Let's face it: when Android first officially dropped, it was ugly as hell and not exactly designed with non-techies in mind. But as we've seen in the past 3 years (and a few months) since then, things have come a long way (albeit gradually at first) - the look, feel, and usability of vanilla Android became a major focus in the last year or so, especially with Gingerbread (2.3), Honeycomb(3.0), and Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0).
Tasker, an extremely versatile (and popular) app which allows users to schedule (and control) various automated tasks, received an update today, bringing the app to version 1.2.
The update brings a handful of important changes, perhaps the most notable being the addition of "Scenes." Using this new feature, Tasker allows users to design custom graphical interfaces, which appear as overlays, dialogs, or full activities.
Besides Scenes, Tasker's latest iteration also fixes compatibility issues with Ice Cream Sandwich, and includes a tweaked home screen, which conveniently divides Profiles, Tasks, and Scenes in an intuitive tabbed interface.
Logitech may have said that launching the Revue was "a mistake of implementation of gigantic nature" and that it has chosen to ditch Google TV entirely, but it has, thankfully, decided against reneging on its promise of one more software update. And, yes, said software update is exactly the one that was shown to us back at the end of October: the one that brings an updated, usable interface and - drumroll please - Android Market integration.
Gmail, probably the most used app on my Evo 4G, will be getting a major facelift with the introduction of Ice Cream Sandwich, bringing it into line with - and, in some ways, surpassing - its Honeycomb counterpart.
First of all, Gmail for Ice Cream Sandwich features an "action bar" at the bottom of the screen, much like Honeycomb's action bar, which allows users to create messages, search, sync, and more with just one touch.
One of the most useful features of Android, in my opinion, is spell check. When attempting to convey information quickly, it's easy to make mistakes, and it's nice to have a device that catches them for you.
With Ice Cream Sandwich, users can expect a revamped keyboard, inline spell check capabilities, and improved copy/paste functionality.
The new keyboard doesn't look too different from the Gingerbread keyboard, save for its new color scheme and speech-to-text button.
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.
Dropbox, arguably one of the best file storage/sharing services around, recently released the new beta version of their app for Android, making it even easier to access files on the go that may otherwise be spread across several devices.
Besides bug fixes, the new beta includes the ability to store "favorite" files for quick offline viewing, bulk upload for multiple photos and videos, renaming of files and folders, upload from and export to local storage, and last but not least, a hugely improved UI which includes a more appealing gallery view and quick, one-tap access to file options.
From what I can tell, most of them aren't unique until we get to the alarms - a few of them are brand new based on my Google searches:
The alarm sounds are quite futuristic and magical, instantly reminding me of Tron. Considering Honeycomb already started in this direction and ICS' theme is also Tron-like blue, I think we'll be hearing and seeing a lot more audio and visuals in a similar style.
It's now been exactly a year (minus one day) since I published my very first editorial for Android Police, Let Android Be Android. A lot has changed since - dual-core CPUs are now table stakes for a high-end smartphone; Android has evolved from an exclusively mobile OS to a software powerhouse for phones and tablets alike; and we've been given several seminars on stretching the truth about the speed of a wireless network (yep, that would be the "4G" drama).