3rd Party Applications

Android Community Week in Review – Week 43 2008

Just before the launch of the T-Mobile G1 this week, Google decided to pull almost all of the applications in the Android Market. It turns out that they were pre-production applications that were only there for demo purposes only. It was not long before applications returned to the Android Market in completed form.  Myspace was the first social networking based application to hit the Android Market. With no sign of a Facebook app reports began to surface exposing the bad blood between Facebook and Google.

One San Francisco store was given the OK to sell the T-Mobile G1 a few hours early. The line grew rather long as people from all over the area lined up for a chance to get the G1 early. Many T-Mobile customers found a pleasant surprise on their doorsteps Monday morning as most of the pre-orders arrived 2 days early. Google finally released the source code for their Android operating system, however it appears it will only be for those who are running OSX or Linux. Kyocera also announced they are working on an Android-powered handset. No details about the device have been released at this time. T-Mobile's exclusive Hotspot Connect application was released into the Android Market this week allowing T-Mobile customers to connect to any T-Mobile Hotspot for free. The long awaited day came with the official launch of the T-Mobile G1, the first handset to run Google's Android platform. TmoNews reported that there was to be an over the air update (OTA) for the G1 on the 23rd, but after no update was made available, reports changed the release date to November 2nd. One concept of the Android interface surfaced in the Show Room for the Swedish software technology and design company Tat. Seen in the concept was a layout at the bottom that somewhat resembled that of the iPhone dock. Google announced that they will start allowing paid applications to enter the Android Market in early 2009. Another picture surfaced this week bringing hope to G1 owners who would like an on-screen keyboard, the picture showed an on-screen keyboard that very closely resembles that of Apple's iPhone. Instructions surfaced helping people activate their G1 at home without having an account, although to achieve this an activated T-Mobile SIM card is required. Hop-on is the latest company to announce that they are developing a phone to run the Android platform. Hop-on plans to unveil their Android in January at CES 2009. Stories are coming from all over the place stating that T-Mobile employees in non-3G areas know little or nothing about the G1 because they will not be selling the device. Two developers of award winning Android applications TuneWiki and Shopsavvy, held an AndroidDevCamp in Dallas on the 25th to help developers get started with Android. HTC CEO Peter Chou, told Mercury News that G1 sales for 2008 would be more than 600,000 units rather than the 1.5 million reported to be sold already in pre-orders. Security researchers have already found a security flaw in the G1 that can potentially allow attackers to record keystrokes made within the devise's browser application. Google is aware of this problem and states that it is not as bad as it appears and that they are already working on it. Our Golla G1 Case Giveaway came to an end this week, we would like to take the time again to thank our sponsor Smartphone Experts for making the giveaway posible. I am going to pick up a Golla case myself, the cases were actually really nice and fit very well. I would also like to say thank you to all of our members for making this week another record breaking week for us here at Android Community!

Glu Mobile launches two games into Android Market

The leading global publisher of mobile games, Glu Mobile, has announced the launch of two new games into Android Market. Glu Mobile is one for the first mobile game publishers to develop and launch games for Android. T-Mobile G1 owners now have the opportunity to download Bonsai Blast and Brain Genius Deluxe for free. "Our work with Google along with the Open Handset Alliance has allowed us to develop Bonsai Blast and Brain Genius Deluxe using the full capabilities of the platform," said Alex Galvagni, senior vice president of global production and chief technology officer, Glu. "Through our relationship with the Open Handset Alliance, we have had the ability to become one of the first mobile games developers to explore the device and exploit its technology to create truly engaging games that T-Mobile G1 consumers can enjoy." Brain Genius Deluxe takes players thought daily brain challenging games that are actually very fun. There are 24 different touch motion-controlled games that also utilize the accelerometer to play as well as 4 types of bonus puzzle games including Sudoku and Jiggsaws. Brain Genius Deluxe stores game statistics to compare over time and with other device users. Bonsai Blast may seem familiar to many flash based games found on the web. This extremely addictive puzzle games requires you to shoot and matched colored balls before time runs out to progress through more than 20 levels. Bonsai Blast is different from other games in many ways, some of the added features include ricochets, tunneled chains, and swappable shooter locations. Having touch screen controls in conjunction with the accelerometer adds a nice spin to things. Photo courtesy of Android Community member heyitsnan.

Google returns applications to the Androd Market

Google has started replacing the applications in the Android Market after taking down 75 percent of them on Monday. Developers quickly chimed in telling us that that the applications that were available the week before were demo apps, they are now putting the production versions of them all back but this time they are slipping in a few godsend apps as well.

Google plans on having between 40 and 50 applications ready to go in the Android Market by the time the phone is “officially” released. Applications that were previously in the Android Market such as ShopSavvy, Any Cut, Shazam and PicSay back now back accompanied by new apps like MySpace Mobile, imeem and Moile Banking by Bank Of America. PicSay is a solid, easy to use picture editing applications that allows you to do simple things such as add a conversation bubble or ad add color to photos that are on your microSD card. Imeem is a music based application similar to Pandora for iPhone. This application allows you to search for popular music and stream it directly to your device. Photo courtesy of Android Community member heyitsnan.

Handango expands to Android; sponsors Application contests

The leader of smartphone applications globally, Handango Inc, announced that they will be the first retailer to offer both free and paid applications for the first Android-powered smartphone that will be launched on October 22nd.

Handango distributes applications created by some of the largest names in mobile applications such as Microsoft, Garmin, Ea Mobile and Capcom Interactive. Until now Handango only supported the four largest mobile operating systems such as Windows Mobile, Palm, Blackberry and Symbian platforms. Handango coming to Android is fantastic news for soon to be G1 owners as well as future Android owners because of the large amount of applications they offer. Handango will not bring one or two applications like many developers, but will bring a collection of applications ranging from utilities to popular mobile games. Handango offers some really useful applications that are very well put together such as Garmin turn by turn navigation.  Some of the applications Handango offers include Monopoly, Tetris, The Weather Channel, Voice on the Go, ShopSavvy, EZQuote and GoogHelper just to name a few.  However it's uncertain which of these apps will make their way over to the Android platform.
"Handango has always offered its customers the widest variety of smartphone apps available on the market and on all major operating systems," states Bill Stone, CEO Handango. "Handango is now offering developers the opportunity to sell the paid apps they create for the Android platform as well as offer any free apps when the first Android device launches. Customers can purchase apps via the Web and then download them to their device."
Developers can now add applications to their Handango account and sell them in one of three ways, by giving the application away for free, selling the application for a one-time purchase fee or sell the application for a monthly, quarterly or annual subscription fee. As much as I am not a fan of subscription based application buying, large companies such as Garmin offer their services primarily on a month to month basis. Very few games however can justify purchasing a short term subscription, online mobile games are the exception in this case because of incurred expenses. In efforts to push more applications into the Android Market around the G1 launch date, Handango is also sponsoring an application contest to the best free and the best-paid Android application that is uploaded to the Handango catalog by November 7th. Each winner will receive  a $25,000 advertising allowance within Handango’s marketing initiatives, including email marketing, featured products on Handango.com, paid and natural search keywords, online advertising, PR and promotion on affiliate programs. Such a large advertising allowance would allow many applications that do not have much of an advertising budget to get the word out about their application. Applications hosted by Handango are generally not free, it seems that applications that must go through Handango are going to be priced a little higher than those that go directly through Android Market as Handango take their tithe for providing the service. Photo courtesy of Android Community member heyitsnan. [Via prnewswire]

Android: Apps without borders

With Android, applications can integrate features, data from other applications and information through web API’s, as well as use all of the hardware sensors on the device such as the camera, GPS, accelerometer and the compass. This feature is entitled Applications Without Boarders.

Zebra Crossing is a fantastic example of one such application. It uses an open-source library used to decode barcodes using the camera. Zebra Crossing can recognize your everyday barcodes as well as 2d barcodes called QR codes. One example, scanning a barcode on the back of a business card will give you the contact information allowing you to directly call the number, email the contact information or allows you to save the contact without entering in the information. Zebra Crossing also publishes information (intent) so that other applications may use it as well.

Other developers now have to ability to develop similar applications without having to do all the work. One application that uses the open-source library, stores books on your handset for readers on the go then has the ability to scan the barcode on the back of a book and take the intent from Zebra Crossing and use it to find book information and directly download new books to your library.

Panoramio uses GPS to find your current location and link it to the most popular photos taken within your area. From there you can learn more about that particular photograph and even locate where it was taken on a map. Panoramio also uses the compass feature to provide you with a radar view for walking directions to where the photo was taken as well as your distance from the location.

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T-Mobile G1 hands-on: Award-Winning Android App feature ShopSavvy

We had a little bit of time today to get an exclusive one on one time with the G1 for our Android Community members, at a special developers event held in Dallas. The company behind Google Application Challenge award winning app ShopSavvy, Big In Japan - were there, demonstrating the software in action on a G1.

The G1 phone was quick and responsive as when we played with it at the launch event last week. We were able to get hands on time with the full version of ShopSavvy. We scanned a barcode (for demonstration purposes, a Logitech webcam) and were able to compare prices online as well as at many stores in the area. No word on when the application will be released, or if it will be a free application or one in which you must purchase. We can imagine it would be particularly useful for all the Christmas shopping coming up over the next few months.  One particularly useful feature is price alert, allowing you to save products to a wish-list that updates you when the product is discounted into your pre-set price range. Check out the video interview we did with Big In Japan here. [gallery]

Google Android Application Market

A question came up during the Android Fireside chat regarding Android application distribution system.

"We’ve thought about it. It would be a great benefit to the Android community if there’s a place people can go to safely and securely download their content and have a billing system so that developers can get paid for their effort, and I have nothing to announce today, we’ve thought of it…We wouldn't have done our job if we didn't provide something that helps developers get distribution." –Andy Rubin

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cledOMNKl8Y[/youtube]

Well there it is folks, if you read between the lines, it sounds as though Google is working on an Android app store for content distribution.
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