Alright, yes. We've spent over a month getting upset because Christmas starts just way too dang early these days. It's December now, though. Is it finally okay to get in the holiday spirit a bit? Cool. Because these Spheros—robotic balls that can be remotely controlled by Android and carry an array of sensors and lights—are beautiful. The company behind the bots choreographed these 28 units to the tune of Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24, as performed by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
You remember this little guy? Of course you do. He's freaking cute, how could you not remember? Don't act like you don't want one. Everyone does. However, if you've loved the idea but were holding out for one in white, today's your lucky day. Right now, the useful bugdroid buddy has gone on sale in a new 'Chill' flavor. Perfectly white with a nice silver accent along the neckline. Fantastic.
With the end of another month comes a fresh batch of Android platform distribution numbers. Like clockwork, Google has once again updated their numbers, showing Gingerbread's cold, withered hand still holding almost 51% of the pie (though it's down from 54.2% in October), with Jelly Bean making gains to 6.7%, up 4% from last month.
Predictably, Ice Cream Sandwich is still making some gains, rising about 2% to 27.5% from October, Honeycomb is holding tight at 1.6% with a mere 0.2% change for API level 13, and pre-2.3 releases are still dropping off (though Cupcake and Donut are still holding on for dear life).
In the desktop world, there is virtually no end to the number of music and video managers out there. MediaMonkey was one of the not-quite-legendary-but-still-popular options that excelled for its ability to change tags and run custom scripts. Now, users of this program can sync to their phones without going through an extra program with the MediaMonkey for Android beta.
The beta APK is currently available over on Reddit, and obviously comes with some disclaimers, and you'll have to install the newest version of the Windows app to use it.
When last we left
our heroes XBMC for Android, the group behind the open source multimedia manager had announced that it would be bringing support to the platform soon. Of course "soon" isn't a word that tweakers like to hear, so some enterprising fellows compiled the source code into an APK for your testing pleasure, with all the disclaimers that entails. Today, however, a more official app is being distributed by the team with a hefty 'beta' tag attached.
Much like keyboards (which we covered last week), browsers are a dime a dozen. Google ships one browser with Android (in more recent versions, that's been Chrome), which most manufacturers then replace with their own proprietary version. And then there are the dozens (if not hundreds) of third-party browsers available on the Play Store.
Samsung's Galaxy Camera, the manufacturer's first entry into the world of dedicated shooters powered by Android, was announced with little warning at IFA earlier this year. Besides Nikon's foray into the market, the Galaxy Camera is one of the only Android cameras we've yet seen. Frankly, of the two, Samsung's entry is the only one that seems worth looking at.
The question of how much longer point-and-shoot cameras can see success is a fair one – after all, DSLRs are becoming smaller and more affordable all the time, while smartphone cameras are reaching to fill the gap point-and-shoots would leave behind.
Android 4.2.1 along with its source were released today, but outside of the December bug in the People app, it wasn't immediately apparent whether it contained other fixes and improvements or not. The list of files touched by the Nexus 4 OTA was extensive, but now thanks to developer Al Sutton, we can confirm that most of those were probably just minor edits to bump the version number.
According to Al and his handy AOSP diff script, here are the only changes in Android 4.2.1 (4.2.1_r1) open source code compared to Android 4.2 (4.2_r1).
Earlier today, both the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 10 started receiving small ~1MB OTAs to Android 4.2.1 with fixes to the missing month of December in the People app, among other things. The corresponding open source files are being pushed by Google to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) as we speak, Android release engineer Jean-Baptiste Queru just announced in the Android Building group.
The build number is JOP40D and the tag is android-4.2.1_r1.
After a long time in development, Marvel (and their parent company Disney) have released Avengers Initiative to the Android masses. Coming with a $6.99 price tag on a limited number of devices, it adds to the growing list of Avengers-themed mobile games, even if only one of those heroes is available in this particular title.
Avengers Initiative puts you in the role of the Hulk, who has been tasked in bringing in a number of super-villains who have escaped from a high-tech prison in the Marvel Universe.