XDA-Developers is a great community, famous for all sorts of mobile hacking and development but with a particular focus on Android and Windows Phone. It provides great resources and information about all things developer-related, with a wiki and a large forum that has over 4,000,000 active users. It is due to those active developers and forum members that XDA is considered a leader among all dev communities. Most of the custom ROMs ever built are made by the experienced developers over at XDA.
These developers often create apps and software which are not suitable for the Android Market – some of which are even against the Market’s Terms of Service. Here are a few great examples that I find to be very useful and one of a kind. Some of these can be found on the Android Market, but many can’t; all are made by members of XDA-Developers.
QuickDesk is an app that seems so simple in concept, but turns out to be extremely powerful once you begin using it. Once you give it a go, you’ll wonder why it’s not a built-in feature of the Android OS. By providing one-click access to a customizable dashboard, QuickDesk adds a whole different level of efficiency to navigating your device. To put it another way: it allows you to access an app from within an app.
QuickDesk was developed by Faruq Rasid, the man behind Helix Launcher and Calendr+. Given his creations, it seems that Faruq is definitely into being productive and efficient. QuickDesk fits the bill perfectly, allowing you to eliminate unnecessary swiping, tapping, and waiting when trying to get things done on your Android device. (more…)
I’m going to be totally upfront with you: I’m as big a fan of Amazon as I am of Google. I think they do a lot of great things, including MP3 selling, digital video streaming, app sales, and of course, e-readers. I’ve had my Kindle for about 2 years, and love it. When I read a print book, I sometimes miss the Kindle for its ease of use and annotation capabilities. It’s true that a lot of people haven’t jumped on the e-reader bandwagon (most of my students, college freshmen, don’t like them), but I think Amazon has a good opportunity to change that with their latest Kindles.
Samsung have always had a strong track record when it has come to mobile phones. They have always been cutting-edge and have seemed to bend the norm when it comes to mobile phone standards. Their phones have always been admired for their design, interface and practicality – and this admiration has been reflected in their sales figures; according to Mobile Burn, Samsung shipped 280 million units in 2010 (by contrast, Apple shipped a mere 47.4 million units).
In June 2010, Samsung released one of their most famous phones, the Galaxy S, which was seen as unbeatable at the time due to its claims of being the fastest smartphone on the market. Now there’s a new beast on the prowl: the Samsung Galaxy S II. It’s been around in Europe for a couple of months now (the phone was first released in the UK and South Korea in May 2011) and the U.S. launch is due very soon.
The Samsung Galaxy S II is, without a shadow of doubt, the best Android smartphone out there yet and is a strong contender for the best smartphone in the world period. Its sheer range of features, unbeatable specifications and damn good looks leave other smartphones quivering in the shadows of its almightiness. You’re itching to find out why, aren’t you? Well, read on for my full, in-depth review.
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
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…