software

Android users spurn paid apps say researchers

New stats seemingly confirm anecdotal evidence that Android users are less likely to download paid applications than their Apple-using counterparts. According to researchers Distimo, 80-percent of paid applications in the Android Market have been downloaded less than 100 times. In the competitive gaming segment, only five titles in the Android Market have been downloaded more than 250,000 worldwide. In contrast, ten iPhone games in the App Store were downloaded in excess of 250,000 times in the US in the past two months alone. It's a trend that's seemingly shared across app segments, too:
"It is more challenging for developers in the Google Android Market than in the Apple App Store to monetize using a one-off fee monetization model. We found that only two paid applications have been downloaded more than half a million times in the Google Android Market worldwide to date, while six paid applications in the Apple App Store for iPhone generate the same number of downloads within a two month timeframe in the United States alone." Distimo
Distimo suggests that Google's slow rate of change of the top ten charts - which incorporates long-term performance and as such varies at a slower pace than Apple's charts - is a significant cause of the download scarcity. That means there's less fresh meat for users to see and be tempted by. You can download the full Distimo report here [free registration required].

XPERIA Play and Arc Android 2.3.3 update released with Facebook Inside [Video]

Sony Ericsson has begun pushing out its Android 2.3.3 update the the XPERIA Arc and XPERIA Play. The update includes the new Facebook Inside XPERIA functionality which Sony Ericsson debuted on the XPERIA min and mini pro. That inserts deeper Facebook integration through the various preloaded apps, including the ability to "Like" the track you're currently listening to in the media player, share updates more quickly, and pull Facebook events down into the phone's calendar. There's also various other bugfixes and the like, along with Google's own minor improvements in 2.3.3. It's rolling out progressively across markets - no word on which is first at this stage - so don't be surprised if the update doesn't show up on your phone quite yet. Sony Ericsson has also confirmed that the Gingerbread update for the XPERIA X10 will include Facebook Inside XPERIA too.
  • Battery performance
  • General software stability
  • Wi-Fi stability
  • HD Video recording performance (Xperia arc)
  • Touch responsiveness
[youtube _OjP4bPDBcY]

Notion Ink Adam gets Kindle support

Notion Ink has announced that users of its Adam tablet will now be able to read their Amazon ebooks, with the news that the Kindle app is now available for the slate. The app does make considerable sense when you consider the optional Pixel Qi display, which can function in a similar manner to an e-ink panel on one of Amazon's own Kindle ereaders. Of course, the Kindle app for Android is nothing new, and so this is more an announcement about Amazon giving Notion Ink permission to distribute it through its download store than anything else. Adam lacks official access to the Android Market, and instead uses its own download system. As usual, there's Whispersync support so that reading progress is synchronized over all Kindle apps and hardware: you can pick up your Adam and carry on reading where you left off on your Kindle. The agreement is said to be the first of several imminent from Notion Ink.

Qualcomm Augmented Reality Platform gets commercial release

Qualcomm has released the commercial v1.0 build of its Augmented Reality Platform, enabling Android app developers to integrate AR into their software. The Qualcomm AR Android SDK and AR Unity Extension allow for games like Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots as shown at Uplinq 2010. Beta versions of the AR Platform were released last year, with Qualcomm demonstrating an interesting augmented reality photo frame concept which used the camera on Android handsets to identify different displays and then easily change what was being shown on them. This v1.0 release of the SDK now means developers can release apps commercially using the technology; Qualcomm says they'll work on any Android 2.1+ device, though suggests that performance will be stronger on those using Snapdragon chipsets. Qualcomm's AR Platform is available to download at developer.qualcomm.com/ar now. There's a demo of the AR photo frame concept below. [vms 97ccb54be14d6a47439b] Press Release:
Qualcomm Announces Commercial Release of its Augmented Reality Platform Platform Enables Android Developers to Create and Distribute Vision-based AR Applications SAN DIEGO — April 27, 2011 — Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) today announced the immediate commercial availability of its Augmented Reality (AR) Platform for Android smartphones. Offered through Qualcomm’s online developer network, this 1.0 release marks the successful completion of the Company’s beta program. Developers can now build, market and commercially distribute applications based on the Qualcomm AR platform. Qualcomm’s award-winning AR platform will enable a broad range of experiences that entertain, engage and inform consumers with a new form of interactive media. The platform’s rich feature set enables developers to build high-performance, interactive 3D experiences on real world images, such as those used in print media (books, magazines, brochures, tickets, signs) and on product packaging. The platform supports multiple development environments. The Qualcomm AR Android SDK supports native Android development with the Android tool chain, including the Android SDK and NDK. The Qualcomm AR Unity Extension supports rapid development with the Unity 3 game development tool. A web application is also included for creating and managing image resources that can be used with either development environment. Industry-leading performance is achieved through Qualcomm’s innovations in advanced computer vision algorithms and close integration of hardware and software. The effect of this performance is a higher fidelity user experience in which graphics content appears more real against the real world background. While applications built on the platform will run on all Android smartphones using Android 2.1 or greater, optimal performance will be exhibited on phones using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon™ chipset. “Qualcomm has a long history of providing advanced technologies that drive innovation and opportunity for the mobile ecosystem,” said Jay Wright, senior director of business development, Qualcomm. “We continue the tradition by making leading AR technology widely available to developers for commercial use. With more than 6,000 registered developers, we look forward to a new generation of AR applications available in the Android Market and other application stores.” Qualcomm and BigPlayAR recently collaborated with the Dallas Mavericks to introduce the first commercial application using Qualcomm’s platform. Mavs AR, a game developed by Big PlayAR, has enabled fans attending the Mavs playoff games at American Airlines Center to point their smartphone running the Mavs AR application at their ticket to play a virtual basketball game in the palm of their hands. “We are thrilled with Mavs AR – it has really added a new layer of fun and interaction to the Mavs fan experience,” said Mavs owner Mark Cuban. “Based on the game’s success, we expect to use AR for future fan promotions, and Qualcomm’s AR platform has demonstrated itself as a powerful platform for creating these types of 3D experiences.” The Qualcomm AR Platform is available immediately at developer.qualcomm.com/ar

Qik Video Connect adds cross-platform Android & iPhone video calls [Video]

Qik has launched the latest version of its video calling app, Qik Video Connect, promising cross-platform calls between Android and iOS devices. The new app - a free download - now allows you to see your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad 2 owning friends as you mock them for not having the latest Android. There's also video mail, the ability to share videos with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social networking sites, and support for the front and rear facing cameras on most devices. Qik has also boosted video quality and reduced battery life impact, and some phones - Samsung Galaxy Tab, Samsung Galaxy Player, Samsung Galaxy S, and Telus Samsung Galaxy S Fascinate 4G - will offer VGA quality streaming when done over WiFi. You'll need an Android 2.1 or above device in order to use the app - or of course an iOS device. Video mail is only free until June 1 2011, however, and will be a subscription service after that. [youtube ERvpp0fMyYs]

Skype Android update enabled 3G VoIP in US

Skype has updated its Android app, with the biggest change being that VoIP calls are now supported over 3G in the US. Previous versions of the app had limited 3G voice calls via Skype to WiFi connections, though only in the US; now, it seems Skype has wrangled access from the carriers for all. Skype for Android v1.0.0.983 also tweaks some security issues identified recently, but it's the 3G functionality that makes the biggest difference. Previously only the Verizon-specific version of the app had allowed data use of VoIP. You can download Skype for Android from the Android Market; at time of writing the updated version isn't showing in the online Market. It's a free app.

Sonos releases Controller for Android app

The Sonos Controller for Android app has finally made it into the Android Market, being available to download today. Delayed a little from its original release schedule in March, the app allows Android 2.1 or above devices to control the Sonos multi-room audio system, just as the existing dedicated remotes or the iOS apps. We played with the beta version of the app back in February and came away mightily impressed. You'll need a device with an HVGA 320 x 480, WVGA 480 x 800 or WVGA 480 x 854 display in order to use it, along with some Sonos kit of course. Meanwhile Sonos is also adding AirPlay support; you can find m [vms 2108eee6dd897f3bca8a] Press Release:
Sonos Controller for Android Now available on Android Market Sonos Gives Android Fans Amazing Sound, Unlimited Music and Incredible Wireless Control in Every Room of the Home London, UK – April 19, 2011 – Sonos, the leading developer of wireless multi-room music systems for the home, today announced that the Sonos Controller for Android is now available for download as a free app on the Android Market™. Sonos Controller for Android transforms most Android™ smartphones into a wireless music controller for the award-winning Sonos Multi-Room Music System. To see a video on how you can use an Android smartphone to control music all over the home with Sonos, please visit www.sonos.com/android. “We’re pleased to deliver a great new way for music lovers to tap into all the music on earth,” said John MacFarlane, founder and CEO, Sonos, Inc. “Now Android owners can pull out their phones and bring music home with Sonos.” With the award-winning Sonos S5 in any room and an Android smartphone in hand, music fans can now enjoy an unmatched wireless music experience in the home. Access and play all the music on earth – from the Internet and your personal music library – throughout the home, wirelessly. Play the same song in every room of the house – perfectly synchronized. Or mix it up and play different songs in different rooms. Use the free Sonos Controller for Android to control the music in each room, all from the palm of your hand. Search for songs and stations by typing, or by speaking, thanks to the new Sonos music voice search feature. Also, turn the hard buttons on the Android smartphone into volume control. And because your Android phone is controlling the music – not the source of it – when a text comes in or you need to make a phone call, the music doesn’t stop. The Sonos Controller for Android works on any Android smartphone running Android 2.1 or later with a screen size of HVGA 320 x 480, WVGA 480 x 800 or WVGA 480 x 854. Sonos Controller for Android joins the family of Sonos Controllers which includes free apps for iPhone and iPad, a dedicated touchscreen controller, the Sonos Controller 200, and free software for your Mac or PC, which is included with every ZonePlayer. All controllers work together seamlessly. In conjunction with today’s Sonos Controller for Android availability, Sonos has released Sonos System Software v3.4 which features support for Apple AirPlay music sources, iOS multi-tasking and more. For more details, see additional press release or visit: http://sonos.com/support/software_update.aspx

Spotify for Android updated: Faster, frugal streaming music

Spotify for Android has been updated, with the new version being quicker to load, having a tweaked UI and reducing its demands on battery. The tweaked app also now allows users to choose which storage device to keep cached tracks on, for Android devices with more than one memory card; music sync over WiFi is also said to be improved. There are also fixes for voice search and missing cover art, along with how audio restarts after phone calls. Devices with dedicated media buttons are also supported in v0.4.9 too. The Spotify app for Android is, as before, a free download. However you'll need a premium account with the service in order to actually use it when mobile.
  • Ability to choose storage location on devices with more than one memory card.
  • Changes to user interface.
  • Reduced startup time.
  • Improved battery life when using Spotify.
  • Volume control now always controls media volume, even if music is not playing.
  • Support for media buttons and audio focus APIs introduced in Froyo.
  • Much improved music syncing over WiFi.
  • Voice search now works properly when in Spotify.
  • Scrobbling issues have been fixed.
  • Bug causing missing cover art for local files has been fixed.
  • Failing to sync with locked screen has been fixed.
  • Music starting by itself after a phone call has been fixed.
  • Many other stability and performance improvements.

Vodafone UK releases Samsung Galaxy S Gingerbread update

Vodafone UK has begun to push out the update for the Samsung Galaxy S, updating the smartphone to Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Vodafone looks to be the first UK carrier to offer the update. The first signs of Gingerbread for the Galaxy S were spotted over the weekend, with the new firmware being flagged up in several Nordic countries. According to Vodafone's change-list, the handset will get a "simpler and slicker" UI, the new Gingerbread keyboard, boosted power and camera management, and the ability to lock it into 2G mode. To install the new firmware, you'll need to hook your Galaxy S up to a PC running Samsung KIES. Let us know how you get on in the comments! Press Release:
NEWS: Update for the Samsung Galaxy S A new maintenance release for the Samsung Galaxy S is now available for Vodafone customers. This is an Android platform update to 2.3 Gingerbread which introduces a number of fixes and improvements which include; Ul Enhancements (simpler and slicker) New Android Keyboard, with easy copy/paste feature Improved Power Management Multiple Camera Management (front and back) The ability to switch the device to GSM (2G) only mode has been restored in this update. How will you get the latest software? This can be done manually by connecting your handset to your computer via USB and opening the Samsung KIES application. You will be prompted that an update is available and should then follow the onscreen instructions. Checking the software version To check which version of the software you have on your handset you need to dial *#1234# The new software version will show as i9000BUJV4

Google Maps 5.3 adds Latitude Location History, custom Places reviews

Google has updated Google Maps for Android to v5.3, introducing the new Google Location History dashboard. Working with Latitude's Location History, the new info pane shows your recent locations as well as how long you've spent at work, at home or simply out and about. As always, you can delete your location history either partially or completely, and it's only visible by users themselves or the people they share their location with. There's a new "check in at home" feature, too. Finally, Google Places with Hotpot now allows you to add your own rating category, so you can leave custom feedback. The Google Maps update is available via the Android Market for devices running 1.6 or higher.
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