Honeycomb App Selection
Let’s be frank, there aren’t nearly as many Honeycomb Apps as there are iPad Apps. Why is that? It’s hard to say. On one hand, you have a huge iPad installed base, which is an understatement considering Apple is selling more iPad’s than Macbook’s now. They also seem to be able to make a better profit on the iPad, which may have something to do with Android on handsets. People on Android tend not to pay for any apps, and there are a larger percentage of free apps on Android Market.
If you were an app developer, which platform would you choose? The iPad and iPhone have such a huge amount of people developing for it, but if you don’t build a really great app, it’s hard to be noticed in a sea of other good apps. On Honeycomb, if you could build a compelling app, there would be little to no competition for you. The exposure you could get just by the fact that there is so much less Tablet apps in general on the platform could surely make a difference in your download count and your wallet.
Browser performance on the Transformer is great, and having Flash available to view videos in the browser is nice. But people don’t constantly want to be in the browser especially to check something like twitter. They bought a tablet for a different experience. Plume for Twitter on Honeycomb is one of a few Twitter apps made for the Tablets. It’s columns offer some customization, it loads extremely quickly, and is generally a clean experience. It is a nice example of a platform that hasn’t gained much traction on Android phones because of Twitter’s official app and other competition, but is the app of choice by many on Honeycomb.
Pulse is another great app for Honeycomb. You can choose from featured feeds, or plug in any RSS Feed yourself to view your news quickly and cleanly.
Swipe from side to side, click stories to enlarge, and launch the browser if you want to explore the site further.
The last App I want to highlight is the Gamefly App. Even if you don’t use the service, the app has news from the website www.shacknews.com and videos of the upcoming games. It isn’t greatly different from their iOS and Android phone apps, but simple tweaks make it easier to use on the Tablet, and make it much more usable.
I am looking ahead to when Google releases a Honeycomb optimized Google+ app, because Facebook hasn’t provided a Tablet app for the iPad for whatever reason.
In the end, the Honeycomb experience is mostly positive, with a few caveats. There are less apps than it’s biggest competitor, and they have greatly improved the user experience over time. But unfortunately it seems like the platform may not catch on greater until the unifying Smartphone/Tablet Software Platform Ice Cream Sandwich launches sometime this year from Google.
Google is still doing well, in case you were wondering -
Who doesn’t love an Earnings Calls? Impressive, the $9.02 Billion Revenue. Impressive, the $2.51 Billion Net Revenue, up from $1.84 Billion in the same quarter last year.
But the most interesting part of the call in my humble opinion is the fact that there are 550,000 Android devices activated DAILY. Android Market has had 6 BILLION downloads. Staggering.
Today, the popular music streaming service Spotify that has been in parts of Europe since 2008, launched in the United States. The service has somewhere over 10 million users, and has become popular by offering their service with both paid and free ad supported variations. The press that it had received before ever coming here can be best described as glowing.
Getting an invite via Twitter, I signed up for the service on the iPhone 4, downloaded the app, and expected to be off and listening to music. Searched for Alice in Chains, found all of their albums(which is impressive to see) and starred their most recent album to see if it was possible to play it right then. Unfortunately, doing that directly from the app is only available on the Premium or Unlimited Subscriptions.
Hopping on the Windows Desktop app, you find a service that’s easy to navigate, and has a large amount of music. Everything searched for on the first try was found, including entire Albums from Multiple Artists.
The Desktop app also directed me to download the iPhone or Android app to Sync the Local Files and the music from the Service that had been selected, which after synced, would allow me access to all music on the app, on the go over WIFI or 3G. The app also offers an offline mode, which I have not yet tested. It is definitely user friendly to those of you who aren’t the most technically inclined. As long as your Computer and iPhone/Android device are on the same WIFI Network, syncing is a breeze. Unfortunately, Spotify doesn’t offer a web client to compliment the service, which seems like a given in this day in age.
Although the free service seems to be usable, seems like the Premium service is a needed add-on to get the full compliment of the features available with the service.
Spotify seems to be the competitor in the Streaming music category that everyone thought it would be, albeit with a few shortcomings. Launching with a proven formula, with a nice Desktop app and mobile apps, makes the service good on Day 1. But Rdio, Mog, Rhapsody, and the others are all good in their own right, and it makes this an exciting time for the Music Lover.
New Look Android Market Incoming -
The Android Market has had one major revision in the past couple years. It was aimed at making apps easier to discover, and having a clean UI to navigate.
Google is here again with a Market update that aims to repeat that, plus add Movie Rentals(starting at $1.99) and Books to the mix.
The UI does look to have changed quite a bit, hopefully offering a more intuitive way to search through top app choices and the “Editor’s Choice” pages they have added.
This is set to roll it “in the coming weeks” to devices with 2.2 or above, and like the last release, will automatically show up.
Dev-Team Blog: jailbreakme times 3 -
Once again, @comex has resurrected http://www.jailbreakme.com for your jailbreaking ease and pleasure!
@comex developed what is now the third installment (and his second) of jailbreakme.com, the easiest way to jailbreak your iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad (including the iPad2!). No…
The Native Chat used in Google+ is Google Talk. Google Talk is already integrated into all Android Handsets, as well as Gmail, and it’s as easy as accepting an invite or just opting in to start.
Huddle is Mobile Only. If you have the Google+ App you can be involved in a Huddle, which is a group chat with a Circle you choose to invite. If you do not have an Android handset, and still want to join in on the action, you just add your phone number in the settings, and you can Huddle chat through SMS! That may not be the best solution for everybody, but it allows people without smartphones to be included.
Apparently up to this point, there is no way to adjust your Stream. If you have a popular post that is receiving comments or +1’s, it will automatically bump back on top of your stream. If you wish to not see a certain post, it is as easy as clicking the button on the top right of every post, and hitting Mute Post.
Last thing to touch on right now is Circles. Preset Circles are Family, Friends, Acquaintances, and for some reason the last one is escaping me. That’s because it has been deleted! Right Click on any circle to edit or delete it.
Google+ is here. We have been waiting for Google’s entrance into the Social Networking scene(beyond failures called Buzz and Wave).
Some of you may have only noticed something different by visiting the google.com homepage either on PC or smartphone, noticing that both have a slightly tweaked look.
Managing to type this without mentioning the word Facebook is nigh impossible, in a world where the site has over Half a Billion users, was not easy. But obviously this is the Network that they are directly competing with here. Facebook has had major privacy issues in the past. They have a habit of adding features or changing things and then completely changing the settings you have selected to how you want the public and even close friends to view the content you have on your page.
This has been a major issue. What Google is attempting to change is the fact that everybody can see everything from the minute they become your friend. They have employed “Circles” to help separate your friends. You can have Inner Circles, broken up into smaller groups within, and even Outer Circles, people you rarely want to see anything you have to offer, but are still friends with. You set the Circles, you control what content is viewed by whom, you and only you control your own Privacy. This is how it should be.
The Photo here from Engadget’s Brian Heater shows the Stream of Google+. Notice his Circles on the left side. He can share to everyone by clicking the top bar, or click into individual Circles to post to them specifically, or start a “Hangout”, etc.
What is Hangout? It seems to be something that Skype(Microsoft) may not take too kindly to. It is a video chat that people from a particular circle can join at any time. People are always looking for something outside of Skype to do video chat with multiple people with. Early indications are, this works very well.
"Huddle" is a make-shift chat room you can create for one of your Circles. The example Google gives you is a group of people deciding on which movie to see. Hop on your Google+ app on your Android Phone, start a Huddle, and chat with everyone instantly on the way to the Theater.
Speaking of your Google+ App, you can set it to automatically push all the photos you take to your account from your phone.
The release is a Beta in the same vein as Gmail, Invite only, very limited release. They say it’s not ready for full release, and because of their Social Networking missteps in the past, it is probably in their best interest to hold it back for now, and let Journalists and Tech luminaries get their first crack at it and give their feedback first.
The ideas put forth by Google here are interesting, but until we get our hands on time with Google+, it is hard to tell if this can be a Social Networking swan-song. Are people willing to visit Facebook AND Google+? We, and probably a majority of people using Social Networks, would probably like to settle on one, and this may prove hard for Google.
Personally, Google+ looks like exactly the Social Networking website I want to be apart of. Maybe someday soon there will be an invite out there for us.
This is the newly announced Nokia N9.
It is a device that’s a long time in development, and the hope of an entire country.
It’s also a dead platform, and the end result of a huge shift in a company that introduced many of us to the world of mobile phones years ago.
This physical design will be host to Microsoft’s Window Phone 7, which all indications point to a Fall 2011 release. As for this particular release, it houses Meego 1.2 with Nokia’s own Swipe UI (swipe.nokia.com). This phone forgoes physical buttons, instead featuring Swiping panels that go from a home screen to an app tray to a sort of all encompassing social media/messaging bin that aggregates all activity you have between you and your friends into one stream.
On Android, we are used to have many more screens, filling them up with widgets and folders. This endeavors to make the experience more tidy. There is no power button to wake the phone up from a period of inactivity, instead, you tap the screen 2 times to bring it back to life. This seems to be the way all smartphone OS’s are headed, and Nokia is the first to go all in with the buttonless design.
As for the hardware, the N9 is a mixed bag. Around back we have an 8mp camera sensor capable of 1080p video through the Carl Zeiss lens. With Nokia’s track record with phone camera’s, there is no doubt going to be an amazing point and shoot.
Back around front we have a 854x480 3.9” Curved Glass AMOLED Display. The Processor driving this is a rather dated(by today’s smartphone standards) Texas Instruments OMAP3630. This was first used in the Motorola Droid X that debut a year ago on Verizon Wireless. The Droid X has already received a Dual Core update with the same Tegra 2 SOC we have seen in the Motorola Atrix.
Nokia is the king of the Pentaband Radio, so we know this will work on both T-Mobile AND at&t here in the States.
Meego can provide a rich experience with which we haven’t seen on a Nokia Smartphone ever, and it doesn’t need the cutting edge Dual Core processors to do it. When you go from a standard 1ghz single core QSD-8250 Snapdragon to a Dual Core 1ghz Tegra 2 on Android, there is a noticeable difference in how quickly apps launch, and how smooth the experience is overall. But a platform like Windows Phone 7 up until this point, has a clean and smooth experience on that same Snapdragon Silicon.
Nokia just has one problem. This isn’t the platform they are going forward with. They are fully committed to Windows Phone 7, and most in the Industry believe this was only released to keep the stable of Nokia Engineers on payroll happy, because all of the work to get it to this point had already been completed.
Conventional Wisdom also says that although in Window Phone 7.5 Mango, the fruits of the Nokia/Microsoft joint effort will not be seen, but the Swipe UI we see here on this Meego device may make it onto a future Nokia Windows Phone release.
For a dead platform, people are surprised that Nokia seems to have delivered such a solid device. But Nokia wasn’t finished there, they also leaked(on purpose or by accident, although it sure looks purposeful to us) some footage of their first Windows Phone device. It is basically an N9, codenamed Sea Ray, although the LED Flash has been moved on the backside. The timing of this “leak” has to be to slow the highly positive press surrounding the N9 announced and the excitement over just how good Meego looked.
Over the years, nobody has disputed that Nokia can build seriously great hardware, but since the release of the iPhone and the subsequent and meteoric rise that iOS and Androud devices have had, people have grown disillusioned with Nokia’s ability to build a solid Software Platform. Unfortunately, when it seems they have finally proven all the critics wrong, and build something that can compete, it is the last Meego device we will see. No matter how well the N9 sells, or how great of a phone it looks to be, Meego is dead, and Nokia is moving forward with Windows Phone.
Photo and Links Courtesy of Engadget