At the heart of Android 4.0 is the Roboto font. More important than even hardware -- which as we all know too well iterates every few months or so -- this is the building block for Ice Cream Sandwich. And whether you're a flourishing font nerd or just have a casual interest in what goes into the best mobile operating system in the world, it'd behoove you to give Matias Duarte's excellent explanation of why Android moved from the Droid font, how they designed it, and how it's going to impact you on a daily basis. It's a fascinating look into the design evolution of Android.
Taptu, the folks behind the popular news reader that lets you "DJ" your news, has announced three exclusive RSS feed apps for the Nook Color -- Taptu Fashion, Taptu Food, and Taptu Lifestyle. Each comes pre-loaded with content, and have over 200,000 streams from major media publications, social media sites, websites and blogs to add into the mix and personalize each. Taptu Fashion features content in the StreamStore from Fashionista, Jak & Jil, Nitrolicious and the Style Rookie, among others. Taptu Food works the same way, including content from recipes and restaurant reviews to celebrity chef social media feeds with tasty content provided by sites such as Epicurious, Eater, Food Network and Saveur. Taptu Lifestyle covers subjects such as parenting, do-it-yourself projects, travel, beauty, health and fitness, holiday entertaining and green living from popular sources like Jezebel, Parenting and Daily Candy.
Taptu also allows you to sync feeds from Google Reader, and offers the inclusion of Facebook and Twitter timelines to make it a one-stop news outlet. With support for tools like Instapaper and Read it Later, as well as dark and light themes to make for easy viewing, it's a well designed app that is worth far more than the asking price -- free. You can find download links below, and after the break are pictures showing a bit more detail and the press release.
The folks behind HD Widgets have expanded their sexy widget collection, and now include support for phones and 7-inch tablets. On the phone side, support is now available for hdpi phones (like the Samsung Nexus S pictured above) and mdpi phones (like the LG Optimus One, also pictured). Everything you love about HD Widgets for your Honeycomb tablet still remains -- tons of customization options, colorful backgrounds, in-depth weather forecasts, and a bevy of widget sizes and configurations -- things have just been scaled for the smaller screen. Having put them through the ringer on an assortment of devices ranging from the mundane to the exotic, the folks at Cloud.TV have done a great job. Everything works as expected, looks great, and lets me know if I need to take an umbrella with me -- even on crazy SDK ports of Ice Cream Sandwich. Josh is hard at work with a worthy review of the new build, in the meantime you can grab it from the Android Market (devices running Android 2.1 and higher) for a measly $1.99 at the link after the break.
Owners of SIM-free Sony Ericsson Xperia X10s have been enjoying Android 2.3 Gingerbread for the past few months, but so far the upgrade has been absent from some branded handsets, including those bought through O2 UK.
In a recent blog posting, O2's Head of Device-Customer Experience, Stuart Hibberd, let the network's customers know what's been holding things up. Specifically, it seems there were a few problems with getting the new camera app to function properly on O2 X10s, making it "virtually unusable". Hibberd says the issues have now been taken care of, though, and the update should be available from Sony Ericsson's website within the next week. Eagle eyed readers may notice that the post incorrectly refers to the upgrade from Froyo to Gingerbread -- in fact, the X10 never received Froyo, and the last official update is based on Android 2.1 Eclair.
Like the unbranded X10 Gingerbread patch, the O2 version is an optional (and irreversible) upgrade, and O2 warns that it may make your phone "work slower than you're used to". For more information on exactly what you'll be getting if you choose to update, check out our original report from back in July.
The update, which brings the app to version 2.0, is largely focused on UI improvements. The look and feel of the entire Appstore experience has shifted as the white backdrops that used to be ubiquitous have been changed to shades of gray.
More settings have been added as well as you now have the ability to enable In-App Purchases, Parental Controls and get an easier view of your gift card balance.
Retailer hhgregg this morning announced that along with Barnres & Noble, it, too, will be carrying the Nook Tablet, BN's second generation of its Android-based e-reader. It'll be priced the same -- $249 -- and accessories will be available as well. hhgregg also will be carrying the Android-based Nook Color, which has dropped in price to $199, and Nook Simple Touch at $99.
It looks like Orange UK will soon be offering the HTC Sensation XE for sale on its network, as the device has just appeared on Orange's "coming soon" page. The Sensation XE is refreshed version of the original Sensation, and sports Beats Audio support, along with a faster 1.5 GHz dual-core CPU and a larger battery.
Until now O2 has been the only British network directly selling the Sensation XE, so hopefully an Orange launch should offer consumers a bit more choice in pricing and tarrifs. Orange doesn't currently have an estimated launch date for the device, but you can check the source link for more details, or hit up our Sensation XE device page.
There aren’t many truly successful free-to-play RPGs out there for mobile. As a WoW addict, Spacetime Studios certainly holds my interest with mobile MMORPGs Pocket Legends and Star Legends, but I’ll admit there are time issues involved like any other MMORPG. You just can’t get things done without a larger chunk of time, and dungeon crawls require the muscle of at least 2-3 other people. That’s why I was so excited to check out a preview of Skyfall, ngmoco’s newest “social F2P RPG” that’s headed for the Android Market.
Until now, Sony's PlayStation certification has been limited to the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play and Sony Tablet S, but that may be about to change. According to a recent annoncement by Sony Ericsson Japan, Japanese Xperia Arcs will soon be receiving PlayStation certification through an official software update, as will the Xperia Acro, the Arc's Japan-only sibling.
The update should allow Arc and Acro to owners enjoy the same catalog of PlayStation games that are currently available on the Xperia Play, which includes titles like Crash Bandicoot, WipEout and Syphon Filter. There's no word on when this update will be rolling out to Arcs in Europe and the US, but given Sony's renewed effort to build momentum behind its PS certified platform, we'd expect it to hit sooner rather than later.
Google overnight sent out e-mails reminding users of its expiring App Inventor that it will no longer support the project on Dec. 31, 2011. As you'll recall, App Inventor was a tool that allowed anyone with arguably no programming skills to create Android apps, though it certainly wasn't quite as easy as that sounds. Google's shutting things down but open-sourcing the project to MIT, and you can migrate your projects over if you want to keep them. Head to App Inventor and hit the "Download all projects" button and you'll get a handy zip file.
You can also find all our shows, including the video versions, on iTunes. Just head on over to the Mobile Nations iTunes page and subscribe away! (Please leave a rating while you're at it -- it helps encourage iTunes to feature us so more great people get to discover the shows). We'll be moving quickly to get them on all your other favorite platforms, services, and apps as well. If we're not yet where you want to watch or listen to us, let us know in the comments and we'll get there as quickly as possible!
But that's not all. Later today we're launching another all-new show -- Mobile Nations Stock Talk with Chris Umiastowski and Edward Zabitsky. Combining rock solid technical knowledge with cutting edge analytical insight, Chris and Ed are going to break down what's happening -- and why - in today's rapidly changing mobile market.
Just in case you've not already updated as of yet -- Barnes & Noble is now sending out emails letting everyone know Nook Newsstand has now been added to the Nook for Android app along with a brand new UI as well as some bug fixes:
NOOK Newsstand on smartphones
Larger book and newsstand covers in your NOOK Library for easier browsing
Global lock orientation setting
The additions also suggest various other bug fixes have been put in place but don't call anything specific out. Though, if you are updateing make sure to note that versions prior to 2.7 to 3.0 requires sign-in & re-downloading items where as 2.7 and up do not. Since the update started rolling out last week, you might want to check the reviews first before upgrading to see how people are liking it as you may wish to stay on your current version.
It's been a while since we talked about the Samsung Illusion, but a friendly ninja just dropped off a screencap of the Verizon Infocenter page for the entry-level handset in our inbox. Imagine a smaller version of the Nexus S, minus the vanilla Gingerbread build and plus an SD card slot, and you'll have a pretty good picture of what to expect. The 1GHz Hummingbird and 512MB of RAM should make for a pretty damn speedy experience with the smaller resolution, though the tiny 3MP camera and TFT display clearly mark this one with the budget or entry-level tag. With a 3.5-inch display and a curved design, it should be a pleasure to carry and use for talking, but the HVGA (480x320) resolution isn't going to win many points for you gamers out there.
All in all, it looks like one of the best beginner phones we've ever seen, with decent specs that hopefully will mean a low price point. We've no idea about price or release, other than rumors that say "this month". The page in the Infocenter went live today, so Verizon is getting prepped. When we know more, we'll tell you.
Not quite sure exactly what we're looking at here, but according to the latest version of the internal Sprint Playbook, it's the Express, it's running Android 2.3, and it's coming Nov. 18 via direct shipping. In addition to the obvious BlackBerry-esque keyboard, it's got a 2.6-inch touchscreen, a 600 MHz processor, Sprint ID, a 3.2MP camera and 1500 mAh battery. It'll go for just $19.99 after two-year contract and $50 mail-in rebate.
Update: Pocketnow notes it looks to be the Huawei Boulder.
New device leaks, updates and new apps. Can't ask for more then that in the run of a day. Well, i suppose you could but that's just being greedy. If you missed out on any of the news today make sure you get caught up here on the blogs and in the Android Central forums where we're always talking Android.
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