Motorola Droid Android 2.2.2 Update Rolling Out Today!

It was in late January that we reported about the original Motorola Droid Android 2.2.2 update is under testing from Motorola. Today, Droid-Life is reporting that Motorola and Verizon are done with all their tests, and will be releasing the OTA update to Droid owners today itself.

The FRG83G OTA update will update the Droid Android OS version to 2.2.2. The Android 2.2.2 was released by Google so as to fix the famous ‘SMS’ bug.

Motorola_Droid

Here is the official change-log from the big Red itself -:

* Sporadic issues with unintended recipient list corrected for text, audio, picture, video and audio multimedia messages.

* Correct message populates when messaging application is quickly opened and accessed.

It is more or less certain that the Droid won’t get the Android 2.3 Gingerbread update. However, it is nice to see Motorola still releasing minor Android OS update a handset which is more than a year old now.

The Droid is the first handset in the market to get the Android 2.2.2 update, excluding the Nexus One. Other manufactures should learn from Motorola and release the Android 2.2.2 update for all their Android handsets.

The FRG83G update for the Droid weighs in at 3.4MB, and will be pushed to all Droid handsets beginning from today.

Shedding Android Game Development Myths

Game development on Android has been slow until now, mostly with games being ported from the iOS platform or the development space being shared between the two platforms. Very rarely has a game been developed exclusively for Android and has made it big at the same time.

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(Image Via: downloadandroid)
Android game developers have seen extremely low revenue, but they might just be doing things wrong. A number of people claim that the Android platform is far more profitable than iOS. The reasons for Android’s popularity are numerous including cheap handsets, more handset options to choose from, flexibility with devices after sale (easy rooting and the AOSP) and a fast-paced development team.

While Android has seen an overshoot of power-users because of its flexibilities and the Google effect, Apple survives on the Steve Jobs factor, a lot of fanboyism and their coherent product designs. This brings Android to the masses while the iPhone and other iOS devices appeals to a limited group of people who can afford it without giving a second thought. Measuring from this perspective (crudely), Android users are more likely to make fragmented small payments, but iPhone and iPad users can pay one time and en-mass. This is the factor to keep in mind while developing apps, even games. Games on Android can top their clones (parents) on iOS and here is a true story from Spacetime studios, the makers of Pocket Legends.

Until now, Android games have seen only a trickle of the revenue stream, where developers depend totally on app purchase. Most of these developers are from the iOS platform or develop in parallel for it too, thus the perspective. However, what these develops fail to understand is that this is not the App store! Things are done differently around here in the Android Market. Android is far less profitable considering purchase of apps for installation, but when comparing in-app purchase of items, Android wins by a huge margin.

Spacetime Studios claims that Android has twice the number of users for its game Pocket Legends than on iOS for any given day. There are nearly 2.5x to 3x downloads of their popular MMORPG game on Android, as compared to iOS and Android users are far more active using Pocket Legends. This makes Android a better choice for making money out of apps using in-app items. Developers can leverage these facts and earn considerably more from Android app development. Success stories like Pocket Legends and Angry Birds are the ones to watch for inspirations if you are an Android game developer.

Android And iOS To Get Foursquare 3.0 Tonight

Foursquare, the location-based social network, is set to be bumped up to version 3 soon. Foursquare was first conceived and built under the project Dodgeballwhich was purchased by Google and replaced with their Latitude service. This week marks the 2 year anniversary since the launch of Foursquare at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.

The new updates to Foursquare allow for a much richer experience with the use of a recommendation engine. It allows users to search for a place and be provided back with aggregated results combining previously checked-in places, places friends have checked into as well as popular and similar places. The leaderboard feature has been updated, providing users with more information on points, badges and statuses. Badges were one of the major cornerstones to the progression and wide spread adoption of Foursquare. It created real-life rivalry and competition to gain badges and attain mayorstatus of a location. Often times retailers would provide discounts to mayors of stores.

Another unique addition to the service is the for retailers to reward and attract consumers with specials. Check-in specials, swarm specials (large amounts of check-ins), friend specials (for groups of friends), loyalty check-ins (for regular users), newbie specials (new check-ins), mayor and flash specials. These can be used to entice potential customers as well as reward existing customer loyalty.

A new Foursquare client is set to be rolled out to iOS and Android devices later this evening. BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows Phone 7 updates are to come at a later unspecified date. See below for more screenshots of the features.

Opera Launches Platform Independent Opera Mobile Store in More Than 200 Countries

Opera Software has tied up with Appia to launch Opera Mobile Store, an app store for mobile devices that supports pretty much every popular mobile platform under the sun, except iPhone and Windows Phone 7. Of course, supporting those two platforms is more than a little tricky for third party application repositories due to their locked down nature.

Opera Mobile Store will be integrated with Opera Mini and Opera Mobile in the form of a speed dial entry. This means that Opera will have direct access to approximately hundred million users around the globe. During its trial phase in February, the Opera Mobile Store attracted more than 15 million users, from 200 countries, amassing more than 700,000 downloads per day.

Opera-Mobile-Store

Opera Mobile Store is available at mobilestore.opera.com and features both free and paid apps. The app catalog is automatically user tailored based on his operating system, device resolution, country, currency and language. Platforms currently supported are Android, Java, Windows Mobile, Symbian, BlackBerry, and Palm.

The launch of the Opera Mobile Store supports Opera’s core belief in an open, cross-platform mobile Internet experience by providing Opera users with an integrated storefront of mobile applications,said Mahi de Silva, Exec. Vice President, Consumer Mobile, Opera Software. Our partnership with Appia delivers to all Opera Mobile and Opera Mini users easy access to a wide variety of great content, on any device, all over the world.

Opera Software has also launched the Opera Publisher Portal, which allows developers to submit their applications. Developers will get 70% of the net revenue generated by them, while Opera Software will keep the rest. Unlike the Android Market, Opera Mobile Store is moderated, and every app is manually approved. In the past Apple has received a lot of flak for their policy on adult apps. Opera has taken a similar approach with Mobile Store by banning all erotic content. However, unlike the iOS App Store, Opera Mobile Store doesn’t charge any subscription fee, and is completely free.

Microsoft to Launch Windows for Tablets Only by Q3 2012

Despite rumors of Microsoft working feverishly on a Windows tablet launch in 2011, it seems that Microsoft’s answer to Android and iOS for tablets won’t be ready until Q3 2012. A recent report by Business Week says that Microsoft won’t launch a tablet version of Windows until the 2012 back-to-school season, which by all measures will be too late for the software giant.

“If 2011 is the year of the tablet wars, Microsoft will be awfully late suiting up for that battle,said Michael Gartenberg, a New Jersey-based analyst for research firm Gartner Inc. It’s not a good position to be in.”

It has already been over an year since Apple unveiled the iPad and in less than a week, the iPad 2 will be available around the world. Android has also entered the tablet race and is poised to become the leading tablet platform soon, thanks to manufacturers like Motorola, Samsung and HTC rushing to launch tablets running Android.

Even HP’s webOS tablets and RIM’s Blackberry Playbook will be available by the end of 2011. Microsoft will likely be the last major entrant into the tablet arena, and it will probably be too late for it to gain a foothold of the market then. The only hope for Microsoft is if it is able to leverage the huge Windows market share in PCs and the power of the vast library of Windows software already available.

The tablet market is set to explode in the coming years, as consumer focus shifts from personal computers to tablets. By the time Windows tablets are launched, we will probably see the iPad 3 and the third generation of Android tablets in the market. The future of Microsoft’s tablet OS seems very bleak.

Android 3.0 Honeycomb SDK Ported To HTC HD2

Google had made it clear that Android 3.0 Honeycomb is meant for tablets, and some features of Honeycomb will make it to the mobile version of Android, in the future updates. However, this did not stop the developers from porting the Honeycomb SDK to phones like the Desire HD and the EVO 4G.

Now, another favorite phone of the modding community the HD2 has also got the Honeycomb love from the developers. The developers worked day and night to port the Honeycomb SDK to the HD2. As usual, not everything works but this port will be able to give HD2 owners a taste of Honeycomb.

Below is a video of the Honeycomb SDK port running on the HD2 :

HTC HD2 Running Android 3.0 Honeycomb

Mobile data, SD card slot, graphics hardware acceleration and the hardware buttons work fine, and everything else including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and camera is currently in a work-in-progress state.

The HTC HD2 was released at the end of 2009 running Windows 6.5. Since then, the phone has been hacked to run all the different flavors of Android including Froyo and Gingerbread. Developers have also managed to get WP7 and Ubuntu running on the handset!

(Source)

Samsung Galaxy Pro Announced; Is A Mid-Range QWERTY Messenger

Samsung has just added a new member to their Galaxy’ line-up   the Galaxy Pro. The Galaxy Pro is mid-range handset, sporting a 2.8-inch touchscreen with a QWERTY keyboard, in a bar shaped form a la E71.

The handset is powered by a 800MHz CPU and packs 512MB of RAM. It features a four-row QWERTY keyboard as well.  The usual GPS with A-GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, microSD card slot and a 3.5mm audio jack are also present.

 

The back of the phone sports a 3MP auto-focus camera. Sadly, there is no LED flash to aid night photography. The Pro will run on Android 2.2 with Samsung’s TouchWIZ UI on top of it.

Other specs of the handset including its pricing remains a mystery, as Samsung did not mention anything. However, Three U.K. has already confirmed that the Galaxy Pro will be coming to their network soon!

The Galaxy Pro is aimed at competing with budget oriented handsets messengers’ from Nokia and RIM.

Sprint And Samsung Spying On Android (And You)

Carriers depend on their ability to control what goes over their network, from blocking foreign smartphones to forcing consumers onto high-tier data plans in order to subsidize the cost of devices, but some of the recent details on embedding metric tracking software on Android devices, while isn’t completely new, is invasive and provides carriers with a whole slew of what should be considered personal information.

The Android Creative Syndicate have been poking around in recent Android installs that come pre-loaded on Samsung devices from Sprint and have found Carrier IQ — what is being describing as “highly invasive, to the level of being spyware“. Carrier IQ is legitimately billed for tracking metrics and a “provider of Mobile Service Intelligent Solutions to the Wireless Industry”. In short, the software consists of daemons, libraries and small applications that provide detailed information to Sprint about your smartphone usage. The ACS (Android Creative Syndicate) advise that Carrier IQ hooks into the contents of SMS and MMS messages, battery and signal status, XML files that are opened as well as every web page visited. It can read each number that is entered into the phone dialer, details about open applications and is even tied into all data sent and received from the device.

Lead ROM Developer, k0nane, has posted screen shots showing the interface for enabling and disabling select services for the IQ Agent. He notes that all logging is disabled which hides the activities from users. ACS reports after removing the major traces of Carrier IQ they have noticed a significant increase in battery life and HTC Evo 4G users who have disabled similar services report increased speed and overall usability.

With the slew of recent malware found in the Android Market might we soon see more users taking to rooting their devices, installing custom ROM images that remove such bundled spywareand provide increased security by patching known holes? Hopefully Google can implement some strict rules for carrier customization as well as a different model for third party application access control.

Google Uses Kill-Switch to Remotely Uninstall Android Malware, Pushes Update to Undo Changes

Earlier in the week, a Redditor uncovered a large network of malwares masquerading as popular apps in the Android Market, when he stumbled upon one of the apps and noticed its incorrect publisher info. Android Police has a lowdown on the incident, which once again demonstrated how easy it is to infiltrate the Android Market. The fake apps, once downloaded, proceeded to root the phone using the famous “rageagainstthecage” exploit, and called home. It also had the potential to download additional payloads.

Android-Malware-AttackFor its part, Google reacted swiftly, and pulled the apps minutes after being notified by Android Police. However, according to information provided by “lompolo”, the Redditor who uncovered this entire mess, some of the app developers were already aware of this for as long as a week, but their complaints fell on deaf ears. The apps injected with malware, which were dubbed as DroidDream by Lookout, only affected handsets running versions older than Android 2.2.2. Google found DroidDream in 58 applications, which were downloaded onto 260,000 devices.

Google believes that the apps only uploaded device information (IMEI/IMSI, unique codes which are used to identify mobile devices, and the version of Android running on your device), and not user-data. After pulling the apps, and performing its initial investigation, Google is now moving to rectify the damage caused. It is in the process of removing the apps from all handsets by employing the remote kill-switch built into Android. It is also pushing through a new update called “Android Market Security Tool March 2011″ to affected devices. This update will undo the changes made by DroidDream. If you were among the affected users, expect an email from Google soon.

This entire saga raises several questions. Obviously, as Android’s popularity continues to surge, more and more hackers and malware writers will target it. Unfortunately, it’s clear that Google is simply in no position to mitigate these attacks before they occur. The “openness” of the Market is becoming Android’s biggest security weakness. Although most Android users have nothing but disdain for any app review system, I would welcome a change in the Market policy, whereby all submitted apps are screened for signs of malicious or fraudulent activities. Google might also need to give a serious thought to how it deploys security updates. Apple and Microsoft have full control over deploying critical system updates, unlike Google, which is at the mercy of handset manufacturers and carriers. Although the bug that was exploited by DroidDream was fixed in Android 2.2.2, hundreds of thousands of handsets were successfully compromised because Android 2.2.2 isn’t yet available for a substantial number of handsets. Unless Google can reign in the fragmentation problem, it might have to start deploying hotfixes for different versions of Android to patch critical security vulnerabilities, i.e. employ a Windows like model of distributing patches to different OS versions. What is your take on this issue? Chime in by dropping a comment here or in our Facebook page.

Best Mobile Apps Of The Week for iOS, Android and Symbian – #8

Welcome to the eight edition of Best Mobile Apps of the Week for iOS, Android and Symbian. First of all, I would like to apologize to our readers as I did not post the Best Mobile Apps for the last 2 weeks. I had to give my Android phone to the service center, and was using a dumbphone for nearly two weeks.

In this edition of Best Mobile Apps of the week, I will introduce our readers to an awesome eye-candy widget for your Android homescreen, a new unlock screen for you Symbian handset. For iOS owners, I will tell them about an app that will allow them to wake up their PC remotely!

Below are the Best Mobile Apps Of The Week For iOS, Android and Symbian :

Wake (iOS)

As the name suggests, Wake’ enables iOS users to remotely wake up their PC. The app uses WOL Wake On Lan feature which is found in nearly all PCs and Macs computers. Users need to make sure that the WOL’ feature is enabled on their PC. They can do so from the BIOS of their PC.

Wake_iOS

The app is designed to work with both iPhone and iPad. This app is an extremely useful one for users who want total control on their PC, when they are away from it. iOS owners can purchase Wake’ from the App Store for $0.99 from here.

Maze Lock (Symbian)

In the last edition of BMATW, I introduced our readers to Nokia Bubbles. The app allows users to unlock their phone in a fun and yet efficient manner. Today, I would like to introduce our readers to Maze Lock from ThinkChange.

Below is a video of Maze Lock in action :

 

Maze Lock for Symbian is similar to the pattern unlock option found in Android 2.1+ handsets. The app is configurable to quite an extent and allows users to change the lock screen background, the date and time display style etc. The app supports all the latest Symbian handsets from Nokia as well as the older S60v5 based ones like the X6 and 5800.

Symbian owners can download Maze Lock for free from the Ovi Store.

Honeycomb Clock (Android)

The tablet version of Android Honeycomb looks stellar! The whole Tron like theme and animations definitely look very cool! Well, Android handset owners are not going to get the next version of Android with all these eye-candies anytime soon. Until then, they can get the Honeycomb look on their phone by using a Honeycomb theme for ADW Launcher.

Honeycomb_Clock_widget

Along with this, they can download and use the Honeycomb Clock widget from the Android Market. This widget replicates the awesome looking clock widget as seen in Honeycomb OS. Unlike the clock widget in Android 3.0, Honeycomb clock comes in multiple color choices for people who don’t like the blue color.

A free as well as a paid version of this widget is available on the Android Market. Android handset owners can download the app from here.