Android Applications

MyScript handwriting recognition for Android [Video]

It's not the first handwriting-recognition solution we've seen for the Android platform, but Vision Objects' MyScript system still finds itself with little company.  MyScript recognizes all manner of individual characters, hand-printed and cursive handwriting in around sixteen different languages, and is happy with you using a finger rather than a stylus to trace out letters on your Android handset's screen. As the video demo, below, shows, you don't have to wait for individual letters or even words to be recognized before moving on.  Instead, the text-entry box effectively scrolls across, creating more space to write; you can squeeze a couple of words on-screen at a time. Vision Objects provide handwriting-recognition engines to a number of partner software companies, so it's possible we could see an Android version of MyScript using the technology from another developer.  No word on when that might happen, though. [youtube][/youtube] [via UMPC Tips]

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]

Exchange Contacts & Calendar sync app gets price-cut

Microsoft Exchange support for Android is one of those things that can't come too soon for many enterprise users, but until then there are apps that promise at least partial functionality.  Wrike's ContactsCalendarSync is one such program, bringing contacts and calendar synchronization between an Exchange server and your Android device. Up until now, though, it's been a not-inconsiderable $24.95; more than many would like to pay, especially as it doesn't include email support.  Wrike have answered with a limited discount: from Thursday April 2nd through to April 16th, ContactsCalendarSync will be available for $9.95 through the Android Market. Obviously you'll need an Exchange server and the Exchange Web Services feature enabled in order for this to be of any use.  Back when we tried it in October we found it pretty straightforward, though not without glitches, but a more than 50-percent price cut certainly takes the edge off them. [via jkOnTheRun]

FriendMobilizer Facebook Android client

A new Facebook application for Android has been launched by Macrospecs.  FriendMobilizer offers status control, notifications, photo access and more, all with what Macrospecs describe as minimal memory footprint.  There's also integration of photo uploads into your Android phone's standard menu options, with a new "FriendMobilizer" choice in the "Share picture via" dialog.  Images can then be captioned and commented on, with uploads happening in the background. FriendMobilizer is available through the Android Market now.  The company also offers free versions for Windows Mobile devices. [gallery]

Android Market paid-app system blocking new merchants

Android Community is hearing from developers who are experiencing problems linking Merchant accounts to their Android Developer accounts, and as such are unable to list paid apps on the Android Market.  Multiple developers are reporting seeing the error message "Sorry, we could not setup your merchant account.  Please try again later" multiple times over the past 24-48 hours, with Google's customer support remaining silent. Google began listing paid applications a month ago, the Android Market previously having only accepted freeware for the platform.  Developers wishing to sell their software are required to register for a Google Checkout merchant account before submitting their applications with a price tag attached. We've got a request for a comment or at least some feedback from Google at the moment, and will update as soon as we hear back from them.  This is a bad situation not only for developers but for users, who are missing out on access to new software.

Surveyor Android G1-controlled robots: Video Demos

Considering the name of the platform, I'm surprised we've not seen more robots either based on, or controlled by, Android.  With that in mind, here are two 'bots that rely on a T-Mobile G1 for their remote control; one which wouldn't look out of place patrolling battlefields, the other slightly more bizarre. The tech is supplied by open-source robotics experts Surveyor, who are offering a control console for their SRV-1 robot controller.  You can download the code from the project page. As for the SRV-1, it's a modular robot platform that can be hooked into a variety of motors, camera units, and other devices.  You can either buy the parts separately and construct your own 'bot, or you can stop by one of several vendors and pick up a pre-built machine.  [youtube][/youtube] [youtube][/youtube] [youtube][/youtube] [via Droideo]

Google Finance for Android app released

Google have announced a new Finance for Android app that is available now in the Android Market.  Finance for Android links up with the online Google Finance website, and allows users to view real-time streaming quotes in their portfolio, access fast stock look-ups with search auto-suggestion, and call up "recent quotes" to check figures on-the-go. Each stock shows detailed quotes, charts and news, and any change you make to your portfolio automatically syncs up with the Google Finance website.  The software - which is a free download - is the work of Arun Mathew, Lead engineer, and Nick Fey, User experience designer, who coded it in their Google 20-percent time, the term given to space outside of core projects that employees at the search giant are encouraged to fill with their own projects.   It's not all perfect, however.  Currently the Finance for Android app is only available to users in the US, and there's limited market support: NASDAQ and Dow Jones shares are covered, for instance, but not the London Stock Exchange.  Hopefully the Google engineers will spend a little more of their 20-percent time tweaking an updated version that addresses those issues. [gallery]

Android Community Week In Review: Week 8 2009

The Android platform finally got entrance of paid applications into the market this week, which many believe will finally give Android the edge it needs to compete with other smart phones. Purchase and payment takes place through Google Checkout. Of note, purchases can be "returned" within 24 hours of purchase (not of install) for a refund, something that the iPhone's App Store doesn't allow. Reports are that the paid apps have been trickling into users' Market apps over the past week, though availability at this time is limited to the US. Also being reported is that the Android Developer phones (identical to the G1 in functionality) do not have access to paid apps copy-protected apps from the market. The reasoning for this is not known at this time, and some users of these phones are still able to access paid apps copy-protected apps.

Android Market Now Accepting Pay-For Applications

According to an e-mail sent to registered Android developers, the Android market is now accepting submissions of paid-applications. Initially, the market will allow US buyers to purchase apps directly from their device "starting mid next week," according to the e-mail.

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.
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