Welcome to the weekly roundup of the best new Android applications and games that went live in the Market or were spotted by us in the previous week or so. This week is relatively boring - don't shoot the messenger!
In what is the most carefully-worded way of saying "we don't know" I've seen in a while, Asus's UK marketing manager John Swatton has told Pocket-lint that the company's new Android tablets will be shipping with Honeycomb "if Honeycomb is available." The reason for the uncertainty? Swanson seems to be suggesting that Motorola's XOOM has been given special treatment by Google, while Honeycomb remains unavailable to most, if not all, other tablet manufacturers. Read More
Certainly makes sense (get it?), doesn't it. Nearly every EVO owner I know has, at some point or another, complained about the fact that their battery life drops about 5-10% as soon as they unplug it. Well, it turns out that's because of there's an overcharge protection chip inside Li-Ion batteries.
XDA user willy900wonka decided to tear his extended EVO battery apart, and lo and behold:
What I found was that a 8205 chip is used to provide protection and prevent over charging and over-discharging.
By now, you've probably heard of SwiftKey, an alternative keyboard that predicts what you are typing based on statistics and personal history. The company is planning on making an ever bigger splash in the world of Android by going the same route as Opera: creating an app specifically for Android tablets.
Still in prototype form, the keyboard includes the same text prediction that has made SwiftKey so popular, but takes advantage of the tablet's larger screen size (in this case, a Galaxy Tab; we'll have to wait and see how it works on upcoming 10" tablets) by splitting the keyboard into two sections, with a keypad, including arrow keys, in between. Read More
As Android's market share continues to grow, it is inevitable that it will become a target for viruses and other malware. Indeed Steve Chang, the chairman of Trend Micro, a provider of security software, cautioned that Android is far more susceptible to malware attacks than iOS.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Chang claimed that Android's open source infrastructure allowed hackers to better understand the underlying architecture and source code. Read More
As far as Android translation apps go, Google Translate is still among the best available - sure, it isn't perfect, but it's free and for the occasional translation it'll suffice. To celebrate the app's first birthday, Google has updated it to 2.0 and added a new feature called "Conversation Mode."
Image Credit: Engadget
Conversation Mode allows you and your foreign friend to speak in two different languages before having Google Translate display the words you say onscreen in your native languages (as seen in the second screenshot above). Read More
As a loyal Sprint customer, I must say - I was disappointed by the carrier's lack of announcements at CES. In fact, the only new phone they introduced was the HTC EVO Shift 4G, which offered little that we haven't already seen in a million other phones. But as it turns out, the nation's third-largest carrier isn't resting on its laurels; it was merely saving the more important announcements for its own event. Read More
Well, if there was any lesson against being an early adopter, let it be this: TmoNews has gotten ahold of some official T-Mobile slides that give details on the Samsung Vibrant 4G, an update to T-Mobile's version of the Galaxy S that will make any current VIbrant owner cringe:
- Full HSPA+ connectivity
- Front-facing camera with Qik (not Skype) pre-loaded and still no flash on the rear camera
- Android 2.2 Froyo
By full HSPA+ connectivity, I mean that the Vibrant 4G is able to reach download speeds of 21 Mbps (2.6 MB/s) and above, while T-Mobile's current 4G phones, the MyTouch 4G and G2, are limited to 14.4 Mbps, or just under 2 MB/s. Read More
If you were disappointed when Facebook shot down rumors that it was working on an official Facebook phone, you may be in luck, thanks to manufacturer INQ Mobile. According to Bluetooth SIG, the INQ Cloud Touch could be exactly what Facebook was rumored to be developing:
INQ Cloud Touch is an Android smartphone built to make messaging faster and smarter. It’s designed around the way people naturally communicate and has Facebook built into its core.
As you probably know by now, versions of the Android OS tend to be alphabetically named and include some sort of reference to a dessert. Therefore, it was only reasonable to assume that the version of Android following Honeycomb would be called "Ice Cream."
However, according to Andy Rubin, that is not the case - instead, the name will be "Ice Cream Sandwich."
We still don't know Ice Cream Sandwich's version number, the features it will introduce, or anything else about it, but for those of you interested in the reason behind the name, TechCrunch has a pretty good theory: Google's statue for Android 2.2 includes frozen yogurt, which would be pretty hard to distinguish from ice cream. Read More