We're starting to see homescreen and launcher replacements settle into a groove. Nice UIs, smooth transitions, and the Regina launcher fits nicely in that space. It's the same basic principle: You have five home screens on which to flip around and place apps, widgets, shortcuts, folders, etc.
The main homescreen features a slick flip clock (hello, HTC!) and weather widget. The bad news is that the weather widget might not include your town (yes, really) and to add it manually you need to know some sort of region code. Which I don't know. And I'm not going to bother looking up. And it gets a little worse -- to use the weather feature at all, you have to install the Regina Weather and Regina Weather Server apps in addition to the launcher. And then I still have to look up my region code? No, thanks.
But the launcher and homescreens (they're called workspaces here) are pretty nice. And you have secret workspaces that you can password protect and access from the corners of the home screens. That's not all that intuitive, as you'll see me scratch my head in the video after the break.
Transitions are smooth, if a tad slow for our taste, and look sophisticated enough. The launcher only scrolls horizontally -- we'd love to have the option to go vertical. Removing items from the home screen (or uninstalling them altogether) is helped along with some handy graphical reminders.
Check out our video of the Regina launcher and find downlinks after the break.
First T-Mobile, then AT&T, and now Sprint's rolling out the ability to charge Android Market purchases to your Sprint bill. Simple as that. Our pal Steve sent us the screen shot you see above, and "Bill my Sprint account" is listed plain as day.
And Steve's not alone. We've got the memo that's been making the rounds after the break, and it look like carrier billing should be up for everyone in the next couple of days. So if you've been longing to charge your Android apps to your Sprint account, join us in a hearty "Huzzah!" Thanks, Steve and Mek!
Sony Ericsson has announced the launch of its very own Android Market channel in a post on its official product blog. The manufacturer is among the first to launch its own Market channel, which will offer exclusive first-party apps for Sony Ericsson phone owners, as well as a selection of "recommended" third-party offerings. Sony Ericsson expects the updated Market app, with the new channel, to begin rolling out to its handsets from today.
What this also means is that the "My Apps" link in the Market app on Sony Ericsson phones will soon be replaced with a link to the manufacturer's channel, though "My Apps" will still be available by pressing the menu button. Predictably, though, the comments area under this latest post is now full of irate Xperia owners complaining about the loss of the "My Apps" link.
However, Sony Ericsson isn't alone in adding its own channel to the Market in this way. The Market app on our HTC Desire S review unit has a similar "HTC Recommends" section where the "My Apps" link would usually be, so it looks like this is something we could see more manufacturers doing in the months ahead. [Sony Ericsson Product Blog]
This morning T-Mobile announced a new $79.99 all inclusive plan that covers unlimited calling, texting and data. As data speeds get faster, we've seen some of the wireless carriers attempting to abandon unlimited plans, so this is a good thing, right? There is one big caveat to this new "unlimited" plan, however: consumers exceeding 2GB of data will see their data rates slowed down until their new billing cycle starts. That's where that big asterisk in the headline comes in. According to T-Mobile's internal stats, customers on average only use 1GB of data per month. These stats are factoring in all users, but what about the power users that stream video/audio or download large amounts of files that is easier to do over their HSPA+ network?
It's a good thing that they won't be absurd overage fees, but how slow will speeds get if you exceed 2GB? It's going to have to be trial and error for the time being. It looks like we'll be seeing more of Dan Hesse criticizing these kind of plans for appearing unlimited when in fact they're not. Full press release after the break.
The Samsung Galaxy S II has become one of the most anticipated devices after its announcement at Mobile World Congress. The big question on everyone's mind though has been when will it come to market? Samsung has updated its Facebook page this morning to announce that it will be released in April, then gradually rolled out to other parts of the world. It will be interesting to see where it launches first, since the only news we have heard puts the UK release date at May 1st.
Nevertheless, it looks like the follow-up to the wildly popular Galaxy S is going to hit soon. Samsung will update their Facebook page with any news regarding release dates for various regions, and you can bet we'll have it as soon as their announced. [Facebook]
Been looking for the latest Gingerbread system image for the Nexus One? Sure you have. And HTC's just posted it up on its developer site for everyone to have. No, this isn't new -- it's just the official system image for GRI40. And if you have a Nexus One, you likely already have it anyway. But if you're the developer type, or just like to have backups laying around, hit up the download link to check it out. [HTC Developer Center]
It's said that the update might be pushed out silently -- you could get it an not even know it. We'll believe that when we don't see it.
If you don't feel like waiting for the update, you can update manually. (We've got instructions after the break.)
And if you do update (manually or over the air), the old 2.3.340 SBF file will still work, just in case you need to roll back.
So, that's that. We're halfway expecting Verizon to let us know if this thing's for real -- they've been really good about announcing updates the past few months. Anyone actually seeing this over the air yet? If you wanna give it a go the manual way, head on past the break. [Droid X Forums via P3Droid and Android Central Forums]
We'd love to tell you all about this Google Maps v5.3.1 update but -- Google never included a changelog for us this time around. Judging by the e-mails we've received since the update started to roll out, we're not the only ones curious as to what, exactly was changed. While we don't have the answers to that, please feel free to drop some comments for us and let us know if you've spotted any changes within this update. Download is after the break for everyone. Thanks, everyone who sent this in!
Good news for those of you waiting anxiously for the LG Revolution -- the 4.3-inch, LTE-capable Froyo device (see our first look from CES) is hitting the hands of testers, which brings it that much close to hitting your pocket. The Revolution isn't the latest and greatest from LG, which is a shame, cause its latest and greatest is pretty darn good. But it's a slight shade better than a lot of what's out there, even if Bing is still on board.
We've got more shots of the demo phone after the break. Thanks, anon!
Nothing like some official device news to set the tone for the day, that's exactly what happened with the announcement of the HTC Sensation. Long awaited, oft rumored and now official. If you;re looking to talk about the HTC Sensation or any other device jump on into the Android Central forums and get started. Some new threads below are heating up:
If you're a fan of augmented reality apps then you no doubt have checked Layar out. If not, then now is a great time to give it a go as they've recently released version 5.0 which brings a bunch of new changes over previous versions.
Layar 5.0 now features the ability to share content with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. The next time you find a really cool layer, gain achievements or even spot a cool 3D model you want to take a screenshot of, you can quickly and easily share it with the world.
Layar 5.0 also comes the ability for more interactivity within layers thanks to our animation capabilities. Layers are no longer limited to static content; now icons and 3D models can come alive with animation, adding a new layer of engagement to augmented reality.
In the above image, Layar was showing me all the Android apps that were being installed around me using the App Aware layar. Pretty cool -- but it can used for many other things as well. Looking for restaurants, hotels, ATM's and more. Layar 5.0 is available now in the Android Market, download links can be found after the break. [Layar]
The folks over at Autodesk have finally announced the date of April 20 for the launch of the much-anticipated (at least by engineers) Android version of AutoCAD. In addition to the date, Autodesk made sure to point out that AutoCAD for Android will be free and will have all the same features and functionality of the iOS version. Android 2.1 Eclair was listed as the minimal OS requirements, which means that over 90 percent of current Android devices should be able to run it. A full range of languages will be supported based on the language selected on your device:
You can watch a short demo of the tablet version of the app running on a Motorola Xoom above. [Autodesk] Thanks, Carlos, for the tip!
Motorola Xoom kernel developer and hero of the hour bigrushdog has released the latest version of the Tiamat kernel for the Xoom -- with SD card support. It's not perfect (you can't swap cards without a reboot) but it's as close as can be expected with no OS source code (cough), and before any mention of the "official" fix from Motorola. And you don't even have to send your Xoom away for two weeks to have it. Besides SD card support, the Tiamat kernel has other customizations like USB Host mode, OpenVPN support, and Microsoft Windows Netshare support.
The Nvidia corporation will drop Android support for its devices running on the Harmony platform, according to a post on its official developer forums by Andrew Edelsten, Tegra Developer Relations. This means that devices using the Harmony platform at their core -- the Viewsonic gTablet and ViewPad7, Advent Vega, Toshiba Folio 100, and Notion Ink Adam -- will not have drivers built for video acceleration for any current or future releases of Android.
This is not good news. None of these Tegra 2-based devices is even a year old, and they are essentially dead in the water. Even if someone were to build a higher version of Android for them, with no hardware support it's going to be a horrible experience. Don't believe me? Try an SDK port of Honeycomb on, well, on anything.
I got myself a third cup of coffee, and sat down all ready to bash Nvidia for abandoning support for very capable devices, then I realized something -- I can't. These popular devices are just the first official victims of Google's new method of forcing companies to obtain its blessing to use a free and open-source operating system. It's not Nvidia's fault. You can't be expected to spend money and resources to update drivers for tablets that will never have official support from Google. Andrew says that they have already updated their Ventana based devices to Android 2.3, and are waiting for Google to release Honeycomb to them. I'm afraid we're going to see the exact same thing with the original Galaxy Tab, and it won't be Samsung's fault this time. The phrase "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" comes to mind. [Nvidia Developer Zone] Thanks, Adam!
Jean-Baptiste Queru, AOSP engineer for Google, has verified that GPL and LGPL portions of the Honeycomb source code have been entered into the AOSP repositories. Don't get too excited though, it's not the full source code, it's just a snapshot to be used if "incompatibilities develop over time." It still may contain code useful for developers, and something is better than nothing.
I'm a little sad that it took almost two months for Google to comply with the license they agreed to when they used GPL code, but there's little we can really do about it. If you're a Honeycomb developer, Al Sutton has worked out a set of instructions to build what has been provided -- find it at the source link. Hopefully, the community can find good use for it. [@jbqueru; Al Sutton's Blog via AndroidGuys]
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