Pretty much the first thing that gets done to a new Android device when it hits the market is benchmarking. The Android community seems to be obsessed with benchmarking their devices over and over, and comparing the results to other devices. Personally I've always found this practice to be a curiosity at best, mainly because apps such as Quadrant give somewhat nebulous scores, which are hard to compare objectively, and offer little in the way of exact measurements.
|Liam Spradlin||Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.|
It looks like Samsung, on its webpage for the Galaxy Player 50, has ripped off the iPhone's Maps app, altering a screenshot ever so slightly for use in a web graphic of the 50. For reference, here's the original screenshot vs. Samsung's image:
The intentions here are unclear, but one can assume that this was no mistake - the red pushpins are a dead giveaway for the iPhone screenshot, and it's unlikely that this screenshot would be haphazardly tossed into a web graphic due to laziness, when it's so obviously ripped from an app featured on a device made by Apple, the consumer tech giant with whom Samsung has been so famously battling in the recent past.
Maxelus, a "Top Developer" in the Android Market, is well known for creating stunning (if not slightly trippy) live wallpapers - particularly the "Galaxy" series of LWPs that bring gorgeous, fictional outer space scenes to your Android phone or tablet.
Ostensibly looking to up the ante a bit, Maxelus recently introduced Alien Skins, a live wallpaper that offers over 1900 theme combinations, allowing one to mix and match skins and color schemes to their heart's content.
Joining the vast crowd of dialer replacements in the Android Market, our hunt has brought us to Angel Dialer, an uncomplicated app that effectively replaces the stock Android dialer, but which may have compromised necessary functionality for a no-frills implementation.
At A Glance
While Angel Dialer takes a concerted stance against superfluous features, its simplicity is not always a plus. While its features work, and it provides the same basic functionality we've seen before, it is lacking a few things that would take it up a level, and make it a decent dialer replacement.
The Sony Reader PRS-T1, a 6" e-ink reader that debuted earlier this year, has been hacked to run Android. It's a known fact that the Reader has been running Android from the get-go, but it runs a heavily modified build, and many thought that it would never see true Android goodness. Any doubt users had, however, can now be laid to rest - an unnamed hacker has got the T1 running Android with AWLauncher, and a bevvy of reading apps in tow.
Twitter is absolutely abuzz about Verizon's LTE network at the moment, but not because it's blazingly fast or convenient for on-the-go web browsing. No, Twitter is currently blowing up because it seems that 4G is down for most (if not all) VZW subscribers. For many 4G users, 3G is also having issues, likely a side-effect caused by Verizon's 4G devices. Adding to the flood of tweets, reader J Weissman has also confirmed the outage, tipping us just moments ago.
Jonathan Nightingale, Mozilla's director of Firefox Engineering, announced recently that Firefox's Android iteration will be moving away from XUL implementation in favor of a native Android UI. Nightingale, seeking to reassure users who may be wary of change, stated "Firefox on Android is a critical part of supporting the open web, and this decision puts us in a position to build the best Firefox possible."
For those not in the know, XUL stands for "XML User Interface Language," and is essentially a language that controls Firefox's front end architecture, creating various UI elements and instances.
Roman Nurik, an Android engineer, recently gave the Android Asset Studio an awesome new tool that allows users to create gorgeous, high-res PNG images of any screenshot framed by actual press asset photos of Android devices.
The resulting images are, well, pretty. Gone are the days when developers or designers have to spend time in Photoshop layering up images and fabricating gloss, just to get an appealing graphic to show an app in action.
Bringing to the Android Market what I consider one of the only useful augmented reality apps in existence, iOnRoad has introduced iOnRoad Augmented Driving. This app utilizes your Android device's rear camera to have a look at traffic in front of you, and, using complex visual algorithms, it determines headway, speed, direction, and potential traffic threats.
What's more, the app still keeps watching, and keeps you abreast of any potential dangers while running in the background, meaning you can switch to your music player, messaging app, or phone, and still get alerts from iOnRoad.
Dropbox, arguably one of the best file storage/sharing services around, recently released the new beta version of their app for Android, making it even easier to access files on the go that may otherwise be spread across several devices.
Besides bug fixes, the new beta includes the ability to store "favorite" files for quick offline viewing, bulk upload for multiple photos and videos, renaming of files and folders, upload from and export to local storage, and last but not least, a hugely improved UI which includes a more appealing gallery view and quick, one-tap access to file options.