Android 3rd Party Applications

Spotify streaming music mobile demo for Android [Video]

Spotify, who provide a free music streaming service, have demonstrated their new mobile client on the T-Mobile G1.  The new Android app - which is yet to be released - allows tracks to be synchronized with the handset for offline playback, meaning that even without WiFi or cellular data music can be played back. The app also supports on-device searches and custom playlists, with straightforward access to the company's huge catalog of tracks.  It's also synchronized with their existing desktop app, meaning you can search for and add a track on the desktop and have it sync for offline playback on the cellphone. As a desktop Spotify user, this is just what I've been waiting for.  The company has previously said that they'd be requiring mobile users to sign up for their premium service (which cuts out the adverts that intermittently pop up for free account holders) and frankly this looks well worth it.  No word on when we could expect to see a release; they're promising more details at Google I/O. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ALGPknOsiU[/youtube]

GP2X emulator lands on Android [Video]

The Android platform may soon get a sizable shot of retro gaming, if Jrioni's GP2X emulator project continues to develop.  Currently in "pre-alpha" stage, the project basically recreates the GP2X open-source Linux-based handheld on an Android phone like the T-Mobile G1. Since the GP2X is capable of playing classic titles from the Neo Geo, Sega Genesis, Master System, Game Gear and Commodore 64, among others, that means there's a huge back-catalog of potential games.  In this demo video, Jrioni plays Marvel vs Capcom and Samurai Shodown, among others. No word on when - or even if - we can see a release of the emulator, but there undoubtedly seems to be demand for it.  Another of Jrioni's projects is streaming video to the G1 via VLC and vnc.  [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ezr9LJrGJiU[/youtube] [via Engadget]

Glympse time-controlled GPS tracking hits Android [Video]

Fresh to the Android Market and set to take on Google's Latitude is Glympse, another way of sharing your location with friends, colleagues and family.  Glympse attempts to tackle the problem of ongoing privacy present in many location-based apps; that is, you may want to let someone know where you are for a certain period, but not forever. Generally, location-sharing software works in one of two ways: either a one-off alert, which usually sends out a set of GPS coordinates either by SMS or email, or an ongoing connection as in Google Latitude.  While Latitude does allow for privacy settings, such as turning on and off tracking on a per-contact basis, it's something the user needs to remember to switch. What Glympse offers, instead, is a range of time-controlled tracking invitations.  These can run from a single instant, through minutes and several hours.  No special software is required by the recipient; instead they merely receive a link which takes them to a web-based map; the sender can also prematurely end or extend the invite.  The Glympse app is currently available through the Android Market as a free download, but the company is planning Windows Mobile, iPhone and BlackBerry versions.  More details at their FAQ here. [Thanks notxel21!] [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wg-MsCQJ6n4[/youtube]

Cupcake is catastrophe, claims Big in Japan dev

Everyone's looking forward to Cupcake, right?  Not so fast, says Big in Japan - the team behind the popular ShopSavvy application - Android 1.5 presents more than a few problems for developers.  According to Alexander Muse, applications currently running on Android won't necessarily be compatible with Cupcake 1.5; that means a mad rush to download the new firmware and rebuild their software. Compounding the problem is the fact that the Android Market won't allow more than one version of an app, which means developers aren't able to simply create a new, 1.5-friendly update and leave the existing version in place for those without Cupcake.  Instead, Big in Japan face creating a new build that's also backward compatible with earlier versions of Android, something they conservatively estimate should normally take around two to three weeks of development. However according to some reports, Cupcake will be pushed as an over-the-air to Android device owners in just two days, and it's already live in Spain.  That means three weeks of development needs to be squashed into two days, never-mind any time for testing:
"The good news is that we will release our new version whenever Cupcake is pushed OTA to users.  The bad news it will be untested.  It will have bugs, bugs that we will fix.  Please bear with us and realize that we don’t have much choice in the matter" Alexander Muse, Big in Japan
As Alexander notes, the Big in Japan team are likely more prepared for the coding challenge ahead than many others, particularly those part-time developers who have been cooking up Android apps in their spare time.  The public perception of Android as a platform depends in no small part on the success and stability of its third-party software; have Google shot themselves in the foot by allowing carriers to rush out Cupcake 1.5? [Image via]

DataViz Documents To Go, free RoadSync beta released

DataViz have launched a version of their Office file editing app Documents To Go for Android.  Promised back in December, Documents To Go can open Microsoft Word and Excel files and attachments, as well as allow editing and creating of them, up to and including Office 2007 files. Rich formatting is supported, such as bold, italics, underline, font color, alignment, bullets and numbered lists, together with tables, bookmarks and comments. Documents To Go will also display footnotes, endnotes and track-changes, while the Excel part of the app supports a full 111 functions, together with cell formatting, row and column preferences and auto-fit options. There's also integration with DataViz's new RoadSync Beta, which brings Exchange ActiveSync push email to the Android platform.  Currently a free beta in the Android Market, RoadSync supports both email and Exchange contacts.  It'll be free until May 31st; full pricing is yet to be announced, but as a guide RoadSync is priced at $29.99 for PalmOS and $49.99 for S60. As for Documents To Go, that's normally priced at $29.99 but, as a launch offer, it's just $19.99.

Sipdroid promises Android WiFi VoIP [Video]

While there's already a Skype client available in the Android Market, it's doesn't offer true VoIP: instead of using WiFi, it relies on your minutes and data plan.  If you want VoIP over WiFi, you may have to wait until the Sipdroid project reaches fruition. Sipdroid uses a WiFi connection to make VoIP calls between devices - in the video below, the second phone (non-Android) is called from Sipdroid running on the G1.  According to the comments at YouTube, Sipdroid is on target for a May release; dates aren't certain, as while the project started out open-source it's now been moved to closed development. While that's all very exciting, we've a feeling Sipdroid will fall victim to the same distribution agreement terms & conditions as tethering apps have.  Just as Google pulled tethering software from the Android Market because it contravenes T-Mobile's ToS, most carriers also have non-VoIP clauses in their contracts.  That could be enough reason for Google to block Sipdroid. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5Igo7brlRo[/youtube] [via Phandroid; thanks Nikotttin!]

Android tethering apps pulled from Market

Google has reportedly pulled tethering apps from the Android Market.  According to at least one developer, who contributed to the WiFi Tether for Root Users app, Google are citing their distribution agreements with carriers as the prompt for removal:
"Google enters into distribution agreements with device manufacturers and Authorized Carriers to place the Market software client application for the Market on Devices. These distribution agreements may require the involuntary removal of Products in violation of the Device manufacturer’s or Authorized Carrier’s terms of service" Google Developer Distribution Agreement
That agreement, when taken with T-Mobile's terms of service that do not permit tethering, has given Google reason to pull the software from official distribution.  It's a decision that has raised more questions over just how "open" the Android platform is:
"Android phones are supposed to be released for other carriers in the future, right? Does this mean that apps in the Market have to adhere to the ToS for only T-Mobile, even when other carriers sign on? Will all apps have to adhere to the ToS for every carrier that supports Android phones?" Seth, WiFi Tether for Root Users contributor
Given that Android-based devices are already available unlocked, it seems unfair that those users - who may be with carriers that permit tethering, or have already paid for the functionality - should not have access to the software.  In addition, some of the apps reportedly banned do not solely offer carrier tethering (e.g. sharing the cellular data connection via USB or WiFi) but Bluetooth tethering, where the cellphone acts as a bridge between a WiFi broadband connection and a Bluetooth-equipped device that lacks its own WiFi. One potentially unwelcome outcome could be carrier-specific versions of the Android Market, where users would have only partial access to the full app catalog depending on what their carrier allowed. [Thanks Andon!]

Truphone Anywhere ‘VoIP’ app for Android launches

Truphone have announced a version of their Truphone Anywhere client for the T-Mobile G1.  The app, a free download from the Android Market, is available in the US, UK and, in preparation for the G1's release in Germany come March 2009, in German.  As well as free VoIP calls over WiFi between Truphone users, the service claims to offer lower-cost international calls.

Android 101 workshop being held in Pakistan

Google representative in Pakistan, Badar Khushnood, has reportedly sent out emails to a few people about an Android developers workshop in LUMS or Lahore.  The workshop is to help make developers aware of the vision that Google has for Android and help better introduce them to the platform. The session is basically an introduction to creating Android applications using the SDK and developers tools provided. Software Engineer for Google, Omer Shakij, will be speaking to people and giving a walkthrough of building a non-trivial application and use it as a basis for discussing the carious facets of the Android application framework. On the agenda they have an Overview of resources available to Android developers, Hello Android, Few API Demos from the SDK, HTC G1 Live Demo and a Q&A Session. If you reside in Pakistan and would like to attend this workshop then head over to the registration page for more details.

Help ShopSavvy Win the Crunchies 2008 Best Mobile App award

The Crunchies 2008 awards are coming up and our friends over at Big In Japan are in the running for Best Mobile App of 2008. ShopSavvy is not only an award winning application, but one of our favorite applications and is going to need the communities help in order to stand up against some of the iPhone’s apps. If you wouldn’t mind taking a trip over to the Crunchies Awards page and casting a vote for them it would be fantastic. They really have a shot at winning this award and we feel they deserve it more than anything. The developers over at Big In Japan have put countless hours of support into making sure Shopsavvy is as up to date as possible. All it takes is 5 seconds of your time and two clicks of a button to cast the vote. On a side note tell us what you think of the application. Where does it exceed expectations and where can it use a bit of improvement. Your input helps this application get better every day.
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