Bringing some exciting news to the Android design world today, Roman Nurik announced via Google+ that the acclaimed Android Asset Studio received a major update.
First off, the whole site has received a new layout/UI inspired by ICS and its holo themes. Next, the much-beloved Device Frame Generator (which has been making app screenshots gorgeous since last October) got a huge update. The generator now allows users to create beautifully framed images featuring Samsung's Galaxy SIII, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, and Google's own Nexus 7 tablet. Further, users can choose whether the resulting image will have a shadow and/or screen glare (or appear rotated) before saving the finished product.
Months after AT&T's Samsung Galaxy SII Skyrocket got a leaked build of Ice Cream Sandwich, it looks like the device is finally getting an official update. Users at XDA began reporting the update earlier today, indicating that it is available over Kies. Unlike March's leaked build, the official update brings users to Android 4.0.4, rather than 4.0.3, and (of course) carries a different build number. Here's a snippet from the update's build.prop:
The initial draft of this editorial went off on what was, frankly, a pretty stupid rant about piracy or something. I don't know - I wrote half of it at 1AM and upon receiving commentary from readers and colleagues, it was pretty clear this needed to be revised and heavily edited. So that's what I've done. Enjoy - and know that I always read and consider everyone's feedback, even when I disagree with it.
Over the last week, I've read seemingly countless complaints about the lack of local storage on the Nexus 7. "Why isn't there a 32GB version?" "Why isn't the 16GB version cheaper?
Samsung swiftly appealed the preliminary injunctions slapped on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Nexus issued by a California district court, and the presiding circuit court has issued its response.
First, the court declined to even consider lifting the sales ban (preliminary injunction) on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 - meaning that ban will stay in effect unless Samsung wins out at trial. Second, it decided that Samsung had made a plausible case for denying the preliminary injunction against the Galaxy Nexus, and has lifted that ban temporarily, awaiting Apple's response, which is due by next week. This doesn't mean much for the moment, and might not mean much overall - Samsung probably stopped making Tab 10.1s months ago, and the Galaxy Nexus will be receiving an OTA update soon enough to avoid Apple's patent infringement allegations.
Android tablets, for the last year plus they've existed, haven't been anything to get excited over. At least that's my opinion on the matter. And even if you've wanted one (a good one), most of them have been sort of expensive. But now that Google has unveiled the first true Nexus tablet (XOOM who?), for a mere 200 of your dollars, you can get in on the computing revolution. At that price, Google isn't shooting for the premium market. It's targeting first-time tableteers, boldly going where only Amazon and various Chinese knock-offs have gone before - into the sub-$200 slate market.
Hello and welcome to round 2 of Getting To Know Android 4.1. If you missed the inaugural episode (about the lock screen, software buttons, and icons) you can catch a rerun right here. And if you did see it, I suggest you go look at it again, because I updated it with a crazy menu button bug. Seriously, go look. I'll wait.
Today we're getting into something a little more meaty: The revamped notifications system! And we aren't doing some wimpy overview, we're sticking everything I can find under the GTKA microscope. First up, the fresh, new design:
Xuxian Jiang, along with his research team at North Carolina State University, has cooked up a proof-of-concept "clickjack rootkit" which targets Android. The rootkit is unique not only in that it can function without a device restart, but also in that it targets Android's framework, not requiring deep modifications to the underlying firmware or kernel.
Clickjacking, for those unfamiliar, is a malicious technique typically used on the web to "trick" users into handing over control of their device or confidential information.
The researchers' rootkit, which can itself manipulate an infected device, works by hiding apps on a device, and redirecting app launches to said hidden apps.
We non-Jelly Bean plebeians have been envious of those with access to Android 4.1 for some time now, and a recent video from JLishere provides yet another reason to be jealous. The video, a demo of the much-anticipated Google Now, shows off just how accurate JB's voice recognition can be - in fact, it was able to pick up on the subtle differences between words like 'Worcester' and 'Wooster.' It also exemplifies the impressive number of commands Now (in cooperation with the Knowledge Graph) can register - from "call the Drake Hotel" to "do a barrel roll."
Enough balderdash, though - watch the 47-question demo for yourself:
Update: 20 more questions:
One last note: as JLishere notes in the video description, the demo was performed on an early build of Jelly Bean - this, in other words, should be considered a beta feature that will only get better with time.
Depending on how fanboyish you want to be you want to look at it, things are either getting better by the day, or still dismal as can be. First, the charts:
Obviously, the good news is that in the past month, Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0+) has moved up from 7.1% to 10.9% - and considering there are hundreds of millions of devices running Android, that seemingly meager 3.8% is actually quite a few devices.
And then there's the bad news. First, the fact that ICS is the latest (and by far the best) version of Android and yet we're happy to see it on just under 11% of devices is sad; it's even worse that it's literally 8.5 months old.
One of the most starred Android issues of all time, currently #20 of 21363 from the top with 1191 stars, is the absolutely awful quality of synced contact photos (issue #3870, opened in 2009). ICS attempted to resolve the issue by bumping the quality to 256x256 pixels, but Google sync would without mercy squash it right back down to blurry pixel dirt (96x96).
To recap, there are actually a couple of issues:
Contact photos set in Gmail.com are downsized to 96x96. That continues to be the case, and this isn't really even an Android problem - it's up to the Gmail team to fix it.