Android Applications

Android SDK v1.0 released early

If you were following our Live Blog this morning then you'll know that Google promised to release the final Android SDK simultaneously with the launch of the T-Mobile G1 on October 22nd.  If you're a new developer, or are simply bored with v0.9 of the platform, that could seem like a long way off; thankfully, after some sneaky digging, links to v1.0 for Windows and Linux have turned up.

So far the main changes spotted are a new "maximize" button for the browser, but presumably the whole thing will be more stable, too.  Google have previous stated that they cannot guarantee anything coded with v0.9 will be fully compatible with v1.0. There's no telling how long the links will stay active - something tells me that Google will yank them as soon as they realise the mistake.  However if you're quick you might be able to get them: Windows: http://dl.google.com/android/android-sdk-windows-1.0_r1.zip Linux: http://dl.google.com/android/android-sdk-linux_x86-1.0_r1.zip [via AndroidGuys]

G1 pre-loaded goodies: Demo Video

The G1 comes pre-loaded with many useful applications including Google Search, Maps, YouTube, Gmail, Contacts, Calendar and IM. Sing in just once with you Google account and it will automatically synchronize all of your applications. You can even protect your data with a secure “lock pattern”. A drag down status bar that holds all of your notifications is extremely useful without getting in the way. This bar displays new text messages, email, calendar events, instant messages and more. When a text message comes in, the status bar will give a brief preview of the message. Contacts are easy to search through and locate. A few simple clicks and you can locate a contacts address on a map for directions. You can the location in satellite or street view as well, making it easier to visualize an unfamiliar location. Navigation is made easier with a built in accelerometer, giving a compass option to help - turn the phone, and the mapping automatically turns with you so you always know which way you're facing. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7qbPa1O8Ys[/youtube]

Big in Japan wins again: $700k startup funding

Big in Japan's bank account will be receiving its second major deposit of the year, as the company secured $700,000 of startup funding from Architel, an IT infrastructure company that also offers investment in early-stage Dallas-based tech firms. The money will be used both to develop ShopSavvy, the app Big in Japan are best known for, and the company itself into an "idea factory".

Android is fast and fully baked, claims PacketVideo VP

Android is fast enough to beat the iPhone 3G in a speed test, and is "the first true multitasking operating system on a phone."  That's according to Joel Espelien, vice president of strategy at PacketVideo, who has been filling in some of the boasts that, up until now, Google has left unspoken in the run up to the first Android handset hitting shelves.  Espelien described the platform as a workhorse, with speed coming primarily from Android's fresh approach to the mobile market:
"Supporting legacy stuff slows you down ... Google could target fast hardware from day one" Joel Espelien, vice president of strategy, PacketVideo
Despite suggestions that the Android OS has been rushed to market, Espelien describes Google as one of the toughest customers PacketVideo has ever worked with.  "They were incredibly demanding and would not cut corners," he described, "Android is fully baked, with no tricks."  It's that polish that the outspoken VP believes will draw in developers, keen to take advantage of the flexibility and integration on offer from Google versus the more at-arms-length approach Apple have taken with the iPhone.
"Android developers can really build apps that feel like part of the phone, not just something glossed on top ... The developer community will act as a powerful gravitational force" Joel Espelien
Espelien also suggested that Motorola would be a significant Android supporter, in their quest to find a follow-up to the RAZR that captures market attention.  He particularly tips Sanjay Jha, Motorola's new co-CEO, as being integral to that plan; Jha was previously COO at Qualcomm, who supply Motorola with chips and are also a member of the Android Open Handset Alliance.

Android Photostream App

Google just announced a new open source sample application called Photostream.  Photostream has been added to the aapps-for-android project, and it's available for you to test drive.

Photostream is a simple photos browser and viewer for Flickr. All you need to use it is a Flickr screen name or user name (the application offers a default user name if you just want to try it.) This application serves as an illustrative example of several Android features and APIs:
  • Activity aliases
  • Adding custom shortcuts to Home
  • Adding a new wallpaper chooser to the system
  • Custom layouts
  • Custom XML attributes
  • Use of themes
  • Use of styles
  • Use of text colors
  • Use of <include>
  • Use of bitmap and layer drawables from XML
  • Use of HttpClient
  • Proper interaction between background threads and the UI thread
  • Efficient display rotation (using the new onRetainNonConfigurationInstance() API)
  • Animations and layout animations
  • Cropping an image
  • Image manipulation
My favorite feature is the ability to add a new shortcut type in Home, to create a shortcut to any Flickr account. The shortcut shows a custom icon, downloaded from the Flickr user profile:

If you plan on reusing the source code to access Flickr in your own application, you should modify the Flickr.java file to replace the existing API key with your own. The application source code also contains a very handy class called UserTask.java. This class is designed to help you easily write background operations that interact with the UI thread.
[gallery]

Congrats to Winners of the Android Developer Challenge I

Google officially announced the winners of Android Developer Challenge.  Out of 50 teams of finalists, 10 teams received a $275,000 award each and 10 teams received a $100,000 award each.  Congratulations to everyone. $275,000 Award Recipients
cab4me Konrad Huebner, Henning Boeger Ever been looking for a cab? cab4me is the answer. Anywhere. Anytime. Read more CompareEverywhere Jeffrey Sharkey Shop smarter using your phone. Compare prices, read reviews, and connect with local stores. Read more Ecorio Jeff Kao, Gary Pong, Robert Lam, Taneem Talukdar Ecorio automatically tracks your mobile carbon footprint, suggests transit and carpooling alternatives and lets you stay carbon neutral by offsetting your trips easily. Read more GoCart Rylan Barnes Scan a product's barcode with your phone's camera and view all the best prices online and at nearby, local stores. Read more Life360 Chris Hulls, Dilpreet Singh, Luis Carvalho, Phuong Nguyen, Steve Potell From major natural disasters to little things like your child wandering away at the mall, there is a lot you might worry about. Life360 can help. Read more Locale Carter Jernigan, Clare Bayley, Jasper Lin, Christina Wright Locale is an advanced settings manager that automatically changes your phone's settings based on conditions, such as location. Read more PicSay Eric Wijngaard Easy to use image editor that enables you to quickly personalize your pictures and share them with friends or photo sites. Read more Softrace Staffan Kjellberg, Thomas Kjellberg Turn your workout into a thrilling race and challenge the world in real time. Read more TuneWiki TuneWiki Inc. TuneWiki Social Media Player, is an advanced player, featuring synchronized lyrics for audio or video, translation, music maps and a social network. Read more Wertago Kelvin Cheung,Teresa Ko, Peter Ree, Robert Sarvis, Douglas Young The mobile application nightlifers have been waiting for. Find the hottest parties in town and connect with friends and others all night long. Read more
$100,000 Award Recipients
BreadCrumbz Amos Yoffe BreadCrumbz offers a unique approach to navigation. What sets it apart is its focus on picture-based navigation and user-created navigation content. Read more Cooking Capsules Mary Ann Cotter, Muthu Ramadoss Inspiration for novices and chefs alike, Cooking Capsules puts a fresh, elegant and portable new way to cook in the palm of your hand. Read more Maverick Virgil Dobjanschi Maverick is a multimedia enabled, Google Talk compatible instant messenger and a Google Blogger publishing tool which runs on the Android Platform. Read more PebbleBox Yin Wang, Tao Jin A location-based information exchange and sharing application, allowing people to collect and distribute various geo-related information through mobile phones. Read more PhoneBook 2.0 Voxmobili PhoneBook 2.0 is a secure, contextual and social address book. Ideally suited for teenagers willing to share their mood and location, it also helps business people to keep their contacts secure and up-to-date. Read more Piggyback Christophe Petit, Sébastien Petit Piggyback is a revolutionary real-time carpooling application for mobile phones that helps you save time and money while reducing your carbon footprint. Read more Pocket Journey Anthony Stevens, Rosie Pongracz Pocket Journey turns your mobile phone into a personal tour guide by connecting you to location-specific multimedia created by a community of the most professional tour guides and storytellers worldwide. Read more Rayfarla Stephen Oldmeadow Have fun with music. Play music based games and make music with your phone using a range of virtual musical instruments. Read more ShareYourBoard Mikhail Ksenzov ShareYourBoard is an Android application for capturing, processing and sharing whiteboard data. Read more Teradesk e-Storage José Augusto Ferrarini Teradeks is an application for Virtual Storage and Remote File Access allowing companies and individuals to keep their files in the cloud, accessible from anywhere. Read more

Finalists

B4E Mr. Che, Mr. Happy C. B4E focuses on information broadcasting and online transactions, creating value for the society and individuals. Read more Beetaun Sergey Gritsyuk, Dmitri Shipilov Beetaun is a social network application for everyone wishing to share and explore interesting and extraordinary places and routes in the city they visit or live in. Read more BioWallet José Luis Huertas Fernández Biometric authentication system and security platform that performs user identification based on something that user is, rather than something that the user knows or owns. Read more City Slikkers PoroCity Media and Virtual Logic Systems City Slikkers is a Pervasive Game which takes place in the real-existing city. It is designed to connect a large number of players through-out the city and lets them organize the city's metaphorical recapture. Read more Commandro Alex Pisarev, Andrey Tapekha Commandro is a universal map-centric application, allowing users to set up and share activities, places, and map-markers with others, set alerts, and send invitations. Read more Diggin Daniel Johansson, Aramis Waernbaum, Andreas Hedin Play your music in style and listen to thousands of streaming radio stations. Personalize your music collection, and your music player as well! Read more Dyno Virachat Boondharigaputra Dyno is an application used to evaluate vehicle performance on the road. Read more e-ventr Michael Zitzelsberger e‐ventr is your personal event organizer and friendship scout for your mobile. Read more Em-Radar Jack Kwok Em-Radar keeps you informed of severe weather and emergencies near your location. Its Em-Beacon feature helps you stay connected to your family and friends in an emergency. Read more Fingerpaint Rob Mickle Fingerpaint is a collaborative drawing application. Draw by yourself, or together with friends – anywhere in the world. Read more FreeFamilyWatch.com Navee Technologies LLC Free location-based services helping family to navigate safety risks in daily living through real-time and risk-preventing measures against crimes, environmental health hazards and distressing emergencies. Read more GolfPlay Inizziativa Networks Provides support to all real time necessities of a golf player during a game. Read more gwalk Klaus ten Hagen, Marko Modsching, Christian Klinger, Rene Scholze Discover a destination individually by a multimedial gWalk tour that is fully based on personal preferences including interests, available time and position. Read more iMap Mobile™ Weathertop Consulting, LLC iMap Mobile™ builds on WDT's iMap Weather™ multimedia weather platform to provide radar images, lightning strikes, conditions and forecasts at your location and locations you choose. Read more IMEasy Yan Shi IMEasy is an IM based application designed particularly for touch screen mobile users. Read more JOYity Zelfi AG JOYity is a platform for next generation mobile entertainment applications and provides a pioneering mixture of real-life adventure games, geocaching and intensive social networking activities. Read more LifeAware Gregory Moore, Aaron O’Brien, Jawad Akhtar Be aware of your surroundings and the location of your friends and family. Take control of your social life. LifeAware™ - Where is Your Life? Read more Marvin Laurent Pontier Publish in private, to your peer network or to the world, geolocalized rich messages. Broadcast personal information feeds on the move using the Marvin Services. Read more mobeedo Sengaro GmbH mobeedo aims to become a comprehensive and uniform system for providing, consuming, and recording all kinds of information relevant in mobile everyday life. Read more MyCloset Mamoru Tokashiki Manages photographs and information about the fashion items you own, and coordinates and records your daily outfits. Read more PedNav RouteMe2 Technologies Inc. PedNav is a location-aware day planner that allows you to create an itinerary and can suggest public transit routes as well as provide walking directions. Read more SafetyNet Michael DeJadon SafetyNet is an automated alert system that combines the concept of social networking along with the latest mobile technologies to help protect our loved ones. Read more ShapeWriter ShapeWriter Inc ShapeWriter is an innovative, easy, fast and fun method of entering text into touch screen mobile phones. One can write an entire word with a single gesture. Read more SocialMonster Tommy Ng, Ben Hui Stay on top of your social life with SocialMonster and start organizing personal events with all your contacts in your handset’s phonebook. Read more SplashPlay Andreas Ipp, Keith Sturch, Friedger Müffke and Ronan Schwarz SplashPlay provides an easier method to learn, create and share music. Quickly learn guitar chords to your favorite songs and share creations with others. Read more Sustain Niraj Swami Sustain is a utility that helps its users naturally and fluidly communicate with their contacts. Read more SynchroSpot Shaun Terry Service featuring location-based personal reminders and geo-specific notes for others. Also provides for the receipt of special, targeted discounts and offers from nearby businesses. Read more The Weather Channel for Android The Weather Channel Interactive Inc. The Weather Channel for Android is a fully customizable weather application catering to both weekend planners and serious weather enthusiasts alike. Read more TokPlay Sung-Suh Park TokPlay provides the opportunity of talking to friends, family and others using video and voice messages, bringing a human touch back to communication. Read more Wikitude Philipp Breuss Wikitude is a mobile travel guide based on location-based Wikipedia content. Points of interest can be viewed in a map, list, or a cam view. Read more

Android Market confirmed; no app checking by Google

Google have confirmed the Android Market download service, and released screenshots and further details on the system that will allow users of Android-based devices to browse and install software while mobile. A beta version of the service will be included on the first commercially available handsets, that will support free apps, with an update allowing for paid software soon after launch.

That update will also include features such as versioning, multiple device profile support and analytics, among other things. Google are taking a more hands-off approach to app distribution than, say, Apple; developers will merely need to register an account, upload their content and publish it, with no validation from Google themselves. A rating system will be used to weed out lesser titles and, presumably, malware.
"Developers will be able to make their content available on an open service hosted by Google that features a feedback and rating system similar to YouTube. We chose the term "market" rather than "store" because we feel that developers should have an open and unobstructed environment to make their content available" Eric Chu, Android Mobile Platform
Google is suggesting that their "expertise in infrastructure, search and relevance" will help users find the most relevant apps. There's no word on whether they plan to take a cut of paid-for apps distributed through the Android Market. However by stepping back from checking and approving each application, although perhaps allowing the developer ecosystem to flourish more freely than that of the iPhone, it's possible that malware and other dangerous apps could more easily find their way onto Android devices. [gallery]

Google explains Advanced Bluetooth & GTalk API omissions

After the news of the latest Android SDK release, Google came in for some criticism over a number of APIs the company removed and that, as a result, would not be present in the eventual Android 1.0 platform.  Headlines suggested that Android would have no Bluetooth support, for instance, and the whole OS was accused of not being ready for primetime.  Now the Developers Blog have spoken up to explain two of the most prominent omissions - the advanced Bluetooth API and the GTalkService - and justify the reasons for their being (temporarily) left behind. Despite the rumors, Android will support the usual array of Bluetooth headsets and dongles.  You'll be able to use it with your hands-free or tether it to your laptop (carrier T&Cs permitting).  What won't be there is the API that exposes Bluetooth functionality to developers:
"The reason is that we plain ran out of time. The Android Bluetooth API was pretty far along, but needs some clean-up before we can commit to it for the SDK. Keep in mind that putting it in the 1.0 SDK would have locked us into that API for years to come" Nick Pelly, Android engineer responsible for Bluetooth API
That means, initially, developers won't be able to use Bluetooth for, say, short-range wireless gaming between Android handsets.  It's a disappointing omission, but the Android team are promising it'll make an appearance in a future release. Secondly, the GTalkService API, which would have presented a straightforward interface for the exchange of messages between Android devices.  Rather than time shortages, it's security that scuppered that particular API, both of personal details (communicating with other mobile users would then see them added to your Google Talk friends list, whereupon they could see your email address and other information) and of application security.
"Although we would have loved to ship this service, in the end, the Android team decided to pull the API instead of exposing users to risk and breaking compatibility with a future, more secure version of the feature. We think it's obvious that this kind of functionality would be incredibly useful, and would open lots of new doors for developers. One of our top priorities after the first devices ship is to develop a device-to-device (and possibly device-to-server) RPC mechanism that is fast, reliable, and protective of developers and users alike" Dan Morrill, Developer Advocate, Android
Although on first glance it's easy to criticise Google for snipping out features, if poorly executed APIs led to future security or privacy breaches then the frustration would be even greater.

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.

Meet the leads for Android platform

Android Fireside Chat is a Q&A session that is often considered the best part of Google IO, as it gives developers a chance to ask what's on their minds as well as talk to the product engineering teams. Come tell the team what you want, discuss issues and design decisions, and hear the team's thoughts on just about whatever you ask.  In this first, you’ll get to meet the leads for Android platform.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quM0S3ZXhEw[/youtube]

More videos from the Android Fireside Chat coming soon.

That me - with the best seat in the house!
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