MIIPS Technologies recently demoed an Android-powered set-top box capable of 1080p video. Short reaction: Sweet. Long Reaction: We're unsure if there's even demand for an Android set-top box but if we know one thing about typical TV user interfaces is that they suck, big time. Android could work wonders in that market.
According to MIIPS, this is "a major milestone toward the creation of a reference platform" that'll eventually lead to Android-based products in your living room. This is all only proof-of-concept and with no video of how it actually works, it's pretty tough to tell if it'll be a winner or not. Regardless, we're interested in seeing more development on this front and it just continues to show how amazing Android can be.
We'll definitely keep an eye on Android set-top boxes in the future. Thoughts?
Twidroid, our favorite Android Twitter application, just received an update to 2.5.1 (now 2.5.6) and has introduced a PRO version for Twitter enthusiasts. Twidroid revamped their design in this update, bringing a sleeker design which includes a revamped menu bar. Though the icons are a wee bit small, the change is welcome and we're glad to see Twidroid get better. The Twidroid folks recommend uninstalling the current Twidroid and doing a fresh install of the updated version.
The real news is that Twidroid PRO is now available for Android users and it includes features such as: multiple account support, desktop widget, video posting, color themes, and a 'neat black pro application icon'. Twidroid PRO is available for $4.89 via Android Market--we personally think it's a worthwhile upgrade, but it's up for you guys to decide for yourself.
Who uses Twidroid? Who uses another Twitter application? And who doesn't even use Twitter?
Though Android users don't have the same complaints with AT&T as iPhone users, that may change after the report of AT&T denying Motorola Android phones on their network comes out. By denying Motorola Android devices, the Death Star network is inhibiting their customers from enjoying all the smartphone world has to offer.
MKM Partners analyst Tero Kuittenen reported that AT&T determined that the Motorola Android phones expected to launch on the network were too "out of date" for the quite obviously "cutting edge" product portfolio of AT&T (sarcasm). We think it's a big mistake on AT&T's part because the smartphone world has been expecting a "last hurrah" effort from Motorola and what better network to launch it on than AT&T?
Streaming digital TV channels hasn't become commonplace for US smartphones but that's more likely due to the lack of quality offerings on the major platforms rather than the lack of demand. That's all about to change because SPB TV, a popular TV streaming application on Windows Mobile, is now available for Android in Android Market.
For a one-time fee of $9.99 (no subscription whatsoever), Android users will be able to watch TV directly on their handset via a 3G or Wi-Fi connection (Wi-Fi obviously works best). Available channels span from local networks from major cities to international news channels. We've briefly tested SPB TV and came away pretty impressed. There's a 'Lite' version of SPB TV so those wary of the $9.99 startup fee can test the application for free (albeit a limited version).
You'll need an Android device running Android 1.5 and an HVGA screen resolution. We're fairly certain most of the Android community qualifies so go ahead and head to Android Market to check out SPB TV!
The FCC tested the Archos A5S, which has a touchscreen, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth, FM transmitter/receiver, microSD slot, and microUSB port. 3G connectivity is reportedly available but the FCC did not test it (perhaps that's what the A5H has). The A5S is also using what we believe to be a custom build of Android (a la HTC Sense).
We're definitely excited about the Archos A5S but wonder what kind of market it will find. Are you guys interested in the Archos Android Tablet?
T-Mobile will soon be launching a huge ad campaign for the myTouch 3G, one they claim to be "the largest product launch advertising campaign in T-Mobile history". Stars such as Whoopi Goldberg, Phil Jackson (Lakers Head Coach), and Jessie James will be featured in the ads that stress the unique customizable nature of the myTouch 3G.
You can see the first commercial up above and it's got a fairly catchy thing going on. We don't know how successful the whole "personalize your phone" is going to be but at least they're letting folks around the country realize a new T-Mobile phone with Google is available!
Apple has been catching a lot of flack for their draconian app approval process, and for the most part, it's a well-deserved takedown. On our grass is greener side, Google has been looking pretty nice throughout the whole he-said, she-said battle between the FCC, Google, Apple, and AT&T and it's looking even better now that details about how Google deals with Android apps in Android Market have been revealed.
To date, Android Market has only banned 1% of the applications from its virtual shelves and none of those banned applications have their blood on Google's hands. Namely, the banning process begins with users flagging specific applications and then Google investigating the applications--there is no pre-approval process for developers to jump through. We, the Android users, decide what gets cut. The most common reasons for removal are apps that contain adult content or violate copyright laws.
Though not having a pre-approval process can lead to a lot of shoddy and useless applications being passed through, we'd much rather have it the Android way than Apple's. Plus, Apple still has just as many fart apps as we do.
BGR got his hands on some Verizon internal documents and it details estimated release dates and costs for upcoming Verizon handsets. There's Blackberry, Nokia, and other devices in there but we don't care about that. Not at all. We have our eyes locked on the Motorola Sholes Google Phone with an October launch date. Yep, Verizon users--you'll be getting your Android soon enough!
Though iPhone users will have to wait for Apple to reach a decision on the Rhapsody App, us Android users should be aware that, Real has been "working diligently on an Android app" which we expect to be available in sooner rather than later. The Rhapsody app for Android would be a no-brainer download for current Rhapsody ToGo subscribers and an extremely enticing option for music lovers across the world.
The Samsung Galaxy is one of the more under-appreciated Android phones on the market, mostly because of its European-only status. Though it has been out for months overseas, we've heard very little about any potential launches or carrier support--so it's been sort of swept under the rug here in the States. We've been aware of the Samsung Galaxy, but it's been other Android phones that have got us going.
Well, it looks like that may change because a Samsung Galaxy 'Lite' has made its way through the FCC and it looks like a presumably budget version of the Galaxy will be made available for US consumption. Though the details of the Samsung Galaxy 'Lite' are shrouded in mystery, we do know that it'll be offered by a GSM carrier (T-Mobile?) and that it'll have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth (of course).
We're hopeful that the Galaxy 'Lite' won't be too different from the Galaxy because if we've waiting this long for a less capable device, well we won't be too happy about that. What do you guys think?
Within each category, there is prize money to be had for developers, with 1st place receiving $100,000, 2nd place earning $50,000, and 3rd place receiving $25,000. There's also money up for grabs for the best applications across all categories ($150,000-1st, $50,000-2nd, $25,000-3rd).
ADC2 is a great thing for Android because it spurs a lot of developers to create great applications for our favorite OS. We can't wait to see what new and innovative applications Android developers have come up with! Let's get it started!
Though the whole fiasco doesn't directly apply to us Android users, it is interesting to note that USA Today has accused Google of being plain hypocrites throughout this process. Citing Google's own 'banning' of popular VoIP application Skype to their Android Market, USA Today claimed that Google and Android are hardly as open and benevolent as they claim to be. If you remember, Skype for Android is actually a 'Lite' version that isn't capable of true VoIP calls, rather routing phone calls through traditional phone networks thus eating away precious (read: expensive) cell phone minutes.
Gasp. Is Google falling away from their 'Don't be Evil' motto and joining Apple as the grim reaper toward quality applications? Did they really ban a full-featured version of Skype? No. Completely False. Wrong. Not even close. According to the father of Android, Andy Rubin:
“Here are the facts, clear and simple: While the first generation of our Android software did not support full-featured VoIP applications due to technology limitations, we have worked through those limitations in subsequent versions of Android, and developers are now able to build and upload VoIP services"
So basically USA Today got it completely wrong and that it wasn't a Google decision to ban Skype from Android but rather a technical shortcoming. Also, if Skype truly wanted to develop a full featured application for Android and for some odd reason wasn't allowed in Android Market, Android users could still download the application via alternative channels. Android Market is hardly the only solution for third party applications like the iPhone App Store is. And for that, we can be thankful.
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