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).
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.
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.
As you may have seen, Google took the covers off Gingerbread today and released the new SDK, which allowed me to immediately jump into an emulated Gingerbread instance. After playing with the new UI for a while, I've taken a bunch of screenshots, which you can find below, along with some of my notes.
Before I dive into the Gingerbread screenshots, here is a side-by-side comparison of the same Settings screen in Donut (1.6), Froyo (2.2), and Gingerbread (2.3):
From left to right: Donut, Froyo, Gingerbread
As you can see, not much has changed since Froyo, except for most of the elements getting darker and/or greener.
Ever since I started developing Android apps, I've been baffled by the absence of the actual Android Market in the Android SDK. None of the virtual devices created for the emulator have the Market anywhere in the vicinity. Maybe Google is trying to reserve it for actual devices, so that you don't go rating or trying out apps on something that isn't even a real phone, but it makes it quite inconvenient for us developers because we can't easily install our favorite apps, such as the Astro file manager or DiskUsage.
Getting my hands on the Charm was no mean feat. Motorola didn’t seem keen to send out review units to anyone in a hurry, so I took it upon myself to go buy one, under the pretext of it being a gift for my girlfriend (she has a Nokia 1661 for chrissakes).
That in itself was quite a quest, as not a single store in the state of Maine seemed to have one in stock.
ZodTTD and yongzh have released Android’s first PlayStation emulator application, now available in the Android Market for $6.99USD. Remember, that $6.99 does not get you any games or a working BIOS (required to run the emulator), you have to “legally” obtain these on your own time (please do not post links to ROMs or BIOS images in comments, they will be deleted).
But words don’t really do this justice, hit the jump for some sexy video:
Ridge Racer, Final Fantasy, Earthworm Jim, and Warcraft on Galaxy S
Crash Bandicoot on Nexus One
Final Fantasy VII with Wiimote on Dell Streak
Yes, you read right: Wiimote.