It can't be easy to be a BlackBerry user these days. Despite the hardware and software maker's (arguably) best efforts, the company has fallen from its height as the undisputed king of the boardroom to shipping just one out every two hundred smartphones worldwide in the last quarter. The reasons for BlackBerry's decline are legion: a failure to innovate quickly as Android and iPhone adoption soared, an ineffective ecosystem and infrastructure, and hardware missteps like the Storm at critical junctures.
With Logitech Harmony, people can control a large number of devices spread throughout their houses from a single remote or Android device. These various electronics, ranging from home entertainment systems to smart light bulbs, all communicate to a single hub.
Now Logitech is launching the Harmony API for third-party developers, so products that communicate with its system can then go on to interact with other ones.
To paint a picture of how this works, imagine the lights dimming automatically when you start a movie, having music start playing when you enter the room, or turning on the TV with a simple command.
Android developers gain a lot of advantages from working on a platform with a wide variety of libraries, open source projects, and other resources to help get their work to the finish line. Unfortunately, if a problem can’t be solved by checking out the SDK samples or reading a few dozen StackOverflow questions, it can be pretty hard to find good alternatives when they are most needed. Before giving up on the tricky problems, or possibly before attempting them, check out Android-Libs.com – a registry of open source code, libraries, handy websites, utilities, and other tools that may be useful to Android developers of all types.
If you haven't heard of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, usually shortened to EFF, it's sort of like the American Civil Liberties Union for the Internet and other digital issues. The non-profit organization's mission statement says that it "champions user privacy, free expression, and innovation through impact litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism, and technology development." You'll rarely see a headline-grabbing story where tech intersects public policy that the EFF hasn't at least commented on, if not actively campaigned for or against.
The totally awesome Play Store review process strikes again. The developer of popular (and /r/AndroidCircleJerk approved) app Reddit Sync has gotten the dreaded automated support email indicating the app is on track to be pulled. The reason? Impersonating or leveraging another product or service. No, you're not having déjà vu—this has, in fact, happened before.
Game developers integrating with Google Play Games have seen a lot of improvements since the service was launched a year and a half ago at Google I/O 2013. There have been a lot of refinements to the experience for both players and developers, and new tools have made many of the tedious and time consuming chores much easier. Google has just launched a new Play Games Publishing API inspired by a similar interface that was added to the Play Store earlier this year.
Now that most of the critical issues have been worked out of Android 5.0 Lollipop, most of the releases are going to center around cleaning up less pressing oversights and taking care of bugs. However, it seems that we're still not quite through with the device-specific fixes as an update is now rolling out to the 2012 Nexus 7 (Wi-Fi), codenamed Grouper. No official changelog has been posted, but Al Sutton has compiled a list from the AOSP commits, giving us a pretty good insight into what's new.
The short version of this story is that Tse Ho Keung, holder of a patent that is currently within an inch of its life, has so far failed to get any traction in lawsuits against major tech companies (...and Blockbuster), and has resorted to threatening independent developers in a dual effort to either gain money or to avenge the name of his patent by forcibly eliciting amicus briefs and declaratory statements.
The new version of Android Wear is rolling out, and with it comes the official watch face API. Developers have been making custom watch faces for months using a workaround, but now the party is over. All watch faces need to be updated with the official API by January 31st, 2015 or they will be removed from the Play Store.
A couple of weeks ago, a release candidate for Android Studio 1.0 rolled out to the Canary development channel to allow users a chance to poke and prod at it before an official launch. The serious issues have been worked out and Android Studio has been given its first official release to the stable channel. Alongside the title change, Android Studio has also been declared the "official Android IDE." ADT with Eclipse is still available, but is no longer considered to be in active development.