The cat's out of the bag, thanks to Barnes & Noble's letters to the ITC about their dispute with Microsoft. Rather than roll over and pay Microsoft what they demand like some big names in Android have done, B&N is fighting tooth and nail against the Redmond Devil Microsoft. It's fairly long, and apt to make your eyes bleed if you're not a lawyer, but you can see the full scope of the letter and attachments (which actually name the patents and quickly dismiss their validity) at the source link. Carry on past the break to read our layman's version.
Remember when the Atrix 4G was released just over eight months ago? Do you remember what car you were driving, or how your hair looked? How old were your kids? Sad but true, eight months is the new eight years in the smartphone industry, and that measly old Atrix already has a successor. Whereas the Atrix 4G was a major step for AT&T in terms of both Android and network strength, the Atrix 2 is less of a trailblazer. And this type of incremental update seems like the business model that Motorola is building for itself (see Droid X/X2, Droid line). But for the consumer, how can you tell when an incremental update is enough to fork over more money? And in the Atrix 2's case, is an incremental update enough to compete with some heavy hitters during this holiday season, perhaps the most exciting time for Android since its birth in 2008? Let's see.
Super fast and powerful processor. Beautiful, clear display. AT&T's HSPA 21+ speeds are respectable if you're in good coverage.
Cheap build quality. Specs don't match other recent releases. Webtop software is abysmal.
The Atrix 2 isn't the biggest or best smartphone on the market, but for $99 on contract, the sacrificies Motorola made are justifiable and can be overlooked.
The CEO of Notion Ink, Rohan Shravan, is at it again with news about the Ice Cream Sandwich source code release, saying it will be released November 17. While it's tempting to just toss this aside as another rumor in the ICS/Galaxy Nexus craze of late, Mr. Shravan has a track record that shows he's usually right. Last year, he did the same thing with the Gingerbread release, accurately predicting more than could be a good guess, and just last month he told everyone about the OMAP chipset and Ice Cream Sandwich using them as a reference platform. When he talks, it's always worth listening, and the Nov. 17 date has already been thrown out there as the European release. If we see source code on the 17th, the 18th is going to be a very fun day for a lot of us.
I'm trying to remember when our fascination with games that have jewels in them came about, but I really don't know. People seem to go bananas for Bejweled, and while this isn't that, it's in the same vein of games with jewels (and fun).
Star Diamonds Capture has a simple enough premise: Flip the spots two jewels are in, and while doing so, try to get three-of-a-kind in a vertical or horizontal line. When you do that, the jewels disappear, their background turns blue (your color), and your green score bar fills up.
The kicker? You're playing against a live opponent. Every time. So while you may think you're the master of scoring captures, you've got to contend with someone else's ingenuity trying to muddle your success (and always have an internet connection).
Also, you can steal squares captured by your opponent (as they can do to you), and as a result, the green score bar goes down. It's the easiest way to slow down your challenger's victory, and can seriously turn the tide of a match in a few moves.
You can also put together impressive combos, as falling jewels just happen to land in the perfect spot, but I'm not sure how predictable this is or if it's sheer luck. Regardless, it's the quickest way to win, and whenever you make your move, you'll anxiously wait to see if any more combos are coming your way.
When you're not in-game, you can check out your stats by hitting the Star Arcade logo in the top-right corner of the screen, like recent games, rank, and wins and losses. There's also a buddies list, a basic settings menu, and an in-app store that hasn't been implemented yet. I can only assume the points you earn from winning games will be spent in the shop, but I wouldn't be surprised to see in-app purchases, either, since those are all the rage these days.
Diamonds Capture is a pretty fun (albeit unoriginal) take on the three-of-a-kind jewel games, but the fact you're always facing off against a human opponent adds a great dynamic to the game. Diamonds Capture is 99 cents in the Android Market.
When it comes to Twitter apps, there is plenty in the Android Market already but when it comes to integrated social apps -- those are not as plentiful. The built-in sharing options for Android are great but having one app to rule them all is arguably better.
Socialscope is looking for a wide array of users and devices to test their app on, as you all know -- Android devices are plentiful and come in many form factors and screen resolutions and as such, Socialscope is looking to ensure compatability for all users. You can hit the source link for more information, just remember -- it's an alpha. Give feedback in order to see improvements, though out of the gates it certainly feels like a beta.
It's fun to say Android is fragmented on the Internet. All the cool kids and blogs do it, they even make fancy misleading charts about it. While there's more than one side to the argument -- choice versus fragmentation -- only the most rabid fanboy would say that it doesn't exist. I tend to think the whole issue is living with the choice you make. If you want the "Android" experience, buy a Nexus phone. If you prefer the experience an OEM offers, buy one of their phones. Both are the right choice. But there's an underlying issue that gets forgotten when we talk about updates and versions -- security patches.
The diversity of Android gives us a chance to have this user experience regardless of the platform version it's built from. That doesn't make the want for the new software any less, but it a fair trade for most people. Ice Cream Sandwich looks a whole helluva lot like TouchWiz 4. Security issues are another matter entirely. HTC had a recent issue about user privacy, have a read if you aren't familiar (be sure to read HTC's response as well). They caused it. They quickly pushed out a patch to at least one carrier to address it. All security issues need to be addressed this way. If HTC, or, Samsung, or LG, or Motorola -- whomever -- builds the OS and sells it to the carrier, they need to follow up with security patches in a timely manner -- either by updating their base to the latest Android version and building their OS with it, or patching the issue themselves with the current code base. Users deserve the benefit that patches to the bootloader, or browser, or whatever, much faster than companies and carriers get them rolled out. Yes, that responsibility is shared by the carrier as well. While they aren't the people responsible for updating the code and building the operating system, they are the people that accept your money for the device. Carriers and OEMs need to work together to keep the phone secure for the life of the product, even if they don't work to keep the software version current.
On the enterprise side of things (something that OEMs are starting to take more seriously), this becomes critical. Companies simply can't sit back and ignore the fact they aren't getting security patches, because their money is on the line. Documents, contacts, and communications need to be secure as possible, and when cracks in the armor are found, the patches need to come quickly. They don't, and this is a problem.
I know that making sure your phone isn't susceptible to the latest bootloader hack isn't near as glamorous as getting Ice Cream Sandwich, or even Gingerbread. These few words can't make that happen. But I think we need to be pointing out the right issues -- not having a phone that is secure for the life of its contract is one of them.
Let me be the first to say, yes, I know this app has a redundant name. It's called Rotating Live Wallpaper, but its full name is RLW Live Wallpaper Pro. So you've got LW Live Wallpaper, which essentially translates into Live Wallpaper Live Wallpaper, but I digress.
At first glance, RLW Live Wallpaper looks startlingly similar to Mystic Halo, but upon closer inspection you'll notice it's less TRON and more Honeycomb, actually. It looks like the stock Honeycomb clock widget if it got bloated and put on a few extra rings.
What RLW gets you is a series of circles that... rotate. You can have up to seven circles on the screen at once and control the rotation direction of each one individually. You can also mess with the size of the circle, so it'll take up as much (or as little) of the screen as you want.
Perhaps the best feature of RLW is the theming. It comes with five themes included, but there's also a slew of free ones in the Market. The developer was also kind enough to toss in a link with the template, so anyone can design a theme if they want to.
As far as performance goes, there's just the slightest hint of lag (we're talking nearly unnoticeable here) when scrolling from screen to screen on my tablet. On my phone, things are a bit better, but I'm not sure why.
It also needs to be noted that not all the themes look great on a tablet. While they're definitely great looking on a phone, certain themes look slightly grainy or pixelated when blown up to a full 10 inches. It's kind of hit or miss, so you'll have to cycle through your options to see what looks the best for you.
All in all, it's a pretty cool live wallpaper, even if the whole rotating circles thing has been done before. RLW Live Wallpaper Pro is 99 cents in the Android Market.
We've got a video, more screenshots, and download links after the break.