software

TweetDeck for Android beta v1.0.6 released

TweetDeck beta 1.0.6 for Android has been released, for those at the very cutting edge of mobile social networking. The new release sees the friend database code rewritten for boosted performance, Facebook photos changing automatically within the app when a user's profile is updated, and the ability to see full-sized profile pictures within the app. Meanwhile there's also a shift to Foursquare's v2.0 API, which should mean less data used in the process, and various fixes including how dates are formatted. You can download the APK file directly here.

Amazon Android AppStore taking app submissions; due later in 2011

Amazon's Android AppStore, rumored back in October 2010, is now open for business, on the developer side at least. The alternative download store will be hitting Android devices later in 2011, but the retailer is inviting app submissions from developers to populate it ahead of launch. Unlike the official Android Market, Amazon will be quality checking each application prior to its listing in the store, and the retailer will also be taking control over how apps are priced. Developers will be able to set "List Price" guidelines, but Amazon itself will be setting the retail price, much as it does with books and other products. Developers get 70-percent of the proceeds, but if Amazon decides to significantly discount their app or even make it free, they're guaranteed a minimum of 20-percent of their list price. Amazon's recommendations engine will also come into play, suggesting apps based on other downloads or even other products bought, and users will be able to browse apps via the web interface and send them to their phone (though they'll need to open the Amazon AppStore program on the phone in order to install the software). Payments will be through Amazon's One-Click system, though Android device users will need to allow "Unknown Source" installations to get the store up and running. [via TechCrunch]

Samsung Kies Air adds wireless sync & access to Galaxy S

Samsung is rolling out wireless sync for users of its Kies desktop media management app for certain Android smartphones. Kies Air is showing up in the Samsung Apps download store on the Galaxy S, and allows PCs running Kies to access the smartphone over WiFi and view call logs, videos, photos, bookmarks, and IMs, as well as send SMS messages from the computer's browser. Unlike HTC Sense Online, Kies Air only works if all devices are on the same WiFi network, and we're not seeing it show up in the Galaxy Tab apps store, only on the Galaxy S. Still, it's a useful tool if you want to use your full-sized keyboard to punch out messages more quickly, or manage content on the Galaxy S without having to plug in a USB cable. Kies is a free download for PC only. [gallery] [via Samsung Blog]

Geinimi Android trojan piggybacks 3rd-party apps & sends personal info to hackers

A new Android trojan has been discovered, Geinimi, capable of stripping information from a user's device and sending that to a third-party, or even allowing the handset's functionality to be remotely controlled. According to Lookout, the Geinimi malware is installed as a side-effect of compromised third-party applications; these have been found in Chinese app stores. Installed, the trojan sends the phone's location coordinates and unique identifiers for the device (IMEI) and SIM card (IMSI) to remote servers. Titles in the Android Market are clean, however, so only those users who side-load apps onto their smartphones should be at risk. Still, it's a good idea to check the security permissions on each app rather than blindly stab at the OK button, since these compromised Geinimi titles ask for far more access to your phone than a regular app might.

SoundHound app now gives unlimited music IDs

Music identification company SoundHound has unlocked the free version of its software to support unlimited track IDs. Previously, SoundHound - which is available for Android devices as well as iOS devices - only supported five IDs per month in the free version, requiring an upgrade to the premium app for any more than that. The app also shows lyrics, artist information and previews the top songs. SoundHound is still offering the premium app, for those who don't want adverts.

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]