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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Android developers get native-code kit

A native application development kit has been released for Android developers, offering a way to create certain kinds of high-performing applications for handsets running the Google platform.

Android applications run through the Dalvik virtual machine, which emulates a Java virtual machine. On Thursday, the Android Native Development Kit (NDK) was released, allowing coders to create parts of their Android 1.5 applications outside Dalvik, using native-code languages such as C and C++.

This approach would not ordinarily produce a massive performance boost, but it does allow developers to reuse existing C and C++ code for Android applications.

Android engineer David Turner wrote in a blog post that the NDK, which is an adjunct to the standard Android software development kit (SDK), could be used for writing higher-performing applications, but also had its drawbacks.

"Your application will be more complicated, have reduced compatibility, have no access to framework APIs, and be harder to debug," Turner wrote. "That said, some applications that have self-contained, CPU-intensive operations that don't allocate much memory may still benefit from increased performance and the ability to reuse existing code. Some examples are signal processing, intensive physics simulations, and some kinds of data processing."

Dell working on Android gadget?

Dell is developing a pocket-size Internet device using Google's Android operating system that could take on Apple's iPod Touch, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal on Monday.
Android logo

Two people who have seen early prototypes of the device told the newspaper it looks like Apple's iPod Touch but slightly larger. And like the iPod Touch, the device isn't expected to include a cellular phone. The device is considered part of a new category of gadgets called mobile Internet devices, or MIDs, which are designed to fit into the market between a mobile phone and a laptop or Netbook computer.

The device could go on sale as early as the second half of 2009, according to the Wall Street Journal's sources.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

HTC Hero running Android and Sense UI leaks from HTC's own website

As we prepare for HTC's official launch event today, we're starting to see some details appear on HTC's own website of the much rumored Hero.
Through some URL trickery, we've managed to unearth several details that confirm the previous rumors. Hero includes the new HTC Sense widget-based interface that puts at-a-glance info right up front on the home screen where it belongs. A new Scenes profile feature lets you transform your phones focus from business to weekend mode. Viewing your contacts shows the usual data in addition to the interactions you've had through social networking status updates and photos from the likes of Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, and Twitter. A dedicated search button searches the phone as well as services like Twitter. In fact, like Palm's Pre, the HTC Hero seems ready to fully integrate your local data with all your subscribed social media sites. The biggest deal here, however, might just be that HTC is touting this as the first Android device to support Flash out of the box.

Inside you'll find Qualcomm's MSM7200A proc running Android at 528MHz, 512MB/288MB ROM/RAM, 3.2-inch TFT-LCD with 320 x 480 pixel rez, 900/2100MHz HSPA and Quad-band GSM, trackball, GPS, 802.11b/g WiFi, 3.5mm audio jack, G-sensor, compass, and 5 megapixel auto-focus cam with microSD expansion. It's all there baby. The White version of the device has an industry-first Teflon coating (right, just like your pans) to keep things clean and grime free. Multi-touch and anti-fingerprint coating too. Hero arrives in Europe in July with T-Mobile and Orange, Asia later in the summer, and North America even later in 2009.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Toshiba 1GHz smartphone launched

The 1GHz smartphone has arrived. A Japanese telecommunications carrier is the first to launch a device based on Qualcomm's much-anticipated Snapdragon processor.

Docomo is now offering the T-01A in Japan, while Microsoft is pitching the phone on its Japanese Web site.

This would mark the first commercially available product using the Snapdragon chip, a Qualcomm spokeswoman confirmed Monday. The chip's claim to fame is that it's an ARM design running at 1GHz. Typical ARM architecture chips used in mobile phones, such as the iPhone 3G S, peak at about 600MHz.

A legion of other chip suppliers offer ARM-based chips for mobile devices, including Texas Instruments, Freescale Semiconductor, Samsung, Nvidia, STMicroelectronics, and Broadcom.

The Toshiba-Docomo T-01A--which will be offered outside of Japan as the TG01--runs Windows Mobile 6.1 and is designed to take on the iPhone. Only 9.9mm thick, it uses a 4.1-inch WVGA 800x480 384k pixel resistive touch screen and comes with support for 3G HSPA, Wi-Fi, GPS and assisted-GPS.

The TG01 is also slated to be available in Europe this summer.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon silicon supports high-definition (720p) video decode, 3D graphics (up to 22M triangles/sec), XGA display support, a 12-megapixel camera, and mobile broadcast TV.

Qualcomm has been talking up the Snapdragon (aka QSD8250) since November 2007, when the company announced initial sample shipments of the chipset.

And Qualcomm won't stop at 1GHz. The San Diego-based company has demonstrated Netbooks running a 1.3GHz Snapdragon processor and will eventually push the chip to 1.5GHz.

The future Qualcomm QSD8672 will be a dual-core Snapdragon that features two CPU computing cores and will include HSPA+, up to 28Mbps download speeds, 1080p high-definition video, Wi-Fi, mobile TV, and GPS. The graphics core is based on Advanced Micro Devices' ATI unit's technology.

Pricing is not immediately available.

ConveyThis for Android: Simple Translator in Your Phone

Travelers know that trips abroad can go much smoother when you can convey your needs in the local language. Phrase books have been popular for years but an electronic version that sits in your phone would be just the ticket. ConveyThis, which offers simple translation into 40 languages, has just been released for the Android platform.

The free program offers on-the-go translation of simple words and phrases. The translated phrase appears on the screen and can be played in audio with the tap of a button. Having a translator in your pocket can turn a difficult situation into a good one and the program is free, so trying it out is simple.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Androvio - Control Rovio robot with Android phone

I like robots as much as the next geek and when they have web cams built-in that will allow me to see what’s going on in another room without having to get off my lazy duff I am all the more interested. The Rovio robot webcam is just such a device and I really want one.

If you already have your Rovio, you can now control the robot and see the live webcam feed right from your Android mobile phone. The application that lets you control the bot is called AndRovio and it’s from developer Poignant Projects.

You have full control over Rovio using the app from direction to camera position and everything in between. The app allows full control anywhere there is an available Wi-Fi connection. You can even get warnings on screen if the IR obstacle detector spots anything in the way. You can also use a 3G connection or even EDGE, but you can expect degraded video. The app is available for 99 cents on the Android Market.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Haier H7 Android Phone

Haier is currently displaying its first Android handset at CommunicAsia known as the H7. This is the fourth handset that will feature the Android operating system aside from the HTC Dream, Magic and Samsung I7500.

Owners of the handset will be pleased to know that the Cupcake update (Android OS 1.5) will come with it straight out of the box, although it remains to be seen whether OS 2.0 of the firmware will be released by the time the phone ships, and if that is the case, Haier will make sure it will ditch OS 1.5 for OS 2.0.

The unit on display is but a mockup, so there is no way to check out whether it is more responsive than its competitors in the same market. We do know it will come with a 2.8" touchscreen display, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, an integrated FM radio, GPS navigation and a 2-megapixel camera.

The Haier H7 is expected to retail for $150 when it hits France later this September.

Solar-Powered Android Phone

Android phones are still few and far in between when it comes to the smartphone market, but here we are with ZTE of China announcing that they are working on a solar-powered Android handset.

This new model will be launched in Q2 2010, and chances are ZTE will use its expertise from its previous solar-powered model known as the Coral 200 Solar. This device will as expected come with rear-mounted solar panels.

What do you think of solar powered phones? We think that it is a long time in coming, but would definitely be an added bonus in the future. Hopefully displays that have photovoltaic properties will come into existence on cellphones down the road as well so that the handset can soak up the sun's power regardless of which side they're facing.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Android Girl

Layar for Android: Augmented Reality is Here.

Once again, we get proof of the awesomeness of Android. SPRXmobile, a Netherlands based mobile innovation company, has just released an application that gives us a glimpse of what the future will hold. This new app is called Layar, and it represents the very first word in augmented reality technology.

What is AR you ask? In short, it involves superimposing the digital world over the real one in order to bring you more information about your surroundings. The way the app works is somewhat difficult to explain but this video here does an elegant job of showing it.

Basically, watching the world through Layar is like seeing in Google Maps. The website describes it as, “displaying real time digital information on top of reality though the camera of the mobile phone”.

Say you're looking for an apartment with a vacancy. Just search for open apartments in your area. Layar will populate a live map with the search results you asked for. As you walk or drive, nearby buildings that meet the criteria will be highlighted. Selecting the building will bring up any rental information available online, including the Realtor phone number.

If you like the cut of Layar's jib, it'll be available on July 1 2009 for the HTC G1, Magic, and every other Android phone. It's a free download, so you've got no reason not to try it. This is the future of digital living, friends.

Huawei U8230 Android Phone Officially Announced!

The Android-powered U8230 smartphone allows users to switch between full and half QWERTY keyboards and to navigate programs easily via a 3.5-inch LCD touch screen.

Huawei’s U8230 uses the Google Chrome Internet browser which supports a variety of Google applications such as Google Map, Google Search and Google Talk.

It is also fitted with a battery which has a capacity of 1500 mAH - the longest battery capacity among Android-powered handsets currently available.

Dell Android Phone Picture Leaked?

Samsung's Google phone ready for September launch in Australia

Samsung, the world's second largest maker of mobile phones, threw its weight behind Google's nascent Android platform today and unveiled the first handset capable of recording high-definition video.

The South Korean manufacturer today announced four new touchscreen phones for the Australian market under a new range dubbed "Icon".

The Google-powered model, the Samsung Galaxy, will go on sale in September. It features a 3.2-inch touchscreen, 8GB of built-in memory, Wi-Fi, a 5-megapixel camera and easy access to a suite of Google online applications including Gmail, Google search, Google Maps, Google Calendar, Google Talk and YouTube.

As with the BlackBerry and iPhone platforms, Google phone users can expand the functionality of the device by installing applications from the "Android Market" - similar to the iTunes App Store.

Tyler McGee, Samsung Australia's VP of mobiles, said he believed Android would be "one of the key platforms that we'll continue to develop".

"People are becoming far more aware of Android and more importantly the Android Market," he said.

The Galaxy will be the third Google phone to hit the Australian market. The first, the HTC Dream, went on sale in February, while the sleeker HTC Magic hit the market this month.

Mark Novosel, telecommunications analyst at IDC, would not reveal exact sales numbers for the Dream but said "it would be fair to say that it performed below expectations".

He said the device itself wasn't as attractive as other models on the market and the pricing plans offered by the exclusive carrier, Optus, were prohibitively expensive.

Novosel said he believed the Android platform would gain more of a foothold with Samsung's entry into the market as he believed consumers were waiting for more Google phone options.

"People are still waiting for the bugs to be ironed out on the platform ... because it's not just a new device, it's a whole new platform we're talking about," he said.

Also available in September, the Samsung HD includes an 8-megapixel camera capable of recording videos at the high-definition resolution of 1280x720. The Symbian phone, which includes a built-in FM radio, GPS, compass and up to 16GB of internal memory, can be connected to a TV set for watching recordings on a big HD screen.

The other two handsets Samsung unveiled today were the Samsung Preston and the Samsung OMNIA, both available in August. The Preston is a mass-market device with a 2.8-inch screen, 3-megapixel camera and FM radio, while the Omnia is an all-in-one multimedia phone that uses the Windows Mobile operating system.

McGee could not reveal prices, saying Samsung was still in discussions with carriers.

Overseas, Samsung also unveiled its first commercially available solar-powered handset, the E1107, which generates between five and ten minutes of talk time from every hour in the sun. McGee said the company was now evaluating whether to launch it in Australia.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sony building Android-based Walkman and PND for 2010 launch?

Android will play a prominent role across Sony's portable devices starting with an Android-based Walkman and personal navigation device (PND) launching sometime in 2010. Engadget Japanese says that Sony's affection for Android is an "open secret" in Japan.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Kinpo Thin Client: 7-inch Android Tablet

Demonstrated at Computex 2009 in Tapei was of the Kinpo Thin Client, a 7-inch WVGA Tablet running Android. It has 800×480 resolution and runs on a Freescale proessor.

This is serves as yet another example of the upcoming wave of Android devices… and not just phones.

General News » Vision Objects’ Handwriting Recognition in Android

Vision Objects posted a video today showing their MyScript technology for Android. It’s a simple premise - use your finger to write on the screen of your Android handset and it’s converted to text.

Watching the short video below, it appears to be pretty accurate. The letters, number, and symbol are detected quickly and without hassle… and without a stylus!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

HTC Hero / Lancaster running Android and "Rosie" UI launching on June 24th?

While the Economic Daily News doesn't cite any sources, its claim that HTC will launch its Android-powered Hero handset on June 24th makes a lot of sense.

Something's up on that day since we've already seen the press invite to a June 24th event in London, the same place that witnessed the launch of the HTC Touch Diamond last year.

The EDN reports two variations of the Hero: one without the QWERTY and another, the HTC Memphis (better known as the HTC Lancaster around AT&T) with full keyboard in tow.

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