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.
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.
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.
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.
Google had an announcement canceled by the weather but they still put out the new devices including this Nexus 4 phone, the Nexus 10 and an update to the Nexus 7. While there was some leaks of what this new Nexus 4 phone would be here is the real info. It is a 4.7″, quad-core, wireless charging, and Android 4.2 devices. Wow lots in one sentence but they also updated some apps too such as a new swipe type keyboard called “Gesture Type” so you just run your finger over the letters to spell words, and a new camera app “Photo Sphere” that lets you do panoramas that go up and side to side.
This phone will come in two sizes an 8GB and 16GB but at a great prices unlocked on GSM/HSPA+ networks starting at only $299 and $349 making this easy to get if you are in a contract but want a new devices. There is no LTE but HSPA+ is fast enough right now, and there are so many different LTE bands out right now you would have to put some more expensive chips in and that would drive the price up probably $100+. There is also the added SlimPort HDMI connection that is new. If you’re on a GSM network this looks like a good upgrade and it’s nice to be on the cutting edge of what other phone makers will add to their Android phones next year. There isn’t much information on the wireless charging yet but the make note of it on the Play Store website, most likely this will be an added $40-60 for the charging mat and isn’t included in the box. Will keep an eye out for accessories, but this would still be a good phone to get.
|Screen with Gorilla Glass 2||4.7″ 1280×768 resolution|
|CPU||Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro|
|Cameras||8MP back, 1.3 front|
|Memory||8GB + 16GB / 2GB RAM|
|Connections||Micro USB, SlimPort HDMI, 3.5mm headphone|
|Wireless||Wireless Charging, Wifi, NFC, Bluetooth, GPS|
|Battery||2,100 mAh Lithium|
|OS||Android 4.2 Jelly Bean|
|Sensors||Microphone, Compass, Ambient light|
Google today announced they have created Street Views of some of their data centers that let you go through and see parts of the building most would never see. There is also a video showing things off also, but it’s fun to see what you can find that they put in for fun such as an Android guy off in some corner or a screen showing something for fun.
While you can’t go every place in the data centers you can look around a bit and see what it would be like to work in one of these buildings. Including things like showing the crews brake areas and some of the office areas. Right now the only data center you can walk though is Lenoir, NC but it looks like they may add more along with the outside.
Check out the video they made of the data center or the street map of it for you self. You can also get more data center images on the Google Data Center About page.
With the upcoming release of the Windows 8 and Windows RT Microsoft has been developing what they think is the ideal tablet experience for Windows RT. They call their tablet Surface and will be coming out in both a Windows RT version and Windows 8 Pro version. The announcement of the Surface with Windows RT came out today and will start at $499, shipping on October 26 2012. There are three different packages to order, the lowest priced one is just a 32GB Surface with no cover and the highest is 64GB with a Cover. You can also order extra covers in different colors or buy a cover with a built-in keyboard that comes in 5 different colors.
While I don’t see mass adoption of Windows 8 or Windows RT it looks to be an acquit tablet interface but lacks in apps and functionality that most users will expect from a tablet such as an iPad or Android device. As for running Windows 8 on a laptop or desktop is a complete failure on the part of Microsoft, and they have only shown how the start menu takes over the system and that is all they expect you to do with your computer is have the start menu up all the time. This tablet seems like a response to the iPad but done with out thinking through the entire experience along with the experience of how Windows 8 will work as a desktop interface.
While the Surface looks to be a decent tablet it will also come with Microsoft Office 2013 RT installed, while it will be a pre-release of Office Home and Student it should get updated to the full release when it comes out. They also include Internet Explorer 10, Xbox Music store and other Xbox branded games. Check out the specs and gallery below for more about the details of the device.
|Software||Windows RT and Office Home and Student 2013 RT|
|Storage||32 and 64 GB|
|CPU / Memory||NVIDIA T30 / 2 GB RAM|
|Display||10.6 inch 5-point multi-touch|
|Cameras||Both front and back 720p HD|
|Wireless||2×2 MIMO WIFI, Bluetooth 4.0|
|Ports||USB 2.0, mircoSDXC, HD Video Out|
|Sound||3.5mm headphone, 2 microphones, stereo speakers|
|Sensors||Ambient Light, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Compass|
|Price||$499-699 + $119-129 for covers + HD Adaptor|