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3 years ago

Tackling 'fragmentation': Developers sound off on supporting multiple screens

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What does it take to support multiple devices? A few top developers weigh in

Android runs on a variety of devices, which means it also runs on a variety of screen sizes and resolutions. Lots of folks call this "fragmentation." Never mind the fact that they've been using products designed and developed the same way for years on their desktop. Apparently if everything isn't exactly the same it gets the "fragmentation" label. 

There are different ways to tackle the problems that arise when you use screens with different sizes and densities. Apple has separate listings for apps designed for the iPhone versus the iPad. Microsoft creates a new eco-system for its big screen devices. Android provides a way for developers to make the same app work differently for different screens. There's good and bad about each method, but we're going to focus on Android here.

In Android, applications can adjust the layout for different size screens as well as resolution. This is all built in, but there are a few things developers need to declare in their code to make the app look good. The thing to keep in mind is how screen size and density will change the look of the app. The Droid DNA has a higher-res screen than the Motorola XOOM tablet, but we don't want to see a tablet layout for apps on the phone-sized screen.

A developer needs to provide assets (images) that are high enough quality to look sharp at high resolution (never mind insanely high resolution), and be sure to use density independent pixel units when designing their layout. This is what keeps things like buttons and other controls from being really big on low density screens like the Galaxy S2, or from being really tiny on high density screens like the DNA.

It sounds complicated, but most of this stuff is done for you when coding an app. All the developer needs to do is make the right declarations, and provide the right assets to support any size (both physical and resolution) or layout. Even multiple layout apps like the Google+ app use the same code to cover every conceivable screen.

We're not trying to judge developers here. Writing apps is tough. The Android developers have been preaching all this since the release of Gingerbread, but how practical is it? We asked a few developers about it, see what they had to say after the break.

More: Google's Android developer site

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3 years ago

HTC tries the store-within-a-store approach in Germany

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HTC has opened its first store-within-a-store in Germany. The Taiwanese retailer is attempting to rebound after lackluster financial results by having a more profound retail presence. Rather than open up separate stores, these are dedicated areas within existing retailers, this one being a Saturn store in Germany.

Samsung has tried this approach in the UK and other European countries, and while it's unknown how much of a direct effect it has had, Samsung has enjoyed record sales of its phones over the past year.

As you'd expect, store staff will be trained by HT, and will have more in-depth knowledge of their products. HTC has also promised to expand this strategy to more cities and stores. We'll likely have to wait quite a while before we see if this helps HTC's financial position, but it seems like a good start.

Source: UnwiredView

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3 years ago

AnTuTu Benchmark 3 now available

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Good news for benchmark junkies, as one of the leading Android apps of this kind has today received a major update. AnTuTu Benchmark 3 brings a host of new features to the popular benchmark app, including a new dedicated 2D benchmark, and a 3D benchmark based upon OpenGL ES 2.0. Other changes include improved SD card detection and security features to prevent tampering with the app.

This version also improves support for a number of high-end devices, including the HTC Droid DNA and LG Nexus 4, both of which use Qualcomm's quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro chip. Our Nexus 4 scores averaged around 17,500, a considerable increase over the 10,000 or so widely reported on the earlier AnTuTu 2.94. And our Droid DNA scored even higher, clocking in at just over 19,000.

The full changelog for the current version 3.0.1 can be found after the break. The free download can be grabbed from Google Play at the link above.

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3 years ago

Sprint lights up 11 new LTE cities, now at 43 total

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Sprint this morning announced 11 new locales for its 4G LTE data service. They are:

  • Anderson, Ind.
  • Clarke County, Va./Jefferson County, W.Va.
  • Harrisburg/Carlisle/Hershey, Pa.
  • Hagerstown, Md./Martinsburg, W.Va.
  • Harrisonburg, Va.
  • Muncie, Ind.
  • Peabody, Mass.
  • Salina, Kan.
  • Shenandoah County, Va.
  • South Bend/Mishawaka, Ind.
  • Winchester, Va.

That brings Sprint's LTE coverage to some 43 markets. We've got the full list after the break.

Source: Sprint

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3 years ago

White Sony Xperia T available SIM-free next week

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The Sony Xperia T (or the Bond phone, as it's sometimes known) has been with us for a short while now, but in order to get the white version in the UK, you'd have to go through O2.

If you've been waiting to get the white variant SIM free, then your wait is over, as Clove Technology will have this new silky white version in stock next week. The device will set you back £378 including VAT, which for what you're getting is pretty good value in our opinion.

Clove is taking pre-orders right now, and if you missed our full review of Sony's new flagship Android device you can catch that here.

You can also catch a quick reminder of the Xperia T specs below.

Source: Clove Technology

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3 years ago

Relive Chatterbox FM and V-Rock on your Android device with GTA Radio

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As integral to the fabric of the Grand Theft Auto series of games to the driving and shooting things, is the selection of radio stations to listen to whilst driving around shooting things. From GTAIII onwards, we've been treated to sounds such as Chatterbox FM in GTAIII, and V-Rock in GTA: Vice City. And, now, thanks to an Android application, we get to take the aural treats of the Grand Theft Auto universe with us anywhere we go. 

Simply titled GTA Radio, this comes not from the guys at Rockstar Games, but still features the same sounds nevertheless. The selection is broad too, covering off the radio stations from GTAIII, Vice City, Liberty City Stories, Vice City Stories, San Andreas and GTA IV. Admit it, you're excited about being able to tune into Vladivostok FM again, aren't you? 

The only gripe so far would be the sound quality. It isn't the greatest, but then we're supposed to be listening to the radio, so it's not the end of the world. But, it buffers pretty quickly, and importantly also plays in the background. It's free, and ad-supported, and promises to work on anything from Android 1.5 and up, including Android 4.2 and it works on the Nexus 4. Just don't get too carried away if you're listening to it in the car, OK? 

via Pocket Gamer

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3 years ago

Amazon Kindle Fire sales rocket for Black Friday

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We reported just last week that Amazon were slashing the prices of their Kindle range for Black Friday, and it seems things have paid off for them. Kindle sales this weekend have been triple compared to previous Black Friday's, the retailer today announced. With the 7-inch tablet market bursting at the seams, it will be interesting to see if we get some sales figures from Google regarding its competing Nexus 7, now that we have both Wifi-only and 3G flavors available. (In October, ASUS said the tablet moved 1 million units.)

Whichever tablet floats your boat, there's no denying that a Kindle Fire for £99 is possibly bargain of the year. This offer finishes today, so if you want to take advantage, you had better get your order in quick.

You can catch the full press release below.

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3 years ago

Facebook statement casts doubt on European HTC 'Deluxe' launch

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With recent rumors and leaks surrounding a possible global version of the Droid DNA (aka HTC J Butterfly), many in Europe have been hoping they too might be able to pick up the device in the lead up to the holidays. But if a recent Facebook post by HTC Germany is to be believed, Europeans wanting to buy the 5-inch, 1080p monster may be out of luck.

Responding to a fan question about the rumored device, HTC Germany hit back with what seems a fairly conclusive statement. Translated, it reads --

"The Deluxe will unfortunately not come to Europe."

Deluxe, of course, being the widely-rumored name (or codename) for the global version of the device.

We should also mention that a global version of the DNA/DLX has yet to be officially announced, and that all the rumors we've heard until now have focused on Asia -- specifically China and HTC's native Taiwan -- rather than Europe. It'd also be somewhat unusual for HTC to launch such a device in Europe at this time of year. Typically, the company saves its big European devices for Mobile World Congress, which takes place in February.

Regardless, the Facebook remark should be taken with a pinch of salt, as manufacturers' social media reps don't have a spotless record when it comes to accuracy. So it looks like just we may just have to wait and see where else the DLX crops up in the weeks ahead.

HTC declined to comment on today's developments, saying telling Android Central it "does not comment on rumor or speculation."

Source: Facebook, via: GSMArena

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3 years ago

Nexus 4 16GB available on Daily Steals for $499

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While many people still have backordered Nexus 4 devices waiting to be shipped, deals site Daily Steals is offering the unlocked 16GB version for a cool $499. The "list price" is a severely inflated $799, although we all know they're listed for $349 on the Play Store. We're not sure if this site got their devices from LG with a bulk discount, or somehow snatched up some when they were briefly on sale from Google, but we doubt they have that many in stock.

As is usually the case with these, they're probably going to sell out quick, so be sure to jump on one of these if you just can't wait any longer to get that sweet Nexus into your hands. If it's any consolation, you'll likely save some money when compared to the prices on eBay right now.

Source: Daily Steals

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3 years ago

MObile Nations Movember Week 4 Update: Mo Money, Mo Power!

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Mobile Nations Network Movember Funds Raised so far: $11,330 (USD)

The MO-bile Nations crew in the 'Peg eating deep fried chicken... it's great for 'stache growth!

WE DID IT! Movember isn't quite over, but we've already surpassed our Mobile Nations Network goal of raising over $10,000 for the cause. Mo-Mazing! We have witnessed some great fundraising efforts across the team, and special props go out to Canada's Mike Whitton for raising over $1500 and Australia's Daniel Kollehn for raising over $600. Great effort. HUGE thanks to everybody that has contributed!

If you haven't donated yet, you still have time. The only thing better than meeting our goal is blowing right past it! And we'll love you forever if you donate. Donations can be made easily over the web. Simply jump over to our Mobile Nations Network page, click on the name of any of the individuals listed as part of the network, and hit the donate button. All funds donated to an individual will pass through to the network total.

This is our fourth Movember update for the month, and we have one more to come once the month is over. We'll report back with our final pledge totals and a final gallery of all the moustaches we've grown out. Keep reading for more on Movember and to see some great photos from the team!

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3 years ago

5 million Galaxy Note 2s sold worldwide, Samsung says

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We reported earlier in November that just over a month after its launch, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 had sold over 3 million units worldwide. Now just a few weeks later that number has jumped up to 5 million sales worldwide, according to Samsung. It's a pretty great rate of sales, and we're sure that those will only continue to increase as the holiday buying season kicks off. Especially considering that the Note 2 is now available on all major carriers here in the states.

Samsung notes (pun intended) that the device is outpacing its predecessor -- the original Note -- in sales at this point. In its previous sales release, CEO of Samsung Mobile JK Shin indicated a sales goal of 20 million units for the Note 2.

Source: Samsung

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3 years ago

Wondershare PowerCam review

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There's really no shortage of camera apps out there, all offering different features and claiming to be the best. There are specific apps that do one thing well, and there are others that are more of a "camera toolbox." Love it or hate it, now that Instagram is available on Android, there's been a rush of apps repositioning themselves to differentiate and stand out.

So what does Wondershare PowerCam bring to the table? Check out the pictures after the break and see for yourself.

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3 years ago

Nexus 7 3G back in stock on UK Google Play Store

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It didn't sell out quite as quickly as Nexus 4 and 10, but the 3G/HSPA version of the Nexus 7 was nevertheless unavailable from the UK Google Play Store shortly after it went on sale. Now the tablet's back on sale, and the Play Store listing indicates a standard 3-5 day shipping window for the device.

The 3G Nexus 7 sells for £239 in the UK, and comes with 32GB of storage. The two Wifi-only Nexus 7's are still available to buy from the British Google Play Store too, priced at £159 and £199 for 16 and 32GB storage options respectively. The Nexus 4 remains sold out in the UK Play Store for the time being, though it is available elsewhere. Meanwhile the Nexus 10 is listed with a 2-3 week shipping timeframe.

If anyone's already picked up a 3G Nexus 7 over the past couple of weeks, let us know how you're getting on down in the comments.

Source: Google Play Store; Thanks @MasterPFA!

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3 years ago

Android Kids App: Goodnight Moon

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Does it get any more classic than this? Developer Loud Crow -- which has brought the works of Sandra Boynton, Beatrix Potter and even Charles Schulz's Charlie Brown to Android -- now has brought us the timeless kids book, "Goodnight Moon."

It's done in the usual Loud Crow fashion. The app can read the book aloud, word for word. Tap a word, and it's sounded out. Or you can choose to read to yourself. As you make your way through the story, you can use a magnifying glass to explore the great green room, and get a closer look at the telephone. And the red balloon. And the picture of the cow jumping over the moon. And there are plenty of animations to keep kids interested. Or, parents who love to reminisce. 

If you still need more, in-app purchases will unlock letter and number features in the app. Be sure to take a look at the app after you buy it. It works fine on tablets, but not on my Nexus 4. We've got some demo video after the break.

More: Android kids apps

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