Android Applications

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.

FlyCast finally comes over to Android

More ways to listen to music for free are coming to the Android Market. FlyCast has made its way to Android after stopping off on the iPhone and BlackBerry handsets. Similar to the concept of Pandora, FlyCast brings screaming music to the palm of your hand without needing to download or store it on your device. FlyCast is a bit different than the other applications because it allows users to listen to stations in which only a few allow you to skip songs. They have also partnered up with Facebook, and support AAC+ and Windows Media streams. Users can download a desktop player that mirrors exactly the FlyCast mobile application with 1000 traditional stations plus 300 ‘personalized’ stations with unlimited song skipping. “2009 will be a year of transition for broadcasting, as hundreds of millions of new ’smart devices’ hit the streets, with incredible media consumption capabilities,” noted FlyCast CEO Sam Abadir. “FlyCast continues to lead the way in offering broadcasters and webcasters innovative platform capabilities to take full advantage of these new and compelling distribution opportunities.” Now between Pandora and FlyCast how many more streaming music applications will be released? Personally I have no need for another streaming application, Pandora and FlyCast have all the areas important to me covered. FlyCast will be available soon, no definite date has been set though. [Via FlyCast]

Android Market gets updated with support for paid apps in mid-January

Google has finally come around and decided to update the Android Market for developers. Google sent out an email to one of our users stating that they have been working on “several significant updates” to the Android Market.  First off Android Market will become available to users to download apps in more European and Asian countries starting early in the first quarter of 2009. Some of these countries include Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and the Netherlands.  In mid January Google will update the Android Market publisher website in order to enable country targeting. They also confirm that priced applications will be available at the same time (early January). Apparently the payment support from country to country is not very easy to setup. The priced applications will be starting in the United States and the UK, following the initial launch Germany, Austria and Netherlands will have paid apps and France, Italy and Spain will have them by the end of the first quarter. The Android Market website also gives applications a second channel of exposure other than the handset itself. Below is a copy of the attached letter.
Hello, Thank you for your participation in Android Market! Since we launched a couple months ago, the team has been working on several significant updates to Android Market. I'd like to let you know about these upcoming changes and what they will mean to you and other members of our developer community. Many of you have asked about international expansion plans. I'm happy to inform you that Android Market will become available to users to download apps in additional European countries starting early Q1 2009. Some of the countries we will initially support are Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and the Netherlands. As we add support for additional countries in Europe and Asia, we will send out subsequent notifications to you. In mid-January, we will update the Android Market publisher website to enable country targeting. Please start thinking about which countries you want to target and begin preparing your products accordingly (e.g., localization). Note that your apps will not become available in these new countries unless you specifically select them in the publisher website, after we update it. Additionally, I would like to confirm that Android Market will support priced applications starting early Q1 2009, as we'd originally stated last fall. Given the country-by-country work required to set up payment support for developers in different countries, we will enable priced app support in Q1 for developers operating in these countries in the following order: (1) United States and UK; (2) Germany, Austria and Netherlands; (3) France, Italy and Spain. By the end of Q1 2009, we will announce support for developers operating in additional countries. Developers operating in the above listed countries should begin finalizing their priced applications, including determining the appropriate pricing strategy. Finally, please note that our team may need to occasionally contact you via email or the publisher website to collect necessary product information (such as screenshots and descriptions). This information would be used for the Android Market website, found at, which gives applications a second channel of exposure via the web in addition to the normal on-device access. We will send out additional details on all these items in the coming weeks. Thanks for your support, and we look forward to continue working with you on Android Market. Eric Chu, Android Market Google, Inc. 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View, CA 94043

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.

Visa Mobile Application hits the Android Market; may not be as secure as you think

Back in September we reported that the Visa Mobile Application was being created as the first financial application for Android. It has been a while but they managed to push it to the Android Market in hopes that it would get some use for the holiday season. With the Visa Mobile Application you can track your card transactions as they happen, to better keep track of your own expenses. With alerts you will know instantly when someone else is using your credit card. This feature is a must in today’s world with all of the credit card and identity fraud going on. If you delete this application you must text the word “STOP” to MVISA in order to discontinue text notifications. This application also gives you many special coupon offers both online and on your handset. Visa Mobile Application even gives you location information where you can redeem offers. As with most Visa services there is always the fine print to watch out for. If you tear through the Terms of Service you will find one very unassuming line that could very well make you turn around and never look back. This line reads, “unfortunately, no data transmission via a mobile handset can be guaranteed to be 100% secure.” It just sound to me like Visa is trying to keep them selves from any liability T-Mobile may place on them due to security issues.

Shazam adds 2 million songs to database

One application we were excited to see on Android is Shazam. After using it so frequently on the iPhone it makes the transition that much easier. Now the only problem we have had with Shazam is the large focus on pop music while leaving many other genres in the dust. Shazam has taken this into account and is now expanding their database by 2 million songs, that’s a database growth of 30 percent! This brings the grand total to over 8 million available songs. It appears that Shazam is gaining the upper hand in what seems to be a down hill battle. My personal music collection still stumps this application more often than not, but when it comes to the radio there is no contest. Will Mils, head of music said, “This increase in our database cements Shazam’s position as the leading mobile music discovery service in the world. With our strong music alliances we gain access to the most relevant music well before many other music services, which ensures users can discover popular and niche music all over the globe. No matter where they are, or what they’re listening to, users are taken on an unforgettable musical journey. This unequaled user experience and superior technology has made Shazam the perfect partner for mobile phone operators and handset manufacturers across the world.”

Hop-on actually announcing gambling software for Android at CES 2009

We have heard that Hop-on will be announcing a new Android-powered handset at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Well that may not be entirely true, it appears that they will however be announcing its new Casino Wagering Software. According to research done by High Beam, "The Bets are on Mobile Gambling: Worldwide Revenues Forecasted to Reach $16 Billion According to Alexander Resources." This year has been a very encouraging year for mobile gambling service providers, many of them seeing total wager increasing by more than 100%. For now the services have been rolling out in only a few key markets including the UK.

ShopSavvy reportedly does not work with unlocked handsets

We just found out that users who unlock their G1 will not be able to use the ShopSavvy application on their Android-powered handset. For the time being ShopSavvy is only available if you have a SIM card for a country that they currently support (US, UK, Germany, Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, Holland, Japan and China). This issue was first reported when A Phoenix user phoned ShopSavvy developers, Big In Japan, reporting that the application was not in the Android market.  Turns out the user did not have a compatible SIM card in their G1; this creates a problem with the application being “internalized” for each market. By not having a SIM card your location cannot be found resulting in the application not showing up. Developers say that if more users go the unlocked route they may adapt accordingly to fit the overall needs of customers, but until then users with an unlocked G1 are simply out of look.

Get more Exchange capabilities with TouchDown

NitroDesk has released another solution to syncing your contacts with your Android-powered handset. This method is entirely within the application itself, no need for any PC client. TouchDown securely connects to corporate exchange systems to provide users with instant access to contacts, email and calendar information. TouchDown not only provides users with a great way to fetch their information, but also allows users to check for new email and events periodically. TouchDown is designed to keep Exchange and Google information separated. "While the information is separately maintained, we do not rule out the possibility of features in the future that enable synchronization or at least selective movement between the stores", claims NitroDesk. Users can now download TouchDown from the NitroDesk website. NitroDesk plans to have their application on Initially users will be able to download the free trial with all of the features enabled. Licenses can then be purchased wherever the application was downloaded from for $29.99. There is no word yet on whether we will be seeing TouchDown in the Android Market. [Via PRWeb]

Much needed garage door opener hack becomes available for forgetful people

Now that developers are pushing out the first wave of hacks we are seeing ideas and concepts that are amazing. The latest hack that we have stumbled upon is the garage door opener. Now you can program your G1 to open your garage when you don’t have you real garage door opener. Brad Fitzpatric has managed to bring the T-Mobile G1 more use in no time at all. As far as we know you wont be seeing this “hack” in the Android Market. Every time we see a new hack it is always bigger and better, we just can’t wait to see what will be next. The one hack we are still waiting for is the ability to remotely control your PC through the G1. “I got it all working. I now have an Android Activity (GarageDoorActivity) which interacts with an Android Service I wrote (InRangeService), letting me start and stop the service’s wifi scanning task. The service gets the system WifiManager, holds a WifiLock to keep the radio active, and then does a Wifi scan every couple seconds, looking for my house. When my house is in range, it does the magic HTTP request to my garage door opener’s webserver (HMAC-signed timestamped URL, for non-replayability/forgeability if sniffed) and my garage door opens. Complete with a bunch of fun Toast notifications (like Growl) and Android Notifications (both persistent ongoing notifications for background scanning, and one-time notifications for things like the garage door actually opening).” Brad has made the source code available as would anyone who truly supports the open source community, to anyone who wishes to give it a try. We must warn you it takes a little bit of work, this is not your standard point and click application download. We would love to hear reports and reviews for those of you who were able to get this to work. [Via Brad's Life]
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