Headlines

2 years ago

Hands-on with the Chameleon skin for Android tablets

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Canadian design firm Teknision recently announced Chameleon, which promises to be an interesting twist on Android tablet home screens. Besides having streamlined, resizeable widgets that span a bunch of third-party apps like Netflix, Twitter. Spotify, Flickr, and others, Chameleon's signature trait is its ability to automatically change modes based on its surroundings -- hence the name. By setting up certain rules, you can set up Chameleon to shift to a different home screen layout depending on the time of day, GPS location, or which Wi-Fi network you're connected to. In short, it's a smarter version of "scenes" that you might find in various manufacturer UIs.

The build that I played with here in Ottawa was still very much in development, and all of the apps being shown were canned, but the animations and transitions were definitely slick. Teknision is hoping to get outside developers interested in making their own Chameleon widgets with HTML5, but the current sampling that they cooked up with publicly available APIs is pretty sweet. It sounded like it will be a ways off before we'll see these widgets coexisting peacefully with other home screen widgets, so be prepared for an all-or-nothing affair. 

Teknision previously worked on the BlackBerry PlayBook operating system which, say what you will about the app ecosystem, was very nicely designed. Most of the time, these guys work behind the scenes with partners, so it's really interesting to see them step into the limelight a bit and pump out something that's entirely their own. Here's hoping it pays off and they consider doing more slick custom work on Android. 

Chameleon is due out this August, and Teknision is using Kickstarter predominantly to handle preorders and speed up the release. Right now, they're at $31k out of a $50k goal, which is due in 20 days. You can pitch in $5 to get Chameleon before it goes public, and if you're really jazzed about the project, you can help out by providing Android tablet diagnostic information to ensure compatibility. Check out our hands-on video, a few screenshots, and their pitch below that. Any takers?

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2 years ago

First fifty Galaxy S III owners to win Olympic tickets

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An email from the Samsung store at Westfield Stratford City, London has just arrived in our inbox, with details of the Galaxy S III launch event on the evening of next Tuesday, May 29. As we've already reported, Samsung's kicking things off a little early for pre-order customers at its branded store at the London shopping center. Invites are being sent out for 5pm, with the first sales taking place an hour later at 6, assuming you've pre-ordered your S III.

And to sweeten the deal, the first 50 Galaxy S III's sold at the Samsung store will win free tickets to this summer's London games. Being the official phone of the Olympics, it's not surprising to see a little cross-promotion from Samsung. (Earlier in the week we reported on limited "Olympic editions" of the Galaxy Note and Galaxy Y being sold through O2 UK.)

Anyone planning on heading down to Stratford for the Galaxy S III launch next Tuesday? Shout out in the comments!

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2 years ago

BBM will not be heading to Android, still need to buy a BlackBerry for it

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For a long old time now, we've heard various tales of the jewel in the BlackBerry crown, BlackBerry Messenger, breaking free and heading over to Android. We've seen "screenshots", just as we've seen the rumors get dismissed. It seems now though that we can finally lay the whole thing to bed. BBM will not be coming to Android. 

The final installment reads a little like this. A new report from the WSJ claims that RIM was indeed testing BBM on other platforms, cunningly disguised as "SMS 2.0." Then enters new CEO Thorsten Heins, who apparently has taken the option completely off the table. Sources familiar with the matter told the WSJ "it was not up for discussion." 

So there we have it. Anyone disappointed? Maybe not. The world remains as it always was -- if you really want BBM, you sure as gosh darn it don't buy an Android phone. 

Source: WSJ via Crackberry

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2 years ago

BlueStacks beta-1 [Android App Review]

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BlueStacks has been around for a while. We first saw it in an early alpha, that while usable, wasn't ready for prime time. After lots of toiling and hard work (I assume), we finally saw BlueStacks enter beta, and boy, was this ever a different program.

So what exactly does BlueStacks let you do? It lets you run Android applications right on your PC, just as though you were using an Android phone or tablet. It manages to pull this off using some sort of black voodoo neckbeard magic​ "Layercake" technology the guys have developed, and man oh man, do I like it.

Getting BlueStacks going is simply a breeze. Once you've got it all installed, you simply open it up and there's a list of preinstalled apps. You have access to a couple of different app stores to download other apps you might want, and to top it all off, you can install apk's directly into BlueStacks, right off of your computer's hard drive.

(There's also an app syncing tool that lets you sync apps from your phone to your computer's client, which skirts the whole apk issue, but just know that it's there if you need it.)

When you've finally got an app loaded up in BlueStacks, there's always a bit of experimenting to see what button or mouse click controls what. For something like Angry Birds Space, it's all pretty straightforward; use your mouse like you'd use your finger.

For something more complex (and visually demanding) like Shadowgun, you've just got to mess around. For the most part, mouse clicks transfer pretty well, and more often than not, arrow keys will move your character. The few times I ran Shadowgun, it was either kind of stuttery or buttery smooth, so your mileage can definitely vary.

Overall, BlueStacks is pretty darn cool, especially if you've ever wanted to get the Android experience on your computer. Its uses might seem a bit novel right now, but as prices for games in the mobile space continue to come in lower than their desktop counterparts, BlueStacks looks like it could offer some market disruption.

You can download the BlueStacks Windows component from the BlueStacks website at no cost. We've got video after the break.

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2 years ago

Sony confirms ICS not coming to Xperia Play

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Remaining 2011 Xperia ICS updates to start next week

Bad news for Xperia Play owners today. Sony Mobile has confirmed that the planned Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for the PlayStation-certified smartphone has been canned, and that the device will remain on Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Sony explains that the decision stems from concerns over stability and compatibility, particularly where the Xperia Play's gaming features are concerned.

So there'll be more than a few sad pandas among the Xperia Play-owning masses today. Not least due to the fact that the entire 2011 Xperia line-up was previously promised ICS, and Sony published an early beta ROM for the Play a few months back to show its development progress. Nevertheless, we'll admit it makes sense to stick with a working OS, rather than forcibly updating users to something that's going to break gaming compatibility.

However, despite the problems affecting the Xperia Play, other 2011 Xperia phones remain on track to receive an update to Android 4.0.4. Sony's confirmed that the Xperia arc, Xperia neo, Xperia mini, Xperia mini pro, Xperia pro, Xperia active and Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman will begin to receive 4.0.4 as an optional update through the PC Companion app from next week. What's more, Xperia arc S, Xperia ray and Xperia neo V users currently running Android 4.0.3 will get an update to 4.0.4 around the same time.

In other Xperia ICS news, Sony reports that the Xperia S update is on track for late June, followed by the Xperia P and Xperia U sometime in the third quarter.

Source: Sony

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2 years ago

T-Mobile UK pegs the Sony Xperia U at the low, low price of free

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T-Mobile UK today announced that it'll be selling the slinky Sony Xperia U (that's the one with the slick clear band toward the lower end) for free with a £15.50-a-month two-year plan. With that you get 100 voice minutes, 500 texts and 250MB of data. T-Mo says the phone should be hitting stores in the next few days.

More: T-Mobile

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2 years ago

Bump update easily moves photos from your phone to your computer

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Bump has been hard at work updating their application to bring a new functionality to users. Today, they've unveiled what exactly they've been up to and to put it plainly -- it's pretty awesome. The concept is simple really. You have photos on your device and the desire to transfer them to your computer. Now you can with just a bump. No wires, cables or fuss. How does it work?

Starting today, everyone who uses Bump can go to http://bu.mp on their computer web browser, select photos in the Bump app on their phone, and gently bump the spacebar on their computer. Voila! Photos instantly appear on the computer. From there, people have the option of saving to their hard drive or getting a short link to share with friends on Facebook, Twitter, email or IM. There’s no software to install or registration required – it’s how technology should work.

Sure, there is a few other apps out there that will transfer photos to your computer from your phone. Dropbox being one choice that works but if you're not already invested into those other solutions, Bump might be just exactly what you are looking for. I tested it out quite a few times on different devices and worked each and every time. Give it a go and let us know what you think.

Source: Bump

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2 years ago

Google picks up key members of HP's Enyo team

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A bit of a mobile software bombshell dropped overnight with news that some key members of HP's newly open-sourced Enyo team moving to Google, The Verge first reported Thursday evening. Enyo, as you're probably not aware, is the HTML framework that lived and (mostly) died with the Palm TouchPad and was later made open-source with the death of that project. Enyo also makes it relatively easy for webOS-type apps to make their way to, oh, say, Android, which we very quickly saw in apps like Paper Mache.

HP gave the following statement to our sister site, webOS Nation:

"We’re pleased with the traction Enyo has gained to date and plan to continue its development along with the open source community. The Open webOS project is on schedule and we remain committed to the roadmap announced in January.”

The question now is what will that mean for Android in the bigger scheme of things. It's probably a little early to tell, but one can never have too many kick-ass software types supporting its platform. And Palm (erm, HP), for all its faults certainly wasn't lacking in that department. Stick around. this one could get interesting.

Source: The Verge; more: webOS Nation

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2 years ago

Late-night poll: Are you liking the Google+ update?

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If you're a Google+ user and reading this site, you probably checked out the big update to the Android app earlier this afternoon. We'd been waiting a couple weeks since a similar update went to iOS users, and many were less than impressed with today's changes. It is a big of a mess, especially when everyone was posting screen shots of how messy it was, and the text can be pretty difficult to read depending on any picture attached. It's a big change.

It has it's pluses (see what I did there) as well, the fly out menu is a nice touch, and when it's not being messy it's a beautiful look for picture sharing. I think it's a really good start, but still needs some attention. What about you guys? Liking it? Hating it? Let us know in tonight's poll.

How do you feel about the new Google+ update?

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2 years ago

HTC AT&T One X now has unofficial bootloader unlock

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 We don't have an official unlock through HTCDev yet, but that hasn't stopped the bootloader on the AT&T One X from being unlocked.  After days of watching the devs do their thing on XDA, it seems that they have finally cracked it.  This is the first thing we need to be able to flash all those custom ROM's we love, the next being a working recovery, which will probably follow suit in the next couple of days.  Of course, there's a possibility that you'll brick your phone doing this, and it does involve a HEX editor and ADB skills.  The thread has exploded, but it's worth doing the reading to see what kind of issues people are having, and what steps my give you some trouble.  Hit that source link for the steps, and let us know how it went for you in the forums.

Source: XDA-Developers

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