Android 3rd Party Applications

Android Market charging for apps in early 2009

Today the Android Market was officially launched, as the Android Developers Blog reported. They wrote a lot about what is expected for developers in order to bring their applications to market. Developers will be able to upload their applications on Monday, October 27th when they have wrapped up all the details. Google requires registration and a one time application fee of $25 to ensure developers are authenticated and responsible for their apps. Once the developer is authenticated they may add applications for users without any further validation. We believe that a lot of applications that have been ready for an ok by Google will hit all at once, making many G1 owners very excited to get so many at one time. In early 2009 developers will be able to offer paid applications to users, bringing home 70% of the revenue their applications brings in, while the remaining amount goes to carriers and billing settlement fees - Google will not be taking any percentage of profits. It comes as no surprise that Google is stating the Android Market is still in Beta. "Android Market helps developers get their applications in the hands of users by acting as an open distribution system. A beta version is now available on the world's first Android-powered phone, the T-Mobile G1." Photo courtesy of Android Community member heyitsnan. [Via Android Developers Blog]

T-Mobile Hotspot Connect hits Android Market

Google finally added the T-Mobile Hotspot Connect to the Android Market, and not a minute too soon. Now you will be able to use your G1 to connect to any T-Mobile Wi-Fi hotspot for free saving your battery from the strain of using 3G. You can find T-Mobile Hotspots in many places including coffee shops, hotels and airports with more added all the time. You can use the hotspot for anything from surfing the net and sending instant messages to connecting to your corporate network with confidence on a completely secure network. I personally do not know anyone who actually uses this feature. I can imagine it coming in very handy in times when coffee shops charge you for internet use. To date I only know of one place that actually has a hotspot, who knows of a local hotspot that they will be using regularly?

MySpace Mobile Launches for Android

With just days before the official launch of the T-Mobile G1, MySpace Mobile has already made its debut in the Android Market. It looks like MySpace has beat FaceBook to the punch this time. This version of MySpace Mobile seems very polished and runs smoother than previous versions on other devices.

FaceBook no doubt has their application ready for release any second now. The MySpace Mobile application has undergone a face-lift in the Android release, with a very simple layout it allows you to easily navigate some of the basic features that MySpace has to offer. Navigation tabs on the right side of the screen list from top to bottom Home, Mail, Friends and Photos, to allow quick navigation of the application. While the application is not as in-depth as the online version, it still allows you to do many things such as approve friend requests, send and receive messages, search for friends, update your current status and upload photos directly from your G1. Now that MySpace Mobile is out, will we see a FaceBook or Twitter application before the 22nd? FaceBook may never be found on Android because of the bad blood between the two companies. I would like to thank Android Community member mikeyrokschicago for bringing Myspace Mobile to our attention. [gallery]

Google removes applications just before launch

As people start receiving their pre-ordered T-Mobile G1 phones, they are going to be very disappointed to find that the 50+ applications that were reported in the Android Market have now been stripped down to only 13. Many of the top applications that have been reviewed already will not be there.

While we are not sure why Google has decided to do this, it does not seem like a coincidence; more than likely it has something to do with customers receiving their G1's today. It may be because they want to cut down on initial bandwidth usage for the launch, other theories are that Google may be doing a last minute quality check on the applications to ensure all work really well on launch day. Why do you guys think they took down so many applications last minute? See below for a full list of currently available applications. AccuWeather.com Plusmo College Football Live Myspace Mobile imeem for Android Plusmo Pro Football Live BlueBrush Maverick MyCloset Cab4ME Light e-ventr TuneWiki The Weather Channel BreadCrumbz Buzzd

Android Community Week in Review – Week 42 2008

What a week it has been for Android Community. We started off with a story about T-Mobile selling 1.5 million G1 handsets already in pre-orders. T-Mobile has refused to comment on these numbers, suggesting that they are far too high. Logically, if the actual numbers were the same as reported or higher, T-Mobile more than likely would have happily taken the credit. We also got the chance to put out the first ever exclusive Android Community hands-on G1 review!

We were really excited to be able to completely go through and test the G1 this past week. We found the G1 was very small and sturdy in your hands. The user interface was amazingly responsive and easy to navigate. Applications such as TuneWiki and ShopSavvy (formally known as GoCart) still have me in awe. However not everything about the G1 was something to celebrate. The battery dies extremely quickly, we have been led to believe that it is the lack of a way to end background processes such as applications. We have found that GPS does not work in all cities. We were able to quickly find our location in Scottsdale AZ, however the G1 was not able to locate positions in Manhattan NY. We are not sure if it is a firmware issue or network issue. Google has a killswitch in their operating system that can disable applications remotely "just in case". Unlike Apple with the iPhone, Google was very upfront with letting the public know about it. Motorola hinted that the new 350-member Android team is working on a social networking based Android-powered handset. Information about this handset came from an ad placed for a position on their Android development team. Microsoft may one day bring their Flash-equivalent to Android with their Silverlight program. This would be a large advantage for the Android platform over the iPhone which currently does not have Flash. Handango will be the first to bring both free and paid applications to the Android Market. This is good news for new G1 owners who are looking for popular applications such as Garmin turn-by-turn directions. Many mobile gamers will be happy to know that games such as Spore may be on their way to the T-Mobile G1 very soon. Not many people use Gmail to synchronize their contacts, the vast majority of people use Microsoft Exchange to manage their address books. Out of the box the G1 does not support Exchange synchronization, but it didn't take long for Wrike to create an application that will sync your Exchange contacts to your phone. Currently it only supports one way synchronization, but they promise to soon have two-way functionality. Here at Android Community we have had a lot going on, our community member Designdawg has created what now is our site banner. We were so impressed that we even made a few limited-edition shirts using the design. We are just about to wrap up our Golla G1 case giveaway. We have had 11 winners so far, the last contest winner will be announced on October 22nd, the day the G1 is set to launch. We also held the official Android Community G1 launch party in Texas, hopefully a real treat for our members; the lucky few close enough to take part got to meet the people behind Android Community and some walked away with some really nice prizes. 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]

Wrike syncs Microsoft Exchange contacts with T-Mobile G1

Many people have all their contacts synced with Microsoft Exchange, however with the T-Mobile G1 contacts are only synced with your Google address book, leaving it difficult for those who do not use Gmail. There is now a downloadable sync tool that allows you to sync your contacts right from the Microsoft Exchange Server, and not a moment too soon.

This application will be be free to everyone. The development was sponsored by Wrike, web-based project management software that is transparently integrated with email, and Intermedia, the leading exchange hosting provider. They claim that “ContactsSync works perfectly for updating data in your G1 phone address book.” The draw-back to this method is that if there are any changes made in your exchange address book you will have to synchronize it again for changes to take place; unlike, say, using Exchange natively on a Windows Mobile handset, there's no automatic synchronization. Once you download ContactsSync to your T-Mobile G1 setting it up is pretty simple. All you have to do is open the application, go to Menu> Settings and enter the email and password for your Exchange account. There are advanced settings if you wish to manually configure the Exchange web services address. After the application is setup you just press “Load contacts” and the contacts will copy over to your G1. This application will not sync over the contacts already on your device, however if you already have the contact on your phone it will be duplicated. As of now it only works one way too; we're told a later version of ContacsSync will support two-way synchronization and merging of contacts. [Wrike]

Google’s Andy Ruben talks about Android Market

Andy Rubin, head of Google’s Android project, spoke this week about his visions for Android Market. Rubin discussed application bandwidth limits and, more importantly perhaps, how Android Market will differ from Apples iTunes App Store.

Unlike the App Store, Google will not impose the many restrictions that iPhone application developers are unhappy about. Bandwidth limitations that hurt iPhone app development will not plague Android applications, T-Mobile has set no limit on the bandwidth allowed to any given application. T-Mobile has asked that developers with free apps, that take more than 15 Megabytes a month for a single user, pay a $2 monthly fee. This policy may be a bit difficult to enforce with applications coming from the Android Market, which have no such restrictions in place. "We want the next killer application to be written for cell phones, not the Internet," Rubin said. Rubin also spoke about Android application developers having the opportunity to offer free trials of their applications, before a user chooses to purchase. Developers have named the largest contributing factor behind shaky application sales on the iPhone to the lack of the free trial option. As a result of the limitations Apple has placed on applications in the App Store many developers are expected to migrate to Google’s Android platform. [Via BusinessWeek]

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.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LkNlTNHZzE[/youtube] [gallery]

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]
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