Liberty 2.0 Update: I’m Not So Sure About This Guys…

FREEEEDOM!!!!! (Mel Gibson as William Wallace)

Well after the excitement of having something new to flash this week (See: Ooh! Shiny!) eventually wore of, I started to realize how I really can’t go back to 2.2. Gingerbread really is that much snappier (baking joke). It’s nothing wrong with Liberty 2.0. I can’t stress enough how unfair this review is. Had Liberty 2.0 come on 3 weeks ago and Gingerbread not have been leaked until 2 weeks from now this would be hands down the fastest, most customizable, and easy to use ROM available for the Droid X/2. This is a fantastic ROM. If you’re hooked (like me) on being able to customize your Android experience and are looking for the most stable way to do that to your new phone, this Liberty 2.0 is definitely the answer. I can seriously find almost nothing wrong with this ROM. I feel horrible for the timing of it because Gingerbread really stole a lot of their thunder here. Make no mistake, Team Liberty has cranked out a spectacular ROM here and anyone not willing to make the jump to either stock Gingerbread or waiting for some custom GB ROMs (like me) will be in no way¬†disappointed. Read more after the break. Continue reading

Advertisements

Windows 8: We’ve got an App Store too!!!

Not to be out done by Apple’s Mac App Store, the Amazon App Store and pretty much any Linux distro the folks in Redmond may just be working on their own version of the “generic App Store” for the next version of their desktop OS, Windows 8. Why the turn towards a centralized software versus the traditional “insert installation disk” setup? Find out after the break. Continue reading

Ad-Supported Kindle $25 Less on May 3rd, Trending Please

The idea isn’t a new one: sell a device/app for a lower sticker price based on the ad revenue you’ll be generating. This makes several popular apps (Tap Tap Revenge, Dungeon Defenders) actually free and is similar to how book sales help keep the Barnes and Noble’s Nook Color down to only $250 regular price. Well, Amazon is now taking the same principal and directly applying to the sales of their e-reader device. The ever popular Kindle will soon be available in the ad-supported (sound familiar app users?) form for $25 less than its ad-free brethren. Available at Best Buy and Target for $114, its the same e-reader experience with the added “benefits” of ads on both your screensaver and the home screen. They have confirmed there will be no ads on your books anywhere, but the screensaver looks annoying already. Continue reading

Official: Galaxy Tab Wifi

Oft rumored but never officiated, the Galaxy Tab Wifi-Only could’ve been a easy sell at only $350. However, this isn’t 2010 and only now going on sale this Sunday (April 10th) for $350, Samsung really missed the train in my opinion. With no official Honeycomb update even rumored, the Tab seems like the red headed step child of the Galaxy Class. Tough luck too cause it has decent hardware with an Adreno 200 GPU and that 1ghz Hummingbird CPU powering a unremarkable 7″ 1024×600 screen. All those specs remain intact for the Wifi-only model, but it appears only a white backed Tab will be shipping. Sounds pretty decent for that price, especially if you’re willing to get your feet wet in the wonderful wide world of custom ROMs on the Tab. Got some hankering for some Honeycomb? XDA-developers has your back. It’s quite risky and not entirely useful, but there is in fact an Android 3.0 port already in Alpha ready for you to give it a shot. $350 for a 7″ Honeycomb Tablet? Sounds like heaven to a lot of people, I’m sure. Here’s to the vibrant Android dev community! Keep it coming!

Video:

Source: Engadget

HTC posts new Flyer Video

Well I honestly didn’t think I’d ever be intrigued by a tablet that wasn’t running iOS, stock Honeycomb, and MAYBE Windows 7, but HTC certainly puts up a fantastic case and I’m more than tempted to throw some cash at them. Most impressive I think from this video is their tight integration with the Calendar, your notes, and the audio. This is a real world solution to a very frustrating problem in college or the business world. That, plus the “more for work than play” Scribe Pen seems to brings some valid extra utility to having something running HTC’s Sense versus straight Honeycomb. I still think their home screen widgets (including that abomination of a clock/weather widget) are all a horrible waste of space, the rest of the UI seems to be really intelligently laid out. I hope the overlay on the video calling goes away, that was a little over bearing. Their notes app and the sketch app all seem to bring (dare I say it) an almost Apple like quality to the Android platform. It’s clean, refined and easy to use. It’s also a lot more integrated between Contacts, “People” (not like WP& thank God), Notes, and Social Networking it all seems to bring a very unique interface that has some desktop replacement qualities but remains far enough away that it’s finger friendly and just might take some buyers away from the iPad 1/2 (That’s 1 and/or 2 not half).

Any way, I’ll do more of run down of tablets/their respective OS’s when more come to market probably by late summer/early fall. Here’s the video:

Android 3.0 SDK Released!

Well, this is big news for any platform: a new version finally going final build. As exciting as the preview was, many developers I’m sure are pretty stoked to get their grubby little fingers all over this Honeycomb version of Android. All API’s are final (And cranked to 11!!! :O) and the whole kit and kaboodle can be downloaded right now. I know I’m not first to the scene, but I’ll be here to post an update later with my own personal impressions with the new SDK and experimenting with the AVD. For now you’ll just have to make do with my exposure to the preview.

If you’ve been following any of the news as of late, Android 3.0 is the next version of Android designed specifically for tablet devices. It is the first true competitor to the market the Apple iPad started about a year ago. Running Android 2.2 on 7″ devices may work for some, but it’s not a valid option to the tablet specific apps for the iPad. Windows 7 is too bloated to try and run on these devices and none of the Android tablets so far have had the necessary software enhancements to really make a stand against the plethora of tailor made tablet apps for the iPad. All that changes with this latest build.

I had a chance last week to sit down with the 3.0 SDK Preview build that was released on January 36th (better late than never). Needless to say I walked away from the experience very impressed and quite excited to see the next wave of tablets come crashing over the U.S. I didn’t take too much time to actually write any apps for 3.0 (API’s not being final keeps me away) but I did take a bit of time to get the AVD up and running for a Honeycomb device code named Zoom (hehe). As I recall, my device had 10″ scaled display with a 4gb sd card and 1024MB of RAM. I left it at the default resolution and DPI as well as not touching any of the other modules besides touch screen input. My first device build failed (not sure why) but the second time it finished and eventually booted up in about 5 minutes on my Win7 PC.

The differences between 3.0 and 2.2 on a tablet are huge, especially in the UI realm, but what I’d really like to compare it to is the iPad’s iOS UI scheme and how strikingly different they are approaching the same screen real estate. Instead of a row of docked icons at the bottom of the screen with rows of scrollable icons above, the Honeycomb build presents you with an System Bar across the bottom and instead of just icons, several widgets are seemingly floating above the wallpaper. Above the widgets on the homescreen you’ll find a Google Universal Search box in the top left and an icon to access your full list of apps on the top right. The bottom left of the screen contains three navigation buttons: Back, Home, and Menu. Adding widgets has a new 3D visual appeal as well as the widgets themselves scrolling through a three dimensional space. My ¬†3.0 AVD build not being the quickest (I also blame bias against AMD processors) kind of killed a lot of the visual aesthetic, but I did at least get it to show the app launcher and the recent applications visual. The app launcher is pretty much the standard array of icons, but the recent apps brings a lot more to the table via the System Bar. Instead of having a row of icons popup for fast app switching in iOS 4.2 you’re treated to actual live snapshots of apps running in the background making it a lot less of a guessing game and a lot more of getting stuff done. Most of this has already been demoed and videoed dozens of times before, but I encourage you to take the next step and try it out for yourself. Sure, I’d already seen the launcher and the widgets and all that in multiple videos, but it’s an entirely different experience when you get to press the buttons for yourself and really feel how everything works.

Although my experience thus far has been limited to the preview SDK for Android 3.0, it was nonetheless an experience that has left me highly anticipating getting me some Honeycomb action before too long. iOS had better really step up its UI for tablets with the iPad 2 because even my short time with Android 3.0 made me feel like my that extra real estate was being put to good use outside the gazillion apps. Ultimately the market decides, but Honeycomb has come in with it’s guns blazing and I’d encourage anyone of any OS to build yourself an SDK and start developing cause 2011 is gonna be a crazy ride!

Peace out.

Wil