Android Market Client update released: Hands on video and download link

Google has just announced and released an update Android Market client which features a revamped user interface and several other changes :

To streamline the browse-to-purchase experience, users can now access all the information about an application on a single page without the need to navigate across different tabs. We’re also introducing application content rating to provide users with more information about applications they are interested in. Since most users who request a refund do so within minutes of purchase, we will reduce the refund window on Market to 15 minutes. This change will be largely transparent to buyers, but will help developers manage their businesses more effectively.

To make it easier for developers to distribute and manage their products, we will introduce support for device targeting based on screen sizes and densities, as well as on GL texture compression formats. We are also increasing the maximum size for .apk files on Market to 50MB, to better support richer games.

I’ve just shot a short video ofthe new client in action on the Samsung Galaxy S and compare it to the old one on an HTC Desire HD:

Continue reading Android Market Client update released: Hands on video and download link →

Kindle for Android is available

The Kindle application for Android was announced a little bit more than a month ago and today Amazon is proud to deliver the goodies. The Kindle application is now available on the Android Market. I’ll re-post all the application’s features after the break but note that it requires Android 1.6+ to work so grab the last ROM for you device before attempting to download it. The recently announced Samsung Vibrant will have  it pre-loaded:

Continue reading Kindle for Android is available →

Google Maps 4.3 for Android adds Latitude and Transit Transportation

Google has updated its Google Maps application for Android with a couple of new features including integration of Google Latitude and public transit transportation.  Google must me applauded for all the updates and added features that are being including nearly every month. Microsoft is also doing a good job latetly thanks to the new Bing Maps applications SDK that enables third-party developers to create Silverlight based applications for Bing Maps (application that can be easily ported to Windows Phone 7 like Weather Bug) but the Bing Team really has to work on local deals to add basic features like live traffic outside of the US and UK, public transit etc..The Google Maps 4.3 application is currently available on the Android Market for devices running Android 1.6+.

Source: Google Mobile Blog

Google Maps Navigation now available in 11 countries

Similar to the Google Voice Search restrictions that google lifted today, the Google Maps team is proudly announcing that Google Maps Navigation on Android is now available in 11 countries:

There’s nothing quite like driving through Europe in the summer. In the past week, I’ve seen the beautiful Val d’Aosta, the Swiss Alps, the Cathedral in Chartres, and travelled through the Channel Tunnel as I road-tripped from Milan to Geneva, Zürich to Stuttgart, and on through Paris to London. Why the burst of mileage? Well, I’ve been testing Google Maps Navigation version 4.2. Yes, road-testing it around Europe was a grueling process, but somebody had to do it :)

Today we’re launching Google Maps Navigation version 4.2 in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland for Android devices 1.6 and higher. Google Maps Navigation is an Internet-connected GPS navigation or ‘satnav’ system that provides turn-by-turn voice guidance as a free feature of Google Maps.

Source: Google

The Samsung Behold II will only get Android 1.6

Fragmantation Fragmentation…Bad news for all the Samsung Behold II owners out there, the handset will only receive an upgrade to Android 1.6 and nothing more.:

Samsung Mobile and T-Mobile USA are planning to update the Behold II to Android 1.6 which provides access to Google Maps Navigation, Google Voice Search capability and quick search box for Android.

The update will also supply additional benefits including Swype, an improved Media Player, updated core Android applications and improved Bluetooth capabilities. However, the Behold II is not upgradeable beyond Android 1.6.

Source: Twitter

Google: There’s no Android fragmentation

One thing that Google has been praised for lately is the constant development of the Android platform and the introduction of new features and functionalities in the form of OS updates every few months . Unfortunately the nature of the Android market which is composed of OEMs and Carriers freely building Android devices with different hardware specifications and UI customization results in the fragmentation of the ecosystem. Google is also guilty of sometimes working closely with an OEM on an updated Android version and leaving the rest of the partners in the dark (Android 2.0 -> Motorola Droid and Android 2.1/2 -> Nexus One). The immediate consequence is that phones bought less than a year ago (like the Hero, Magic etc) can’t or won’t be updated to the latest version of the OS (or will receive 2.1 when 2.3 will be out..) and that new applications usually require the lastest version of the OS to be installed on the phone.

A couple of hours ago, Google’s Open Source & Compatibility Program Manager Dan Morrill post a blog post about Android’s Fragmentation and tried to explain to the world that it didn’t really exist:

Another meme I remember is… yes, “fragmentation”. Literally before the close of business on the same day we announced Android (4:46pm to be precise), I saw the first article about Android “fragmentation.” The first day wasn’t even over yet, and the press had already decided that Android would have a “fragmentation” problem.

The thing is, nobody ever defined “fragmentation” — or rather, everybody has a different definition. Some people use it to mean too many mobile operating systems; others to refer to optional APIs causing inconsistent platform implementations; still others use it to refer to “locked down” devices, or even to the existence of multiple versions of the software at the same time. I’ve even seen it used to refer to the existence of different UI skins. Most of these definitions don’t even have any impact on whether apps can run!

Because it means everything, it actually means nothing, so the term is useless. Stories on “fragmentation” are dramatic and they drive traffic to pundits’ blogs, but they have little to do with reality. “Fragmentation” is a bogeyman, a red herring, a story you tell to frighten junior developers. Yawn.

To me this looks like Google is burying its head in the sand. Android is fragmented, even the iPhone is fragmented (original iPhone vs iPhone 3G vs 3GS etc) it is inevitable because of the way hardware evolves. The problem with Android is that it only took 1 year to become a total mess. Windows Mobile is the prime example of this ecosystem fragmentation and the only solution found by Microsoft to fix this in Windows Phone 7 was to enforce strict hardware requirements and software requirements (similar to the iPhone’s approach but with many OEMs) so that users worldwide will always have the same version of the OS at the same time. Google will have to find a way to compensate this problem (fragmentation will always happen anyway) and it looks like  Andy Rubin’s announcement that OS updates will only be released once a year in the future is a proof that Google acknowledges the problem (unlike Don’s blog post):

So we launched it, and from our internal 0.8, we got to 1.0 pretty quickly, and we went through this iteration cycle. You’ve noticed, probably, that that’s slowed down a little bit. Our product cycle is now, basically twice a year, and it will probably end up being once a year when things start settling down, because a platform that’s moving — it’s hard for developers to keep up. I want developers to basically leverage the innovation. I don’t want developers to have to predict the innovation.

Source: Android Dev Blog & Techcrunch

LG Optimus (LU2300) Android smartphone released in Korea

Looks like the LG-LU2300 now known as the LG Optimus is finally available in South Korea. Unfortunately I can’t read Korean but from what I gathered the Optimus is currently shipping with Android 1.6 and features a custom Augmented Reality application. The specs are the following:

- SnapDragon SoC
- Android 2.1
- 3.5? AMOLED touch screen
- WVGA (800X480) resolution
- Sliding-QWERTY keypad
- See the track, spin the pad mounted
- 5Mp camera equipped with 720p Geo-tagging video capture
- Divx HD-class video playback
- GPS
- Wi-fi
- DMB-TV tuner
- Built-in Augmented reality app

Check out the video presentation after the break:

Continue reading LG Optimus (LU2300) Android smartphone released in Korea →

Kindle for Android coming soon


Amazon has just announced that the Kindle application is coming soon to Android. Here are the major feaure sna system requierements:

Read Kindle books on your Android phone

- Get the best reading experience available on your Android phone. No Kindle required
- Access your Kindle books even if you don’t have your Kindle with you
- Automatically synchronizes your last page read and annotations between devices with Whispersync
- Adjust the text size, add bookmarks, and view the annotations you created on your Kindle, computer, or other Kindle-compatible device
- Read in portrait or landscape mode
- Tap on either side of the screen or flick to turn pages

Shop for books in the Kindle Store optimized for your Android phone

- Buy a book from the Kindle Store optimized for your Android phone and get it auto-delivered wirelessly
- Search and browse more than 500,000 books, including more than 96 of 110 New York Times bestsellers. If you are a non-U.S. customer, book availability may vary
- Find New York Times® Best Sellers and new releases from $9.99
- Get free book samples. Read the beginning of books for free before you decide to buy
- Books you purchase can also be read on a Kindle, computer, or other Kindle-compatible mobile devices
- Kindle newspapers, magazines and blogs are currently not available on Kindle for Android

Technical Details

- Requires Android OS 1.6 or greater
- Requires an SD card
- Supports Droid Incredible, Google Nexus One, HTC MyTouch, Motorola CLIQ, Motorola Droid, and many more Android phones

With the release of the Android app this summer it would beintersting to see if Amazon announes a Windows Phone 7 this fall (it’s already available on the PC, Mac, iPhon, iPad, BlackBerry..).

Source: Amazon

Google Maps Navigation now available in the UK


UK Android users rejoice! Google Navigation Betahas been update to version 4.1.1and now brings the full navigation functionality to the UK. According to early reports it is working on Android 1.6 and up. For more information head over here. All you have to do to get it is launch Google Maps on you Android handset and you should be prompted to download the 4.1.1 update.

Source: Google

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 to receive Android 2.1 and Multi-Touch update later this year


As it was announced a few weeks ago, the Sony Ericssion Xperia X10 will receive an update to Android 2.1 in H2 2010 (around September). but most importantly this update will also enable multi-touch support on the device. Contrary to what some SE representative state a little while ago, the X10 doe support this function (his statement didn’t make any sense anyways I have never heard of a capacitive display that doesn’t support it, it’s just a driver thing.)

Source: Mobiles.co.uk

Garmin-Asus Nuvifone A50 hands-on


I had the chance to get my hands on the Garmin-Asus Nuvifone A50, the company’s first Android based smartphone. The A50 is currently running Android 1.6 (with multi-touch implemented by Garmin-Asus as you can see in the video below) but will be upgradeable to 2.X later this year according to the company. The handset is packed with navigation related customization starting with the home screen (Breeze UI) to the contacts and photo album. Build quality is pretty good (miles better than the M10 IMO) and the 3.5″ HVGA capacitive touchscreen was also really responsive. Like the vast majority of the mid-end smartphones launched this year the A50 is equipped with Qualcomm’s MSM7227 SoC clocked @ 600Mhz. Unfortunately the A50 doesn’t feature a standard 3.5mm audio jack and has a mini-sub connector (not micro-usb like it’s the norm now)

LG GT540 Hands-on video and pictures


Here are some hands-on picture I took of LG’s second Android handset, the LG GT540 is currently running Android 1.6(with some customization done by LG)but I was assured that it will be upgradeable to Android 2.X in the future. The device sport a 3Mpix camera with AF and a resistive touchscreen (it is so good that I initially thought that it was capacitive at first but then the LG Rep told me to use my finger nails to prove that it was indeed resistive) and will feature native WMV & Divx playback support. The GT540is  also really light. LG plans to ship it globally in April 2010.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini and Xperia X10 Mini Pro announced


Sony Ericsson just unveiled the Xperia X10 Mini & Xperia X10 Mini Pro a few hours ago in Barcelona during the pre – MWC conference today. If you remember we saw a couple of Xperia X10 Minipictures a couple of weeks ago so it was kinda expected that the handset will be made official today. But the big surprise came from the Xperia X10 Mini Pro which is basically an Xperia  X10 Mini with a 4 row sliding-qwerty keyboard! Here are the full specs of the devices:

Xperia™ X10 mini and X10 mini pro Sony Ericsson Timescape™ – brings together all communication in one place Four corner control – applications, calls, web, the consumer decides. Four customisable icons for ultimate control 5 megapixel camera and video – share creations via the web Music player links to music stores and YouTube™ – access the world of music Android platform – with Google™ services and Android Market™ QWERTY keyboard – slide and text for quick and easy messaging (Xperia™ X10 mini pro only)


Xperia™ X10 mini:

Size: 83 x 50 x 16 mm
Weight: 88 grams
Phone memory: Up to 128MB
Memory card support: SanDisk microSD™, up to 16 GB
Memory card included: 2GB
Operating system: Google™ Android 1.6
Processor: 600 MHz Qualcomm MSM7227
Talk time GSM/GPRS: Up to 4 hours
Standby time: GSM/GPRS: Up to 285hrs
Talk time UMTS: Up to 3.5 hours
Standby time: UMTS: Up to 360 hrs

Xperia™ X10 mini pro:

Size: 90 x 52 x 17 mm
Weight: 120 grams
Phone memory: Up to 128MB
Memory card support: SanDisk microSD™, up to 16 GB
Memory card included: 2GB
Operating system: Google™ Android 1.6
Processor: 600 MHz Qualcomm MSM7227
Talk time GSM/GPRS: Up to 4 hours
Standby time: GSM/GPRS: Up to 285hrs
Talk time UMTS: Up to 3.5 hours
Standby time: UMTS: Up to 360 hrs

Both phones Will ship with Android 1.6 and feature Sony Ericssons Timescape UI customized for the smaller screen (you now have for new soft buttons placed at each corner of the screen, those buttons can also be changed by the user. Both handsets also feature a 3.5mm jack, 5Mpix camera with LED flash & Auto-Focus and capacitive touchscreens. Availability is said to be Q2 2010.

Sony Ericsson’s Xperia X10 will get Android 2.X, but not now


In a recent blog post titled “Xperia X10 will be upgradeable”, Sony Ericsson’s Sumit Malhotra discuss the merits of SE’s Timescape UI sitting on top of Android and the fact that every time he demos the X10 people always ask him why it is still based on Android 1.6 and not a higher version:

On the other hand when moving over to talk about the user interface, I have felt some skepticism in the air since people tend to have adopted quickly to Android release version as their context of competitiveness. Quite often, the starting point for this part of the demonstration is a 1.6 release remark if I would generalize my interactions to date. [...] I have probably painted a positive picture, but I am sharing the discussions I have had and my take outs from them. I am not trying to hide from the fact that there are platform upgrades between android 1.6 and 2.1, if utilized can enhance the experience for developers and users. Having that said, I have had discussions with carriers that are very sensitive and concerned generally about taking on devices in their range that are not competitive enough. I have faced head to head comparisons between Xperia X10 and generic 2.1 Android devices (as well as other OS) and carriers have concluded that we still stand strong in comparison. This because of the layer that we ad on top of the generic OS.

Source: Sony Ericsson via theunwired

HTC Droid Eris to receive newer Android version update and Google Navigation

Droid Eris
According to HTC the Verizon Droid Eris is going to updated to a newer version of Android and Google Navigation early next year. It remains to be seen if this is going to be Android 2.0 or something else. Now that Google Navigation is out on Android 1.6 it is possible that the Droid Eris will only get a newer 1.6 build. But Android 2.0 or higher is still a possibility now that we know that Android 2.1 ROMs are already out in the wild for the HTC Hero.

Droid Eris is getting an update to a newer version of Android early next year. Google Navigation support is coming your way ;)

Source: HTC

Google Navigation officially released on Android 1.6

google-maps-navigation
This was really unexpected, Android 2.0‘s most talking about features, Google Navigation, is now officially available to all Android 1.6 (Donut)devices.

A few weeks ago we launched Google Maps Navigation (Beta) as a free feature of Google Maps on Android 2.0 devices. Today we’re expanding availability of Google Maps Navigation to devices running Android 1.6 (Donut) and higher, such as the T-Mobile myTouch 3G and the G1.

Unfortunately HTC Hero‘s (Android 1.5) aren’t compatible yet (but are rumored to get an Android 2.0 update in the future). You can download Google Navigation now in the Android Market.

Source: Google Mobile Blog

Android 1.6 SDK released, packed with new features

donut

The Google boys just announced the availability of the Android 1.6 SDK aka Donut. This new version is packed with new features like framework-level support for additional screen resolutions, like QVGA and WVGA, new telephony APIs to support CDMA, gesture APIs, a text-to-speech engine, and the ability to integrate with Quick Search Box. Phones running Android 1.6 are expected as early as October. Could this be the Motorola CLIQ and HTC Hero on Sprint ?

You can find more info here

Source: Android dev Blog