Android platform group manager Eric Chu, speaking Tuesday at the Inside Social Apps conference in San Francisco, said that Google is "not happy" with the number of paid applications being downloaded through the Android Market, especially given that 300,000 devices are being activated every day. He also today that in-app payments were coming to the Android Maket and that developers should "stay tuned" for more information. It seems that Google will be giving developers several different payment options including carrier billing and the standard Google Checkout. He also mentioned that other payment services were being looked into, so don't be surprised if PayPal gets support as well.
Chu also assured the fears of users on older versions of Android by saying that majority of current devices would be compatible. About 85 percent of devices are on Android 2.x right now, so it seems likely that any user with Android 2.1 Eclair or above will be good to go. Google had originally wanted to get in-app payments deployed last year, but developers were too "busy with their Christmas applications" to give Google enough feedback.
In-app payments offer an alternative for developers looking to make money from their apps rather than having to charge for the initial download or rely on ad revenue. This should help attract more developers to the Android platform and ensure that we see even more high-quality apps -- especially games -- land in the Market. [SF Gate, TechCrunch]
From left, Samsung Galaxy Ace, Galaxy Fit, Galaxy Gio, Galaxy Mini
Samsung today unveiled four new phones to its international Galaxy line. None of the phones is currently slated for a U.S. release, but they will be showed at Mobile World Congress next month in Barcelona. The phones are:
Galaxy Ace: The Ace sports a 3.5-inch HVGA screen (320x480) running Android 2.2 with an 800MHz processor and 5MP camera with flash. It's available in Russia now, and later in Europe, India and China.
Galaxy Fit: The fit has a 3.31-inch QVGA (240x320) screen with Android 2.2, a 5MP camera, 600MHz processor. It's available in February in Russia, with India, Europe and South America coming later.
Galaxy Gio: The Gio rocks a 3.2-inch HVGA (320x480) screen with Android 2.2, a 3MP camera and an 800MHz processor. Coming to Russia, Europe, India and China.
Galaxy Mini: The Mini has a svelte 3.14-inch QVGA (320x240) touchscreen with a 600MHz processor, 3MP camera and Android 2.2. Available in Russia, coming to Europe, China and India.
So what you have are some mid-level phones here, and that's actually a market Samsung's largely ignored over the past year with the rollout of the Galaxy S line. We'll get our hands on these guys in a few weeks at MWC, so stay tuned. [Korea IT Times]
As it turns out the removal of the ability to dump Flash games to the SD storage was what Google wanted to see removed. Kongregate is now back in the Android Marketplace and has begun using a different means of storing games on your device. It is now using your browser cache as an alternative to the previously used SD storage. No telling if that will sit well with Google as of yet but just in case, grab the download link after the break. [JoyStiq]
The LG Optimus V has now hit Virgin Mobile USA one way or another. We've spoken of its arrival before and even locked down some pricing for you but now it's turning up on Twitter, Facebook and in some store locations. Virgin Mobile users can pick up an LG Optimus V (based on the Optimus One) for only $149.99, and it's pretty much identical to any other variation of the device with the exception it is now Virgin Mobile-branded. You can check out our full review of the Optimus One or just skip on past the break and see the LG Optimus V in action. [@getitbackup, Facebook via Engadget]
We just got slipped a slew pics of the upcoming Samsung Vibrant 4G, the follow-up to T-Mobile's Galaxy S-class Android smartphone. As in the other leaks we've seen, it looks rather (and unremarkably) unchanged from its predecessor, save for a more silvery look and a front-facing camera. We also get our first look at the side of the device and -- you guessed it -- just like the original Vibrant. We're also told it's still running Froyo, and we're really not expecting it to launch with Froyo -- which at this point is still unofficially set for Feb. 23.
Check out the other pics after the break. Thanks to you know who.
Normally we wouldn't post such a tease, since there's no payoff at the end of this rainbow. But when we're able to use the words "Samsung," "Fascinate" and "Froyo" in the same sentence, we're going to do it, dammit. An official Android 2.2 build for the Samsung Fascinate apparently has slipped into the hands of some devs who can do some good with it. And now the race is on -- will we see an official release first, or one from the community? News at 11, folks. [Twitter via Android Central Forums]
As I mentioned yesterday, our YouMail contest (among others) is now live in the forums. Be sure to check that out if you're looking to win a premium subscription. While you're entering the contest be sure to hit up some of the other posts as well or create your own. We love seeing new threads in the forums so if you have anything to share, questions that need answered or are just looking to talk Android you know where to go.
Sure, taking a Nexus S into near-orbit is great and all, but it's not really outer space, is it? Well, some researchers from England have decided to toss an unnamed Android phone into a rocket and blast it into the final frontier later this year in the name of science. The purpose of the experiment -- other than simply being awesome -- is to test how well the phone and its internal components withstand the extreme conditions of space.
The end goal of the team is to adapt the compact and powerful design of modern smartphones to power low-cost satellites of the future as they note that the phone cost "less than £300" and that the entire satellite ran the team "less than a family car." Another benefit would be that the free and open nature of Android lends itself well to allowing developers to "feasibly develop apps for satellites." [TG Daily]
Here it is folks. The release dates of the LG G-Slate, Dell Streak 7, and Samsung Vibrant 4G have all been revealed. TmoNews got their hands on a couple of screens which outline when all three of these devices will be in consumer's hands. The Dell Streak 7 has a release date of Feb. 2, which confirms previous rumors, and has a price point of $299 after some sort of rebate. Meanwhile, the LG G-Slate will be the last of the three available, releasing on March 23. Finally, the refreshed Samsung Vibrant with 4G capabilities will be in stores February 23. Anybody running out on launch day for these devices? Let us know. Hit the break for one more picture. [TmoNews]
The HTC Evo 4G and it's massive 4.3-inch screen make for a pretty big package, and unless you want to holster it, a thin, form fitting hard plastic case like the HTC Hard Shell Case is a great way to protect it without adding too much bulk. The case is made from a textured hard plastic, and the matte finish helps maintain your grip even when your hands aren't completely dry.
Its two-piece slide-on design is easy to put on and take off, and there are cutouts for access to all the buttons and features that come with the Evo. The cut-out on the bottom of the phone that allows access to the micro USB and HDMI ports is unique, and while the open-ended design may not be the best looking option, it allows the use of just about any USB or HDMI cable, even those with a thick jacket and wide plug. All the cutouts are raised with tapered edges so buttons aren't likely to be pushed while riding in the pocket, and the case is just thick enough to keep the camera lens off the surface if you lay your Evo down on its back. And of course there's full access to the kickstand.
Putting the case on and taking it off is easy, just place the red ( red for this one, the HTC Hard Shell Case is also available in gray and black) side on, then slide the black side over, lining up the interlocking tabs. The case isn't going to slip apart on its own, but it doesn't take much force to unlock and slide the case off. On the front, the case wraps around the sides of the phone and creates a raised lip to protect the screen when the phone is lying face down.
The HTC Hard Shell Case is a great way to protect your Evo without losing the slim profile, the cut-outs line up very well so the controls aren't awkward to use. You can get it for $8.24 in the Android Central store, and there are more pictures after the break.
Forrester Research has published a report concerning support for various mobile operating systems in the business sector that shows strong gains for Android. Support jumped from two percent at the end of 2009 to a respectable 13 percent in 2010. Considering Android really only exploded for most people in the latter half of 2010, it is not hard to imagine that many IT departments around the world are working on getting Android integrated in the coming year.
The leaders in this space are unsurprisingly BlackBerry at 70 percent (up three percent from 2009) and Windows Mobile at a steady 41 percent. Somewhat surprisingly iOS has the support of just 29 percent of companies surveyed. Forrester also notes that companies are increasingly supporting multiple platforms with more than 50 percent supporting at least two and about 25 percent supporting at least three. [Forrester Research (1, 2) via PreCentral]
YouMail not too long ago sent out a rather awesome update to their visual voicemail application, making it more social. YouMail now allows users to easily share voicemail not only through e-mail or text messages, but also by posting them directly to Facebook and Twitter. Great for those times when you getting those funny voicemail messages or just have one that you want to hang onto forever. Some other new features were added as well, full breakdown is below:
Simple Sharing - With just a couple of clicks, users can now easily post voicemail on their Facebook wall, and tweet voicemails using existing Android twitter clients, like HTC’s Peep.
Smart Reply - YouMail automatically maps incoming phone numbers to e-mail addresses, so users can easily reply to an incoming voicemail with an e-mail or text message, either directly through the YouMail client itself, or through other messaging clients like Gmail – with the reply automatically including a link to the original voicemail to provide context.
Expanded Caller ID - Whenever a caller leaves a message, YouMail now pulls and displays incoming caller photos from the phone’s address book and the user’s Facebook account – giving users truly visual voicemail. YouMail also provides the caller’s city and state, in addition to their phone number and name.
Flipping through the session listings for Google IO 2011, and a couple of things stand out: First, there's building web apps and Android apps for Google TV. Google TV, as you'll recall, was announced at least year's developer's conference. It's based on Android, but third-party apps aren't yet available, though they definitely were promised. So it looks like the ball's going to get rolling there.
Also on the agenda is a "Honeycomb highlights" session. It's no great surprise that we'll see more of the Android version that is first coming to tablets, supposedly in the first quarter of the year.
There's also the usual programming and developer tools' sessions, which, frankly, we don't understand in the slightest. But you devs certainly do, and you'll definitely want to check them out. [Google IO sessions]
Google's launched its Google IO 2011 site -- your one-stop shop for everything related to Google's annual developer's conference. Registration hasn't opened yet, so stay tuned for that. But attendee pricing was announced, $450 through April 16, $550 thereafter. Students and faculty can register for $150, and the optional Bootcamp session is an extra $100.
If you're an Android developer, IO is a must-attend event. Hard-core Android enthusiasts would have a blast, too. Hit up the site for all the other details, including session listings. Then check our our coverage from Google IO 2010. We'll see you there! [Google IO]
Google last week teased us all with a test of number porting. Today it's gone live for everyone. You're going to need to think about this a bit before you dive in, however. If you port your current cell phone number to Google Voice, your current plan will be canceled, and you may be subject to an early termination penalty if you're still under contract. You'll then need to get a new plan, with a new number, which you'll then instruct Google Voice to ring.
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