Ice Cream Sandwich will be the first phone version of Android to support virtual buttons. It seems like a lot of people don’t "get" the whole idea behind them. If used correctly, virtual buttons will be way better than the painted on Back/Home/Menu/Search we have now. So I figured I would lay out the benefits for everyone and hopefully start a nice discussion.
Apple has a long history of being ironic, and not in the positive sense of the word. Their latest bout of ironic shenanigans: accusing Samsung and Motorola of being "anticompetitive." Frankly, this is such an outrageous accusation that I just don't know where to start with it.
This Just In
If you've received the new version of the Android Market on your phone, you might have noticed among the legion of additions to the app a very noticeable subtraction: the "Just In" section. Some people don't like this.
In fact, there is a growing thread over at Google Support with a number of complaints about this change. Of course, the complaints are pretty exclusively from developers. Now, some of these complaints are made from a legitimate perspective - new developers who want exposure.
When Google's General Counsel, David Drummond, posted the first real public response by the search giant to the intellectual property war being waged on Android, the techblogosphere just about peed their collective pants in excitement. Everyone loves a good flame war, it's true. Google called out Microsoft, Apple, and Oracle - by name - publicly. It doesn't get much better than that.
Unfortunately, this probably isn't going to help Google's ongoing battles with those companies, and it's not going to help the company's public image, either.
Android's latest indirect legal tussle to come to a head, a patent suit between HTC and Apple, was ruled on last week by the US ITC (Court of International Trade) - finding the Taiwanese manufacture liable for two counts of patent infringement. This news has spread like wildfire through every corner of the tech blog world. But is there really anything that's changed right now (or even in the near future) because of the outcome of this suit?
When the iPad first hit the market, it changed the way consumers looked at computing, mobile devices, and productivity. It provided an easy way to accomplish basic tasks, a convenient way to surf the web, and bridged the gap between laptop and smartphone. As the natural competitor to iOS, Android had to fire back with a device that was comparable in function: the Motorola XOOM, the world's first Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) tablet.
It seems the explosive growth of smartphone use has had some unintended consequences: U.S. carriers are moving towards tiered data. While some carriers have had "soft" caps for years, we've recently seen a move towards hard caps. "Tiered" plans have long been standard in other parts of the world, but the simple difference is that US carriers charge significantly more across the board - be it basic plans (just minutes), add-on's (such as texting), or data (whether used on a plan or as-you-go).
Update: According to two separate Verizon memos intercepted by Droid-life, existing Verizon customers can keep their existing data plan pricing when renewing or upgrading. Unfortunately, as with all offers of this type, just how long it will last remains to be seen. But, given that the BIONIC is coming some time soon-ish, it seems very likely that existing Verizon customers will be able to get the device without being forced into tiered data.
Nielsenwire released new smartphone figures this morning, with a focus on data consumption. Topping the list of the data consumers amongst the smartphone OS's was, of course, Android.
The average Android user utilizes 582MB (or roughly .6GB) of data per month - far less than what is allocated by any of the major carrier's plans. We often hear about consumers becoming feisty over data plan tier-ification or throttling, but how many people do these caps and throttles actually affect?