A recent Wall Street Journal online article, by Nick Wingfield, spotlighted Microsoft and their plans to roll out a new series of programs and services for mobile phones. It is their attempt to catch up beat back competition like innovator Apple and their highly-successful App Store. Microsoft plans on offering a software site of their own, recognizing that he who attracts the most developers, wins.
Why is this important to those of us who follow the way of the Green 'Droid? At the end of this WSJ article, Mr. Wingfield credits unknown insiders who claim that the Android Market will start offering paid apps this week:
This week Google will start allowing developers to charge for software sold through the Android Market, according to people familiar with the matter.
I like free apps just as much as the next person, but having the ability to start buying apps in the Android Market should result in two huge benefits, as far as I'm concerned: 1) higher-quality apps because developers can start making some scratch, and 2) more developers jumping on the Android development bandwagon because there's money to be made. It sounds like this news couldn't have come too soon. Are you excited for paid apps? How much are you willing to pay for a decent app for your Android phone?
Hey that didn't take too long! TeleNav just announced that they'll be releasing their turn-by-turn GPS navigation software for Android on February 24th. The TeleNav software will include full color 3D graphics, speech recognition, one-click rerouting, traffic alerts, weather updates, gas prices, and restaurant reviews. Supposedly over 10 million businesses and services will be packed into the TeleNav software. Sounds good, right?
Well here comes the kicker. After a 30-day free trial (yay!), the software will run for $9.99 a month (boo!). I know, a pretty stiff price to pay. Currently, there's no word on whether it'll hit the Android Market or explore an alternative route and we have no idea how big the application will be. Though the price is high, this is still exciting news! Hopefully we'll see more turn-by-turn GPS software in the near future.
UPDATE: According to our good friend Matthew Miller there are other pricing options: $9.99/monthly, $99 for a year, $249 for four years. He has spent a fair amount of time with the software so you can check out his impressions here.
One of the pitfalls of the T-Mobile G1 is that it has pretty weak battery life. I don't think I'm the only one who is constantly trying to conserve battery or plugging in the G1 to a charger. Luckily, we have a Seidio Extended Battery for the G1 that packs 1400mAh (15% more) of charge without adding any unnecessary bulk.
We just received ours and will be following up with a full review after a couple days of testing. In the meantime, you can solve your own G1 battery woes by heading over to our Android Central store here!
There's a cool new feature in Gmail Labs which allows you to include your location in your e-mail signature. It determines your location by either reading your IP address and estimating or if you install Google Gears' location module it can give you Wi-Fi triangulation which is much more accurate.
This location signature feature is pretty neat, especially if you're on vacation or just an all around global trekker. But does anyone else think there should be an Android equivalent? Or is Google Latitude enough?
Boo. We're hoping this doesn't become a trend because we desperately want our Second Android Device as soon as possible. But according to Engadget, Samsung is delaying their Android Phone and won't be showcasing their Android devices at next week's Mobile World Congress where Android is expected to make a HUGE showing.
Officially, the Head of Marketing for Mobile Device Younghee Lee said that none of their Android powered devices would be shown at the conference. Hopefully, this doesn't reflect on the rest of the MWC because we still fully expect to see the future of Android.
If you didn't notice, after the RC33 Update Android Market is no longer in BETA and is now presumably much better (joke). We're sure this isn't that big of a deal but it is interesting since Google typically places all its applications in beta purgatory. Case in point: GMail which launched 5 years ago still carries the BETA tag. So I guess if you run into any trouble with the "new" Android Market feel free to complain! It's no longer BETA!
“I don’t really understand their strategy. Maybe somebody else does. If I went to my shareholder meeting, my analyst meeting, and said: ‘Hey, we’ve just launched a new product that has no revenue model!’… I’m not sure that my investors would take that very well. But that’s kind of what Google’s telling their investors about Android,”
And since at the time Google didn't defend itself, we said:
Though he is technically right and that Google doesn’t make money on Android alone, he seems to be missing the point. Android serves as an extension of Google’s services which all point back to search which all point back to ad revenue which all lead to money. Google’s logic? If more people use Android, more people use Google, and more money for us. So we’ll give Android away, heck, they’ll let anyone use and tinker with it. Makes sense here.
And after waiting a good 3 months for Google to defend itself on its business model for Android stating:
"As the internet grows, so does Google benefit from potential growth," he continued. "I think our business model has proven that it works well so far."
So I guess Google agrees with us: any way to improve the Internet experience, be it on a mobile device or a PC will somehow trickle down and help Google's bottom line. We think that's as good a strategy as any. What do you guys think?
It's no secret that Apple and Google are quite chummy. They have a fairly good working relationship which may explain why Google complied with Apple's request to exclude multi-touch from the Android feature-set. If you are even remotely familiar with Apple's iPhone, you will know that multi-touch allows for multiple input on the touchscreen at the same time, allowing for "pinching" and "stretching" images on the display. You can read more about this at our sister site, The iPhone blog.
Palm has made no such attempts to play nice by offering their own multi-touch on the upcoming Palm Pre device, where they may have painted a big patent-infringement bulls-eye on their back for Apple to take aim. It will be interesting to see what Apple actually does with the Palm situation, but given Google's compliance with Apple's request, they may sit back comfortably with a tub of popcorn and watch the fur fly, so to speak. Personally, I would LOVE having multi-touch on my G1. It's not a deal-breaker, but it's easy to get spoiled after using an iPhone for a while. Maybe Google has played their cards right by serving up an open OS so that some nameless, faceless developer out there can serve up some multi-touch, 3rd-party-style, and skirt the legalities altogether?
With the RC33 update of Android slowly rolling out to G1 users across the country it's only fitting that Google has announced that the Android 1.1 SDK is now available to developers. Applications written with previous SDK versions will work fine in 1.1 but if you want to take advantage of the new API's in 1.1, this is the SDK for you.
According to Dan Morrill of Android Developers Blog, the update is "quite minor, but useful". Along with the new APIs, the 1.1 SDK has a new emulator image to let you test your applications. If you're interested in this kind of thing, the release notes are here.
Great news! From February 13th through February 16th T-Mobile is going to waive all activation fees AND upgrade fees for "qualified purchases". We have no idea what "qualified purchases" actually means so we're just going to think of this offer as a Valentine's Weekend Special of sorts. Supposedly, this deal will also work online as well.
So if you've been on the fence on getting yourself that T-Mobile G1, this weekend is as good as any!
Just as we wait for more Android handsets to launch and join the lonely G1, there's news of another Linux-based mobile platform with a substantial international collaborative effort: LiMo Foundation. Release 2 is now ready, adding enhancements like improved security, location-based services, and robust multimedia support, to name a few. LiMo also claims that, in 2009, six major carriers are lined up to carry their handsets: Verizon, Vodafone, NTT DoCoMo, Telefonica, Orange, and SK Telecom - seems like an impressive lineup.
Will LiMo gain some traction and compete with Google's Android? Having some Linux-based competition should be a good thing, because in the end, it's the consumers that win. Is LiMo worth a look?
If everyone who says they are launching an Android phone actually launches an Android phone in the near future, the G1 is about to have lots and lots of company. One IS the loneliest number (poor G1), but how about between 6 and 8 Android phones from O2 Germany ALONE?
According to Venturebeat as reported by phandroid, an O2 product manager at an Official Press Conference at O2 Innovation Days in Germany was quoted as saying, "We want to get out 6 to 8 Android devices this year.” If this actually happens over in Germany in '09, what can we expect here in the States? At this point, I think we would be happy to have at least another two or three Android devices to choose from, hopefully with a variety of form-factors. What do YOU want to see for Android handsets this year?
Confession: I'm excited for the Kindle 2 announcement today and will give serious thought into purchasing one. The question is, will I need one? If you didn't hear, Google Book Search is now optimized for Android meaning all the books available through Google are easily accessible on your Android phone!
Head over to books.google.com/m for Google's Library which offers the full catalog of free books (all 1.5 million of 'em!). Sadly, you'll need an active internet connection because there doesn't seem to be an option for offline viewing. Overall, the interface works pretty well--it even has bookmarks and recently viewed books. Is this a serious contender for the growing e-reader market? Could this replace a Kindle?
We'll have to wait and see. Hopefully our eyes aren't too strained from staring at our G1's LCD screen! What do you guys think? Should I buy a Kindle 2?
After the completion of the hectic Smartphone Round Robin, your faithful bloggers at Smartphone Experts decided to keep things moving along at a heady clip. In the past week we have published somewhere in the neighborhood of 175 stories, from accessory and software reviews to news to the latest rumors. That's a lot to keep track of, so we're bringing back our regular "Around SPE" feature to give you a quick summary of what you may have missed in a format that's more helpful than just a list of links.
In that vein, our biggest recent news is that our newest sister site, Nokia Experts is starting strong with a launch contest. If you would like to earn some chances at winning a Nokia E71 or Nokia N85, make sure to enter the contest each week. There are two weeks left to go, so check back as each week we're changing up how you can enter to win!
There's plenty more smartphone news you may have missed, so read on!
Meanwhile we're tracking some potential new Android devices from the likes of Samsung, HTC, and maybe even Dell and Acer. We're expecting there will be a huge number of Android devices hitting in 2009, so stay tuned!
Over at PreCentral.net we are still trying to pin down just when when the darn Palm Pre is going to be released. While realistic expectations and recent reports suggest a May release, we've received umpteen users reports that Sprint representative are still telling users that the Pre will be launched on February 15th. A date that early seems as likely as free money delivered by unicorns, but we'll be watching it nonetheless.
Meanwhile we're starting to help get out users pre-pared for the Pre by discussing how to get your data off your PC and into the cloud. We started with the Mac, but the PC and even Linux are coming soon, so be sure to check back.
Instant gratification is never having to wait. Thanks to the XDA Developer community, the latest Google Android update is available now. Among other things, it includes Google Latitude, a location-based app that's created quite the stir among those with privacy concerns.
The Android update for the T-Mobile G1, RC33, will start rolling out today, February 5th, and will continue rolling out through the 15th. If you don't want to wait for the over-the-air (OTA) update, RC33 can be downloaded now and you can be running Google Latitude in no time.
If you want to know where to download it and how to update the firmware on your G1, then follow along after the break!
Sometimes things like firmware updates can feel daunting if you are trying to do it manually. The good news is that manually updating Android is a fairly simple process, the most difficult part being getting the new firmware version prior to receiving it OTA.
I recommend a fully-charged G1 before you begin this process. So if your G1 is charged and ready to go, then just follow these steps and you'll have an updated G1 in a matter of minutes.
DISCLAIMER: Android Central nor myself accept any responsibility for any mishaps that may occur during the update process. If you somehow manage to "brick" your phone, that's unfortunate, but it's ALL on you. Using these same steps, I managed to update my firmware without a hitch. Just remember that what you do with your G1 in your own home is YOUR business and YOUR responsibility. Now, with the sloppy legalese out of the way, are you ready?
Download the RC33 file that's posted at XDA Developers here. VERY IMPORTANT: If you have root access ("jailbroken" G1), this update will NOT work for you. Community member JF has been very helpful in modifying updates to work for those with root access.
Once you download the file to your computer, it should appear as: signed-PLAT-RC33-from-RC30.f06aa9b3.zip. This next part is important. Rename this file as update.zip.
Make sure you have a Micro SD Card in your G1. Connect your G1 to your computer via USB. You should see the USB icon in the top left corner of your G1. Drag it down and enable the USB connection to your computer.
On the desktop of your computer, drag and drop the update.zip file to your G1, placing it in the root of your Micro SD Card. Then, unplug your G1 from your computer.
Turn off your G1. Make sure it's completely powered down. Then, turn it back on by holding the Home and End keys. Wait for the icon popup after the T-Mobile G1 logo screen. Slide open your keyboard and type Alt + L. The event log should be displayed.
Press Alt + S to begin the update. If you have properly renamed the file to update.zip and placed it in the root directory of your Micro SD card (meaning that it's not in any other folders), the update should begin.
Be patient. The update will take a few minutes. Be sure to follow the on-screen instructions. You will be instructed to press the Home + Back buttons to finish the update. Be aware that your G1 will reboot a few times to properly install the update.
Enjoy your new, shiny RC33 update, complete with Google Latitude!
After you have updated your G1, let us know what you think!
Thanks for the heads-up on the RC33 availability, Yoshi!
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