likely feels different on this front. I have a feeling the Sense UI will need some serious re-working to be compatible with Ice Cream Sandwich so we’ll all just have to wait and see. We will be sure to update when we hear any additional details from HTC.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Google says Android 4.0 source code to be available "soon"

Dan Morrill, Google's Android compatibility chief, posted a statement on the Android Building mailing list yesterday with details about source code availability. In the information that he disclosed in the message, he tangentially indicated that Google plans to publish the Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) source code after it is available on devices.

The infrastructure, which hosts the upstream Linux kernel, has historically been the home of the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). Morill's e-mail was primarily written to address the implications of Google's recent decision to relocate the Android source code, which is being moved to Google's own infrastructure.

As we reported last month, the servers were compromised by an attacker. The Linux Foundation temporarily disabled all of the infrastructure in order to conduct a thorough security audit. Google similarly took the AOSP offline after the breach was detected. There is no evidence that any of the source code hosted on was tampered with during the attack.

The outage was expected to be short in duration, but it lengthened when the Linux Foundation discovered that the community site was also compromised. The Linux Foundation has since restored its infrastructure, but Google decided to take the opportunity to move the AOSP to its own self-hosted infrastructure.

In the mailing list message, Morrill said that Google was already planning to relocate the AOSP because the project was putting a considerable burden on infrastructure. Indeed, it makes sense for Google to move AOSP hosting in-house, where it will be able to better handle the load. Much of the infrastructure is maintained by the Linux Foundation, which is funded through donations.

Morrill briefly mentioned ICS in his mailing list post in the context of describing what sources are being brought back online this week. The new AOSP code repository contains Gingerbread, but not Honeycomb or ICS. He said that the ICS code will be available "soon, once it's available on devices." This likely refers to the launch of the Galaxy Nexus, the flagship ICS phone that Google jointly developed with Samsung and announced earlier this week.

Android source code availability has been a contentious issue this year following the release of Android 3.0, codenamed Honeycomb. Google declined to publish the Honeycomb source code, even after the operating system was shipped on hardware. Only select hardware partners were given access.

Google's Android chief, Andy Rubin, contends that the source code was withheld because Google cut corners during Honeycomb development and didn't want hardware vendors to ship the platform on unsupported hardware. At the Google I/O conference earlier this year, the company promised that source code would be available for Honeycomb's successor—likely before the end of 2011. The company appears to be on track to follow through with that promise.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Android Ice Cream Sandwich: What will it look like on a tablet? (video)

Is there such a thing as too much Ice Cream Sandwich? We didn't think so either, and booted up Google's own Android Emulator to play around with version four-point-oh -- in tablet proportions. We don't know whether manufacturers will end up slathering their own interpretation of Ice Cream Sandwich on top of the vanilla original, but this is probably very close to what we'll be dealing with when it arrives on tablets sometime this quarter. Scrollable, resizeable widgets are here, as is a tabbed, synchronizing web browser. There are some minor niggles; we hope they'll make some adjustments to the comically over-sized native keyboard, but the main thing we took away from this stuttering simulation is that the UI is nigh-on identical to what we were using on the Galaxy Nexus. Android looks like it has any future convergence issues in order -- this version will feel at home on both your phone and tablet. Android Beam has never sounded better. If you can forgive the low-performance emulation, check out the video after the break for more Ice Cream Sandwich, king-size.

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Top 10 Most Exciting New Features in Android Ice Cream Sandwich

Google has officially introduced Android 4.0 today. It is also known as Ice Cream Sandwich - a new version of the platform that brings a refined, unified user experience for phones, tablets, and more. This press conference was originally scheduled for last week in San Diego CTIA exhibition. But Google decided to delay because of Steve Jobs.

Now, after Google introduced the newest portable operation system – Android 4.0, let's review the top 10 sparks in this Android.

1.    Modern Roboto font what is designed for the HD screen and the real-time wallpaper.

2.    Use the virtual buttons in the UI instead of physical buttons to enlarge the display area.

3.    Widgets are in the new tab which stay by Apps, and listed as a similar list to apps.

4.    Drag an app to another one will create a folder like as the feature of ios. But when you drag a contact will create a shortcut for speed dialing.

5.    Face unlocks your device, a facial recognition service, but it's failed when the officials show it on the spot.

6.    The new notification, you can check the notice by dragged the top bar down when the screen is locked.

7.    The web browser with enhanced tab system, allowing up to 16 tabs; it supports to save the webpage to view without Internet and automatically sync the bookmarks with Chrome.

8.    Camera with zero shutter lag, time lapse settings, zoom while recording. And the gallery with layout, you can organize by location and person.

9.    Data Usage section in settings lets you set warnings when you reach a certain amount of use and disabling data connect when you go over your limit. The data usage includes WIFI, network and even the Bluetooth. You can set the maximum date usage for the app.

10.    Android Beam: NFC feature that allows you to exchange websites, contact info, directions, YouTube and even the apps when 2 NFC-supported devices get together.

Many mobile phone manufactures are excited to Ice Cream Sandwich. HTC had released an official statement following this evening's announcement at the first time to confirm that it's looking over the update's new features and functionality, figuring out how to make it happen without forcing sacrifices to the usability and performance of each HTC product. So, after a period of time, how many mobile phones can update to Android 4.0? Just stay tuned for latest news about Android.

Post by: Bruno Wong

Data Usage
Android Beam

Web Browser
Face Unlock

Monday, October 17, 2011

Claystone Launcher Updated Bringing More 3D

XDA member claystoneinc has been working on a project called Claystone Launcher. If you’ve never seen it before, this is a panel UI where you can place your running apps and content into panels to swipe through. A new upgrade brings in a 3D preview of your panels (think 3D preview in Windows 7) and looks really good. The best part is it’s free, and while it may not be your cup of tea, it can’t hurt to check it out and see if it works for you. Make sure to share your feedback with the dev as well if you like it. You can grab it right after the break and catch a video as well.

Download in here

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Firefox to dump XUL tech in Android apps

Mozilla Director of Firefox Engineering Johnathan Nightingale has announced this week that the Android version of their platform will dump the XUL technology used in all desktop Firefox editions.
"Firefox on Android is a critical part of supporting the open Web, and this decision puts us in a position to build the best Firefox possible," added Nightingale.

While Firefox has over 20 percent market share on PCs, it has yet to meaningfully break into the mobile market which is controlled by Apple's Safari and Android's Chrome variant.

By moving away from XUL and into a native Android interface, the browser should use less memory and have a much faster boot time, stuff even the average Joe user cares about.

Concludes Nightingale: "After substantial discussion, we have decided to build future versions of Firefox on Android with a native UI [user interface] instead of the current XUL implementation."

Under the hood, the browser will still use the Gecko processing engine, says Cnet.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Google Translate for Android gets v2.2 update, adds more language support for speech-to-speech

Let the voice recognition battle begin! Siri's already thrown the first punch in the soon-to-be dicey (albeit very consumer friendly) voice service wars, but don't count Google out just yet. The folks over at Mountain View are doing their best to strike back, adding extra functionality to the Google Translate app for Android. So, what's new in this version 2.2 upgrade? The company's expanded the app's previously limited speech-to-speech repertoire with support for an additional 12 languages, accessible via the alpha-tagged Conversation Mode. And to prevent you from any awkward (and potentially hilarious) moments of unintended translation, there's now a post-edit ability to keep those two-way foreign exchanges PG. Alright, so it's not quite the hands-free, HAL-like cyber assistant update we'd like it to be, but there's always Ice Cream Sandwich for that -- we hope. In the meantime, go ahead and hit up the source below to test out the experimental wares for yourself or check out a video demo of Conversation Mode after the break.

Donwload in Android Market

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Android: To Root, or not to Root?

Rooting your Android smartphone might seem like a daunting task, but we'll show you how to make the process as easy and painless as possible.

Rooting your Android phone enables you to use the superuser, or root, permissions of the Linux-based operating system (OS). This gives you and apps that take advantage of the root permissions more control over the Android operating system and the device. Rooting can be entertaining for techies, but there are also plenty of practical benefits.

Keep in mind, there are numerous phone models out there that use the Android operating system. When I say Android phone in this article, I mean any phone manufacturer/model that uses the operating system; it doesn’t have to be labeled an “Android phone”.

Unlike jailbreaking (equivalent to rooting) an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, you can search for and download apps that require rooting directly from the official Android Market. The official market is generally more secure and contains less malware than some other third-party markets and other websites. In contrast, Apple doesn’t allow apps that require jailbreaking to be listed in the App Store.

Before rooting, you should understand the two main risks. For starters, rooting can void your phone’s factory and/or service provider warranty in many cases. However, most rooting applications and methods can be easily reverted. Additionally, if the rooting process doesn’t complete correctly it could damage the software. This would require a factory recover, causing all data on the phone (contacts, apps, media) to be lost, or it may even render your device useless, to the point where it can’t be saved unless examined by a technician. However, if you follow the instructions for the rooting method you use carefully, you shouldn’t have a problem. Of course, before attempting any sort of root or jailbreak, make sure your phone’s data is backed up.

Source is,review-1688.html
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