February 27, 2009 by Tap
Google G1 fan, Mark Hewitt, has recently updated his useful Hitchhiker's Guide to the G1 Google Phone hub and has some news on Google's Cupcake update. As many of you will know, the over-the-air update has already been made available in the US but UK users are still waiting. Mark has been in touch with the Google Press Office and been told that the update is due "very shortly" in the UK. Fingers crossed then. It will be worth the wait though with two notable improvements being:
- An onscreen keyboard - pretty essential now given that the forthcoming HTC Magic is keyboardless.
- Reduced battery drain which has been a problem from the beginning.
For more details on Cupcake and for more handy user tips for the Google G1, check out Mark's 4 part guide on hubpages.
February 27, 2009 by Tap
True to their earlier announcement this month, TeleNav has confirmed that GPS Navigator is now available for Android phones, starting with the Google G1. As we've come to expect from TeleNav, GPS Navigator is extremely feature-rich and includes:
- Full colour 3D maps which work in both landscape and portrait modes
- Turn-by-turn navigation via voice and onscreen instructions
- A comprehensive database of more than 10 million points of interest
- Name and address voice speech recognition
- Audio traffic alerts and one-click rerouting
- Current weather and five-day forecasts
A monthly subscription of $9.99 (in addition to your phone data plan) provides unlimited use of GPS Navigator. TeleNav is also offering a 4 year prepaid subscription at $249.99. This may sound like a lot but it does effectively mean that your monthly subscription is just $5.20. Also bear in mind that unlike buying a standalone GPS system (which may well be out of date in 4 years), with TeleNav you are actually buying a service which you can transfer if you decide to upgrade to a newer phone which makes it futureproof and a sound investment.
While on the subject of standalone GPS systems, many of you will be familiar with TomTom satnavs. You can read an interesting comparison between GPS Navigator on the G1 and the TomTom One at Android and Me.
February 26, 2009 by Tap
We've already seen what Chinese mobile ODM (original design maker) Yuhua is capable of thanks to General Mobile's dual-sim DSTL1 which was recently showcased in Barcelona. Now, the word is that they have a second reference design for an Android phone, the Xphone-SDK, and are looking for OEMs to pick it up.
Specifications are as follows:
- Processor -- Marvell PXA-310 624Mhz
- Memory -- 128MB SDRAM; 256MB internal ROM
- Flash -- MicroSD card slot for up to 16GB external
- Cellular -- 900/1800/1900MHz GPRS/EDGE
- Display -- 3-inch TFT WQVGA (240 x 400)
- WiFi -- 802.11b/g
- Bluetooth -- Bluetooth 2.0
- Camera -- 3Mpix camera (no flash)
- Video playback -- H.264, streaming, 3GPP, MPEG4, Codec 3GP
- Audio playback -- G-streamer based engine supports major codec media files, including MP3, AAC, AAC+, WMA, MPEG4, WAV, MIDI
- Image support -- JPG, BMP, PNG, GIF
- Web and messaging -- HTTP, WAP Push, xHTML, SMS, MMS
- Other features -- Data kits for USB/JTAG connectivity
- Battery -- 1000mAh
- Operating system -- Android (Linux/Java)
As yet there is no mention of the Xphone on the Yuhua website but this information comes from LinuxDevices, a reliable source, so you can expect to see and hear more of this phone in coming months.
February 25, 2009 by Tap
In a follow-up to a previous post (which ironically was titled 'Translating fun into profit with Android') Android developer Ed Burnette laments the poor sales of his paid Android app, Re-Translate Pro. Interestingly, Ed provides some install figures from his Market Developer Console for both the initial free version and the paid version which he released last week. These figures alone provide some insights into the challenges facing Android developers and serve as a warning to those who see paid apps as a way to making easy money.
By all accounts, Re-Translate is a well built, fun app which translates text from one language into another and then back again to the original language to see just how mangled the text can get (in this case using the Google Translate API). According to Ed, the free version received a lot of positive feedback and even an enquiry from a manufacturer to pre-install it on their upcoming Android phone. Console stats showed that the app was installed 35782 times which seemed to indicate that there was some revenue potential for a paid version.
Now I have to point out at this stage that I don't think money was the overriding factor in Ed's decision to release a paid version of Re-Translate. The app was originally developed as an example for his book, Hello, Android and I got the feeling from reading his earlier post that it was more about testing the market and discovering the in and outs of selling apps on Android Market. However, I'm sure that many developers would not approach things from the same perspective and this is where there are lessons to be learnt.
Needless to say, sales of the paid version of Re-Translate Pro have been disappointing – just 8 installs since its release, 3 of which were refunded. That's a far cry from the 35000+ free installs. So what's the deal? In part, I think it's human nature. Ed suspects that the poor sales are due to a lack of visibility in the Market but I suspect that even if he had great exposure, installs of the paid version would still be disappointingly low. Let's face it, Re-Translate may be fun but it doesn't really provide any lasting value. It's in our nature that when things are new and for free, we'll try almost anything, but force people to make some kind of a decision (i.e. pay $2.99) you immediately lose that effect. Couple that to that the fact that Google allows users to return apps within 24 hours and you have an environment that's not conducive to generating revenue from apps that don't provide any lasting value.
The bottom line is that while there is money to be made with paid Android applications, developers are going to have to work hard to generate returns. Apps that don't provide value are going to be punished and will simply disappear – that's the nature of a self-regulating environment like the Android Market. Of course some users will take advantage of Google's 24 hour refund policy but I still believe that for the vast majority of users, paying for something of value is not a problem. Overall I think that Google's model for the Android Market is sound and will result in a win-win for both developers and end-users alike.
You can read Ed's post here.
February 25, 2009 by Tap
Well that didn't take long. Vodafone/HTC have only just announced their partnership and the forthcoming release of the HTC Magic and already there's an Android Emulator skin for developers to play with, complete with Vodafone branding - thanks to Tea Vui Huang.
There are a number of other skins available including the Nokia N95, Palm Treo Pro and the now infamous Kogan Agora Pro so check them out.
Via: Android Central | Tea Vui Huang
February 24, 2009 by Tap
Kogan's entry into Android has been a bit of a saga with earlier reports that it had been indefinitely delayed. But now it's back - again. It seems that Gizmodo Australia's Nick Broughall got some hands-on time with a prototype and he liked it.
And yes, before you have a go at it, that does seem to be the same case and small screen that caused all the problems to begin with but according to Broughall, the final release model should ditch the qwerty keypad for a 3.8-inch touchscreen so there's hope yet.
February 23, 2009 by Tap
According to a thread on the Google Mobile support forum, there seems to be a bug that prevents paid Android Market applications from being updated. According to the thread, "After you purchase a paid [application] and and then try to update it, it doesn't update. It just says downloading and nothing happens." This bug only affects paid apps. Free apps are not affected.
Google's response - "Thanks for reporting this to us - just wanted to let you know we're looking into it."
Via: Google Mobile Help Forum
February 23, 2009 by Tap
There's nothing like a bit of competition to get things moving and it seems like there is a bit of a battle going on between T-Mobile and Vodafone to bring Android phones to market. T-Mobile was obviously the first mover with the G1. Then at last weeks Mobile World Congress Vodafone announced their partnership with HTC to release the HTC Magic in Europe this April.
Now, according to Digitimes, T-Mobile has inked a deal with Huawei to ship their Android-powered smartphones by Q3 this year. Huawei's showing at MWC was a bit of a let down this year. That said, the Android mockup that they did have on display was extremely sleek and sexy. Assuming this is the handset that ships and it has the specifications to match, the Huawei may just be the next top Android phone. For now it's T-Mobile 2 - Vodafone 1.
Via: Digitimes | Image: CNET
February 20, 2009 by Tap
It seems that this year's MWC was a bit of a let down as far as Android was concerned with most manufacturers paying lip service but not actually delivering. Here's a quick roundup of who did what.
According to T3, the rumour is that the KS360 will be relaunched using Android this year. Other than that, Marketing Manager Jeremy Newing confirmed that two other Android phones would be released later this year. No other details were available.
Chinese handset maker Huawei Technologies was kind enough to show off a non-working mockup of a phone at it's MWC booth and confirmed that it was planning on releasing Android phones possibly in Q3 this year.
They had already confirmed that they weren't going to demo anything at MWC but in a statement to Reuters, Won-Pyo Hong, head of product strategy, said that the firm would start selling more than three Android phones by the end of the year.
In the runnup to MWC General Mobile had confirmed that they would be launching their dual-SIM DSTL1 at the show. As it turns out, they were one of the few manufacturers to deliver. Check out the hands-on video on engadget.
At the end of last month there was speculation that Acer would be getting in on the Android act when they started to distribute invites to their 'smartphones launch' at MWC. Unfortunately this all proved to be unfounded although when engadget pressed an Acer rep for information he did make reference to two mysterious "Android secret models".
Of course the prize has to go to HTC who, together with Vodafone, revealed their next handset, the HTC Magic.
February 17, 2009 by Tap
The Boy Genius Report has a habit of breaking news pretty reliably so I think it's safe to say that rumours regarding the G2 can finally be put to rest with a report that the HTC Magic is actually going to be the next Android phone. A quick search on the Vodafone website revealed a press release which confirms that the HTC Magic will be a Vodafone exclusive and should be available in Europe from this April. According to the press release, specifications are as follows:
- GSM Quad band
- Digital camera (resolution): 3.2 megapixels
- Colour display: 3.2", 320x480 pixels, touchscreen
- Bluetooth/USB interface
- Internal memory: 512 MB Flash, 192 MB RAM
- Memory card slot: microSD (HC)
- Other: GPS, digital compass, motion sensor
Whilst there doesn't seem to be much of a difference in specifications between this and the G1, photos on BoyGeniusReport show the phone to be much sleeker and slimmer, thanks no doubt to the exclusion of a full keyboard. Let's just hope that this phone's touchscreen keyboard is up to the job.
Via: TheBoyGeniusReport | Vodafone