Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Android’

How to convert old Market links

The new Android Market site is great, but there are still a lot of old links that begin with market:// and work only in the phone’s browser. This extension for Google Chrome will replace these links with links to http://market.android.com.

Install from Chrome Web Store

Reasons to jailbreak iPhone… or buy Android

Yesterday I’ve read a post “What to install in iPhone after jailbreak” and these apps and hacks were recommended:

sbSettings – quick switch wi-fi, bluetooth, 3G, ssh by swiping down from the top bar.

Activator – use volume buttons to control music player (next/previous track).

iFile — file manager.

Installous 4 — download and install any app from Internet.

FreeSync — patch that lets you use device as usual while syncing with iTunes.

FullScreen for Safari — self explanatory, also adds finger gestures.

Lockdown Pro — password protected apps.

MxTube и YourTube — download videos from YouTube.

PlayAwake — patch, allows to use any song from media library in the alarm clock.

Safari Download Manager — download any file in browser.

StayOpened – patch, prevents AppStore closing after downloading each app.

xGPS — download Google Maps for offline use.

See the trend here? A lot of people saying iOS is better, but they still need to jailbreak their devices and install patches to get the functionality available in Android without rooting.

Tags: ,

Android devices database

Our new site is now open! It’s an Android phones and tablets database + a wiki with links to reviews, forums and firmwares. You can also search and compare devices by specifications.

www.droidsector.com/devices

P.S. 50% discount is available until January 7, 2011 on all our software.

Android and iOS fragmentation

A CEO of Blue Frog Gaming talks about Android fragmentation:

One thing I always hear when reading about mobile development is fragmentation. Steve Jobs, who talks about Android so much because he isn’t worried about it, harps on it relentlessly. Just today I read, on an Android blog, the following quote:

“In an iOS world, you only have to write code once and know it is optimized for every phone that’s been sold.”

Bahahahahaha. Yeah right. I do iOS development, and let me tell you, fragmentation there is a huge problem. First off, there are different OSes on different devices. Here’s a chart of that:

Compare that to Android:

Pretty similar. Android in this case has the benefit of having fewer OSes in play.
Read more…

Tags: ,

How open is Android?

A great post by Shantanu Goel on the openness of Android:

Android and Open Source: Allegations and Answers

Allegation: Google does a lot of development in private for few months and then releases the code to public.

Answer: Almost every open source project I know does this. Do you think every person who works on an open source project pushes his code to the mainline 10 times when re writes a 10 line code? No. He completes the feature, tests it and then pushes it out. Individuals might do it sooner, companies might do it later but everyone pushes out their code when they feel things are fairly ready. So, Google choses to do the “push” every few months when they think their new feature set is ready. This, of course, is more influenced by the fact that they need to be competitive in the aggressive mobile market and hence not let the competitors know about the exact features but still it is well within the limits of open source. And they are doing it before/with the binary release as well.

Allegation: Only google employees can check in code to mainline.

Answer: Every open source project has only a select few folks who can check in code. Most of the open source projects start with only their founders having commit access. They may or may not give commit accesses to anyone else. Check out various open source projects on sourceforge, googlecode, etc and you will find this. Most of the projects that do choose to give commit access to others, start doing it after some time when they feel the project is mature enough and they are confident enough in someone else. Android is just a hatchling, around 2 years old. It has begun making strides only now so Google may even choose to take the latter path but I can understand if Google wants to keep this as their control point because of the hustle and bustle of the mobile OS world which is much more rapid and cut throat than the desktop OS and this does not make them closed. Not only that, but seeing how everyone in the mobile world is so trigger happy with suing everyone else, it creates a legal issue for them as they would be the ones to answer if someone else brings this upon them.

Allegation: Google only accepts their own code into official android and nobody else’s.

Answer: This one is hilarious. Obviously, anyone who says this hasn’t actually been to review.android.com. Just go their and check whether any merged changes have non-google, non-android email ids. Anyone can upload their patches there but the accepted ones are fairly low. This problem is present in every popular open source project, even the Linux kernel. But is more pronounced in the case of android because Google’s android team is much smaller than the number of persons working on other projects and there is red tape of a big company involved. If you want to get your patch in, just like the kernel, you need to engage with them. Talk to them in the relevant bug report, comment the code properly, give them a reason to not avoid your patch. But yes, the process is still very slow and it is eons faster to just contribute to a fork like cyanogenmod. I do hope that google does get better in this regard soon though.

Allegation: It is not possible to make a full android build from the public code tree of android.
Answer: BS. Cyanogen does just fine with his full AOSP builds. People argue that Google does not release the modem/baseband code but they idiotically fail to realize that the baseband code is not part of Android at all. It is the IP of the baseband manufacturer and is specific to each hardware. Android is just the code that runs on apps hardware. Google does not indeed release the code of their built in google apps (gtalk/gmail etc) though but they are already working towards that and these apps will not be a part of the base Android system anymore. These would be standalone apps and even now you don’t need them to make a fully working android build.

Allegation: “Android” is a registered trademark and is held by Google.

Answer: LOL. Linus holds the trademark for “Linux”, Mozilla foundation holds the trademark for “Firefox”, Canonical holds the trademark for “Ubuntu”. Get the drift?

Allegation: Google doesn’t stop the carriers/OEMs from locking down the phones, adding bloatware or custom UIs.

Answer: This is an issue with carriers/OEMs and not Android. Google uses the apache software license (ASL), which is a permissive license (like MIT, BSD, etc) and hence does not stop the carriers from doing such a thing (In fact, this is the very foundation of being open, check the next passage about OSI foundation, point no. 9). Many people say they should, but if they did then they wouldn’t be open anymore, would they?
Even Linus Torvalds is against making such a stipulation of not allowing locking of phones and this is the biggest reason why the Linux Kernel (and lot of other open source projects) didn’t move to FSF’s (Free Software Foundation) GPL v3. I wonder why no one calls the Linux kernel closed hmmmm…
BTW, if you are so serious about unlocked/rootable phones then buy a dev phone directly from google or get one from Synapse.

Android and Open Source: OSI Foundation

The OSI foundation has a few guidelines to determine whether something is open source or not under their Open Source Definition. Android uses the OSI compatible Apache Software License (ASL) but still let’s see whether Android comes up to all of them or not. If it is in conflict with even one of the requisites, we will call Android closed.
1. Allow free redistribution – Check
2. Give out un-obfuscated source code – Check
3. Allow modifications and derived works – Check
4. Allow distribution of modifications (as patches) or modified software as a whole. Can restrict the modified versions from using original name of software – Check
5. No discrimination against any person or groups – Check
6. No restriction of using the software on any device or field – Check
7. No additional license needed – Check
8. No product-specific license – Check
9. No restriction on software distributed along with original software – Check
10. Technology neutral, i.e., no preference for an individual technology or user interface – Check
So, Android is true to each and every point that being open demands to it. In fact, points 9 and 10 are fundamental in making it open but alas, people less oriented with open software tend to term this as being closed (as seen in the last allegation above)

Read the full post: http://tech.shantanugoel.com/2010/10/25/android-open-source-or-not.html

Tags:

The truth about Android

Tags:

Lifehacker article: which Phone Is Best for Power Users?

Tags: ,

Buyers guide: iPhone vs Android

The new iPhone 4 now on par with the latest Android handsets hardware wise, making it harder for potencial buyers to choose between these two platforms. This is my take on the current situation.

Screen

The screen in the new iPhone is very impressive: IPS matrix with 960×640 resolution. It has a wide viewing angle, similar to AMOLED and Super AMOLED. Blacks are really good on these displays, since no backlight is used. AMOLED screen is less usable under direct sunlight.

The winner here is the Super AMOLED screen. If you need a perfect screen, get a Samsung Galaxy S. Just make sure it has no problems with Wi-Fi…

What about a “retina” resolution? It would make sense on a bigger screen. I’m afraid you’ll need a microscope to see the difference between the iPhone 4 and Droid screens. Why so many pixels then? Apple simply can’t use an other resolution without breaking all existing apps.

Controls

The Back button on Android devices is not only used to return to the previous screen within the same application, but also to return to the previously started application. Menu button might not be very intuitive in the first day of use, but it saves a valuable screen space. You’ll miss these buttons if you switch from Android to the iPhone.

The Trackball is rarely used, but it’s useful for precise link navigation in a browser and text selection.

Applications

Both Market and AppStore have a lot of apps now. Some apps in the AppStore are more mature, some apps exclusive to Android Market. One thing is true – most people can find everything they need on both platforms.

A few things are making the Market more attractive for users and developers: 24 hours money back and instant app publishing. Money back isn’t very attractive for developers with crappy apps though.

Flash

This one is simple, iPhone doesn’t have a Flash and most likely will never have. If you think that Flash is mostly used for displaying annoying ads, don’t worry, ads in HTML 5 format coming your way..

Flash is running just fine on the Nexus One. I can listen to podcasts, see streaming videos right on a webpage, without launching a dedicated app. Is it really necessary to kill Flash? Probably it will be replaced by HTML 5 in 2-3 years, but right now there are tons of Flash contents.

Notification system

Notifications are still the same on iPhone 4. See an example. Notification bar in Android is a much more elegant solution.

Cloud/Sync

Another strong point of Android is higher level of integration with online services. Address book can be synchronized over the air with FaceBook and Twitter, photos with Picasa web albums, podcasts with Google Reader… Google even has a demo of automatic over-the-air sync with music store recently at Google IO. Apple still charges $99/year for MobileMe and no sign of cloud-based music store yet.

Of course the iPhone/iTunes media sync still wins in terms of simplicity. Rating and playback stats sync is very nice feature to have.

Customization and open source

Widgets, home screens, messaging apps – many parts of Android can be customized or even entirely replaced. Open source helps coders like Cyanogen tweak the system on a deeper level and create a great mods.

That’s it, but maybe I’ve missed something? What features in Android / iOS is important for you?

Tags: , ,