I love Reddit. Like, alot. I also love Android. So naturally, I get pretty excited about new Reddit apps for Android. There are quite a few of them out there to choose from, ranging from full-on Reddit readers like Reddit is Fun, to purpose specific apps, like RedditTV or Reddit Pics. The holy grail of Reddit apps is a browsing app that has all of the functionalities of the web Reddit experience, while being easy to use and good looking.
Among all the awesome (or really bad, depending on your mood) April Fool's jokes today, Google's web form for submitting Android Market copyright infringements towers above all, especially considering it's not a joke, at all. We really doubt that it's intentional because this behavior was present before April 1st arrived to California, and it is mind boggling that something like this would fall through the cracks and get past Google's Quality Assurance.
On March 22nd, the long awaited Amazon Appstore was released, bringing a whole new way to find, install, and share apps on Android. After its initial debut, we decided that this new Appstore was the real deal. In this post, we'll break down what Amazon's done right, and what it still needs to improve on.
1. Better descriptions and more in-depth comments
Most users will tell you that finding good Android apps is not an easy task.
February 2nd was an exciting day for Android fans - we were given an in-depth preview of Honeycomb, laid our eyes on some stunning 3D tablet games, and were even treated to a much-anticipated online version of the Android Market. But 2/2/2011 was also the fateful day that spelled "doom" for lite / demo versions of Android apps, as Google unveiled their new in-app billing system.
Today, Google made another announcement regarding in-app purchases: the feature will launch publicly next week.
Conspiracy theorists would have you believe that the ThunderBolt's signed (and locked) bootloader was all Verizon's doing, but it appears that isn't quite the case - the Incredible S, one of HTC's unlocked GSM phones, is shipping with a similar failsafe system. That basically means no custom ROMs for you (at least until a viable workaround is discovered).
Proof? Look no further than the contents of this Incredible S RUU:
From what our friends at AndIRC can tell (note that they don't have a device in hand), the Incredible S includes a signature check much like the one on the ThunderBolt.
Amazon's upcoming Android Market competitor, the Amazon Appstore, is in hot water for its namesake. On Monday, Apple filed a lawsuit in a California federal court claiming Amazon had infringed on its trademark of the phrase "App Store." Apple applied for a trademark to this name way back in 2008, but it wasn't approved until January of 2010. Since then, Microsoft has filed a dispute with the trademark office alleging that the grant was improper.
When you think of Android's openness, what comes to mind first? Is it the open source code of AOSP? Or maybe nearly 200 devices that run the Android now? Perhaps tethering, built right into the OS? How about the GPLv2 license requirement for manufacturers to publish all changes to the Linux kernel simultaneously with each phone's release?
If you are a custom ROM developer or even user, that last bit there probably occupies one of the top positions, and rightfully so - without it, proprietary changes to the kernel would remain hidden and would need to be reverse engineered.
While we love apps like Titanium Backup that make restoring your data relatively easy when you upgrade phones, buy a tablet, or switch to a new ROM, what if they weren't even necessary? What if all of your apps' data could be stored in the cloud? This would not only make backing up and restoring easier, but it would save you a big chunk of SD card storage, right? It turns out that these capabilities have been present in the Android OS since the arrival of Froyo last year.
If you are an indie developer who has had success with iOS apps, your prospects of porting your work to Android may have just improved. Social gaming platform OpenFeint and Chinese game operator The9 have committed unknown portions of a staggering $100 million fund to help move things along. The two companies will review games based on quality, downloads, and the strength of the game developer to determine who the lucky beneficiaries will be.
The Android market is filled with apps of questionable legality. But oftentimes, overpriced, branded theme and clock apps like those you'll find here are considered relatively harmless - who's stupid enough to buy them, anyway? Still, apps in this category are in clear violation of registered trademarks - and that doesn't sit well with their holders.
Google even has a page for developers and copyright holders to submit DMCA takedown requests for apps on the Market.