Posts Tagged ‘from’
Where is the damn clicker? It’s a line that nearly everyone has uttered multiple times. For some reason some people — perhaps most people, or at least it seems that way — are incapable of putting the remote control back in its proper place. Or, for that matter, any place in plain sight. We’ve reached a point as a society where it’s more acceptable to stare at a blank screen than it is to actually get up and change the channel.
It was only a matter of time before someone developed a way for our smartphones to control our TVs. Apple actually jumped out on this one, releasing an app that lets iPhone and iPad users control Apple TV units from their smartphones or tablets. But that’s one specific device. This new development for Android lets you use your smartphone to control everything on your TV.
It’s from Griffin, and it’s called the Beacon. It’s the boxing bell looking device pictured above. You hook that up to your TV, and after installing an app it lets you use your smartphone to control what you watch. It’s pretty bloody brilliant, even if it was an inevitable development. It’s even brilliant when you consider that before long we’ll be able to control our TVs from our smartphones without using special hardware.
Today Sprint released the Kyocera Milano, a low-cost touchscreen slider device that runs Android 2.3. We’ve seen many carriers opt for mid-range handsets lately, which again highlights one of Android’s major advantages. They not only have high-end devices, such as the recently released Droid Bionic, but they can also play to other demographics. This helps it stand out in a market that Apple has long shaped. The Milano provides another example of what’s possible when a low-cost manufacturer decides to install Android on its device.
The Milano is really nothing special. It’s a little undersized, with a 3-inch screen at 240 x 320 pixels. Yet it’s also a little heavy, weighing 5.6 ounces. That’s quite a deal heavier than many of the lower-end Android handsets we’ve seen popping up. Of course, it’s all a trade-off for the rest of the features. As expected, it doesn’t have a top of the line processor, but it has a manageable single core 800 MHz chip and 512MB of RAM. That is, it’ll run fast enough, but it won’t blaze through operations sans lag. Again, it’s all about the trade-offs.
If you want to get paid for your apps, don’t give them away for free. There’s nothing remotely controversial about that statement, yet it’s the overriding theme in the most recent developer outcry regarding the Amazon App Store.
To ensure everyone’s on the same page: Amazon recently opened its own Android app store, which puts more of a focus on paid applications rather than free ones. Since the Android Market is already pre-installed on new Android handsets, Amazon has had to promote the store heavily. One way it has done this is with a free app of the day, in which they give away a normally premium app for 24 hours. That’s a great deal for them, but developers should know by now that it’s not all that hot for them.
In fact, Shift Jelly, the outraged developer, knew of this. As they detail in the above-linked blog post, they initially declined Amazon’s offer to become the free app of the day. They knew that their business model revolved around selling the app, and so giving it away probably wasn’t the best idea. But Amazon came back with the typical product placement arguments, claiming that exposure from being the free app of the day, combined with 14 subsequent days of main page placement, would increase sales overall.
If you’re tired of the boring interfaces used by many other media players, you might want to check out the latest from LauncherPro developer Fredrico Carnales. He previously teased his latest project, a new music player, and now we’re getting a look at it. It’s largely based on the stock music app, but it adds some flair. The above screenshot puts that on display. The app automatically downloads images such as this for the band you’re currently listening to. This includes album art as well. The interface is pretty intuitive as well, and it includes other add-ons such as Last.FM scrobbling. You won’t find this in the Market quite yet, but you can just head to Ubermusic.com or click the download link here to get the APK. If you’ve got some room on your handset, this is definitely worth the try.
Via Android Police.
Do you lock your Android device? If so, how tight is the security? There are plenty of reasons for locking a device, but no matter your reason it’s still a pain to unlock that way. Sure, it’s probably worth the trade-off. But if you had an easier way to protect your stuff, wouldn’t you use it? I was drawn to a recent post on the xda blog about App Lock, which allows you to protect specific apps rather than your entire device. That might make life a little easier for you.
With three modes of unlocking — numeric password, gestures, and swipes — you can protect any application on your device. In many ways this can work better than just protecting your device. This way you can enter in your key only when you go into a protected app, rather than every time you unlock the device. I’m not sure about everyone else, but I end up unlocking my phone dozens upon dozens of times per day. I’d much rather tie the password to specific apps than to the whole device. And that’s just the first advantage of the app.
For some it was a great boon for streaming music. For others it wasn’t worth the trouble. But however you view or viewed Grooveshark, the latest development is significant for all music lovers. Citing terms of service violations, Google has removed Grooveshark from the Android Market. This is not an unprecedented move. Last August, Apple removed Grooveshark from the App Store, just over a week after it debuted. There are certainly legal issues surrounding Grooveshark, and it’s not a stretch to imagine that these issues are what prompted Google to remove it from the Market. I just wonder what it means for the future of streaming music apps.
Of course, most major streaming music apps, such as Pandora and Slacker, don’t face this particular problem. They have licensing deals with record labels, and so can stream music freely as long as they stay within the license’s terms. Grooveshark, on the other hand, has a licensing deal with just one record label, EMI, and that came as the result of a lawsuit. Grooveshark is currently involved in a lawsuit filed by Universal Music Group, which is over a year old. Other record labels could spring litigation on them at any time.
If there is one rule for getting people to pay for something, it’s to make the process as simple as possible. The fewer steps people have to take, and the less they have to think, the easier it is to sell them something. Android took the first steps towards ease of payments when it introduced carrier billing to the Android Market. You don’t have to enter your credit card or any other form of payment. The cost just shows up on your cell bill, which, if you’re like most people, you just pay without examining anyway. Now they’ve implemented another way to separate users from their money: in-app billing.
This is, of course, a great feature for developers. It allows them to do more with their apps. Game developers can now sell bonus packs right inside their app. My favorite, and an example used by Google, is ComiXology. If you want something to browse you can just download a new issue through the app itself. If you store your credit card information, it makes it that much easier to encourage buying. There are also other uses for the app, such as providing premium upgrades for free apps. You can take that one step further and set up limited trials, after which users have to purchase the app — through the app itself.