Let's take a quick look at the new Skyfire 2.0 browser for Android, shall we? Full page rendering? Check. Flash video? Check. Bells and whistles? Check and check. Our quick verdict: So long as you're not worried about any privacy concerns regarding proxy browsers, this could easily become your main browser.
Update: Re-recorded the video to fix an error or three.
Why do we care so much about another browser for Android when the stock Webkit browser works pretty darn well? Two words: Mozilla Weave. Being able to sync your history, bookmarks and even open tabs between your desktop and mobile browser is something I've been wanting since first hearing about Fennec. And we're getting closer.
Note that this is still very early in the development stage. While anyone can download and install this build of Fennec, it will crash. It will hang. It's a little buggy. And it's very cool that Mozilla lets us play with it this early in its life, so don't judge it too harshly. A few warnings from Mozilla's Vladimir Vukićević:
We've only really tested this on the Motorola Droid and the Nexus One.
It will likely not eat your phone, but bugs might cause your phone to stop responding, requiring a reboot.
Memory usage of this build isn't great -- in many ways it's a debug build, and we haven't really done a lot of optimization yet. This could cause some problems with large pages, especially on low memory devices like the Droid.
You'll see the app exit and relaunch on first start, as well as on add-on installs; this is a quirk of our install process, and we're working to get rid of it.
You can't open links from other apps using Fennec; we should have this for the next build.
Anyhoo, you can download Fennec here. (FWIW: Mozilla tested with the Nexus One and Droid -- your mileage may vary -- and it does NOT work if you're running Apps2SD.) And be sure to read Vlad's blog for complete instructions and troubleshooting, including instructions for installing Weave.
So, just a few hours ago Phil showed us some custom themes for the HTC_IME keyboard. I know you readers love to support us, so I figured I would make a sweet Android Central keyboard to share with all of you! The install of the keyboard is rather easy, and goes as follows. Note: Your phone does NOT have to be rooted to do this.
Download this file (Android_Central_Keyboard.apk, ~4 megabytes), and install with your favorite file browser.
Go to Settings then Language & Keyboard > Check HTC_IME mod
Open a text entry area, long press anywhere, select input method, and select HTC_IME mod
Enjoy your new keyboard, and show it off to all your friends!
Hope you all enjoy this keyboard as much as I am, and if you come up with your own Android Central creations, we would love to see them in the forums!
There have been a few stories in the news of late of a certain tech company losing a certain phone in a bar. If only they'd had WaveSecure. With it, you can back up, lock, locate or wipe your Android phone from any computer, anywhere, at any time. Phone stolen? Not a problem. WaveSecure locks it down and alerts a designated contact if a new SIM card is inserted and requires a PIN to unlock. (Only applies to GSM phones, of course.) Left it somewhere? Track it down with Google Maps. (Get the full run-down at WaveSecure's site.)
And we've got 30 1-year subscriptions (normally $19.90) to give away. All you have to do is leave a comment on this story through 11:59 p.m. EDT tonight and tell us the worst place you've ever left/lost/or had your phone stolen. We'll pick 30 winners at random and e-mail the subscription codes. Good luck!
It seems that a lot of folks interested in the HTC Droid Incredible want to be able to turn Sense (HTC's custom user interface) on and off at will. Previous HTC handsets (as recent as the HTC Desire) had the ability to do this pretty easily by erasing Sense as the default and throwing up a choice between Sense or the stock Android home screen after you hit the home button.
Not any more.
We tore into the system files of our Droid Incredible to see what we could find. After hours of hard work, caffiene and Excedrin, we found some interesting information -- the resources and artwork for vanilla Android seem to be absent, or at least aren't where we expect them to be. While we can't be 100 percent sure just yet, it certainly appears that the Droid Incredible was meant to only run the Sense UI.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing. HTC clearly has upped the game with the new Sense UI, as our video walkthrough shows. At this point, if you're on the fence, the best advice I can think of is to head down to your local Verizon Wireless store on the April 29 and give the device a spin. After a few minutes with it, if you think (like we do) that Sense enhances this particular handset, use your 30 days to find out.
Update: Yep, you can use Helix Launcher 2 on it. So you're running a launcher on top of Sense. Have fun with that.
Android's Facebook app got an update yesterday, bringing it to Version 1.2 and bringing native inbox support along with it. In exchange, you lose the option to take and upload a picture from within the main page you see above, but that's not really a big deal given how easy it is to do from the native Android or Sense (or Motoblur or whatever) camera apps, and you can do it from the news page. We'd still like to see Facebook chat, and maybe less reliance on the mobile site, but it's still a welcome update.
If you haven't updated yet, take a gander in the Android Market downloads section. Thanks to everyone who sent this in.
One of the larger issues surrounding applications and the Android Market (OK, one of a number of larger issues) is the current inability to update more than one application at a time. The above screen shot, purportedly from Android 2.2 (which might or might not actually be Froyo; or might be Froyo and not Android 2.2) shows a checkbox for allowing automatic updating. We'll have to think about whether we'd rather see that or just the ability to update all our apps in one fell swoop. But either way, some sort of fix will be a welcome addition. [4chan via Android Community]
Androlib unofficially has the Android Market surpassing 50,000 applications, quite a leap from the 38,000 figure Google used last week during its first-quarter earnings call. In fact, when we asked Google for an official figure, we were told:
"We're sticking to 38,000 for now. We'll announce when we do our next formal count."
That said, 50,000 items in the Market is a real possibility, but let's be honest here: How many of those "applications" are (a) actual "applications" and (b) something you'd actually want to download? We still think Steve Jobs is being overly childish when he tells people to go to Android if they want porn, but we still think there's a lot about the Android Market that needs to be fixed.
A few of you have asked about graphics benchmarking on the Verizon Droid Incredible, so here you go. It's right up there with the Google Nexus One, and it should be. In other news, that Gundam's pretty darn cool.
Oh, happy day. Almost. Sirius XM is working on an Android application for its satellite radio service. And while I enjoy Internet radio as much as the next guy, I needs me some satellite radio, too. Sirius XM has a signup page to alert you when the app's ready. Yep, they've got my e-mail now. Thanks to everyone who sent this in.
Twitter, like Android, is exploding. The latest entry into the Android twitterverse is from sobees. Many of you might already be familiar with Sobees desktop and web apps, but their application for Android is all new.
Follow after the break for a video and my impressions of the new Sobees twitter application.
We asked you to tell us about your favorite racing games for Android. And while the results weren't as numerous as other categories, there were two clear winners. We'll take a look at them after the break.
The very popular Seesmic Twitter application for Android got a major update today. The standard bug squashing fixes were included of course, but they also threw in some nice and welcome new features.
A widget And it's a very nice widget at that. As you can see from the pic above, it blends in very well with Android 2.1's style, and looks great with Sense UI as well. Basically you're getting a premium app style widget at the free app price.
Native Retweet You now have the option to RT just as you would on the Twitter website. Nice and unobtrusive, and another welcome change.
Geotagging Three styles to pick from - your location, a human readable address, or a map link. You can set this in the apps options to happen all the time, or choose to include it when you compose a new tweet. Something Seesmic was missing, and they addressed it very well in my opinion.
Even with an "official Twitter app for Android" in the works Seesmic is a very viable solution for twittering away on your Android device. This update makes it even more attractive. Follow the break for some more screen grabs and download links.
You've probably noticed we love Firefox mobile. With good reason, the desktop client is clearly a great bit of software and everything we've seen makes us think the mobile version will be too. Well it looks like the Maemo version of Firefox Mobile 1.1 (Fennec for us geeks) is about ready for a beta release. What's uber-cool, and surely will be in the Android version is the ability for add-ons to hook into the app. Yes, pretty much like they do in the desktop application. The highlights here are easily the site identy information (above) and the save as pdf feature of readability.
At present there are over 90 add-ons for mobile FireFox, and I'm sure as Mozilla keeps advancing the project we will see more of them spring up. Yes for Android too. There's a couple more screen shots after the break, well worth a look. [Via madhava.com]
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