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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Google Docs app released for Android

Google has released a Google Docs app for Android phones, letting users upload content from their device and open them directly from Gmail. The app can also recognise text from photos.

The app allows users to search for content across their Google accounts. They can amend documents using online mobile editors and can share them with contacts from their phones within the app.

It can turn photos with text in them into editable Google documents via the phone’s camera using optical character recognition. Users can also convert photos already stored by sharing them within the Google Docs app.

According to Google, while this technology will capture unformatted text in English, it won’t recognise handwriting or certain fonts. However, it is working to improve this.

Users can upload content from the phone to Gmail and open documents from there. They can add a widget on the homescreen to jump into starred documents, take a photo to upload or create a new document.

The Google Docs app is available on the Android Market for Android 2.1 devices and up.

Samsung launches Nexus S smartphone in India ne

Samsung Electronics, on Wednesday launched the Nexus S smartphone in the Indian market. Developed in partnership with Google, the Nexus S is powered by Gingerbread (Android 2.3 platform).

Speaking to the media in Chennai Ranjit Yadav, country head, Samsung Mobile and IT said this was the first handset from Samsung featuring a four-inch super clear curved LCD screen and near field communication (NFC) technology that allowed users to read information from nearby tags embedded with NFC chips.

Included in the features of the smartphone are Wi-Fi hotspot, true multitasking and access to over 1.50 lakh applications and widgets on Android market.

The phone is powered by a powerful battery which provides a talk time of up to 6.7 hours on 3G (14 hours on 2G). It comes with a 16GB internal memory. The battery has a standby time of upto 17.8 days on 3G (29.7 days on 2G).

The Nexus S carries a price tag of Rs29,590.

The company has also launched five new Android-powered Galaxy smart phones - Galaxy Pro, Ace, Fit, Pop and Galaxy Pop CDMA priced Rs13,750, Rs17,040, Rs11,870, Rs12,290 and Rs10.500 respectively.

Meanwhile, experts point out that though Google's Android has many different features and powers an immense number of different phones it is not perfect and needs updates periodically. Google is also well aware of this and comes out with updates to the platform periodically.

According to the grapevine, the latest Android update comes with a native version of Google Talk which includes the ability to video chat, on the lines of the iPhone's FaceTime. They say users who have a Nexus S are in for a treat with the update known as the 2.3.4 update.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sony S1 and Sony S2 Android 3.0 Tablets Now Official

The Sony S1 and Sony S2 Android 3.0 tablets will be available globally this fall, both featuring unique hardware designs.

If you're eagerly awaiting Sony's new Android 3.0 tablets, we guess a milestone was reached today. During an event in Japan, Sony Corporation officially unveiled not one, but two tablets. Based on decades of engineering heritage, Sony is developing two tablets with unprecedented design, including the Sony S1 and Sony S2 (codenames).

Sporting the latest Android 3.0 OS, Wi-Fi and 3G/4G connectivity, the Sony S1 and Sony S2 will be launched on a global scale this fall. According to Sony, the S1 is optimized for rich media entertainment while the S2 is ideal for mobile communication and entertainment. Both tablets will offer digital content including videos, games and books through Sony's network services and more.

Sony S1 Specs

The Sony S1 sports a 9.4-inch display for enjoying the Web and rich content on a large screen. A unique off-center of gravity form factor promises to offer comfortable use for hours.

Sony S1

Sony S2 Specs

Sony S2 The Sony S2 will offer two 5.5-inch displays which can be used together as one large screen to browse Websites and more. They can also be used for different functions as users can watch a video on one screen and input commands on the other, or check email on one screen and use the other as a soft keyboard (similar to the Kyocera Echo smartphone on Sprint).

Qriocity and PlayStation Suite

Through Qriocity music and video services, users can access rich video and music content. Additionally, through PlayStation Suite, users can download high quality first generation PlayStation titles. Furthermore, users can easily download eBook content from Reader Store. The Sony S1 and Sony S2 will also be equipped with functionality for organizing stored content.

Digital Home Integration

Both the Sony S1 and Sony S2 will offer infrared technology to work as universal remote controls for a variety of AV devices starting with Sony BRAVIA products. Users can perform functions like turning on their TVs, changing the channel and adjusting the volume. Additionally, through DLNA functionality on the tablets, users can stream personal content to large screen televisions or music to wireless speakers.

Official Quotes

"'Sony Tablet' delivers an entertainment experience where users can enjoy cloud-based services on-the-go at any time. We're aiming to create a new lifestyle by integrating consumer hardware, including 'Sony Tablet' with content and network," said Kunimasa Suzuki, Corporate Executive, SVP, and Deputy President of Consumer Products & Services Group at Sony.

"Android 3.0 is a new version of the Android platform with a new holographic user interface that is designed from the ground up for devices with larger screen sizes, particularly tablets. I'm excited about "Sony Tablet" as it will further spur the development of applications and network offerings which users are looking for." said Andy Rubin, Senior Vice President, Mobile, Google Inc.

How much is fragmentation of hurting Android?


Too much -- that's the supposed takeaway from a survey of 2,700 developers conducted just two weeks ago. My interpretation is different: Not much at all, based on developer responses.

Sixty-three of respondents cited fragmentation as the major risk facing Android, while another 30 percent cited weak, early sales of tablets running Google's mobile OS. IDC conducted the survey with Appcelerator. I'm no fan of joint analyst-vendor surveys, because of conflict of interest (The obvious question is "Who paid?" for the survey). The registered symbol after Appcelerator's name is a dead giveaway about who approved the press release.

My takeaway from the top-line results differs from IDC. I don't see fragmentation as hurting Android much at all. Ninety-one percent of respondents are "very interested" in developing for iOS -- 86 percent for iPad. By comparison, 85 percent of developers are "very interested" in developing for Android and 71 percent for Android tablets. The Android numbers fell by two percent and three percent, respectively, from first quarter. Interest increased 12 percent during Q1. But as IDC notes, second quarter numbers are "technically within standard deviations."

These are huge numbers by any reasonable measure -- ninety-one percent to 85 percent and 86 percent to 71 percent. That 7 out of 10 developers are interested in Android tablets, when only one Honeycomb model is shipping (Motorola XOOM), demonstrates remarkably strong interest in Google's mobile OS. Given the smaller market opportunity and developer concerns about fragmentation, the number is remarkably high.

IDC's presentation of other numbers is very misleading. In context of that 71 percent, the analyst firm asserts that only 52 percent of developers are "very interested" in the Samsung Galaxy Tab, 44 percent in the Motorola XOOM and 31 percent in the HTC Flyer. "In short, the promise of an Android tablet is appealing, but the reality of currently, or soon-to-be, shipping devices is disappointing to developers," according to IDC.

"Disappointing to developers" is a huge inference to make based on interest in specific devices. There are two obvious flaws with the reasoning:

1. Developers' interest in specific devices doesn't mean "disappointing" interest in the platform. IDC already presents data that developers are very interested in Android and tablets running the OS.

2. Lower interest in specific devices compared to iPad or the Android platform shows nothing. It's like comparing developer interest in Dell, HP or Lenovo PCs with Macs. No one does that, recognizing the underlaying platform as being more important, so the comparisons are Windows PCs to Macs. Likewise, these Android tablets should be lumped together when comparing to iPad. There, "very interested is 86 percent to 71 percent, both relatively high.

"Android remains an exceptionally strong OS but the cumulative effect of unresolved issues with the Android ecosystem is taking a toll on developers," Scott Ellison, IDC's vice president of Mobile & Connected Consumer Platforms, says in a statement.

I reach a much different conclusion about what the data really means. Android is doing exceptionally well in the face of hardships. Meanwhile, IDC doesn't answer the more important question of "Why?" Why are developers so hot for iOS? Given iPad's huge popularity, why aren't even more developers "very interested?" Why are so many developers still "very interested" in Android, when they express concerns about fragmentation? Why are more developers interested in Galaxy Tab when XOOM ships with the most advanced Android version available?

There are other problems with the data -- at least as presented. Windows Phone 7 pushed ahead of Research in Motion's BlackBerry OS for developer interest (after declines of interest in both operating systems). OK, so exactly what is IDC measuring -- interest in tablets or mobile platforms? Because they can't be both as presented. Windows Phone 7 isn't available on tablets, and IDC has two classifications: Media tablets running so-called lightweight operating systems like Android and iOS and tablet PCs running full OSes like Windows. So platforms and device classifications are divided, which the survey doesn't seem to have properly address.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Amazon Readies an Android Tablet

Amazon is said to be in the process of developing its own Android tablet, according to gdgt's Peter Rojas. Calling it an "open secret," Rojas believes that the device may not be yet another garden-variety Android tablet, but rather akin to what Barnes & Noble did with the new Nook. There, Android was used as the core of a customized experience.

Like B&N, Amazon has a vested interest in seeing you buy things from them: thus the device itself would probably not be as expensive as most Android tablets. However the retailer sells music and movies as well as e-books: this means the company potentially would have multiple revenue streams to lean on for its "tablet." And that new Android App Store? And all those Android developer hires? Is it making sense now?

Rojas doesn't have too much in the way of specifics, guessing that the device would launch in late summer, and urged the company to consider pricing the device under $250.

Sounds like a smart idea to me. I do believe that e-readers as a separate device are set to become increasingly irrelevant with the rise of tablets. Why shouldn't Amazon have a stake in the sector, especially with what its been doing so far and the value of the Kindle name? Instead of being yet another tablet, this one would have a fighting chance to do well.

How to add Sdcards mp3 songs to Listing of Music Player in Android





import java.util.ArrayList;

import java.util.List;




import android.os.Bundle;

import android.util.Log;

import android.view.View;

import android.widget.ArrayAdapter;

import android.widget.ListView;

class Mp3Filter implements FilenameFilter {

public boolean accept(File dir, String name) {

return (name.endsWith(".mp3"));



public class MusicDroid extends ListActivity {

private static final String MEDIA_PATH = new String("/mnt/sdcard/Songs");

private List songs = new ArrayList();

private MediaPlayer mp = new MediaPlayer();


public void onCreate(Bundle icicle) {

try {




} catch (NullPointerException e) {

Log.v(getString(R.string.app_name), e.getMessage());



public void updateSongList() {

File home = new File(MEDIA_PATH);

if (home.listFiles( new Mp3Filter()).length > 0) {

for (File file : home.listFiles( new Mp3Filter())) {



ArrayAdapter songList = new ArrayAdapter(this,R.layout.song_item,songs);





protected void onListItemClick(ListView l, View v, int position, long id) {

try {


mp.setDataSource(MEDIA_PATH + songs.get(position));

mp.setOnPreparedListener((OnPreparedListener) this);



} catch(IOException e) {

Log.v(getString(R.string.app_name), e.getMessage());




XMl Parsing With SAX Parser


[sourcecode language="xml"]

New Blog

Developer Blog


package com.androidpeople.xml.parsing;


import javax.xml.parsers.SAXParser;

import javax.xml.parsers.SAXParserFactory;

import org.xml.sax.InputSource;

import org.xml.sax.XMLReader;


import android.os.Bundle;

import android.widget.LinearLayout;

import android.widget.TextView;

public class XMLParsingExample extends Activity {

/** Create Object For SiteList Class */

SitesList sitesList = null;

/** Called when the activity is first created. */


public void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {



/** Create a new layout to display the view */

LinearLayout layout = new LinearLayout(this);


/** Create a new textview array to display the results */

TextView name[];

TextView website[];

TextView category[];

try {

/** Handling XML */

SAXParserFactory spf = SAXParserFactory.newInstance();

SAXParser sp = spf.newSAXParser();

XMLReader xr = sp.getXMLReader();

/** Send URL to parse XML Tags */

URL sourceUrl = new URL(


/** Create handler to handle XML Tags ( extends DefaultHandler ) */

MyXMLHandler myXMLHandler = new MyXMLHandler();


xr.parse(new InputSource(sourceUrl.openStream()));

} catch (Exception e) {

System.out.println("XML Pasing Excpetion = " + e);


/** Get result from MyXMLHandler SitlesList Object */

sitesList = MyXMLHandler.sitesList;

/** Assign textview array lenght by arraylist size */

name = new TextView[sitesList.getName().size()];

website = new TextView[sitesList.getName().size()];

category = new TextView[sitesList.getName().size()];

/** Set the result text in textview and add it to layout */

for (int i = 0; i < sitesList.getName().size(); i++) {

name[i] = new TextView(this);

name[i].setText("Name = "+sitesList.getName().get(i));

website[i] = new TextView(this);

website[i].setText("Website = "+sitesList.getWebsite().get(i));

category[i] = new TextView(this);

category[i].setText("Website Category = "+sitesList.getCategory().get(i));





/** Set the layout view to display */





package com.androidpeople.xml.parsing;

import org.xml.sax.Attributes;

import org.xml.sax.SAXException;

import org.xml.sax.helpers.DefaultHandler;

public class MyXMLHandler extends DefaultHandler {

Boolean currentElement = false;

String currentValue = null;

public static SitesList sitesList = null;

public static SitesList getSitesList() {

return sitesList;


public static void setSitesList(SitesList sitesList) {

MyXMLHandler.sitesList = sitesList;


/** Called when tag starts ( ex:- AndroidPeople

* -- )*/


public void startElement(String uri, String localName, String qName,

Attributes attributes) throws SAXException {

currentElement = true;

if (localName.equals("maintag"))


/** Start */

sitesList = new SitesList();

} else if (localName.equals("website")) {

/** Get attribute value */

String attr = attributes.getValue("category");




/** Called when tag closing ( ex:- AndroidPeople

* -- )*/


public void endElement(String uri, String localName, String qName)

throws SAXException {

currentElement = false;

/** set value */

if (localName.equalsIgnoreCase("name"))


else if (localName.equalsIgnoreCase("website"))



/** Called to get tag characters ( ex:- AndroidPeople

* -- to get AndroidPeople Character ) */


public void characters(char[] ch, int start, int length)

throws SAXException {

if (currentElement) {

currentValue = new String(ch, start, length);

currentElement = false;





package com.androidpeople.xml.parsing;

import java.util.ArrayList;

/** Contains getter and setter method for varialbles */

public class SitesList {

/** Variables */

private ArrayList name = new ArrayList();

private ArrayList website = new ArrayList();

private ArrayList category = new ArrayList();

/** In Setter method default it will return arraylist

* change that to add */

public ArrayList getName() {

return name;


public void setName(String name) {;


public ArrayList getWebsite() {

return website;


public void setWebsite(String website) {;


public ArrayList getCategory() {

return category;


public void setCategory(String category) {





Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sonos launches Android Controller app

Sonos Android Controller (Credit: Sonos)

Another once-exclusive iOS app has now joined the Android family. The Sonos Controller app lets owners control any of the Sonos network audio streamers in their home.

Originally announced in February (it's arriving a few weeks after its originally intended March delivery date), the Sonos Controller is a free download from the Android Market. It's designed to be compatible with any smartphone running Android 2.1 or later with a screen size of HVGA (320 x 480), WVGA (480 x 800), or WVGA (480 x 854). Android tablets are not officially supported at the current time.

Related links
Sonos Controller for iPad now available
AirPlay: 10 things you need to know
Review: Sonos S5

Anyone who's familiar with the Sonos Controller for iPhone will find the Android version to be all but identical, though the latter offers voice search--a nice upgrade over the iOS version. The Android app will no doubt be welcomed by Sonos owners (or prospective owners) who were looking for control options beyond the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Mac, and Windows software controllers that are currently available. But Sonos' Apple-centric fans also have two reasons to celebrate:

AirPlay workaround: Sonos can already stream your iTunes library from a Mac, PC, or NAS drive. And Sonos offers a docking solution for streaming music from an iPod or iPhone while it's plugged in. The only thing it can't do is stream music directly from an iOS device you hold in your hand--the very advantage that AirPlay offers when paired with a growing number of compatible devices.

Sonos S5 with Apple AirPort Express (Credit: Sonos)

Alas, Sonos is not unveiling new hardware with AirPlay functionality built-in. But it is offering the next best thing. Plug an Apple AirPort Express ($99) into the back of any Sonos product, and you'll be able to toggle to the AirPort's AirPlay stream (audio that's coming directly from the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch). That AirPlay stream can then be pumped to one or all of the Sonos Players in your home.

If that sounds a bit involved, it is. But it worked smoothly enough when a Sonos rep demoed it for us. Basically, it means someone buying their first Sonos ZonePlayer may want to invest in an AirPort Express rather than a ZoneBridge BR100 (also $99), since both of them can get your first Sonos on your home wireless network. (The first Sonos on a home network needs a wired Ethernet connection, but any subsequent Sonos ZonePlayer you buy can communicate wirelessly with the first Sonos via the system's proprietary--and rock-solid--wireless mesh network, so long as they're within range of one another.)

iOS multi-tasking: In addition to the Android app, the iOS versions of the Android Controller will also get a refresh today to add multi-tasking support. That means you can more easily toggle from the Sonos app to something else. (If you're using the AirPlay workaround described above, for instance, you'll be toggling to the iPod app to play music housed on the device.)

If any of this makes you ready to take the Sonos plunge, there's more good news: the return of Sonos discount bundles. Last available during the Christmas holiday season, the bundles have returned for the "dads and grads" gift season: $50 off if you buy a Sonos S5 (white or black) with a ZoneBridge 100 (to enable wireless playback), or a free ZoneBridge ($100 off) if you buy the dual S5 bundle.

Grooveshark to Google: We're Legal, Let Us Back in the Android Market

Grooveshark logo

Google recently removed the Grooveshark app from the Android Market, claiming the app was in violation of Google's policies. But Grooveshark isn't going down without a fight. The company has fired back in an open letter, saying there's nothing wrong with its music-streaming app.

"Google hasn't specified what it was in their 'Terms of Service' that we allegedly violated, but there does appear to be some confusion about whether Grooveshark is a legal service," reads the letter, which was published on "So let's set the record straight: there is nothing illegal about what Grooveshark offers to consumers."

There is a difference between legal and licensed, the company argued.

"Laws come from Congress. Licenses come from businesses. Grooveshark is completely legal because we comply with the laws passed by Congress, but we are not licensed by every label (yet)," the site said.

Grooveshark is an app that allows users to post songs and share them with others. It has more than six million tracks in its catalog. Google has not disclosed the reason it gave Grooveshark the boot, but it could be due to pressure from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Apple yanked the Grooveshark app from the App Store in August after Apple received a complaint from Universal Music Group UK.

Grooveshark also dealt with complaints back in 2009 when EMI accused it of copyright violations. The matter was settled, however, after EMI agreed to let Grooveshark license its content.

As for the most recent matter, Grooveshark said its app is legally protected, asserting that the company operated under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Besides legal protection, Grooveshark also notes that it has licenses from "over a thousand labels" and pays for rights, too.

"We pay for our streams, and we actively negotiate with virtually every single content owner. We've taken down over 1.76 million files and suspended upload privileges to 22,274 users. These are not the characteristics of a company 'dedicated to copy right infringement,'" Grooveshark said.

Grooveshark is requesting that both Apple and Google make the app available again.

A Look at iPad Users: Apple Still Trouncing Android

Google Inc.’s Android might be the most popular smartphone platform, but if you add other mobile devices like tablets to the mix, Apple Inc.’s iOS beats Android in the U.S. by a wide margin — 59% to be exact.

That’s according to new data being released Tuesday by measurement firm comScore, which surveyed 30,000 users of mobile devices to arrive at its estimates.

The research found that Apple’s iOS platform — on iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches – reached 37.9 million people, while Android reached 23.8 million, on phones and tablets.

“The finding is incredible because it shows that Android being the most popular smartphone is not the whole story,” said Mark Donovan, the senior vice president of mobile at comScore. “Publishers, developers and advertisers are trying to understand how to reach audiences, and the study shows that users are using a range of devices.”

ComScore also looked at the demographics of iPad owners, finding that 56.1% of them are men, and 49.4% make more than $100,000 a year. Ownership also skewed toward the younger set, with 27% of owners between the ages of 25 and 34.

The study also found that although iPad owners are more than Apple “fanboys,” they’re less likely to own BlackBerry or Android phones. Among iPad owners, 27.3% also have iPhones, while 17.5% have BlackBerry devices and 14.2% have Android phones. (The rest use other operating systems or have flip phones rather than smartphones.)

Among smartphone owners in general, 33% have Android phones, 28.9% have BlackBerrys and 25.2% have iPhones, according to comScore’s latest numbers.

“It’s difficult to say what that exactly means right now,” Mr. Donovan said of the fact that BlackBerry and Android users aren’t as likely to get iPads. “It can be that they are waiting for the [other tablets] or that they won’t be buying a tablet at all. We will have to wait and see what the data tells us in a few months.”

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bug in Skype for Android Could Expose Your Personal Data

Skype logo

After dismantling a recently leaked version of Skype for Android, Android Police has discovered a vulnerability in the software that could put users' account balances, names, dates of birth, location information, phone numbers, email addresses, bios, and more at risk.

To test the vulnerability, Android Police wrote a rogue app that could collect user information without special permissions or rooting. It turns out that it's not just the leaked beta; according to the blog, the issue exists in the standard version of Skype Mobile for Android—though not Skype Mobile for Verizon—affecting the 10 million users of the app.

In a blog post, Skype acknowledged that users who "install a malicious third-party application" on Android phones could expose locally stored Skype for Android files.

"These files include cached profile information and instant messages. We take your privacy very seriously and are working quickly to protect you from this vulnerability, including securing the file permissions on the Skype for Android application," Skype said.

"We advise users to take care in selecting which applications to download and install onto their device," the company concluded.

The problem stems from Skype's data directory folder, which stores user contacts, profiles, and instant message logs. Apparently the files include improper permissions, which enable anyone with an app to access them. Because the username is stored in a static location, a hacker could conceivably parse the file, retrieve the user name, and follow the path to Skype's stored data.

And there's a lot of data to be found. The accounts table of one file (main.db) houses sensitive user information, including account balance, phone numbers, and email addresses. The contacts table holds similar information, only for your contacts, not to mention all of your Skype instant messages. A rogue developer could theoretically modify an existing app, distribute the app through the Google Marketplace, and harvest the data as it flows in.

To address the issue, Android Police suggests that Skype do three things: employ proper file permissions; implement some kind of encryption; and have mobile apps reviewed for security issues before releasing them publicly.

Amazon's Android Appstore is bad for games developers

A GAMES DEVELOPERS ASSOCIATION has slammed Amazon's Android Appstore for its restrictive pricing policy, saying it potentially will harm developers.

The International Game Developers Association (IDGA), an independent non-profit video games coders' organisation, wrote the open letter, which calls for Amazon to stop becoming "the Walmart of the Android ecosystem tomorrow".

The IDGA said Amazon has an unique set of terms and conditions that mean developers don't get a say in how their Android apps are priced. It said Amazon takes full control over the game pricing structure and claimed that could have a negative impact on the games development community.

In Amazon's price control-freakery, it pays developers the greater of either 70 per cent of the purchase price or 20 per cent of the listed price on Android Appstore.

"Under Amazon's current terms, Amazon has little incentive not to use a developer's content as a weapon with which to capture marketshare from competing app stores," the IDGA summed up in the open letter.

The IDGA also said it wasn't aware of any other games distribution service, online or offline, that paid developers a 20 per cent minimum without the developer's permission.

When Amazon launched the Android Appstore in the US last month, it said it was trying hard to verify the integrity of apps at the store, given the huge number of Android apps on the market. It would also have been good if, at the same time, Amazon had been prepared to verify the integrity and fairness of its pricing policy.

Android Needs Its Own Walled Garden

Android is a fractured mess. The openness that is constantly being lauded by Android proponents actually hurts the platform more than it helps. From the carriers not updating their phones to the DroidDream disaster earlier this year, Google needs to tighten its grip on Android for the OS to become truly great.

1. Make Things More Uniform

Having used Android across a plethora of devices, I can tell you that the experience is never the same twice. Various carrier overlays and tweaks can slow down phones, or even remove or charge for capabilities that are free with standard Android.

Among the annoying carrier and manufacturer add-ons are propriety apps and overlays. I'm sick of phones that come with a handful of game demos pre-installed that cannot be removed without rooting the phone. I can understand adding them in to show what kinds of interesting apps there are available for Android, but let us uninstall them if we don't want them or need the space.

Overlays can be jarring and confusing, even for people familiar with Android. Some of us don't like TouchWiz or Sense and could do without the constant notifications in Motoblur. Instead of forcing these overlays down our throat, why not just offer them on the Android Market (for a price, of course)? That way if people want the overlay, they can buy it, and get rid of it once they want to go back to stock Android.

Google needs to crack down on manufacturers and carriers to make sure what changes they are making don't detract from their OS.

2. Update, Update, Update

Alright Google, enough is enough. No more relying on carriers to push over-the-air (OTA) updates to phones. From now on, it is up to you to distribute the latest version of Android when it releases. I understand that some older phones may not have the power to run 2.3 (Gingerbread) or even 2.0 (Éclair), but all of us are sick of playing the waiting game when it comes to finding out whether or not our newly bought phone is getting updated. Carriers and manufacturers are not very reliable when it comes to these things (remember how long it took for the Epic 4G to receive 2.2?).

If you want to silence the cries of a million Android critics, push OTA updates yourself so that the fragmentation issue they keep complaining about disappears.

3. Clean Up The Android Market

If the DroidDream fiasco taught us anything, it's that people will download and install just about anything. Culling the Android Market regularly would remove a large part of these undesirable apps and still leave room for those smaller developers just looking to make a buck. I'm not saying the process has to be as extreme as Apple's approach, but Google may want to consider limiting the number of hentai porn apps that show up when doing a casual search through the "Games" section of the Market. Google should also hold developers responsible for what they put up, and pull apps that seem suspicious. Users should be aware of what they are downloading, but someone new to apps (or smartphones in general) may not know that mobile malware exists. While mobile antivirus exists, it is also up to Google to make sure that its Market isn't selling any rotten fruit.

I'm not advocating a complete lockdown of the Android platform, far from it. I love the ability to sideload apps without jailbreaking my device, and I love having access to the to build my own software. What I am asking is that Google regain control of its mobile OS and trim the fat that is holding it back. Android can take over the world, but the divide-and-conquer tactic is not the right way to do it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fly Mobile to Launch Four Android Phones

To cost between Rs. 7,000 to 10,000

Fly Mobile to Launch Four Android Phones

UK based cellphone player Fly Mobile, known mainly for its presence in the low-end phone market, is poised to go Android happy with the launch of four new Android phones. The phones will be priced between Rs. 7,000 to 10,000 and will be launched sometime in October. The news was announced by Fly Mobile CEO Prem Kumar, "In third quarter of the current financial year we will be launching four Android phones in the price range of Rs 7,000 to Rs 10,000." Kumar also said that all phones will have 5 megapixel cameras and will be based on Android 2.2 (Froyo).

He also promised to launch an app store within the year to complete the Android experience. "Fly Mobile is strengthening its app ecosystem and is in the process of launching its app store, which will be India centric. Consumers will be able to experience our store by the third quarter this year," he promised while speaking to the media. The new Android phones will see the company changing its focus to a richer multimedia experience with a focus on video streaming and music playback. Fly Mobile also plans to increase service centres from the 384 to 450 in a span of two months.

Android to Take Over 50% of the Mobile Gambling Market Share

For years, Apple has been a leader in the mobile entertainment and gaming marketplace. Now, the company's reign may be coming to an end, as a recent study by Gartner Inc states that Android will be taking over 50% of the mobile market share by the end of 2012. According to the operating system will continue on an upswing until it has taken over Apple's place in the mobile gaming industry.

The company predicts that Apple will peak after obtaining about 20% of the market share. During this time, Windows Mobile will see an increase to 20% while Blackberry will remain with just over 10%.

While Apple reigned supreme for quite some time, techies' tastes are getting increasingly diverse. While Apple only offers one mobile phone and tablet, the Android OS is available on a wider range of devices with varying capabilities and at a wider range of prices. With technological capacity that rivals Apple's software, Android devices present a great alternative to the iPhone and the iPad.

Online casinos have long been interested in the mobile gaming market, and now is the best time to get involved in the market. The study also concludes that smartphone sales will reach 468 million units by the end of the year, making mobile gambling the perfect extension for many online casino operators.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Android chief Rubin's response to Android critics misses the point

Android chief Andy Rubin has finally issued a statement in response to recent reports regarding Android's deteriorating openness. He characterizes the media reports as "misinformation" and says that he is speaking up "in the spirit of transparency" in order to "set the record straight."

In his statement, he defends Google's "anti-fragmentation" strategy and says that the source code will be made available when it's ready. He also dismisses the allegation that Google is tightening its control over the user experience. Unfortunately, his statement sheds no light on the Android roadmap, and he has completely failed to address many of the issues raised by widespread reporting on Google's role in the Android ecosystem. The condescending and evasive statement does little to support his argument.

The current wave of Android controversy started last month in response to the revelation that Google intends to withhold the Honeycomb source code for an unspecified amount of time. Confronted by BusinessWeek reporters, Rubin told the publication that corners had been cut during the Honeycomb development effort and that the code was unsuitable for release. Google has decided to hold it back until it has finished integrating the new tablet functionality with the existing phone version of Android. Like honeybees entombing infected pollen, Google is keeping its defective Honeycomb away from the hive.

The result is that Honeycomb is only available to a select handful of hardware vendors chosen by Google. Third-party developers and second-tier hardware manufacturers that want to customize the firmware are out of luck. Google's decision to withhold software code that is actively shipping on devices undermines the company's credibility on openness.

As we explained in our coverage of the situation last month, this disappointment is the latest in a string that goes all the way back to before Android's launch—a pattern of behavior that reflects a fundamental lack of commitment to delivering the openness that was promised prior to Android's launch.

The title of Rubin's statement suggests that Android is experiencing a "Gene Amdahl moment" amid the controversy. This is a reference to the founder of the Amdahl Corporation, who claimed in the 1970s that his computer hardware company was the victim of an aggressive misinformation campaign orchestrated by competitor IBM. Amdahl said that IBM was spreading "fear, uncertainty, and doubt" among potential Amdahl customers in order to create negative perceptions.

Rubin's Amdahl analogy seems deeply disingenuous. Concerns about Google tightening its grasp on Android aren't part of a smear campaign orchestrated by a competitor—the criticism is coming from Google's own partners in the Android ecosystem. In a follow-up report last week, BusinessWeek attributed complaints about Android's waning openness to "a dozen executives" at companies that are major Android stakeholders, including LG, Samsung, Toshiba, and Facebook.

According to the BusinessWeek report, Google has been using its exclusive control over timely source code availability as leverage to block vendors from making customizations that don't align with Google's business interests. For example, the article says that Google attempted to block Verizon from shipping an Android device with Microsoft's Bing search engine.

Motorola reportedly ended a deal with Skyhook last year because Google insisted that its own geolocation service had to be used instead. Skyhook's CEO claimed that Google was pursuing an anticompetitive agenda under the guise of protecting compatibility—crafting Android compliance tests in a manner that disadvantages services that compete with its own. The BusinessWeek article indicates that Google is getting more brazen in its clamp-down on the use of competing services on top-tier devices.

It's unfortunate that Rubin completely failed to address that issue in his statement. The "spirit of transparency" that moved him to "set the record straight" apparently doesn't extend to those kinds of business dealings. The "spirit of transparency" also must have been taking a smoking break during Google's celebratory Honeycomb launch event, when the search giant neglected to mention that the code was unfit for disclosure due to corner-cutting. Perhaps Android's transparency is only a "spirit" because it never existed materially?

The current status of Android falls far below the standard of openness that Google promised in Android's early days when the company touted its vision of opening smartphones to third-party hardware and software in the same way that the Carterfone decision opened the phone networks.

The Honeycomb source code will eventually materialize—none of the critics have seriously disputed that. The problem here is that Google can and will use its unilateral control over the code base to manipulate Android adopters. The company can limit early access for any given release as a strategic instrument to hinder hardware vendors that don't do what it wants. While that is well within Google's rights as the author of the Android userspace stack, it is completely inconsistent with Google's rhetoric regarding Android's openness.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Android 2.3 upgrade list: Is your phone getting Gingerbread?

After months of warming in the oven, Google's Android 2.3 operating system -- better known as Android Gingerbread -- is finally starting to make its way to handsets around the world.

Android 2.3 provides faster speed, better battery life, and a refreshed user interface. It also introduces a new and improved keyboard with a more intelligent cut-and-paste system. More Gingerbread goodness may be on the way, too: Google is believed to be working on a follow-up release numbered Android 2.4.

So how do you know if your phone will get the upgrade -- and if so, when? We've made it easy. This list has everything there is to know about the Gingerbread upgrade, broken down by device. It'll be updated regularly as new info becomes available, so you can always check in to get the latest info on your phone's status.

Want a more detailed look at Android 2.3 and what it'll do for your phone? Click over to our Android Gingerbread FAQ. And when you're ready for a real eye-opener, be sure to check out our in-depth report: Android upgrades: Which manufacturers can you trust?

[Page last updated: April 5, 2011]

Android 2.3 Upgrade List: Phones That Have Received (or Are Receiving) Gingerbread

• HTC Nexus One: After a longer-than-expected delay -- from users' perspectives, at least -- Google started sending the Android 2.3 upgrade to its Nexus One flagship phone on February 22, 2011.

• Samsung Nexus S: Though the Nexus S shipped with Android 2.3 already installed, the device received an over-the-air upgrade to Android 2.3.3 in late February. The 2.3.3 update enabled new Near Field Communications capabilities and included a handful of other minor tweaks.

Android 2.3 Upgrade List: Phones Expected to Get Gingerbread

• LG Optimus 2X: The LG Optimus 2X -- known in the U.S. as the T-Mobile G2X -- is confirmed to be in-line for the Android 2.3 upgrade. No specific launch date has been announced so far.

• LG Optimus Black: Despite the fact that it ships with Froyo, LG's upcoming Optimus Black smartphone will eventually enjoy the taste of Gingerbread, LG has confirmed. No specific date has been announced.

• LG Optimus One: LG has confirmed that all of its Optimus One phones will receive the Android 2.3 upgrade at some point in the foreseeable future. This includes the Optimus S on Sprint, the Optimus T on T-Mobile, and the LG Vortex on Verizon, as well as the Optimus C on Cricket Wireless, the Optimus M on MetroPCS, the Optimus U on U.S. Cellular, and the Optimus V on Virgin Mobile. LG has not announced any specific time frame for the Gingerbread rollout, saying only that details will be "announced locally in due course."

• HTC Desire HD: HTC has gone on the record as saying its European Desire HD phone will feast on Gingerbread sometime in the second quarter of 2011. Some French sites have reported that the upgrade could come as early as April, though that timing has not been officially confirmed.

• HTC Desire: HTC says its original Desire Android phone will receive the Android 2.3 upgrade, according to a spokesperson quoted in tech blog SlashGear. The update is said to be scheduled for sometime in the second quarter. British carrier Three also sent a tweet in early April stating that Gingerbread was "coming in for testing" on April 4 and should be sent out to users around the "end of April" or "early May."

• HTC Desire Z: The Desire Z is on-track to get Gingerbread, according to an HTC spokesperson quoted at SlashGear. The Desire Z's update is said to be scheduled for sometime in the second quarter.

• HTC Droid Incredible: According to an email said to be from an HTC rep and published by Android blog, the HTC Droid Incredible is set to receive the Gingerbread upgrade. The email says the upgrade will be made available "before the end of the second quarter of this year." Neither HTC nor Verizon has officially confirmed that information.

• HTC EVO 4G: While Sprint and HTC have stayed fairly quiet on the EVO's Gingerbread status, the phone certainly seems poised to receive an Android 2.3 upgrade. A small tech blog, citing a conversation with an HTC employee at the CTIA mobile tech show in March, suggests the upgrade could arrive sometime after the launch of HTC's new EVO 3D device. An email purportedly sent from HTC and leaked to another website, meanwhile, points to a possible second quarter rollout.

• HTC Incredible S: The HTC Incredible S -- rumored to be headed to Verizon as the Droid Incredible 2 -- will be bumped to Gingerbread "soon after" its release, according to HTC. A company spokesperson has been quoted as saying the Android 2.3 upgrade (or possibly Android 2.4 upgrade) will be rolled out sometime in the second quarter of 2011. Some rumors have suggested the Verizon version could arrive with Gingerbread already intact, but that information has not been confirmed.

• HTC Thunderbolt: An email said to be from an HTC rep and published at Android blog claims the HTC Thunderbolt will get its Android 2.3 upgrade sometime in the second quarter of 2011.

• Motorola Atrix 4G: Motorola has indicated it plans to upgrade its AT&T-based Atrix 4G phone to Android 2.3 at some point in the future. No specific date, however, has been announced.

• Motorola Droid 2: While we've heard no official word about Android 2.3 upgrade plans for Motorola's Droid 2, some Android blogs have posted leaked versions of a Gingerbread update apparently customized for the phone. It's not entirely clear if the update is official or final, but many Android enthusiasts are taking it as a sign that something is a-cookin'.

• Motorola Droid X: Numerous rumors have circulated in the blogosphere about possible Gingerbread rollouts for Verizon's Motorola Droid X, with the latest having pointed to March 27 as the day to watch. That date, of course, didn't end up panning out -- but leaked versions of the Android 2.3 software apparently customized for the Droid X do add weight to the notion that an update is in the works.

• Samsung Galaxy Player: It isn't technically a phone, but Samsung's new Galaxy Player Android device will be upgradeable to Android 2.3, according to a press release put out by the company. No target date has been announced.

• Samsung Galaxy S: All signs point to Gingerbread being in the cards for Samsung's popular Galaxy S line of phones. That includes the Samsung Captivate on AT&T, Samsung Epic 4G on Sprint, Samsung Vibrant on T-Mobile, and Samsung Fascinate on Verizon (which as of now has yet to even receive Froyo). Rumors started popping up in January suggesting some Galaxy S phones could see an Android 2.3 upgrade as early as March or April. Samsung's official Samsung Mobile India Twitter account, meanwhile, has stated numerous times that the Galaxy S will receive Gingerbread -- version 2.3.3 -- but that a definite launch date has not been set. Samsung's Romanian Facebook page has issued similar promises. And in late March, software said to be a leaked version of Samsung's official Galaxy S Gingerbread update surfaced on an Android developers' forum, heightening speculation that a rollout could be near.

• Sony Xperia X10: Sony disappointed countless customers when it said its Xperia X10 line of phones wouldn't be upgraded past Android 2.1 earlier this year. Now, however, Sony has reconsidered its stance and said it will upgrade the Xperia X10 to Android 2.3. According to a company blog posted in late March, Android 2.3 -- 2.3.3, to be specific -- will hit Xperia X10 phones late in the second quarter or early in the third quarter of 2011. Before you get too excited, though, note that Sony says the upgrade will be delivered to "generic trade versions" of the phone -- and that carrier-customized versions may or may not be included. "We will have to get back with more information on this at a later stage," Sony says, "but we want to be very clear already at this stage on the fact that some of you may not get this upgrade." Sony also notes that Xperia X10 phones will not be upgraded again beyond the Gingerbread level.

Android 2.3 Upgrade List: Phones Where Gingerbread Looks Iffy

• Motorola Backflip: Neither Motorola nor AT&T has said a word about the Backflip even receiving Froyo -- so while there's no official denial of Gingerbread for the device, a 2.3 upgrade certainly doesn't seem like a strong possibility.

• Motorola Cliq: Motorola accidentally announced a Froyo upgrade for the original Cliq last fall, then quickly deleted the apparently typo-caused mention. Since that time, the phone has been stagnant at the 2.1-level on Motorola's corporate upgrade list -- a sign that isn't very encouraging when it comes to the newer 2.3 release.

Android 2.3 Upgrade List: Phones Not Expected To Get Gingerbread

• HTC Droid Eris: Verizon has confirmed that its HTC Droid Eris device will not receive even the Froyo upgrade. The phone is no longer sold by the carrier.

• HTC G1: The T-Mobile G1 was denied Froyo due to hardware limitations, and the same restrictions will keep Gingerbread from officially reaching the device. "Like Froyo, Gingerbread is too large to fit on the G1's system storage," Android team member Dan Morrill explained via Twitter.

• HTC Hero: The Hero got a "no" for Froyo, so it seems safe to say the phone won't be receiving Gingerbread, either.

• Motorola Charm: The Charm will not receive upgrades beyond its current 2.1 level, according to Motorola.

• Motorola Cliq XT: Motorola said Froyo "could not meet the basic performance standards required" while running on its Cliq XT device. As such, the phone is now set to remain at Android 1.5, the company has confirmed.

• Motorola Devour: Motorola says the Devour will remain on Android 1.6.

• Motorola Flipout: The Flipout will not receive upgrades beyond its current 2.1 level, according to Motorola.

• Motorola i1: The Motorola i1 will remain on Android 1.5, Moto says.

• Motorola Milestone XT720: Motorola has said its XT720 tablet phone won't be upgraded beyond its current 2.1 level.

• Samsung Behold II: Samsung has confirmed its Behold II handset won't be upgraded beyond Android 1.6.

• Samsung Moment: Like the HTC Hero, the Moment was given a no-go for Froyo and consequently isn't likely to receive Gingerbread.

• Sony Xperia X10 Mini and Xperia X10 Mini Pro: Though it changed its mind on its upgrade stance for the Xperia X10, Sony says it's sticking to its guns with the X10 Mini and X10 Mini Pro; neither device is scheduled to receive the Android 2.3 upgrade. "We have had to prioritize our resources and have therefore focused on delivering the upgrade to Xperia X10," Sony says.

Android 2.3 Upgrade List: The Rest of the Phones

If a phone isn't listed here -- like the original Motorola Droid, for example -- it's likely because there just isn't much clear info available yet about its fate. Odds are, we'll soon be hearing more and more details with each passing week.

Android Power TwitterSo set your bookmarks now: I'll continue updating this page as new information becomes available for any Android device. You can also follow @AndroidPower on Twitter to get notified by tweet when changes are made.

I can promise you one thing: This list will evolve quickly and frequently. Stay tuned.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Samsung Officially brings the Google Nexus S to India

The latest Google Android developer phone out is the Nexus S manufactured by Samsung and now the guys have officially made it available in the Indian market. Recently the device was up for pre-order with online retailer FlipKart. However, now Samsung has officially made it available at the price of Rs. 30,400.

The Samsung manufactured Google Nexus S available in India won’t come with the Super AMOLED but will be equipped with a Super LCD screen. It has a 4-inch display and the device features NFC chip which at the moment is absolutely useless in the country. The device runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread if you love messing around with the mobile operating system then this is the phone which will help you with it.

Other than FlipKart where it is up for pre-order at Rs. 27,999 the Google Nexus S is also available with Infibeam where it is priced at Rs. 26,999. Quite affordable than the official price.

Android Market Share Now 1 of Every 3 U.S. Phones

android logo

New numbers released by Comscore show that Android-based phones are continuing to take a chunk out of the market share of competing devices. And smartphones based on Google's mobile OS now eat up 33 percent of the U.S. market, or one out of every three phones sold.

RIM was the hardest hit in this latest batch of metrics, dropping 4.1 percent of its market share between November 2010 and February 2011. The company still controls 28.9 percent of the U.S. market, however, which is a far stronger position than its similarly decreasing competitors: Microsoft shed 1.3 percent of its market share to drop to 7.7 percent in total, and Palm went down 1.1 percent to a total of 2.8 percent market share for February 2011.

To note, the indicated numbers are three-month averages, not indications of how well a particular manufacturer did in just one month. Nevertheless, February alone provided strong support for Apple–specifically, Apple's iPhone 4. According to Comscore, the Verizon iPhone 4 was the most-purchased handset in February, and these killer sales helped Apple dig its heels in the sand against the Android advance. The company even improved its market share by 0.2 percent between November 2010 and February 2011.

Although Google's new lead is impressive–Android jumped up seven percent in market share between November 2010 and February 2011–it's important to note that the numbers only indicate growth in U.S. markets.

"I believe Android will be stronger in the developing world than it is in the developed world," said Fred Wilson, venture capitalist and principal of Union Square Ventures, in response to the metrics. "And most of the growth in smartphones is going to come from the developing world in the next five to ten years."

As to why this could spell disaster for Apple at some point in the future, Business Insider's Henry Blodget notes that it's an issue of strategy: Google's Android growth is only compounded as the market standardizes to a common system–like Microsoft for desktop PCs or Facebook for social networking. If Google is able to provide the de facto operating system for a significant chunk of the market, then developers suddenly have an increased incentive to code Android first, others second. Insert downward spiral here.

Once a company has captured the market crown–its platform pushing past the tipping point that separates separating "option" from "industry standard" –it's just that much harder for competitors to unseat the king, even if they manage to release devices that are functionally superior to the status quo.

Google's Android OS is going for the shotgun while Apple's pulling out the laser, and the devices' corresponding market shares are starting to fall in line.

Shame on You: Pirated Android App Really Shameware

A pirated version of an Android app is actually a Trojan that "shames" someone who installs it by sending an SMS message to all his contacts telling them of his piracy.

The original app is called Walk and Text, and costs $2.10 in the Android Market. The app uses the camera on the back of a smartphone to show a user a visual of his upcoming surroundings, which will supposedly prevent the user from running into the street or across a set of train tracks.

[Of course, since many tend to look down as they text, it's also possible they will see only the ground, unless they retrain themselves to hold the phone perpendicular to the ground as they walk. For us, that seems really hard to do.]

The pirated version is available from unofficial Android app markets, and once installed and redirects the pirate to the legitimate app in the Android Market, while also sending the following SMS message to the phone's entire contact list:
"Hey, just downlaoded [sic] a pirated app off the internet, Walk and Text for Android. Im stupid and cheap, it costed [sic] only 1 buck. Don't steal like I did!"
Finally, a message pops up on the phone's screen:
"We really hope you learned something from this. Check your phone bill ;) Oh and dont forget to buy the App from the Market."
Security firm Avast took a look at the pirated app, and made some conclusions that resulted in a huge blow-up in the comments section, including threats of a lawsuit. That contentiousness came from Avast's original post, which determined that data from the pirated app was sent to a URL owned by Georgi Tanmazov, CEO of Incorporate Apps, the developer of a number of Android apps including the legitimate "Walk and Text" app.

The conclusion of the original post was that the app was a sort of punishment by Incorporate Apps to pirates. According to some of the Incorporate Apps comments in the post, which has since been rewritten, "We argued about a previous version of our Apps being stolen and hijacked on numerous forums and I guess people tried to get back on us in some way."