Android lovers and fanboys, here is some bad news for you. Google has just confirmed that it is postponing its ‘The Playground is open’ Android event on October 29th, which was to be hosted in New York. The reason Google is postponing the event is due to Hurricane Sandy that will be hitting New York sometime on Sunday night.
Below is the official statement from Google -:
We are canceling our Monday morning event in New York due to Hurricane Sandy. We will let you know our plans as soon as we know more.
While this news will definitely break the heart of a lot of Android lovers who were eagerly waiting for Google to unveil the Nexus 4, Nexus 10 and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean at the event. At this point, there is very little information left to leak regarding Google’s Android event. The specs of the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 have been confirmed, and so are some of the new features in Android 4.2. The only thing over which the question mark still remains is the pricing and availability of these devices.
On the other hand, Microsoft loyalists should be very happy because the company will be unveiling Windows Phone 8 on October 29th at San Francisco, and the OS won’t have to share the limelight with any other OS.
Back in late September, HTC promised that it would be upgrading the two of its One series handsets – the One X and the One S – to Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean sometime in October. Now, with just a few days left for October to end, reports are pouring in on XDA forums that the Jelly Bean update for the One X is live in Taiwan and certain other regions of the world.
The Jelly Bean update brings with it quite a lot of enhancements and new features to the One X including an enhanced notification bar, Google Now with enhanced Voice Actions, Project Butter for a lag-free UI navigating experience, and more. HTC has also taken this opportunity to bump the Sense version to 4+. The latest version of Sense is even lighter than before with quite a few unneeded animations removed, improved Camera app, a new Power Saving mode, and other minor UI enhancements.
For the Tegra 3 variant of the One X, the Jelly Bean update also includes a new kernel that brings USB OTG support to the handset and also noticeably improves performance and battery life. The 340MB+ update is being rolled out via OTA, so make sure you have enough battery and access to a fast Wi-Fi network before you start the download.
Up until now, the Nexus 10 was just a rumored tablet from Samsung and Google that sported a Retina display like resolution and an Exynos 5 processor.
Today, the folks over at BriefMobile have got their hands on some pictures of the Nexus 10 running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean confirming that the tablet is indeed real, and will be unveiled by Google at its event on October 29th.
The Nexus 10 is going to be a complete destroy all other tablets in the market whenever it is launched. Below are the ‘confirmed’ specs of the tablet -:
Dual-core Exynos 5 SoC based on the ARM Cortex-A15 architecture clocked at 1.7GHz
ARM Mali-T604 GPU
10.1-inch Super-AMOLED display with a Retina busting resolution of 2560×1600
5MP rear camera, LED Flash, NFC, front-facing camera, Wi-Fi
On the software side, the Nexus 10 will be running on Android 4.2 “Jelly Bean”. The tipster also confirmed all the features which were earlier leaked including quick settings in the notification bar, multiple user profiles, a re-designed Gallery and updated Camera app.
If Google and Samsung manage to price the Nexus 10 right, we might just see Android tablets pose a serious threat to iPad’s market domination.
Head over to BriefMobile for more pictures and other tid-bits about the Nexus 10.
P.S. – Yes, those bottom navigation buttons really look out of place and I really hope they are not final.
Last year, Rockstar games released GTA 3 on the iOS and Android platform, and this year, they brought Max Payne to two of the world’s most popular mobile OS.
Today, Rockstar announced that they will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of one of its popular games – Grand Theft Auto: Vice City – that was released on October 29th, 2002, by releasing some never-seen-before artworks, new anniversary trailer, and a limited number of collectable promotional items.
Most importantly though, Rockstar will be releasing an Anniversary edition of the game, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, for selected iOS and Android devices. GTA 3 is one of the most graphically (texture) intensive games available for Android devices, and it looks like Vice City will be no different. Rockstar states that GTA Vice City will feature native high-resolution graphics and several other enhancements “unique to the iOS and Android platforms”.
The official announcement from Rockstar does not mention any exact date as to when the game will be available for Android and iOS platforms, except for a vague “later this fall”.
Recently, Samsung has received a lot of criticism from the Android modding community and developers for the relatively closed source nature of its Exynos platform. The Exynos platform powers all the high-end products from Samsung including the Galaxy S3 and the Note 2, and the closed source nature of the platform hinders development for these devices.
After a lot of complaints and negative feedback, Samsung promised that it is looking into the situation of open-sourcing its Exynos platform.
Today, the company announced via its Twitter account that it will be open-sourcing the “integrated source code” of its Exynos 4 family of processors by the end of 2012. The company will also setup a git server which will be available to the public by November 2012.
Don’t jump to any conclusions and start praising Samsung here. The company will only be open-sourcing the source code for its OrigenBoard development board. The problem is that CyanogenMod developers still need the source code for other parts of the phone such as the Yamaha audio chip on the Galaxy S2, the Camera on the S3 and more to get a stable AOSP ROM on the S3 and the S2.
Until and unless Samsung open-sources or release AOSP compatible binaries for other closed source parts used on its handsets, getting a stable AOSP ROM on Exynos powered Samsung devices is going to be quite a challenge for developers.
SwiftKey is hands down the best keyboard for Android devices out there. The keyboard has arguably the best prediction system out there, which makes typing on touchscreen slabs a breeze.
Today, the folks behind SwiftKey have unveiled what they have been working on for the last few months — SwiftKey Flow. Think of SwiftKey Flow as a combination of SwiftKey’s brilliant prediction system with the swyping power of Swype. The combination of these two should lead to a killer single hand typing experience on Android devices.
Here is a video of SwiftKey Flow in action -:
The best part of SwiftKey Flow is that, unlike Swype, users can either glide across the screen to enter a word or go the traditional tap an alphabet mode.
Sadly, SwiftKey Flow is not yet available for beta testing. The developers are still busy putting some final touches to the keyboard before they release a beta version to SwiftKey VIP members. Head over to SwiftKey’s website to register yourself to for an exclusive access to the beta version.
Less than a week ago, Google unveiled its new $249 Exynos 5 powered Chromebook. With such a low price and an ARM processor, Google has intelligently positioned the Samsung Chromebook as an secondary laptop for many.
The Chromebook is already up for pre-order in many retail stores and online retailers and should be available in stores by the end of this week. However, beginning from today, interested buyers can directly purchase the Chromebook from Google via its Play Store. As of now, the estimated shipping time is around 3-5 days.
The Chromebook will be the first non-Android running device ever to be available in the Play Store and clearly shows Google’s intention with the Play Store. The Samsung made Chromebook packs in a 11.6-inch screen with a resolution of 1366×768, an Exynos 5 Cortex-A15 SoC, 2GB of RAM, 16GB SSD, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, SD card slot and up to 6.5 hours of battery life.
Today, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon have teamed up to announce the release of their own mobile wallet service in the United States, Isis Mobile Wallet. Beginning from today, owners of Isis compatible mobile handsets can enjoy a wallet free shopping experience in Salt Lake City and Austin.
“The launch of the Isis Mobile Wallet in Austin and Salt Lake City represents a milestone for both Isis and the mobile commerce industry,” said Ryan Hughes, chief marketing officer, Isis. “With as many as twenty Isis Ready handsets headed to market by year end, we are experiencing an unprecedented level of support for NFC and consumer choice.”
The Isis mobile wallet service from three of the biggest operators in the United States might just kill Google’s own Wallet service. Google launched its Wallet service back in late 2010 with the Nexus S. Since then, the service has failed to become mainstream mainly because of the opposition from the U.S. carriers and the lack of Google Wallet compatible handsets.
On the other handset, Isis mobile wallet service is already supported by 9 different Android handsets, with 11 additional handsets to be available by the year end.
While Google only recently added support for all credit and debit cards in Google Wallet, Isis only works with cards from American Express, Capital One or a Chase card.
It has been known since quite sometime now that HTC is working on a 5-inch Android handset with 1080p resolution. The specs of the handset was leaked by XDA developer, Football, a couple of weeks ago.
Today, the folks over at Android Central got their hands on some pictures of the handset thanks to one of their source. The picture clearly shows the Verizon branding on the phone, with the DLX having the same styling clues as the DROID Incredible series.
The Android Central source also sent a picture of the handset’s About device page that confirmed the specs of this monster – a 1.5GHz Quad-Core Krait SoC, Adreno 320 GPU, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of on-board storage and a non-removable 2500mAh. The lack of a microSD card slot and a non-removable 2500mAh battery might be a disappointment for many and turn out to be eventual deal-breaker. Hopefully, HTC will release a 32GB variant of the handset as well.
On the software side, the DLX will be running on Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean with Sense 4+ on top of it. There is no word as to when HTC and Verizon will be announcing the DLX, but it should be out around thanksgiving.
Canonical has been working on brining Ubuntu to Android devices and other form factors for quite sometime now. On Friday, Canonical’s Commercial Engineering Director, Victor Palau, uploaded a video on YouTube of Ubuntu running on the Google’s $199 tablet, the Nexus 7.
The Google-branded-ASUS-manufactured Nexus 7 packs in 1GB of RAM, a quad-core Tegra 3 SoC from Nvidia, Wi-Fi and a 7-inch screen despite its low price point.
The video above is pretty short (21 seconds) but shows the Nexus 7 running Ubuntu with Unity desktop interface without any issues.
Canonical will be unveiling more information about Ubuntu for the Nexus 7 at its upcoming Ubuntu Developer Summit in Copenhagen to be held later this year.
Beginning from today, Android developers in India will be able to directly sell paid apps, in-app products and subscriptions in the Play Store.
India has played a major role in Android’s growth with device activations in India jumping around 400%. Android users in India have also downloaded more apps than they downloaded in the last three years, sky-rocketing the country to the fourth-largest country in terms of app downloads.
Along with support for paid apps, Google has also added support for Indian currency and other currencies for developers to take advantage of. Developers will be paid directly by Google at the end of each month to their local bank accounts.
Google had earlier added India to the list of countries that could sell paid apps in the Play Store, but removed it just a day after. Now, with Google officially announcing the the inclusion of India to the list of countries that can sell paid apps in the Play Store, Indian developers don’t need to worry about the country once again disappearing from the list without any explanation.
Google has out of the blue announced a new Chromebook manufactured by Samsung. The 0.8-inch thick body of the Chromebook from Samsung packs in 16GB of storage space, 2GB of RAM, an 11.6-inch screen, Bluetooth, microSD card slot, HDMI-out port, two USB ports and finally, an Exynos 5 Dual processor!
To keep the price of the Chromebook down to $249, Google and Samsung decided to use an ARM based processor instead of a traditional x86 ULV processor from Intel. Even then, the A15 is no slouch as it was initially designed to power servers before being scaled back for other portable devices.
Google touts that the Chromebook boots in less than 10 seconds, and can easily playback 1080p HD videos without breaking a sweat. The whole UI of the Chrome OS has been GPU rendered as well, which should allow for a buttery smooth UI browsing experience.
All potential Chromebook buyers will also get 100GB of free storage space on Google Drive to where they can keep all their files secured.
The new Samsung Chromebook will be available for pre-order starting from today on Amazon, Best Buy, PC World and other retailers. It will hit the retail stores next week, and can be purchased directly from the Play Store as well.
Google has been on a roll recently, fixing all the minor annoyances in the Android ecosystem and releasing small but long-lusted features from the community.
After rolling out a new Play Store update that fixes many issues that have been irritating Android users for quite sometime, and bringing gift cards, Google has added another new feature to the Play Store – Wishlist.
Wishlists will allow users to bookmark apps, music, videos, books, games or just about anything available in the Play Store so that they can try it out sometime in the future. As of now, there is now way to share a wishlist with your friends or relatives though.
The feature will be automatically enabled on your phone, if you have the latest version of the Play Store (v3.9.16) installed. If you cannot wait for Wishlists to show up on the Play Store, try restarting your phone. Many people reported that they got the feature instantly after they rebooted their handset.
As of now, the Wishlists feature from Google will only be available to Android users in the United States.
Today, Google has sent out press invites for an Android related event, which the company is going to hold on October 29th in NYC at 10AM.
The invite from Google contains a picture of Google Now welcome screen, with the line “The playground is open” written in the search bar. It might be possible that Google is opening up the Nexus program for other Android OEMs? Or maybe the company will work on adding AOSP support for all the existing high-end Android devices from various OEMs?
Google will also be unveiling a new Nexus handset at the event, manufactured by LG this time. The leaks and rumors suggest that the Nexus handset from LG will be known as the Nexus 4, and will pack a quad-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Krait processor, Adreno 320 GPU, 2GB of RAM, a 8MP camera, and a 4.7-inch IPS HD display. The new Nexus handset will also be accompanied by a new Android version, 4.2 in all probability, and hopefully, a 32GB variant of the Nexus 7.
For all unlucky souls like us, Google will also be live streaming the event at youtube.com/Android.
Microsoft is also holding an event on October 29th where it will be unveiling Windows Phone 8.
Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S owners can download the OTA update zip file from here and here, respectively. Owners of Nexus S (I9020 and 9023 variants) can manually install the update by downloading the OTA update, renaming it to ”update.zip” and then transferring it to their handset. Then, reboot your handset into recovery mode by pressing the Volume Up and Power key and finally select the ‘install update.zip’ option.
The steps to manually install the OTA update on the Galaxy Nexus are a bit complicated, but if you are still interested, then head over to this thread on XDA for the steps.
Owners of the Wi-Fi variant of the Motorola XOOM will be automatically notified when the update is available for their tablet. The 4G LTE variant of the XOOM and the Galaxy Nexus will get the update only after Verizon is done with its internal quality testing, which can take quite a while.