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2 years ago

Barnes & Noble reveals Microsoft's patent strategy against its Android powered devices

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The cat's out of the bag, thanks to Barnes & Noble's letters to the ITC about their dispute with Microsoft.  Rather than roll over and pay Microsoft what they demand like some big names in Android have done, B&N is fighting tooth and nail against the Redmond Devil Microsoft.  It's fairly long, and apt to make your eyes bleed if you're not a lawyer, but you can see the full scope of the letter and attachments (which actually name the patents and quickly dismiss their validity) at the source link.  Carry on past the break to read our layman's version.

Source: GroklawThanks, John!

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2 years ago

Ice Cream Sandwich source code coming Nov. 17 says Notion Ink CEO

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The CEO of Notion Ink, Rohan Shravan, is at it again with news about the Ice Cream Sandwich source code release, saying it will be released November 17.  While it's tempting to just toss this aside as another rumor in the ICS/Galaxy Nexus craze of late, Mr. Shravan has a track record that shows he's usually right.  Last year, he did the same thing with the Gingerbread release, accurately predicting more than could be a good guess, and just last month he told everyone about the OMAP chipset and Ice Cream Sandwich using them as a reference platform.  When he talks, it's always worth listening, and the Nov. 17 date has already been thrown out there as the European release.  If we see source code on the 17th, the 18th is going to be a very fun day for a lot of us.

Source: Notion Ink via AndroidOS.in

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2 years ago

Android 'fragmentation' -- why it really matters to you and me

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It's fun to say Android is fragmented on the Internet.  All the cool kids and blogs do it, they even make fancy misleading charts about it.  While there's more than one side to the argument -- choice versus fragmentation -- only the most rabid fanboy would say that it doesn't exist.  I tend to think the whole issue is living with the choice you make.  If you want the "Android" experience, buy a Nexus phone.  If you prefer the experience an OEM offers, buy one of their phones.  Both are the right choice.  But there's an underlying issue that gets forgotten when we talk about updates and versions -- security patches.

The diversity of Android gives us a chance to have this user experience regardless of the platform version it's built from.  That doesn't make the want for the new software any less, but it a fair trade for most people.  Ice Cream Sandwich looks a whole helluva lot like TouchWiz 4.  Security issues are another matter entirely.  HTC had a recent issue about user privacy, have a read if you aren't familiar (be sure to read HTC's response as well).  They caused it.  They quickly pushed out a patch to at least one carrier to address it.  All security issues need to be addressed this way.  If HTC, or, Samsung, or LG, or Motorola -- whomever -- builds the OS and sells it to the carrier, they need to follow up with security patches in a timely manner -- either by updating their base to the latest Android version and building their OS with it, or patching the issue themselves with the current code base.  Users deserve the benefit that patches to the bootloader, or browser, or whatever, much faster than companies and carriers get them rolled out.  Yes, that responsibility is shared by the carrier as well.  While they aren't the people responsible for updating the code and building the operating system, they are the people that accept your money for the device.  Carriers and OEMs need to work together to keep the phone secure for the life of the product, even if they don't work to keep the software version current.

On the enterprise side of things (something that OEMs are starting to take more seriously), this becomes critical.  Companies simply can't sit back and ignore the fact they aren't getting security patches, because their money is on the line.  Documents, contacts, and communications need to be secure as possible, and when cracks in the armor are found, the patches need to come quickly.  They don't, and this is a problem. 

I know that making sure your phone isn't susceptible to the latest bootloader hack isn't near as glamorous as getting Ice Cream Sandwich, or even Gingerbread.  These few words can't make that happen.  But I think we need to be pointing out the right issues -- not having a phone that is secure for the life of its contract is one of them.

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2 years ago

Firefox for Android getting an overhaul to use native Java widgets and UI, will bring better performance

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before                                                          after

Mozilla has decided to change the tools used to build the Firefox for Android client front end, and changes are in store.  In it's current iteration, Firefox uses XUL (a cross-platform toolkit used to design widgets and user interface elements), but will be switching to native Android elements written in Java.  This will bring more than just changes to the look and feel -- expect much faster load times and better performance, at the cost of some of the more complicated menus and options that are currently offered.  As you can see in the pictures above (ignore the custom font on the rooted device used by Mozilla for testing -- go root!), this will bring a UI that looks more like we're used to on Android apps, and will fit in much better once Ice Cream Sandwich rolls along.  Of coruse, the performance improvements are the big bonus, as well as (hopefully) a smaller file size.  All in all, it looks like the right way to go here from the user perspective.  Too many options can be a bad thing, and performance improvements are always welcome.  With Flash getting killed off, the Gecko rendering engine will start to look like a great option in the near future.

They will begin open Alpha testing tomorrow, we'll be sure to have a look.

Source: Dknite's blog

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2 years ago

Verizon LTE coming to Roanoke on Nov. 17; Indiana, Penn., in December

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Verizon LTE will be coming soon to a couple new locations -- Roanoke, Virginia and Indiana Pennsylvania.  On November 17 they flip the switch in Roanoke, which will bring wireless broadband to downtown, Smith Mountain Lake, Christiansburg, Radford City, Buena Vista City, Lexington City and Rockbridge.  While it's a fairly large population center by southern Virginia standards (about 300,000 people), it's a pretty isolated metro area, and blanketing the whole community (as well as nearby Virginia Tech and the town of Blacksburg last September) is quite a trick.  Well done Verizon.

Not far behind their counterparts to the south, Indiana Pennsylvania (another fairly small college town -- do we see a trend?) will get the LTE treatment on December 15, covering Indiana, White Township, the Indiana University of PA campus, Homer City and Blairsville.  Again we see high speed mobile broadband being brought to places we would have never imagined having it two or three years ago.  Remember the next time you're paying that expensive Verizon bill -- they are actively investing that money back into their network, so your shiny Galaxy Nexus stays fast as hell in more places.  Can't fault anyone for that type of business strategy.

More: Verizon; MarketWatch

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2 years ago

Taptu announces three exclusive Nook Color apps -- Taptu Fashion, Taptu Food, and Taptu Lifestyle

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Nook Tablet hands-on | Nook Tablet Specs | Nook Tablet Forums

Taptu, the folks behind the popular news reader that lets you "DJ" your news, has announced three exclusive RSS feed apps for the Nook Color -- Taptu Fashion, Taptu Food, and Taptu Lifestyle.  Each comes pre-loaded with content, and have over 200,000 streams from major media publications, social media sites, websites and blogs to add into the mix and personalize each.  Taptu Fashion features content in the StreamStore from Fashionista, Jak & Jil, Nitrolicious and the Style Rookie, among others.  Taptu Food works the same way, including content from recipes and restaurant reviews to celebrity chef social media feeds with tasty content provided by sites such as Epicurious, Eater, Food Network and Saveur.  Taptu Lifestyle covers subjects such as parenting, do-it-yourself projects, travel, beauty, health and fitness, holiday entertaining and green living from popular sources like Jezebel, Parenting and Daily Candy

Taptu also allows you to sync feeds from Google Reader, and offers the inclusion of Facebook and Twitter timelines to make it a one-stop news outlet.  With support for tools like Instapaper and Read it Later, as well as dark and light themes to make for easy viewing, it's a well designed app that is worth far more than the asking price -- free.  You can find download links below, and after the break are pictures showing a bit more detail and the press release.

Download Taptu Fashion from the B&N store

Download Taptu Food from the B&N store

Download Taptu Lifestyle from the B&N store

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2 years ago

HD Widgets expanded for phones and 7-inch tablets

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The folks behind HD Widgets have expanded their sexy widget collection, and now include support for phones and 7-inch tablets.  On the phone side, support is now available for hdpi phones (like the Samsung Nexus S pictured above) and mdpi phones (like the LG Optimus One, also pictured).  Everything you love about HD Widgets for your Honeycomb tablet  still remains -- tons of customization options, colorful backgrounds, in-depth weather forecasts, and a bevy of widget sizes and configurations -- things have just been scaled for the smaller screen.  Having put them through the ringer on an assortment of devices ranging from the mundane to the exotic, the folks at Cloud.TV have done a great job.  Everything works as expected, looks great, and lets me know if I need to take an umbrella with me -- even on crazy SDK ports of Ice Cream SandwichJosh is hard at work with a worthy review of the new build, in the meantime you can grab it from the Android Market (devices running Android 2.1 and higher) for a measly $1.99 at the link after the break.

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2 years ago

hhgregg to carry the Nook Tablet, Nook Color, Nook Simple Touch

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Check out our Nook Tablet hands-on!

Retailer hhgregg this morning announced that along with Barnres & Noble, it, too, will be carrying the Nook Tablet, BN's second generation of its Android-based e-reader. It'll be priced the same -- $249 -- and accessories will be available as well. hhgregg also will be carrying the Android-based Nook Color, which has dropped in price to $199, and Nook Simple Touch at $99.

Nook Tablet Specs | Nook Tablet Forums

Source: Press release

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2 years ago

Vodafone Smart Tab listed as coming soon

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Are you a Vodafone customer who has been looking for a new Android tablet, but haven't exactly decided which one you wanted? Well Vodafone is throwing another one into the mix for you, the Vodafone Smart Tab, which is a 10-inch, Android 3.2 tablet with 16GB of internal memory. If your interested in learning more about the device, be sure to hit the source link for more information.

Source: Vodafone

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2 years ago

Amazon confirms Netflix, Facebook, Pandora and more on Kindle Fire

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Amazon this morning's offered up a list of apps that will be available on the Kindle Fire tablet when it launches next week. And among the usual suspects -- Facebook, Twitter, Pandora, etc. -- is a pretty big one name: Netflix. Not that Netflix isn't on just about every other Android device at this point, but it's a fairly big deal here because it marries Amazon's already excellent movie streaming service with Netflix.

We're not quite ready to announce the Kindle Fire as King of the Winter Carnival just yet -- the recently announced Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet does have some serious specs of its own, and we'll have to see how much of a differentiator Amazon's services really are. (They certainly won't be a negative, of course.)

In addition to the apps we've mentioned above, you can also look for Rhapsody, Comics by comiXology, The Weather Channel, games from Zynga, EA, Gameloft, PopCap and Rovio -- and everything else that's already in the Amazon Appstore.

Source: Amazon

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