Posts tagged Android
And now that Christmas in May (at least for us Android geeks) is over, we give you a very special Android Authority On Air show: The Google IO 2013 recap. First of all, Google IO is a developer conference. We’re saw things focused towards developers and a few brag-worthy stats such as 900 Million Android activations (from 400 million last year), 48 billion app installs from the Play Store, and Chrome being the world’s most popular browser with 750 million users.
The Android focus of IO was extremely exciting and amazing. You’re going to say how is this so? Google didn’t unveil a new version of Android? Google showed us that they are in control of Android. They showed us that they are running the show, no matter your carrier or who makes your phone, it’s ultimately Google that has your back, and will give you new services and Android updates in the background. How do they do this? With Google Play Services.
Besides all the new bells and whistles for developers, we discussed some of the heavy hitters of IO this year such as an expanded Google+ Sign-in, Google Cloud Messaging, Play Services, Game Services, a Galaxy S4 Google Edition, Hangouts, Google Play Music All Access, Maps, Google+, Google TV, and more.
Miss the show? Watch or listen below.
Today we have something pretty interesting for all you tablet lovers. A new slate that’s aiming to take on Google’s Nexus 7 has leaked, and you’re going to like the price. It’s called the Hisense Sero 7 Pro, from the popular Chinese manufacturer, and has everything and more the Nexus offers but for just . Read on for full details on this impressive and well-rounded budget slate.
If the name sounds familiar, it’s because the Hisense Sero 7 lite was recently spotted at the FCC. The Chinese manufacturers first slate officially going up for sale in US markets. However, the Hisense Sero 7 Pro we have the exclusive on today is a much better device, offers more than the Nexus 7, is only , and was found available as we speak inside Walmart.
According to our tipster the Sero 7 Pro rocks a 1.3 GHz Tegra 3 quad-core processor with 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, and a 7-inch 1280
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If you grew up in the 1990s, you’ll remember Sonic the Hedgehog as one of the more popular console game characters. If you’ve been longing for games you played in your youth, then here’s yet another reason to be happy you’re using Android. Sega has just released Sonic the Hedgehog on Google Play. We get to play Sonic at 60 FPS with widescreen support and re-mastered audio. Plus, we get to play Sonic’s friends, Tails and Knuckles, too.
Previously available on iOS devices, Sonic spins his way into Android smartphones and tablets, where you can play the re-mastered classic, plus a few new features. First, the game has been optimized for mobile devices, which means you get to enjoy Sonic in full screen and up to 60 FPS smoothness. The soundtrack has likewise been re-mastered, and it’s a big improvement over the 16-bit
Additionally, you can play new characters, Sonic’s friends Tails and Knuckles. These new characters let you explore Sonic’s world in a whole new way by using their unique abilities (flying, gliding and climbing around the levels). You will need to unlock them first with gameplay, though. Experienced players can also increase the challenge level with the new Time Attack Mode.
Sega made sure players will enjoy the title by adding in a few extras, which make Sonic the Hedgehog all the more enjoyable in our connected world. In particular, the mobile app features achievements and a leaderboard to encourage players to become more competitive — a feature that console games of the 20th century did not have.
Miss your Sega Genesis controller? Fret not, as Sonic the Hedgehog offers support for Power A Moga, Nyko, XBOX, and all HID controllers. The game costs .99 on the Google Play Store. An iOS version is also available, although Sega is yet to release the free update with new playable characters to iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users.
Check out the promo video from Google Play.
A few days ago, Google formally unveiled the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition with pure Android. It’s a modified version of the flagship Samsung handset that we first saw announced back in March, and it stands to offer the standard Nexus user experience. What does this mean for Google’s actual line of Nexus phones? Is the Galaxy S4 with pure Android meant to replace them?
I’m not sure how long Google and Samsung sat through negotiations to try and get a product like this out the door. I think it may have been a long time coming. But it makes so much sense that you have to wonder, why didn’t they do this sooner? In fact, why don’t all Android phone makers release a Nexus-like device of their own? It simply baffles the mind.
What we have with the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition is a device with absolute top-notch hardware paired with the best software that Android has to offer. It is, strictly speaking, one of the best Android phones ever — at least if you’re with T-Mobile and AT&T. The only thing that will keep it out of most people’s hands is its prohibitive price tag. And that’s where real Nexus devices have it beat.
Still, it makes a truly compelling case for an upgrade or a switch. It’s exactly what a lot of people want: a top-of-the-line phone with the latest version of Android. And it will be updated to even later versions of Android when newer ones start coming out. If Google wants to stop making new Nexus phones like the highly rumored Nexus 5, then the Galaxy S4 with pure Android is the perfect excuse. The question is, would Google really go that far?
State of the Nexus
The maker of the current Google Nexus phone, LG Electronics, managed to snag a mere 3% of the global Android market in Q1 2013. This shows that adding high-end hardware and timely Android software updates together doesn’t always result in a killer combination. The Nexus 4 does have a few glaring faults — such as lack of microSD card support and lack of 4G LTE — that might have contributed to its weak sales. But it really should have sold more units and the bottom line is that it didn’t.
Google’s end-game is, as we all know, to get Android into the hands of as many people as possible. So it makes sense for it to partner with the current market leader, Samsung. And as for why it was necessary to inject an already existing phone with Nexus DNA instead of delivering a new one with actual Nexus branding (which they’ve already done in the past)? Well, the Galaxy brand is a much bigger brand than Nexus. It has more clout, and might possibly lead to bigger sales which would then translate to Android getting into the hands of more and more people.
The power of the Galaxy
Google’s Nexus effort, as a whole, doesn’t appear to have been very successful. On the other hand, Samsung’s Galaxy brand has been a huge success. Only last week, an exec at Samsung declared the Galaxy S4 to be the fastest-selling Samsung handset ever. It’s on track to hit the 10 million unit sales point by the end of this month. And now we have this, a pure Android version of the same smartphone. Can you imagine what will happen next?
In all likelihood, the standard Galaxy S4 — with TouchWiz and all — will go on to sell many millions more after the end of May. And all the other people who have been keeping an eye out for a true high-end phone with stock Android can now set their sights on the Galaxy S4 Google Edition, which of course in the end means even more sales for Samsung yet again.
The mere existence of the Galaxy S4 Google Edition solves a number of problems all at once. It takes care of the Galaxy S4 storage problem because removing TouchWiz and all the extra software features that come along with it means less storage space is taken up by “system apps.” It also ensures that Android users have a chance to really enjoy the best of the Android software, because the hardware in the Galaxy S4 is more than capable of supporting pretty much everything (except worldwide carrier support, of course, at least for now). Developers will also benefit because now they can treat this phone like a special developer version of the Galaxy S4 (it comes with an unlocked bootloader).
Is this the end for the Nexus?
The Galaxy S4 Google Edition shows that Google is starting to finally get it. Google took a phone from Samsung and made it go from great to greater. Now, ongoing software support can help ensure that it sells fairly well despite the high price tag. But where does this leave Google’s Nexus line of smartphones?
If Google has plans of retiring the Nexus phone, now is the right time to do it. It just put the word out on a Nexus-ified version of one of the most advanced handsets ever, plus as we all know, it is supposed to be working on other high profile projects, such as its first smartwatch as well as the upcoming (still rumored) Motorola X Phone (not to mention Google Glass). Android phone makers are doing a good enough job of producing great models, and the world certainly doesn’t need more Nexus phones. If anything, there needs to be less phones with Android to cut out the issue of fragmentation.
The decision to release the Galaxy S4 Google Edition may be part of an experiment to see how the market reacts. If successful, we may never see another Nexus branded smartphone from Google ever again.
A source known for providing insider information on HTC devices tweeted that the HTC One could get an update in “2-3 weeks”, while a “Senseless” edition might come in late summer.
One of the most popular devices of the moment, the HTC One, is behind the times (and the competition) when it comes to the Android version. The HTC One is running Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean coupled with Sense 5, at a time when the newest version of Android, 4.2, has been out for almost six months.
Naturally, HTC One users have been clamoring for an update, but the good news is their wish may be granted in as little as two to three weeks.
The info comes from a noted purveyor of insider information on HTC that has a good reputation when it comes to leaks of the Taiwanese company’s handsets. @LlabTooFeR has correctly predicted the HTC First, also known as the “Facebook phone”, and the specifications of the HTC M4, which is said to hit the market as the HTC One Mini.
Now @LlabTooFeR is back at it with info on the Android 4.2.2 update for the HTC One:
— LlabTooFeR (@LlabTooFeR) May 17, 2013
The tweet refers to this earlier one:
@hawk1902 Definitely not this month, I think this might happen at the end of this summer…
— LlabTooFeR (@LlabTooFeR) May 17, 2013
Even more exciting is the reference to a Senseless HTC One, in other words, a One running stock Android, just like the Galaxy S4 “Google Edition” unveiled at I/O. As you can see, @LlabTooFeR is not committing to the info, so it’s hard to say if it’s his speculation or something he knows for a fact.
Though @LlabTooFeR has a successful track record when it comes to leaks, we wouldn’t recommend ingesting this information without the proverbial grain of salt. Even the best connected insiders get it wrong sometimes. We’ve asked @LlabTooFeR for more info on the Senseless One via Twitter and we’ll update this post with his comments.
With that said, we’ve also heard about Sense 5 coming to the HTC J Butterfly by the end of the month, with Android 4.2.2 possibly in tow. It wouldn’t be too far-fetched to believe that HTC is preparing a rollout for all its flagship devices, including the popular HTC One.
What will Android 4.2 bring to the HTC One? The most significant updates are the possibility to have widgets in the lock screen, a quick-settings panel in the notification dropdown and a swipe-based keyboard.
As for the HTC One Google Edition, an HTC employee did tease us during the I/O keynote, though an HTC PR boss was quick to shut down the speculation.
Mountain View yesterday at Google I/O announced their new messenger app, Hangouts, for Android, Chrome, and iOS! It has been a long time in the making, and it’s finally here. The Google Talk replacement is available for Android, Chrome, and iOS.
Hangouts brings with it a plethora of new features to toy around with, including group messaging, inline pictures, and more! As per the usual, if you’d rather watch the video review, just head down to the bottom of the article.
When you first open Google Hangouts you’ll be met with a new and fresh interface. The app opens to a window that shows your current conversations. Similarly to Gmail, you can archive messages by sliding your conversations to the left or the right.
By sliding to the right of the app you can start a new Hangout with someone. In the New Hangout page, you’ll see the people that you most frequently contact, and below that you’ll see everyone in your Google+ circles. If you have a lot of people circled, this list is pretty gigantic. Thankfully, you can easily search for a name or circle you want to chat with.
Hangouts doesn’t use the green or grey dots that Google Talk used to identify if someone is online or offline. Instead, you can tell if a contact is online if their profile picture is faded or clear. A faded profile picture means your contact is unavailable, and a clear picture means they’re online. One downside is that Hangouts doesn’t support the “invisible” status like Google Talk did.
After opening a conversation simply slide back to the left to go back to your active conversations list. At the top right is a plus sign that lets you start a new hangout. Similarly to Gmail, if you want to archive a conversation, simply slide them off the screen. You can view them later in the archived hangouts section of the app or your “Chats” category in Gmail.
Next to the plus sign is the menu button, which is made up of the usual three dots. In this menu you can access your archived hangouts, hangout invites, and you can set a notification snooze for an allotted amount of time. If you want to sleep and you keep your phone by your bedside, you can set it to eight hours. During that time Google Hangouts won’t bother you.
The settings menu isn’t really anything special. Really all you can do there is change your notification behaviors (i.e. set a new ringtone or turn notifications off entirely) or vibration settings. There’s also a way to control the blocked users list and customize invites for your circles. There also seems to be an option that’ll quickly take you to your Google+ profile page.
When you get down to the core of Hangouts, it basically functions the same way Google Talk did. You can have text conversations with people and start video chats just like you could on Google Talk. The difference here is that video chats are now Google Hangouts like they are on Google+ instead of normal video calls on Google Talk.
Google has had some new functionality to the app though. You can now have group chats, which was a much needed feature in Google Talk. In my testing, this worked seamlessly. It’s a great feature if you often need to have group chats with your team at work or with a bunch of gaming buddies during your downtime.
One of the best features of the new Google Hangouts app is the amount of emojis there are. Hundreds of them are available at your fingertips. There’s smileys, animals, dragons, and much, much more. I think you can easily say that there’s an emoji for every expression in Hangouts.
In the Chrome extension of Hangouts, you can make unicorns dance across the chat window. Considering that it has dancing unicorns, I’m quite disappointed with the lack of a nyan cat. Unfortunately, dancing unicorns (and nyan cats) aren’t available in the mobile app.
Lastly, one of the great things about Hangouts is that you can now share images directly through the app. This functionality wasn’t really there with Google Talk. Normally people would have to upload the picture elsewhere, such as imgur, and then paste the link. Now you can easily share files straight from your device.
Overall, the new Google Hangouts app is a vast, and welcome improvement over Google Talk. As was expected, Google has had a few launch problems. Some people aren’t able to get the Hangouts app working on their tablets, and some people aren’t getting switched from Talk to Hangouts a full day or longer after updating. Issues like these really dull the excitement of a big release. It shouldn’t be long before all of the kinks are worked out, as Google seems to be on top of things after already pushing out a new update since the app’s release yesterday.
SMS support for Google Hangouts also still seems to be up in the air. We’re not sure if that’s going to get added, but if it does, there’ll be a more positive outlook on the new Hangouts app. It’d also be nice if AT&T would unblock video calling through the Android version of Hangouts on their network. I guess you can’t have everything, can you?
Aside from the kinks that’ll eventually get worked out, there really isn’t a reason to not like Google Hangouts. Of course, at the time of this writing, the lack of SMS support is a tad disappointing.
You can update the old Google Talk app to get the new Google Hangouts. Keep in mind that it may take up to a few days to get the new interface though. You can also just download the new Hangouts app from the Google Play Store.
Soon you’ll be able to do a lot more than just control your PC from your BlackBerry 10 device.
Here at BlackBerry Live 2013 we met up with Hisham Hassan Bakr, an Egyptian developer in charge of a PC control app called AIO Remote. For some time, All In One Remote has been offering the ability to seamlessly control your PC, Linux, or Mac computer over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, complete with native BlackBerry 10 keyboard, presenter slide control, media control, mouse movement, and file system access.
One of my favorite features was the ability to custom program your own virtual buttons which would activate set keystrokes on the computer. Hisham then revealed his intentions to expand functionality to be able to remotely control Android from the app, or to control BlackBerry the other way around. This could be very useful for users that regularly plug their secondary devices into the big screen but still need the ability to access it. As Hisham put it, “this is the first of its kind, to control the world.” To be fair, he didn’t have anything show on this front just yet, but considering how well the original app works, I’m eager to see Android remote control once it’s available.
Personally, I’ve always stuck to Luko Remote for these kinds of capabilities, but it’s great to see someone else having their hand at it, and more importantly, trying to do something different. Find a download link below to this award-winning app, and be sure to check out CrackBerry Live on Thursday for more outstanding interviews and demos.
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Technology research firm Gartner has released its report on world smartphone sales for the first quarter of 2013. The report puts both Android and Samsung as leaders in their respective markets, with Android accounting for 74.4% of all smartphone units sold and Samsung controlling 30.8% of the smartphone market.
Android has continued its stratospheric rise to prominence, with its market share increasing 17.5% year on year. Every other major smartphone operating system suffered losses, except for Microsoft’s Windows Phone, although the improvement from 1.9% to 2.9% probably isn’t the result Redmond was hoping for.
Google’s nearest competitor, Apple’s iOS dropped from 22.5% to 18.2%, continuing its slow decline. Blackberry’s (formerly known as Research In Motion) marketshare was cut in half and Samsung’s ill-fated Bada OS and Nokia’s decaying Symbian, both continued their trip to the operating system graveyard, as they couldn’t even muster a single percent each.
Smartphone sales increased from 147 million units sold in Q1 2012 to 210 million, however, interestingly all smartphone markets declined, with the exception of the Asia/Pacific region, which grew 6.4% year on year. Total handset sales reached 426 million in Q1 2013, an 0.7% increase compared with the same period last year.
Samsung continued its growth, albeit not as record-breaking as we have grown accustomed to, with it now controlling 30.8% of the market. Apple came in second with 18.2% of the market and LG, on the back of its successes with the Nexus 4, Optimus G and Optimus G Pro, rounded out the top 3.
Chinese manufacturers ZTE and Huawei completed the top 5, with device makers Nokia, HTC, Lenovo, Sony and Co. making up the “others” section. Gartner also claims that budding operating systems Tizen, Firefox OS and Ubuntu will not affect the smartphone market in any great manner.
Both Android and Samsung are at the top of their respective food chains right now and it doesn’t look like this will change anytime soon. Samsung has recently released its flagship smartphone in the Galaxy S4 and Android will be bolstered by the introduction of the S4 as well as the launch of the HTC One, meaning it would not come as a surprise if Google and Samsung can muster up even bigger numbers in the upcoming quarters.
Do you think Android can grow even larger than it is now? Will new operating systems affect the market?
PayPal has announced the availability of a new Android SDK. This release is aimed at developers and PayPal notes that it will be able to offer “everything a developer needs to accept both PayPal and credit card payments.” On the flip side though, while the release of the SDK is for developers, it should also serve to improve the payment process for a user looking to pay through PayPal. While there isn’t any timeline as to when this will show up in apps, the SDK will be available beginning on May 15th.
Basically, at this point it is up to the developers to make use of the SDK. This means developers will be able to set things up so the user will be able to make a PayPal payment without having to leave the app. Or in simpler terms, the user will have a streamlined checkout experience. Perhaps even nicer, the user will have multiple options when it comes to making that payment.
They will be able to use a PayPal account or use a credit or debit card by snapping a picture. As far as taking a picture, this will be done using the card.io technology. When using the card.io setup users only have to hold their credit card up and let the app scan the card. For those who may be worried about scanning your credit card, PayPal did mention that is a secure process.
The above image shows a basic example of the PayPal payment setup in an Android app. While the streamlined checkout process will likely be beneficial to the end user, PayPal has also said this will allow developers to make use of a payment solution that scales with them. Further details here mention how they have “128 million account holders across more than 50 financial networks in 190 markets and in 25 currencies around the globe.”
While the end user waits for this to begin showing up in Android apps, here are a few points that developers should know — the PayPal SDK for Android will support v2.2 (Froyo) or later and there will be documentation as well as integration details available on the newly updated PayPal developer site.
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