Did Samsung Miss The Memo? Forging Forward with Bada, 2.0 SDK Released

Samsung isn’t scared of the Google and Motorola Mobility buyout, right? Maybe they simply knew it was inevitable. Back at Mobile World Congress 2010, Samsung announced the Wave, their first Bada powered smartphone. They wanted to bring their own apps, their own little ecosystem and their own proprietary experience to users, in the form of TouchWiz on Bada.

After more than a year of working on the platform, Samsung has finally released their second iteration of the software development kit. The SDK brings along support for NFC, multitasking, HTML5 and push notifications. For developers, there is a new API for advertising, a framework built around web technologies and increased platform security.

I’m not sure if Samsung realizes this, but mobile platforms have been dropping likes flies. The Symbian Foundation closed up back in November, Nokia pulled out of MeeGo, went to Windows Phone and left Intel blowing in the wind, RIM decided to use QNX going forward from the PlayBook and HP has killed webOS. What’s even worse is that these companies have been in the business of software development for decades. Nokia’s been making phones since 1970 and RIM has been forwarding emails since the mid 90s. Samsung? They made my fridge and washing machine. They did a damn fine job too.

So they now have some platform features that iOS and Android have supported for years. They have some budget phones. They have an interface that is a complete gypsy of iOS and quite frankly, nobody likes TouchWiz. They have a defunct “app store” filled with themes and ringtones. Sounds like what they have is Symbian circa 2005 which is, surprisingly, poised to make a comeback with Nokia breathing life into it while working on Windows Phone.

Samsung has been licensing both Windows Phone and Android for their devices. Now that Microsoft is in the fold with Nokia to produce hardware, and Google has Motorola Mobility under their thumb to churn out top-tier devices, what can Samsung turn to? Looks like they’ll be bringing Bada to bat.

In a world where Nokia, RIM and Palm can’t get their software right, what chance does Samsung stand? Good luck to them. Hopefully they can jump off the Android platform and bask in the bada (it’s korean, for ocean).

 

Microsoft to Publish SDK for the Kinect Controller

Microsoft’s Kinect controller for the Xbox 360 has been a huge hit in the international market. Unlike the Nintendo Wii controllers and the Sony PlayStation Move and the PlayStation Eye, the Kinect allowed players to use their entire body as a controller. The Kinect has a 3D depth sensor implemented by two monochrome CMOS cameras and an infrared light as well as an RGB camera, allowing for depth-sensitive motion detection and facial recognition capabilities. In effect, it allowed players to drivea steering wheel of a car, use the main menu of the Xbox 360 using gestures and, of course, dance to Dance Central.

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However, all this was possible only with the Xbox 360 console. PC gamers were loth to admire the brilliance of the system. It’s not supported on my platform, shouted some, while others hacked the system and made some extremely cool user interfaces a la Minority Report. Microsoft listened to all those hungry shouts and more importantly looked at the achievements of some brilliant minds working with the Kinect. They decided to release the Software Development Kit (SDK) for the Kinect.

KinectBoxHead

This SDK will give access to the secrets of the gesture-based game controller without hacking it thoroughly(!) Microsoft has stated that initially the SDK will be available for personal use (probably with the XNA Game Studio), but a commercial version might be released later.

Rejoice new age gamers! A new era might begin with gesture based gaming soon!

Honeycomb SDK Ported To HTC EVO 4G And Desire HD

According to Google, Android 3.0 Honeycomb is aimed only at tablets with the future version of Android updates bringing some features of Honeycomb to mobile. However, unofficially the Honeycomb SDK has already been ported to the EVO 4G and some popular Android handsets from HTC. A guy with the username t3haxx0r has ported the Android 3.0 Honeycomb SDK to the EVO 4G.

As of now, the build is quite buggy but at least it will be able to provide users with a sneak peek’ of what the latest version of Android will bring. Nearly nothing on the port works including radios, hardware buttons and the ROM is quite sluggish as well.

Here is a video of Android 3.0 Honeycomb in action on the EVO 4G :

t3haxxor and some other developers are also working on a Honeycomb port for the Droid Incredible as well as for the Desire HD.

Below is a video of the Honeycomb SDK port in action on the Desire HD :

HTC Desire HD owners can download the Honeycomb SDK port for their phone from here, while EVO 4G owners can download the port for their handset from here.

Android 3.0 Honeycomb Platform Highlights Released

During the CES 2011, Google’s latest version of Android meant for tablets Honeycomb grabbed the limelight with its awesome UI and features. Now, today Google has released an Android 3.0 Honeycomb platform preview which lists some of the major changes which will be brought about by the OS.

First and foremost, the UI of Honeycomb has been developed from the ground up for tablets unlike iOS, where the OS was ported from the iPhone to the iPad. The highly appreciated and loved Notification bar’ has been re-vamped to System bar’ in Honeycomb and is now located at the bottom of the screen.

Along with this, the internal applications like the Browser, Gallery, Camera and Email have been updated to sport new features and to take full advantage of the bigger screen. The text selection, copy and paste method along with the Keyboard have been improved in Honeycomb as well.

Android_Honeycomb_Widgets

For developers, Honeycomb includes a new animation framework that will easily allow animating the various UI elements. It also includes a new DRM framework, support for HTTP Live streaming and support for digital media transfer. One major change in Android 3.0 is that the 2D graphics will be hardware accelerated. This will not only help in improving the system performance but will also help the developers to create much better graphics intensive applications.

Android 3.0 will also bring in support for multi-core processors and support for new enterprise policies like encrypted storage, password expiration and password history etc. Readers can read the whole Android 3.0 Honeycomb platform highlights here.

I hope that some of these changes will be incorporated in the future version of Android for mobiles as well especially the hardware accelerated 2D graphics feature.

Along with this, Google has also released a new version of their SDK which includes the new API for Android 3.0 and other enhancements. This will allow developers to make sure that their apps are compatible with the latest tablets running on Honeycomb.

New Skype SDK Brings Better Hardware Support

Skype is the best online voice and video suite and has a marked presence across various platforms, including the mobile platform. Skype has recently announced a new SDK, which will let developers integrate Skype functionalities into their applications as well as hardware.

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This new SDK, which they are calling SkypeKit, has a full voice and video call support along with a support for IM through Skype network. Currently, only desktop applications can use this API. Skype has a separate runtime of its own that cannot be integrated with web services. The SDK also includes SILK, which is Skype’s flagship in-house audio compression tool.

Another new feature in this SDK is the availability of hardware support with which, developers can integrate Skype into hardware, like television and cellphones. Although this open SDK allows developers to use the API in their applications, the prices for using Skype’s communication networks using this API is not yet revealed. However, Skype has hinted a certification fees and a restriction on block usage of its network, which would mean a good amount of limitations.

Skype also has plans for its Skype Shop and plans to make an app store out of it. This is sensible enough as Skype is sure to build a wider presence with the features offered by this SDK.

The SDK is a closed beta for Linux only and requires invites for use. Windows and Mac versions will be available soon. Download the SDK  here.

(Source)

Facebook Announces Android SDK for Enhancing Mobile Support

Facebook has released the beta version of its latest Facebook SDK for Android, today. This SDK, which was demoed at the Google I/O last week, is being released at a ripe time; when the news of Android overtaking iPhone sales is spreading like fire.

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The release of an API gives app developers power to incorporate more features into their applications. The release is in a beta stage and Facebook will soon release example source codes to help developers begin using their SDK.

Some of the features included in this SDK are,

  • Strong authentication using OAuth 2.0
  • Making requests to the new Graph API
  • Publishing stories back to Facebook via Feed forms

Facebook is slowly shifting its focus from Apple to Google as it clearly sees that Android OS is the next big thing. What is surprising here is that the API released for Android, although in beta has more features than the one to be released for Apple.

The release date of the iPhone SDK has not been announced yet but it is expected soon. With these two releases, Facebook ensures a better reach from mobile devices.
(Source)

Download Android 2.2 Froyo SDK

Google announced Android 2.2 Froyo earlier today with about 5 times system speed improvement over 2.1 and several other interesting features which make this the best Android OS ever.

Android 2.2 Froyo

If you are a mobile developer who loves to develop apps, you can start developing your app for Android 2.2 by download the Software Development Kit (SDK) for Froyo and get started with your development.

Android 2.2 platform is available for the Android SDK along with new tools, documentation and a new NDK. You will find all the new features and details in the Froyo version notes.

To download the SDK and start development for Android 2.2 Froyo, visit the Android developer website at http://developer.android.com/.

Amazon to launch Kindle SDK

Amazon has recently announced a free SDK for it’s Kindle e-book reader. Amazon defines this as an effort to allow developers to create apps and sell “active content” over the Kindle Store. The exact details on what Amazon means to say by “active content” is still not clear though.
The SDK being called the Kindle Development Kit will be available as a limited beta next month. The SDK will include a  programming interfaces, tools and a documentation to help the app development process. The kit also includes a Kindle simulator which lets developers test their apps and also submit finished content to Amazon.
The development tool and the Kindle Simulator is available for all Mac, PC and Linux. It is unclear how much the device can permit interaction with the SDK and the apps. The Kindle SDK will be available in two phases. In the first phase, the SDK will be available to people for download and develop apps on and in the second phase, those wait-listed for a demo will be invited to test the SDK. You can sign up for a notification of the beta release at this page.
Amazon is looking forward to its Kindle e-book as it recorded a sale of more e-books than hard-copy books at the store last year. This SDK is just an attempt to attract more users by engaging more developers into the build process.