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.
Engadget was lucky enough to get its hands on a prototype of Sony's much-anticipated PlayStation Phone (believed to launch as the Xperia Play), and while not everything on the unit they got was finalized (Wi-Fi was completely broken), it does give us a pretty good idea of what to expect when the phone officially launches.
First, we have some of the most important specs:
- 4.0" 854 x 480 LCD display
- Single-core 1 GHz processor (believed to be Qualcomm) with Adreno 205 GPU
- 512 MB RAM
- Android 2.3 with Timescape UI
- 5 megapixel camera
That single-core processor might seem disappointing with all the excitement surrounding Tegra 2 phones, but the Xperia Play still manages to get high marks in a number of benchmark tests (including a Quadrant score of 1,689).
After weeks of frantic coding, SwiftKey, my favorite smart aftermarket Android keyboard, just released a private beta to all registered VIP forum members. While the beta itself (v18.104.22.168) is private and we can't provide you with a download link, what we can do is list all of the improvements and tease you with some screenshots.
I've been roaming the booths of CES for 3 days now, and I think I've seen almost everything even remotely related to Android that was worth seeing. One company, Recon Instruments, has been on my mind since the beginning, however, and I'm really glad I finally made it to their booth today.
Their current product, called Transcend, is a full snow goggles solution incorporating a little color LCD screen in the bottom right corner. This screen is small but it gets magnified optically to show a whole array of information, such as your current speed, temperature, altitude, time, vertical odometer, and the trail map overlaid on top of Google Maps (among other things).
It's officially the 3rd day of CES, and I finally made it over to the giant Sharp
booth pavilion, where I was able to get a hands-on demo of the first and only 3D Android handset, which is currently only sold in Japan. Don't worry though - it's coming to the U.S. and possibly other locations this year. Perhaps you've heard of it - meet Sharp Galapagos 003SH, which is capable of not only showing 3D menus, pictures, and videos, but allows you to snap some as well. In addition, it supports 3D-enabled games, one of which I was able to demo.
Opera Software's Jeremy Forrester spent some time showing off Opera's latest browser, which was designed specifically for tablets. The browser was shown running on Samsung's Galaxy Tab.
The browser is not completely finished, but you can get a good idea of how it performs in the video above. It works nicely with Adobe Flash and should provide a familiar experience to those who are have used Opera's previous mobile browsers. More info will be made available by Opera come MWC in February.
Just days after Kaz Hirai teased the world with talk of Sony's future in smartphones, tablets, and the PlayStation brand (all without confirming or denying the existence of a PlayStation phone), Chinese site IT168 has posted an in-depth review of the engineering version that they managed to get ahold of. Not only is the PSP Phone very real; from the looks of it, the device is almost ready for prime time.
Before delving into the details, here are the specifications and features that we are working with:
- Qualcomm Adreno 205
- 1GHz Snapdragon Processor
- 1,500 mAh battery
- 4" LCD display with 854 x 480 resolution
- 5MP autofocus camera with LED flash (720p video recording unconfirmed)
- 512 MB RAM
- 512 MB ROM
- Micro SD slot
- SIM Slot
- Micro USB
- Rear Mic for noise cancellation
- Android 2.3
The design of the PlayStation Phone is comparable to the form factor of the PSP go, so avid mobile gamers can rest assured that the hardware controls will blow traditional touch screen controls out of the water in terms of precision.
We've seen quite a few tablets running Honeycomb as of late (and I'm sure there are still a lot more to come - after all, CES is only just beginning), but up until now, we haven't had a chance to get a good look at the OS itself. The wait is now over, however - a teaser video for the OS was recently uploaded to YouTube via androiddevelopers, Google's official Android developer account. Google has since made the video private (thus not allowing the general public to view it), but luckily, we managed to grab a backup of it before they did so:
As you can see, Google has completely rethought the Android interface in an effort to make it more tablet-friendly - clearly, Google didn't purchase BumpTop for nothing.
Opera already has one of the most popular alternate browsers for Android phones, and now it seems they're moving into the tablet territory with Opera for Tablets, a new version of their browser with a revamped UI that takes advantage of tablets' larger screen size. You won't find much information besides that in the video below, but CES is just days away, so you can look forward to seeing the app in action then.
We, Android developers, spend our days staring at a computer screen, most likely at one of Eclipse's windows. Eclipse is an amazing IDE in theory, but it never quite feels complete and polished, mostly due to the fact that it's powered by open source enthusiasts and is based almost entirely on plugins (if you want to get it to do anything useful, that is).
Being Android developers, the plugin we are using every day is ADT - Android Development Tools, written by Google engineers, mostly @tornorbye and @droidxav who I've been conversing over twitter lately and annoying with filing numerous ADT bugs (hi, if you're reading!).