Hey everybody! Jerry here again for our weekly get-together. I hope everyone survived another crazy week of things like data outages and Eris leaks. And Droid users, don't fret – your time is coming soon, I'll bet.
This week let's talk about apps! Everyone loves apps, and they're one of the biggest draws of the Android platform. The Android Market is growing by leaps and bounds, and I for one am loving it. But there's a whole internet full of stuff beyond the Market, and we're gonna explore it.
The HTC Legend -- you'll remember it from our hands-on at Mobile World Congress last month -- at this point remains a European-only phone, and as such it's starting to get into European journalists' hands for review. Don't worry, we fully expect to see a version of it in the States sooner rather than later, and you can already get a taste of the new Sense UI, if you want. In the meantime, here are a few unboxings, if you're into that sort of thing:
So CNET UK had a Nexus One whose screen mysteriously cracked and turned purple while merely charging on a desk. At Google's urging, they handed it over to HTC for further study. The results:
"Putting a phone in a tight pair of jeans and sitting down would usually cause the kind of damage," suggested our support guy. He agreed that it's possible that a small crack could spread over time, like a ding in a car window.
Words to live by, we suppose. But the question remains: What happened to Crave's Nexus One screen? Maybe it cracked under the weight of not knowing what's wrong with its multitouch? (Self-flagellation zinger there, folks.) [Crave.CNet.co.uk]
Did you hear that Apple is suing the pants off of HTC?Of course you did. And though the lawsuit will likely all be settled with millions of dollars exchanging hands and business will go on as usual...what if it doesn't? What if Apple has its way with HTC Android phones? Wired examines this potential horror story. The phone and Android UI above is what we'd likely be getting. To quote:
Picture an HTC Google phone whose desktop shows a grid of icons with gaps. Arrows on the screen help you navigate your windows. A physical unlock button on the phone gets you past the lock screen. Battery life could potentially be poor in sleep mode, which could be addressed with a free battery extender — or even better, a hand-crank charger — as shown in the illustration above.
Eek. Obviously, some of the items have been dramatized for effect but boy, that would be a clunker of a phone to use. Let's hope we never go down that path. Hit the link for full descriptions of what features would have to be replaced and with what.
The Swype keyboard has been incredibly popular, despite not being openly (or legally, for that matter) available for download for Android. But Swype just opened up a beta program for our beloved platform. Here's what you need to know:
Been holding your breath waiting for the "I am T-Pain" auto-tune app to come to Android? Ain't gonna hAAAaaa-pen. At least right now. In an interview with All Things D's Peter Kafka, Smule co-founder and CEO Jeff Smith lays out his reasons for avoiding Android, including having to contend with multiple versions of the operating system.
"Android is not in the plans for Smule," he said. "We just don't see an opportunity for us to make money short-term on Android."
"We love what Google's doing, we're really excited about it ... and people are using their products. The challenges with Android are -- the retail distrubution is not clear for us, and we don't see how we could monetize through their current distribution. It's not one platform. ... So, from the developer standpoint, it's expensive to get into Android."
Hard to blame the man for wanting to make a living. So, no official T-Pain auto-tune on Android. And you know what, we're OK with that.) Video of the interview after the break. [All Things D]
Update: OK, OK. I get it. I've been learned a thing or three over this one. So have at me in the comments, call me a bad person, throw things at my dog, whatever. I only hope one day we'll wake up an our long national multitouch nightmare will be over. :P
Let the debate continue! Earlier this week we saw a pretty damning video that illustrated how multitouch on the Motorola Droid was "better" than on the Nexus One, or that the Nexus One's multitouch is "broken." That was shown with and app called Multitouch Visible Test.
Here's our own unscientific test using a different app, called MultiTouch Visualizer. While it actually runs a little more smoothly on the Droid, it doesn't have nearly the same problem tracking multiple points on the Nexus One that Multitouch Visible Test had.
So what do we take away from this, aside from finding a bug in an app? So long as multitouch works well in the app in which you need it, we wouldn't worry too much. But you don't have to take our word for it. You can download Multitouch Visable Test and MultiTouch Visualizer from the Android Market and try it yourself.
Our pals at JK on the Run put up an excellent piece today breaking down Google's supposed (or blatant, depending on who you ask) favoritism regarding the latest OS versions, features, etc. Basically it boils down to this: Has Google put some of the latest features (i.e. Buzz, Google Maps Navigation) on the most current hardware with the newest builds? Absolutely. And why wouldn't you show off your best software on the best hardware? Writes Kevin C. Tofel:
I ask myself: if I were Google and I wanted to rock out a new app and build the biggest buzz, I’d get it on the heartiest hardware first so it really shines from a performance perspective. I’d also pair it with hardware designed to show it off — the Droid car dock morphs what’s essentially a software product into a look-alike, standalone GPS device.
And as for your older Android phone not yet rocking Version 2.0 or 2.1, remember that unless it's the Nexus One (or the G1, we suppose), updating devices such as the Motorola Cliq -- or the Cliq XT ... or the Devour -- is going to some doing, as Motoroblur is only on Android 1.6 at current. And that's not Google's fault.
Who chose to put Android 1.6 on this new Android device? It certainly wasn’t Google. If you have to “blame” someone, choose either Motorola who made the phone or Verizon who decided to sell the phone. All Google does for this phone is provide versions of it’s mobile platform to the phone maker.
Those are all points we've argued before, and we bet we'll be arguing them for some time to come. Is the platform fractured? Yep. But that's not Google's fault, just as it wasn't Microsoft's fault when Windows Mobile (RIP) saw itself running in various versions on a number of devices. [JK on the Run]
If you have a hankering for the HTC Desire and HTC Legend and happen not to live in the United States (or don't mind paying out the yin-yang), AmazonUK's got you covered. The newest Android phones from HTC will be released, the online retailer says, on April 1.
No movement on Day 3 of the Apple-HTC patent saga (or quagmire, actually). Hey, we said this thing's gonna take years. But it did bring another round of analysis. Today's featured piece comes from The New York Times, and it comes with a pretty graphic showing who's suing whom in the patent world.
And to that we say: "So what?" There are plenty of legitimate reasons for one company to file a lawsuit against another. It happens every day. It will happen tomorrow. Writes the NYT's Nick Bilton:
Although patent litigation is not new in the technology world, these suits, specifically around mobile, point to the drastically changing mobile landscape. Lawyers I spoke with explained that mobile technology was still in its infancy and these large computing companies were trying to stake their claim to the future of computing.
The process of these fights is important, but don't stay up at night worrying about it. Instead, show some patience and wait for th eend result. Or the End of Days ... whichever comes first.
The folks at Degasis.net have offered up 10 free cases to 10 lucky AndroidCentral readers. And let's just get down to it: Leave a comment below and tell us an instance when you wish you'd had a case on your phone. Drop your Nexus One? Send your myTouch on a spill? We wanna hear about it.
The fine print: Cases are currently available for the Nexus One and myTouch lines. Only leave one comment in this thread; we're ignoring duplicates. Contest ends at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. Get to it!
The Motorola Devour (running Android 1.6 with Motoblur on Verizon) made its here this morning, and we've had a couple minutes to give it the what-for. Despite playing second fiddle to the Motorola Droid at least as far as specs are concerned -- smaller screen, less powerful processor, etc. -- it's a very well-crafted smartphone.
The Devour has a Sidekick-esqe form factor. Instead of the keyboard sliding out, the screen slides up to expose four rows on which to type. Having letters on either side of the space bar is going to take some getting used to. And the base of the phone is carved out of a single piece of aluminum and (what isn't these days?) feels very nice in the hand. The slider mechanism isn't as stiff as on the Droid, which is a good thing.
We'll have a full review in a few days. In the meantime, join us after the break for a brief hands-on video.
So for reasons that currently escape us, Samsung has decided to release a commercial showcasing the Samsung Behold II--yep, that middling Android 1.5, TouchWiz UI running phone that never picked up much steam when it was released way back in November. The commercial is a nice spot, we think the stylizing is done rather nicely, but why devote new advertising space to a phone that clearly needs an update? And why so long after release? This would have been more effective if the ad onslaught started in Thanksgiving. And if Samsung wanted to wait this long, they should have waited until Android 2.1 was running on the Behold II to re-introduce it.
Otherwise, timing and TouchWiz UI issues aside, the spot is pretty cool, huh? Check out the full commercial after the break!
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