Tuesday, May 20, 2008

ADC 1 finalists get early access to SDKs

The 50 finalists will be getting an early look at the SDK before a public version is released. Although, the participants will be bound by a NDA prohibiting them to give out any screenshots or feature lists. Google sent out emails to all the finalists,
As a Round 2 participant, we'll be providing you with the most up-to-date Android SDK so that you can take advantage of the latest tools & platform capabilities that will be shipping in devices later this year. These early access SDKs have many enhancements, additional features, and bug fixes. However, these SDKs have not had the same level of testing as public SDKs, so there are bugs; these releases are definitely "bleeding edge." As we continue to update the platform, you'll receive periodic drops of updated early access SDKs. We'll do our best to give you a rough timeline on when these early access SDKs will be available so that you can better plan your development schedule. Approximately 3 weeks before the submission deadline, we will provide a final early access SDK. You will need to submit your entry using this version of the SDK.

Since these early access SDKs are not ready for the public, you need to execute a special SDK license. This is the same SDK license that governs the public SDK with the addition of a confidentiality clause. We've attached the SDK license document to this email.

And like every other deadline in ADC 1, the deadline for Round 2 of submissions has also been extended to July 28th.

Via [HelloAndroid]

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Android on Mimique concept phone

Android is getting onto new phones. Many small/big manufacturers have embraced the Android platform. The latest to join in is RKS, a South Californian company with their concept phone - Mimique. According to RKS, "The Mimique is a response to feature-heavy cell phones that look more like PDAs than phones. Playful and engaging, the Mimique's design marries the heritage of old-school cell phones with next-generation style and touch-screen technology."

The selling point is said to be downloadable features and skins, so the user need not buy a new phone for new features. "Skins will allow users to change the graphic interface to match their mood or preferences. Designed for users who don't take themselves or their phones too seriously, the eye-catching Mimique concept phone is poised to play a whole new game."

take a look,

Via [Pocket-lint]

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The other side of Android Developer Challenge 1

So Google has come out describing the backstage events of ADC 1. Good to know what was happening when the whole Android community was wondering what would happen.

Dan Morrill, Developer Advocate, explains the details of how they got started with appointing the judges, shipping of the Ubuntu laptops around the world, collecting the scores and making sure no evil happened. The full story can be read here.

Its nice that they have opened up the process. This should somewhat calm down the backlash going on for the last few days about how the final 50 were chosen. When I first looked at the winners' list, my reaction was like "enh ?!" although it should have been more like "wow !". And going through the mailing list and the irc echoed the same reaction from other developers. I think when an app/idea exists on some other platform then the score for "Originality" stands at zero and when such an idea makes to the top 50...., I guess this was probably one of the reasons for the discontent.

Nevertheless, ADC 1 is done and over. Some are happy, many are unsatisfied but have moved on(possibly to other platforms). It will be interesting to see how many individuals return for ADC 2 or will it be a corporate play ?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Top 50 of Android Developer Challenge

The top 50 of Android Developer Challenge 1 were announced. 4 of the authors chose not to reveal their apps, so we have only 46 in the listing,

AndroidScan - Use your phone to scan a barcode, get pricing information from dozens of stores, product reviews and more. Never make a bad purchase again! (by Jeffrey Sharkey)

Beetaun - Social network around geographical content created by people and for people (from your neighborhood, from your city, from your country, from all over the world). By Sergey Gritsyuk and Dmitri Shipilov

3. BioWallet - A biometric authentication system for Android. This application features iris recognition and can act as a password safe and provide single sign-on for other Android apps. Jose Luis Huertas Fernandez

4. BreadCrumbz -Navigate your route using pictures instead of a map (there’s also a map, if you like). Easily record routes using your smartphone. Share them with your friends, share them with the world. By Amos Yoffe

5. CallACab - Konrad Huebner and Henning Boeger

City Slikkers - a Pervasive Game (alternatively Location Based Game) which takes place in the real-existing city. It is designed to connect a large number of players through-out the world and change the way the surroundings are seen. The central idea behind the concept is to give people the opportunity to symbolically interfere with the everyday urban environment and come into contact with previously unknown people. By PoroCity Media and Virtual Logic Systems.

7. Commandro - Commandro shows where are your friends REALLY are and what they’re doing at the moment. Using GPS location information, it will display 100% true real-life event and location information with regards to you and your friends. By Alex Pisarev, Andrey Tapekha.

Cooking Capsules -Simply “watch” a very short cooking show, “shop” with the grocery list, and “make” using the handy step-by-step recipe directions. If you are out of your usual neighborhood you can use the ‘find nearest market’ gps feature. If your friend is stopping at the market, simply hit the ’send to friend’ button to text your list to them. By Mary Ann Cotter and Muthuselvam Ramadoss

9. Diggin - Daniel Johansson, Aramis Waernbaum, Andreas Hedin

10. Dyno - Virachat Boondharigaputra

e-ventr - The domain is password protected, but a Whois Lookup shows it is owned by the developer named by Google. By Michael Zitzelsberger.

Eco2go - Reduce your carbon footprint. Eco2go finds and suggests public transit alternatives for your trips - right on your phone. By Taneem Talukdar, Gary Pong, Jeff Kao and Robert Lam

13. Em-Radar - Em-Radar is a revolutionary mobile product that alerts you about emergencies and severe weather anywhere, any time. By Jack Kwok.

14. fingerprint - Robert Mickle

FreeFamilyWatch - Navee Technologies LLC

16. goCart - Rylan Barnes

17. GolfPlay - give support to all the real time necessities of a golf player during a game, using GPS location and an online querying site where it is possible to access to their game statistics, tournament creation and a social network to exchange impressions with other users about the sport that links them: golf. By Inizziativa Networks

18. gWalk - Prof. Dr.-Ing. Klaus ten Hagen, Christian Klinger, Marko Modsching, Rene Scholze

19. HandWx - Delivers 7-Day weather forecasts to your phone. By Weathertop Consulting LLC.

20. IMEasy - Yan Shi

21. Jigsaw - Mikhail Ksenzov

JOYity - Coming soon. By Zelfi AG.

23. LifeAware - Mobile Tracking Service formed to help people be aware of where their friends and family are. A quick search on the Internet shows that approximately 700,000 children are classified as missing annually. The intent of Life Aware is to help you be aware of where you family and friends are. Gregory Moore, Aaron L. Obrien, Jawad Akhtar

24. Locale - Locale is one of 7 Android applications submitted by MIT students. It enables you to set up location- and time-based profiles for your phone, so you can make it shut up when you’re at work, forward calls to your landline when you’re at home. Clare Bayley, Christina Wright, Jasper Lin, Carter Jernigan.

LReady Emergency Manager - A quick Whois Lookup shows the domain is owned by Chris Hulls, named by Google as a developer of LReady. By Chris Hulls, Dilpreet Singh, Luis Carvalho, Phuong Nguyen.

26. Marvin - Marvin allows you to publish and browse geo-localized objects around you. Objects can be static or move by themselves and follow you. You publish and browse where you are, based on your current location or where you virtually are on the map. By Pontier Laurent.

27. Mobeedo - Mobile Search. By Sengaro GmbH.

28. Multiple Facets Instant Messenger - A Whois Lookup shows the website is owned by Virgil Dobjanschi who is named by Google as the creator of this application. By Virgil Dobjanschi.

29. MyCloset - Mamoru Tokashiki

30. PedNav - an application that helps you plan your activities efficiently when moving around and interacting with an urban environment. Like a good personal assistant, PedNav first inquires about your general plans for the day. By RouteMe2 Technologies Inc.

31. Phonebook 2.0 - Coming soon. By

32. PicSay - Eric Wijngaard

33. PiggyBack - Christophe Petit and Sebastien Petit

34. Pocket Journey - connects your location to the voices of a global community of artists, historians, architects, musician, comedians, and others so you can quickly know everything about anywhere. By Anthony Stevens and Rosie Pongracz.

Rayfarla - Rayfarla turns your phone into a musical instrument as well as providing a variety of mini games that are music related. I’m not saying too much about Rayfarla at the moment as I’m now in competition with 49 other semifinalists but suffice to say there will be some interesting twists when it is finally released on hardware. By Stephen Oldmeadow.

36. Safety Net - Michael DeJadon

37. SocialMonster - Ben Siu-Lung Hui and Tommy Ng

SplashPlay - SplashPlay offers the next generation in musical tuition and learning to play the guitar just got a whole lot easier. Simply attach the pod and light panel to your guitar and start strumming to your favourite songs in minutes. Songs are sent to the pod from a mobile phone or computer using a USB or Bluetooth connection, giving total portability. Other features include a guitar tuner, guitar metronome and a hands free, Bluetooth foot pedal. The product will provide an easy, portable and fun method of learning music.

39. Sustain- Keeping Your Social Network Alive - Niraj Swami

40. SynchroSpot - Shaun Terry

41. Talkplay - Sung Suh Park

Teradesk - José Augusto Athayde Ferrarini

43. The Weather Channel for Android - The Weather Channel Interactive Inc.

TuneWiki - Our goal is to have the lyrics always on, always available, always synchronized to music - on any device that can play music back and connect to the internet. By TuneWiki Inc.

45. Wikitude-the Mobile Travel Guide - Find points of interest based on your current location. By Philipp Breuss.

46. Writing Pad - ShapeWriter is an innovative, original, fun, and highly efficient method of entering text into touch screen mobile phones. ShapeWriter lets the user to simply draw a continuous stroke from letter to letter on a soft keyboard and lift to complete the word. The resulting trace is recognized as the intended word. For example: to write the word “fun”, land the pen (or mouse cursor) on the F key, drag to the U key, continue to the N key and lift up the pen. ShapeWriter recognizes the curso trace F-U-N as the word “fun”.By
ShapeWriter Inc.

Source [

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

TuneWiki for Android

TuneWiki has announced a media player for Android which features an iPhone-like interface, support for syncing with iTunes, and the karaoke-like lyric functionality that put them on the map. The app plays music with the ability to edit and translate karaoke-like synchronized lyrics, subtitled on video and audio.

iPhones users will be familiar with TuneWiki, the iPhone version has seen several downloads since its launch. The iPhone version has a player displaying karaoke-style lyrics in time with songs in the device’s library. TuneWiki has partnered with Universal to provide lyrics legally, and has ongoing talks with other music labels.

Just a thought tho, why copy iPhone's interface to Android ? Could have done something new with the UI.

You can try the app online here.

Source [TechCrunch]

Friday, April 25, 2008

Quickoffice on Android

Quickoffice have ported their top-selling mobile office application to Android that edits Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint documents, allows access to Google Docs and to documents stored on home PCs through the Internet. They are also working on an iPhone version. Quickoffice is currently available for Palm, S60 and UIQ platforms.

recently announced collaboration with Esmertec to integrate the Quickoffice Scalable Vector Graphics Tiny (SVGT) Platform with Esmertec’s leading Jbed™ Virtual Machine (MVM). Jbed provides OEMs with a comprehensive and extensive Java solution.

Just to remind you, Esmertec is a founding member of the
Open Handset Alliance, delivering customized solutions for Android.

PCMag.com has some more screenshots of Quickoffice on Android.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wireless Innovations 2008 and Android

Speaking at the Wireless Innovations 2008 conference, T-Mobile and other speakers touted Android as an "iPhone for the masses" that will help spur open innovation in handsets. T-Mobile is expected to be the first carrier to come out with Android phone when it launches a handset using the software later this year and plans to put open software platforms on all its phones.

We are working on a new approach for all our platforms so developers can have access to open software development kits and applications programming interfaces," said Joe Sims, VP and GM, Broadband and New Business,T-Mobile USA. He also added, "We are very excited about a set of open APIs and a variety of devices using them(Android).I hope it will generate development of not dozens but tens of thousands of new applications that will spawn a new level of excitement in this industry". Carriers like T-Mobile are beginning to embrace open platforms and allow more handsets and apps to run on their network which is a change from their previous stance of allowing only some closed apps. "All carriers have a lot of baggage. We know we are hard to do business with. We can be caught up in our own bureaucracy with the size of our business," said Sims.

Qualcomm on their part, are working with OEMs on more than five handsets that will use Android. The phones will ship in the next 12-18 months, as indicated by Sayeed Choudhry,VP, Product Management, CDMA Technologies, Qualcomm. He also added that the Android phones would have features similar to the Apple iPhone but be available at prices closer to mass market feature phones and sport better links to Web services for photos, video and more. "
Google has really thought through what Apple has just begun to unlock". Speaking about LiMo foundation of which Qualcomm is a member, he said, "It's still early days for the LiMo platform but we believe it will get there. Having two flavors of Linux is better than the dozens of proprietary environments we have seen to date". Qualcomm is working on three handset designs for the software.

"The computer industry did this many years ago and it spawned the development of several major companies. Now we want to do it in cellular," said Sims.

Via [EETimes]

Friday, April 18, 2008

Android Developer Challenge 1 statistics

Since it got over, there have been many speculations(statistical, logical....) in the official groups about the no. of entries received. Google has put an end to it on their blog in which Azhar Hashem, Product Marketing Manager for Android said, "I'm thrilled to share the news that developers from over 70 countries submitted 1,788 entries to the Android Developer Challenge!". So there you have it, the official number is 1788.

Hashem also mentioned that the rate of submission had jumped to 170+ submissions per hour in the early hours of Tuesday. Sharing some more statistics, about 600 entries were from US and rest from Germany, Japan, China, India, Canada, France, UK, and other countries.

The judging process will begin soon in which over 100 judges,experts from within OHA and the mobile industry, will rate each of the apps on the basis of 4 criteria, assigning score of 1 -to 10 for each of the criteria. The results, 50 Semi-finalists who will be awarded $25,000 each, will be declared around May 5.

Best of luck to all the participants !

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Opera Mini for Android

A preview version of Opera Mini is available for the developer community to test and provide feedback for a later scheduled beta release.

Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, said: "Opera Mini will be able to empower users of Android-based handsets with access to all of their favorite web sites with popular features for smooth effects and scalable, tailored viewing."

The J2ME version has been ported over using MicroEmulator, which is an implementation of J2ME that runs on J2SE. Head over to Opera labs to download the app.

So, after trying out the apk provided, I noted that its damn slow. Now we all know that the emulator isn't fast n stuff, but all our apps do run at decent (and even amazing) speed and this was opposite of amazing. You would expect speed issues in preview version releases, but theres a difference of more than a couple of seconds between action and response once the webpage opens, hence the rant.

some screenshots,

This EditText is kinda big !!

btw, the app didn't start again once closed.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Android ported to N810

Folks at elinux.org have successfully ported Android (m5-rc14) to Nokia N810 tablet, well, TI's OMAP SoCs to be more general. Android has been already ported successfully to Sharp Zaurus SL-C760,SL-C3000, Armadillo-500 and several other OMAP 1 & 2 boards.

The Wiki offers specific instructions right from compiling, extracting the system files to booting the system. The screenshot below shows a m5-rc14 kernel with m3 image.

HTC Dream launch on May 6 ?

May 6 could well be the launch of the first batch of Android loaded HTC Dream phones if the invitation sent out to tech press is anything to go by,

Phonemag.com reports that HTC is holding a special launch event on May 6 in London to “Witness the next wave of HTC Innovation.” This could be it. Apple’s Worldwide Developers convention is around the corner and 3G iPhone is expected by June 4, HTC is looking at stealing some shine off Apple this time. The announcement is in sync with HTC's previous announcement that the Dream would go live in mid-2008.

Dream is 3-inches wide & 5-inches long, will sport a large touchscreen, full QWERTY keyboard (slide or swivel style), and will be geared towards easy internet navigation.

We had already seen a snapshot of what HTC is upto in the recent BBC video of Android. May 6 is the date we'll know for sure.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

AT&T in Android land

AT&T are considering jumping onto the Android bandwagon. At CTIA, AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega said that customizability had attracted him to Android. "I like it a lot more than I did before, its something we would want in our portfolio."

Although in December, AT&T was wary of Android,that the platform would be oriented too much toward Google applications, after looking at the OS at GWC in Barcelona and meetings with Google executives, who showed that AT&T would be able to put its own applications on Android phones, they are now convinced that Android is the place to be,
“What I’m saying is I like it a lot more than before … We’re now looking to see when it’s ready to be developed. Now I’m in the camp where I’m positive that it’s something I’d want in our portfolio”.

AT&T was the only biggie staying away from OHA where T-Mobile USA and Sprint Nextel are members, an
d Verizon Wireless has said it will open its network to any device, which would include phones with Android. "One of the things we were looking for was that it was truly open and that you could put other features and applications on it", now, it remains to be seen to what extent does AT&T "customize" Android. The OHA have verbally agreed not to modify the OS to the point that applications coded for it will not run on other Android-based devices, but its possible an AT&T Android phone may look completely different from others Android phones.

Ralph de la Vega's announcement,

Via [Phonemag] [PCMAG]

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Quake on Qualcomm phone

At CTIA, Qualcomm showed off an Android prototype cellphone capable of playing Quake. The device uses Qualcomm’s 3D hardware graphics acceleration and gives 30fps at VGA. The screen size is smaller that what we use in the SDK,so lets hope the chip gives the same fps on 320x480 screens.

Also in their presentation, Qualcomm executives spoke about advertising on mobiles. Len Lauer explained the company's strategy to empower mobile services with user-specific info, "
We believe advertising will take off in the mobile environment when it comes relevant to the consumer". Qualcomm's acquisition of Irish firm Xiam Technologies was a step in this direction. Xiam’s My Personal Offer System (MPOS) enables operators to profile consumers in order to give them more personalized recommendations of content and advertising. The company is hoping to combine user-relevant data with a mobile wallet and location-based services to, say, improve a customer's experience when they walk into a store.
Did Qualcomm just squash the $25,000 dream of some developers ?

Via [Phonemag] [WashingtonPost]

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Google proposes Wi-Fi 2.0

In another move to boost Android's prospects, Google's telecommunications counsel,Richard Whitt proposed a plan to use unused airwaves, known as white spaces, to provide high-speed mobile access to consumers by the 2009 holiday season.

Google, alongwith Microsoft and six other big tech companies formed the 'White Space Coalition' in 2006 to advocate the use of unused analog TV signals for high-speed wireless broadband. On Monday,
in a renewed effort to convince the FCC, Whitt said, “Google is a strong believer in the potential of this spectrum to bring Internet access to more Americans” and that "the spectrum is way too valuable to be wasted.” On Friday, Google had filed a six-page letter that clears out the concerns over interference of the new mobile devices with TV and microphones.

Google's new filing describes a multipronged approach to avoid interference. Building upon suggestions made in a filing by Motorola last fall, it said any new unlicensed TV white-spaces devices would be blocked from transmitting signals unless they had received a sort of "permission to transmit" message. Wireless microphones could also be outfitted with "inexpensive" beacons that would send out a signal to white-spaces devices that says " don't come here," by Whitt's description.Google also proposes to set up a safety cushion between channels 37 and 39, where unlicensed white-space devices would not be allowed to operate, but wireless microphones and other licensed devices would. To protect airwaves used by the military and public safety agencies, Google proposed the use of spectrum-sensing technology, which would free up the airwaves when they are needed by the government and
also offered to provide no-cost technical support to third parties hoping to use the white spaces, if they were opened up.

Even if the regulators ultimately approve use of the white spaces, the spectrum won't be ready for use until at least February 2009 and FCC also isn't expected to issue any rules for use of the spectrum for another several months, Whitt said. "no product will come to market unless the FCC can verify that the device does not interfere with TV or wireless microphone signals".

"We're doing this because we want everybody to be satisfied with this process" Whitt said. "We think it's the right time to put these ideas in the record and see where they go." He also added,that Google isn't interested in becoming a wireless service provider or building a network of its own, it does envision the white spaces as a "unique opportunity to provide ubiquitous wireless access for all Americans" (or maybe to increase its revenue by creating more Internet services for mobile phones and devices). Portable technology is outselling personal computers, giving the company new spots to place online advertising. Only about 5 percent of the nation’s TV white spaces are being used, he said.

"That portion of the TV band is highly prized because it can propagate long distances and through obstacles. It also possesses the bandwidth to support vastly faster data rates than today's standard Internet services."

In between his speech, Whitt hinted that the Android phones would land at sometime around fall.

Its obvious that with its GPS and Maps, Android phones will be needing unlimited high-speed internet access. This proposal is one step further in that direction.

Via [NY Times] [CNET News]

Sunday, March 23, 2008

NTT DoCoMo to release Android phones by 2010

NTT DoCoMo, the Japanese mobile operator and a prominent member of OHA plans to release phones based on Android by 2010. This disclosure was made when DoCoMo declared its plan to remove advanced functions and services from its cell phones' current OS. The company decided to move over from a proprietary OS to Android to help manufacturers reduce cost.

According to the carrier, functions to be removed from operating software will include i-mode, Internet connection services, and FeliCa, an integrated circuit card service that enables handsets to be used for electronic payments. Custom-designed high-tech services like i-mode have created a niche market for themselves and also prompted competitors like KDDI to provide similar services.

However,shrinking profit margins within Japan has prompted many phone manufacturers to look outside for sales. Producing different phones for DoCoMo and rest of the world isn't financially viable in a saturated Japanese mobile market. Apparently, this has prompted Sony Ericsson and Mitsubishi to withdraw from the local mobile market.

The low-cost phones will allow manufacturers that make handsets for DoCoMo to develop and produce handsets for overseas markets. For the domestic market, the companies will add some advanced functions. With its commanding 50% market share, NTT DoCoMo's move is likely to prompt KDDI (also an OHA member) and SoftBank to follow similar path.

Via [Daily Yomiuri]

Friday, March 21, 2008

The G-Race - HTC vs Samsung

Race to the Android phone is on. HTC and Samsung are competing to get the first gPhone out in the market. While HTC's "Dream" is inching towards reality, Samsung has switched gears to catch up with HTC.

Earlier this week, rumors about HTC Omni(Dream) being THE gPhone were out in the wild. Now, we had the same news last year when CEO Peter Chou said about Dream: "We've been working on [OHA] designs for almost two years. This is the best one we've seen", and there was an inkling that T-Mobile could be a part of this "Dream" too. So why is an old news being made out so big NOW ? i don't know. In any case, we know that Android and HTC Dream are connected.

Coming to the other contender of G-Race, apparently Samsung doesn't like the idea of HTC enjoying the Android pie all through 2008, so they've stepped-up their efforts. Where HTC have their trusted Touch Flo technology, Samsung could well be using HAPTIC as their reference, 3.2-inch LCD screen (12.1 millimeters thick), supports terrestrial DMB services and has a 2-megapixel camera, take a look,

This is Samsung's first foray into widescreen touch phones to counter the threat of LG touch phones (PRADA, Viewty) in the local Korean market. Samsung is testing its products in Korea before going global with it. So it is quite possible that you could be holding a HAPTIC running Android later this year. Expect a rumor/leaks sometime next week.

Speaking of LG, Argo seems to be their choice for Android since it claims to provide full internet experience, which is the buzzword these days.

What is inside Argo you wonder ? 3-inch wide full touchscreen LCD with 800 x 480 resolution, the Touch Web phone adopts Quick Search Icon providing direct access to main portals, Internet hot key and jog wheel, has a 3 MP camera with auto focus, Bluetooth 2.0, microSD and T-DMB.

Google is enjoying every bit of this and the FCC auction results. They had open software and now, open networks without spending the billions and then theres rumor that Samsung is making phones for Google which will be branded as 'Google', something with a flip-screen and keyboard , so now, all they have to do is get the Android stack right.

Its quite obvious that the winner of this G-Race will be Google !!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ads on Android

We all saw this news coming, although, this one does not come from Google, but from Relevantis, Inc. The company has released the first advertising platform for Android which will allow developers to integrate ads into their apps.

The platform called 'Universal Ad Platform'
allows Android developers to include personalized and location-aware advertising within their apps. Relevantis specializes in supporting highly relevant advertising within embedded applications and widgets and is the first solution to deliver highly contextual advertising to mobile web sites as well as embedded applications such as mobile maps and mobile video games.It provides Android developers with access to APIs that allow for full control over the advertising presented in their products. The APIs also enable the caching of ads on Android devices. This allows applications to display advertising even when the device is out of range of a network or when it is in airplane mode.

Scott Searle,
CEO, Relevantis said, "When Google announced Android, everybody expected that it would exclusively support Google ads. However, Google's ad platform doesn't even support Android applications at all yet; and, when it does, the ads will most likely be available for Android-optimized web sites instead of embedded applications.The solution is uniquely designed to support Android widgets, games and other embedded applications as well as web sites. And, perhaps more importantly, our platform supports multiple ad networks, not just Google. So, developers can choose to receive ads from one or more major networks like Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL in addition to Google."

This ad-solution will be most beneficial to developers working on apps related to maps and navigation systems as they can sell the icon space to brands or get paid to include navigation instructions to reach a particular location like Pizza-Hut.

Via [marketwire]

Games for Android

OmniGSoft, a mobile 3D gaming company based in Toronto has entered the Android Developer Challenge with ten 3D mobile games for Android. Titled
"OmniGSoft Games on Android", the set includes 10 games out of which, currently, 5 games have been released for M3-rc37a, M5 is not yet supported.

The games use OmniGSoft's 3D game engine which includes MiniAWT- a cross-platform AWT , OmniGraphics - core of the gaming engine and OmniGroups - a real-time network communication engine.

Official word: "All games are designed and implemented on OmniGsoft's proprietary cross-platform 3D game engine that supports multiple mobile platforms such as Android, Windows Mobile and JavaME. Powered by OpenGL|ES as 3D graphics power plant and Android accelerometer as an alternative game control, these mobile games are aiming to provide the highest quality of 3D graphics and gaming experience on Android platform."

The Android screenshots look good. Theres a video of one of the games released, Super -G Stunt, running on SE
K850 here demonstrating the use of Accelerometers.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Webtide's Jetty for Android

Webtide, the main developer of leading open source HTTP server and Java web container, Jetty, announced today, at EclipseCon 2008, the first web and application server designed specifically to operate on Android. Jetty is the web and application server behind Eclipse Equinox and because of its lightweight and robust nature, it is ideal for embedding in mobile devices and platforms that require a small footprint.

The port is named i-Jetty and will allow Android users to serve data stored on the phone such as contact details, system settings and call log within a browser window. It also adds functionality that will let users modify and save changes, view and listen to multimedia files and make phone calls. The goal of these features is to let users access the information on their phones from more familiar web browsers running on their usual computers over wifi, Bluetooth and 3G networks.

Speaking about i-Jetty, Adam Lieber, CEO
, said, This represents yet another emphatic validation of Jetty's architecture and scalability. Jetty's small footprint has always been attractive to embedded device developers, and now with a Jetty server available on Android, we can truly claim to run on the gamut of computing environments all the way from mobile devices to high-end server hardware. We look forward to working with the growing Android community.

Android and Jetty have many packages in common, this alongwith the small footprint of Jetty made the porting task smooth.

i-Jetty is available at Google Code.

Via [BusinessWire]

Friday, March 14, 2008

Google's Rich Miner on Android and more

Speaking at eComm, Google's general manager of wireless platforms, Rich Miner said Android will outsell iPhone. Miner opened the second day of the eComm conference at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. saying that Android will be loved by developers due to its openness. He expects Android-based phones to outsell iPhone. "Once you have devices out there from Motorola , HTC, Samsung, and so on, there's a much larger potential market on Android than for the iPhone," Miner said. He spoke in detail about the current phone and market trends and how OHA and Android are trying to bring a positive change to it. Some excerpts from his speech,

On the industry and market :

He said that he has seen prototypes from every mobile phone partner of OHA. Instead of having carrier executives decide which applications are best for users, the big companies should embrace the “long tail".

He added,
"the world is shifting to openness, even in mobile phones. Linux-based phones have hit the market, Apple has created excitement around the iPhone, and there is excitement about Android platform. Those phones will be more useful to consumers, because they will be built around openness and thus have access to a wealth of third-party applications.

Speaking on the current lot of phones, he said, "Most of the phones aren’t smart, meaning that developers can’t create third-party applications for the vast majority of phones in the world. The lack of openness means that the dynamic world of mash-ups on the web just isn’t possible with phones.The phones have closed, native environments that make it very difficult for applications developers to do what they want to do,” he said. “The business models in mobile are also somewhat broken.He said Google is working with carriers to open their networks and open their phones and drive down the costs of cell phones. And as an indication of carriers' shift to openness, Verizon is about to launch its specs for open handsets. "The carriers are embracing openness for market reasons", he said. Full HTML capable web browsers will be available on these phones and display content that can be viewed easily on a small screen.

On Linux, Android and being Open :

Speaking on the fragmented Linux platforms, he said “Unless somebody really took everything, built it, and released it as open source, it wouldn’t help.We integrated all the things you need in one platform.”

He also said,"Yes, there are lots of other Linux initiatives,but the problem is that there are lots of them. The problem is that if they just focus on the Linux OS, and they leave out all the other parts of the mobile stack.So, if two companies build two phones, they make two different sets of decisions about the stack. And that means the phones are different. You can't just write for one phone and move it over. You have to write for two."

Miner said that one of the main advantages of the Linux-based Android is that it eliminates the need for developers to maintain multiple versions of apps across multiple platforms. This was an effort to prove that Android is more than just another Linux OS, "Android is a complete platform, not just a phone operating system. Android is everything you need to develop a phone, not just an OS. There are virtual machines, graphics subsystems, media codecs, media frameworks, application frameworks — all integrated into Android.”

But iPhone is already in the market. He added, "Android can make up for lost time. 750,000 have downloaded the Android SDK. Even if just one per cent of the people who downloaded the thing are building apps, that’s 7,000 to 10,000 people who are actively building applications for our platform. That's because it's open. I don’t think you’d have developers developing for a non-existent phone - a phone that hasn’t been released if they didn’t believe that this openness would allow them to get their applications distributed."

On the Open nature of Android, Miner said,"When I or most people at Google think about 'open,' we think about source code," Miner told the eComm crowd here in Mountain View. "If something is broken, you open up the source code, and you go and fix it."

When asked if Google had any problems with any developers making changes to the original stack, he said,"Once we open source this, it will be like any open source project," Miner answered. "You'll start to shift from initial implementation to a process driven by the community, starting to steer the functionality."
"Just look at how Apple manages the WebKit development progress. If a 17-year-old hacker proves he's competent in driving WebKit modifications and improvements, he's allowed to contribute to the WebKit system. Webkit is one of the model examples for Android."

On Apple & iPhone :

Although iPhone was a big success and it sold 4 million units in its first seven months of release, "there's a single manufacturer, it's targeted at a particular demographic, and it falls far short of the 1 billion mobile phones sold every year worldwide," added Miner.

Furthermore, he said,"My belief is that any startup company or company that’s trying to build a popular mobile app will build it for both platforms.They’re both contemporary programming environments. As long as somebody cleanly architects their system and uses contemporary techniques. It shouldn’t be too hard to maintain multiple versions of apps across both Android and iPhone."

But Miner also said that Apple hasn't treated developers as well as they deserve. "There are certain apps you just can't build on an iPhone" Miner said. "Apple doesn't let you do multiprocessing. They don't let your app run in the background after you switch to another. And they don't let you have interpretive language in your iPhone apps."

He praised Apple too,"The iPhone was certainly one of the most thunderous mobile introductions over the past year, and Apple did a number of things right the first time with their first device - which they should be commended for. And they just launched their third party development environment. But the love didnt last long enough, "But because of their business model and their partnerships, certain people believe that there are control issues as well. But I’m not going into that. There are plenty of blogs that discuss that."

On whether the developers should build apps for the iPhone or Android, Miner said, “It depends on what you want to build.” There are a lot of restrictions on Apple applications, he said. “You have to decide if it allows you to do what you want. It's not a competitive thing -- it's great that people are finally building tools so all of these third-party applications can be built and get out there," Miner said. "If I were a developer I'd certainly be looking at the iPhone, and if you believe there will be lots of Android phones out there, as we do, I'd be developing for both platforms."

"Ultimately, Steve Jobs just has a different goal than we do. Apple will ship iPhones to people who want that particular experience. Meanwhile, Android will be 12-key feature phones, as well as high-end smart phones, slide-out qwerty keyboard phones, and more. There will be a much larger variety of Android phones in the the long run"

On Microsoft :

Google flaming Microsoft isn't new or surprising. Miner spoke about his days at Orange and working on Windows Mobile, "When I was at Orange, we launched the first Windows Mobile phone. And I was impressed with that phone, or at least the promise of it. But we wanted to do a push to talk service, a very simple service. So you could push a button and speak. And then we found a bug in Windows Mobile, in a documented API. We didn't have the source code. The manufacturer who built the phone for us didn't have the source code. So we went to Microsoft. And Microsoft took about 18 months to fix this problem in a documented API."

The verdict on Android will be out when the first series of phones hit the market. And it will be interesting to see how the Android source is modified once thats out too.

Source: [The Register] [VentureBeat]

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Security solution for Android

One of the first security suite for Android has been announced by Savant Protection. The company which specializes in intrusion prevention, has ported its security solution, Savant Technology, to Android.

As mobile computing gains popularity, threats to personal data stored on mobile devices continue to grow. Security professionals around the world are touting mobile devices as the next big malware magnet, and Android, being open and in the spotlight, is an obvious target. Savant Protection proposes to secure Android from malwares and intrusion with their solution.

Savant Technology assigns a unique cryptographic signature to every application in the system thereby not allowing unknown and unauthorised apps to execute. According to the company,
"regardless of the intrusion approach, Savant stops any and all crimeware at the point of attack". While theres still time to see how successful this solution will be, many more companies can be expected to follow with their own security solutions.

Android has not been subjected to a security review yet, so its not known if it will have any extra security measures (other than those inherent to Linux) or will third-party solutions like this one fill the void.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

“Android: Connecting Your Life to the Web”

Dan Morrill was at the ETech conference in San Diego speaking about Google's vision for Android phones. Dan explained Android's open development model and how it works to make Android free and open to carriers, manufacturers and enthusiasts, with no permission required to develop apps.

Dan demonstrated using a sample app
"Google Grapes" ,to get the latest prices of several wines from a Google Doc spreadsheet. While this isn't amazingly exciting, it was enough to show Android's responsiveness and syncing capabilities.“We want people to think of the web as someone that’s always them,” he said.

Later, at the Q&A session, questions ranging from iPhone to SDK to the security issue were asked,

What if carriers create locked-down versions of Android?

Morrill argued that there’s no incentive to make incompatible models. In any case, they plan to make as high quality a device as possible, which should eliminate incentive to create alternate versions, especially locked-down ones. Once the handset is available, he added, the Alliance will shift to being more like an open-source team setting a development road map.

Will Android be imported to the iPhone?

“We’re not paying any attention to existing devices,” Morrill answered, suggesting that’s it’s up to someone else to do that.

How does Google make money off Android?

Right now that’s not really a high priority, said Morrill. Instead, Android is strictly about getting an open platform out there.

What’s the maturity level of the SDK?

Very early load. “We’re not even calling it Alpha or Beta,” he said. They believe it’s more important to get developers working on it now.

How will they make sure applications don’t clash with each other?

From an architecture perspective, at the bottom of Android is a Linux kernel. Every application is installed onto a different user ID. Upshot: Two applications won’t have any permission to interact with each other (unless they’re specifically developed to do so).

Doesn’t the open platform model increase security risk with danger of malware, phishing programs, etc?

Morrill acknowledged that users will be exposed to a web-like risk level, more risk than they’re currently used to on the phone. However, he pointed to Android’s permissions infrastructure — every application will only access resources with the user’s specific permission.

Via : [GIGAOM]

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Sybase engine on Android

"Android will be one of the platforms on which the Sybase engine will run". Speaking at Sybase Federal Symposium in Washington about the company's new cross-platform mobile runtime enviroment, Raj Nathan, CMO, said that the company will be releasing the software to unify the task of data storage/management across different mobile platforms including Android. A Sybase subsidiary, iAnywhere, already has around 70 percent of the mobile database market, clearly dominating powerful rivals like IBM, Oracle and Microsoft.

The software, codenamed - "
Unwired Enterprise Platform
", will act as an abstraction layer which will allow developers to run their programs on different platforms wiithout much of rewriting the code. The runtime environment will do the task of interacting with the OS and hardware. The engine will make back-end databases connections through ODBC/JDBC drivers and have a set of device-management applications. Sybase will provide a plug-in to Eclipse and MS Visual Studio for the developer environment and will be releasing the engine in the second-half of 2008.

When released, this tool will allow the developers to easily port their data intensive apps to and from Android.

Source : GCN

"Apps for Android"

The Official Android developer team has started a new project "apps-for-android" to create sample apps for demonstrating different features of Android. First in the line is WikiNotes, an app to create links out of WikiWords(words that use CamelCase). The links could point to a contact no. or a website

WikiNotes for Android was written to demonstrate a number of core concepts in Android, including:

- Multiple Activities in an Application (View, Edit, Search, etc.)

- Default intent filters for View/Edit/Search based on MIME types

- Life cycle of Activities

- Message passing via Bundles in Intents

- Use of Linkify to add Intent-firing links to text data

- Using Intents within an application

- Using Intents to use an Activity within another application

- Writing a custom ContentProvider that implements search by note title

- Registration of ReST-like URIs to match titles, and do contents searches

- SQLite implementations for insert, retrieve, update, delete and search

- UI layout and creation for multiple activities

- Menus and keyboard shortcuts

Many more great apps can be expected from this project.

Source : Android Developers Blog

Android SDK Updated to m5-rc15

A new version of the SDK is out, m5-rc15. It is another update in the process of transitioning from M3 to M5 version and now includes all the changes mentioned in the documentation when m5-rc14 was released. The update doesn't introduce any new API and does not require you to update the Eclipse ADT plugin.

The primary reason of this release is to fix a vulnerability in the handling of images. This security issue was
reported by Alfredo Ortega from Core Security Technologies. It was reported that a vulnerability in the handling of images allowed complete control of the phone. The vulnerability had been identified to cause heap and integer overflow while handling GIF, PNG, BMP images.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Google adds Gears to mobile

Google has released the first version of Gears for mobile platform, only for Windows Mobile 5 and 6 as of now. Gears allows developers to code for the web browser rather than the native OS,this saves the developers a lot of time and headache.Gears installs a SQLite engine on the client device which is used as a cache for storing data while the device is online. When offline, Gears provides the data in this cache to the web applications. The main focus is to allow you to do your online stuff even if the connectivity breaks in between, like offline blogging or surfing the web.

Currently only Internet Explorer is supported, but considering the dominance of Opera and the increasing popularity of WebKit, we can expect some additions.First couple of apps surfacing for it are Buxfer (finance tracking application) and Zoho writer.

Its interesting that Google has released the first version for Windows Mobile considering their rivalry. Microsoft, on their front have quoted to take Silverlight offline in the future, but currently focussed to bring Silverlight to Linux and mobile devices. They've already done it on Nokia.

When Gears comes to WebKit, it will surely be a great addition to Android with some new great set of web applications.

In the video, Google engineers Andrei Popescu and Dave Burke chat about this new development and its future prospects.

Via [GearsBlog]

Intel's Atom

Intel is back in the handheld devices business with 'Atom', the most compact processor by the company so far.This is Intel's second foray into small handheld devices after it sold off its XScale series to Marvell.The 'Atom' line of processors are a single shed for Intel's Silverthorne and Diamondville series. The Menlow platform has been renamed as 'Centrino Atom'. Silverthorne is intended for MID and Diamondville for UMPC. 'Centrino Atom' includes a Silverthorne, as well as Poulsbo chipset and a wireless chipset. Atom runs at a top speed of 1.8 Ghz. The lower-end of the speed spectrum hasn't been mentioned.

Looking at that, its possible that, the first series of Androids shipping later this year will be running on an Atom. Considering that the initial Android devices will be running at 500 Mhz - 700 Mhz, Silverthorne seems a good choice. On the contrary, some analysts believe that the 1st generation of Silverthorne is not small enough to fit into a smartphone and it will take Morrestown's (2nd generation Silverthorne, 2009) SoC design to make it possible.

Considering that both Intel and Texas Instruments(
OMAP3) are prominent members of OHA, the speculation on the processors is widely open. It all comes down to HTC, which will be the first company to release Android-based phones. HTC has used ARMv11 on its TynTN II and Qualcomm's MSM7200 (ARM11-based SoC) for Shift(400 Mhz), Nike 100/200, Kaiser 100, Polaris 100/200, Erato and upcoming Omni(528 Mhz), Sedna and Sirius 100.

Via [Forbes.com]