Tag Archives | Google Android

Verizon Galaxy Nexus Isn’t Pure Google, May Cost $300

The Galaxy Nexus is a pure Google phone, free of bloatware and designed to run Android exactly as Google envisions it. But on Verizon Wireless, that won’t be the case.

Although the Verizon Galaxy Nexus will run a mostly unmodified version of Android 4.0, codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich, the carrier will block Google Wallet, which lets you pay at some retailers by swiping your phone in front of a payment terminal, Computerworld reports. Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T are working on their own payment system called Isis, and Google Wallet, backed by Sprint, would be a threat. Isis isn’t launching until next year, though, so Verizon Galaxy Nexus users won’t be able to use NFC payments at all.

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Dell Discontinues the 7″ Streak Tablet

Dell seems to be out of the Android tablet business, at least for the time being. I wonder if it’s decided to move on and focus on Windows ones, especially once Windows 8 is out?


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Path 2, a Brilliant Smart Phone App With One Annoying, Self-Inflicted Limitation

A year ago, a new photo-sharing app for the iPhone called Path debuted. It was slick and fun, but the most noteworthy thing about it was an intentional limitation: It only allowed you to connect with up to fifty other users, the theory being that it was for sharing images with your family and close friends, not the world.

Path did OK, but it didn’t become a big hit–unlike Instagram, which arrived at around the same time.

Now Path is back. The new version, Path 2, isn’t just about photos: You can share your textual status updates, your location, who you’re with, and whether you’re awake or asleep. You can also have the app automatically alert people when you travel a great distance and land in a new place. The original 50-friend limit has been bumped up to 150. And you can now push the items you post out to Facebook and/or Twitter.

The Path people now call the app a smart journal, which is as coherent a way as any to describe what it’s doing.

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The Facebook Phone is Real, Says All Things D

Liz Gannes and Ina Fried of All Things D say that the long-rumored Facebook phone is real and based on a custom version of Android, although it might not show up for awhile:  

Code-named “Buffy,” after the television vampire slayer, the phone is planned to run on a modified version of Android that Facebook has tweaked heavily to deeply integrate its services, as well as to support HTML5 as a platform for applications, according to sources familiar with the project.

 
Facebook is in an interesting position when it comes to phones. Apple has deeply integrated Twitter into iOS 5. Google, which clearly sees Facebook as its primary archrival, is unlikely to make Facebook support core to the off-the-shelf version of Android. So I can see why Facebook might want a phone of its very own…


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Android Fragmentation Equals Android Insecurity

My recent TIME.com column on Android fragmentation didn’t provide an exhaustive list of reasons to be frustrated by the degree to which the Android ecosystem is dominated by old versions of the software. In fact, I didn’t mention one of the biggest ones: Old versions of Android don’t have the newest security fixes, and are therefore potentially dangerous.

Now a security company called Bit9 has released what it calls the Dirty Dozen List of insecure smartphones. They’re all Android models running old versions:

  1. Samsung Galaxy Mini
  2. HTC Desire
  3. Sony Ericsson Xperia X10
  4. Sanyo Zio
  5. HTC Wildfire
  6. Samsung Epic 4G
  7. LG Optimus S
  8. Samsung Galaxy S
  9. Motorola Droid X
  10. LG Optimus One
  11. Motorola Droid 2
  12. HTC Evo 4G

Bit9 explains its methodology–which looks pretty serious to me–in this PDF.

Whenever I gripe about Android fragmentation, I hear from people who tell me that I’m all worked up over nothing. (Typical comment: “Mr. McCracken, like so many tech journalists, you have totally missed the point here. Believe it or not, Android “fragmentation” is not the massive problem it’s made out to be.”) But I’d like to hear anyone explain to me why this isn’t anything to be concerned about.


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Hands on With the Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich

Over at TIME.com, I’ve written about my experience with Samsung and Google’s new Galaxy Nexus phone–and in particular its operating system, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Overall, I’m impressed. Lots and lots of little refinements add up to the best Android handset to date. And while Ice Cream Sandwich doesn’t utterly eradicate Android’s geeky, ungainly feel, it makes it far more pleasant. If you like big screens and want LTE, this is the Android phone to get.


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Here Comes Google Music: Leaked Screens Show Android Interface

Google Music screen shot as shown on TecnoDroidVE.

Android, meet your not-so-shockingly exposed dance partner, Google Music, and Google, meet another Google Music store rumor roundup, this one bolstered by screens that may indeed depict the upcoming Google-powered online music boutique.

We’ve heard rumblings about a Google Music store all year, since before Google launched its Google Music cloud service last May. But Google Music arrived, ironically, music-free—a blank online storage locker into which Google hoped users would pour unlocked tunes ripped direct from personal media or rival services. The theoretical reason: Google hasn’t been able to shore up relations with labels, prompting it to forestall Google Music’s “store” component. Until now, the service has looked the online equivalent of a Self Storage acreage.

That may all change this week. The Wall Street Journal said as much weeks ago, citing music executives in the biz, who claimed Google would launch a music store at some point between late October and early November. What’s more, the service is said to include Google+ integration, giving it a social networking one-up. For instance, users of the service would have the option to recommend songs in their online library to Google+ contacts, giving those contacts the option to listen to the songs once for free. After that, the MP3-format songs would cost in the vicinity of 99 cents each.

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Hey Amazon, How About a Kindle Fire Phone?


Yesterday, after writing about Android fragmentation, I ran into a friend at a conference. He began ranting about a particular type of fragmentation: The way wireless carriers muck up Google’s operating system with junkware, promotional stuff, pointless tweaks, and general bloat that makes the operating system less usable. He got pretty worked up about it. I agreed it was a problem.

I wondered why no company has taken up the challenge of building…well, the iPhone of Android phones. Something that’s elegant, approachable, uncluttered, and respectful of the consumer’s intelligence. Any bundled services would need to be beautifully integrated rather than just shoveled onto the phone indiscriminately, as the apps on Android handsets often are.

And then it hit me: Why not Amazon?

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Android Fragmentation: Am I Imagining Things?

My Technologizer column on TIME.com this week is about the ongoing problem of Android fragmentation–and in particular the fact that even very cool Android handsets get the newest version of the operating system only months after it’s available on other phones, or sometimes not at all.

At least I think that this is a problem. And when I write about it–which I often have–it comes from the heart. I own a Verizon Fascinate phone, and would love to use Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on it. But I’m not even sure if the Fascinate, which was released just fourteen months ago, will ever get the year-old Gingerbread update, let alone ICS.

Whenever I mention the words “Android” and “fragmentation” in the same post, however, I hear from people who think I’m…well, hallucinating. They say either that Android fragmentation isn’t a big deal, or that it’s good.

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