Happy New Year! It's that time again; with the new year comes our new annual prediction post. I tackled this last year, and rather than do a bunch of crazy, pulled-from-thin-air predictions, I ended up with a link-filled research-fest for the year. It worked out pretty well, so that's what's on the docket for today. First though, I'll take a look and see just how many of last year's predictions and rumors came true, and provide some updates for the more important topics.
After the successful landing of NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars this month, space exploration is once again at the forefront of everyone's minds. While the rover goes about its mission on the red planet, there are plenty of other exciting projects happening closer to home.
One of those projects is the CubeSat Launch initiative (CSLI), in which nanosatellites built by teams across the United States are hitching a ride into orbit on rockets planned for upcoming launches.
The day that many ROM enthusiasts have been dreading has arrived: the CyanogenMod Team has announced the end of life support for the original Nexus One, along with other first-generation Snapdragon devices, including the HTC EVO 4G, [Droid] Incredible and Desire and others. None of these devices have official builds of CyanogenMod 9 (though plenty of independent ROM developers have done their best) and they won't be getting any CM updates beyond the 7.X Gingerbread branch.
Go ahead and file this one under the we're not surprised tab: Google's Hugo Barra told the Telegraph that the Nexus One won't be getting updated to Android 4.0, as the hardware is just too old. Honestly, we didn't expect the Big G to support the original Nexus forever, so this shouldn't really come as a shocker to anyone.
With that said, we know that tons of unofficial ports (read: custom ROMs) will be available shortly after the ICS source is dropped, once again breathing life into an otherwise dying device.
Nexus One owners, you've got an update waiting for you this evening. The version number is 2.3.6 (GRK39F), which will apply right over 2.3.4 GRJ22. If you still haven't gotten yours OTA, we've got the download link and instructions below.
As for the changes it brings, we haven't gotten much to go on except for the following blurb: "important bug fixes and security patches." If it's anything like the Nexus S 2.3.6 update, it will contain a fix for the voice search bug (was this even a problem on the Nexus One?
- Rooting Explained + Top 5 Benefits Of Rooting
- Top Android Apps Every Rooted User Should Know About: Part 1 (Apps 1-8),Part 2 (Apps 9-16), Part 3 (Apps 17-25)
- Custom ROMs Explained And Why You Want Them
- How To Flash A Custom ROM To Your Android Phone With ROM Manager + Full Backup & Restore
- So You Want To Know About Bootloaders, Encryption, Signing, And Locking?
Nexus One owners, tonight you're getting a nice treat in the form of the incremental Gingerbread update 2.3.4, previously available only to Nexus S owners. To recap,
the main feature in this release is the video and audio enabled Google Talk, although since the N1 lacks a front-facing camera, it's not going to be as useful as it was for the Nexus S.
Update: Err, looks like there is no video or audio support in this release at all, according to those of you with Nexus Ones.
Android In Recent News
Fragmentation has been one of the biggest criticisms of the Android platform. Essentially, Google allows anybody to take the Android code and tweak it suit their own needs. This is how manufacturers like Motorola, HTC, and Samsung are able to create custom layers (MotoBlur, Sense UI, and TouchWiz, respectively) over the vanilla Android interface and how some carriers load up new phones with crapware. Although this is a price to pay for openness and customizability, a recent study indicates that 86% of developers are unhappy with the state of Android fragmentation (24% of them describing it as a "huge problem").
CyanogenMod 7 has earned its reputation as the most reliable Gingerbread ROM, even though it hasn't yet entered stable mode. And tonight, the fun goes on -
RC4 RC3.14159265358979323846264338327, as the CM team so lovingly refers to it, has just been launched for all supported CM devices.
While RC4 doesn't contain any ground-breaking new features, it does bring a number of bug fixes - for example, hardware acceleration has been added to the Nook Color, and EGL has seen a big fix.
While rooted Android users have been taking screenshots on their phones for a while now, stock, non-rooted owners have been left out of the fun (there are some notable exceptions to this rule, like the EVO 4G). No longer, according to Paul O'Brien, one of the visionaries in the Android community, who posted the following in reply to Cyanogen (aka Android god):
We haven't been able to confirm what exactly changed in 2.3.3, but according to Android Central, screenshots are now possible without root "because of some changes in the way the SurfaceFlinger service handles what it captures from the framebuffer."
This newly uncovered fact means that all phones running Android 2.3.3 and above should be able to take screenshots regardless of whether they're rooted or not.