Friday, 20 July 2012

Android Community

Android Community

Android telepresence robot Botiful introduced on Kickstarter

Posted: 20 Jul 2012 10:47 AM PDT

Move over OUYA, because today we’ve got another Android-based Kickstarter to talk about. Its name is Botiful, and its looking to infuse a little personality into those Skype video calls you make with your Android phone. Botiful is being touted as the “first consumer telepresence robot,” and by docking an Android phone on the robot (and using the special Skype interface), it allows users on the other end to choose what they’re looking at. For example, if you’re talking to someone who is using a Botiful, you’re given control over their robot, so you can remotely control what the robot does and who the focus is on.

It sounds like a cool idea (especially when you see it all played out in the Kickstarter pitch video), but Botiful’s creator isn’t just stopping at Skype video calls. On offer is a Botiful SDK, which creator Claire Delaunay is hoping developers will use to come up with their own apps and uses for Botiful. Of course, uses for Botiful will be on the light side at first, but if this Kickstarter catches on, we may see a ton of developers embrace the robot and begin creating new apps for it.

Just with full Skype integration, however, it already seems like there’s plenty you can do with Botiful. A few examples from the Kickstarter: using Botiful to look under your car, using it to entertain your children while you’re away, or using it to check on your home while you’re at work. Delaunay says that the finished product should cost $299 or more, but if you’re quick to pledge, you can secure one for only $199. So far, the Kickstarter campaign has raised $21,411 of its $90,000 goal and has 32 days left to go. If you’re interested in seeing Botiful become a reality, head on over to the Kickstarter page and pledge away!

Leaked photo of Samsung Jasper smartphone hits Twitter

Posted: 20 Jul 2012 03:28 AM PDT

Back in April, we talked a bit about the Samsung Jasper SCH-i200 smartphone. The glimpse at the device’s hardware we laid eyes on in April came by way of the Bluetooth SIG website and a GL Benchmark description. We now have a new leaked photograph of the smartphone that surfaced on Twitter.

The Jasper is expected to be a midrange smartphone that won’t break the bank. The photograph shows it in Verizon livery complete with support for 4G LTE connectivity. According to the person who leaked the photo, the smartphone will use a QUALCOMM Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 SoC. That is the same part inside the Galaxy S III, and the part tipped in the April story.

What makes the Jasper a midrange offering is the screen with a reported resolution of 800 x 480. It’s not clear exactly how large that screen is. The phone is expected to run Android 4.0 and has a dedicated button for multitasking rather than a traditional search button. It’s still unclear when the smartphone will launch.

[via SlashGear]

HTC One X, One S and One XL Jelly Bean update confirmed

Posted: 20 Jul 2012 01:03 AM PDT

HTC has confirmed it is readying updates to bring the HTC One X, HTC One S and HTC One XL up to date with Jelly Bean. Revealing the work-in-progress in a statement given to Android Community today, HTC declined to give a specific timetable for Jelly Bean’s release.

“We know HTC fans are excited to get their hands on Google's latest version of Android” HTC said in its statement. “At this point in time, we can confirm that we have plans to upgrade our HTC One X, HTC One XL and HTC One S to Jelly Bean. Please stay tuned for more updates regarding device upgrades, timing and other details about HTC and Jelly Bean.”

Jelly Bean brings with it such niceties as the new Project Butter UI engine, which dramatically increases the smoothness with which the Android interface runs. There’s also better security provisions; more details in our review.

We also checked with HTC whether these updates were planned for solely the unlocked European models or included the North American variants. The Jelly Bean update ”is for all versions worldwide, including the carrier-specific versions in the U.S.” a spokesperson told us.

Robert Bowling to provide first exclusive game for OUYA

Posted: 19 Jul 2012 03:03 PM PDT

Yesterday we learned that OUYA has former Kindle developer Muffi Ghadiali working on the project, but today we get a bombshell of an entirely different nature. Robert Bowling (of Call of Duty fame) has announced that his freshly-formed studio, Robotoki, will be supplying OUYA with its first exclusive game: an episodic prequel to Robotoki’s upcoming game Human Element. Human Element is a post-apocalyptic zombie game set for release in 2015, and hearing Bowling describe it, this episodic prequel sounds like it will take place years and years before the events in the main game.

Details are pretty slim at the moment, as the Kickstarter post announcing Robotoki’s involvement with OUYA was painfully short. There’s no word on when this episodic prequel will be hitting OUYA, though we imagine that it’s still quite some time off, considering that the prequel doesn’t even have a title yet. Robert Bowling himself took to Youtube to talk a little more about the prequel, but aside from a brief description, there aren’t many new details about the actual game. Still, it’s worth a watch, so check it out below:

So, there’s still a lot of mystery surrounding this Human Element prequel, but its announcement certainly makes OUYA look good. Getting developers to say that their games will be on your console is the easy part, though. The hard part is getting them to actually follow-up on those promises by showing them that your platform is worth their time, and unfortunately OUYA has yet to prove that. It will get the chance, however, as the OUYA Kickstarter only has 20 days left to go before the team can really get to work on making this Android-based console a reality.

Google updates Jelly Bean SDK – now available for the public

Posted: 19 Jul 2012 02:19 PM PDT

When Google announced Android 4.1 Jelly Bean last month at Google IO it was all cheers. They made the early SDK available for developers in a preview state, but today have unleashed it into the wild for all. This is good news for those developers looking to get into Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and start pumping out awesome applications.

As usual the update is available for developers in their SDK manager, or you can also download it direct today from the link below. Google announced this late last night over on Google+, and confirmed the new Jelly Bean SDK is an updated and complete version, and differs from the preview build released during IO. Here’s what they had to say:

We are pleased to announce that the full SDK for Android 4.1 is now available to developers and can be downloaded through your SDK Manager. You can now develop and publish applications against API level 16 using new Jelly Bean APIs. We are also releasing SDK Tools revision 20.0.1 and NDK revision 8b containing bug fixes only.

Google mentions this will help developers get their apps ready for Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, as well as their new Nexus 7 — which was basically expected. They’ve already released Android 4.1.1 to AOSP, so developers have already been hard at work building ROM’s, but now app developers can dive in too. Google also appears to be pushing developers to build their apps to better support tablets. Which is a good move considering that is one area that Android tablets could still use some help.

More details and download information can be found at the Android Developers Blog.

Google reports sky-high revenues for Q2 2012

Posted: 19 Jul 2012 02:16 PM PDT

Google has issued its financial report for the second quarter of the year, ending June 30, and boy is it a doozy. This is the first quarter that Motorola‘s finances are included with Google’s, but the internet giant says that on its own, it enjoyed a 27% increase in revenues year-over-year. When everything is tallied up, Google’s consolidated revenue came in at a whopping $12.21 billion, which was a 35% increase from the second quarter of 2011.

That number is likely to make a few investors crack a smile. Of that figure, 90% ($10.96 billion) came from Google, while the other 10% ($1.25 billion) came from Motorola. It’s important to remember that Google’s buyout of Motorola wasn’t finalized until May 22, so if Google had finalized the purchase of Motorola earlier in the quarter, then the company probably would have contributed much more to Google’s consolidated revenue.

Google’s GAAP operating income for the quarter comes in at $3.44 billion (31% of Google revenues), compared to a GAAP operating income in Q2 2011 of $2.88 billion (32% of revenues). Non-GAAP operating income for the quarter was $3.99 billion, while a year ago it was at $3.32 billion. Average cost-per-click took a 16% decline year-over-year while increasing 1% over the last quarter.

Sadly, we didn’t hear too much about the Android platform in today’s financial report, with most of the big Android news being delivered at Google I/O last month. All in all, Google is looking great despite paying out $12.5 billion for Motorola last quarter, so we’re sure that investors will be pleased with this particular quarterly report.

Samsung Music Hub beta hands-on

Posted: 19 Jul 2012 01:31 PM PDT

Samsung’s getting close to launching their new music service to rival the folks at Spotify, and even Google Play Music here in the US. This week they’ve let a few lucky users enjoy an early beta preview of their new Music Hub. We first mentioned this back in May, but now we’ve received our own hands-on time with the music app for Android.

Samsung’s new Music Hub will start off being available for their new flagship Galaxy S III, and eventually make its way to other devices. At first glance it’ll feel and seem like a great blend between Spotify and Google Music — and in a way it is. It takes clues from many popular options available today, and adds its own flare and polish for an overall solid experience.

Overall our first impressions of the new Music Hub streaming service are quite positive, but we’ve only had a very limited time to enjoy the application. When first launching the app you’ll be greeted with a grid of options and icons. They look great on our Galaxy S III but sadly there is no tablet app at this time.

As you can see from the screenshot above Samsung gives you a large list out of the gate. To start you’ll need to be signed into your Samsung account — which is the same media hub account many have with recent Samsung devices, Smart TV’s and more. The starting grid at first launch consists of 12 options:

• My Music
• Catalog
• Radio
• Recommended
• Search
• Tagged
• Recent
• Downloads
• Account
• Settings
• Help
• About

The design is simple, fresh, easy to understand, and runs quite fluid and nicely for us. With Samsung Hub you can upload music right to your Samsung Hub account for streaming, as well as streaming right from Samsung themselves. Then of course it’ll obviously play any actual music files you’ve got on the device too. For now you’ll have access to roughly 19 million tracks, and more are being added daily.

Oddly enough though some tracks you can fully enjoy, while others are limited to 30 second previews and then you’ll be prompted to purchase the song. In the “My Music” grid you’ll find anything and everything music. From on device MP3′s, purchased music, and previously streamed songs. Music Hub also offers 7digital integration and all of that account info can be transferred over too.

Just like many current offerings Samsung will handle all of the file type conversion, as well as album artwork on their end. So this means users will have a seamless experience with smooth audio playback and album artwork should they want it. Also Samsung’s worked hard to make the entire user experience and UI simple to use and navigate. Taking hints from a few different competitors the “Now Playing” screen is my favorite part. The album artwork is large, HD, and easy to see. Then you can simply swipe left or right for next/previous tracks — artwork included — and even previewed before you swipe. Well done Samsung!

For now the official Samsung Hub service is only available in Europe, but will be headed stateside very soon. Samsung mentions that the app itself, information, subscription details/pricing and more will all be available on their website shortly. Like mentioned above this will be exclusive to the Samsung Galaxy S III, but I’m sure the developer community will change that real quick. Stay tuned for further details!

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Google Play Music updated, UI and album art take center stage

Posted: 19 Jul 2012 12:29 PM PDT

Google has released an update for the free Google Play Music app, touting that this new version is now “harder, better, faster, stronger” in a nice little homage to Daft Punk. Version 4.3.606 of the Google Play Music app adds a reworked user interface, with transport controls now appearing on the action bar. It addition to the tweaked UI, this update also adds new Now Playing functionality, allowing users to queue up and rearrange songs.

That isn’t all though, as the update also adds large album artwork to the Recent section and features album artwork and thumbs up buttons on the Google Music widget. Finally, with update 4.3.606, playlist artwork is now constructed with the album artwork of songs in the playlist.

Some pretty snazzy additions were made with this update, but Google’s claim that this new version is “harder, better, faster, stronger” suggests that it has made additional enhancements behind the scenes. Regardless of what it isn’t talking about, we’re sure many Google Play Music users will be quite satisfied knowing that the UI and widget have undergone some cosmetic enhancements with this update.

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[via Google Play]

Rumor: T-Mobile planning HTC G3 in the coming months

Posted: 19 Jul 2012 12:04 PM PDT

Recently we’ve been seeing a bit of news regarding some upcoming HTC devices. Reports of quad-core Tegra 3 devices with AT&T 4G LTE, and even a few tablets have been spotted. Today however new speculation has arrived mentioning that T-Mobile and HTC are teaming up yet again (for the third time) and will be releasing an HTC G3. The original G1 days — good ol times with that clunky keyboard and updating to Cupcake.

The original Google device, for those that sadly don’t know, was the T-Mobile HTC G1. The device was released in October, and now we are seeing signs that a G3 QWERTY keyboard equipped smartphone might arrive in Q3 this year possibly around September. Or even the same October date as the original. According to TmoNews, a device codenamed the HTC Era 42 will be headed to T-Mobile this fall, and the specs and rumors all sound like an HTC One branded device only with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard — but will keep the T-Mobile G3 branding.

We can expect a completely stock version of Android, most likely Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and it should rival if not beat the current crop of HTC One phones. According to multiple sources the original HTC G1 was codenamed the Era in some countries, and even the launch date matches up with the same time-frame as the G1 and G2. Obviously we don’t have any real hard evidence at this point. We’re hearing that a few different sources have been told the device is indeed in the works.

We know a few diehard Android fans would love a stock vanilla Android device with a hardware keyboard — so this could get interesting. Maybe the HTC G3 will rock Qualcomm’s new quad-core S4 Pro and be complete as T-Mobile’s first 4G LTE device. That I’d buy! More details and speculation can be found at the source link below.

[via AndroidandMe]

Fuhu Nabi 2 tablet available for pre-order, launching July 22

Posted: 19 Jul 2012 11:45 AM PDT

The Fuhu Nabi 2 tablet is on the way to stores, and it’s got your children square in its sights. It’s available for pre-order now from sites like Wal-Mart, GameStop, and Best Buy, with it scheduled to launch at Target on July 22. The tablet, which it targeted at tiny humans, also comes with a tiny price: $199.

$199 isn’t too bad for what you’ll be getting, as the Nabi 2 comes with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, 8GB of storage with a microSD slot, a 7-inch touchscreen, a 2-megapixel camera that’s capable of capturing video in 720p, and a bumper case that will undoubtedly see a lot of use. Our pals over at SlashGear did a review of the Nabi 2 not too long ago, and even though the tablet will leave something to be desired for adults, children will probably get a lot of enjoyment out of it.

The Nabi 2 won’t be featuring any Google-certified apps, but it does come with a section of pre-loaded apps that your child will probably get a kick out of nonetheless. The apps are aimed at being both educational and fun, so if you hand your child a Nabi 2, you can do so knowing that they won’t be wasting their time with a bunch of apps and games that serve no purpose outside of entertainment.

[via Android Police]

CyanogenMod 9 hits RC2, Jelly Bean on track with CM10

Posted: 19 Jul 2012 11:22 AM PDT

If you’re like me and enjoy flashing the absolute latest and greatest nightly builds of CyanogenMod 9, or now 10 we have some good news. While Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and CM10 is in the works the CyanogenMod team is still hard at work on CM9. Today they’ve announced CM9 RC2 builds are rolling out and it’s as stable as ever. This means official releases are coming very soon.

Not only are stable official releases coming soon, but this also means that the team will be focusing most of their attention on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and CM10 within the next few days or weeks. These stable builds are currently rolling out as we speak and the developers also mentioned they’ve added support for a host of new Samsung devices. They are:

* Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 (all variants)
* Samsung Galaxy SII on AT&T – Skyrocket
* Samsung Galaxy SII on T-Mobile – Hercules
* Samsung Galaxy Note on AT&T
* Samsung Galaxy SIII – i9300 (International GSM model)

That is all great and peachy, but I’m sure many of you are more interested in Jelly Bean and CyanogenMod 10. The CM team mentioned all the features that are good to go and working great earlier this week on Google+. That should shed some light on the CM10 progress as they start to turn their attention towards it. The CM team mentioned that official and final CM9 builds "which should be just around the corner," are looking good.

Some very early builds of CM10 have been released for the Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy S III, and a few other devices so be sure and check out their download mirrors or XDA for more info. Who’s excited for CM10?

[via CyanogenMod]

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