We know Blackberry isn't the most popular name around here, but it is a name that continues to pop up at some interesting times. Developers, in particular, may remember when the company - then known as RIM - launched Playbook OS 2.0 with the ability to run specially packaged apps developed for Android 2.3.3. Since that time, events and promotions have been run to encourage developers to bring their apps to the platform, but the aging requirement to target Gingerbread has become a burden.
The gold release for CyanogenMod 10.1 (Android 4.2) is very, very close, folks. The CyanogenMod team has already gone through four (count 'em, four) release candidates to date, and the fifth has just started popping up on the CyanogenMod download page. RC5 for the Sprint, MetroPCS, Cricket, and AT&T versions of the Galaxy S III are available at the time of writing, as well as the Nexus S, Nexus S 4G, Samsung Captivate, Acer Iconia Tab A700, and the Nook Tablet.
Google has updated the developer dashboard with new platform distribution numbers, and they show a nice uptick for Google's latest and greatest. Jelly Bean (versions 4.1 and 4.2) have reached 33% of active Android devices, or roughly one-third of the market. Gingerbread, however, continues its slow slide downward while remaining stubbornly high.
Last month Gingerbread was chugging along at 38.5%, so the last 30-days saw a 2% drop. That's actually a slight acceleration in the rate of decline.
One of the very few issues with the HTC One is that it still runs Android 4.1, whereas the Galaxy S4 started out on 4.2. A new report on what's to come with HTC's OS update includes some apparent screenshots of Sense 5 on 4.2.2, and there is some good stuff on the way.
First up, there is finally an option to have the battery percentage in the status bar.
Good news for Sony fans: the company is finally starting to roll out Jelly Bean updates to some of its more notable 2012 smartphones. The former headliner Xperia S, its brother the SL, and the camera-focused SL all have Android 4.1 waiting for them. Users will need the a Windows PC and the Sony PC Companion to download and install the updated software, which includes a refreshed kernel as well.
Google TV is the project no one in Mountain View likes to talk about. It was announced with much fanfare, but the platform has languished on an ancient version of Android 3.2 Honeycomb for far too long. Well, Google didn't see fit to mention it at the keynote, but Google TV is getting a fresh coat of paint with an Android 4.2.2 update.
The update should appear on compatible Google TV devices in the next few months and bring new core functionality and support for newer builds of Google Chrome.
BLU isn't yet a household name in the realm of smartphones, but the company has been quietly releasing hardware for the last few years, letting the remarkably low pricing do the talking. Today they've pulled the cover off of three new models, all aimed at the new "phablet" craze, or at least the lower end of it. The new Studio GSM smartphones start at 5 inches and just $149, and all three feature Android 4.1, the Google Play Store, and dual SIM slots.
If you've been paying attention to TV Guide's official app, you know that it's needed some attention for a while. Its UI through version 2.x was an outdated pastiche of Gingerbread tabs and gradated iconography desperately in need of a redesign (and support for 4.0+). Today, TV Guide has fulfilled that need (for the most part), bringing to the Play Store TV Guide Mobile version 3.0. The update also brought "many cool new features" to the app, which we'll discuss momentarily.
As usual Google has updated monthly platform distribution numbers for Android in its developer dashboard. The numbers, based on devices accessing the Play Store over the last 14 days (ending May 1st), tell developers which versions of Android are most prevalent, and which are on the decline.
This month, as last month, we're seeing a decline in Gingerbread and a rise in Jelly Bean. Gingerbread has dropped from 39.8% to 38.5%, a 1.3% drop for those keeping tally at home.