Saturday, March 31, 2012

Android Tips: How To Speed Up Your Phone?

With Android smartphones being released at a quick pace, you will soon find your smartphone feel a little outdated or even incompatible with the latest apps to hit the Google Play Store a.k.a Android Market. So here are some tips to speed up your smartphone and hopefully get you through the rest of your contract.

Android tips: How to speed up your Android smartphone?

Increase storage space: You can free up space simply by deleting unused apps and also moving others to your SD card. This can be done from the Settings > Applications screen. If you still find it impossible to clear up your internal memory, you can try rooting your smartphone which should let you even uninstall default apps you don't want like Amazon MP3, Navigation, etc...
Uninstall apps and widgets you don't need: Certain apps run in the background and cause your smartphone to operate slower than normal because of this. The same applies for widgets.
New launcher: Sometimes, the best way to get some extra speed from an old Android smartphone is to try out new launchers. And if you happen to have rooted your Android, you can even try overclocking it or installing custom ROMs.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Temple Run breaks one million Android downloads in three days

Temple Run for Android only launched three days ago, but the game has already managed to ring up over a million downloads. Previously the game was available on iOS, where it has managed to achieve 45 million downloads in seven months. The fact that the Android version is currently being offered for free is probably helping those download figures.
The game was launched on Google Play on March 27th, and as of today holds an average score of 4.3 stars out of five, with close to 46,000 people having rated the game. The game is inspired by the opening scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, with your hero fleeing pursuers while carrying a golden idol. Players need to pay attention to jump over or slide under obstacles, as well as collect coins to amass a high score.
While Temple Run is available for most major Android devices, there are several handsets that aren’t compatible with the game, most notably from Motorola. Both the DROID RAZR and Bionic are unable to download the game. Imangi Studios co-founder Natalia Luckyanova tweeted  on launch day that although 707 devices are supported, 99.9% of support emails were complaints about device incompatibility.
Temple Run is available on both iOS  and Android  for free.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Google's Android has generated just $550m since 2008, figures suggest

Huawei Ascend D mobile phone, which runs on the Android 4.0 operating system
The Huawei Ascend D mobile phone, which runs on the Android 4.0 operating system. Photograph: Bloomberg via Getty Images
Android generated less than $550m in revenues for Google between 2008 and the end of 2011, if figures provided by the search giant as part of a settlement offer with Oracle ahead of an expected patent and copyright infringement trial are an accurate guide.
The figures also suggest that Apple devices such as the iPhone, which uses products such as Google Maps as well as its Chrome browser, generated more than four times as much revenue for Google as its own handsets in the same period.
With roughly 200m Android devices having been activated to the end of 2011 , including an estimated 90m during the past two years, it suggests that Google derives slightly more than $10 per Android handset per year.
The figures emerge from a damages offer that Google made to Oracle as part of settlement talks ordered by Judge William Alsup in the case, in which Oracle is alleging that Android infringes patents and copyright that it owns on the Java programming language. It acquired that intellectual property when it bought Sun Microsystems, which owned Java, in 2010. The trial is due to start on 16 April.
The suit began in 2010 with Oracle claiming that Android infringes a number of Sun patents and also infringes copyright in Java. The number of patents has been whittled down to just two.
In a pre-trial settlement offer, Google proposed that it would pay Oracle a percentage of revenues from Android, suggesting it would pay $2.8m in damages on the two remaining patents that Oracle is asserting for the period to 2011, and then 0.5% of ongoing Android revenue on one patent which expires this December, and 0.015% on another which expires in April 2018. The court documents do not explain how the Android revenue is calculated, but the key source would be advertising revenue. Google also gets a 30% cut from app sales to Android devices.
Google said the damages figures matched what had been calculated by a court-appointed expert. The offer does not mean Google accepts that it has infringed the patents claimed by Oracle.
The $2.8m offer, at a combined rate of 0.515%, suggests that Android's total revenue from the launch of handsets at the end of 2008 through to the end of 2011 was $543m.
That also means that Android could generate more than $1bn in advertising revenues this year; last year, Google's total annual revenues were around $38bn. Google lets manufacturers use Android for free, but to achieve "certification" they have to include services such as Google search, maps, YouTube and other functions.
Larry Page, Google's chief executive, said during an earnings call in October  that Google was "seeing a huge positive revenue impact from mobile, which has grown 2.5 times in the last 12 months to a run rate of over $2.5bn."
But while some people interpreted that to indicate Android revenue, it overlooked Google's deal with Apple, in place since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, through which it provides maps and the default search engine for its iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch products, which run Apple's iOS software. Apple's chief executive Tim Cook said the company has sold 315m iOS devices, though nearly half of those have been sold in the past year.
Oracle rejected Google's offer, saying the proposed damages were too low.
The lawsuit began after Oracle bought Sun Microsystems for $7.3bn in 2010 and with it the rights to the Java programming language and its patents. Oracle has complained that Android in effect copies functions of Java without a valid licence.
Oracle, a business software maker with $36bn in annual revenue, has said it is seeking hundreds of millions in damages – though it was forced to water down its earlier damages claims after pre-trial examinations led to a number of claimed patents on Java being invalidated.
Google, which relies on its dominance of search and advertising for most of its $38bn in annual revenue, believes that even if it loses the case, it won't have to pay more than a few million dollars.
A joint statement filed this week provided the latest reminder of the friction between the two companies.
In the papers, Google argued that the trial could be shortened from its scheduled eight weeks and sought to appear before a US district judge instead of a jury. Oracle doesn't believe the trial schedule should be revised, nor is it willing to waive its right to a jury trial. Juries typically award larger damages and are seen as more likely to find in favour of the plaintiff in patent and copyright trials.
Google had not responded to a request for comment as this story was being prepared for publication.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Evernote for Android updated with text-to-speech, Evernote Widget app gets an overhaul

Evernote for Android is one of the best ways to take notes and keep organized. The team is constantly adding new features, and it is one of the few apps on the platform that stays pretty much in feature parity with its iOS counterpart. It’s even optimized for Android tablets, and works very well with devices such as the Asus Transformer Prime and its keyboard dock as a word processing app.
Today, Evernote and its separate Evernote Widget app have been updated to be even more comprehensive. The reason Evernote has a separate widget app is to allow users to install the main app to the SD card without sacrificing widget functionality (this is a bastion of the old Android legacy where some devices didn’t have enough storage space).
The main app has received a sizeable, adding in speech-to-text transcription from the push of a button. It appears that the service is independent from the built-in Ice Cream Sandwich service, since it works with ‘droids from 1.6 to 4.0. I found it to be on par with the built-in service — extremely fast and mostly accurate — so a welcome addition to anyone recording interviews or lectures. You can also use Evernote’s Skitch app to draw on, annotate and mark up existing photos, or create new ones, and import them back into a note.
The Evernote Widget app has been retooled as well, with the ability to do a “quick snapshot” that saves a photo as a new note immediately, without having to go into the main app itself. You can also configure which buttons go where in the 4×1 or 4×2 widget, and there is a new 1×1 customizable option for minimalists, or who just don’t have much room on their home screen. Rounding it off is a new “Dark” look for the widget if bright green isn’t your thing.
Evernote seems like one of those obvious things, but its strengths lie in how deep it is, and on how many platforms it is native. Evernote has excellent apps for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Playbook, Windows and OS X, and they’re improving all the time.
Check out Evernote  and Evernote Widget  on Google Play.

Android Apps Can Run on Windows PCs with Bluestacks Emulator

IDG News Service (New York Bureau) — Software company Bluestacks is trying to close the gap between Microsoft's Windows and Google's Android OS with its App Player application, which was released in beta on Tuesday.
App Player is an emulator that allows Android applications to run on Windows 7, Vista and XP OSes. Users can install the software in Windows and then run around 450,000 Android applications, including Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja, the company said in a statement.
Beyond PCs, the App Player could also allow Windows tablets such as Hewlett-Packard's Slate 2 and Dell's Latitude ST to run Android applications. Bluestacks made headlines at last year's Computex trade show in Taipei when Advanced Micro Devices showed off an x86 tablet with Android running on top of the Windows 7 software stack. Android applications are mostly written for the ARM instruction set, but the x86 tablet was able to switch between Android and Windows without any problems.
The emulator has new Layercake technology, which exploits hardware accelerators to improve the performance of Android games in Windows. The layer was not included in the previous Bluestacks alpha version. Android applications typically use hardware accelerators found in ARM's Mali, Nvidia's Tegra or Imagination Technologies' PowerVR graphics cores, but Layercake is able to take advantage of hardware accelerators from companies like AMD found in x86 chips.
The Bluestacks app is 3.6MB and can be downloaded from the company's website . The software installed without any issues on Windows XP, and on start provided the option to download software from Google's Android application market. Angry Bird Space, the latest iteration of the game, was released last week and ran on the PC through Bluestacks. However, resizing the window to full-screen mode required restarting the Angry Birds application. The software also offered the option to sync apps and contacts with an Android device.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

BlueStacks Android App Player hits beta

After three-months of alpha testing, BlueStacks has rolled out the official beta version of itsAndroid App Player. 

The software - which supports Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 - enables Android apps to run in windowed or fullscreen mode on a PC.
Indeed, the latest iteration of BlueStacks includes a feature dubbed "LayerCake" which allows apps written for ARM processors like Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja to run seamlessly on x86-based PCs.
LayerCake also supports hardware graphics acceleration, as well as apps designed for high-end tablets powered by graphics-intensive engines such as Unity. 

Unsurprisingly, BlueStacks has already been endorsed by a number of industry heavyweights, including AMD which is just beginning to eye the lucrative tablet market. 

"LayerCake is a disruptive technology that enables PC manufacturers to bring the best of theAndroid ecosystem to their customers," explained AMD rep Manju Hegde. 

"It also leverages the advanced graphics capabilities of AMD APU and GPU platforms... We are excited to work with BlueStacks to make the emerging Android mobile apps market part of the broader computing arena."

As noted above, BlueStacks recently completed a successful three months of alpha testing, having attracted over a million users in more than 100 countries such as the US, Korea, Brazil, Germany and China. Over 4.5 million apps were run, with Kakao Talk in Korea, Wordfeud in Germany and WhatsApp in the US weighing in as the most popular. 

Meanwhile, devs behind top apps like Fruit Ninja, SliceIt!, Barnes & Noble's Nook, Townsmen, Evernote, Defender and StumbleUpon have partnered up with BlueStacks to have their apps pre-loaded in the beta-1 version.

"A billion PCs is a huge potential market for any developer," said Markus Kassulke, CEO HandyGames.

"There is the potential to make good money from the additional app discovery and usage... [And] the best part is, we don't have to do any work. Our apps run without any modifications or porting."

Monday, March 26, 2012

Karma: New app for iPhone, Android makes gift giving easier

Toronto: Whether it’s choosing the right present, selecting the proper size or style, or digging up a current mailing address, gift giving can be difficult.
Karma, a new app for iPhone and Android, aims to simplify the process with its service that lets people send gifts instantly via SMS, email or Facebook.
The app recommends gifts based on the recipient’s demographic profile and interests, which it garners from Facebook. After a notification of the gift is sent, the receiver enters their mailing address, along with other personal preferences that are relevant to the gift they will be receiving, whether it’s the size, style or color.
A screen grab of the Karma app from the Google Play website.
“You can open up Karma and, literally in under 60 seconds, the person you’re thinking of will get your card, see your gift, can pick it out and have that fun, and then say ‘Thank You,’” said Lee Linden, the co-founder of Karma.
“I can send someone a sweatshirt without knowing their size, or a bottle of wine without knowing if they want Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot or Zinfandel. And the recipient can enter where they want it shipped to, maybe it’s their office because there’s a doorman there, their home, or vacation home. It’s their choice,” he said.
Gifts available on the app include wine, electronics, and fashion.
“We know that you’re giving a gift to a 33-year-old man for his birthday, and we can figure out great products for someone of that demographic. We can see what he likes on Facebook or what other people are choosing for men of that age,” he said.
Karma allows the recipient to change not only the color, size or style of a gift, but also the gift itself before it is shipped. There’s also the option to donate the value of the present to a partner charity.
The app also provides notifications on events occurring in the lives of friends in social networks using semantic analysis, algorithms that can detect the meaning behind text, and allows users to send gifts before submitting credit card information.
“We’re trying to think about e-commerce in a new way and each piece is worth reconsidering,” explained Linden. “Payment is a big pain point.”
Linden said the company also provides companies with demographic targeting and advertising via social networks.
Similar apps include Wrapp and Giiv, which have a focus on gift cards.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Best New Android Games This Week

5 best new Android games released this week

Angry Birds Space:  After a giant claw kidnaps their eggs, the Angry Birds chase it into a wormhole and find themselves floating in a strange new galaxy – surrounded by space pigs! Luckily the Angry Birds have super powers of their own... 
Cut The Rope Experiments:  The follow-up to the award-winning mobile game Cut the Rope has arrived for Android! ZeptoLab's Cut the Rope: Experiments features the familiar and loveable little monster Om Nom who is discovered by a mad (but not bad) scientist determined to study his candy-loving behavior through a series of experiments.  
NBA JAM by EA:  Jam with your favorite stars from all 30 NBA teams in over-the-top, high-flying, 2-on-2 arcade basketball just like you remember it – and like you’ve never seen before! 
Super Monkey Ball 2 Sakura Ed:  Roll around 6 worlds as you tilt and steer adorable monkeys in 125 themed mazes. Everyone’s favorite monkeys keep the ball rolling with this exclusive version of the arcade to console classic for your smartphone. 
FIFA 12 by EA SPORTS:  Experience the action of your favorite sport like never before! Watch matches come to life with vibrant graphics and ultra-realistic animations.

Instagram registration opens for Android

Due to popular demand, Instagram was bound to come to Android — but when was the question.
However, now registration has officially opened for Android users to sign up with their email address, in order to be ‘first in line’ when the Android-enabled application is released.
Instagram fans can now input their email addresses on the Instagram website to sign up for the expected beta release before it hits the Android market — now known as Google Play.
The photograph-based app has become a hit for iOS devices, and has amassed a cult following of millions of users and over 150 million photo uploads. One only has to view a Facebook or Twitter news feed in order to see uploaded and shared images through the Instagram app — taken, manipulated, edited and shared across social media networks.
There are alternatives to this free app that are currently available on Android devices; such as Lightbox, Vignette and Camera360 — but Android users are still keen to try out the app that iOS users enjoy.
Upon registering, the Instagram team says it will be ‘in touch soon’ with registrants.
You must be 13 years or older in order to sign up for the beta release.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Wave, Buzz... Android? What Apple teaches Google

Open ... and Shut For developers looking to avoid the Dementor's Kiss  of Apple's all-consuming iOS ecosystem, Google has long played the knight in shining open-source armour. Indeed, latest data from IDC and Appcelerator suggest developers are still betting big on Google, expecting its broad range of social products to mint them money. But given Google's track record in social, is this faith misplaced?
Google, after all, has hardly set the world alight with social. Wave and Buzz were resounding duds, and Google+, despite notching impressive-sounding growth numbers, can barely muster 3.3 minutes of users' time per month, according to ComScore . And that number keeps falling each month as users log into Google+ and discover themselves alone.
By contrast, Facebook users spend more than 7.5 hours per month with Mark Zuckerberg's college dorm room project, which number keeps going up.
So why are 39 per cent of Appcelerator's developers  (Warning: PDF, registration required) saying they believe Google's network effects of social products will trump Facebook's social graph (and 900 million users)?
It wouldn't seem that this is a big vote of confidence in Google so much as it's a testament to how hard it is to implement Facebook's social graph, which most developers use as a way to broadcast updates to Facebook contacts. In the survey, Google gets credit for easier APIs, among other things. But does this just mean that Google has provided a painless way to fail as its social products fail?
And if developers are so hot to trot for Google then why is interest in Android waning?
Image via IDC/Appcelerator
While these numbers are still high, they reflect a consistent erosion of Android interest. Android phones have huge market share, yet developer interest in Android phones dropped 4.7 per cent, while Android tablets, which have yet to make the slightest ripple against the iPad , dropped 2.2 per cent. According to Appcelerator, interest in Android is flagging because the hardware and software profiles for it are so fragmented, as The Registerreports.
Developers don't want to be locked into Apple, which is why Google, limping social strategy and fragmented Android and all, remains a solid option. But Google is going to have to figure out who, exactly, it is, and why developers should care. It has billed itself as the open alternative to Apple's and Facebook's closed ways, but it needs to be more than open. It also needs to be good, and its history of product failures  is worrisome.
There's no doubt as to Google's ambition. The company has been throwing itself into everything from flight search to payments. But adoption for these two services, and many others, has been painfully slow. There's more on Google Flight Search and Wallet here  andhere , respectively.
In sum, instead of putting faith in Google's broad portfolio of services – social or otherwise – perhaps developers would be wiser to urge Google to focus on a narrower set of clearly defined, easily deployed services. You know, kind of like what Apple has done. ®
Matt Asay is senior vice president of business development at Nodeable, offering systems management for managing and analysing cloud-based data. He was formerly SVP of biz dev at HTML5 start-up Strobe and chief operating officer of Ubuntu commercial operation Canonical. With more than a decade spent in open source, Asay served as Alfresco's general manager for the Americas and vice president of business development, and he helped put Novell on its open source track. Asay is an emeritus board member of the Open Source Initiative (OSI). His column, Open...and Shut, appears three times a week on The Register.


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