With Ice Cream Sandwich on the horizon, we at AP thought it would be a good idea to give you a roundup of what Google's been cooking up in Building 44. We actually know a good deal about the future of Android; I'm talking real, solid facts. These are features Android engineers have demoed or talked about, and acquisitions Google has made related to Android technology. We even have pretty clear timelines for most of them. A quick note before we get started: most of these videos are like, an hour long -- you're only expected to watch about 30 seconds of them, so pause whenever it gets boring.
Update 3: ZodTTD, developer of several well-known emulators, recently met a similar fate as yongzh - both his Market account and his apps were removed. Today, he decided to clarify a few things in a blog post, noting that the removal of the apps was not due to an open source violation but rather came as a result of a trademark infringement letter from Sony to Google concerning PSX4Droid's icon. While yongzh did not publish any Sony emulators himself, it does seem that the big guys are taking an active interest in the emulator situation on the Market.
Update 2: Google has issued a generic response to our inquiry asking what led to the takedown:
When the Nintendo 64 emulator first came out, many users were overcome with joy - it was the first and only emulator for Android, and nostalgia was overwhelming. However, a short time after, N64oid simply disappeared. Worried threads popped up around the Internet, and with today's disappearance of PSX4Droid, we couldn't help but wonder whether the two incidents are related.
You can breathe easy though - N64oid is safe, at least according to a few people who received responses from the developer regarding the disappearance. The truth is, due to some compatibility and performance complaints, yongzh, the developer, made a decision to pull over into a pit stop and give the app a bit of a tune-up.
Engadget is reporting via a number of tipsters that the popular PlayStation emulator PSX4Droid has been pulled from Android market. Google's statement on the issue?
"We remove apps from Android Market that violate our policies."
Well, that's helpful. Actually, upon a short perusal of the US Patent and Trademark Office database, the reason became clear to us: PSX4Droid is infringing on a trademark owned by Sony for the acronym "PSX." This means PSX4Droid probably just needs a name change before being given the green light for republication. Considering the impending release of the Xperia Play, Sony seems to have timed its complaint rather strategically.
Well those days are back… if you can get ahold of a Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, dubbed the PlayStation phone, and equip it with N64oid (which was recently taken down from the Market, but you can always find links floating around).
OK. So, the emulator does not yet support network multiplayer games, and the the four-player mayhem for which the N64 was famed is missing, but the sheer retro joy of N64 gaming is unsurpassed - if you don’t mind playing on a 4” screen rather than your 50” plasma.
Maybe you can think twice about picking up that new Nintendo 3DS: over a year since development began, the first official release of N64oid, which lets you play classic Nintendo 64 titles on your Android device, is now available in the Market. This is the latest offering from yongzh, the developer behind NESoid, SNESoid, and several other highly-rated emulators for Android.
While emulators for pre-mid-1990s' consoles are commonplace on a variety of mobile devices, the generation that featured N64 and the first Sony Playstation took a huge leap in terms of performance, so developing working emulators for titles from those machines takes considerably more time and commitment from talented developers.
Honeycomb is one of the biggest updates in Android history, so naturally, I jumped at the chance to try it out via the newly released Android 3.0 "preview SDK." What I found certainly wasn't disappointing - though it's important to remember that this is just a preview, meaning that not everything is in working order (for example, the emulator is so slow it made me want to tear my hair out at times, not to mention the frequent force close messages). Join us below for our first impressions of the new UI elements and other features found in Android 3.0 "Honeycomb."
The emulator's bootscreen is the same as it was for Android 1.6, 2.1, 2.2, etc.
The Honeycomb SDK preview, allowing everyone to take a peek and play around with Honeycomb using the Android emulator, was launched yesterday, but after we got past the initial excitement, we found that the emulator itself was dog slow and pretty much unusable. In fact, it was so frustrating to use it that I wanted to punch walls and rip out my hair after 5 minutes with it. And I'm not even going to talk about orientation problems - how the Android team managed to ship the SDK with orientation broken by default (there is a fix for it in the Settings > Display) is beyond me and beyond the scope of this article.
Sure, there are some excellent calculators in the Android Market, but do any of them make you hesitate for a minute when looking at them to figure out whether you are staring at a phone or a smaller version of your favorite Texas Instruments machine? Doug Melton's ports of the popular AlmostReal TI-83, TI-85, and TI-86 emulators to Android are so successful, most of your professors wouldn't even know the difference if they saw one of these on your desk. The buttons, the layout, the graphics, TI-BASIC program support - it's all there. Awesome.
I'm not sure whether Texas Instruments goes after emulators of its calculators, but I would download these ASAP if I were you.
Sega's ill-fated home console may have died in 2001, but with a library of classics such as Crazy Taxi and Shenmue the appeal of the Dreamcast has lived on. A popular open-source project, nullDC, has been providing PC-emulated nostalgia for some time now, but this week we're seeing the first fruits of a project set to bring the 200 MHz box to your own open-source OS device. While your old Nexus memory card may not fit in your Nexus One, the advent of nullDC on Android is set to bolster Google's mobile OS's reputation as a retro-gaming platform. Android's native gaming library may be a bit sparse (despite some admitted gems), but the prospect of emulation can really shift units to those interested in some pocket nostalgia, as it did for Sony's PSP.