The Android marketplace has often been called the wild west, as compared with the more organized Apple App Store. It's hard to always know which apps are available, and if those apps are suitable for everyone. Providing users with more information about the apps they download has apparently been a top request, and now the Android team at Google is introducing a rating system which all apps will have to adopt going forward. Starting next week, developer who want to sell software in the Android marketplace will need to signify if their app is intended for All, Pre-Teens, Teens or Mature people only. For those already in the marketplace, the developers will have to add a rating, or they will be marked as Mature.
Read More | Android Blog
It's no secret that Android phones are growing in popularity at an amazing rate, with new phones being introduced all the time. In North America, it's already the most popular smartphone platform, beating out iOS and Blackberry. However, in the rest of the world, it's a different story. Phones based on the Symbian system rule the market, but Symbian marketshare has been going down steadily. This week, the research firm GfK reports that in the third quarter, Android overtook Symbian for the first time in Asia.
According to the firm: "Our Q3 report shows that Android has recently overtaken Symbian as the most popular smartphone OS in the context of Asia as a whole, in both value and unit sales. However, it is interesting to note the difference in OS trends when we look at findings in North and Southeast Asia separately."
Definitely nice to see that the mobile OS competition is heating up across the globe.
Read More | GfK
We have a Samsung Galaxy Tab in and wanted to give you guys a look at the first major competitor to the iPad. The Galaxy Tab is a 7-inch Android tablet available from Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and soon AT&T. It sports a 7-inch display, and in all actuality, just feels like a really big Android phone. Hit the video above for the full scoop.
The line of Android-powered tablets seems to be increasing weekly, and indeed this week saw yet another contestant to the iPad being released, the Archos 101. It's a 10-inch tablet running the Android 2.1 OS, and powerful enough to play 720p video at a reasonable $299 price tag for the 8GB version, and $349 for 16GB. The main features include a capacitive touchscreen, a HDMI port, 802.11n Wi-Fi, front-facing camera, and an SD slot for more storage space.
Read More | Archos
Google Docs has been available on mobile devices for several months now, but there was no way to edit Google Docs documents on the go while in the browser. Now, Google has announced that over the coming days they will push a new version of the mobile service on their servers, and suddenly all your docs will be editable on the go from some Android devices, and iOS devices running version 3.0 or higher. When opening a document, you will be able to turn edit mode on, and add text, bullet points, edit spreadsheets and so on. Changes will be shown in "near realtime" on the web, and changes that other people do to shared documents will be reflected on the mobile device as well. This should be very good news for everyone who've come to depend on Google Docs for productivity.
Read More | Google Docs Blog
Google is once again trying to show that location services are really important to them with the release of Google Hotpot, a social recommendation engine for Places. According to Google, this service will provide recommendations "powered by you and your friends" to businesses and locations you happen to be near. Right now, Google Places mostly provides information and facts about restaurants, clubs, banks, or anything you can find on a map, as well as imported ratings from outside sources like Yelp. Hotpot adds the ability to like or dislike a location on the spot, and provide your opinion. Then, the engine will present that additional information from your social circle. The new feature is available on Android phones now and on the web, and uses your Google account to allow you to rate businesses.
Read More | Google Hotpot
If you wanted to get your hands on an aesthetically pleasing HTC EVO 4G, but for some reason were against Best Buy, then you'll be pleased to know that the elusive white HTC EVO 4G that was once exclusive to Best Buy is now making its way into Sprint retail locations everywhere, as well as other third party stores. The price will remain the same $199 contract after $100 mail-in rebate. While the front of the phone remains black, the white back will give you that exclusive look that you crave.
Netflix posted an interesting blog entry this weekend on which they went behind the scenes as to why there isn't an Android Netflix app just yet. Apparently, it has to do with the fact that Android devices are fragmented, and there isn't a single DRM system across the board, unlike the iPhone and Windows Phone 7 (which both have a Netflix app.) This means that, according to the blog, it's much harder to ensure security of the video content provided by Netflix, which is something that's required by publishers. Still, they are working on it, and now say that they will be able to release an Android app for "select" devices early next year. While there is no mention of which ones, more updates are said to be upcoming.
Read More | Netflix Blog
Ever since Google released an "official" Android phone, the Nexus One (a.k.a. the phone that provided a baseline of what an Android phone should be,) people have been speculating and wondering when the Nexus Two would appear. In the past few weeks, the rumors have gained momentum once again, and now it appears Engadget received some exclusive images that show the Nexus S, a phone from Samsung that would be the true successor to the Nexus One. A lot is still rumored at this point, but check out the link for detailed shots of every side as well as the interior from this upcoming device.
Read More | Engadget
Skype update it's Android application today with version 1.0.1.
The first thing addressed is the support for screen resolutions common to more Android phones. Skype also announced that the hardware back key will now send the application to the background, while still allowing calls and IMs. Skype stated that this fix should also lesson battery consumption. Other fixes include:
- Signing out from Skype now exits Skype.
- Improved login stability and behavior.
- Improved performance with large contact lists.
- Reduced application size.
Problems having to do with the Galaxy S line of phones remain and Skype simply states that they "do not recommend installing Skype 1.0.1 for Android on this device with Android 2.1 and below."
Read More | Skype Blog