Quite possibly the biggest game-changing feature in Android 1.5 is support for homescreen widgets. If you've messed with Widgets on a computer, the idea remains the same for Android. It's basically a quick glimpse into full-featured applications, for example you could post a calendar widget, or a stock widget, or a weather widget, etc. It's always-on and always-updated, pretty darn nifty right? In Googlewords:
When widgets are dropped onto the home screen, they are given a reserved space to display custom content provided by your app. Users can also interact with your app through the widget, for example pausing or switching music tracks.
What's even cooler is that the Android developers blog has an incredibly detailed post showing how to make Widgets and have released the full source code for you developers to learn from. So if you're at all interested in Widgets and how to create them, feel free to click on over.
But yep. Widgets = Awesome. Days like these make me feel good for picking Android.
The uber-sexyOphone is reportedly being released to China in May. This is noteworthy because it is supposed to be a direct competitor to the impending-iPhone launch on a competing carrier and because it runs a custom build of Android.
Obviously, we want to see what those crazy kids at China Mobile did to Android and how it performs but having the Ophone and the iPhone go head to head...boy that's going to be fun.
Here's yet another video of a netbook (this time the German I-Buddie) running Android. It's definitely a work-in-progress but from the reports, it looks like they want to ship this thing soon. We already know that netbook companies are going to take Android very seriously but we're still a little unsure of how it'll turn out. They'll definitely need to write some custom software on top of Android, right?
During Google's Q1 Investor's Conference, Google CEO Eric Schmidt is on record of saying:
"Overall, it looks like Android is going to have a very strong year," New announcements of Android-related products and partnerships with mobile phone service providers and device makers will be "quite significant" this year, he said.
What we can expect, according to Schmidty, is some Android-powered netbooks. Many netbook manufacturers have put Android onto their netbooks on their own, with no influence from Google. Yep, more rumored non-smartphone Android devices for us to use. Joy!
Honestly, you can look at this two ways: that Android's real goodies are coming later this year or that Google is propping Android up to be something it's not. We're hoping/wishing/dreaming that it's the former but if it's the latter, we won't be that crushed. Yeah, this is what it's come to.
A lot of phone manufacturer's Android plans are kept tightly under wraps and probably none more so than Sony Ericsson, but when Sony Ericsson posted its third straight quarterly loss with their Q1 loss at €358 million we fully expected them to announce their Android plans to boost morale. Not so fast says CEO Hideki Komiyama because according to his interview with Reuters:
"[Going Android] does require a lot of evaluation, as well as a lot of testing, a lot of acceptance from a consumer viewpoint, and there is still some time to go."
Hey Mr. Komiyama, you know what could raise interest to your product line and potentially increase profits? A Sony Ericsson Android device! The last thing this smartphone market needs is another delayed Android device so if you're smart (or at least have brains) you'd put all your resources into putting an Android phone that beats the market. We're not saying, we're just saying..
You got to love the bullet-point descriptions of the HTC Magic, "clever technology for brilliant mobile internet" and "superfast internet", oh that British humour slays me. Either way, us folks stateside are incredibly jealous that there's no official word on the Magic coming to the US.
Can't wait for Google to release the Cupcake Update? Yeah, us neither. Luckily, we have some pretty genius minds out there in the developer community and one of them (haykuro) has gotten the HTC Magic build of Android (aka Cupcake) ported to work with the T-Mobile G1.
There are reports that users who have uploaded Cupcake onto their G1's are not being allowed access to the Android Market. So if you're running Cupcake, chances are you won't get any access to applications. And here we thought Google and Android were the good guys.
At first, it seemed as if those running Cupcake on their Android devices wouldn't run into any problems but as more and more people started to port over the Cupcake update, Google apparently took notice. They reportedly shut down access to Android Market for Cupcake users to deter further upgrading. Supposedly this is affecting the 'G' build of Cupcake for now, the 'H' build still has access.
We think it's incredibly lame of Google and Android to ban certain users from accessing Android Market. In the name of all things open-source, we thought we had free reign with our devices. More importantly, if Google didn't delay this Cupcake launch--we wouldn't even be having this problem.
Leave it to the kids at Stanford to cook up a new smartphone OS for mobile devices AND try to port it over to the T-Mobile G1. Even though we're Android-focused here at Android Central we can't help but geek out at a new mobile OS and its potential. We think that the smartphone market is much too young to plateau so early so it's refreshing to see a new take at the operating system.
So what is Stanford's Cinder OS? It's basically an OS that is built from the ground up to "handle the power and security requirements of mobile devices". What's the point? Well, their argument is that smartphone operating systems based on larger hardware platforms (such as Linux) simply aren't ideal for mobile devices--performance isn't optimized and the requirements are significantly different.
So what's so cool about this Cinder OS? Well, imagine an application running on your mobile device. Now imagine that application isn't running as fast as you would like, well a Cinder-based phone could include a button for you to "boost energy allocated to that application" and thusly boost performance. Think of it as a turbo button for smartphones. Wouldn't that be flippin' cool on the G1?
There are some other great features that Cinder uses and the whole article can be found in the Read link. If you're anyway interested in smartphone OS's, it's a fantastic read.
The news that Samsung is preparing three Android Devices for the European Market in 2009 isn't that much of a stretch because we're already anticipating three devices from Samsung stateside. Either way we look at this, it's a win-win. Whatever Android devices we get or Europe gets, it should happen both ways--that's okay in our book.
What is interesting however, is that it seems like Europe is taking a keen interest with Android and seems to be more excited about the platform than the US market. Will we actually see Android target Nokia as a competitor rather than the iPhone/RIM duo?
How about it European readers? Are you guys more excited about Android than your US counterparts? Let us know!
We had already filled you in with the details of the new T-Mobile rate plans and though they're definitely a nice little improvement, it's certainly no game changer. Overall, T-Mobile has added unlimited mobile-to-mobile to every plan $49.99 and up and also introduced a new $89.99 myFaves family plan with 1800 minutes.
Yeah, it's not going to change the telco industry but if you're in the market, T-Mobile still has some of the best prices out there.
The 'cubic' name can also potentially hint at a 3D cube-like user interface that'll be integrated to the Android OS. We're hoping that Samsung is putting something nifty on top of Android because honestly, it shouldn't have taken so long to release an ordinary Android device.
The specs of the S8000 are as follows:
3.1″ AMOLED display, WVGA, 16 million colors
12 mm thin
5 MP camera with auto-focus and flash
2GB internal memory/microSD slot
3.5mm jack and FM radio
3G, Wi-Fi, GPS with A-GPS, Bluetooth 2.1 and USB
Quad band GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
Dual band UMTS (900/2100 MHz)
The overall specs look pretty good and we're crossing our fingers and hoping that the S8000 releases to Android in the near future. What do you guys think?
Buttons and checkboxes have a new design and though it doesn't change the overall binary/source compatibility, it may break the UI of your application. To quote Google:
For instance, Android 1.1 buttons have a minimum size of 44x48 pixels whereas Android 1.5 buttons now have a minimum size of 24x48 pixels. If you rely on the button's minimum size, then the layout of your application may not be the same in Android 1.5 as it was in Android 1.1 because of this change.
Luckily, Google offers a solution to this potential problem:
This layout could easily be fixed by using the android:layout_weight attribute or by replacing theLinearLayout containers with a TableLayout.
It looks like developers can easily accommodate for this design change and we think it definitely looks more polished. What do you guys think?
Hit the jump to see more pictures of the design changes in Android 1.5
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