Tag Archives | Google Android

ViewSonic Tablet Runs Windows and Android: Good Idea, Poor Execution

As a holdover until Microsoft ships the tablet-friendly Windows 8, I like the idea of a Windows 7 tablet that also runs Android. Sure, Windows 7 doesn’t play nicely with touch screens, but it’s a great operating system for getting work done, and when you’re finished, you can switch to Android for leisure.

That’s what ViewSonic tries to accomplish with its ViewPad 10pro tablet. The 10-inch slab runs Windows 7, and also includes an Android emulator on the desktop, letting you run proper tablet apps without restarting the machine. (A previous ViewSonic tablet, the ViewPad 10, dual-booted Windows and Android, requiring a restart to switch between them.)

It’s a neat idea in theory. But in practice, the ViewSonic 10pro only proves that some ideas are better left unrealized.

No comments

HTC Rezound: Beefy Specs, Beats Audio and Red All Over

With the holiday smartphone smackdown in full swing, the HTC Rezound is stepping into the ring. At $299 on Verizon Wireless, this Android phone will have some tough competition against Motorola’s Droid RAZR and possibly Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus, but HTC’s hoping the addition of Beats Audio will help the Rezound stand out.

The Rezound has a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor and a 4.3-inch Super LCD display with 720p resolution, making it the first 720p phone we’ve seen in a screen smaller than 4.5 inches. HTC paid special attention to the camera as well, with an 8-megapixel, an f/2.2 sensor that’s supposedly superior in low-light, dual LED flash and 1080p video camera. There’s also a 2-megapixel camera up front.

Continue Reading →

No comments

Who’s Using What to Visit Technologizer

John Gruber of Daring Fireball was moved by the release of new Net Applications mobile browser stats that show Apple’s Mobile Safari with more than three times as much usage as Android to disclose his own site’s mobile usage numbers. Which moves me to share Technologizer operating-system stats for the past month. I’m going to include all operating systems, not just mobile ones.

Here you go:

Windows: 47% (the easy overall winner, but even it doesn’t have a majority)

OS X: 26%

iPhone: 10%

iPad: 8%

Android: 4%

Linux: 3%

iPod: 1% (is this iPod Touch?)

Everything else: 1% (including .06% via Chrome OS, and .01% apiece via Wii, Google TV, and OS/2)

Looks like 19% of visitors are using iOS, vs. about 2 percent two years ago. Prediction: At some point, iOS will surpass OS X for second place. (No, I’m not guessing when.)

Oh, and if you consider iOS to be a version of OS X–which it is–then OS X is just slightly behind Windows. Or to put it another way: Almost half of visitors come here on an Apple device.

No comments

GameStop Starts Selling Android Tablets, But Why?

Earlier this year, GameStop said it would either find some tablets to sell or build its own. Now, the retailer has chosen option A, launching a handful of familiar Android tablets with some free games inside.

So far, the lineup includes the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, Asus Eee Pad Transformer and Acer Iconia Tab A100. They’re available online and in 200 U.S. stores, according to Joystiq. The free games are Dead Space, Monster Madness, Riptide HD, Re-Load, Cordy and Sonic CD. GameStop is also pre-loading its Flash game portal Kongregate Arcade, and is selling a Bluetooth game controller for $39 extra.

The strategy seems a bit puzzling to me. When GameStop said it wanted to sell tablets, I assumed the retailer would use them as a foothold for selling downloadable games. GameStop owns its own digital distribution platform, Impulse, and also has some streaming technology from Spawn Labs that could allow tablets to stream high-end video games from consoles or PCs. Neither of those services are present in this first wave of Android tablets, or if they’re on board and in hiding, GameStop’s not saying so.

GameStop isn’t getting onto the tablet business just so it can sell Bluetooth game controllers.  There must be more to the story than this. My guess is that whatever GameStop really has in mind isn’t ready yet, and these tablets are just filler–a way to sell more stuff to holiday shoppers until the real GameStop tablet is ready.

No comments

The One Really Nice Thing About Android’s Back Button

Back in June, I took up the unpopular stance that Android’s navigation buttons are kind of useful. This was before Google introduced Android Ice Cream Sandwich, which, as rumored, allows smartphones to drop physical buttons in favor of software buttons.

But Ice Cream Sandwich doesn’t remove buttons altogether, it just moves them to a different place, leading Mobisle Apps Co-Founder Christoffer Du Rietz to conclude that Android is conceptually broken because it’s doomed to carry these buttons forever:

“The problem is, that Android hasn’t decided what that it wants the back button to do. Do you want it to take you back to the previous screen, wherever that was, or take you back one step inside the app? Right now it’s a convoluted combination of the two, and most of the time, which one will occur is a guess and can’t be known before pressing the button.”

I agree that the inconsistency of Android buttons is a problem, because you don’t always know what’s going to happen when you press “back,” “menu” or “search.” But I’m still happy to have these buttons, and the back button in particular, for one reason: “Back” is universal. It allows you to move not just within apps, but between them.

Continue Reading →

No comments

Android Updates: Assume Nothing

Over at The Understatement, a revealing info graphic about Android phones (and iPhones) and the situation with software updates. Overall, it’s ugly for Android owners…

The announcement that Nexus One users won’t be getting upgraded to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich led some to justifiably question Google’s support of their devices. I look at it a little differently: Nexus One owners are lucky. I’ve been researching the history of OS updates on Android phones and Nexus One users have fared much, much better than most Android buyers.

No comments

iPad vs. Android: Fuzzy Math

How do current tablet sales break down into iPads and Androids? As GigaOm’s Kevin C. Tofel explains, it depends on how you account for them:

First is the definition of market share with respect to tablets sold vs tablets shipped. Apple’s figures are tablets sold, which don’t include tablets sitting on store shelves, tablets en route to stores or tablets sitting in a warehouse. By comparison, Android’s figures are the shipped number of tablets, so any devices sitting on a store shelf actually count, and they shouldn’t for market share purposes.

No comments

How Disappointing: Google’s Andy Rubin Dismisses Siri

I’m having trouble wrapping my head around Andy Rubin’s dismissal of Siri, the virtual assistant built into Apple’s iPhone 4S. Here’s what Rubin, Google’s senior vice president of mobile, told Ina Fried during the Asia D conference in Hong Kong:

“I don’t believe that your phone should be an assistant,” he said. “Your phone is a tool for communicating. You shouldn’t be communicating with the phone; you should be communicating with somebody on the other side of the phone.”

Continue Reading →

No comments

The Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich Are Official

The Android world has a new flagship phone, and Android 4.0, aka Ice Cream Sandwich, is finally official. In Hong Kong, Google and Samsung have announced the Galaxy Nexus, the first phone to run ICS. Here’s a video about it:

The Galaxy Nexus may be the ultimate Android handset to date–if so, it makes the reign of the Motorola Droid RAZR, which was announced Tuesday morning, the shortest on record.

The Nexus has a 4.65″ 720p display, 4G, and NFC capability, and it’s got the teardrop-shaped case that people thought the iPhone 5 would sport. But the real news is Ice Cream Sandwich. It owes a lot more to Honeycomb, the tablet-friendly version of Android, than it does to Gingerbread, the most recent release for phones. It ditches the physical buttons, has thumbnails for multitasking, lets you unlock your phone via facial recognition, and generally looks slick.

I’m hoping it’s the first phone version of Android that doesn’t feel like it was created by nerds who don’t know much about interface design–and that the stuttering problem which This is My Next’s Vlad Havov noticed when he tried out the Nexus disappears before the phone ships.

More thoughts to come…

No comments

Fake Battery Apps Invade Androidland

More evidence that Android is the Windows of mobile operating systems: It’s under attack by sleazeware. PCWorld’s Tom Spring reports:

Brandt says that one Android battery app, called both Battery Doctor and Battery Upgrade, is particularly problematic: Not only does it not upgrade a battery or extend a charge, but when it’s installed and unlocked, it harvests the phone’s address book, the phone number, the user’s name and email address, and the phone’s unique identifying IMEI number. With a phone user’s name, IMEI, and wireless account information, an attacker could clone the phone and intercept calls and SMS messages, or siphon money from a user by initiating premium calls and SMS services. Once the battery app is installed the program sends the phone ads that appear in the drop down status bar of the phone at all times – whether the app is running or not. Lastly it periodically transmits changes to the user’s private information and phone-hardware details to its servers.