Over at LevelUp Studio they have been hard at work in their continued development and support of a highly popular application we have all grown to know and love, Beautiful Widgets. Lately there have been a slew of updates, which we have not covered, and for those that may have missed them, some of them include:
Ability to customize color of widget text
Show four day weather forecast
Hide background / adjust transparency
Download various weather skins
Custom live wallpaper
This custom live wallpaper takes your standard grass live wallpaper and adds a very nice touch, showing current weather conditions as long as you have Beautiful Widgets installed on your device. If you don't have it installed, the wallpaper will still work, except you will only have the sun and moon animations, and it will not adjust to your current weather conditions. If you have the Beautiful Widgets, be sure to check out this latest update, and if you are interested in purchasing, be sure to check it out in the Market.
While the Marketplace continues to grow and it gets harder and harder to weed through all the new applications, we aim to make your experience as smooth as possible. And so, we bring to you another week of applications that we use.
Another welcome feature uncovered by many of you in Android 2.2 is the ability to work in apps through 270 degrees of rotation. That is, if you turn the phone to the landscape position to the left, it'll rotate. And it'll rotate to the right now, as well.
But, wait, there's more. The car app has gotten smarter. So when you're using the car dock and need to pull up a contact, you don't have to turn the phone back to portrait (or worse, tilt your head) just to find whom you're looking for. We'd prefer that the home screen rotate, too, but custom Froyo ROMs will take care of that soon enough.
(Thanks, Mike B! Though try to turn your caps lock off, m'kay? :) Find a cool new feature in Froyo and want to tell the world about it? E-mail us here and we'll make you famous!)
One of the pictures you see here represents the online future of print journalism in a sleek, easy-to-access open Google web app format. The other comes in a 500-megabyte (that's half a gigabyte, people) download on a tightly locked-down device.
Above is Sports Illustrated editor Terry McDonell at Google I/O, showing us the new HTML5-optimized version of last week's issue. And we expressed our excitement for it at the time. And we're even more excited about it now that we've seen Wired magazine come out with its gianormous 500MB file size for its first iPad issue.
Judging from the screen shots at TiPB (we haven't gotten a chance to actually use the app yet), the Wired app indeed looks like a beautifully designed translation from print to online (an endeavor I know a thing or two about). But the mere act of having to download the app (Will each update be the full 500MB? We hope not.) doesn't sound so futuristic to us. No, Google's SI web app beats the pants off this one.
Don't believe us? Check out McDonell's segment from Google I/O after the break. Just like the Wired app, there's no Flash. (Erm, except for the YouTube video on our site, but that's changing.) And there's noo 500MB download. Just pure web goodness.
The good news, for those of you hankering for Garmin's special blend of navigation software, is that the Garminfone will be available June 9 on T-Mobile. What we're still scratching our heads over, however, is the $200 price tag -- and that's after the $50 mail-in rebate card that you won't get for a month or so after you sign away two years of your smartphone life. Anyhoo, you'll get the same level of Android 1.6 coolness that we saw back with the Nuvifone A50 at Mobile World Congress, so check out our video of that if you're still on the fence. [T-Mobile]
Remember Applegirl? Now she has some serious competition. Using what looks to be a Samsung Galaxy A this young lady shares a beautiful rendition of Take a Bow by Rhianna. From the YouTube comments it appears that someone other than the artist uploaded the video, anyone know who this gal is? I know we're interested, and maybe Samsung would be as well. In the meantime, enjoy! Thanks, NickF227!
Update: Meant to mention she's playing the "Solo" app. [Market link]
Guest writer Amit Kulkarni, Co-Founder and CEO of Manymoon, took to the Google Code blog recently with a very interesting article that gives four important tips to would-be app developers. While this is geared more to the Google apps space and enterprise solutions, it's also a must read for anyone thinking about developing applications for the Android Market. Google's cloud computing scales down very well to our phones, and potential tie-ins between Google apps and Android applications is still a largely untouched field. Whether you're an app developer, or just curious, take a look to get a little inside view from a very popular developer. [Google code blog]
Here's a great find that comes to us from Emlil at androidscoop. Froyo now gives users the ability to import .vcf cards into contacts. Even better, it looks like Froyo can handle the .vcf files right from the e-mail application as well as Gmail. Emlil gives a nice walkthrough of the process using the Gmail application, and we've attached a few pics of doing it through the regular pop mail app.
Also very cool is the ability to share contacts as .vcf files. Again, Emlil walks us through doing it via Gmail, so we grabbed a few snaps of doing it over bluetooth. Business users as well as those of us with big address books will surely find a use for this one.
Jump past the break to see some more pics and a short breakdown.
(Thanks Emlil! Find a cool new feature in Froyo and want to tell the world about it? E-mail us here and we'll make you famous!)
Sat down (erm, stood up) at Google IO with our pals from Dataviz to take a look at Docs to Go version 3.0. We got a glimpse of it at Mobile World Congress in February, but now it's ready for public consumption, though it won't be available in the Android Market for a few more weeks. And if you're looking for an easy method of syncing your important documents between your computer and phone, this is it. Check it out.
Update: Good news, everybody. Dataviz tells us the update will be free. Quoting: "Documents To Go version 3.0, including the new desktop sync application, will be a free upgrade for all customers who previously purchased our full version. Hopefully that news will make our customers and your readers very happy!" Indeed, it does.
Don't worry so much about not understanding that headline. We don't blame you. The Dalvik Virtual Machine is a behind-the-scenes tool that most of you never see, let alone need to worry about. Same goes for the Just-in-Time compiler -- aka the JIT. But those two things are among the main reasons Android 2.2 -- Froyo -- is leaps and bounds faster than than its predecessors. (Check out our own benchmarking tests if you need proof.)
Google's Dan Bornstein recently took to the Android Developers Blog to explain more about Dalvik and Jit. And he turns it into plain English far better than I could:
We added a Just In Time (JIT) compiler to the Dalvik VM. The JIT is a software component which takes application code, analyzes it, and actively translates it into a form that runs faster, doing so while the application continues to run. If you want to learn more about the design of the Dalvik JIT, please watch the excellent talk from Google I/O 2010 given by my colleagues Bill Buzbee and Ben Cheng, which should be posted to YouTube very soon.
To be clear, the differences aren’t always dramatic, nor do they apply uniformly to all applications. Code that is written to run the CPU all-out can now do more in the same amount of time (running faster), and code that is written to be rate-limited can get its work done using less time and less of the CPU (using less battery). On the performance front in particular, we have seen realistic improvements of 2x to 5x for CPU-bound code, compared to the previous version of the Dalvik VM. This is equivalent to about 4x to 10x faster than a more traditional interpreter implementation.
OK, I take it back. I understood parts of that. But I especially understood the part where Dan explain that things run "4x to 10x faster." There's no interpretation needed there. And on top of the speed increases, the JIT is light on RAM, too. It's a win-win. Check out Dan's entire post for the whole nitty-gritty on the JIT and why you'll love it. [Android Developers Blog]
Here's ye another example of why our forum members are the best. Locoman shot this picture of the moon through a 10-inch Dobsonian telescope -- with the HTC Incredible, putting that 8-megapixel camera to good use. But it gets even better. Check out his shot of Saturn -- yeah, the one with the rings that's way, way out there -- and some more moon shots in his forum post.
Not everything in Android 2.2 is hardcore behind-the-scenes stuff. Some of it is a bit fluffy. Butt-kicking-cool useless fluff though, so it's all good. Mix up one part fluff and one part function and you have the new 3D gallery and camera apps. Like so much other stuff in Froyo, some of the changes seem very useful, while others completely random. Hit the jump to get the run down, some handy pictures, and a video of something fun called pinch peek.
(Thanks, Chris! Find a cool new feature in Froyo and want to tell the world about it? E-mail us here and we'll make you famous!)
And the Motorola Droid Shadow is spotted again! This time the Droid Shadow is shown from the uber-sexy side angle and from the looks of it, we're quite impressed with the overall thinness and clean lines of it. In this shot we can clearly see the HDMI out that's in line with previous leaked info but the Howard Forums user who posted the pic says that the Droid Shadow "only" has a 4.1-inch screen, TI OMAP 3630 processor (720 ARM Cortex A8), 8GB internal storage, and 8-megapixel camera. That's a little off from previous information so we'll have to wait and see who's right. We'd like Snapdragon and the extra .2 inches in screen size please. Other than that though, this phone looks sweet. Those of you who passed on the Droid Incredible might have a great thing in your hands soon. [via engadget]
Mobile advertising server AdMob -- whose purchase by Google, by the way, was approved by the feds last Friday -- just released its April numbers today. (AdMob servers up many of the in-app ads you see on your Android phone.) Let's look at the bullet points:
Some 75 percent of unique Android devices are in North America. Asia has 12 percent of Android devices, followed by Western Europe with 11 percent.
In the United States, the iPhone has about 10.7 million devices, and Android makes up 8.7 million. (If you count the iPod Touch along with the iPhone, Apple's share jumps to 18.3 million.)
Worldwide, there are about 11.6 million Android devices pinging AdMob's servers, compared to 27.4 million iPhones and 40.8 million for the iPhone/iPod Touch.
Top Android smartphone in the United States in April was the Motorola Droid, with 16.1 percent of AdMob advertising requests. The HTC Magic (myTouch) followed with 5.3 percent, the HTC Dream (G1) with 5.0 percent, Motorola Cliq at 4.5 percent, HTC Droid Eris and Hero each at 4.3 percent, and Samsung Moment at 3.3 percent.
Android phones showing gains in April were the Magic (0.5 percent), Droid Eris (0.2 percent) and Moment (0.2 percent).
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