The Play Store has been off to a great start in 2013 – January saw the introduction of some brilliant apps like Carbon Backup and Pushbullet, and February followed up with some great entries of its own. From widgets to root apps to content creation tools, February had something for just about everyone. As always, we'll take a quick look at five of the very best apps we saw in the past month.
Two days ago, the White House announced its support for carrier unlocking handsets. The administration promised an FCC/NTIA investigation as well as a willingness to "work with Congress" on legislation to fix the problem. So, we can probably count on the President's support of the new Wireless Device Independence Act, introduced last night by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). The bill, which is only three pages long, has a simple goal: amend the DMCA such that it explicitly allows the unlocking of cell phones, obviating the need for a tri-yearly exemption.
CloudOn, the service which previously brought the full Microsoft Office experience to Android tablets, is now available on some phones. Yes, that means you have Office on your phone, in your pocket, and everywhere you are. That could be quite useful.
For the moment, however, the company is only supporting a handful of handsets:
- Samsung Galaxy S III
- Samsung Galaxy Nexus 4G
- Samsung Galaxy Nexus
- Samsung Galaxy Note
- Samsung Galaxy Note II
- Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket
Notice something about that list?
The Developer Economics 2013 report—a sort of State of the Union on app development—is out and it's packed with helpful tidbits, both for armchair analysts and programmers trying to make some sense out of this crazy software world. One of the most interesting observations the survey showed is there is still demand for a third platform. And right now they're getting it in a surprising place: on Blackberries.
Above is the graph of OSes that developers list as their "main" platform.
After revealing the "world's thinnest" smartphone earlier today with the One Touch Idol Ultra (at a svelte 6.45mm), Alcatel has let fly news about the rest of their planned CES 2013 lineup.
Alcatel's got more devices in line than you've got pockets, from a pair of 7" tablets (in standard and HD variants) to a bevy of "Pop" smartphones, all of them apparently aiming squarely for the budget market. Grab a snack, because we're going to take a peek at the full array.
You know, if I'm honest, I feel a little sympathy for Archos. While they don't usually stand out as a manufacturer of the best tablets, they've gotten a decent reputation as being good for the low-end. Then the Nexus 7 came out and redefined what "budget tablet" means. Still, the company has to make money somehow, and putting its custom video player on the Play Store is as good a way as any, right?
Let's start with a disclaimer, shall we? Analysts are generally full of it. When we hear a claim that says, with undeserving certainty, that come 2016 there will be 2.3 billion Android and 2.28 billion Windows devices, we're a little skeptical. The likelihood that anyone knows exactly how many units of a particular platform will sell to that level of accuracy is almost none.
However, as we approach what might just be the single biggest week for Microsoft in decades, it's worth asking the question: are Android and Windows gearing up for a battle over the next few years?
Eric Schmidt has just left the stage at Motorola's "On Display" event in New York. Before leaving, though, he divulged some interesting new Android-related numbers.
First among them was the latest figure for "activations per day," which tracks the total number of new Android devices activated each and every day. You may remember Andy Rubin revealing that number to be around 900,000 while quashing rumors back in June, but according to Schmidt, the total number of daily activations has now topped 1.3 million.
Perhaps the most popular (and complete) free repair manual in existence, iFixit, launched an official app for Android recently, bringing detailed step-by-step repair instructions and (of course) the saucy teardown images we've come to know and love from the service's online counterpart to your Android devices.
For those who don't know, iFixit provides users with incredibly detailed repair guides for a huge variety of things from laptops to mobile devices, game consoles, and even cars, including great imagery and nice explanations for why hardware is the way it is.
If you've been looking to jump ship from the carrier juggernauts and get in on Sprint's promised "truly unlimited data", may we suggest now might be a good time to do so? From now until March 26th, all of Sprint's 4G phones (read: Sprint's best phones) are available for a penny with a new activation. Sorry upgraders.
Update 4/20/12: All Sprint Android phones are free again thanks to the Sprint Through Spring promotion...