I think it's safe to say that Android is the best thing to happen to smartphones since the iPhone (though, I'll admit, I may be a wee bit biased). Without a doubt, the massive success of the operating system is due in large part to its openness; the ability for devices to share fundamental code, while still allowing for an amazing amount of customization, has provided something for consumers, carriers, and manufacturers that Apple would never match.
Google released its monthly update of the Android version distribution charts today, and the battle against fragmentation is slowly being won.
Froyo now accounts for almost 60% of all Android devices, with Éclair hovering around 30%. Donut and Cupcake now make up only one tenth of all Android devices in the wild. Compare that to only 6 months ago, when they took up over 35% of the pie. Android's evolution is certainly impressive, and it doesn't seem like it'll be slowing down any time soon.
One thing we never grow tired of on Android is the myriad selection of apps available for use in a particular purpose. Be it text messaging, music listening, or file transfers, there's always a solid grouping of well-made apps to choose from. But whose app fits your needs best? Three of us here at Android Police are going to give you our personal favorites in an ongoing rundown series. We'll give you our picks in a wide variety of areas - from home screens to instant messaging.
An update to the popular custom launcher ADW EX was released today, and it adds a feature many ADW users have been clamoring for: custom dock backgrounds. While it may sound trivial, some have used the lack of a custom dock option in ADW to declare Launcher Pro the superior app. ADW EX comes with 8 of its own custom docks, though you can use any image from your gallery as a dock background.
Over the past couple of weeks, I spent countless hours debating whether I should wait around a few months and see what tablets come out or get one now. In the latter case, which tablet was right for me?
Let me start out with what I wanted out of a tablet. First and foremost, I needed a device that let me check my email and read the news. Every morning, I wake up, grab my Sprint EVO 4G, and check my email using Gmail and my work email using Exchange.
A few days after releasing the Android 2.3 SDK, Google officially pushed Gingerbread to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). Shortly thereafter, developers (such as the CyanogenMod crew) immediately started working on their custom ROMs based on the AOSP code (e.g. CyanogenMod 7).
It has only been a few days since CyanogenMod released version 6.1.1, their most recent stable update, so it's still likely to be a few weeks before a stable release of CM 7 is available.
Those of you acquainted with the inimitable Ander Webbs have been waiting for this one for a while. Once dubbed ADW Freak, the souped-up version of everyone's favourite open-source launcher has arrived, and it's now named ADW Ex.
On the surface, Ex brings ... well, it brings crazy transitions and UI effects, mainly. But underneath all that is some pretty impressive performance improvements. In a launcher, the real place where performance counts is in the drawer scrolling, and if you've been feeling that ADW is a bit laggy lately, Ex will quell your frustration with its silky smoothness.
That's right, carrier billing is now available for some Android users on the least Android-friendly wireless carrier in the US. Huzzah. I guess I shouldn't be so cynical - I am an AT&T customer, after all. Unfortunately, I also run CyanogenMod 6 on my AT&T Nexus One, and have not yet received any Market update to allow me to use carrier billing, and doubt I will until an official Gingerbread build coaxes me off my custom ROM goodness.
The Android dev team has generally been assumed to have a passive stance on rooting and unlocking Android devices. That is, do it if you want - we won't stop you. And there's certainly evidence abound supporting this - Google's Nexus One could be unlocked via a simple ADB (Android Device Bridge) command: fastboot oem unlock. The same is true of the Nexus S.
Of course, it only makes sense - Google doesn't want to put any unnecessary barriers between Android developers and the open source OS, especially on developer phones.
Prepare your party gear and break out the keg, people: Google is officially starting the push of Gingerbread to AOSP (Android Open Source Project) as we speak. Jean-Baptiste Queru just announced that fact, saying he was going to begin pushing the code to the AOSP, and the process is expected to take a few hours.
What does that mean for you? ROMs built on AOSP code (such as CyanogenMod) will now have access to Gingerbread, so expect CyanogenMod for Gingerbread (CM7?) to start cooking shortly.