Google announced that an Android Market update will roll out over the next two weeks (starting today) for all handsets powered by Android 1.6 or above. It is set to bring some goodies like more intuitive app searching and two new categories – Widgets and Live Wallpapers – along with some dev-related perks.
The new UI allows you to see all the relevant information about a certain app in only one screen together with a “related apps” category in its detail page. It also facilitates the process of exploring and downloading “featured apps” thanks to the carousel interface. Along with the arrival of Widgets and Live Wallpapers, more categories – for popular apps and games – are on the horizon too.
We told you about the Android developers fiasco, but in truth this is going to be a dev-friendly update. First of all, the refund period comes down from 24 hours to 15 mins. That’s a consequence of the fact that developers often raise objections that people download their games, complete them and then use the refund option. Furthermore, according to the official Android Developers Blog, stats prove that most of the app refundment happen in the first few minutes after the purchase.
Until now, developers were limited to uploading files with a maximum size of 25MB, but that number is now doubled to 50MB. As Gingerbread is more game-oriented, this comes as a good news for both devs and end consumers.
It seems that a few Androiders are already enjoying the new Android Marketplace. If you are very eager to taste it, but haven’t received the update yet, you can try to force an update if you go to Settings > Applications > Manage Applications > All > Market > Clear data, which worked for us just fine, although some of our readers reported that it didn’t have any effect with them. If this happens to be the case with you too, remember that patience is a virtue and bear in mind that it should come soon. But if you are one of these guys who are already enjoying the new Android Market, tell us with your comments your first impressions.
Earlier Wednesday, we reported that after a sizzling hot Summer, Android activations were cooling down like the weather up north. A current reading put the number of Android phones switched on daily at 214,000 which is a small 8% increase from the figures seen in August. Some read the slowing increase as a sign that Androidmania was slowing down.
But as if on cue, the week’s number one name in print, Google VP Andy Rubin, sent out a tweet correcting those who came up with the activation numbers. According to Rubin, 300,000 Android devices are getting turned on each day. The number quoted by Rubin is interesting because not only does it top the 214,000 estimated earlier, it also beats the 270,000 Apple iPhones activated daily.
What about the future of Android? The immediate future should be bright with duel-core phones set to launch soon along with the release of the lastest Android build, 2.3 aka Gingerbread. After that, the OS optimized for tablets, Honeycomb (Android 3.0) will be released. It looks like there should continue to be strong momentum for the green robot in the months ahead.
According to Andy Rubin, daily Android activations remain strong at 300,000 turned on per day
Even though Google divorced HTC for its “pure Android” Nexus line of phones, and turned over to the current hardware juggernaut Samsung, HTC’s phones are still at the forefront of taking a bite out of the Gingerbread craze. HTC EVO 4G, HTC Droid Eris, HTC Hero and even the humble HTC Wildfire have all been spotted running Gingerbread in different stages of porting, and with various non-working components, thanks to the Android 2.3 SDK released the other day.
Not the real deal, but good proof of concept that Android 2.3 is about as resource-hungry as Froyo, and can run even on lowly chipsets. The rumors that it will require at least a 1GHz CPU have been quite off-target, it seems. When the real deal gets extracted from the Google Nexus S after release, we should be seeing Gingerbread ROMs popping up all over the place for various devices, and we can also bet a Cyanogen mod will come in no time, so all of us with older rooted devices should be able to take a bite.
Last June, well known Russian tech writer Eldar Murtazin shook up a large percentage of Android users by writing that for an Android phone to upgrade to Android 2.3, the device would need a 1GHz processor. This seemed to mean that Froyo was the end of the road for such iconic models like the original Motorola DROID, the device credited with starting Androidmania. However, before you could even say DROID Does ten times fast, Google engineer Dan Morrill shot down Murtazin’s storyand all seemed right again in the Android world, a balance of peace and harmony, yin and yang that we reported on during those steaming hot summer days.
The days went by, and now with Android 2.3 about to get installed on Android phones new and old, a customer wrote on LG’s Facebook page asking if he was going to get Android 2.3 on his LG Optimus One. The response was that the handset needed a 1GHz processor for the upgrade, which it did not have. Once again the rumor spread that Gingerbread required a 1GHz processor and once again Dan Morrill was there to set the record straight. Another Android engineer by the name of Brian Swetland threw in his 2 cent tweet to say that “any device that runs well with Froyo should run even better with Gingerbread.”
The guys at Android Guys (natch) came up with a list of which devices will certainly get Gingerbread (Google Nexus S gets to launch with the software on December 16th, and the Nexus One will be upgraded in a few weeks). It might be quicker to list the Android phones that might be left out of the Android 2.3 upgrade like the LG Optimus series (LG Optimus M for MetroPCS, LG Optimus T for T-Mobile, LG Optimus S for Sprint, LG Optimus U for U.S. Cellular, and the LG Vortex). That means that owners of the original Motorola DROID live to fight another day.
The tweet that launched a smile on the faces of Motorola DROID owners
After a sizzling hot summer that saw Android activations swell by 60% within a month, it appears that the demand for Android handsets has leveled off. Current figures show 214,000 daily activations for Android models which is a puny 8% increase from the figures seen in August. Furthermore, Google’s open source OS was not able to catch up to the iOS platform with 270,000 activated daily as of October when the latest known figures were released.
We could be witnessing just a pause before new features like double-core processors start to make their way onto Android phones early next year. And after the amazing run that Android has had, a slowdown might be more welcome than a continuous rise that burns out. Activations doubled from 30,000 a day in the Spring of 2009 to 60,000 by February 2010. In May, the number rose to 100,000 activations a day to 160,000 the next month and 200,000 by August.
The first Android powered double-core device is expected to be the LG Star. We recently showed you a video of the handset, which is expected to launch early in 2011. And while we could see Android pick up momentum on the back of faster processors and newer OS builds, we need to keep in mind that it has a stronger challenge this year from Microsoft with that firm’s smooth and responsive Windows Phone 7 OS.
Globally, you can’t deny the fact that the Chinese market plays a key role in how the mobile landscape is modified as it can seemingly adjust the hand of power towards one company versus another. Some may find it surprising, but a recent report from analyst Morgan Keegan’s Travis McCourt points to the telling tale that Google’s Android platform is tops in China – which is standing at the top of the hill looking down at Nokia’s Symbian, Apple’s iOS powered iPhone and RIM’s BlackBerry.
In fact, the Chinese smartphone market saw a dramatic increase of 200 percent year over year as consumers bought approximately 8 to 10 million smartphones last quarter alone – which is up 2 to 3 million versus the same time last year. Furthermore, Google’s Android is sitting at the top of the heap as it consisted 50 percent of the smartphones sold last quarter.
Conversely, things aren’t looking too well for Nokia seeing that they’re rapidly losing ground to the competition as they held a 70 percent claim in the Chinese smartphone market a year ago. However, they’re still continuing to output growing revenues despite the rapid loss in share.
Lastly, Apple and RIM managed to sell less than 500,000 units last quarter, which for some, view as disappointing. For RIM, their products are strictly being sold to the enterprises/government in China which obviously limits them in cranking out numbers they’re potentially capable of achieving. And for Apple, it’s believed that sales will begin to roll seeing that China Unicom lowered its pricing, Wi-Fi has been recently added, and that the iPhone 4 was only recently launched in late September.
Naturally, whatever controls the Chinese market will most likely have a substantial footprint on the worldwide scale.
Late last month, we reported that Google VP Andy Rubin (also affectionately known as the “Father of Android”) is expected to make a speech at today’s D: Dive into Mobile conference. The thought is that this would be the perfect time for Rubin to introduce Gingerbread and the Google Nexus S handset. Rubin is opening the show and the timing fits well with the comments made by Google CEO Eric Schmidt. The executive, as we recently told you, showed up at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco with a Google Nexus S in his hand. During a talk, Schmidt said that both Gingerbread and the phone were just a few weeks away. That took place in the middle of November, so we could see Rubin introduce both the latest Android OS and the newest Google flagship device. Also giving us a clue is Rohan Shravan, the CEO of Notion Ink. On the company’s blog, the executive wrote the weekend update and said that December 6th would be “another big day for Android”.
Will we see Android 2.3 and the Google Nexus S greet the world today? It certainly would make sense considering the leaks that have been dropping around the Samsung built handset lately, including some pictures taken by the device as we showed you the other day. As for Gingerbread, we were able to report to you about a video showing the software in action. By this evening, we could know a lot more about both the software and the phone including launch plans. Keep your fingers crossed tightly.
Will Android 2.3 and the Google Nexus S be introduced today?
The October smartphone OS numbers are in, and not everyone is pleased. The statistics from comScore measure the change in U.S. smartphone OS market share from July, 2010 to October, 2010. Google’s Android is the big winner, while RIM’s BlackBerry continues to falter.
Android has continued its ascent, going from 17% to 23.5%, which amounts to a 38% increase in only 3 months. Apple meanwhile has enjoyed a 3.3% rise from 23.8% to 24.6%. Even though iOS’ market share is still growing, we imagine Steve Jobs is upset about Android being so close behind.
BlackBerry has declined even further, from 39.3% to 35.8% (an 8.9% decrease). RIM will need some fresh ideas if they want to regain some market share. Their BlackBerry OS 6 only seems to be slowing the bleeding.
Palm’s webOS has declined from 4.9% to 3.9% (a 20% decrease). But we think that’s more due to marketing and availability, rather than interest. The debut of the Pre 2 and Palm’s other upcoming devices should give them a healthy bump in 2011.
Microsoft will be disappointed to see an 18% decline, from 11.8% to 9.7%. They’re waiting to see an increase from Windows Phone 7, but that will take more time. Place your bets, folks. It’s anyone’s game in 2011.
OK, your Cantonese is a little rusty, but a picture is still worth a thousand words and the video below shows a lot of the upcoming Android 2.3 OS. As we reported more than a couple of weeks ago, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said that the software is coming soon-some changes that have been noticed tonight in the Android Market on some Froyo powered devices could be the early signal that the new OS is on the way.
Besides the extra tab on the listings in the Market, other changes include a black navigation bar, new settings buttons, and a colored launcher. It is looking more and more as though we will see Android 2.3 launched before the ball drops in Times Square.
It seems that the Android Market is getting a stealth face lift. Some handsets running Froyo are finding an extra tab on the app listings, offering users the chance to search for related or similar applications to the one that you are checking out. Interestingly, the language between devices is a little different. For example, on the Motorola DROID X. the third tab reads “similar” while the HTC EVO 4G says “related”.
This update to the Android Market could be related to the upcoming Android 2.3 software release. A video of the Gingerbread O.S. shows this change in the Market looking very similar to what can be seen on the video. If your Froyo device was the recipient of the changes and update in the Android Market, let us know by writing a few words in the comments box below, and let us know what changes you can detect.
The new third tab on the revised Android Market listing reads “similar” on the Motorola DROID X (L), and “related” on the HTC EVO 4G (R)