After giving background on the history of Android and lending support towards the custom ROM community, Google addresses the current situation. In Google-speak:
With a high-quality open platform in hand, we then returned to our goal of making our services available on users' phones. That's why we developed Android apps for many of our services like YouTube, Gmail, Google Voice, and so on. These apps are Google's way of benefiting from Android in the same way that any other developer can, but the apps are not part of the Android platform itself. We make some of these apps available to users of any Android-powered device via Android Market, and others are pre-installed on some phones through business deals. Either way, these apps aren't open source, and that's why they aren't included in the Android source code repository. Unauthorized distribution of this software harms us just like it would any other business, even if it's done with the best of intentions.
It takes a little effort to understand but it kind of makes sense. Google sees the Android OS and Google Apps as two completely different entities. Android the OS is built as an open-source platform, where customization and personalization is encouraged. Google Apps are entirely separate from the OS, they're developed closed source and come pre-loaded on specific Android devices through separate business deals, deals that CynagonMod never made. To include Google Apps in custom Android builds would infringe on copyright issues and thus be illegal.
What strikes us as odd is that without these closed source applications (Android Market, Gmail being chief among them) pre-loaded, custom ROMs won't be able to offer an experience as good as the official releases. Which means while Google officially says it supports custom ROMS, they're indirectly hurting the experience. In a sense, Google is saying that you can develop all you want but be sure to leave out the best stuff. How can you eat a cake without a knife and fork?
We're not happy with Google's decision and hate to see a great member of the Android developer Community be stripped of his work. But we remain hopeful that the situation can eventually be improved. Google has earned enough credibility and Android developers are still some of the best and brightest around. We'll figure out a way. We'll continue to monitor the situation and deliver you guys the details. Just hopefully next time, it'll be better news.
CyanogenMod, one of the best and most popular custom Android ROMs available, just got hit with a cease & desist letter from Google. Gasp. Apparently, Google is not happy that CyanogenMod is distributing closed source Android applications like Gmail, Android Market, YouTube, etc.
CyanogenMod explains that he's not breaking any copyright issues because he develops specifically for Google Experience devices (G1 & myTouch 3G), devices that already include said closed source applications. CyanogenMod is trying to initiate conversation with Google, so hopefully they both can come to an agreement.
But hey Google, CyanogenMod is too valuable to the Android community, he's one of the good guys. Trust us, let this one slide.
We can all agree that the Motorola CLIQ is a pretty sweet device, right? What with MOTOBLUR ready to re-define the way we use social networks on our mobile device, slick hardware, and our favorite Android OS--the CLIQ is most certainly a wonderful first step for a soon to be blooming Motorola and Android relationship.
So how can the Motorola CLIQ get even more amazing? What about if the CLIQ came with pre-loaded applications from heavy hitters all around the web? Yep, you heard it right. It looks like the CLIQ will have a who's who list of applications pre-loaded onto the device. We're talking:
Though some of these applications can be downloaded via Android Market, the out of the box experience for the CLIQ will be incredibly user friendly if these applications are pre-loaded onto the device. And though we all might lament the fact that these apps will make the CLIQ bloated and we're going to delete half of the apps anyway, creating a friendly first-time Android experience for new users is always a good thing.
We're not entirely positive that all these applications will be full fledged apps, but whichever way these services may come--widgets, bookmarks, full fledged applications--we're ecstatic that Motorola is going to these lengths to ensure that the CLIQ be a successful device.
The Android Developer Challenge 2 is in its first round of judging and it's up to us Android users to determine which apps make it to Round 2! Simply head to Android Market and download the Android Developer Challenge 2 Application to participate. The Android Developer Challenge 2 Judging Application will display applications for users to download and score according to a set criteria (originality, effective use of Android platform, etc).
The first round of judging will last 2 weeks and determine the Top 20 applications in the 10 categories. Remember, the first round is entirely determined by user votes. In the second round, user votes will account for 40% of the final score with the remaining 60% determined by industry experts.
The Android Developer Challenge 2 will most certainly deliver a slew of great applications for the Android platform and we can't wait to test them all out. Let us know which applications you think are simply amazing in the comments!
At this point, we know so much about the Sprint HTC Hero that nothing really can surprise us anymore. It's chin-less, round-ish, and altogether pretty safe design-wise. So instead of focusing on the phone itself, how would you like to take a look at the box art of the much anticipated next Android device? Rather generic looking, ain't it?
What this leaked picture most likely means is that Sprint is familiarizing its team of workers with the HTC Hero in order to give customers advice on the workings of the device. Thus, the leaks. But if you read this site with any regularity, you'd probably prefer figuring out the inner workings of the HTC Hero yourself and can instead take this leak as a sign that the HTC Hero is going to be available right around the corner.
Now this is more like it. With the onset of the Motorola CLIQ and the G1's own price drop, T-Mobile has just dropped the price of the myTouch 3G to a pretty competitive $149.99. We strongly believe that the $149.99 price point should have been the launch price of the myTouch 3G but that's all water under the bridge now.
The myTouch 3G is a great phone for Android beginners and experts alike and we'd imagine this price drop will spur sales for T-Mobile until the CLIQ comes. So, what do you guys say--are you going to grab the myTouch 3G for $149.99 or wait for the Motorola CLIQ for an as yet unknown price?
The Samsung Galaxy Lite, what we predicted to be a HTC Tattoo competitor, has shown its sort-of pretty face in new pictures! Though to us, the pictures of the Galaxy Lite kind of, sort of look like dummy units, you can still get a good feel for the styling of the Galaxy Lite.
The specs of the Galaxy Lite are:
3.0″ WQVGA TFT Touchscreen
3.2 megapixel camera
Android OS 1.5
Google Apps and Android Market
3G, WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth
3.5mm audio jack
Memory 200MB internal and MicroSD card (up to 32G)
Okay, maybe it's a little bit better than the HTC Tattoo. And could Touchwiz be a yet-to-be announced custom build of Android a la HTC Sense and MOTOBLUR? Hopefully we'll find out soon. One thing for certain, can we get the cute little Android Robot laser-etched on ALL of our Android devices?
The next big feature for smartphones (and all mobile devices, really) is the augmented reality browser. Augmented Reality applications show the world around you in a brand new way--through the looking glass of your smartphone. Layar is a pioneer of this new method of 'seeing the world' and they've just unveiled their 3D-engine to make their browser all the more real.
The 3D-engine in the Layar Reality Browser kicks Augmented Reality Browsers up a notch. Developers can now tag real-life objects with 3D text or even drop 3D images in the browser. In Layar's words, "the addition of 3D enables Layar developers to create more realistic and immersive augmented reality experiences for mobile devices."
The video above shows a hilarious Pac-Man game being played in your average park, though that in itself doesn't do much for end-users, developers will certainly take advantage of the added depth that 3D enables.
We're big fans of Augmented Reality Browsers and Layar is definitely an application we've kept a close eye on. We can't wait to see what 3D can do to an already wonderful Android application.
The Samsung InstinctQ (also known as the Samsung M900) just passed through the hands of the Notorious FCC. And when yet-to-be announced products pass through the FCC, it typically means it's going to be announced sooner rather than later. So should we expect the Samsung InstinctQ/M900 to take over the daily headlines in the near future?
We think yes. The Samsung InstinctQ was previously rumored to release in October, and though that seems a wee bit too close, we're fairly certain an announcement (at the least) is on its way. The Notorious FCC leaks that the InstinctQ will rock CDMA/EV-DO connectivity which definitely points toward Sprint being the carrier. Everything else seems to be standard fare--Android OS, Bluetooth, and WiFi. The InstinctQ deserves bonus points for a hardware keyboard though.
What do you guys think? Is a hardware QWERTY keyboard enough to make you pass on the HTC Hero and wait for this puppy? Or are you just happy to see Android take off?
Sprint has announced their 9th annual Developer Conference and for the first time ever, we'll have to pay attention. Why? Because the Sprint Developer Conference will have a heavy focus on our favorite Android OS, with Google Engineers on-site to discuss Android Market and more specifically, Android development. What makes the deal even sweeter is that Sprint will also be giving away 400 HTC Hero units to developers.
So if you're interested in Android development, head on over to the Sprint Dev Conference website to sign up! We love that Sprint is taking their Android efforts so seriously, we believe that this conference will be fruitful for developers and thus down the line, Android users.
The Sprint Developer Conference is October 26-28, 2009 at Santa Clara, California.
While Verizon & AT&T have aligned themselves with LTE and T-Mobile is sticking with 21Mbps HSPA+, Sprint has heavily invested in a WiMax network by Clearwire for their 4G-speed offerings. So it's really no surprise that Sprint is planning to release a WiMax-speed smartphone in 2010. What is surprising is that some reports are pointing that device to be a Samsung-built, Android-powered smartphone. Android, Samsung, and WiMax? We're already sold.
Though Sprint is just starting to launch their Android portfolio (with the wonderful HTC Hero), a truly ground-breaking device like a WiMax speed, Android-powered smartphone would be an absolute game changer for the sinking carrier. With the speed of WiMax, we're talking about data speeds 3-5x faster than what an iPhone 3GS can do. Yeah, that's pretty fast. By the end of 2010, about 80 cities will be covered in the WiMax network, a fairly respectable number given the breathtaking speeds of 4G.
We know 2009 isn't over yet but if a 4G/WiMax Android device is coming by the end of 2010, we won't even mind pining for a device that's more than a year away. What do you guys think? Android, Samsung, Sprint, WiMax for the win?
Cellular South, the largest privately held wireless provider in the US which focuses on customers in the gulf coast, will be the third US carrier to officially support Android (T-Mobile and Sprint being first and second). Cellular South just announced that they will offer the Sprint-styled HTC Hero to their 5 million customers and it'll pack all the goodies of Google Apps and Android Market. Confession: We've never heard of Cellular South until now.
The Sprint-styled HTC Hero is the generically designed, chin-less version of the HTC Hero that packs a 5 megapixel camera and runs HTC Sense. Though we wish that they would offer the daringly styled, chin-full GSM version, it's still great to see a small carrier like Cellular South put their efforts behind an Android device that we believe to be the best Android offering available.
If anyone is a Cellular South customer or ever used Cellular South, please let us know in the comments how Cellular South is!
One of the greatest things about Android is that any company can tweak, modify, or add to the open-source of Android. We've seen both HTC and Motorola do some really great things with that freedom and we're certain that more companies will dabble in the customization. Case in point: Larva Labs just showed a concept that'll give Android a "Intelligent Home Screen" a la Windows Mobile's Today Screen.
The "Intelligent Home Screen" allows Android users to filter through personal items and general items. In a demo of the "Intelligent Home Screen" we see that personal items such as SMS, e-mails, phone calls are loaded on the top portion of the screen and general items like RSS feeds are shown on the bottom of the screen. The two categories are separated by a date and time bar. The entire interface is customizable--you can choose how many personal items or general items to display, you can choose font size, and even what is shown.
The "Intelligent Home Screen" would be a welcome addition to Android because the concept of a Today Screen is so useful in day-to-day usage. Though Larva Labs' Intelligent Home Screen is only in concept form, we're pretty sure once this is available to Android users, it's going to be a hit. What do you guys think?
The leaked images are of the blurrycam nature and though that typically casts doubt in our minds, we just want this to be real so bad that we can forgive the shoddy camera work. The pictures never really detail the specifics of the amazingly beautiful UI that Sony Ericsson has built on top of Android (like HTC did with Sense) but a couple shots of Android staple screens are enough to hold us over.
Images of a white Sony Ericsson XPERIA X3 'Rachael' Android phone have also leaked. All the pictures of this highly anticipated Android phone can be found after the jump!
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