At Google I/O today, Android 2.2 (FroYo) was announced. News about the software and its features have been leaking for a little while now, so the move came as no surprise. What was useful about this release, is that we now know what features are included in the newest iteration of the Android Operating System platform. Here’s the official video from Google explaining those features:
In case you didn’t watch the whole video, the main features of Android 2.2 are:
API’s and Services
The first and third feature will greatly improve the user experience, while the second and fourth issue will improve the toolset available to Android developers. So what does Android 2.2 mean for you? It depends on who you are:
What does Android 2.2 mean for Developers?
With Android 2.2 come some welcome features we’ve been clamoring for a for a long time. Firstly there’s the updated 2.2 API. Some new features are going to be present in this API, most notably the ability to push notifications via Google servers. Google describes the additional functionality as being able to implement “alerts, send to phone, and two-way sync” via cloud to device messaging. You can now send authenticated messages from your app server to individual devices via Google servers. (See diagram below for how this works).
In the example included on the Official 2.2 video, a developer sent directions from Google Maps (on a Chrome browser window) instance, to a device. Intuitively, the device knows to open the same map view in Google Maps. It will be interesting to see what uses developers come up with for this service. I see tighter integration between desktop and mobile applications coming in the future.
Next on the agenda is an extension of App2SD. Developers can choose where to install their application (SDCard vs. Internal memory). The user can override this choice, but no longer do developers have to be so conscious of application size and no longer are user limited to what their internal memory can hold.
Finally there are going to be improvements to the Android market. The most important upgrade to the market will be the ability for users to submit bug reports to developers. When an Android application hangs or crashes, users can choose to submit a report to the developer. This report will be available through the developers market console. This will be an ENORMOUS help to developers, allowing debugging to take place beyond the developer’s own device.
What does Android 2.2 mean for Consumers?
Android 2.2 will bring a much improved user experience to the average consumer. A lot of the features contained in this release concentrate on making the platform faster, and giving the user more management choices over his / her devices features. Lets look at some of those features:
Speed: Android 2.2 brings the Dalvik JIT (Just in Time) compiler. This compiler offers a 2 to 5 time speed improvement over Android 2.1. That means that that game you’re developing will finally run fast enough in Android!
Backup / Restore: Applications can now backup their data to the SD card cloud. Once you backup data for a given app, you will be able to restore that data on another device, effectively transferring you features and preferences between Android devices.
Apps2SD: Fact: You have more room on your SD card than your phone has internal memory. Apps2SD takes advantage of this fact and allows you to install applications directly on the SD card. Later, you can transfer the application between internal memory and the SD card of a given device.
Portable Hotspot: Let the tethering begin! Android devices will now support tethering be default. It will be interesting to see how carriers respond to this. No longer will users have to root / mod their device to use it as a wifi-router.
Browser Power: Your browser will be faster, much faster. Google says improvements in the V8 scripting engine will make the Android browser the fastest mobile browser around.
Market: There will be several market improvements in this iteration of Android. Now you will be able to auto-update all of those application that require updating. As long as the application doesn’t require new permissions to run, you can choose to automatically batch update those applications with a newer version in the market.
What features are you looking forward to in Android? Let us know in the comments section below!
Sadly I wasn’t able to make it to Google I/O this year, but that won’t stop me from bringing you what I can from the conference.
Yesterday Google unveiled a display of every Android device created so far. Yes, all 50+ of ‘em. Well the guys over at androidandme did what any Android enthusiast would do, photograph every one of them! If you’re curious, take a look at their flickr gallery below. What’s your favorite Android device?
[flickr-gallery mode="photoset" photoset="72157623971136149"]
It has come to my attention that there are HTC Droid Eris phonesets out there in the world that have yet to upgrade to Android 2.1. This is plain unaccetable. To remedy this, here’s a guide to rooting your Droid Eris.
Note: As usual, we here at droidweb.com are not responsible for any mishap that might befall your phone. A bricked device, chocolate bunny apocalypse, or other bad thing as a result of this guide is up to the user to fix / remedy. However, if you’re having problems, drop us a line and we’ll do what we can to get your device up and running.
Forewarning: This process apparently will void your warranty, though this is the file that will be pushed to your phone if you wait for an OTA update. Also bear in mind that this update will wipe your phone. Backup before applying.
If you’re a student like myself, this is welcome news. Google has announced that with a .edu email you can sign up for a Google Voice account. Until now, Google Voice has been by invite only. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a Google Voice account and I love it dearly. In the upcoming posts we’ll have some tips for how to get the most out of your Android device via Google Voice.
Features of Google Voice:
Free Advanced Voicemail: With your Google Voice account you will receive a voicemail account with features such as e-mail notification of messages, voicemail transcription, and much more.
Free text messaging to US / Canada phone numbers: This is the feature I use the most. I send IP-based text messages to everyone, bypassing SMS fees.
One number: No more “Join this group cuz I lost my number” groups on Facebook! Give out one number and that will be your number forever. Once you get your Google Voice phone number, you can register any phone of yours to ring when someone calls. You can even set a different phone to ring based on who’s calling.
Cheap International Calls: You can use your Google Voice account to make International calls and pay a cheaper rate for them. Check this link for Google Voice’s international rates
To get your Google Voice Account you will need:
An .edu email account
Just go to the Google Voice Signup for Students and enter your email address. Wait a little while (the page says a max of 24 hours, but it should be much less than that), and you will recieve an email with a link to sign up for the Google Voice service. Enjoy!
Are you bored with those stock live wallpapers? I was. So i created Metal Slug Zombie Live Wallpaper.
What is Metal Slug Zombie Live Wallpaper?
It is a fan-based Metal Slug live wallpaper, it has animated zombies from the Metal Slug series games, as well as the planes, the bombs, and the explosions.
How does it work?
Once the user selects from a series of backgrounds, number of zombies, and the number of available bomber planes, he can tap anywhere on the zombies and the plane will fly by and bomb where you have tapped.
How do i get this app?
Its FREE!!!!! As this is a fanwork of Metal Slug, i felt like i would be diving into legal issues if i charged for it, so as the user you benefit a free, awesome live wallpaper. Just scan the QR code below or search “MS Zombie Live Wallpaper”
I welcome ALL feedback, and any suggestions on this or on new live wallpapers. Just Email me at VeeDubUSC@gmail.com. I’ll be working on a Mario or Zelda live wallpaper here shortly, so keep an eye out for that.
So you have a Motorola Droid (not to be confused with the Droid Eris or Droid Incredible… or the upcoming Droid bad-ass), and you’re wanting to make it do cooler things than just the stock software that came with your phone can offer you. You want to root your device. How do you do that? With Droidmod the process is almost foolproof. First we have to go through the usual caveats:
Note: Rooting your device will most likely void the warranty on it, so its not for the faint of heart. If the “black screen with white writing” (terminal) scares you, and you have no clue about any of the inner workings of your phone, rooting may not be the best choice for you. There are plenty of Android applications out there with a sheer wow factor that you can safely download and use. Rooting, while useful, and important for some other activities (such as installing busybox, overclocking, getting root access in terminal, etc), it is not mandatory. Don’t do it just because “everyone else is doing it.” Droidweb takes no responsibility for any harm that may come to your device. We will, however, try to help you if something goes wrong.
This guide is for if your Droid is running 2.0.1, the original android software the Droid was released with. Some people didn’t update to Android v. 2.1 for one reason or the other. If you’re running 2.1, STOP. My next guide will be for you. Worse yet, if you don’t know what 2.0.1 / 2.1 are, you might want to reconsider rooting.
Step 1: Instal DM Updater on your phone
The guys over at Droidmod have made a nice nifty tool called the DM updater to hold you by the hand through the process of rooting and installing Droidmod. To install this tool, go to the Droidmod website and download it via this link. You can just go to the site using your Droid’s browser to save trouble and time. Install the downloaded .apk using the phone’s default package manager. (Be sure to allow non-market apps to be installed on your phone before doing this).
Step 2: Root your phone
When you first run the DM Updater tool, it will warn you that your phone is not rooted. Well… lets fix that.
Follow the onscreen instructions for what to do once the phone reboots. Quite simply it will tell you to do this:
Reboot into recovery mode by holding x while powering on.
Once in recovery mode hold the Camera and Volume Up buttons to get to the recovery menu.
Once on this menu you can use the volume up and down buttons to choose an item, or you can use the dpad for selections. Choose apply sdcard: update.zip
Once Update.zip has been applied, reboot as normal.
Step 3: Install Droidmod
Now that we’ve got a rooted device, its time to install a mod to get the full milage out of our rooted device. Today we’re going to install (surprise surprise) Droidmod. Once your phone is rebooted, restart DM updater and follow the onscreen prompts.
First its going to download a zip file containing all you need to install the new mod. Then its going to reboot once again into recovery mode to install the mod. During this process you choose what custom software you want to install, whether you want to clean install or keep your current apps, and other tweaks and settings you want to apply. As they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s the process in pictures:
I know its been a while since I’ve updated Droidweb.com. And I thank those that still visit every now and then. I also thank those who have linked to this sites RSS feed; thats probably the easiest way to keep up with my sporadic posting habits.
But this is a quick post so you know that I haven’t forgotten about Droidweb. This site is mainly a one man operation, with the occasional help from a friend, so it gets cumbersome managing this and app programing and such. But summer nears, which means more time. And more time means more posts. So look forward to more quality content here at Droidweb. Thanks for sticking around. Right now I’m working on a visual update for the site, so look forward to that.
Part of the joy of being an avid Android supporter is supporting the local Open Source community. Thankfully there’s a healthy community here in Columbia, South Carolina. This is apparent through conferences such as the Palmetto Open Source Software CONference (POSSCON). Occurring this year at the Columbia Metropolitan Center, this conference is a meeting of some of the leading minds and supporters of Open Source Software, something you don’t see often on the East Coast.
Expect Updates / tweets about the conference all day today and tomorrow:
Jefferey Hammond @ POSSCON. Courtesy of Christopher Zorn via Gowalla
The first talk was by Jeffery Hammond on the state of Open Source Adoption. This was a informative, succinct presentation breaking down the numbers about Open Source Software and its progression into corporate IT. The setting has been set for some good discussion about OSS.
Panel discussion about OSS. One interesting topic came up: Where is open source software not ideal. One answer: the Desktop. I could write an entire Op-ed piece about that, but I digress. Other topics of discussion:
Gov’t adoption of OSS
Where does OSS fit in well?
Other trending topics (sorry for borrowing Twitter’s term)
AppSpin is a new Application developed by Droidweb Softare (your’s truly in particular) with the intent of making it easier to find cool applications in an otherwise convoluted Android Market. Have you ever used StumbleUpon? AppSpin works on the same principle, only that its going to work with the Android market instead of websites.
How does AppSpin work?
AppSpin is a simple app that connects to a local database and randomly picks an app for you to preview. Once it selects an app, you can view stats about said app (see screenshot below). At that time you can choose to download the application, or spin again for another app.
Sounds good, How do I get my hands on this app?
First you can preview the application by downloading the lite version from the Android Market. The lite version allows you 10 ‘spins’ so you can try out the application. Once the trial period is up, you can download the full version for $1.29. QR codes for both versions are listed below.
Soon, there will be a support page for AppSpin (and ConvertAll / ConvertAll+). Until then, feel free to e-mail me with comments / bugs / issues / features at firstname.lastname@example.org