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).
Always Innovating, a company which "leverages the latest developments in open source technologies worldwide to create innovative products that solve real problems for consumers," will be debuting a new device at CES this year – the HDMI Dongle. The Dongle looks to replace the set-top box for those who aren't interested in buying a hefty (or more expensive) GoogleTV device.
AI's HDMI Dongle is essentially a complete system on a chip, and has some incredible specs for such a tiny device.
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.
It's been a rather wild ride for Samsung Galaxy S users regarding a possible update to Android 4.0. First, Samsung, issued a statement saying that they could not update their former flagship phone. After a community outcry, however, they responded with a different possibility - a "Value Pack" update, one that would include some key features from Ice Cream Sandwich (such as Face Unlock) but which would still be based on Gingerbread.
If the Motorola Droid RAZR's 7.1mm frame (at its thinnest point, that is) just isn't thin enough for you, take a look at Fujitsu's latest offering in the Japanese consumer market, the ultra-thin (but not all that attractive) ES IS12F:
The 4-inch device measures a paper-thin 6.7mm, weighs in at a mere 105 grams, and ships with Android 2.3 intact. That's not all this popsicle stick is offering, either; it's also water resistant.
The latest unaudited results from HTC for Q4 2011 indicate that total revenues reached NT$ 101 billion (US$ 3.34 billion), a 2.49% drop as compared to the same period in 2010. In stark contrast, Samsung just had a record breaking quarter with profits reaching 5.2 trillion won (US$4.5 billion), almost double the figures of Q4 2010. Samsung's results for Q4 2011 breaks its previous record profit period of 5.0 trillion won (US$ 4.3 billion) from Q2 2010 and is an increase of 22% from Q3 2011.
Oh, and the other cool new thing? Android! market.android.com/details?id=com…
— TiVo Margret Schmidt (@tivodesign) January 6, 2012
This comes as great news to TiVo owners as it allows them to control their DVRs from the comfort of their Android 2.1+ phone or 7-inch tablet (the app description makes particular reference to "7-inch tablet").
Late last year Google chairman Eric Schmidt commented to an Italian newspaper that "in the next six months [Google planned] to market a tablet of the highest quality". His statement generated much speculation primarily over whether Google planned on releasing a self-branded "Nexus" tablet or whether they would merely partner with a device manufacturer, such as Motorola, Samsung, or HTC.
According to a rumour from Taiwanese electronics daily DigiTimes, Google may be preparing to launch an "own-brand tablet PC...targeting Amazon's 7-inch Kindle Fire".
The Android Market hit a milestone over the holiday weekend - it now contains over 400,000 apps, putting it only 100,000 apps behind Apple's App Store in terms of sheer quantity. What's even more impressive, though, is that the Market is now the largest store in the world for free apps, with a whopping 68 percent of its collection available sans price tag.
Sure, that is great for consumers, but there's no denying the dark side of free software: it generates less revenue than its paid counterpart.
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.