Sat down (erm, stood up) at Google IO with our pals from Dataviz to take a look at Docs to Go version 3.0. We got a glimpse of it at Mobile World Congress in February, but now it's ready for public consumption, though it won't be available in the Android Market for a few more weeks. And if you're looking for an easy method of syncing your important documents between your computer and phone, this is it. Check it out.
Update: Good news, everybody. Dataviz tells us the update will be free. Quoting: "Documents To Go version 3.0, including the new desktop sync application, will be a free upgrade for all customers who previously purchased our full version. Hopefully that news will make our customers and your readers very happy!" Indeed, it does.
Don't worry so much about not understanding that headline. We don't blame you. The Dalvik Virtual Machine is a behind-the-scenes tool that most of you never see, let alone need to worry about. Same goes for the Just-in-Time compiler -- aka the JIT. But those two things are among the main reasons Android 2.2 -- Froyo -- is leaps and bounds faster than than its predecessors. (Check out our own benchmarking tests if you need proof.)
Google's Dan Bornstein recently took to the Android Developers Blog to explain more about Dalvik and Jit. And he turns it into plain English far better than I could:
We added a Just In Time (JIT) compiler to the Dalvik VM. The JIT is a software component which takes application code, analyzes it, and actively translates it into a form that runs faster, doing so while the application continues to run. If you want to learn more about the design of the Dalvik JIT, please watch the excellent talk from Google I/O 2010 given by my colleagues Bill Buzbee and Ben Cheng, which should be posted to YouTube very soon.
To be clear, the differences aren’t always dramatic, nor do they apply uniformly to all applications. Code that is written to run the CPU all-out can now do more in the same amount of time (running faster), and code that is written to be rate-limited can get its work done using less time and less of the CPU (using less battery). On the performance front in particular, we have seen realistic improvements of 2x to 5x for CPU-bound code, compared to the previous version of the Dalvik VM. This is equivalent to about 4x to 10x faster than a more traditional interpreter implementation.
OK, I take it back. I understood parts of that. But I especially understood the part where Dan explain that things run "4x to 10x faster." There's no interpretation needed there. And on top of the speed increases, the JIT is light on RAM, too. It's a win-win. Check out Dan's entire post for the whole nitty-gritty on the JIT and why you'll love it. [Android Developers Blog]
Here's ye another example of why our forum members are the best. Locoman shot this picture of the moon through a 10-inch Dobsonian telescope -- with the HTC Incredible, putting that 8-megapixel camera to good use. But it gets even better. Check out his shot of Saturn -- yeah, the one with the rings that's way, way out there -- and some more moon shots in his forum post.
Not everything in Android 2.2 is hardcore behind-the-scenes stuff. Some of it is a bit fluffy. Butt-kicking-cool useless fluff though, so it's all good. Mix up one part fluff and one part function and you have the new 3D gallery and camera apps. Like so much other stuff in Froyo, some of the changes seem very useful, while others completely random. Hit the jump to get the run down, some handy pictures, and a video of something fun called pinch peek.
(Thanks, Chris! Find a cool new feature in Froyo and want to tell the world about it? E-mail us here and we'll make you famous!)
And the Motorola Droid Shadow is spotted again! This time the Droid Shadow is shown from the uber-sexy side angle and from the looks of it, we're quite impressed with the overall thinness and clean lines of it. In this shot we can clearly see the HDMI out that's in line with previous leaked info but the Howard Forums user who posted the pic says that the Droid Shadow "only" has a 4.1-inch screen, TI OMAP 3630 processor (720 ARM Cortex A8), 8GB internal storage, and 8-megapixel camera. That's a little off from previous information so we'll have to wait and see who's right. We'd like Snapdragon and the extra .2 inches in screen size please. Other than that though, this phone looks sweet. Those of you who passed on the Droid Incredible might have a great thing in your hands soon. [via engadget]
Mobile advertising server AdMob -- whose purchase by Google, by the way, was approved by the feds last Friday -- just released its April numbers today. (AdMob servers up many of the in-app ads you see on your Android phone.) Let's look at the bullet points:
Some 75 percent of unique Android devices are in North America. Asia has 12 percent of Android devices, followed by Western Europe with 11 percent.
In the United States, the iPhone has about 10.7 million devices, and Android makes up 8.7 million. (If you count the iPod Touch along with the iPhone, Apple's share jumps to 18.3 million.)
Worldwide, there are about 11.6 million Android devices pinging AdMob's servers, compared to 27.4 million iPhones and 40.8 million for the iPhone/iPod Touch.
Top Android smartphone in the United States in April was the Motorola Droid, with 16.1 percent of AdMob advertising requests. The HTC Magic (myTouch) followed with 5.3 percent, the HTC Dream (G1) with 5.0 percent, Motorola Cliq at 4.5 percent, HTC Droid Eris and Hero each at 4.3 percent, and Samsung Moment at 3.3 percent.
Android phones showing gains in April were the Magic (0.5 percent), Droid Eris (0.2 percent) and Moment (0.2 percent).
After what felt like years of speculation, the Dell Streak is officially official. As in Dell has announced it and it's coming to O2 in the U.K. in early June and the US later this summer (likely AT&T). The announcement is completely in line with what Dell CEO Michael Dell told us a couple weeks back and the specs are similar to all the leaked info we've seen in the past months. But there's nothing like a good 'ol press release to put the final stamp on it.
The official specs of the Dell Streak:
1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon Processor
5-inch WVGA capacitive touchscreen
5-megapixel camera with LED Flash
16GB internal memory with microSD support
Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 2.1
7.2 Mbps HSDPA
launching with Android 1.6, update to Android 2.2 by end of the year
The only thing we don't have is pricing, and we hope Dell doesn't mess it up. All you folks across the pond will find the Streak available online and in stores from O2, Carphone Warehouse, and Dell.co.uk. Us Americans have to wait just a little bit longer. Thanks Dell. [businesswire]
Think it through: The Froyo update first started showing up on a few devices -- journalists no less -- and these were devices that originally were distributed by Google. So the Goog knew the IMEIs -- a unique identifier of the phone -- and started pushing out early updates. It was a targeted distribution.
When an over-the-air update is pushed, it actually just tells your phone "Go to this Internet address to download the update." From that point, it's just a matter of finding the download location (which takes about 30 seconds if you know how), and that's the ball game. The rest of us now have this early version of Froyo.
Rest assured, we'll see a more final build soon, and hopefully we'll have the source code released before then so that our favorite chefs can get to cooking. As for when a specific phone will get a Froyo update, well, we don't know. And it's really unlikely anybody else does at this point either. So be careful in reading those random posts from customer-service bots or some guy in a store. We thought we'd taught you better than that. :)
We still think it's kind of cheating to want to run an HTC phone without the Sense user interface, but we're also champions of choice. And so, we bring you instructions on how to turn off the Sense UI on the Sprint Evo 4G. And we ran a couple more benchmarking tests to see if there was any noticeable speed difference once Sense was gone. Our results, after the break.
We've heard people on other platforms complain that it's not easy to switch apps on Android. Apparently they weren't aware that all you have to do is hold down the Home button, and you get an app switcher. And it's gotten better in Android 2.2, with Froyo giving access to the eight most recent applications, doubling another third over what we've been used to. (That's four six, for you non-math majors.) Yeah, that's been available through various apps before, but now it's native, and it's a welcome change.
(Thanks, Stephen! Find a cool new feature in Froyo and want to tell the world about it? E-mail us here and we'll make you famous!)
We were there when Google showed off the power of Android 2.2 and Froyo's new Just-in-Time compiler -- think zoom zoom! -- but you know the old saying ... trust, by verify. And so we shall. Above we have the Nexus One with Froyo, the Evo 4G with Android 2.1 and Sense, and the Motorola Droid with Android 2.1. Ran them all through Linpack, and the numbers hold up. We're seeing scores on Android 2.2 that are 600 percent or so higher than on Android 2.1. And this is in a pre-release version of Froyo, without any of the optimizations that we're likely to see from the ROM chefs out there. Booyah.
The HTC Incredible vanished from Verizon's website on Tuesday -- for a grand total of about 6 minutes. Don't worry, it's not in the midst of some massive recall or anything. It apparently was just to swap out some of the specs -- mainly the addition of a 2GB microSD card, says Mobile Burn. (Though we don't see that mentioned.) That said, the estimated shipping date is June 15, so you might want to trek to your nearest brick-and-mortar store if you're looking for one. [Mobile Burn via VZW]
Update: Verizon just got back with us, and indeed the down time was nothing more nefarious than to update the microSD card spec. Sky's not falling.
You can get a PDF file viewer anywhere, but we all know that Adobe does it the best, and it just released an official Adobe Reader app [Market link] for Android. First impression is its pure simplicity, and I mean that in a good way. Now, before you get excited – make sure you’re running Éclair, and have at least 550MHz CPU with 256MB of RAM, or else it’s just not going to be a smooth experience.
We hear ya. There are a lot of you out there on Sprint who are looking at your Palm Pre and wondering how it would be to hold the Evo 4G in its place. Ask and ye shall receive. After the break are more photos and video of the Android 2.1 Evo 4G alongside the webOS-based Palm Pre. It's not really a fair fight at this point, but at least they got in the ring.
Not quite sure the stock Android 2.2 keyboard is going to take over the top spot from some of our favorites, but it's definitely getting better. Used to be to type a number or symbol, you'd have to hit the button at the lower left, then hit the key you want. Let's just say I was not a fan.
Now to get a number or symbol, all you have to do is swipe your finger toward to top of the screen from the qwerty row of the keyboard, and you get 'em. It's a small improvement, but definitely a welcome one.
But, wait, there's more. Hold down the ?123 key to bring up the option (OK, that's not new, but it's still good to know). Even better, though, is if you have more than one language installed. If that's the case, you can easily switch from an English QWERTY keyboard to the German QWERTZ keyboard by swiping left and right on the space bar. Huzzah!
(Thanks, Ceasar! Find a cool new feature in Froyo and want to tell the world about it? E-mail us here and we'll make you famous!)