software

Web-based Android Market imminent as Google updates app links?

The online version of Google's Android Market - as promised earlier this year - may well be just around the corner. Developer René Hesse spotted that Google has updated its Market URL convention, now using a http://market.android.com/ prefix, and indicating that a more iTunes-like system is about to be launched.
Old version: market: / details? / Id = de.appsplus.widgets.footballwidget New version: http://market.android.com/details?id=de.cellular.ottohybrid
In the iTunes ecosystem, clicking on an iTunes link - whether for software or multimedia - opens a webpage for that content that automatically loads the Apple software if present on the computer you're using. While Google has online listings for some of the most popular apps available in the Android Market, you can't yet buy them online nor browse the entire catalog. Back at Google I/O, Vic Gundotra previewed the online Android Market; you can see it from around the 31 minutes point in the video below: [youtube IY3U2GXhz44]

Notion Ink’s Eden UI for Adam tablet gets new video demo

Notion Ink has released a new video demo of its Adam Android tablet, this time concentrating on the company's homegrown UI, Eden. The footage shows how Eden's multi-pane view can be browsed and rearranged, but also how Notion Ink's multitasking system means that only the active panel on-screen is using system resources. That means that, even if you can see the panel displayed, it's not actually running and taking up cycles in the Tegra 2 chipset. More information on Adam in the video Notion Ink released over the weekend. [youtube GCw6rWa-JJc]

Amazon Kindle for Android 2.0 released: Periodical support & SD saving

Amazon's Kindle for Android app has been updated to v2.0, complete with newspaper and magazine support together with "Move to SD Card" functionality enabled. The ereader app now allows access to Amazon's 100+ periodical titles, and shifts the Amazon store into the app itself rather than kicking you into the web version when you want to buy a new ebook. Meanwhile there's also support for sharing your reading progress with social networks. The UI has been tweaked, with the option to use your Android smartphone's volume keys to control page turns, and the chapter title now included in the reader status bar; there's also zoom functionality for images and graphics. Amazon Kindle for Android 2.0 is a free download in the Android Market.

Google App Inventor now open for all

Google's App Inventor has exited its closed-beta, meaning the drag & drop Android app creator tool is now open to anybody with a Google account. Announced back in July 2010, App Inventor requires no real programming knowledge, instead using preset functionality blocks that can be shuffled around to create software. Despite that simple premise, the apps themselves can be just as complex as those coded from scratch; titles can be capable of GPS awareness, integration with the Android handset’s phone functionality, internet connectivity and more. You can log in and try App Inventor here. [youtube 8ADwPLSFeY8]

Angry Birds “Bad Piggy Bank” in-app payments announced

Angry Birds developer Rovio has announced a new in-app payment system that will debut on Android, charging upgrades - such as to remove the adverts in the free title, or to buy the upcoming "Mighty Eagle" update - directly to a user's cellphone bill rather than demanding credit card details. "Bad Piggy Bank" will also be made available to other Android app developers, according to Rovio’s Peter Vesterbacka, potentially filling a gap for in-app payments on the Android platform. The roll-out will begin with Finnish carrier Elisa, before a global roll-out in 2011; it requires carrier agreements so as to process the payments on a user's cellphone account. Meanwhile Vestabacka also revealed that Angry Birds has seen a total of 50m downloads to-date, a fifth of which have been on Android. [via TechCrunch]

New guide outlines packaging Tablet & Phone UI in a single APK

With Honeycomb making headlines, it's about time that Android developers start considering large-screen devices with their software offerings. Funky Android dev Al Sutton has put together a useful guide showing how you can create tablet and phone UIs in a single .APK. That obviously makes distribution more straightforward, since there's only one version of your app to worry about, and Sutton covers everything from telling the Android OS that your app is all-singing, all-dancing, to usability issues about screen orientations and sizes. It's certainly worth a read if you're a developer.

Google Maps for Mobile 5.0 incoming: 3D dynamic mapping, caching, more

Andy Rubin didn't spend much time talking about Motorola's Honeycomb tablet; instead he used the slate to preview the incoming update for Google Maps for Mobile 5.0. The new version adds dynamic map building with building outlines for 100 cities at launch, new multitouch gestures including two-finger tilt & rotate, and offline caching for common routes and searches. Only certain Android devices will support all the features of Google Maps for Mobile 5.0, which is due out in the next few days. The Nexus One, apparently, lacks the multitouch support for rotating the views; the full list of supported handsets is below.
  • Galaxy S
  • Droid
  • Droid X
  • Droid 2
  • Droid Incredible
  • Evo
  • Nexus S
  • G2
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SPB TV v2.0 released: Free mobile TV with VoD

SPB TV has been updated to v2.0, and the mobile TV app has lost its price tag in the process. Now free, the streaming TV software offers over 150 channels in more than 20 languages, and is advert supported; SPB promises the ads themselves only last as long as it takes for the video to buffer. There's also support for larger-screen devices like Android tablets, a picture-in-picture mode, video on demand and faster channel switching. SPB has also switched to H.264 for better quality video that's more forgiving of lower-bandwidth connections. You'll need an Android 1.6 device or higher; more information here, and you can find SPB TV in the Android Market. SPB TV 2.0 for Android Main Features:
  • Integrated TV Guide with a list of current and upcoming TV shows
  • Unique browser with fast channel launching and switching
  • Quick channel preview (picture-in-picture mode)
  • On-screen control panel
  • Video on Demand
  • Setting a reminder
  • Video quality switcher
  • Advanced Video Codec support
  • Tablets support
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Gameloft’s Dungeon Hunter for Android goes free for one day only

Gameloft have made Android game Dungeon Hunter free for one day only, offering a handy way to bypass the pre-weekend boredom. Available as part of the game studio's Advent Twitter promotion, the game was released back in May 2010 and pits you as a dungeon raiding Rogue, Knight or Mage in an action RPG. Apparently some users have been experiencing problems with the download, and Gameloft has extended the free period to accommodate them. Still, it won't last forever, so best to download now if you fancy some free Android gaming. [youtube LzZLFHTb0-0]

Spotify for Android update suits tablets, speeds performance

Spotify has pushed out a new version of their Android media player app, complete with high-resolution graphics to suit large-screen devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab, and performance boosts that reduce time between tracks and other lag. The company now reckons the app will work on "almost any screen resolution, rotation and density, even tablet resolutions." Spotify for Android is a free download from the Android Market, though you'll need a premium account with the service in order to use it. Changelist below.
  • All the graphics have been re-done and are now available in high-definition.
  • The overall design has been re-done.
  • Support for almost any screen resolution, rotation and density, even tablet resolutions.
  • On-the-fly screen rotation support, used on devices with fold-out keyboard.
  • Multiple performance improvements to increase applications speed.
  • Improved error messages with better descriptions.
  • Improved detection of network connection and faster reconnections.
  • Fixed the texts and controllers that were cropped in some places.
  • Fixed the album art view which was often inconsistent with what was playing.
  • Fixed when the widget was not showing the correct content.
  • Fixed an issue with the application not playing the next song in certain cases.
  • New devices supported: HTC Desire HD, HTC Desire Z, Huawei U8300, Motorola Cliq, Motorola Cliq XT, Motorola XT720, Samsung Galaxy 3 (Apollo), Samsung Galaxy Tab, Sony Ericsson X10 Mini Pro, Sony Ericsson X8 and ZTE Blade