You may have heard the rumor and conjecture about Android supporting multi-touch in the not-too-distant future. Well, if you are a brave soul and are willing to gain root access on your beloved Android T-Mobile G1 device, then multi-touch may be ready for you sooner than you think.
Although still in the proof-of-concept phase, some ingenious people in the development community have provided an unofficial hack for multi-touch, including multi-touch browser and, as seen in the video, a multi-touch map app. If you are feeling adventurous and have an idea of what you are doing, then try it at your own risk. If you don't even know what "root access" means, then you may want to sit this one out and wait for official multi-touch.
Matt has a ton of knowledge about a subject that the rest of us at Smartphone Experts have historically lacked, namely Nokia, S60, and the Symbian OS in general. He gives himself a brief introduction here, in the unlikely event you're not familiar.
Nokia has, as yet, not successfully made a big smartphone push in the United States, but that's quite likely to change as they have a slew of exciting new devices coming out and are also likely to have their E71 messaging smartphone picked up by AT&T very soon. In other words, if, like us, you're relatively new to Nokia and S60 but want to learn more, Nokia Experts is surely going to be one of your best resources. Heck, Matt's already published a full review of the Nokia 5800 Tube XpressMusic touch screen S60 device. The 'Tube' is already a best-selling device overseas and is more of a worthy contender than you might think, so the review is definitely worth a read.
Go on and head over to Nokia Experts now and give 'em a big ol' hello!
We're getting reports that an app in Android Market called MemoryUp is destroying personal data, erasing contacts, and installing adware. The app, which was supposed to help optimize memory is instead responsible for wiping memory and spamming e-mail. It doesn't look good folks. We hate to see the Android Market become littered with problematic apps like this so hopefully Google can maintain some control over the app. In the meantime, make sure you guys STAY AWAY from the app MemoryUp!
Also, for the record, Android doesn't need a memory optimizer because Java eventually cleans up memory on its own.
We love goofy usages of the Android platform, it makes the Android platform seem so versatile. So when we stumbled upon this robot (aptly named Forknife) being controlled by a T-Mobile G1 and Android, well, we couldn't help but smile. Though it doesn't really do much but roam around the floor and occasionally move its arms (or fork and knife), it still is quite cute and fun to see.
If you want to control a robot with your T-Mobile G1 you can head over to Macpod Software to see how to accomplish the definitely challenging task
It's no secret that we love us some Motorola around these parts. We've been saying Motorola Hardware combined with Android Software would simply be a killer device. It's almost sad for us to document the current downfall of a once great company. Motorola has laid off 77 employees in Florida, mostly from their floundering mobile division.
What's interesting about these layoffs is that they were all working on Windows Mobile development. Is this a sign that Motorola may be Android-only as previously suggested? Are they re-allocating their resources to become Android exclusive? What do you guys think?
Since Android is open-source and requires no licensing costs, there will surely be plenty of Android devices in the future. But currently, the only smartphone that runs Android is the T-Mobile G1. Sure, there have been rumors, reports, and pictures about the T-Mobile G2 (code name: Sapphire) but at this point in time, nothing else exists for Android other than the T-Mobile G1.
So when you see pictures and products claiming to the be the G2 or the Dream, those unofficial products are not doing much other than trying to capitalize (read: steal) on the brand name of the G1. Most of them are probably going to be mock ups, others may be actual phones, but in the end, when the Second Android Device is released for public consumption--we'll be there to let you know. In the meantime, we advise you to stay away.
So when you stumble upon a purported G2 remember that it doesn't exist yet. Would we want all these fake G2s to be actual Android Devices? Yeah, of course. But do we trust these devices? Not one bit.
It started in the early days of the Android Market with GoCart, an ingenious and useful app from Big In Japan that allowed users to use their G1's camera to scan the barcode of products. Then, GoCart would automatically search online for comparison pricing and use the G1's GPS to direct the shopper to the best deal. After winning a cool $250,000 from the Android Developer Challenge, GoCart has evolved into ShopSavvy and will soon sport a host of improvements.
According to an email exchange between Ernest Doku of omio and Big In Japan co-founder Alexander Muse, ShopSavvy will soon include:
improved location data (i.e. combining wifi/gps/celltower) to determine your exact location.
ability to include easter eggs for certain items (retailers can offer specials to ShopSavvy users) when scanned in certain stores.
we will be including the ability to instantly pay for items with ShopSavvy.
we will be allowing users to submit prices, retailers, pictures and reviews.
our iPhone version will be released (US only for now).
additional product information will be included for items (i.e. food allergy and health info).
With all the power ShopSavvy is soon to bring to you and me, the consumers, it's no surprise that (to coin an '80s song) the future's so bright, Big In Japan has got to wear shades.
The Krusell Horizon Multidapt (S-Wide) case for the T-Mobile G1 is available in the Android Central Store for $24.95 and can be purchased here. It offers a couple different carrying options and fits the G1 Android phone and sports a magnetic closure to secure the phone. How does it perform as a case for your valuable G1? Read on for the full review after the break!
Design and Performance of Case
I've used many Krusell case products over the years for my various PDA or phone devices, and I've always been impressed with their quality and design. This Horizon case is no exception with respect to quality and design. The packaging is the first positive to me in that the packaging is a heavy paper/card stock material that makes it easy to access the case. The case is actually clipped into the packaging using the unique multidapt system and requires the end of a ball point pen to release the case from the packaging. The case itself is black nappa leather on the outside with a light cream-colored interior. The exterior of the case is accentuated with light-colored stitching and adorned with a small Krusell nameplate on the outside of the magnetic closure.
The case has an opening along the bottom to more easily push the phone upward and out of the case. There is a long rectangular cut-out on one end to provide easy access to the mini-USB port on the bottom of the G1, but requires fitting the G1 into the case in an upside-down configuration. Then again, what is really considered "upside-down" in a horizontal case? This may be a nuisance to some but not to others, so it's really a matter of personal taste. For me, it's a little awkward because I normally carry my G1 flipped the other way around.
On the back of the case there are two options for carrying - two belt loops on either side of the multidapt connector or the multidapt connector itself. The multidapt system includes the connector attached to the case itself, and a removable plastic spring-loaded clip. The clip is sturdy and durable and removed by depressing a recessed button with the end of a ball point pen or other pointed object. The multidapt system is nice in that you have the option to carry the case with the clip or, if you wish to use the belt loops, the clip can be removed. The belt loops are wide enough to accommodate even most wider belts.
The Krusell Horizon case is more than adequate as a case, offering protection to your G1, a stylish way to carry it, options for carrying with either the clip or the belt loops, and a convenient magnetic closure. Although convenient, the magnetic closure is my only gripe. Rather than the button magnetic closure found on this case, my preference is for one without the metal button, like found on Palm's leather Treo horizontal carrying case. In my opinion, the magnetic closure is much easier when the metal button is eliminated and the magnet is sewn inside of the leather. When the design of the case closure incorporates the magnet inside of the leather, then precision when closing the case is not required - it's just a leather-on-leather contact. The magnetized button snap closure requires a little more precision when closing and I simply don't want to have to deal with precision; I just want to put my G1 in the case and shut the flap and feel that it is secured.
The Krusell Horizon Multidapt (S-Wide) Case for the T-Mobile G1 is another good product from Krusell. It's a stylish way to protect and carry your G1 and offers the convenience of a couple ways to carry it: belt loops or the multidapt clip. Either way you carry it, it should stay put on your person. The nappa leather is good quality and the magnetic closure is convenient.
On the down side, the same convenient magnetic closure also requires a little more precision when closing than a sewn-in magnet minus the magnetic snap-button that is currently part of the case's design. Also, the cutout to access the G1's mini-USB port is really located on the wrong end of the case for this G1 user. Others may not have a problem with it's location. In any event, the case is a nice one for the money and should make most people happy who are looking for a stylish and secure way to carry their G1.
Last.fm, an internet radio streaming app, is now available for the Android platform. You can find it in the Android Market or download it here from their site.
According to the Last.fm site, the app allows you to "choose an artist or genre and Last.fm builds the perfect playlist just for you, fresh every time, featuring your favorites and new discoveries powered by millions of Last.fm users sharing the music they love."
Check out Last.fm today and see how it works for you.
Good news for those who have patiently awaited T-Mobile G1 Android availability in their non-3G market. If you'll recall, the G1's release on T-Mo's network was limited to stores in 3G markets ONLY, really dumping the rain on the parade of would-be G1 consumers who found nary a G1 in their stores. Now, starting tomorrow (Jan. 24), T-Mobile has announced that the G1 will be available in ALL U.S. markets! If you don't have a G1 already, what are you waiting for?
Uh oh. This isn't good. According to a post by the T-Mobile Support Forums administrator, the Cupcake Update to Android is not currently planned for release to T-Mobile G1 users. Contrary to reports that claim Cupcake would come to the T-Mobile G1 at the end of this month, a message sent to the T-Mobile Forum Admin sent from T-Mobile PR is that:
According to the Android team, “Cupcake,” which is the code name for an Android software build, is still a work in progress that is considered to be a development branch and not for general availability.
We will update you as T-Mobile G1 software updates are made available to T-Mobile customers.
We don't know what to think. Cupcake is going to be an integral part of Android's future so it's important that the Android Team gets this right, if it means delaying the update, that's fine by us. On the other hand, we've been itching for Cupcake since the G1 released, to wait even longer would be terribly painful. What do you guys think?
We originally reported on the striking similarity (downright copied) between the Kogan Agora and this "shining" phone available on alibaba. We had our suspicions about the device, its availability, its power to run Android, its quality etc. but apparently Kogan had no idea about this device. Huh!?
Ruslan Kogan says:
"I am not aware of this manufacturer and I have doubts that it runs Android OS. It is certainly not what the Agora was going to be or in anyway related to it."
So I guess you should take that as a sign as don't buy that "shining" phone! Hopefully Kogan can figure everything out with the Agora and put it out on the market before more people steal the design.
Do you remember Huawei? They're a China-based phone manufacturer with Android aspirations. Just recently they announced that they'll be showcasing their Android-powered device at the Mobile World Congress at Barcelona in February. The details are incredibly vague at the moment but don't ignore Huawei, it is quite likely that they'll build the phone and have a more popular and notable company brand it. We'll be eager to hear what Huawei has cooking for Android and remain hopeful to see who will become Android's Second Device.
We would be straight lying to you if we told you guys we don't pay attention to Palm Pre news. Simply put, it's going to be very interesting to see if the smartphone market can sustain so many power players, so keeping an eye on an upcoming competitor is something we have to do. So you could imagine our surprise when we heard that development on porting Android over to the Palm Pre was in the works and theoretically possible. Because well if the Palm Pre could run Android--that'd be a freaking sweet Android device!
The fine folks at PreCentral.net have connected the dots for us. The processor in the Pre is a OMAP3430 from Texas Instruments. There has been ongoing development on porting Android to the OMAP 3 System. The Palm Pre's processor is based on OMAP 3. So yeah, the stars do line up for this to be possible.
What would be necessary? A 2 stage bootloader, the linux kernel, and android filesystem and not to mention the countless drivers needed to get everything in working order. It'll be a tough task to get Android on a Palm Pre but at the moment, it certainly looks possible.
This is getting exciting. As more and more news of the Cupcake Update for Android comes in, we can't help but believe that it's going to freshen up the platform and provide developers with more avenues to create applications. Here are some of the latest screenshots of Cupcake and some of the new features it'll include.
The biggest draw of the Cupcake Update, for me at least, is the virtual onscreen keyboard--some folks are still wary of soft keyboards but I believe it offers tremendous convenience and versatility. Obviously in order to succeed it needs a great auto-correct feature and a customizable dictionary but I think it'll help the Android platform expand.
According to developer Arron La, Cupcake is very rough around the edges. This doesn't bode particularly well considering we want our Cupcake now! But we'll give the Android team ample time to figure out all the kinks so that they can release a polished product.
Included in these new screenshots of Cupcake are some new features [via Arron La]:
1. New Local Setting Page - Gives you option to pick different locales and pick different text inputs.
2. New Option to view running and third party applications - An option to view running and third party applications from the normal application list. Does not provide a way to terminate them.
3. New windows opening/closing animation effect - a new popping effect when windows are opened/closed.
4. New default notepad - a very simple and ugly default notepad.
5. New Global Time application - not sure if it will be provided by T-Mobile but it's just a rotating Earth and I couldn't get it to do anything else.
6. New Spare Parts Application - Once again not sure if the official version will have this, but it provides a number of extra settings such as setting windows animation and transition animation speed, font size, end button behavior and etc. It also has a "display rotation" option which supposedly should allow auto-rotate base on orientation across the entire os, but it is not currently working.
7. New Virtual Keyboard - The virtual keyboard will pop up on every edit box. I didn't feel any haptic feedback but I am thinking that it's just not there on the example keyboard. Because the phone does not auto-rotate (an option exists but it doesn't work), it's very hard to type on it. The sample keyboard also does not provide auto-corrections.
8. Slightly better looking buttons with more shadow.
After the jump, more screenshots of the Cupcake Update to Android!
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