The official AndroidDev Twitter account just noted today that the Android Market has passed the 100,000 app mark. Just like that, the important six-digit psychological barrier was broken. The tweet might not be the most auspicious announcement, but it is an official word on the total number of apps.
Android's app ecosystem has been growing by leaps and bounds in the last year. In November of 2009, the Motorola Droid came out, offering users their choice of 20,000 apps. Now the Market has grown by five times. That's nothing if not remarkable.
Apple is still in the lead when it comes to raw number of apps. The iOS App Store has nearly 300,000 apps within its virtual walls. It's nice to have a large number of apps, but it's which apps you need that are important. Are there apps missing from one platform that you really must have?
The Samsung Galaxy Tab Android tablet will be hitting US retail next month, but what if you don't care to do more business with the mobile carriers? As it turns out, Best Buy (of all companies) is coming to the rescue. The electronics retailer will be selling a Wi-Fi-only version of the Galaxy Tab for $499.
The Tab is already making an appearance in Best Buy advertizing, but no firm release date is mentioned. Best Buy will also carry the 3G versions for both Verizon and Sprint. The Galaxy Tab will sport a 7-inch touch screen LCD with Android 2.2 under Samsung's TouchWiz interface. The $499 price point is exactly the same as the 10-inch Wi-Fi-only iPad. It's going to be interesting to see how consumers respond to the choice.
Winamp enjoys an almost cult-like following on the desktop, and now the popular media player is available on Android, provided you have no qualms about using beta software.
Winamp for Android works with version 2.1 of the open-source OS and higher. Features include both wireless and USB syncing with your Winamp desktop app, persistent player controls, play queue management, and support for scrobbing with the Last.fm app installed.
Just like the desktop version, there's support for playlists, search by album, artist, and song, a repeat function, shuffle, and more. It's snappy too. On our crusty old G1 (rooted), Winamp ran without issue and basically blew the pants off the stock media player.
We don't want to proclaim Windows 7 as the Rodney Dangerfield of tablet OSes, but seriously, where's the love? Beginning earlier this year, vendors began dropping plans to release Windows-based tablets faster than sponsors kicked Tiger Woods to the curb after his whole ordeal, and we thought both were old news by now. We were wrong.
To be fair, MSI isn't completely scrapping plans to launch a Windows tablet, it's just postponing the release. MSI originally wanted to sell a Windows tablet in the third quarter of this year, but rather than do that, the OEM is focusing on bringing an Android slate to market, which will launch by the end of March 2011.
The Android Wind Pad tablet will come with a 10.1-inch screen and both USB and HDMI ports. Early reports suggest it will carry an MSRP somewhere around $500.
Lenovo seems in no rush to enter the US tablet market. After pushing back the release of the IdeaPad U1 notebook-tablet hybrid to 2011, it has now done the same with the more orthodox Android-based LePad. The Chinese PC maker was last month reported to be aiming for a December, 2010 launch for the 10.1-inch LePad.
According to a report on PCMag.com, which quotes Lenovo president and chief operating officer Rory Read, Lenovo is waiting for the next major Android release (Code-named “Honeycomb”) to come out as it will be the first Android version to have been optimized for tablets. It could take the company as many as four months after Honeycomb’s release to launch its maiden tablet, pushing the release of its first tablet for the US market well into 2011.
TomTom and HTC have announced that the navigation company's GPS maps will be showing up on HTC phones in the coming months. HTC's new HTC Locations software will have TomTom's maps built in. This app is free to use for checking maps and finding locations, but users will have to pay for actual turn-by-turn navigation.
The purchase will be made through the app, or with HTC's Sync software. This may be a tough sell on Android phones as Google's free navigation software is preloaded. The HTC navigation service may be more useful as the maps will be stored on the device. Google Navigation requires a net connection to use.
The new HTC Locations with TomTom will be rolled out on the HTC Desire HD and Desire Z first in Europe and Asia. Future smartphones for other regions will get the software as well. No details on how much the navigation capability will cost, but it will need to be low to lure people away from Google's free option.
Apple's Steve Jobs didn't hold back his contempt for Google's Android platform during Monday's earnings call. According to Jobs, Android is "very, very fragmented and [it] becomes more so every day." Oh really? Not so fast, says Iain Dodsworth, CEO of the TweetDeck client for Twitter.
"Did we at any point say it was a nightmare developing on Android?," Dodsworth tweeted. "Err nope, no we didn't. It wasn't."
Dodsworth went on to post another Twitter message saying, "We only have two guys developing on Android TweetDeck so that shows how small an issue fragmentation is."
TweetDeck is available for the desktop and as a mobile app for both Apple's iOS and Android.
It seems like just yesterday that Google rolled out Android 2.2 Froyo to consumers, and some have yet to receive it on their handsets, but The Big G isn't stopping now. Details appear to have leaked regarding the next iteration of the Android operating system, codenamed Gingerbread. Phandroid has gotten the information, along with a blurry cam shot, and it's all about refining the UI.
The source is reporting that all the system and notification icons have been redesigned to look more processional and clean. This includes everything from the notification icons, to the home screen shortcuts. The notification bar now appears to be a slate grey, as opposed to the off-white it is now. Beyond that, there is a more unifying influence in the UI. Most of the system apps are getting a redesign in order to make them more cohesive. Many of the warm orange UI elements have been replaced with green, and this is evident throughout the system.
Rumors also indicate some refinements to scrolling and other animations. Finally, Google may be building in full SIP and video calling support to the OS. This would make sense given the recent revamping of the Gmail-based Google Talk client. Do you think these predictions will come to pass?
In the words of the great and wise Homer (Simpson), "Mmmm, ice cream." That's likely going to be the codename for Android 4.0, the successor to Honeycomb, which itself will succeed Ginberbread
Google hasn't let the cat out of the bag yet, saying only "The next platform release names are Gingerbread and Honeycomb. Additional timing and details have not been released yet."
But while Google wants to keep the codename a secret, ARM President Tudor Brown told Forbes that Android 4.0 will be called Ice Cream. Brown, for what it's worth, is familiar with the Android roadmap. It's also worth noting that Android releases have been following an alphabetic pattern: Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb.
Ice Cream, or whatever Google ends up calling Android 4.0, isn't expected to debut until the middle of 2011.