Back at the Google I/O keynote this summer, we saw a very interesting demonstration - as Sundar Pichai explained, Google wants to make the experience between Android devices and Chromebooks seamless by allowing Android apps to run natively on Chrome (using App Runtime for Chrome, currently in beta). Evernote, Vine, and Flipboard were demonstrated on stage, and today Google has announced the first batch of Android apps that will run on Chrome right now.
It looks like Google is putting the last nail in Dalvik's coffin, and the new Android Runtime (ART) is about to take the throne. A pair of commits turned up last night in the master branch of the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) repository that spell certain doom for the Android runtime we've known
and loved for all these years. The first of the two changes completely wipes the /libdvm (Dalvik Virtual Machine) folder from AOSP, and the second takes care of changing all of the relevant configuration files and startup scripts to call on the ART runtime.
Good things come to those who wait. Android users didn't get an official Wikipedia app until January 2012, and it was a relatively bare bones release at that. Over two years later, it's really starting to show its age, as those Gingerbread screenshots sitting on its Play Store page aren't impressing anyone. But now we see a new version of the Wikipedia Beta app that finally seems poised to give us the native experience we've been waiting for.
As a Glass Explorer, I'm always excited to see new apps, especially if they improve Glass' user experience. Developer Matthew Pierce delivered one such app recently, making Glass Master Control available to the public via Dropbox.
Essentially, Master Control allows users to change Glass settings in a new, more fine-grained way. It controls volume, brightness, and radios (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and AutoSync). Until now, Glass hasn't had manual brightness controls, and volume control was buried in a settings card at the very left end of the timeline.
It was only 3 months ago when we first met the brand new Android Runtime, dubbed ART. In that time it has gained a substantial following by enthusiasts throughout the Android community. Given its "preview" status and warnings from the Android team that ART wasn't ready for the general population, it appeared unlikely that it would officially take the place of Dalvik anytime soon. However, a new commit to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) is strong evidence that ART may become the default runtime in the next version of Android.
I have no problem admitting that I see absolutely no practical use in running Android on a desktop PC. Still, I have to give credit where credit is due – WindowsAndroid is just downright neat. In a nutshell, it's a not-so-creatively-named project from a company called Socketeq that aims to run Android natively within Windows. That means without emulation.
So, how is this possible? With hard work, determination, and a small bit of fairy dust – that's how.
There aren't many things in this world that can be as purely amazing as LEGO. The only people who aren't fans of the world's best creativity toy are people who (mistakenly!) think the company has sold out and encourages kids to follow pre-made instructions instead of building something new. To that I say: Mindstorms EV3. With Android compatibility out of the box. Your argument is invalid.
The main part of the new kit, the Intelligent Brick (seen above as a glowing torso with a QR code on its chest) will have more processing power, more memory, and more on-brick programming capabilities.
We've known it's coming for a while and, per today's announcement, it will finally be here soon: Facebook's revamp of its Android app that will bring a proper, native UI as opposed to the mostly HTML5-based web viewer that's been powering the application for so long. The result is photos, the news feed, and timelines will load at least twice as fast, according to the company.
The company touts speed as the big improvement here, and it's sorely needed.
Whenever you hear someone talking about Facebook's mobile app, the most common complaint is always how slow it is. Even your news feed can take what feels like an age to load, and that's before you've started navigating through your events and photos of friends.
The reason for this is that the Facebook app uses HTML5, so it doesn't perform as well as other apps which are written natively for a particular platform.
Jonathan Nightingale, Mozilla's director of Firefox Engineering, announced recently that Firefox's Android iteration will be moving away from XUL implementation in favor of a native Android UI. Nightingale, seeking to reassure users who may be wary of change, stated "Firefox on Android is a critical part of supporting the open web, and this decision puts us in a position to build the best Firefox possible."
For those not in the know, XUL stands for "XML User Interface Language," and is essentially a language that controls Firefox's front end architecture, creating various UI elements and instances.