Headlines

2 years ago

Google unveils new Android design standards website

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Google has let loose a new section of their Android developer portal -- Android Design.  It's a site full of tools and suggestions to help application developers build apps that look and feel alike, following a sort of a style guide from the folks at Mountain View.  Things like menu button location, and drawing windows and fragments should be done so that they "behave in a consistent, predictable fashion".  We're not going to argue.

Besides all the helpful hints and guidelines, there's a special section for folks designing apps that are cross-platform.  Suggestions like "Don't mimic UI elements from other platforms" or "Don't use bottom tab bars" will help Android apps look like Android apps, instead of rehashed iOS apps. 

While these are all just suggestions, apps that follow them will look like they belong on an Android device.  Conversely, apps that don't follow them will stand out -- and that's not always a good thing.  Android should start to look awfully darn pretty from Ice Cream Sandwich forward -- I'd suggest everyone take a look at the links below and have a read.

Source:Android Design; via +Tim Bray

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2 years ago

CyanogenMod hits 1 million unique installs

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Last night Steve Kondik (Cyanogen) and Jef Oliver from the CyanogenMod team broke the news that the popular custom firmware has reached 1 million unique installs. CM, which is by far the leading multi-device custom ROM for Android phones, is officially supported on 56 Android devices, with many more available via unofficial or nightly builds.

Interestingly, almost half of the CM installations are of unofficial or "KANGed" builds, although that's likely skewed by official-unofficial self-KANG builds by developers maintaining not-yet-supported phones like the HTC Sensation and EVO 3D. Top devices include the HTC Desire and Motorola DEFY, with over 80,000 and 58,000 installs respectively.

Congrats to the CM team in reaching this huge milestone. With more than a few Android owners eagerly awaiting the ICS-based CM9 in the months ahead, that number is sure to increase in 2012.

More: CM Stats

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2 years ago

TELUS officially launching the Samsung Galaxy Nexus on Jan. 13

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TELUS took to Twitter to officially the news that has been known for a few days now. They will indeed be launching the Samsung Galaxy Nexus on their network for Canadians to make use of. If you're looking to pick one up,  you'll be expected to fork over $159.99 on a three year term. But, if you're not one who digs contracts TELUS will have the device for $650 outirght, $600 on a 1-year term while a two year contract will set you back $550.

More info: TELUS

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2 years ago

T-Mobile shows off Bobsled Messaging - free cloud-based SMS texting

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I think we're all a bit curt with T-Mobile for announcing the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G, but not actually having it here at CES 2012 for us to play with, but they did have something substantial to show off in Vegas. Bobsled Messaging is a new free SMS messaging application which allows you to read and send texts from just about any web-enabled device. 

The Android app propogates text messages across multiple screens, including phone, tablet, and web, while packaging everything in a familiar threaded interface. The web console is particularly cool in that you can send out group messages with minimal fuss.

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2 years ago

Ford talks Focus Electric and its deep integration with Android

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Ford's Sync system has been leading the way as far as in-car mobile technology is concerned. With the upcoming launch of the Focus Electric, Ford is leaping into the mobile space with a new app that allows owners to manage their vehicle remotely. While it won't let you drive (sorry James Bond wannabes), the MyFord Mobile app they're showing off at CES 2012 enables Focus Electric owners to manage how and when their cars charge at home, allowing you to set it so the car charges at night off peak hours with lower electric rates or override it to get your car charged up for an impending trip. MyFord Mobile users will also be able to find charging stations out and about and even plan trips around those charging stations (useful, given the 100-mile range of the all-electric vehicle).

The app, which will be available for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry smartphones is launching with the Focus Electric, which itself is ramping up production right now.

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2 years ago

Socks-on with Samsung's washing machine Android app

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Samsung announced a new smartphone app here at CES 2012 which will help you handle your laundry by communicating wirelessly to a Wi-Fi-enabled washing machine and dryer. I got a closer look, and am still hugely impressed. At first, the idea seemed a little hoaky, but then I looked back on how many times I've forgotten that I had put anything in the wash, and how much a tailored mobile notification system would help out. 

Here's how it works: the washer and dryer each have their own I.P. address, which your phone can tunnel to no matter where you are. Using the app, you can remotely start up any cycle, which then gives you a timer on how long until it's done. You can also remotely pause a cycle if need be, and use a variety of notification types to let you know when it's done. 

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2 years ago

Stuck in Customs 'Photo Voyages of Trey Ratcliff' Android app now compatible with Google TV

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Photo Voyages of Trey Ratcliff, the "official" application of the popular travel photography blog Stuck in Customs is now compatible with Google TV.  The app consists of hundreds of Ratcliff's images (and they are spectacular images indeed) as an endless slideshow to view on your screen.  With Google TV support, that big screen in your living room can become a piece of art while you're not watching cartoons the news.  Another interesting aside, a note in the market says an update that allows setting any of the images as your wallpaper is coming "very soon".  The app will cost you $2.99 and requires Android 2.1 or higher.  Hit the break for the download link.

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2 years ago

HTC EVO 3D getting an OTA update today, says Sprint

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Sprint has posted that the HTC EVO 3D version 2.17.651.5 update should start rolling out today.  It's a minor maintenance release that addresses the following:

  • Updated Peep client (to align with Twitter)
  • Battery life improvements
  • Security update

The OTA should start rolling out to devices today, but you can manually force the update check by tapping Menu > Settings > System updates > HTC software update > Check now from your homescreen.  If you get this one, be sure to talk about it in the forums so others know what to expect!

Source: SprintThanks, John!

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2 years ago

Android's Samsung Galaxy Nexus versus the Windows Phone HTC Titan II

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We've already put the Samsung Galay Nexus up against the new Windows Phone Nokia Lumia 900, and now it's time to take a look at it next to the venerable HTC Titan II, announced Monday at the AT&T Developer Summit here in Las Vegas.

For you HTC fans, there's a lot here that's familiar. The Titan's a mix of soft-touch plastic and metal, with those little design flares that HTC does oh so well. It feels like an HTC phone. The screen is big -- the screen is 4.7-inches of Super LCD glass -- and it looks quite nice. But the Galaxy Nexus beats it with its 720x1280 Super AMOLED HD display. It's less about the screen type than it is the pixels. The 720p screen just trumps it, hands down.

Microsoft has continue to work well with its manufacturing partners in terms of optimizing the devices. The Titan II is 1.5 GHz single-core device, but the UI is fast as fast can be. That doesn't mean you won't run into bottlenecks though. Despite having a 16MP camera on board, you'll have to make do with 720p video recording, and not 1080p like you'll find on most Android devices now. That's not a huge strike -- it's more of a limiting factor when using a single-core processor.

It really is that camera that had us impressed, especially when compared to the lackluster shooter on the Galaxy Nexus. From Day 1 of Windows Phone, Microsoft's done cameras right. You go from a cold start to shutter action quickly than just about anything else out there (the new Xperia S could give it a run for its money), and the quality of pictures and video on the Titan II is quite good.

We've got a few more pictures after the break, and be sure to check out the full hands-on with the Titan II at WPCentral.com.

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2 years ago

LG Marquee heading to Boost Mobile Jan. 23, with $280 price tag

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Boost Mobile announced that they will be offering the LG Marquee on their $55 Android plan starting January 23.  The phone will cost $279.99 (plus taxes if applicable) at Boost retail locations and online, and that money gets you a slim smartphone with a great display.  This is the same LG Marquee we saw unveiled for Sprint last fall in New York, and is the Americanized version of the LG Optimus Black.  Specs are mid-range in today's world of dual-cores and nuclear-powered handsets, but are actually pretty good for a pre-paid device:

  •     Dimensions: 4.8" (H) x 2.52" (W) x 0.36" (D)
  •     Weight: 3.95oz
  •     NOVA Display: 4-inch color TFT (480 x 800) WVGA
  •     Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
  •     1GHz processor
  •     Memory: 512MB RAM, 2GB ROM
  •     1500mAh battery
  •     5.5 hrs Talk Time
  •     MicroSD Slot (2GB included card)
  •     Wifi Enabled-- 802.11 b/g/n (Hotspot capable)
  •     Virtual QWERTY keyboard (with SWYPE)
  •     5-megapixel camera (rear)
  •     2-megapixel camera (front)

With Boost Mobile's interesting shrinkage plans (payments gradually get less the longer you keep making them) this could be a great choice for a lot of folks. 

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