Last night on the Android Developers blog, Tim Bray recapped a few improvements that have come to the Android Market since Froyo landed. Most of them (five out of the six) are old news by now, but the sixth is one we haven't heard about before:
Does everyone remember the new keyboard called 8pen that arrived earlier this month and took the Android community by storm, both negatively and positively? I don't think I've ever witnessed so many widely different opinions about whether a keyboard is completely useless or a work of a genius until 8pen came out. Brian, for example, loves it, and I absolutely despise it.
There is one reason to install and use this rotary keyboard, however, and it is a good one.
PowerAMP is my favorite Android music player - that's no secret. In fact, according to our recent poll, it is yours too, as PowerAMP is currently leading it at 39%. Appearing seemingly out of nowhere about a month ago, this EQ-enabled program with a stunning UI managed to win the hearts of tens of thousands of people, reaching 50,000 downloads in a matter of days.
A slightly lesser known fact, however, is that the Market version is actually a time limited 15-day trial (the Trial part of the Market name kind of gives it out), but the developer, Max Petrov (or simply Max MP), assured us we'd have the full version before the trial expiration.
Right on cue, Verizon and Samsung have announced the Samsung Continuum, the newest member of the Galaxy S line of devices. Surprisingly, it looks like all the rumors had everything dead on (a rarity in the Android community). The details:
- $200 on contract ($300 - $100 mail-in rebate)
- Preorder begins November 11, goes on sale November 18
- 3.4" SAMOLED screen up top
- 1.8" SAMOLED "ticker" screen on the bottom
- "Grip Sensor" along the bottom that lights up the ticker
Other than that, the specs are nearly identical to the Fascinate:
- 1 GHz Hummingbird
- Android 2.1
- 5MP Camera with LED
- WiFi (b/g/n)
- 8 GB microSD in the box
- Bing Maps
- Bing Search
The ticker doesn't have all the capabilities of a normal screen, but from the look and sound of it, it has nearly everything an average user would need - and we're sure that whatever isn't there from the start will soon come from the dev community.
Today’s smartphones are quickly absorbing the functions of other portable devices - PDAs, portable GPS units, and standalone MIDs are a thing of the past - and conventional MP3 players may be next on the cutting block.
Best New Android Apps
PowerAMP Music Player
PowerAMP is the new powerful music player for Android, finally in the Market.
- plays mp3/mp4/m4a(including lossless alac)/flac/ogg/wav/tta/ wma/ape/wv
- optimized 10 band graphic equalizer for all supported formats, separate Bass and Treble controls
- folders and system library support
- tag editor/widgets/lock screen/skins/fast scan and more
No matter what you say about AT&T (i.e. how long can they keep locking down sideloading no their Android phones?), at least their commitment to Android has definitely picked up compared to only a few months ago.
Today, as expected, 2 more new Android phones are available on AT&T, namely Motorola Backflip and Motorola Flipout.
The Bravo is a slightly more upscale of the two, but still fails to impress me in any way other than being DLNA-enabled.
Opera Mobile for Android (not to be confused with its Mini brethren) has certainly been long in the making, but according to a recent tweet by @opvard, one of Opera's employees, it's finally around the corner. The tweet didn't reveal much, but it did inform us that the mobile browser is on track for a November 9th release, adding a definitive date to the awesome Next page that we saw yesterday.
Looks like the team at MIUI hasn't been resting on its laurels after releasing its insanely popular MIUI ROM - they've recently released Charming Browser for Android. Just like the ROM, the browser was initially released in Chinese. Luckily, XDA-Developers member jpsiemer immediately jumped on it and translated it to English.
Early reports indicate that aside from a few minor niggles - namely, a slightly longer initial load time - the browser performs as well as it looks.
Small bit of news, but useful for those of us firmly entrenched in the Android fan club: Google has released an official Android skin for Gmail. Changes are light - mainly consisting of light gray circuits on a white background, and an infusion of green for highlights.
All your Gmails are belong to us.
To select the theme, open up your Gmail on your PC and head to Settings (top right), then Themes.