Let's be clear -- the Best Buy Grand Rapids South Facebook page isn't exactly the same as news coming from the steps of Best Buy HQ. But we take what we can get around here, we suppose. [Best Buy Grand Rapids South Facebook via Droid Life]
New phones always means new goodies for developers and hackers. With the release of the HTC Inspire 4G to a few people, it was only a matter of time until the system of AT&T's big beauty were pulled out and made available. As you can see in our hands-on with the Inspire 4G, it's the new version of HTC Sense -- Evo, Dinc and Desire hackers take note -- without too much AT&T bloat added in to screw it up make things better.
If you're curious, or like to tinker grab it and have a look. And if you're planning on getting the Inspire 4G and doing any type of happy hacking on it, grab it as a safety net. Trust me ;) [Android Central forums]
Have a small business and have been looking longingly at the iPhone and iPad's mobile commerce solutions? Things are about to change, thanks to Intuit with Go Payment -- and, of course, Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablets.
The premise is the same as on other platforms -- There's a small accessory that plugs into the tablet's 3.5mm headphone jack. You slide the card through it, and the payment's made. Quick and simple. Check it out in the video above.
Google just released the latest figures on the number of Android variants in the wild. For the two weeks ending Feb. 2, 89.8 percent of devices are on Android 2.1 and up. Realistically, that means Android 2.1 and 2.2 -- Froyo leads the way at 57.6 percent -- as only 0.8 percent are running Gingerbead. That gives you a feel for how few Nexus S's have sold.
One of the cool new ways we can interact with applications in Honeycomb is with "fragments." Have a look at the Honeycomb event video, then check them out in real world use in CNN's new Android app and the upcoming Sports Illustrated app. From the videos, it looks like the perfect way to handle a lot of content in an organized and easy to navigate way.
But that's all geared towards honeycomb's new tablet interface. What about smartphones? Googler and Android software engineer Dianne Hackborn let us in on how fragments are going to work on your phone in a new post on the Android Developers blog. There's a lot of technical information there, and if you're even the least bit inclined you should make sure to read it all, but the nutshell version is that fragments are coming to smartphones. Google has spent time to make them easy to program, even giving an excellent tutorial developers can use with the Android 3.0 preview to get started. And the best news? The plan is to make the new APIs backwards compatible to Android 1.6, so most phones (sorry Moto Cliq users), even older models, will reap the benefit.
The last big question is, "when is all this coming?" -- Dianne has answered us in advance:
We don’t have a firm date for when this library will be available, but it should be relatively soon. In the meantime, you can start developing with fragments on Android 3.0 to see how they work, and most of that effort should be transferable.
With all that Sports Illustrated and CNN have done right with their Android tablet applications, The Economist ... well, it went a different direction. That's not to say it is completely devoid of merit -- the magazine's covers are nicely displayed, and stories are well categorized. But individual story pages lack any sort of design flare, and you likely won't enjoy reading stories at their full width in landscape mode. Let's just call it Version 1.0 and move on.
If you're into running your own blog on Blogger then you'll be pleased to know they have just released the first version of their Android application to the Android Market. They've taken their time in releasing the app due to the fact they wanted to ensure a great experience when using it and they've taken a lot of the features of Blogger and integrated them nicely:
Multiple accounts and blogs: You can easily switch between different accounts and blogs that you have author rights to. Simply choose your account and blog and you are all set to go.
Write and save/publish: You can write a post, assign labels, and then either save it as a draft or immediately publish it. Saving as draft is handy if you need to wait until you have Internet connectivity.
Photos from camera and gallery: If you see something interesting, you can take a photo directly from the app and include it in the blog post. You can also browse your gallery to include the ones you like.
Sharing to Blogger from gallery or browser: Blogger is one of the available sharing options. If you come across a photo in the gallery, or a website while browsing, you can share the content to the Blogger app directly from the sharing menu.
Share location: You can share your location by activating the location bar and selecting the correct location. This information will be included in your post
View saved/published posts: By switching to the List View, you can view all your drafts and published posts that you wrote using the app. By performing a long-press on a published post you can invoke a menu that includes the option to view your post in a browser.
Given that it is the very first release, users are advised to use the feedback forum if you're having any issues or just want to suggest some new features to the Blogger team. You can find the download after the break. [Blogger Buzz]
We've had a few people ask us recently if it's possible to have one on-screen keyboard appear for a certain app, and another keyboard appear for a different app, automatically. As it stands now, you have long-press and go through a couple menus to switch keyboards, and that makes it a bit of a pain.
But in Android 3.0 Honeycomb, the process has been significantly improved.
But that's why we made the Sideload Wonder Machine
Oh, by the way. In case you were hoping AT&T had changed its ways when it comes to locking its phones into the Android Market -- not so much. There should be an option in the picture above on the HTC Inspire 4G that says "Unknown sources - allow installation of non-Market applications." But, obviously, there's not.
That's not to say there aren't ways around it. The Android Sideload Wonder Machine was designed for phones like the Inspire 4G. So don't forget who's got your back. (Hint: It's us.)
The OtterBox Defender is one of the toughest cases you can buy for your precious Droid Incredible. The case comes in four separate parts, two of which snap together to directly encase the phone. This is made of hard plastic and the front-facing one has a thin, clear plastic screen that covers the entire face of the phone. There is a tiny cutout around the optical joystick, which you can see in the picture above.
Around this hard inner shell goes a thick rubbery layer that also servers to provide both protection and access to the various ports on the phone. Both the micro USB port and the headphone jack on top are given ample space when needed. The case also comes with a holster complete with a clip on the back for latching it onto your belt or nearly anything else. The clip felt very strong and durable during the time I used it. A great feature of the holster is that it is designed in such a way that you can have the screen facing inward for maximum protection of have it exposed for all to see. This is a feature not found on most holsters and is a definite plus for those who make constant use of holsters.
The overall build quality was top notch and what you would expect from someone like OtterBox. The device feels great in the hand if you are used to large cases and the buttons didn't require too much effort to press. The one big issue I had was that the clear screen has a very small opening for the optical joystick and was very uncomfortable to use. Anyone that uses that optical joystick on a regular basis may want to look for something with an open face. That being said, the OtterBox Defender is overall a great case for anyone looking for maximum protection for their DInc. You can buy it right now from the Android Central Store for $47.95.
The HTC Inspire 4G won't be available on AT&T until Feb. 13. But we've got one in our hot little hands, and it's time to put the phone through its paces. For all intents and purposes, this is a Desire HD for us here in the United States. And that's a good thing. Even better: It'll be just a mere $99 on contract.
It's got a 4.3-inch TFT LCD display, a 1GHz processor, the latest version of the HTC Sense user interface, an 8MP camera with dual flashes -- and the auspicious fortune of being AT&T's first "4G" device. We'll deal with the whole data thing later. For now, check out the quick hands-on video after the break.