The developers of the popular Linux distribution Ubuntu have showed off an Android based phone OS with no JavaVM running on a Galaxy Nexus phone today. From first look it’s got some slick things that make the UI different from normal Android like swiping from edges to open menus and information, kind of stealing this from how Windows 8 works. From hands on videos it is very slow and things lag when opening. Of course this a early release but it’s nothing impressive.
On the website they show a block with app icons and just say “Go make us apps” using HTML5/Native, but lots of those like Gmail and YouTube would never make it to this OS natively just look at the large number of full on Android devices that don’t get support for Google Apps. So its very misleading to people thinking this would be cool to have because somehow it’s going to be more open then Android.
The one think I ask is what is the point, right now the big 3 are Android, iOS, and BlackBerry, with BlackBerry slowly dying away and Windows Phone not even something that anyone is looking at. This sounds like a lot of extra resources that could be put into making Android better, or making Ubuntu work better on the desktop. There is also Ubuntu TV but don’t expect much from that ether, their may be money in these markets but trying to do your own thing won’t work out or you will get people who get one of these devices and wonder why they can’t get the apps there friends on Android have.
Check out some photos to see what it looks like but don’t hold your breath for this becoming more than a waste of our time. If any new phone OS had any chance other than Android and iOS it would be Windows Phone just because they have the money to lose. And as we have seen from other Phone OS’s such as WebOS and even Windows Phone, just because you are different or have some special features it all comes down to getting things working together and getting lots of phones running it.
If this sounds harsh, it’s just true that you shouldn’t expect much to come from this.
Happy New Year, in the coming months of 2013 there will be a large amount of new tech news with CES13 coming up when big tech companies try to sell suppliers there new products they will make available this year. This brings new tablets, tvs, computers, phones, and lots of other gadgets.
Hope you have a good year, and Tek4.Me will be here to bring you tech news that is useful, while getting things back up and going now that the holidays are over. Were working to get more content every day.
Facebook announced the new Android app that runs in native code and not as a HTML5 web based app that it used to. By doing this it should run much faster and give them the ability to add more features that are part of the Android API. The app should load faster and run much smoother, I noticed that once images were loaded on my Galaxy Nexus scrolling thorough the time line was much easier. Also the images are loaded as you view them in the time line so they open right away and can be zoomed, liked or commented on right away without that annoying loading spinner. Also if you load a friend’s time line you should see a speed improvement.
I got it as an auto update when I got on WiFi but if you don’t have that on go get the update from the Play Store and you should be happy with the speed improvements of using native code.
A new update for WordPress is out version 3.5, with this update the main thing is the new Media Manager. While that isn’t the only new thing, they have added a new responsive and clean-looking theme called Twenty Twelve, there is also an update to the dashboard that includes high-resolution icons and other elements for people with Retina displays or high-resolution screens, finally they updated things to work better on touch devices and refined controls to make things easier.
The Media Manager is much easier to use letting you drag and drop images and media around to order them into galleries or add captions. You can also just drag a set of images into the manager to upload them and select the images you want to insert into a gallery or just an image into a post. Also when working with posts the post editor has been update and looks nicer yet no new functionality was added.
If you have a WordPress site there is no reason not to keep it updated, and with the new Media Manger it will help you or your users’ happier when working with images. Check out the video below.
One quick note, I was having problems getting the new Media Manager to open in older posts and even in this posts, seems like there may be something still not working just right to open up the manager. But I like the update just wish there wasn’t the problem with opening the manager.
Looks like Verizon is still at its “were not blocking Google Wallet but you can’t use it because we are blocking it” tricks again. Looks like a letter sent to the FCC about it shows they are still blocking it because they say it uses a “secure element” in the device. This sounds funny because when Google Wallet came out they said it was insecure and they didn’t want it for that reason, now they are saying sorry it’s too secure and you can’t use it.
But what this boils down to, Verizon is building their own mobile payments system and will most likely be using the same “secure element” in the phone and made so you can’t uninstall it unless you root and rip it out. I have Google Wallet on my rooted Galaxy Nexus and it works just fine, of course it says it’s not a supported device being a Verizon phone and rooted. Too bad Google doesn’t just make it available on the Play Store and disregard the block Verizon is putting on it.
My Field Trip took me on to see the Kindle Fire HD that was setup, and it made me happy I have a Nexus 7 tablet. It did have some store app showing how things worked and I closed that because I don’t need it, and I went in to seeing how things looked.
The first thing I could see was that when swiping through the apps and content it would stutter and wasn’t all the smooth. This should be something that would always be nice since people are going to do that first thing. So I took note of how it was not performing well and went on.
I saw Cut the Rope was installed and having played it on my Nexus 7 though it would be a good comparison. But again the system was very slow to load the game; it took almost 30 seconds to load and also took some time to load the level. The game performed as it should and seems fine but the low-speed had made me not so interested in the device. I also was seeing that the price was just too close to a Nexus 7 where I could get a full Android experience.
With the modified Android OS that Amazon hides you miss out on a lot of things that the content doesn’t always make up for. Mostly missing those Google Apps that just add the full experience you would want such as good email, maps, and even the Google Now search that is way better than anything Siri can give you.
I would not recommend one of these for someone looking for a mid-sized tablet especially when you can get the Nexus for the same price but with more power and a better app selection. You do miss out on the Amazon Prime video and books but you can make up for that by getting the Amazon Kindle App and Netflix.
Today on my Field Trip I got to play with the Mac Book Pro with Retina display at Best Buy and I was impressed with the system, while the extra cost and not so obvious benefit of the Retina display seemed to underwhelmed me.
After looking at the iPad Mini I looked for the Mac Books to see how they were, I didn’t even see any Mac Pro desktops but there was a nice 27″ display sitting there. I skipped over the Mac Airs and found the newer 15″ Mac Book Pro with Retina and I didn’t seem to find any difference between how the display looked with a 15″ Mac Book Pro right next to it. I could see a difference in contrast the Retina seemed to be darker but still easy to use.
As for the upgrade to the system it was very clean, thin and light. It seemed like a system you could just slip in a case and take everywhere you went to have a powerful computer. I also liked how it seems to have no fans or cooling at all. Also the connectors all were located along the back sides of the system making it so no connections would be sticking out in strange places, most PC laptops have USB ports right in front or the power cord on the back, on the Mac Books it was all clean in the back.
The Mac OS was seemed very responsive and loaded programs and switched around fast. I did some testing using the keyboard, it was strange for me because I use an older mechanical keyboard on my desktop when I do most of my typing and a no space plastic keyboard on my older laptop. But the chiclet keys that Apple use are very easy to press but you have to get use to the gaps of aluminum that separate all the keys. I made only 1 or 2 mistakes typing on the keyboard and when I did the OS was able to help me fix the problems very easily in the note application.
While I wasn’t able to test the full power the system was nice and worked well, I liked the quality of the camera built-in and the display was good but I didn’t see any difference. If you are going to buy a Mac Book Pro I may be worth it for the better screen and just the updated system specifications. This makes me want to go Mac but the price is way more than I can afford right now. You can also check out the full specs of these systems on the release article.
I have played with iPads before and didn’t see a reason to go away from the Android systems I like, but lots of people like iOS. As for the iPad Mini its operation seemed smooth and things loaded fast and the screen was nice and crisp. As for the size, I have bigger hands than most but the feel of it was too big to the point that my hand was stretched way out to hold on to the device, making it hard to hold and at that point you may as well get the extra 2 inches. But if you wanted the smaller form this would be good if you are already in the iOS world and have only an iPhone or an old iPad but you wouldn’t want to get this if you have a newer iPad.
One other thing is the flaw of only having that Home button, I opened up the iBooks app to see how a book looked, and while it was nice there is no obvious way to get to all of your books or the table of contents. I tried holding Home but Siri wanted to help me find something, swiped from the edges but only a small bit of something came from the top but wouldn’t pull down, double tapped and even did a long tap and only got page turns. While this is only one app it does point to the fact that if there is no menus on-screen and no buttons what are you supposed to do if you have no other instructions. At least on Android you know that the menu button will get you some kind of menu, but also on Windows 8 I see this as a problem until you know that if you slide from one side a menu opens.
My experience with this app should not say if you are going to get an iPad Mini for the smaller size it should be a good experience, but it isn’t something you would go buy the iPad 4th generation and then need one of these. You would kind of just pick one based on the size you want since all of the same apps work on both devices.