Headlines

2 years ago

Android A to Z: What is the JIT?

3

What is the JIT?  JIT stands for "Just In Time," and we use it to describe a Dalvik JIT compiler, which was added to Android with the 2.2 release.  It compiles bytecode into native machine code at runtime.  Essentially it takes the code for an app, analyzes it and converts it into something that runs faster.  It does all this while the application is running, and that's where the "just in time" tag comes from.  The JIT compiler designed for Android also can do this with a very short "warm up" time, meaning it doesn't take very long to analyze the code before it starts working.  It stores information in a cache in your phone's RAM, which means it's not an ideal solution for devices with low memory.  It's been optimized to have a small footprint -- about 100K per process -- but even that is enough to impact performance on older models like the G1 or HTC Magic.  This is why most phones that came before the Nexus One never got an official version from Google -- hardware limitations.

You hear terms like "runs faster" or 4 to 5 times performance increase anytime you talk about Android's JIT compiler.  A JIT compiler simply saves CPU cycles -- more work can be done for each clock cycle.  This means applications that were throttled by CPU performance get faster, and apps that are "rate-limited" (run until they are finished without taxing the processor to the maximum) finish faster and use less battery because of it.  Not all applications see a significant speed increase, and most applications written with the NDK or in native code won't see an increase at all, as they don't use the Dalvik virtual machine.  

If all this reads like Greek to you, that's OK.  To the end user (that's you and me) all we should see is better performance in most of our applications.  We certainly saw that when Froyo was released for the Nexus One, and things have just gotten better with every release.  For the more technically inclined, check out the video from Android engineers Ben Cheng and Bill Buzbee during Google I/O 2010 where the JIT compiler was introduced.

Previously on Android A to Z: What's an IPS display?; Find more in the Android Dictionary

Read more and comment

 
2 years ago

BlueStacks app player out of alpha, beta-bound "soon"

11

 

BlueStacks, that nifty little Android app player bound for PCs everywhere, is out of its alpha stage and heading into beta "soon." BlueStacks will sync the apps on your smartphone or tablet and store them in its own cloud, where they will then be accessbile on your Windows Vista or 7-powered PC. BlueStacks is free and works so well that it earned itself CNET's coveted "Best of CES" title at this year's show. Hit the source link to sign up for the beta and be sure to sing out when you become one of the lucky chosen ones. 

Source: BlueStacks

Read more and comment

 
2 years ago

Carbon for Android Twitter client gets a sneak peek, on Twitter, natch

23

We've been kind of down on Android Twitter clients of late. Sure, the "official" Twitter app has gotten a lot better, but other favorites seem to be dying off. Tweetdeck was purchased by Twitter, so it's no great surprise to see it languish as a standalone app. Our old favorite Seesmic hasn't been updated in months (though they do say an update is on the way), and there's still a dearth of really good tablet-designed Twitter apps.

That's why we're pretty excited to see webOS-favorite Carbon getting into the Android game. As we first told you last year, developer dots & lines is bringing the popular Carbon app to Android (and Windows Phone). And last night, UX director Saleh Esmaeili gave us a sneak peek at how things are going. Of course, still (black-and-white) images only show you so much, the clean lines are very much piquing our interest here. 

Stay tuned for updates, folks.

Source: @dot1ne; more: @CarbonAndroid

Read more and comment

 
2 years ago

Call of Duty: ELITE arrives on the Android Market from Activision

10

Activision has unleashed a new companion app for you all you Call of Duty fans out there. The new mobile app -- Call of Duty: Elite ties into Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and pulls information from all your recent matches and more:

  • Check your Career Summary for deep details on your multiplayer activity. Analyze your progress over time to see which areas you need to improve in and which areas you excel in.
  • Review Recent Matches to track your performance on a match-by-match basis.
  • View and edit your Custom Classes on the go. Push your changes into the game so you’re ready to play the moment you load up multiplayer.
  • Track your Challenge progress to help you work toward the highest XP gains.

If you're looking to get more interactive with your Call of Duty gaming then this is the app for you. It's available for devices Android 2.2 and up, though it doesn't appear to fully support tablets so keep that in mind. A few shots of the app can be found past the break, as well as the download.

Read more and comment

 
2 years ago

Google Maps updates to version 6.1.1, fixes 'bugs on tablets and phones'

13

If you're a Google Maps user, you'll find a new app update waiting for you in the Android Market this morning. The new version 6.1.1 fixes "bugs on tablets and phones" according to the latest change log. We're not aware of any serious problems with earlier versions of Maps, but if you've been experiencing any issues in the past, hopefully this latest revision will have you fixed up.

You should see an automatic update notification if you've already got Maps installed. Otherwise, head past the break for the Market link and QR code.

Update: According to feedback down in the comments, this update fixes a bug involving starting the Navigation app directly on certain Honeycomb devices, as well as an issue with phone numbers on the search result page.

Read more and comment

 
2 years ago

Angry Birds Seasons: Year of the Dragon now available

10

Following on from last week's announcement, Rovio has released the latest instalment of Angry Birds Seasons. In celebration of the year of the dragon, this latest batch of levels have a Chinese New Year theme, and the mighty eagle has even transformed into the mighty dragon for the occasion. Rovio's also made the mighty dragon free to use throughout this latest chapter, meaning you'll be able to unleash the wrath of the dragon to destroy levels without paying a penny.

If you don't already have Angry Birds Seasons installed, you'll find Android Market links after the jump.

Read more and comment

 
2 years ago

Amazon Mobile updated to v1.4, includes compatibility fixes for Ice Cream Sandwich

0

We've been seeing a lot of apps get updated for Ice Cream Sandwich and now we can add Amazon Mobile to that list. v1.4 is available in the Android Market for all you Amazon shoppers and you'll find not only fixes for Ice Cream Sandwich but also the Galaxy Nexus in general:

  • Now compatible with Android 4.0
  • We hate bugs as much as you do, so we fixed a few (including "New & Used crash issue on the Galaxy Nexus)

Bug fixes are nice and OS compatibility is great. Now you can shop Amazon on the go with less crashiness hopefully. Android Market link is past the break for you all.

Read more and comment

 
2 years ago

Google: We will continue to invest in Google Wallet

22

A giant question mark hanging fairly quietly over the head of Android (and maybe moreso Google) has been Google Wallet. That's the service that lets you pay for things with a credit card account simply by tapping your phone on a payment terminal.

But Google Wallet remains a Sprint (and Citi Mastercard) exclusive, only on the Sprint Nexus S 4G. It's not officially on the new Samsung Galaxy Nexus. It's not officially on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. That's not to say we don't have it on other devices -- it's just not official. And that's furrowed a lot of brows.

Google gave a brief non-update today in the Q&A portion of its Q4 earnings call. Google senior vice president Susan Wojcicki gave us the following: 

"We want to focus on products that people use every day -- products at our core. And all of us use our wallet every day. And we think it's a big opportunity for us. We are continuing to invest in our wallet business. And we see a lot of opportunity. For example, there might be opportunitites in the future how online and offline are linked together. And better opportunities with the way different parts of our business wind up working.

"So we are very excited about Wallet, and we will continue to invest in it."

Good to hear, but tell that to everybody not on the Sprint Nexus S 4G.

Read more and comment

 
2 years ago

Roller Ball for Android lets you bring the skee ball table on the go

2

  

Oh, how I miss the arcade. One of my personal favorite games was always skee ball -- there was just some sort of weird joy about trying to beat the previous high score, and then seeing the tickets spew out at the end was always great. Fortunately those memories can be relived while on the go with Roller Ball, an Android game that puts the skee ball table on your device. 

Gameplay is quite simple, line up the ball, flick your finger and then tilt the device to add spin if you wish, the more points you score the more tickets you will win. With six machine types, and tons of prizes who wouldn't want to sit down for a couple of minutes to rekindle some of their youth. The game play is a bit on the easy side which does allow kids to also take part, so whether looking for something for yourself or a young one to do, be sure to hit the break and pick up this free game.

Read more and comment

 
2 years ago

Share and receive opinions on the go with Thumb for Android

4

  

Thumbs up, or thumbs down. It's that simple. The folks at Opinionaided, Inc. have developed an application called Thumb, and what Thumb does is allow you to either seek opinions of others, or share your own opion with them about their image.

Once you launch the application you are given the option to either ask for opinions or to share your opinions, in addition you can also see results and view your own profile all from within one page. If you chose to ask for opinions you can upload a picture, select a category and add some text along with it and then submit it to the masses to view their opinions. If you want to just give opinions you can either give a thumbs up or a thumbs down or remain neutral if you aren't really sure on a particular image. 

The application is free, the feedback is priceless, so what are you waiting for? Hit the break and download it now!

Read more and comment

 
2 years ago

Android Kids App: Ellison the Elephant

2

Here's another children's book that's made it to Android, courtesy of the folks at Oceanhouse Media. Ellison the Elephant is the story of -- you guessed it -- Ellison, who "trys to make a big trumpet sound like his friends and his sister, but all he gets is a little toot." Know how you feel there, pal. But through the help of his imaginary friend, Ellison finds his own voice. 

The book features the usual "Read to me," "Read it Myself" and "Auto Play" options, including word highlighting. And the whole thing's interactive -- tap the images to find hidden sounds, and pan and zoom through the original artwork. Very cool.

We've got download links for Ellison the Elephant after the break.

Also: More Android Kids Apps!

Read more and comment

 
2 years ago

SiriusXM now available on Canadian Sonos systems

3

 

Sonos, the Android-friendly speaker system, has been able to stream SiriusXM Radio since 2007, but only in limited geographies. Today, Sirius announced that Canadian subscribers can now remotely stream their favourite stations out to the Wi-Fi-enabled sound system. 

You can check out our full review of the Sonos over here, if you were thinking of picking one up. I've spent a bit of time with it myself, and I was definitely impressed, and it works great from your phone. It's really ideal for bigger homes where you want to have consistent music across multiple rooms, since the whole family of products talks to one another wirelessly. Of course, that gets a little pricy for the speakers alone, and then if you want something like Sirius, then you're also paying subscription fees on top of that, but hey - if you love your music, this is one smart way to get it into your home without the hassle of wires. 

Us poor saps in Canada are usually subject to limited content licenses, so it's no surprise to see a delay here, but when it comes to music, there's really not much we don't have access to anymore. So what's the hold-up, Pandora? Slacker and Rdio are doing business up here just fine. 

Head over to Sonos to snag your system, Sirius to start subscribing, and if you're already a part of the sister service, XM Radio, you should be able to plug in to Sonos later on this year. 

Read more and comment

 
2 years ago

Official Wikipedia Android app finally lands in the Market

18

It's been a long time coming, but Wikipedia has finally released an official Android app, sneaking it into the market a few days ago. It's kind of ironic timing given that Wikipedia is blacked out today in protest of SOPA and PIPA, but everything seems to be working on the mobile version.

Features of the app include:

  • Save for later for offline use
  • Search articles nearby
  • Share articles
  • Multiple language support
  • Full screen search

It's great to finally see an official Android app from Wikipedia. Alternatives that we've used have been decent, but it's nice to have one straight from the Wikipedia developers. The free app is available in the Android Market. We've got links to it after the break.

Read more and comment

 
2 years ago

Google+ app getting an update, includes What's Hot section

15

The Google+ Android app is about to get an update which, among other things, now includes the What's Hot section. What's Hot is a useful portion of the web version in that you can see some of the most popular posts and stories floating around Google+. Now with it translated to mobile, you can access the content on-the-go right from your Android device.

In addition to What's Hot, you can now see who has +1'd your posts.

The update will be rolling out gradually so if you don't see it yet, sit tight. If you don't have the app yet, we've got links after the break.

Read more and comment

 
2 years ago

LetsTalk.com, YouMail unite to preload app on select Android devices

6

YouMail announced this morning a new partnership with online retailer LetsTalk.com, which will preload the visual voicemail app on select Android and Blackberry devices sold through its site. In addition, LetsTalk.com will power the YouMail Online Store, which will be accessible through YouMail and will be custom tailored to your current carrier and plan. The announcement comes on the heels of a well-publicized tiff between YouMail and T-Mobile, which resulted in the app being yanked from Android Market early last month. Hit the break for YouMail's official announcement.

Read more and comment

 
Show More Headlines

Pages