We recently got our hands on a review unit of the Samsung Rugby Smart, a smartphone designed for rough conditions. We immediately filmed an unboxing video and initial review but I figured I would spend a little more time with the phone to complete a proper review. While I intend to put it through the ringer, testing its dust/water/shock proof abilities, I will also be reviewing it’s ability to be a worthy daily driver. It seems that lately we have been focusing a lot of attention on high-end devices and the Rugby Smart is a nice departure from that norm. My initial instincts are that this is a device for those who don’t need the best specs and who are looking for an Android phone that won’t break the bank, or is easily broken for that matter. I spent almost a week using the phone and over the next few sections of this review I will break down its performance, durability and usability. The good and the bad..
Looks like the Android Market transition to the Google Play Store wasn’t the only change Google was making. Eric Chu, Android team member and overseer of the Android Market for over four years, is exploring other positions within the company.
Replacing him will be Jamie Rosenberg, director of digital content for Android, and the public face of the Google Music launch. Though his title isn’t changing, Rosenberg will get increased oversight for apps and games. Rosenberg hails from Microsoft, and before that from Andy Rubin’s past company Danger, where he served as vice president of premium services.
According to sources, the management of the Android Market had two heads, Eric Chu heading up developer relations and business development, and David Conway in charge of product management. Having two equal leaders overseeing the team led to some confusion as to who was in charge and caused some political issues. Shifting to a single leader in Rosenberg seems like a good move.
SXSW brought team Android a bit of reassuring news today as one of the Instagram founders said he hopes “to have it out to people really soon.” While on stage giving a speech, co-founder Kevin Systrom snagged a Galaxy Nexus out of his pocket and wouldn’t you know it, was running a private beta of the illusive Android Instagram app. Not only was we rocking a bitchin’ Android phone, Systrom also claimed that “it’s one of the most amazing Android apps you’ll ever see,” and said, “in some ways, it’s better than our iPhone app.” (woot-woot!) Our pals over at The Verge even report that during a Q&A, Systrom also said that the Android app was super fast, looks great on Android’s large screened devices, and has built in social media sharing that can reach just about every social outlet available. Well I wish they would share that private beta app with me because I am ready to see what all the hype is about. How about you guys? Are you ready for Instagram to hit Google Play? It looks like we may be getting ever so close now.
source: The Verge
Those of you who are looking for an affordable device that will easily fit in your pocket should check out the Samsung Galaxy Mini 2. It’s now available for pre-order in the UK from Mobile Fun, for £179.95 (approximately $282 US). That won’t be too hard on your pocketbook.
Here’s a refresher on the specs for the Samsung Galaxy Mini 2:
- 800 MHz single-core processor
- Android 2.3 Gingerbread
- WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0 and NFC
- 512 MB of RAM
- 4 GB of internal storage (microSD slot allows you to upgrade up to 32 GB)
- 3 MP rear-facing camera
- 1300 mAh battery
- 3.27 inch screen
The NFC is a nice touch on an economical phone. The Mini 2 also features ChatON, which is an instant messaging platform. If you’re in the UK and you’d like to get your hands on one of these handsets, check out the link below.
source: Mobile Fun
When I first saw the new Roboto font back when Ice Cream Sandwich was first announced I was pretty impressed. The font was polished and basically a breath of fresh air for Android. As time progressed and I played with it on my Galaxy Nexus I kept thinking to myself that it would be a nice font to have on my computer. Well it looks as if others were thinking what I was thinking as Google has announced that you can now download this font for any computer that can display TrueType Fonts.
As it is in Google fashion, the font is free to use in whatever you want to put it in so you can add some crispness to those web apps and so on. If you’re wanting to use a great font that looks amazing on high resolution screens then hit the source to find the download. Enjoy!
Download – Link
source: Android Design
We’ve already reported the possibility that your Google Wallet account could be compromised with a brute-force attack. Now, Google Play has a similar issue that has come to light. If you have been using the PIN code verification feature in Google Play to protect your phone, read on.
There is a setting for the Google Play Market that enables a PIN code prompt when you are about to purchase something. The idea is to protect you in the event that someone steals your phone, and wants to buy a ton of apps on your dime.
The problem is that the PIN is stored on the device itself, not in the cloud. So, if a thief were to clear the data for the Google Play Market in the “Manage application” settings of your phone (the same way we explained to update Google Play from the Android market), the PIN would be gone, and the thief could buy anything they wanted in the Google Play Market using your credit card. If you realize your phone is gone, you can change your Google password so that Google Play will prompt the user to reenter the password. However, if you don’t realize your phone is gone right away, the thief might already be using your account to purchase things.
Hopefully Google will issue an update for this soon, but in the meantime, you can use a lock screen on your phone to keep unwanted people from messing with your stuff.
The developer of the popular apps Battleheart and ZombieVille USA, Mika Mobile, has blogged that the cost of Android game development outweighs the profit their apps bring in. Both games are hits on iOS, and had been ported to Android to much excitement. Apparently, the Mika Mobile/Android marriage was not a good one, and the game developers will no longer support the game on Android.
Here, the developer explains their challenges with Android:
There’s a big difference between generating revenue, and “making money” – It’s not that they haven’t generated income, but that income is offset by the additional support costs the platform has demanded. Where did your dollar go? We spent about 20% of our total man-hours last year dealing with Android in one way or another – porting, platform specific bug fixes, customer service, etc. I would have preferred spending that time on more content for you, but instead I was thanklessly modifying shaders and texture formats to work on different GPUs, or pushing out patches to support new devices without crashing, or walking someone through how to fix an installation that wouldn’t go through. We spent thousands on various test hardware. These are the unsung necessities of offering our apps on Android. Meanwhile, Android sales amounted to around 5% of our revenue for the year, and continues to shrink. Needless to say, this ratio is unsustainable.
This begs the question: is Android shooting itself in the foot by needing support for so many different devices? Will this fragmentation issue lead to other developers leaving Android? While the open system of Android has its challenges, it is also the most popular operating system, accounting for 48.6% of all smartphone subscribers.
I suspect the future of Android will require compromise from both the developers and Google. Android developers will have to use different tactics in creating apps than they would for iOS, not just porting over a popular app and expecting it to thrive. Google, though, also has to strive to make the Google Play store a viable place for developers to make money and continue to innovate. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.
source: Mika Mobile
via: Mobile Syrup
Ice Cream Sandwich is away and by far the best Android OS to date. By including the most fluid UI yet while integrating noteworthy features such as facial unlock and an improved set of widgets for use, ICS makes for a solid experience using the OS and especially UI. As a trademark of Android’s open platform, ICS allows for custom “enhancements” in the form of skins (Sense, TouchWiz, MOTOBLUR, etc.) and style by the various OEM who sell Android-based devices. One thing that’s painfully obvious for many of the “enhancements” done by OEMs is many of the custom skins include well… useless features and poorly designed widgets which tend to actually slow down Android devices despite those same devices having incredible processors and memory.
And that’s exactly why you tend to see many (though not all) Android owners go the way of the ROMing route in order to stick it to OEMs and experience what they feel a solid Android experience. While some folks (like me) prefer their Android in vanilla flavor or others (like many of the writers here at TA) prefer custom ROMs and some ummm, you know— like their resource hogging skins, Canadian developer Teknision is out to re-define how Android skins should be developed. Highlighted in our Forums, the same team behind RIM’s Blackberry Playbook UI has developed not only a intriguing skin for Android 4.0′s homescreen, but a stellar one at that in its Chameleon concept which is for tablets. Hit the break to read more details about what it does and to check out a video to see it in action.
Back before my experience with Ice Cream Sandwich and the amazing launchers like Apex or Nova I found a constant need for finding a perfect launcher that fit both my need for functionality and my need for it to be polished as well. You know, one that was fancy but fit my needs for daily use without lag. Well when I first saw the preview for TSF Launcher and its functionality I became quite excited as I felt this would possibly fit the bill.
Well when the launcher became live I went to the Android Market now turned Google Play Store to download it. I gawked at the $17 price tag but made the purchase thinking I would play with it for a few minutes and then return it in the 15 minute refund window. Well as I got to playing with it I decided that I’d keep it and write up a review for you guys so that you didn’t have to go in blind in purchasing this.
In order to get a good feel for the launcher and how it worked I dedicated 10 days to it because honestly I feel that you can’t get a good feel out of a launcher or an app until you’ve used it consistently for a period of time. While apps may take less time, a launcher is something you use everyday so it requires some extra attention. So here it is in all its glory; ten days with the TSF launcher, my hands on review.
Samsung just filed for US trademark protection for a new series of names for their Galaxy series of devices, in addition to the ones filed earlier for the Galaxy Emerge, Stellar, and Halo. Whether or not these new names end up as commercial products, Samsung now has the option to use Galaxy Thunder, Galaxy Express, and Galaxy Accelerate. Could these actually be three names for the upcoming Galaxy S III, each slated for a different US carrier? We’ll have to wait and see.
One other interesting trademark from Samsung is Samsung Wallet, which sounds like an NFC payment system that could be another competitor to Google Wallet and ISIS. Just what does Samsung have up its sleeve?
source: uspto (thunder), uspto (express), uspto (accelerate), uspto (samsung wallet)