Headlines

4 years ago

NookColor getting Froyo and Android Market -- officially -- in January [updated: Erm, not so much]

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Barnes & Noble NookGood news for those of you looking longingly at your Barnes & Noble NookColor and wishing that the Android-based e-reader could one day legitimately run Android apps. An update to Android 2.2 Froyo is coming, and it's bringing with it the traditional Android home screens and access to the Android Market.

That's right, none of that hackery required -- and hackery that's as liable to give you a third eye as it is access to Android apps. The word is that the update's coming in January and in addition to the Market and homescreens will bring pinch-to-zoom to the browser. There's also the requisite battery and performance improvements you supposedly get with just about every update.

With the prospect of an official update and traditional Android features, the $250 NookColor is starting to look like an affordable and attractive Android tablet. [SmartphoneMag via Engadget]

Update: Bad news folks. Barnes and Noble PR got in touch with the authors of the original piece at Engadget, and while the Nook Color will be adding apps to it's own market, there is no plan to add the official Android Market to the device. Back to the hackery, I guess.

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4 years ago

Xperia X10 goes buy-one-get-one on AT&T

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Sony Ericsson Xperia X10

If you're in the mood for a year-old smartphone that's struggling to get to Android 2.1, know that the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 is available as buy-one-get-one free until Jan. 1, 2011. At that point it'll be about a year old -- we had our first hands-on at CES in January 2010 -- and it's been plagued by a lack of updates ever since. But you can't beat BOGO, even on the X10. [via Twitter]

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4 years ago

Android Quick App: YouMail Visual Voicemail

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You ever get a call from someone you really don't feel like talking to at the moment and decide that you'll just let it go to voicemail and wait and see if they leave a message? I know I do. In fact, I really dislike talking on the phone so I tend to do it a lot. That habit of mine used to make checking my voicemail rather annoying as well. Especially after letting 5-6 messages build in there.

So instead of actually, you know answering calls I decided I'd switch to a visual voicemail service and make it a lot easier on myself. I decided to go with YouMail. Read on after the break for a quick run down of what YouMail is all about.

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4 years ago

New 'StrictMode' Gingerbread API helps developers write better, faster apps

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strictmode

There's a lot of new, behind-the-scenes goodness going on in Gingerbread, and not all of it was made with the end user in mind.  One of the new APIs, "StrictMode," is built for Android application developers to use as a debugging tool.  It monitors code as it's executed, detecting things that can slow an application down.

It specifically was designed to target disk reads and writes, and network activity, which as Android software engineer Brad Fitzpatrick points out can cause stuttering animation and UI elements that don't respond to input as fast as we would like.  Having an easy to use tool like this means that developers can find spots in their code that might contribute to a bottleneck and take care of the issue before the app goes out for testing.

While the changes that come with Gingerbread don't appear very big on the surface, all these little things add up.  We've went over all the "showcase" changes, but these smaller additions are just as important.  Gingerbread is shaping up to have great potential, and I can't wait to get my hands greasy with it. [Android Developers Blog]

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4 years ago

Southwest Airlines app for Android now available

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Just in time for for some holiday travelers, Southwest Airlines has released their Android application to the masses. Given how hectic traveling is to begin with any application that's sole purpose is to make it easier is fine by us. Southwest has included some great features into the app including their rapid rewards program for frequent Southwest fliers. The full feature list is below:

  • Manage air reservations
  • Manage rental car reservations
  • Check in for flights
  • Check flight status
  • Review flight schedules
  • Access your Rapid Rewards account
  • Access helpful contact information

The latest version available is v1.4 which, is actually an updated version from the initial launch so if you're running a previous version be sure to update. It's available now for free from the Android Market. Download link can be found after the break. Thanks Quincy!

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4 years ago

Words with Friends coming to Android (update: plan on playing your iOS friends)

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Words with Friends

Words with Friends -- the uber-popular Scrabble-esqe word game for the iOS -- is coming to Android, according to an e-mail tipster Jordan has sent us and others.

In the e-mail, Jordan asked about the prospects of an Android version of the game. The response he got from the developer:

"We've since hired a team to develop an Android Version. They're actively at work on it at the moment and are getting close to being done, so not too much longer!"

We've asked the developer -- which was purchased by Zynga earlier this month -- for any more details about the Android release. Will we be able to play (and beat) our iPhone brethren? When, exactly, will see the app? Will it be ad-supported? Stay tuned, folks.

More on Words with Friends in the Android Central Forums

Update: Just heard back from the Words with Friends folks, who had this to add:

"We are working on an Android version, but we're not ready to share much more beyond that. Our goal is that it will be compatible with the iOS version from day one."

Words with Friends e-mail

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4 years ago

Best Buy gives detail for Nexus S launch

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Samsung Nexus S

Best Buy has dropped info on Thursday's U.S. launch of the Samsung Nexus S. And they are as follows:

  • Stores open at 8 a.m. local time
  • Online sales nationwide start at 8 a.m. Eastern time.
  • There's a limit of two phones per customer; stores have a finite supply (natch)
  • Demo phones will be on hand. (Let's hope they're not the non-working dummy phones we're all too used to at Best Buy)
  • The Nexus S is unlocked.
  • Off-contract price is $529, plus tax.
  • On-contract price is $199 with a two-year T-Mobile plan. Add-a-line activation runs $249.99.

Best Buy also will have the usual upgrade checking in place, and they'll make sure you leave the store with the phone working (and likely with an accessory or two). So there you have it, folks. Just a couple of days to go. [Best Buy]

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4 years ago

Refill your Walgreens prescriptions with Walgreens Mobile app

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Walgreens Mobile app gets prescription barcode scanning.

Feeling a bit under the weather, have a Walgreens prescription you need filled, and wish that Android powered device of yours could magically fill said prescription?  Well, it can't produce any pills or nasal spray, but the Walgreens Mobile app can do the next best thing.  By simply scanning the prescription's barcode, you can alert the folks at the Walgreens pharmacy that you're out of pills, and need a fix.

If you don't roll with barcode scanning, you can also fill your prescriptions based on account history.  By entering either your account number, or prescription number, the Walgreens Mobile app will notify Walgreens pharmacists that your prescription is empty, and needs to be refilled.  And then once it's ready, you'll receive an SMS notification -- pretty slick.  Now to just get out of the same sick clothes you've been wearing for three days, comb your hair, and drive all the way to your nearest Walgreens -- something else the Walgreens Mobile app will assist you with.

The Walgreens Mobile app also features a flu shot & store locator, photo print ordering, and weekly ad fliers.  This is actually a pretty robust app for a retail/pharmacy chain, and I'd like to see this level of usability from other retailer apps. Download links are after the break.  [Walgreens]

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4 years ago

Samsung Captivate case review: Smartphone Experts Skin Case

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SPE Skin Case 1

If you’re looking for a way to protect your Samsung Captivate, but don’t want a case that adds bulk or weight, consider the Smartphone Experts Skin Case.

Available in three colors, the SPE Skin Case is a one-piece item that fits snuggly around the Captivate. It’s made of highly flexible material that can be bent and shaped, so no need to worry about breaking it.

Once it’s on your Captivate, it feels good in the hand and doesn’t add bulk in the pocket. The anti-dust coating ensures that the case and your phone stay clean.

I have enjoyed my time with this skin case because of the light, rubbery feel. Some of the Captivate cases feel alright at first, but then become more of a hindrance. Thus far, I have not felt the need to switch the case or take it off because it’s so unobtrusive; it allows you to focus on the phone and not the phone and the case, which is often what happens.

Captivate owners: if you’re looking for a simple, protective layer to fit around your phone, consider the SPE Skin Case, available from the Android Central Store for $9.95

SPE Skin Case 4    SPE Skin Case 5

SPE Skin Case 6    SPE Skin Case 7

SPE Skin Case 9    SPE Skin Case 8

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4 years ago

Smartphone coasters, comparing the Nexus S and did you get a CR-48? [From the forums]

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Android Forums at Android Central

Hey, folks, hope you all had a great weekend out there. It's Monday again and we figured we'd better get this week off to a good start, so we won't waste too much time talking. We closed down some of the contests in the forums to make way for some new ones. Winners will be announced shortly but be sure to check out the latest posted in the forums.

If you're not already a member of the Android Central forums, you can register your account today.

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4 years ago

Android Market has been enabled on the NookColor

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NookColor

The Android Market can now be accessed from the Barnes & Noble NookColor. Once it was rooted last month, it was only a matter of time before the community was able to enable the tablet/e-reader to access all Android apps. 

If you have a NookColor and are interested in doing this, do note that it is complicated and can possibly brick your device. 

Before you begin, here are the prerequisites that you need:

  • Your NookColor must be rooted 
  • You need adb (Android Debug Bridge) working
  • You must have a Gmail account

If you have all these completed and still would like to try this, follow the source link for more instructions. There is a large community who have taken to working with the NookColor, so you should find all you need over there. Great news for NookColor owners who have been pining to use apps on that 7-inch screen. Good luck! [Nook Devs]

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4 years ago

Bell Samsung Galaxy S phones dying - bad hardware, or bad hacks?

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Galaxy S i9000M

The Samsung Galaxy S i9000M (aka the Vibrant) from Bell Mobility seems to be having a high rate of failure with the internal SD storage.  Starting back in September, some folks started seeing their internal SD card become unreadable, unmountable, or just plain invisible to the kernel.  There seems to be a few things in common here -- most of the affected users are running Froyo, most of them have also applied some flavor of "lag fix," and the only sure-fire way to fix it is to ship the phone back to Samsung.

There's a lot of theories, ranging from bad hardware, inferior components, and unsafe hacks.  After reading for half the day, I think it's a combination of all three.  It certainly seems like folks who have upgraded to Froyo but haven't mucked around with their file system aren't seeing many issues, and those that have used some sort of lag fix are seeing the most.  Of course Samsung didn't use hardware that did not meet their specs, but they also didn't use the absolute best available -- that's not very kind to the bottom line.  SD media doesn't take repartitioning very well, and it's likely that the hours spent applying and removing various lag fix schemes has caused early failure for many.  Add in the ever-present bad piece of hardware, and you have the makings of a mess.  And since the only real fix is to send it in and spend time without your phone, my advice is to stop messing with the file system -- inflated Quadrant scores just aren't worth it. Thanks Gregg for bringing this to our attention!

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4 years ago

More on the Android Market's redesign (plus: proper landscape design!)

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Android Market redesign

If you really want to get into the nuts and bolts of the Android Market's redesign -- coming soon to a smartphone near you -- check out Kirill Grouchnikov's "Pushing Pixels" blog. In today's post, the Android user interface engineer talks about the redesign, why things look the way they do -- and how it was done.

And of particular interest is the transition and design of the Android Market when viewed in landscape (horizontal) mode. We're not too proud to say that we didn't even notice at first, because we didn't bother to try the new market in landscape -- the old market was, shall we say, severely lacking in that respect.

Anyhoo, check out Kirill's blog if you want to see the ins and outs of the whole thing. [Pushing Pixels]

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4 years ago

Apple gets proper Google Latitude; stalk your friends from Android

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Not sure how many of  you out there are making use of Google Latitude but if you are, you may find a few more people that now want to stalk follow your every move. Yes, the iPhone crowd has today, been given a proper Google Latitude application for iOS. As noted by the good folks over at TiPB, the application did make an early appearance in the iTunes app store as it seemingly got caught up in all the Nexus S and Gingerbread news but was then quickly pulled again. It has finally returned and is available now for download. Has Google finally broken the iOS barrier? First Google Voice, now this. [TiPB]

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4 years ago

Creative ZiiO pays a visit to the FCC

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At this rate, 2011 is shaping up to be the year of the tablet -- and Creative is on board with the ZiiO. But before any device hits the market, the FCC needs to make sure it checks out (lucky FCC, they see everything early). 

The Creative ZiiO will rock a 10-inch screen, with a 1024 x 600 screen resolution. It'll be running Android 2.1, the current manual suggests that it will be a pretty basic tablet. Oh well, that's why we have hackers, right?  [FCC via CrunchGear]

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