Soon after HP started their TouchPad fire sale, a version of the device running Android 2.2 appeared on eBay and went on to sell for almost $700. Hopes for an Android port were high and the developer community swung into action offering a $2300 bounty for anyone who could load Android on the TouchPad. The CyanogenMod team, Android developers extraordinaire, did not disappoint and soon the news broke that they had managed to successfully get Android running on the TouchPad.
At Google I/O this year, the newest version of Android was officially announced. Codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich, it aims to bring Honeycomb features to phones, Gingerbread features to tablets, and everything in between. The official announcement left us without a firm release date -- only that it would be released in Q4 of this year.
At the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco today, though, Eric Schmidt let a bit more info slip:
Analytics firm Canalys is reporting that global smartphone market share for Google’s Android OS platform is at a colossal 48%, with an overall lead in 35 out of the 56 countries tracked by Canalys. According to the report, the total global smartphone market has grown by 73% year-on-year with a total of 107.7 million devices shipped in Q2 2011. Android-based devices are the main culprit behind this astounding growth with an increase in shipments of 379% from over a year ago totalling 51.9 million units shipped in Q2 2011.
Last week we got our hands on the Sprint Playbook which indicated that the Kyocera Echo would be receiving a firmware update to Android 2.3. Accordingly, a page has now gone live on the official Kyocera Echo webpage confirming that an update to Android 2.3.4 is imminent. By the looks of the Echo webpage this update will bring some major features and enhancements to this unique device.
As indicated in the Playbook the update will include Swype 3.0 with "Tap Correction and Horizontal Word Choice List" (i.e.
In a recent patent suit between HTC and Apple, the US International Trade Commission found the Taiwanese manufacturer liable on two counts of patent infringement in its Android-based devices (see our earlier post for a detailed analysis of the case and its effects).
Although this suit only involves Apple and HTC, its legal ramifications could affect Android as a whole - since the alleged infringements are core parts of the Android OS developed by Google.
ASUS has just announced via Twitter that they are currently testing Android 3.2 on the Eee Pad Transformer, and that the keyboard super-dock tablet will be receiving the update soon. What does Android 3.2 bring? A slew of bug fixes, mostly - along with compatibility for apps that don't scale properly (called "Zoom Mode") on Honeycomb tablets. Check out our article on Android 3.2 to learn more.
Regardless of where you sit in the tech world, there is one thing that affects us all: security vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, our little green robot is no exception this rule, and The Register recently dropped a report on a potentially bad exploit.
Apparently, in Android 2.3.3 and below, there is a vulnerability that would allow attackers to collect digital tokens that are stored on the device after users login to Google Calendar, Facebook, Twitter, and "several other accounts."
Here's how it works: when you login to an account, an authToken is stored locally on your device for 14 days, allowing you to re-access the service without hassle.
Android In Recent News
Fragmentation has been one of the biggest criticisms of the Android platform. Essentially, Google allows anybody to take the Android code and tweak it suit their own needs. This is how manufacturers like Motorola, HTC, and Samsung are able to create custom layers (MotoBlur, Sense UI, and TouchWiz, respectively) over the vanilla Android interface and how some carriers load up new phones with crapware. Although this is a price to pay for openness and customizability, a recent study indicates that 86% of developers are unhappy with the state of Android fragmentation (24% of them describing it as a "huge problem").
For everything that we love about Android – openness, customization, large selection of devices, etc. – there are things that we hate about it, too, like fragmentation and manufacturers pre-loading devices with crapware and (some) custom UIs. It seems, though, that Google is looking to change all of that. Insiders from companies “in the Android ecosystem” have told Businessweek that Google is starting to crack down on changes that manufacturers are allowed to make to Android.
Bloomberg is reporting that Google intends to test out the still nascent NFC (near field communication) technology by allowing shoppers in New York and San Francisco to pay for their purchases using only their mobile devices.
Apparently, Google is planning on buying thousands of special cash-register systems from VeriFone Systems Inc. and installing these at retail outlets in the two metros sometime in the next four months. Then customers with NFC enabled mobile devices can pay for their purchases by tapping in on these special registers.