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4 years ago

Swype prepping Ice Cream Sandwich beta release for late January

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Swype -- the top keyboard in the 2011 Android Central Readers Choice Awards -- on Twitter today announced that we should see a beta release for Ice Cream Sandwich at the end of January. Here's the full tweet:

Good news! Official ICS support is near. Final tweaks and testing should be done in time for an anticipated end-of-month beta update.

Yeah, there's been a hacked version of Swype working on ICS, but we prefer the real thing, ya know. Counting the days.

Source: @Swype

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4 years ago

Android A to Z: What is Dalvik

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What is Dalvik?  We hear that word getting thrown around a lot on the Internet when talking about Android and its inner workings.  While there's no easy explanation we can give in just a few paragraphs, we can cover the basics and point you in the right direction if you need to feed your nerdly side. In its simplest terms, Dalvik is a virtual machine that runs applications and code written in Java. A standard Java compiler turns source code (written as text files) into Bytecode, then compiled into a .dex file that the Dalvik VM can read and use. In essence, class files are converted into .dex files (much like a jar file if one were using the standard Java VM) and then read and executed by the Dalvik Virtual Machine. Duplicate data used in class files is included only once in the .dex output, which saves space and uses less overhead. The executable files can be modified again when you install an application to make things even more optimized for mobile. Things like byte order swapping and linking data structure and function libraries inline make the files smaller and run better on our devices. The Dalvik VM was written from square one with Android in mind.

Confused yet?  Don't feel bad, geeky programming talk usually has that effect. Think of it this way -- when you build a Java application for your computer, a Java Virtual Machine runs the compiled output of the source code. This is why Java runs on just about any operating system. Dalvik is a mobile-optimized version of a Java Virtual Machine, built with code from the Apache Harmony project, which is open-source and runs better than a standard Java VM would on our limited hardware, designed so that you can run more than one instance of the VM at a time -- ie multitasking.  Because Dalvik is open-source, it's also been ported to other operating systems, like the one on the BlackBerry PlayBook. It's pretty damn complicated, pretty damn cool, and Oracle (the company that bought Java from Sun) hates it.

Android uses Dalvik because while the license for the standard Java Virtual Machine is GPL2 (free and open-source), when placed in a mobile device and using the Java Micro Edition, it is not.  The big dispute between Google and Oracle is all based around Dalvik.  Google claims it was written in a "clean-room" environment without using any of Oracle's code, and Oracle disagrees.  We claim to have no idea, we're just glad it works as well as it does. 

For more on Dalvik, see the Google I/O website.

Previously on Android A to Z: What is CES?; Find more in The Android Dictionary

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4 years ago

Samsung Replenish hops from Sprint to Boost Mobile, available Jan. 16 for $99

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The Samsung Replenish started life on Sprint as the first "eco-friendly" smartphone. Today, it's made the leap to the no-contract Boost Mobile. The Replenish, which sports a 2.8-inch display, full QWERTY keyboard and runs Android 2.3, will be available at Boost retail stores Jan. 16 for $99.99. It'll hit national retailers by March.

Source: Sprint

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4 years ago

Sprint Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch coming in white Jan. 8

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If you've got a hankering for a Sprint Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch in white, get thee to thy nearest Sprint retail channel (in stores, online, and telesales) starting  Jan. 8, as that's when the pale version of the world's most obtusely named phone will be available. It'll cost you $199 on contract, and other than the paint job it's the same as the original SGSIIE4GT we reviewed in 2011.

Full presser's after the break.

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4 years ago

10-inch Acer Iconia A200 hits Jan. 15 for $329

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Ice Cream Sandwich update available in mid-February

Acer's looking to make a dent in the Android tablet market, having started with the 10-inch Iconia A500 and then with the 7-inch A100. And now it's back in the larger category with the A200 -- and doing so with a price that all but promises sales. The Acer Iconia Tab A200 is a 10.1-inch Android 3.2 tablet (it'll get Ice Cream Sandwich in mid-February) with a 1280x800 resolution, full-size USB port and a Tegra 2 processor. Nothing we haven't seen before. But the $329 price tag is what really has our attention here. Of course, that's the price for the version with only 8GB of storage. The 16GB Iconia A200 will run a whopping ... $349. Somebody here is doing things right, folks. 

We'll expect to get our hands on this puppy next week at CES, and it'll be available starting Jan. 15. Stay tuned.

Source: Acer

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4 years ago

Motorola looking for someone to join Chad Ochocinco at the Super Bowl, giving away a Droid RAZR and Droid XYBOARD 10.1 to boot

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If you're looking to get in on some Super Bowl action, pick up some new devices and have one hell of a time doing it then Motorola wants to hear from you. Reason being, they need someone to hang out with Chad Ochocinco and help with reporting for OCNN from the Super Bowl and to help get the job done -- they'll hook you up with a Droid RAZR and Droid XYBOARD 10.1. Check out the video above, and if you're up to the challenge then hit the source link below to submit your entry.

Source: Facebook

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4 years ago

Qualcomm's GameCommand hits Android Market Jan. 10

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Qualcomm this morning announced that its Game Command will launch the Snapdragon GameCommand app in the Android Market on Jan. 10, the opening day of CES. 

GameCommand is a portal for more than 100 featured games for Android smartphones and tablets, including Fight Game Heroes, Bunny Maze 3D, The Reem and Desert Winds.

We've got the full presser after the break.

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4 years ago

FYI: NFL Mobile finally working on the Verizon Galaxy Nexus

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Good news, everyone! The NFL Mobile app is finally working correctly on the Verizon Galaxy Nexus. The app actually got its update fix last night, but the login was still borked for a lot of people. (Or at least us, and we count double.) Anyhoo, all is well, you should be able to log in, and just in time for the playoffs. Huzzah.

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4 years ago

Samsung Replenish receiving the Gingerbread update starting today

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The Samsung Replenish, Sprint's first environmentally friendly smartphone, has begun getting its Gingerbread update. This has to be welcome news for Replenish users who haven't heard about updates for their phone in quite some time.

The update will come as an OTA and will be rolling out gradually to devices, so if yours hasn't received it yet, be patient, it's coming.

Sprint has detailed what improvements this update and Android 2.3 will bring to the Replenish:

  • Increased OS speed and efficiency
  • One-touch word selection and copy/paste
  • Improved power management
  • Downloads management
  • SMS messaging fix

Source: Sprint

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4 years ago

Google Listen updated, seems Google hasn't forgotten it after all

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Google has updated Google Listen, the once- (or still) popular Podcatcher application, proving that they haven't abandoned the application like a certain Android blogger and editor thinks.  It's not the biggest update in the world -- the changelog only mentions that references to the now-defunct Google Labs have been removed, but it shows that Google isn't quite done with Listen.  Now if they could update the UI, and fix some of the playback bugs we'd all be much happier.  If you haven't moved on to another Podcatcher and are still using Listen, hit the Market for your update.  If you want to give it a try, there's a handy link after the break.

Thanks, @GeekforGoogle!

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4 years ago

Google Earth updated, fixes issues with Tegra 2 devices

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Google has updated the Google Earth app, fixing a pesky-as-hell bug that caused the app to crash during startup on Tegra 2 devices.  NVIDIA uses special instructions for the Tegra chip, and while they work amazingly well when used properly (check out some Tegra games if you haven't yet), sometimes different specialized hardware makes it difficult for the generic "works everywhere" app to use the full set of features.

That's probably what happened with the last update for Google Earth -- it certainly pushes the limit of what a mobile GPU can handle, and needed a bit of tweaking to run it all on the Tegra chips.  Call it fragmentation, call it legacy, but it's a fact of life that you have trade-offs between different hardware platforms.  Google seems to have it all sorted, and now we can have our imaginary getaways to exotic virtual locations on our Tegra based tablets and phones.  Hit the download link after the break or check the Market for your update.

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4 years ago

WiFi Tether on VZW Galaxy Nexus, On screen buttons [From the Forums]

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We've reached mid-week here at Android Central and things are still popping. Some more CES info managed to leak out as expected but there is still plenty more new to come we suspect. If you missed out on anything from today, be sure to jump back and have a look. Make sure you check out some the highlighted threads within the Android Central forums as well:

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 Resolutions: Resolve to spend more in the Android Market

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There's a fallacy about Android users: We're cheapskates. We refuse to purchase applications. Or, at least, we don't purchase apps as frequently as users of other platforms. On one hand, so what? There are countless bad-ass Android apps that don't cost a dime. What's wrong with that?

On the other hand, none of us would be here if it weren't for developers and content creators. And we should all want to support them. And so ...

Resolve to spend more in the Android Market

Actually, let's start with apps, but we need to remember to think beyond them.

When it comes to Android applications, there are myriad options. Consider the following:

  • You've got your free apps.
  • Your free apps with ads.
  • Your "lite" apps.
  • Your paid apps without advertising.
  • The odd paid app with advertising.
  • And our favorite, the "donate" version, which might have the same functionality as the free version.

It's that last bullet point that probably deserves more attention. If presented with two apps that do the same thing, only one is free and the other costs, say, 99 cents as a "donation," ask yourself which you'd be more likely to download. Now ask yourself why? If it's an app you use and like, why not give back to the developer?

That said, we'll be the first (well, we'll hardly be the first) to mention that the Android Market's making things a little more difficult by allowing only a 15-minute refund window if you purchase an app and discover it sucks. That makes pulling the trigger a little more difficult. But not all app purchases need that sort of trial period. Point is, if you're presented with a choice, spare a buck when you can.

And then there are the newer fares in the Android Market -- movies and music. Don't forget about them. The movies section still leaves a lot to be desired. Or maybe it doesn't. That can be a bit subjective. Same goes for purchasing music from Google. Some days it's great. Other days I go running back to another music store. But the only way either one is going to get better is for us to keep using it, to keep purchasing.

It's a bit of a Catch-22, I know. If there's nothing good in the Market, you won't spend money there. And if nobody's spending money, you'll not seen newer, better content added. So think about that when you're deciding whether to go with a free or donation version of an app. Or if you're going to torrent a movie or album (you naughty thing, you) instead of spending a couple bucks. In the end, shelling out makes for a better ecosystem.

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4 years ago

Tapatalk optimized for Galaxy Tab 8.9 and Galaxy Tab 10.1; available for free on Samsung Apps

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When not browsing the Android Central Forums from a computer, many folks use the popular app Tapatalk. And now, a special version of Tapatalk is available exclusively from Samsung Apps free for a limited time. The special version was built for the Galaxy Tab 8.9 and Galaxy Tab Tab 10.1 so if you own either of those devices, you can open up Samsung Apps and grab your free copy now. Once downloaded, let us know how it's working in the Android Central Forums.

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4 years ago

Verizon Galaxy Nexus root toolkit makes the process easier than ever

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We're normally not huge fans of one-click rooting around here. Don't get us wrong, they're simple and the folks who put them together deserve applause. But we also think you should have at least a basic understanding of what you're doing to your phone when you're rooting it, and that needs to be more than a button in a dialog box. (And remember, rooting's not for everyone. There's no shame in that.)

And that's why we're thrilled to see Wug's Galaxy Nexus Root Toolkit sitting in our Verizon Galaxy Nexus Forums -- complete with an explainer of what each step of the process does. This is one-click rooting done right, folks. So if you need a little help getting it unlocking and rooting, or going back to stock, hit the link below.

More: Wug's Galaxy Nexus Root Toolkit

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