Lately more developers have been releasing a free but ad-powered versions of their applications, as well as a paid version to get rid of the ads. Some applications, like Astro File Manager have only been available as a free (and ad-free) application. That changed with an update today. So, this begs the question: If your favorite application added in-app ads, would it be enough to make you leave? Often times there are other alternatives to the application, so would this be enough to make you venture off and try one of them? Personally, I can deal with the ads as long as the application does what I want, but we would love to hear what you think about it all!
When last we saw Fring, the VOIP app was touting its popularity after an update to its iPhone client and how it had to "temporarily reduce support to Skype" because of it. Looks like there may be a bit more to this story, however, as this morning Fring took a major backhand to Skype, complaining that it's Skype that is not allowing the access.
But it gets a little weirder than that. On one had we have a pretty straightforward press release detailing Fring's side of things. And on the other is a pretty inflammatory post on Fring's blog that openly calls Skype "cowards" for "trying to muzzle the competition." (Also a line used by Fring's CEO in the press release.) That's a long way from last week, when things seemed more like a small technological bump.
We're hoping to get Skype's side of the story soon. We'll go out on a limb here and hope that this is a precursor for Skype shirking its Verizon exclusivity and finally bringing a proper app to the Android Market. But in the meantime, we're all going to have to sit back and watch this one unfold. Thanks to everyone who sent this in.
Update: The plot thickens, as Skype just got back to us and tells us that removing access was all Fring's doing. Here's the quote:
Ever wanted to create an Android app but just don't have the coding skills? Google's just greatly lowered the barrier for entry with the Android App Inventor. It's akin to Palm's Ares system (and we presume other development platforms? Hey, we're not coders, either) in that it's basically drag-and-drop, what-you-see-is-what-you-get. Hit a few buttons, and out spits an app.
A couple of worries about this:
The Android Market is already flooded with hundreds (and likely thousands) of crappy apps. Let's call them crapps. And this is going to make it easier to make more crapps.
This is bound to upset already established developers, right? (Let us know in the comments, folks.)
Again, crapps. There's been a lot of chatter over the weekend about how the Market's closing in on 100,000 apps (according to sites like Androlib, anyway). And we're repeat what we have to say every time these milestone stories come up: There are apps, and there are crapps. We'd rather have 10,000 quality apps than 100,000 crapps. (And never mind that the total includes ringtones, keyboards, wallpapers, etc.)
We go back to a question that asked (by yours truly) of the Android Leadership at Google IO: Is the Market ever going to curated up front? Or will it still be up to use to wade our way through the craps? Google being a search company (and the whole openness thing, too), you can imagine which way that went. But we digress.
Let's give Android App Inventor a shot and see where it goes. Certainly the idea is good, and it's worked out well for Palm with Ares. Hit up the source link to find out more, and there's a pretty video after the break, too. [Google App Inventor]
HTC has released an update to its HTC Sync software for the HTC Aria, and along with it comes the ability to install third-party applications and enable mobile network sharing. Hallelujah! While this isn't nearly as handy as installing the applications directly from the phone, it's a huge step in the right direction. The addition of mobile network sharing is a huge boon as well, just remember to keep an eye on your data usage if you've switched to one of AT&T's new plans.
HTC Sync is also a great way to sync calendar events and contacts with Outlook (or Outlook Express/Windows Live Mail) on your Windows PC. Sorry, Mac users, you can sit over here with us Linux guys and grumble. Hit the source link to check out the requirements and download the software -- you'll need your device serial number, click and enlarge the pic to the left for help finding it. [HTC Aria Product Support] Thanks to everyone who sent this in!
Update: As Spary points out in the comments below, there was an apparent SNAFU at HTC and this update does not enable sideloading, nor does it change any settings on the device itself. HTC has reached out to Engadget and apologized for any confusion, and says their website will be updated with the correct information Monday. Felt good for a couple hours though!
Finding a parking spot just got a little easier, thanks to Google's new Open Spot app for Android. The concept is simple enough, fire up the app to see what spots are near (.9 mile radius) you, and the color of the pin tells you how long it's been since someone marked it. Red means 'freshly-marked', orange pins mean the spot was marked 5 minutes ago, and the yellow spots are older than 10 minutes -- after 20 minutes they disappear.
Speaking of marking the spot, the application is driven by the idea that you mark open spots you find, and lady karma rolls back around to help you find one when you need it. And before you let those devious ideas loose, Google claims to have their own method of dealing with 'greifers' -- people who mark spots when there are none. As of now, this app is Android only; no word on a web version or cross platform availability, but I imagine that this won't stay exclusive for too long. Hit the jump for the download links. [Google OpenSpot via TechCrunch]
Online auction giant eBay this morning announced that its Android application is now available internationally, including Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. With the app, you'll have access to:
Buyer alerts – Stay up to date on the status of auctions and watched items with timely alerts
Daily Deals – View limited time bargains on popular items, where items are often more than 50% off the original price and include free shipping
Feedback – Leave Feedback for items bought and sold within the application
My eBay – Improved experience that includes an easier to use interface so sellers can quickly access listings, watched items, bids and sales
Member Messages – Buyers and sellers can now receive and reply to messages and emails sent through My eBay. Ask a seller a question or reply to an inquiry or keep track of notifications directly through the app
Sharing – Enabled with sharing functions so that buyers and seller can share items via Facebook, Twitter or email with friends and family
Payments – PayPal account users can purchase items directly through the application
View Sellers Other Items – View what other items a particular seller has to offer across eBay
Voice search – In addition to type search, the eBay application comes enabled with speech-to-text voice search
You should be able to download the eBay app now in the Android Market (link). [Business wire]
The Fring app for the iPhone got an update today (see our previous Android-related hands-on) that lets it play nice with Android (and Symbian, too). That means us Android users can have video chats with our misbegotten friends who shelled out for the new shiny thing from Apple. We recommend you show off using your Android phone left-handed, in the middle of a large city, while installing whatever you want. Just to give 'em a hard time, ya know?
Want to see it in action? Check out the video after the break (and check out TiPB's here) where we chat it up with TiPB.com's Rene Ritchie on his newfangled iThingy. [Fring]
With the number of device announcements we have seen recently, it remains quite obvious that Android isn't playing around, and neither are the developers behind the scenes making some of our favorite applications. We continue to see ports to Android of our applications from other platforms, as well as tons of new applications that make life significantly easier. Not everyone has hours to spend sifting through the market, so here we bring to you some of our own personal suggestions. Take a look after the jump for some great new application ideas for your device.
You Mac users out there (yes, we know there are a few of you) likely are familiar with 1Password, the uber-password management software. (For the uninitiated, 1Password securely stores your passwords. Learn more here.) Finally (finally!) it's come to Android (Version 2.1 and up). You're going to have to manually copy over your password data from your computer to the phone, but after that, you'll have access to everything. And best of all, it's free. [1Password instructions | Market Link | App Brain] Thanks, Rene!
Henceforth, one of your favorite Android Twitter clients, Twidroid, shall forever be known as Twidroyd. That's part of its purchase by TweetUp Inc., which lays claim to "the world's first bidded marketplace for real time search." TweetUp also picked up popuris, an aggregation service, which will work hand-in-hand with Twidroyd. The company also said Twidroyd "will come standard on millions of upcoming Android phones" from five manufacturers.
Why the name change? To avoid any pesky licensing fees (or lawsuits) with Lucas Films (as in George Lucas -- as in Star Wars -- as in droids -- as in C-3PO and R2-D2). Makes sense. Check out the full presser after the break. [Twidroyd]
We're all excited for the release of the Motorola Droid X, and now we have even more reason to drool over it -- Senior Technical Evangelist at Adobe Systems Ted Patrick shows off Adobe Flash 10.1 running on the big 4.3 inch screen. No, there's no word about when to expect Flash on the X, nor when Froyo should be ready, but scenes like this give us hope that it can't be far off.
That being said, the X looks like it handles Flash just fine and Adobe seems to have Flash 10.1 for mobile devices ready for prime time. Follow the break to see the video, and let's all count the days until July 15. [iAndroidblog's Youtube channel via Android Central forums] Thanks Cory!
Yelp has brought their 2.0 Android client to the Market, and it has some very nice features in tow. You can now check in to the places Yelp helps you find, and use "monocle" (an augmented virtual reality layer of sorts) to help you find them. These two features were sorely missed in the previous versions of the Android client.
Check-ins are fairly self explanatory, but let me explain monocle to you a bit. You activate it from the Yelp main screen (pictured above), and it uses the camera, GPS and compass in your Android phone to overlay locations on the real-world view you see through the lens. Perfect for day trips spent walking through an unfamiliar town, or for just goofing around. Check out a screenshot or two after the break, as well as the download links. (Yelp is for all versions of Android -- kudos the the developers for that!) Thanks willxcore!
Here at Android Central, we love the whole idea of using voice commands to make our phones work for us. In the smartphone world, Vlingo is pretty well-known, with apps on multiple platforms, and we've been using it a while now. Now drift back to the spring when we first started hearing about the Genius button on the MyTouch 3G Slide, and how it offers similar functionality, and you just know we had to check it out and see how it compares.
So hit the break, and watch as we pit Vlingo up against the Genius button and see which comes out on top.
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