"Great news, everyone!" Last week, Google launched the new in-app billing capability of the Android Market into private beta testing, promising a public release this week, if all went well. Apparently, all did go well, as the company today opened this most-exciting feature to everyone. To be fair, iOS users have been enjoying in-app billing in the App Store since 2009, so Google's move is quite a bit late (don't make me bring up the whole copy-paste thing to balance the argument!).
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.
Welcome to the weekly roundup of the best new Android applications, games, and live wallpapers that went live in the Market or were spotted by us in the previous week
2 weeks or so. Due to CTIA last week, we decided to postpone last week's roundup and roll all the apps into one big 2-week post.
Get ready - the list is quite massive and may freeze up your browser while loading - I suggest you open up links in new tabs to avoid page reloads.
If you read today's Amazon Cloud Storage announcement carefully, you may have noticed that Amazon threw in a special offer allowing a free 1-year upgrade for your Cloud account from 5GB to 20GB with the purchase of any MP3 album. Why pay $20 a year when you can buy an album cheaper and achieve the same thing without spending the extra money (otherwise known as taking advantage of a loophole)?
Ready for it?
One of the most popular Android games, Angry Birds Seasons, by everyone's favorite developer Rovio Mobile went on a 1-day sale today as the free premium app of the day over at the Amazon Appstore. The only difference between the already-free version of the same name and this one is the absence of those annoying ads that pop up in the most ridiculous locations at the most inopportune times.
To grab Angry Birds Seasons that currently consists of 4 editions (St Patrick's Day, Halloween, Christmas, and Valentine's Day), proceed to the Angry Birds Season Appstore page.
Today is starting out pretty well - minutes ago, we finally got the HTC Thunderbolt kernel source, and now Sony Ericsson decided to lift our spirits even further via a blog post announcing their commitment to the Android development community. And a commitment it is - Sony Ericsson may just be the first large manufacturer truly listening to us.
Sure, Motorola unlocked the bootloader of the XOOM, and Samsung did the same to the Nexus S, but Sony Ericsson is promising to release versions of ALL Xperia phones with easily unlockable bootloaders, at least ones slated for 2011.
After bickering back and forth with the Android community about the terms and timelines of kernel source releases and getting flooded with emails, HTC finally put together the source code for the Thunderbolt kernel and uploaded it to their developer portal.
The file weighs in at 87MB and will enable ROM developers to finally do some proper work on custom ROMs, including improving battery life, over- and under-clocking, and implementing other tweaks (hopefully, it includes LTE drivers so that CyanogenMod devs don't have to reverse engineer the protocol and write their own).
Update: Linux devs are not happy about this.
Update #2: And just like that, only a few hours after this article, HTC released the Thunderbolt kernel source.
If you've been following the "drama" around Android kernel source release timelines and device manufacturers (such as HTC), you should be already aware of 2 forces pushing in opposite directions:
One of the ways Android protects application users from unwanted activities is by requiring every app to declare a set of permissions and allowing users to view those permissions during the installation phase. Don't like what an app can do? Just don't install it.
However, this all or nothing approach doesn't allow you to selectively turn off specific permissions, so if you don't like that an application accesses your phone state, you can't just disable that and still have the app installed.
SwiftKey normally costs $1.99 in the Android Market ($1.79 in the Amazon Appstore), but for the next 24 hours, U.S. residents will be able to download it to their Digital Lockers for free, thereby claiming it forever. Even if you are not a fan of SwiftKey just yet, there is no reason to pass on this deal if you can get it - just do it now, then think and decide later.
To those who can access it (read: U.S. users), the Amazon Appstore may seem like one of the best things since sliced bread - it trumps Google's own web-based Android Market in almost every way. One of such differentiating features is the Goldbox-like Free Premium App of the Day concept that, like Groupon and its competitors, was introduced to provide great deals to consumers and giant spikes in traffic to app developers.