Patents. They’ve dominated a lot of the tech scene in the past few months, especially in relation to Samsung and Apple and their attempts to get each other’s toys taken away from them. It’s a tangled web of legal battles that’s spawned everything on the intellectual spectrum from serious discussions about the validity of each one’s claims to parody accounts on Twitter.

Even in the ramp up to the holidays, it doesn’t seem to be stopping. Today we’re going to look at some of the most recent developments in this category, including Samsung’s attempt to get a phone that’s only the subject of rumour banned. (more…)

Last week, Facebook hosted their latest F8 Developers Conference, where they showed off a bunch of changes they were planning to make and that they had made recently. If you use Facebook, you’ve seen some of these already (most likely, your News Feed was briefly full of people complaining about them), like the Ticker at the top-right of the News Feed and the blue triangle on the corners of posts Facebook thinks you will like.

A bigger change that has slowly been rolling out (I believe today is the big official launch) is Timeline, which replaces your profile with a scrapbook of your whole Facebook life: photos, wall posts, graduations, and whatever other information you’ve let Facebook know.

What you may be less aware of is Facebook’s new Open Graph apps. Have you tried Foodspotting for Android? When you’re out at a restaurant, you take a photo of whatever you order, write a short description or give it a rating, and upload it to the Foodspotting database via the app. The hook is that other people can see what dishes are actually available at the local places to eat by doing a location-based search – but that’s not relevant here.

See, you can also share a photo to Facebook. Not a big deal; you’ve seen that before. Most apps (particularly photo apps) have a Share button, which ties in to all your other sharing apps, like Twitter and Google+. At the moment, when you share the photo, it just gets posted to your wall with a “via Foodspotting” tag. But Facebook’s vision for this is larger.

Soon (already, actually), with your permission, apps will be able to share this data with Facebook automatically; whenever you take a picture of your meal using Foodspotting, it’ll go into the Facebook database. Maybe it won’t be posted to your wall, but your friends will be able to view everything you’ve snapped via a box on your profileTimeline.

More interestingly, it’ll look out for “real-time serendipity”: if a friend goes to the same restaurant a few days later, it’ll let you know, and post that fact to the News Feed (“Fred and Joanna both ate at Wagamama’s this week”). Imagine this scaled to all your apps: the books you read on Google Books, the music you listen to on Spotify, the blogs you visit with your RSS reader… all shared with Facebook, so it can look for trends with your friends.

Some find this creepy. What do you think?

As users of Android we get a lot of brilliant apps and ROMs for free, but even so, I don’t think we should skimp on all levels of payment. There are many simple yet helpful ways we can give thanks to developers.

Following on from my previous post on how we can support our fellow Android users, this post is by no means the definite list of ways to support Android Developers, in fact I implore you to help us all come up with some other ways, but it’s a good start! (more…)

Several months ago, I did something for the first time: I ordered pizza online. Ever since then, whenever I’ve ordered from Domino’s, I’ve done it through the web. There are a number of reasons for that, but the main one is that you can order at your own pace and in a convenient location. I’ve had numerous food orders wrongly interpreted at various different outlets (not just Domino’s) when I’ve ordered via speech, but I’ve always been happy with the results of ordering online. This is because, thanks to the way that Domino’s organises its website, every last detail of a pizza can be customised and sent off to the store, with no room for a bad interpretation, because you haven’t spoken to anyone.

I generally order food around lunchtime or in the early evening, and normally when I’m out somewhere. I’m not necessarily next to a PC, which normally leaves two options: go to the store, or call in an order. Neither of these methods have the aforementioned advantages of online ordering – but, fortunately, there’s now a third: mobile apps. (more…)

Ah, the ripple of the net, muddy knees, brutal tackles, managers who only wore tracksuits, positions like ‘inside-left’ and ‘wing-half’, the League Cup was called the ‘Milk Cup’ and Match of the Day highlights were carefully recreated down the park the day after. We’re talking deep-rooted 70s and 80s British nostalgia in rolled down socks and a fistful of Panini stickers. If all this means anything to you, Flick Kick Football is like a delicious shot of yesterday’s best-bits. If however, you’re feeling suddenly alienated and scratching your head at these obscure and nonsensical British idioms, you must allow me to explain. Either way, you really should read on…
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For most people, customizing a desktop or home screen starts with changing the imagery on it – most notably the wallpaper and icons. And although changing the wallpaper on your Android device is the simplest of tasks, changing icons is not as easy. In fact, you simply can’t do it unless you are using a launcher replacement like ADW Launcher, LauncherPro, Go Launcher Ex or any of the dozens of other options available in the Android Market.

So having already discussed how to change icons on the home screen using any of the three aforementioned launchers, let’s take a look at some of the best icons sets out there for your phone. (more…)

Today, a majority of the phone’s functionality is controlled by those tiny icons that are arranged neatly on our home screens, launching apps, games and pretty much anything else that we need to do.

The unfortunate truth with Android apps, though, is that most of these icons are not exactly eye candy. And if you are the type who like your visuals co-ordinated and consistent, that’s pretty much a dream with a typical Android setup and a random selection of apps. Fortunately, changing apps’ icons is pretty easy, and there are a lot of beautiful icon sets available for free to help you make everything look sleek and sexy.

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We’ve all been there: we’re driving, in a meeting, or at a movie, and we get a text or a call. So we get on our phone, much to the dislike of those around us, to let the person on the other end know that we’re busy and we can’t talk right now (though to be honest, I think the point of a text message is to allow the recipient to respond when they can). This distracts the people around us: other drivers, movie goers, or meeting participants – and, quite frankly, it’s rude.

Luckily there are a ton of apps out there to help us with this problem. Today we’ll look at Away Text.

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Like the idea of the ASUS Transformer, but don’t want to splash out on a new netbook? Well, I recently stumbled across an article written by Web.AppStorm editor Matthew Guay on How-To-Geek, describing how to run Android on a Netbook. I was intrigued and tried it out as an experiment. Since it runs off a flash drive, nothing is installed or written to the hard drive. Read on to learn about how you can run Android on your netbook, and how it fares.
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In the ongoing battle for smartphone supremacy, Android and iPhone have come a long way and are very close in terms of style, performance and features. The one standout feature that keeps many users on the Android platform is customization – especially the ability to configure your home screen to have much more than a bunch of icons. To be more precise: widgets.
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