Google is making life a little easier for developers. Today a post on the official Android Developers Blog announced a new rule for OEMs that insist on skinning Ice Cream Sandwich: You must also include the unmodified ICS "Holo" Theme files. Regular users still have to deal with a skinned OS, but developers can opt out of the skinned parts for their app.
Happy New Year! A new year means it's time for the annual Android prediction post. First off though, a trip down memory lane with a look at Aaron's post from last year.
A Look Back To 2011
Way back in January 2011, we were all gobsmacked at the recent announcement of 300,000 Android activations per day. That looks cute now, doesn't it? A year later and it's more than doubled, now we're up to 700,000 per day.
The minds behind CyanogenMod have done it again, bringing nightly updates to several LG Optimus variants, and adding official CM7 support for the Epic 4G (not to be confused with Sprint's Galaxy SII variant).
Among the newly-supported LG devices are the Optimus 3D (p920), Hub (e510), Pro (c660), and Black (p970) (which is technically seeing the return of nightlies). It may be worth noting that the Optimus Hub and Pro both received RomManager support tonight, making it excessively simple to get CM goodness on the devices.
2011 was a great year for Android - Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich was announced. The Galaxy Nexus was released. A whole truckload of Android tablets came out. The first 4G LTE smartphones appeared. But there were some significant speed bumps as well. Here are, in no particular order, the five things in the world of Android in the last year that really got our hopes up, but ended up being a little disappointing.
Just after expanding Nightly support to Samsung's Epic 4G and a slew of LG handsets, the CyanogenMod team has brought nightlies to a handful of Xperia devices, including Coconut (the Xperia Live with Walkman), Iyokan (the Xperia Pro), and Satsuma (the Xperia Active).
In a Google+ post earlier today, CyanogenMod announced that CM7 support had arrived for multiple new devices, throwing out a special hint to Xperia users.
In a continued effort to unlock bootloaders everywhere using their online tool, HTC has added several exciting entries to the "supported devices" list. Perhaps the most notable of the new entries are the Droid Incredible 2 and HTC Thunderbolt. Officially, HTC's online unlock tool is compatible with all devices launched after September 2011, but the new additions reflect an effort to add compatibility for older devices.
Hot on the heels of the Droid Razr's leaked fastboot files, two more Motorola devices can now be restored to stock configuration in case of emergency.
Motorola's Atrix 2 and Droid Bionic have both had their fastboot files leaked in recent days, providing a bit of insurance for daring users and developers alike. The Atrix 2's files are available here, while the Droid Bionic's fastboot set can be found here.
Motorola Droid RAZR owners (and developers) received a bit of good news yesterday, thanks to a leaked set of fastboot files which allow your RAZR to be restored to stock in case of a soft brick or other unforeseen issue.
Many users over at XDA and DroidRZR.com forums have already reported success in flashing the files and restoring their devices, indicating that the fastboot set is, in fact, the real deal.
According to Verizon's system update documentation, owners of big red's Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 can expect a software update any time now. While it isn't the Ice Cream Sandwich users are undoubtedly craving, the update (bringing system software to I905-EL01) offers quite a few interesting features.
Among these are improvements to Samsung's Touchwiz UX, a new Social Hub widget, built-in photo editing capabilities, and The Daily – a news app that allows users to "access the best of print, web, and broadcast news from around the world."
The update also brings Bluetooth 3.0 compatibility, additional support for more Wi-Fi routers, DivX, security patches, enhancements to TouchWiz's music and video players, and built-in support for "industry standard VPN clients." There's no word yet on just when the update will be available, but we'll be here to keep you updated.
Did you give or receive an Android device for Christmas? Even if you did not, it looks like a whole host of people found the green robot under their tree this Christmas. According to a tweet from the ever-so-candid Android head Andy Rubin, 3.7 million Android devices were activated over the 24th and 25th of December.
UPDATE: There were 3.7M Android devices activated on 12/24 and 12/25.
— Andy Rubin (@Arubin) December 28, 2011
Just over a week ago we reported that device activations had hit about 700k a day, which suggests that the Christmas weekend figures of approximately 1.85 million activations, per day, is a significant increase.