One of the highlights of Samsung's Galaxy Note II announcement at IFA yesterday was the increased functionality carried by the device's hallmark S Pen stylus. The Note II's version of the Pen, besides being "ergonomically designed for the perfect grip," allows users to quickly clip, crop, and edit screen content, adding further illustration and handwritten keyword recognition. The Pen now also features a unique "hover" functionality, whereby an app can recognize that the Pen is near the screen and react accordingly with contextual menus or other activities.
Looking to put the power of the S Pen to use in more than just Sammy's own apps, the manufacturer has posted the updated S Pen SDK version 2.2 with all of the Pen's new features.
Another day, another Kickstarter project. This one actually looks like it could have potential, though. Ubi is an Android-powered speaker system that connects to your local WiFi network. The small black box plugs into a power outlet and is controlled primarily via voice. It comes equipped with colored LEDs for notifications, and an array of sensors including temperature, humidity, air pressure, and ambient light. To round out the specs, the box packs a full-size USB port and a 3.5mm audio jack. Couple all that with an open development platform and the potential is nigh on limitless.
The device appears to be built largely around Google's voice actions and search.
Speaking at SIGGRAPH 2012, a yearly computer graphics convention featuring some of the most prominent names in the business, Khronos unveiled updates for several key OpenGL properties including the specs for Open GL ES 3.0. OpenGL ES is the primary graphics API for mobile device platforms, including Android and iOS. As you would expect, the updates are rather technical, but here's an overview of what we can expect in the future.
Much Better Texture Compression
Perhaps the biggest noticeable change in this iteration is that texture compression has been improved, and the spec now has required support for the ETC texture compression format.
Following last month's major update to the Android Asset Studio, the studio's Device Frame Generator has been given a new home under the "Distribute" tab at developer.android.com. For those not familiar, the Device Frame Generator is a tool that allows developers (or anyone, really) to wrap their screenshots in high-quality images of real devices, creating a stunning context for your app (or mockup).
Along with its new location, the generator has a new name: Device Art Generator. Users of the old generator will be happy to know that it has maintained its original functionality (like options for adding screen glare or shadow to your generated image), and works just as well (if not better) than before.
One of the great things about Android's ecosystem is the number of indie developers who are able to enter the market successfully, providing a great product and inspiring would-be developers to join in. For many though, Android development in general is a mysterious topic. How an app or game goes from an idea to an entry in the Play Store is unknown, but (thankfully) not unknowable.
Of course, considering how major development studios bring apps to life doesn't require too much thought – major companies like EA, Disney, or Rockstar have no problem hiring designers and developers to crank out and maintain polished apps.
Verizon has taken some flack lately for being the only US carrier to lock the bootloader. Workarounds have been implemented, but Samsung's taken it a step further by announcing a developer version of the device. Today they...well, they haven't quite made good on that promise, but they have created a landing page for the device on their site that announces the 32GB Pebble Blue version will be "coming soon".
It doesn't look like pre-orders are available yet, although we know the device will retail for $599 when it finally launches. Previously, Verizon had tried to claim that Samsung was responsible for the locked bootloader, but since virtually every other version of the device did not have a locked bootloader, and now Samsung is going out of its way to get an unlocked version in the hands of its customers, it's a little tough to stomach that idea.
It may have taken over a month longer than the international version, but HTC has finally released the kernel source code for T-Mobile's version of the One S. HTC has offered no explanation for why the US model's source code was delayed for so long, but perhaps this means that the AT&T One X will see its kernel source released at some point.
They also released the kernel source for the EVO 4G LTE. Developers - or anyone who is interested - can grab the source code from the link below.
Today is a good day, I think, for source code drops! Samsung has just released the source code for an update for the Epic 4G Touch, Sprint's variant of the Galaxy S II. The update (FF18) is said to be rolling out to devices right now as an OTA. If you want to get your hands on the kernel code to fiddle with it yourself before the update arrives, however, you can head to Samsung's download page here.
Dat source code.
If you're not a developer, chances are this won't be of interest to you. No you can't flash it and yes you're better off waiting for a ROM to be built or the update to rollout to your device.
On day one of Google I/O, the Play Store team announced an upcoming brand new version of the Android Developer Console - a publishing interface developers use to, you guessed it, publish apps to Google Play. The completely redesigned UI contains improvements based on feedback from the past several years and is fantastic. For further details, hit the link above or just watch this video:
As promised, you can now sign up to be first in line to give the private beta a go by following this url. Approval is not immediate, but at least you'll get there before everyone else.
Depending on how fanboyish you want to be you want to look at it, things are either getting better by the day, or still dismal as can be. First, the charts:
Obviously, the good news is that in the past month, Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0+) has moved up from 7.1% to 10.9% - and considering there are hundreds of millions of devices running Android, that seemingly meager 3.8% is actually quite a few devices.
And then there's the bad news. First, the fact that ICS is the latest (and by far the best) version of Android and yet we're happy to see it on just under 11% of devices is sad; it's even worse that it's literally 8.5 months old.