With yet another week coming to a conclusion, thinking back on Monday and how much news has come across this week again is rather intense. The Android news never seems to stop, and keeping up with all of it can be a difficult task. If you think you have missed anything this week, let's take a look below at some of what that could be.
Those who have picked up a Motorola Xoom upon launch have noticed the absence of an extremely popular app from the Android Market: Google Voice. You can sideload it onto your Xoom, but it will crash when launching (see picture above).
The good news is that the app is currently being developed and optimized for Honeycomb; the bad news being that we don't know when we can expect to see it. Here is what Google employee Zeke had to say in the Google Voice forums.
Glad to hear from so many Xoom early adopters! As you've noticed, Google Voice isn't available for Honeycomb yet. We're working on it, and I'll update this thread as more info is available.
Here we go, folks. Mystic Game Development made quite the name for itself with its iBoobs app for the iPhone, which got itself banned from Apple's App Store in late 2008. Now it's found refuge more than two years later in the Android Market, and it's sent out a slew of e-mails to announce and celebrate. (And probably to poke the bear a little bit.) From the presser e-mail:
We recently decided to do an experiment and create iBoobs for Android, which is now currently available in the Android app market store. We think the fact that it is available on Android does show that the Android platform offers more flexibility and is more open-minded to app developers.
Dunno how much we'd call this an "experiment" -- tawdry sex apps are nothing new in the Android Market. This is more of a marketing ploy. (Yes, we know full well we're aiding it here.) And now might not be the best time to test Google's patience. But short of an app stealing data or harming your phone, little has been done insofar as soft-core apps go.
There's a little more after the break, if you're into this sort of thing.
Google late Saturday night publicly revealed the action it has taken in the wake of a number of malicious applications that were lurking not so quietly in the Android Market. As you'll recall, some 21 apps from a single developer were found to be collecting and sending device IDs (IMEI codes) and Android versions, but the exploit left users open to worse attacks. Here's the short version of what Google's done since being alerted March 1:
The apps were removed from the Market, developer accounts banned and law enforcement notified.
Google is remotely removing the malicious applications from infected phones. (That's a feature Google has its disposal, and has used in the past.)
Google is pushing an update to undo the security exploits that allowed these malicious apps to work in the first place.
Google is "adding a number of measures to help prevent additional malicious applications using similar exploits from being distributed through Android Market."
A couple things to note here: If you are running Android 2.2.2 or higher, you don't have these security vulnerabilities. If you were affected, you'll be getting an e-mail from Google (email@example.com) explaining things, and you'll be getting an Android Market Security Tool 2011 app to patch the exploits.
So the barn door's been closed, folks. Google says it's taking additional steps to keep this sort of thing from happening again. That's not to say it won't happen -- by nature, attacks will continue. But good on Google for explaining exactly what happened, and what's being done in the aftermath. [Google Mobile Blog]
LG's dual-core Optimus 2X may launch on T-Mobile USA as the T-Mobile G2X, according to an internal T-Mobile screen leaked to TmoNews. No release date or pricing information is available as yet, and HSPA+ support is unconfirmed, but highly likely in our opinion.
The reason for the branding change is unclear. One possibility is that the G2X may run an unbranded near-stock UI like the G2, as opposed to the LG UI found on Optimus-branded phones -- we're just speculating here, though.
Motorola and Google made the Xoom with an unlockable boot loader (thanks for that!), so it's great news when the hacking community has a way to roll things back to stock. You never know when your experiments with Android get you so far off base that you need to return to something stable, or when you might need to prepare for any future OTA updates. That's why we're really happy to see the stock SBF file leaked out -- it allows anyone and everyone to go straight back to the software the Xoom was shipped with, using RSD lite.
We're unsure about Motorola's feelings about this one, they usually don't take kindly to their factory SBF files getting leaked, so this might not last long. You can get the download links, and a bit more information at the source link. [XDA-Developers via Android Central Forums]
Whether you're looking for a productivity application, or just a fun game to kill some extra time with your Android device, hunting down what you want in the Android Market can be a bit of a task. Since we like to spend as much time as we can searching, tinkering, and playing around with new applications, we figure we should share with you some of our favorites. Let's take a look at some of our favorite applications, and hopefully some of you will find them to be your favorite as well!
Good news for those of you who might have unlocked and/or rooted your Motorola Xoom -- to the surprise of few of us here, you should have no problem with Motorola upgrading it to LTE. That's in contrary to a story that circulated earlier this week. Originating from the "Moto Xpert" DansDroid on the Motorola Support Forums, it was said that "If your Xoom is rooted it will not be upgraded by Motorola."
We'd been waiting on official word from Motorola but now have semi-official word through the same Moto support forum, this time from the infamous forums manager Matt. And he states:
All Motorola XOOM tablets on the Verizon Wireless network are eligible to receive an upgrade to support 4G LTE. This includes those that have been unlocked; however, those units must be submitted for upgrade with the original factory software reinstalled and the device relocked in order to receive the upgrade.
For devices that are returned unlocked, Motorola will attempt to complete the upgrade, but may be unable to update the software. In these cases, the device will be returned to the consumer with just the 4G LTE modem installed.
Android applications purchased in Amazon's app store (which may finally go live to consumers any time now) will use Amazon's special sauce of digital locker/digital rights management to help combat piracy. Amazon spells it out in its developer blog:
Customers who purchase an app will retain an entitlement to their app even if they decide to replace their current Android device and/or purchase new devices, as long as the new devices meet the installation requirements of the app. This provides insurance to customers that their purchased apps will be available for use on all supported devices, even if the customer has uninstalled or otherwise removed those apps in the past.
The digital locker service combined with a robust Digital Rights Management (DRM) solution not only make managing apps easier for customers, they also address one of the biggest concerns developers have: unauthorized copying and distribution. An authorized user can now install your app on any of their supported devices; however, if you chose to apply DRM on your app at submission time, your app will not run on unauthorized devices.
Any app that has Amazon DRM applied to it will require users to have installed and signed-in to the Amazon Appstore client to access the app. When an app is accessed by the user, it will verify with the Amazon Appstore device service as to whether the user has an entitlement to the app. If the user does not sign in or does not have an entitlement to that app, then the app will not be usable. However, any user can gain an entitlement by purchasing the app through Amazon.
The tl;dr version: You can use apps purchased from Amazon on multiple devices just fine; you'll just need Amazon's app store app installed for them to work. It's not nearly as scary as some would have you believe, and it's an extra cushion for developers. [Amazon Developer Blog]
Google is a software giant, and many of us user their proprietary applications on our Android phone. With good reason -- apps like Gmail, Androidify, and YouTube absolutely rock on an Android device. But did you know that Google, Inc. has a veritable laundry list of apps available on the Android Market? They're all free, too!
Some of you more Android savvy types might already know of them all, but for the rest of us there's an easy way to have a look at them, using search while in the Market app on your phone or tablet. Just open the search dialog using the search button on your phone or the search icon in the Market, and look for Pub:"Google Inc." That's a search by publisher -- in this case, Google, Inc.
So can you guess all the Google apps? We've given you seven freebies, and we've got your list after the break. Thanks for the tip, cdubbs!
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