Changes in the Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread source will allow applications to take screenshots without rooting your phone. We've always been able to take screenshots using the SDK and the ddms utility (which you can see above), and some third-party manufacturer skins have enabled it -- both accidentally and on purpose. But with Android 2.3.3 it appears that applications will be able to do it without rooting on stock Android. This is because of some changes in the way the SurfaceFlinger service handles what it captures from the framebuffer. For more info, have a look here. It's something that many users have been requesting, and security issues aside, something long available on most other smartphone platforms. (Wave to your screenshot-less Windows Phone friends, everybody!)
Of course we have to wait for 2.3.3 to filter down to everyone before we see apps take advantage of this for most phones. But if you've rooted and are already rocking Gingerbread, it shouldn't be long before your favorite developer integrates this and any other small tweaks that come with the latest version. Then again, you can use any of the methods on the Market to capture your screen if you're already rooted. So goes Android's circle of life, I guess. Hopefully, manufacturers get 2.3.3 pushed out soon and we all can enjoy.
Our reviews won't stop, nor is the Android Market is likely to change overnight. And so, the folks from Chomp have stepped in and released their app discovery service to Android users. Chomp allows users to seek out Android apps in what may or not be a better layout depending on your tastes. Given that it is available as a free download, it'll do no harm in checking it out if you're having troubles finding new apps for your device. Download and video are available after the break. [TechCrunch]
Motorola Mobility chairman Sanjay Jha announced at an investor relations conference this morning that starting this June, all future Motorola high-end smartphones will include Webtop. Webtop so far is unique to the Motorola Atrix 4G, but it looks that will be changing soon. Mr. Jha also made note that the only reason the Droid Bionic did not ship with Webtop was due to time constraints. Hopefully, this means that it may be enabled in a future update. Motorola's definition of high-end also remains to be seen, but phones that can drive the second "shell" for Webtop mode will likely have dual-core processors and either dual-channel RAM as in the Bionic, or at least 1 GB of "normal" RAM like the Atrix. Don't look for this on the Cliq 2, no matter how bad we want it.
Placing your smartphone into a specially designed dock to create a web appliance does sound like a very nice idea on paper, but the verdict is still out on just how functional it will be. One thing that would help further it along would be to design the docking stations to be universal, and I hope Motorola has this in mind. We'll know more in June. [Motorola]
Gingerbread (the Android 2.3.2 version) has been leaked for the Samsung Galaxy S i9000. Users at XDA Developers are saying that it includes Touchwiz 4, and download mode is still available. It also looks like Samsung is now using the ext4 file system, which should bring performance boosts much like the ones on the Nexus S.
Remember, this is a beta build -- at best. I wouldn't recommend anyone run and flash it, but in the hands of developers it's like 24 karat gold -- possibly leading to things like CyanogenMod 7 for Samsung Galaxy S phones. What this means for US customers who are tied to a carrier for upgrades is unknown, but at least Samsung has Gingerbread in the works. Check the source link for download locations. [XDA-Developers] Thanks everyone who sent this in!
2011 certainly looks and feels like the year of the tablet. One device that has enjoyed massive love from the Android community due to its price and openness to be hacked has been the Nook Color.
Compared to other tablets that can get up to the $600-$800 range, the Nook Color costs $249. If you're still on the fence about getting one, Barnes and Noble is offering them for $200 through their official ebay account.
If you're interested in this discount, head to ebay and enter in the coupon code: CBARNESDD and your Nook will instantly be $50 off. That's a great price for a tablet of the Nook's magnitude, especially with all of the hacks that have been cooked up for it recently. [ebay]
The spring CTIA event is just a few short weeks away, and Samsung Mobile's starting to tease its next "Unpacked" event. The event at MWC in early February was dubbed "Letters From the World," and up next we have "What's your Tab life?" with the number(s) 78910 underneath.
We're betting that has something to do with the perfect tablet size. Sammy's already got the original 7-inch Galaxy Tab, of course, and it unveiled a 10-inch Honeycomb version in Barcelona. Will we get 8- and 9-inch versions to go along with them? We'd probably bet against that, but stranger things have happened. (Update: Yeah, an 8.9-inch tablet could well be it.) Find out March 22, we guess. [Facebook]
It took a little while longer than its cousins, but the Honeycomb statue has finally arrived at Building 44 on Google's Mountain View, Calif., campus. There she be, with a honeybee and the Android robot facing off. Pretty cool, actually. [via @cyngus]
And if you missed it earlier this month, be sure to check out our jaunt to Building 44 during the Honeycomb event. It's after the break.
Update: Video from Google's Dan Morrill of the statue being transported is also after the break. Very cool.
In a Facebook post that brings as much new information as the post you're reading now, Verizon reminds us all that the HTC ThunderBolt is coming, it'll have Verizon's LTE data, and, no, there's still no launch date. To wit:
Hey fans, we appreciate all the excitement about the anticipated launch of the ThunderBolt by HTC. We're excited too! Verizon 4G LTE is America’s fastest, most advanced 4G network & we want to ensure the advanced technology behind our first 4G LTE phone is flawless. We will announce its release date as soon as it is confirmed. Thanks for your support & patience while we work to bring you the ThunderBolt by HTC.
Simon Walker, developer program head at Sony Ericsson, has made an interesting series of tweets suggesting the manufacturer may be about to change its stance on rooting and custom ROM development. Just as Motorola is looking at compromises on the issue of locked bootloaders, Sony Ericsson's developer boss says he's "actually in favor" of rooting "if we do it right."
One possible example of this might be the introduction of Xoom/Nexus S-style unlockable/relockable bootloaders, though Walker didn't mention any specifics, instead saying he needs to take the discussion inside Sony Ericsson before anything is decided. Still, it's promising that someone at a senior position at SE has come out in support of rooting. Hopefully he'll be able to convince his colleagues to see the light. [@simon_a_walker]
One enterprising XDA forum member has managed to snag a copy of the still unreleased Xperia Arc's /system partition via ADB, and has posted the resulting files online. The /system partition typically contains the core applications and files at the heart of any ROM.
As the Arc is powered by Android 2.3 Gingerbread, this system dump may help developers working on custom ROMs for the Xperia X8 and X10, both of which are stuck on Android 2.1 with no prospect of an official bump to Froyo or Gingerbread. For everyone else, there's always the prospect of grabbing a few cool wallpapers or ringtones. [XDA]
For you Sprint customers out there who are signed up for the Total Equipment Protection service, you now have a new way to keep your stuff safe. Sprint's released the Total Equipment Protection App that brings a slew of features to help locate, lock, wipe and backup your Sprint Android smartphone's contents. Particularly,
Locate lost device by sounding an alarm on the smartphone even if in silent mode, doing a real time locate via GPS technology, or viewing the smartphone’s location history on a map via a Web Interface
Remotely lock their smartphone
Erase contacts in the address book on a lost smartphone
Backup, manage and restore contacts
The app is free if you're a subscriber of Sprint's $7-a-month TEP service. You can get the app at protection.sprint.com. Full presser's after the break.
Can't say we didn't see this coming. Maybe because as soon as the HTC ChaCha was announced the fist thought that came to our collective mind was ChaCha, the questions and answers search engine. As it turns out, ChaCha Inc. is now going after HTC and their Facebook toting phone asking for financial damages and a permanent injunction to prevent HTC from selling the device under the ChaCha name.
To their credit, ChaCha is a registered trademark and they do offer search results via SMS so the relationship between a phone and their organization could be misconstrued. Suing to have the name changed may be in their favor on this one. Damages, I'm so sure about -- if anything the name likely got ChaCha Inc. some exposure rather then doing any financial harm. [Justia via PhoneScoop]
If you are like me and have been putting off filing your taxes for any number of reasons, TurboTax SnapTax is an application you will definitely want to check out. Taking all the information from your W-2 and entering it online can become a pain, especially if you have more then one source of income, but TurboTax has gone above and beyond this year, and made it extremely easy to file. Simply snap a picture of your W-2, give the application a few minutes to pull the needed fields from the image and auto-populate them into your tax forms.
From here you simply go through the information that it pulled and verify that the information is correct. Once you verify the accuracy of the information, you can pay directly through the app and then file your taxes. Within minutes you can file your Federal and State returns, and then sit back and wait for the money to be deposited in your account. While the application itself is a free download from the Android Market, filing will cost $14.99. Hit the break for a video walk through of the application (and yes, we are sorry they chose to film it on an iPhone)
It's nothing we haven't heard before, the BlackBerry PlayBook is said to be able to run Android applications. But up until now we have never really had documented proof of this. During Mobile World Congress this month, during a hands on with the device one of the employees seemed to have slipped up and stated "we'll also support Android apps," which is pretty big. (Or they read the blog rumors, we gather.) Interesting none the less to see some cross platform Android applications, would certainly open the doors to plenty of new developers and ultimately can help strengthen the Android platform even further. [via CrackBerry]