Tag Archive: Android


nexus7-refreshed

The new Google Nexus 7 is a big improvement over the original with a bunch of additions like LTE and a super high-resolution display – the best in tablets, in fact. And that’s driving a lot of first generation device owners to trade in their old Nexus 7, according to gadget buy-back site Gazelle. There was a 333 percent spike in the number of Nexus 7 tablets traded in compared to the same day last week, for example.

Between Tuesday and Wednesday, that spike was even higher – a 442 percent jump in Nexus 7 tablets happened between the day before Google’s official unveiling of the new model, and the day of. The Nexus 7 trade-in activity spiked so high that it made up nearly a quarter of all trade-ins for non-iPad tablets since the site began accepting them earlier this year.

Wednesday, the day Google made its announcement, was also the biggest Nexus 7 trade-in day at Gazelle to date, beating the next biggest day by 380 percent. That previous record was set when the new Nexus 7 leaked on July 17, which clearly prompted early adopters to take advantage of a small head start ahead of the big reveal.

The news means that Google Nexus 7 owners are probably happy with their devices and eager to grab new ones, by trading in their last-gen devices to fund their purchases, but there’s another stat that tells another side of the story: Gazelle saw no appreciable increase in iPad trade-ins on the new Nexus 7 launch day. That means Google probably isn’t luring iPad owners away from the iOS fold.

It’s probably not surprising to longtime tablet space watchers that the new Nexus 7, with all its apparent merit, isn’t an iPad killer. The Apple camp seems happy where they are, but the tablet market has plenty of room to grow; we’ll see if Google can expand outward, or if it’s mostly eating its own Nexus tail with this new model.

Sony took to the stage at IFA 2011 to unveil its latest handset, the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S. It appears to be a refresh of the original that was launched earlier this year. The super-slim device just got a few bumps in features, including a 1.4GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 processor and an 8.1 megapixel camera with an Exmor R sensor that includes a “3D sweep panorama” mode, which offers the ability to take 2D (read: not stereoscopic) images and convert them into 3D. The new device will offer a similar 4.2-inch Reality Display that we’ve seen in the original Arc, and will be available in five colors globally this October.

app ops

As expected, Google officially confirmed Android 4.3 at its event on Wednesday with Android chief Sundar Pichai. Among the new features/improvements in the update are a redesigned camera interface, Bluetooth Low Energy support, performance improvements such as smoother animations, and multi-user restricted profiles. But there’s apparently something else that Google didn’t talk about. Android Police has unearthed a hidden app permissions manager that allows users to selectively disable certain permissions for apps.

The feature is apparently called App Ops, and lets users toggle app permissions – such as location and the ability to post notifications – on and off for individual apps. Android Police notes that a developer has already created an app (available here on Google Play if you have Android 4.3 installed) that foregrounds App Ops, and has been having a play around with it.

The basic idea of the feature is apparently to give Android users more flexibility over what apps can and can’t do, allowing them to choke off battery draining features, say, or rein in irritating notification behaviour. If Google does decide to fully implement App Ops as a user-facing feature, there are potential big benefits here, from a security and privacy point of view, being as it could give users fine-grained control over what each app can do.

Apps they might otherwise have been tentative about installing could presumably be fine-tuned to fit their tastes now – which may also have some developer benefits, if it helps drive overall installs.

However Android Police notes that while App Ops does work, the feature is clearly not ready for the prime time yet – while testing it with the Facebook app they found certain app permissions only appeared in the permissions list once the app had made use of them, for example. Such messiness likely explains why Google has hidden App Ops and wasn’t ready to talk about it on Wednesday. We’ve reached out to Mountain View to ask for its plans for the feature and will update this story with any response.

Another possible complication attached to the feature is user confusion if a user doesn’t realise that the reason a particular in-app feature isn’t working is because it has been toggled off at source. A similar problem can occur on some Android devices with the quick settings in the notification tray overriding the main setting for things like silencing sounds/ringtones. Add in per app permissions and the potential user confusion is enormous. Android Police notes that one way for Google to get round could be to include some kind of system notifications warning users when App Ops is limiting app permissions. Although that would get old pretty quick if users get nagged every time they open an app with restricted permissions.

It is also possible that the App Ops feature has been created by Google to power the multi-user restricted profiles feature it did announced on Wednesday, which allows for parental controls to be implemented on Android devices.

The Android platform also has the most malware activity associated with it of all the mobile platforms, so the App Ops feature could be something Google is lining up to help bolster security concerns attached to Android. For instance, the feature could allow users to block apps from making calls – to kill off premium rate phone call/SMS malware – or trace which apps have been making calls to identify rogue software.

Rumors of an Android (and iOS for that matter) version of BlackBerry Messenger go way back. We first heard of such possibility at the beginning of March but there was no official confirmation from Research in Motion.

The picture above is allegedly showing off BlackBerry Messenger on Android. The phone is a Blackberry Android Dev Phone with stuck-on buttons but the screen seems to display an early build of RIM’s popular Messenger. According to reports, BlackBerry Messenger for Android might be rolled out at BlackBerry DevCon in San Francisco between October 18 – 20. As always with leaks, make sure you’re a bit skeptical when judging.

Android

I don’t know how many people found an Android smartphone among their holiday gifts although I suspect it was more than a few. There’s no lack of good options available from Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola and others. No matter what Android phone you might have unwrapped, however, there are a few easy things you can do to make the experience a great one. Find a keyboard that works the way you do. I actually like the stock Google keyboard that comes with Android, but everyone is different. Luckily, Android lets you install and use the keyboard – or keyboards, for that matter – you prefer. A quick search in the Google Play store will get you started but most people can’t go wrong with SwiftKey. This app uses smart word prediction combined with a way to intelligently learn your personal typing styles by analyzing messages from Facebook, Twitter (twtr), Gmail and more.

Read the full story at Giga OM.

Gaming, mobile and audio peripherals are some of the biggest attractions at CES this year even more so than the TV’s and PC’s. However one presence that seemed to rise up and dominate at CES 2013 was the Kickstarter projects. I doubt you’ll get any objection the Pebble Smartwatch stole the show. With over $10 million dollars in funding its release has been long-awaited. The Pebble uses an E-Paper display that allows for an amazing watch display with prolonged battery life. Hit the break for more.

The Pebble is much more than just an E-Paper display watch though. It’s a smartwatch that can sink up to your iPhone or Android device delivering via Bluetooth 4.0 Facebook notifications, Email alerts, TXT messages and weather alerts. Different apps are available for it now that allow you to customize the watch face from a binary watch to controlling the music on your iPod. The Pebble uses a magnetic charger which gives it a seven-day charge and in turn allows it be fully submersible and waterproof. The Pebble will be retailing for $149 and with the new magnetometer installed they hope to include many future updates to it.

The Pebble wasn’t the lone Kickstarter wolf though, the Zooka which appeared on Kickstarter as a wireless Bluetooth speaker for the iPad now introduced a wired version of the speaker. My least favorite is the HAPIfork, which syncs up to your iDevice and alerts you if you’re eating too much or too fast. The last thing I need is my iPhone calling me a chubby bunny! Lastly TidyTilt was back at CES with a booth this year. TidyTilt launched a Kickstarter campaign last year shortly after CES 2012 and quickly exceeded their $10,000 goal. In short TidyTilt gives you a SmartCover-esque back attached via a minimal magnetic strip to your iPhone. The back can then be folded into a stand for your iPhone or wrap your ear buds around it and you have a nice clean way to keep your chords from getting tangled. You can grab the original version for the iPhone 4/4s for $22.50 here. That’s all folks for Day 4 of CES 2013!

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