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.
Ah, what a breath of fresh air. After today's SDK Tools r9 and ADT 9.0.0 update that I talked about earlier this morning, I noticed another new feature in the SDK Manager that has been requested for years. As if the near-instant AVD restart support due to the new snapshotting was not enough of a present, developers can now edit properties of existing AVDs!
Before this update, once you've created an AVD, the AVD Manager did not let you touch any of its properties, forcing you to create a brand new virtual device for any tweaks.
If you are a developer, you will want to fire up SDK Manager right now and perform an update. Besides the Honeycomb SDK preview that we'll talk about separately, Google also unleashed the next version of Android Development Tools, or simply ADT, for Eclipse as well as SDK Tools r9. I've been using ADT versions 9.0.0 preview 1, 2, and 3 for a number of weeks now, and I can tell you that 9.0.0 is a huge step up to where a serious set of development tools needs to be.
The Android Developers Blog just announced the availability of a "preview" of the upcoming Android 3.0 SDK. Developers can start getting their Honeycomb on immediately, as the preview is available via the Android SDK and AVD manager as part of the Android SDK.
But even more exciting is the fact that the Android Developers page has been updated with a plethora of information regarding Honeycomb and its features. Where to begin?
In the past year the Android platform has exploded with a number of new smartphones and tablets launching as well as significant growth in the number of apps available in the Android Market. Despite its success, Google is "not happy" with lacklustre sales of paid apps in the Market, says Eric Chu, Android's platform manager. Speaking from the Inside Social Apps conference held in San Francisco earlier this week, Chu went on to give a very broad outline of Google's plan for the Android Market in 2011.
CES 2011 was an occasion for manufacturers to flood the market with a plethora of Android devices, and powering many of them was NVidia's Tegra 2 chip.
Released late last year, the Tegra 2 chip uses the "system-on-a-chip" design to integrate an ARM CPU (1GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 processor) and a NVidia GPU into one package. This allows faster communication between the cores and the integrated memory controller. Most of the tablets and smartphones, and other unique hybrids, launching in 2011 will be using the Tegra 2 chips.
This morning, I noticed an interesting thread in the EVO subsection of the XDA forums that claimed to be able to fix music streaming (which was broken in some apps after the latest OTA), while boosting 3G speeds by .2 to .6 Mbps. As the process is very simple and easily reversible, I gave it a go - but decided that I was going to use SpeedTest to benchmark the changes.
Launcher Pro, my favorite launcher replacement, got updated today with a much requested feature - homescreen transition animations, available to all LP users, not just Plus. In addition to the usual and very smooth slide effect, we now have 4 more: Scale, Rotate, Flip, and Cube. All are smooth, except for the Cube transition, so I would advise against using it until Fede makes it a bit more snappy.
Oh, boy... what a mess this is. Earlier this week, a Motorola employee with access to the company's official YouTube account replied to a (now deleted) comment about their locked bootloaders with "if you want to do custom roms, then buy elsewhere, we’ll continue with our strategy that is working thanks." Issues about eFuse aside, that's a pretty poor thing to say from a customer service perspective. Apparently, Motorola recognized that fact after somebody posted on their Facebook page they'd be taking that advice:
Does this mean they're doing away with eFuse?
XDA member Dysgenic was apparently unsatisfied with his current Android boot animation - so like any good Android lover, he decided to do something about it. The result: an ever-expanding list of absolutely awesome boot animations. Just take a gander at these two (there are currently 8):
Installation is essentially comprised of three basic steps: first, download the animation(s). Second, rename the one you're using "bootanimation.zip." Finally, use ADB to push it and overwrite the existing animation.