Android Phones, Info and Apps

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Apr/12

20

Google Currents

Google currents is a magazine style news application for Android devices, which Google has just released to the international Play Store.

Google currents allows the user to create a magazine  library from an impressive selection of publications such as Mens Health, TechCrunch and the ShortList. The application also provides a preview screen of recently synced articles from your library.

This is made possible by a new feature called dynamic sync which updates your library as soon as you open the application. You can also make library items available for offline reading which we feel is one of its better features.

Google Currents 1

 

Currents is a great news application with a well designed and easy to use user interface and some great content. Plus its FREE!! Download a copy of Google Currents and give it a spin.

 

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Feb/12

16

Android 5.0 Jelly Bean

Rumors are bouncing around regarding Androids next OS upgrade, named Jelly bean. Apparently Jelly Bean will be released in the second quarter of 2012. This may seem to be a strange move since most of us are sill anxiously awaiting our ticket to Ice Cream Sandwich land. But is there method behind this madness..?

 

Background

Windows are currently making a strong push into the smartphone space and as a follow through they also plan a push into the tablet market. 2012 will see Windows tablets hit the markets. Apparently Google is pushing the idea of shipping devices with the capability to dual-boot Jelly bean and Windows.

Its hard to say how founded these rumors are at this stage. It seems very early after the launch of Android 4.0 ICS for Google to be making this move. I would imagine a more likely release date to be towards the back end of 2012, so as usual we play the waiting game…..

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ASUS EEE Pad SliderCan we really see the ASUS Eee Slider in September? The slider was revealed back in January at CES, but those were only rumors. A new page of products showed the specs of ASUS slider and hinted its launch in September in Italy.
They have revealed the prices for 16 GB and 32 GB slider; the price for 16 GB Eee pad is $400 and for 32 GB is $550. The Slider has a massive screen at 10.1 inches. The device is loaded with NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual core 1 GHz processor and a total of 1 GB RAM. It has a front camera 1.2 Mega pixels for video calling and a rear 5 mega pixe camera. It supports USB 2.0 and has a mini-HDMI along with micro SD card reader, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
The device will be launched first with Android 3.1 Honeycomb but it will later be upgraded to the latest version of Android 3.2. This is a little disappointing as the ASUS Transformer tablet already has the upgrade, the device is said to launch in September so there maybe enough time for ASUS to pack the Eee Slider pad with the update.
Update: We have heard that ASUS will release an update in the first week of its launch.

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Scrabble for Android

Official Scrabble for Android game was made available on all the android platforms lately.

Electronic Arts is the manufacturer of the Scrabble game so it is sure to be really good graphics wise. The layout is pretty unique and stylish and there are some additional touches which are impressive. If any person does not know their own skill level in the game, The judger tool will tell you how skilled you are in the game. If you don’t know how to play the game, the teacher tool will teach you how to play the game. Just like actual scrabble games, you can play it against android Os and you can also play it against other opponents.

The exciting Scrabble game includes different difficulty levels and a built in word list to help you along if that’s what you like to call cheating! An easy to use interface even makes it interesting when you are playing with the OS. It has been made very easy for you to maintain track of your results and statistics. Pause and play options make it easy for you to do your important work in between the game.

It is true that every good thing also has it’s drawback; Scrabble’s the official game also has a drawback or two. The notifications from the server sometimes stop working and sometimes there is a problem with updates from the server, also there are few too many splash screens making the slightly frustrating when you just want to quickly open it up to take your turn. Besides the odd bug and minor drawback the Official scrabble is a notable alternative to the popular Words With Friends app.

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After amazing the world with Android 2.3 Gingerbread and Android 3.0 Honeycomb, Google Inc. presents the upcoming new Android platform which will have more enhanced graphics and accessories. Certainly the new Android version would be 4.0 but it is possible that it would be given a lower version number.
It is not yet sure when this new version will be released but the new Android 4.0 would be more advanced, more capable and more powerful.
Previously android versions only supported a single type of hardware at a time but the new Android 4.0 will be able to handle both Android phones and Tablets in a single OS which means the applications will only need to be coded once for the unified OS.

Multitasking will be more efficient and reliable in the new Android 4.0 so users will not run out of memory. The new android platform will make it easy to connect to any third party device such as an Xbox.
The face recognition feature on the new 4.0 platform allows you to identify faces when taking a picture, the software then tracks and adjusts the image keeping that person always in focus.
Android 4.0 is said to feature a 720p HD screen with impressive graphics and an amazing ability to capture 1080p HD video.
The recommended requirements for hardware to support the new Android platform, should have 1.5GHz processor and a total of 1GB RAM with an ultra sized high quality display.

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Digg… digg…, this is what Microsoft is doing at different Android based mobile makers in order to make money out of Android based phones. At this point of time, Microsoft has targeted South Korea based leading mobile brand Samsung to pay $15 for each android based phone sold by the company.
It was last year when Microsoft started targeting Android based smart phone makers. At that point in time, Microsoft said that the user interface and functionality used by Android based phones are the same as patents filed by Microsoft and they gave the following statement.. “Microsoft is in no mood to allow android based phone makers run free with products that are invented by them”.

Apart from claims of patent infringement, Microsoft also announced that they have signed a license agreement with another android based phone maker HTC. Even though, the terms of this agreement were not disclosed, HTC had confirmed that they were ready to pay royalties to Microsoft for each phone they sell.
Since then, it has become commonplace for Microsoft to sue all other android phone makers. In October 2010, Motorola was sued by Microsoft for violating patterns in their android based handsets. However, this resulted in a counter suit from Motorola claiming Microsoft was using 16 of their patents in their Windows based machines and mobile handsets. That was not the end. Motorola also claimed that even the Xbox is using patents filed by Motorola. A consequence of this, companies are still fighting and haven’t reached any agreement.

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Google has some real big legal problems to solve involving the Android operating system. As Android is a Linux based system, centrally controlled.

Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT) and other companies have filed a number of patent suits against Google OEM’s, the developers of the Android phones. These companies have charged violations of many patents. May be none of these charges are very big but all of them put together do have something for Google to worry about.

One of the most important suits is the one filed by Oracle (ORCL); it’s concerning the Java script used to write apps for Android devices. The company has both copyright and patent claims against Google using Java in the Dalvik virtual machine. Oracle claims that a General Public License (GPL) version of Java for Dalvik was not used by Google and the software was further modified to make it quasi-proprietary to Google, thus resulting in further violation of rights.

This violation was done by Google at a time when the previous owners of Java Sun Microsystems were promoting wide adoptions of Java; Google took advantage of the system. As Google needed to maintain control of the Android ecosystem, it used a mixture of proprietary and permissive open source licenses (like Apache).

Last week Oracle filed a claim that Google liabilities in this case could be as much as $6.1 billion. The company chiefly wants all that Google has made from Android, along with half of anything else it is going to make in the future. All this has put Google Android’s future in jeopardy.

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Huawei MediaPad honeycomb 3.2
However much Google tries, the American market just does not seem to welcome the Android operating system with open arms. However Google continues to put in effort to make Android better than Apple or at the least equal to Apple. It has just revealed a new version Android, version 3.2, this is going to be a part of Android Honeycomb, and it can run on various new tablet sizes.

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Honeycomb 3.2 will run on the smaller versions of tablets. The recently announced Huawei MediaPad, to be launched by September, this Chinese company model will be the first to run on Android 3.2 system. This Honeycomb version of Android will be of assistance in upgrading certain already existing devices, if manufacturers are willing to update their software.

The new Honeycomb 3.2 gives us enhanced hardware acceleration and an update to Google music and movie applications. It also makes improvements to widgets and Movie Studio, although details are yet to be verified.

As contradictory to expectation, the new version does not produce the Android tablet boost. Many are of the opinion that this was not done deliberately because customers are not interested in deviations from the standards set by Apple. The recently launched smaller 7” screen size is being favored by only 15 percent of the customers, while 50 percent are totally for the 10” screen. This explains the failure of all the recently launched 7” versions by various companies. Looks like both Apple and Android have had a lukewarm response in this sector. Some companies were quick to change their versions to 10” size to please the customers.

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Google Android has always been a part of fresher and better versions of Smartphones and tablets in the market. This week saw the launch of Motorola Xoom with and updated version 3.1 of Android. This 10-inch tablet has a bigger and higher resolution screen. It can play Flash videos and also features a USB port, which can be used to connect to keyboards, cameras, etc. These features are exclusive to Xoom and have never before been seen in any other tablet. The Xoom is also very reasonably priced, when compared to its equivalents in the market.

However Xoom has been criticized for the poor designed positioning of the power and volume buttons. Honeycomb is said to be lacking quite a few tablet apps, it is like a finished product which is unpolished, it still needs more improvement. Overall we can say that this version of Android has failed to impress the market and is contradictory to expectations.

One of the reasons for the lukewarm response to Xoom is the delayed market launch. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1V, launched last month, has taken the honor of being the first version of Android Honeycomb. All the market advantages hence went to the former, as Samsung has already developed a huge market for tablets worldwide. The Galaxy Tab really took the wind out of the launch of the Honeycomb-ed Motorola Xoom

Google Android needs to be more vigilant and scrutinize the new tablets and Smartphone devices coming up in the market more closely. This way it will be able to get more perfection and a wider market.

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In recent times, android has made a statement in the world of mobile and tablets, with many of the new mobiles and tablets released with latest versions of Android. Almost all the big tablet makers and smartphone manufacturers have connected themselves with Android to capture as much market as possible. If this is the case, how can Sony ignore Android? Now, Sony has decided to shake hands with android with their recent application launch on android platform through which music unlimited can be accessed to download and listen to unlimited music.

Music Unlimited is an online streaming store which was launched in December last year in US, Australia, New Zealand and Europe and allows users of Sony devices to stream more than seven million songs available in the store. But one thing it lacked was its access to mobiles and by launching its application for android mobile users, it overcame this deficiency.

Last week Sony announced that they will restore Qriocity music and its video sharing service all over the world except Japan because of shutting down the service due to its hacking and compromised personal data. This app launch will avail the service to users of android based smart phones, few Sony devices such as Playstation 3, Sony televisions connected through the internet and blue ray players.

This app will allow users to access music content from a large catalogue of seven million songs licensed from not only Sony Music but also labels such as Universal Music, EMI Music, Warner Music and many other independent labels. To access this music, monthly subscription fee starts from as low as $3.99.

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