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2 years ago

Android A to Z: What is Dalvik

17

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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2 years ago

How to use BBC iPlayer on the Galaxy Nexus (or any unsupported ICS device)

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The official BBC iPlayer app for Android is great, assuming your phone or tablet is on the list of approved devices. If it's not, you won't even be able to see the app in the Android Market, and the mobile web player will turn you away with an error message. Two devices which still aren't officially supported are the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S (assuming you've got the ICS update), as the iPlayer currently rejects all Android 4.0 phones out of hand.

Never fear, though, because we've got a simple workaround that'll let you enjoy iPlayer content on both these devices with a minimal amount of fuss. Join us after the jump to find out how.

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2 years ago

Android A to Z: What is CES?

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What is CES? In just a few short days we'll be back yet again in Las Vegas for the 2012 International CES. That's Consumer Electronics Show, if you don't know, and it's the largest gathering of nerds west of the Mississippi. Or east of the Mississippi. Or anywhere near Mississippi. 

CES isn't just a mobile show, though. It's everything electronics. And while that means you don't get quite as much mobile tech as you will, say, at Mobile World Congress (in Barcelona in late February) or CTIA (in New Orleans in May), we'll still see our share. In January 2011, CES is where we got our first good look at the likes of the Motorola Xoom Honeycomb tablet. And the Droid Bionic, Cliq 2 and Atrix, and the HTC ThunderBolt, Inspire 4G and EVO Shift 4G. And LG Optimus 2X and Revolution.

Here's what's coming up this year:

  • CES doesn't officially start until Tuesday, Jan. 10. That's when the show floors open.
  • But Monday, Jan. 9, is Media Day. Press conference after press conference. It's a little insane, actually.
  • And stuff's actually going down on Sunday, too. Le sigh.
  • Unlike years past, the Adult Entertainment Expo isn't taking place at the same time, adjacent to some of the same venues. There shall be no (or at least not quite as much) accidental mixing of nerds and nipples. (We can't be held responsible for what happens in Vegas after hours, though.)
  • We're going to have more liveblogs than you'll be able to follow. It'll be epic.

So, yeah. There's going to be plenty of stuff to keep us busy.

And you'll be able to keep track of it all at our Android @ CES 2012 page.

Previously on Android A to Z: What is a bootloader?; More at The Android Dictionary

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2 years ago

How to report Android Market scammers and spammers from your browser

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Android Central reader @mjroberts22 this morning alerted us to an evil developer in the Android Market. A number of apps from Quarter MiLL look legit. We've featured Super Why Adventures -- a children's app -- on the site before. But look closely. In the app description, and after paying your $1.99 here, you'll note that it says to download the Amazon version of the app if this one isn't working properly.

That, obviously, should be a big red flag for everyone. In other words, DO NOT BUY THESE APPS.

But if you spot an evil developer, what to do about it? If you're using the Android Market from your phone, it's easy -- just scroll down to the bottom of the app and report it. If you're browing from your desktop, there's a handy link for reporting "inappropriate" apps (including scammers and spammers). We've got the link below. Just out the forum, and Google will do its thing.

More: Report a suspicious Android app to Google

Thanks to @mjroberts22 and @U_Mainah for the tips!

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2 years ago

Android A to Z: What is ADB?

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Welcome to our our latest feature here at Android Central. This one's geared more for you folks who are just getting started with Android, but it's a great refresher for you veterans as well.

Tucked away at AndroidCentral.com/dictionary is -- you guessed it -- a glossary full of Android-type terms that we use every day. Don't know what we're talking about? Chances are a quick look with explain things for you. We're constantaly updating the dictionary. So if something's missing, chances are we're getting to it. (Feel free to yell at us in the meantime, if you want.)

So let's kick things off with an easy one.

  • ADB: Stands for Android Debug Bridge. A tool used to connect and sends commands to your Android phone from a command line on a desktop or laptop computer.

Find more definitions in the Android Dictionary

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2 years ago

How to watch the Android Central Podcast on your Google TV

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Google TV might not have taken off like some folks expected it to, but those of us who use it (especially with the Honeycomb/Google TV 2.0 update) know that it can be a great way to get the web into your living room.  A cool thing I've been fooling with is watching my podcasts on the 42-incher while kicked back in my recliner, so I'm sharing my guide for watching the Android Central Podcast on your Google TV with everyone.  Wait until you see our pretty faces in high-def on the big screen!  Hit the break and follow along.

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2 years ago

Android 101: Logcat explained and detailed [from the forums]

4

I know most of you guys and gals aren't used to sitting down and reading stack traces or debugging logs (you're better off, trust me), but sometimes during Android hacking and debugging reading the logcat output is a necessary evil.  When a developer asks for a log, it's usually followed by a command you don't understand with special characters, and no explanation of what you're doing.  That's fine for the busy developer, but every opportunity to learn something should be taken.  Android Central member JHuston456 has done an excellent job sorting out the switches and parameters used for the logcat command, and has done a fine job explaining them for normal folks.  For anyone who has rooted and plans to hack away at their phone, it's required reading.  Hit the forums, have a look, and thank JHuston456 when you're done. 

Source: Learn logcat like a pro

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2 years ago

How to manually update your GSM Galaxy Nexus with the Android 4.0.2 OTA

14

So Android 4.0.2's starting to roll out to the GSM version of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. But maybe you don't want to wait? (We sure don't.) Here's how to easily flash the update to your phone, same as we did for the volume bug update. Note that this won't erase anything, and it's really no different than if you sat back and waited.

Note that this is for stock phones, and for people who want to update without really doing any real  hackery but don't mind a little command line work. Nothing we do here is permanent, other than the update itself. If you've already flashed CWM, then you probably already know what you're doing anyway. And with that ...

Thanks, Scott, for the OTA location

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2 years ago

How to use Google Music

77

Make no mistake -- Android is multimedia-centric, and it does a darn fine job of it.  Whether you want to copy media to your device's storage, or want to stream from the cloud, Android, especially since the release of Ice Cream Sandwich, can turn your phone or tablet into a great media player.  We're going to have a look at using Google Music, Google's storage-locker style streaming music application.

Read on for a walkthrough of how to use Google Music on the web and adding media, as well as playing it back on your Android device.

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2 years ago

Android 101: Using multiple Android devices

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'Tis the season for getting cool electronic gifts, and there's a good chance that some of us will be getting another Android device for a holiday present.  While for many it will be a new smartphone to replace their existing Android phone, for others it might just be a new Android tablet or Google TV, and will be used in addition to your beloved Android phone.  Some of us are old pros at handling multiple devices, but for the first timer it can be a bit confusing, not knowing how things like Google applications and other apps with an account will work while on more than one device.  That's where we come in.  There's two ways to handle it all, and we're going to cover them both after the break.

Big thanks to Android Central member whitenack for the idea!

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2 years ago

The complete Apple user's guide to Android [from the forums]

13

Around here we don't judge people for their choice of smartphone OS.  We might point and snicker, but it's all in fun.  Having said that, there are more than a few people making the leap from an iPhone to an Android phone.  There's a world of difference, and sometimes it can be difficult to figure out the "Android way" of doing things -- especially if you're used to iOS and their different, "Apple way" of doing things.  AC forums adviser, and all around guru of guides milominderbinder has you covered once again.  He's taken the time and broken everything down to the basics, with an eye for folks switching to Android from iOS.  It's a beautiful read, even if you're not an ex-iUser -- you'll probably learn something.  Be sure to hit the forums and check it out, and give milo a big thanks for his hard work!

Apple user's guide to Android

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2 years ago

Android 101: How to add a bookmark to your home screen

4
2 years ago

How to hide your Wifi from Google's location database

41
2 years ago

Android 101: How to manage syncing in Gmail

6
2 years ago

Android 101: How to enable / disable screen rotation

13

Ever lay in bed trying to send a text message only to have your screen fight your for which orientation it wants to be in? Yeah, well it gets old quick trying to do something in portrait mode while your display is switching to landscape mode, doesn't it? Luckily with just a few simple clicks you can take care of this issue and lock your screen into portrait mode.

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