Historians may remember April 21st as the modern date of the founding of Rome but the 2013 iteration of the day will forever be associated in the Android community as the conclusion of a week which included the international expansion of Amazon’s Appstore and the final release of Google’s Glass Explorer Edition models of Google Glass alongside the details of the device’s specifications.
Google’s Nexus program has been going full speed ahead as of late. The company has been able to continue the high level of excellence that we have come to expect from it while making necessary adjustments to offer reasonably-priced hardware. Thanks to the implementation of their latest Nexus line, we finally have a concrete idea of Google’s overall goal with their own device line-up.
However, with the most recent releases, the role of the “Nexus” in the Android ecosystem has shifted slightly. Android is currently standing on its own two feet without the need for Google to rescue it with a new device every year. Thus, instead of aiming to alter the current market by steering other manufacturers in the right direction, the Nexus line is finally at a point where it is tailored to supplement an already healthy industry.
It’s Holidays Week here at Android.Appstorm! We will dedicate our time this week to bring you the best apps for the year-end festivities. From gift shopping to games, cooking and hosting, managing your to-dos, decorating your phone, it will all be about spreading the cheer and reducing the stress of the Holidays season.
A big factor in the modern day holiday period is shopping for gifts. With Christmas, Hanukkah and the New Year’s fast approaching, it’s likely that those of you buying gifts will have many of them sorted by now. However, thanks to the Internet, we all have a big communal marketplace to buy last-minute impulse gifts before the big day arrives.
In this roundup, we’re going to take a look at some of the apps you can grab to make that last minute gift purchase.
Amazon has recently upgraded its status in the Android ecosystem, transforming from a lowly OEM to a powerful force and one of the most popular manufacturers. They capitalised on a smart business decision that pushed other Android OEMs towards that model. But how did Amazon achieve such greatness while others fell short?
Today, Amazon is holding a press conference. We’re not entirely sure what’s going to be announced, but rumour has it that the company is planning on showing off at least one new Kindle Fire tablet, possibly two (7-inch and 10-inch), and maybe even an Android-powered “Kindle phone”. (We may also see a new e-ink Kindle, but presumably that wouldn’t be running Android.)
Okay, the phone doesn’t seem too likely, but now that Google has released the Nexus 7 it’d be a smart move for Amazon to release an update to their budget Android tablet. As I said at the time, “the presenters made it very clear – without ever actually saying the word ‘Amazon’ – that the Nexus 7 is going after the Kindle Fire market. They spent a long time talking about the Google Play Store, emphasising that it sells movies, books, and songs, not just apps and games.”
Living in the UK, I’ve never even seen a Kindle Fire – they’re only sold in the USA – but I found it interesting to read the opinions of others. Many review sites criticized the device for having a poor build quality and confusing UI (compared to the iPad), but I noticed that many actual people said that they loved it, or that their non-techie friends and relatives (who didn’t want to shell out for an iPad) loved it.
I expect great things from a second Kindle Fire. Google and ASUS have proven that it’s possible to produce a high quality Android tablet at a budget price, and Amazon have proven that once they’ve shown a piece of hardware has a place in the market, they can make it truly great by iterating on it. The first generation e-ink Kindle was pretty ugly, but popular; the second was a great improvement; and the third nailed it. I have one myself. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a good buy.
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.
Amazon is going to be bringing out a tablet soon, and TechCrunch got the scoop on the details. We’ll go over the specs in a moment, but what’s important is that it’s a 7″ Kindle successor that runs a heavily modified port of Android – without the Market. But, honestly, that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that this Kindle tablet will not equal the iPad’s price, nor surpass it. It will cost just $250.
The Kindle is an extremely popular device, even if not in sales numbers. While I don’t personally own a Kindle, I know people who do and they love their device when it comes to its primary purpose: e-reading. And it’s became very evident that Android’s chance at success is not trying to “kill” the iPad, but trying to target specific markets, like the Kindle does.
I think Android is failing in the tablet market, and I don’t think they are going to improve fast enough to turn a profit. However, I also think there’s a massive potential for Android to move into brand new markets and take over the world. (more…)
Rumors about new tablets from Amazon and Sony have been floating around for a while, but — perhaps due to IFA 2011 kicking off this week — we’ve seen a lot of new information released.
First up are the two new Sony tablets (pictured above; more images here): the wedge-shaped S1 and the hinged S2. According to CNET UK, the S1′s doorstop shape makes it easier to read lying down on a desk, but apart from that it seems par for the course. The S2, on the other hand, has two 5-inch touchscreens in a clamshell design, which makes it quite different from other tablets; for example, the keyboard, when activated, takes up the entire bottom screen. (Sounds like Sony’s been taking tips from the Nintendo DS range.)
Both tablets run Honeycomb, though the S2′s version is obviously modified to cope with its unique design, and are “PlayStation Certified”, like the Xperia Play handset. Neither are really trying to compete on price; the S1 is the same price as the iPad 2, while the S2 is set to cost £100 more in the UK (which usually translates to around $100 more in the USA).
Then there’s Amazon’s new tablet. Okay, this hasn’t been officially announced, but the rumors are so numerous that it’s fair to assume they’re working on something. PC Advisor’s rumor roundup suggests that there’ll be both a 7-inch and a 9- or 10-inch model, with built-in support for Amazon’s Android Appstore and its Cloud Player, and will be priced far cheaper than other comparable tablets on the market. Presumably this, along with the great reputation of the Kindle, will help sell huge numbers of tablets.
Other recently-released tablets may have flown under your radar, like the Eee Pad Transformer with its detachable QWERTY keyboard. Keep an eye on the site for our official review!
All of this is pretty much the same story that we see in the mobile industry: Apple has one current device at any given time — which is incredibly popular — and Android has a wide range of devices with different designs, features, and capabilities. It works well in the mobile industry, but perhaps that’s because everyone wants a handset; can this strategy scale to the luxury market of tablets? Vote in the poll and leave a comment to let us know what you think!
The Amazon Appstore launched fairly recently and it’s really cool — offering a paid app for free every day — but unfortunately it’s limited to US customers, making the rest of us feel like that kid who’s not invited to the cool party down the street.
I recently got a new Android phone and I realised that it’s crazy that I, living in the UK, can’t access the Amazon Appstore. So I did some searching around and discovered that there is a fairly easy workaround to give access to their store to everyone, not just those in the USA.
I was pretty excited when Amazon launched their Appstore for Android. On top of a healthy bit of competition, they offer exclusive apps like Angry Birds Rio and, most recently, Plants vs. Zombies for Android, and they offer a free app download everyday. That means you check Amazon daily, and there’s a chance you’ll save at least 99 cents (USD).
Well, I’ve gotten into the habit of checking every day (though I could also follow them on Twitter at @amazonappstore), and even if I don’t install the app right away, more often than not I will “purchase” it, in case I want to try it later. Today I’m going to give you my favorite apps offered as part of Amazon’s Free App of the Day — if not for these offers, I might not have discovered them!