Ever wanted to create an Android app but just don't have the coding skills? Google's just greatly lowered the barrier for entry with the Android App Inventor. It's akin to Palm's Ares system (and we presume other development platforms? Hey, we're not coders, either) in that it's basically drag-and-drop, what-you-see-is-what-you-get. Hit a few buttons, and out spits an app.
A couple of worries about this:
The Android Market is already flooded with hundreds (and likely thousands) of crappy apps. Let's call them crapps. And this is going to make it easier to make more crapps.
This is bound to upset already established developers, right? (Let us know in the comments, folks.)
Again, crapps. There's been a lot of chatter over the weekend about how the Market's closing in on 100,000 apps (according to sites like Androlib, anyway). And we're repeat what we have to say every time these milestone stories come up: There are apps, and there are crapps. We'd rather have 10,000 quality apps than 100,000 crapps. (And never mind that the total includes ringtones, keyboards, wallpapers, etc.)
We go back to a question that asked (by yours truly) of the Android Leadership at Google IO: Is the Market ever going to curated up front? Or will it still be up to use to wade our way through the craps? Google being a search company (and the whole openness thing, too), you can imagine which way that went. But we digress.
Let's give Android App Inventor a shot and see where it goes. Certainly the idea is good, and it's worked out well for Palm with Ares. Hit up the source link to find out more, and there's a pretty video after the break, too. [Google App Inventor]
Sprint announced it has flipped the magic switch and turned on their 4G network in New York (Rochester and Syracuse); California (Merced and Visalia); Washington (Tri-Cities and Yakima); and Oregon (Eugene). This lines up perfectly with the images leaked of their summer roadmap.
Though some of us will probably never get any type of 4G service (*cough Jerry's house*), it's nice to see things look like they're right on schedule for the areas they have planned to cover in 2010. Anybody out there seeing that sexy '4G network available' icon on their Evo 4G in any of these new cities? Follow the break to see the full press release. [Sprint]
For those of you patiently (or not so much) waiting for Cyanogen and Team Douche to release a semi-official Android 2.2 ROM, it's time to get flashing. CyanogenMod-6.0.0 RC1 was posted up early this morning, with builds for the Nexus One, Dream and Magic, which should cover a good many of us. You can snag the new builds in the usual places, including the CM Nexus One and D/M forums, XDA Developers (N1, D/M) and our favorite, ROM Manager.
For the noobs out there, the CyanogenMod series of ROMs are custom built from the official Android Open Source Project files by trained professionals (professional somethings, anyway), tested and released to the masses. (Check out the full changelog here.) We swear by 'em, and you should, too. [Cyanogen]
Update: A new CM Droid ROM is now in ROM Manager and the other usual places. Huzzah!
To those of you lucky enough to get your Droid Xearly (all 170 of you need to play the lottery this week!) Verizon has now set up the system so you can activate that monster. As of Friday July 9, provisions were put in place to allow activation according to Verizon internal documents leaked out to DroidLife. You can activate over the web at your MyVerizon page, or OTA by dialing *228 and selecting option 1. Now quit slacking and get that speed demon activated, then hit the forums to tease the rest of us for 5 more days :) [DroidLife]
Images of the unreleased Motorola WX455 have shown up today online, with very little fanfare. If the rumors about it's specifications are correct, we can see why. Supposedly it's a pretty anemic offering, and beside the recent onslaught of superphones like the Galaxy S series and the Motorola Droid X, it's hard to get excited over a mid- to low-end handset. Speaking of specs, all we can be sure of is what you see -- it's running Eclair, has a weird mix of capacitive buttons and some sort of physical pad, a smallish touchscreen, and headed to Verizon. Rumored specs also include a camera (megapixels unknown) with no flash, and a 1170 mAh battery. It should also sport the standard Android array of radios and sensors; GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, compass, etc., but that's just an educated guess.
We've talked about the validity of low end Android models on the last couple of podcasts, what do you guys think? Yea or nay to the entry level stuff? [Engadget]
HTC has released an update to its HTC Sync software for the HTC Aria, and along with it comes the ability to install third-party applications and enable mobile network sharing. Hallelujah! While this isn't nearly as handy as installing the applications directly from the phone, it's a huge step in the right direction. The addition of mobile network sharing is a huge boon as well, just remember to keep an eye on your data usage if you've switched to one of AT&T's new plans.
HTC Sync is also a great way to sync calendar events and contacts with Outlook (or Outlook Express/Windows Live Mail) on your Windows PC. Sorry, Mac users, you can sit over here with us Linux guys and grumble. Hit the source link to check out the requirements and download the software -- you'll need your device serial number, click and enlarge the pic to the left for help finding it. [HTC Aria Product Support] Thanks to everyone who sent this in!
Update: As Spary points out in the comments below, there was an apparent SNAFU at HTC and this update does not enable sideloading, nor does it change any settings on the device itself. HTC has reached out to Engadget and apologized for any confusion, and says their website will be updated with the correct information Monday. Felt good for a couple hours though!
There has been some chatter lingering around in regards to the Droid X and its bootloader, and sadly it appears as though they have locked this one down. So, what does that mean for the average consumer, well nothing really. Those who will be affected by this information are those interested in the extra tweaks, along with the ability to create and flash custom ROM's. Root access should still be obtainable so you will be able to use all those fun applications that require it, which is a big plus to many. Hopefully the Droid X isn't as hard to crack as the Motorola Milestone -- for which they are still trying to figure out a good solution. Now all you Droid owners who were looking for an upgrade, still interested? [via Droid Life]
Finding a parking spot just got a little easier, thanks to Google's new Open Spot app for Android. The concept is simple enough, fire up the app to see what spots are near (.9 mile radius) you, and the color of the pin tells you how long it's been since someone marked it. Red means 'freshly-marked', orange pins mean the spot was marked 5 minutes ago, and the yellow spots are older than 10 minutes -- after 20 minutes they disappear.
Speaking of marking the spot, the application is driven by the idea that you mark open spots you find, and lady karma rolls back around to help you find one when you need it. And before you let those devious ideas loose, Google claims to have their own method of dealing with 'greifers' -- people who mark spots when there are none. As of now, this app is Android only; no word on a web version or cross platform availability, but I imagine that this won't stay exclusive for too long. Hit the jump for the download links. [Google OpenSpot via TechCrunch]
Yeah, so by now Fring users likely have noticed that Skype access has been pulled. And, you guessed it, we have the iPhone to blame. Fring recently updated its iPhone version, which allows cross-platform chatting (see our demo with Rene from TiPB) and sure enough, the gathering horde borked it for the rest of us. Here's Fring's official response, from its forums:
This is absolutely amazing. Since the release of our latest iPhone version yesterday we have seen a huge jump in fring video calling.
So, to free up some room for more fring-to-fring video calling, we are temporarily reducing support to Skype. Be patient, we'll have some more updates soon.
These things happen, but surely just about everybody saw it coming. Anyhoo, hang tight, folks, and hopefully Fring will have things up and running soon enough. [Fring via Android Central Forums] Thanks to everybody who sent this in.
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