The Official Google Reader App for Android

I am a Google Reader addict, I admit it.  So when I saw this news, I got really excited and began to shake uncontrollably…:)

Here it is (Android) folks, the official Google Reader App for Android by Google.

It is available now in the Android Market…search for Google Reader.  A number of other apps will come up, but the one you are looking for is developed by Google, Inc…or just scan the QR code with Google Goggles / Barcode Scanner.

I will post a review and walkthough in the near future.

Source

Daily Highlights #2: How Android is Transforming Mobile Computing

I thought this was a pretty good article I stumbled on at Gizmodo.

One of the top priorities right now is to improve the user interface to catch up with the iPhone. A bigger challenge is making sure that the same open-source model that has led to Android’s rapid growth does not also become its undoing. If phone makers do too much tinkering and customization, Android could splinter into many different versions, none of them completely compatible with the others. Such fragmentation has been the Achilles’ heel of every open-source project. To counter it, Rubin and his team have created a compatibility test suite, a list of things a phone must have in order to carry the Android brand and to run Google applications like Google Maps. Rubin believes this will induce phone makers to keep all Android phones fundamentally compatible.

Glad to see Google is actively thinking of ways to combat platform fragmentation.

Froyo on the Samsung Galaxy S Captivate (Updated with Video & Root)

DesignGears at XDA just posted a release Samsung build of Froyo for the Samsung Captivate (AT&T).  I am doing absolutely nothing tonight.  Actually pretty lame of me since it’s Friday…meh.

Overall, this firmware is much better than the first two official Captivate firmwares.  This is what the Captivate should have been like.  I am just going to hit on a few more points.

Build information

  • Firmware Version: 2.2
  • Baseband version: I897UCJI6
  • Kernel version: 2.6.32.9, jetaek.lee@sep-11 #1
  • Build number: FROYO.UCJI6

Some noticeable changes:

  • Vibration when the phone is fully powered off (let’s you know the phone is completely off I am assuming)
  • Quandrant is only listing 311MB of Total RAM…where the remaining 201MB are is a mystery
  • Color icons in the settings menu
  • Pinch to overview of the homescreens (similar to HTC sense)
  • Adobe Flash 10.1 is preinstalled and works in the stock Android browser (tested using the desktop version of youtube.com)
  • Android App2SD
  • New Welcome to Android/Samsung setup wizard during first boot
  • Recent applications now includes a shortcut to the Task Manager
  • Mobile AP is enabled!
  • You can easily enable/disable data usage by using the menu that pops up when long pressing the power button
  • Quandrant Score: 977
  • 2 new live wallpapers, Spectrum & Beach
  • Quickoffice is preinstalled
  • GPS works way “better” (crosses fingers), the signal readings are much more stable and quite a bit higher across the board
  • Stock Android keyboard is gone, Samsung and Swype keyboards remain, the Samsung keyboard has some UI enhancements (such as the number keys being visible when the letters are)
  • Media Hub is working

That’s all I can find. UPDATE: There is a working root…discovered by Eugene at XDA.  It’s needed ASAP to get rid of AT&Ts bloat and to tweak the phone further.

Root Instructions (I attached a RAR containing all the needed files) -> http://138.197.109.115/blog/downloads/rootApps.rar

1) get RageAgainstTheCage from here stealth.openwall.net/xSports/RageAgainstTheCage.tgz and unzip it (see the download above ^^^^)
2) Get su, busybox, Superuser.apk
3) adb push rageagainstthecage-arm5.bin /data/local/tmp/
4a) adb shell (now you will see the $ prompt)
4b) run the command “chmod 0755 /data/local/tmp/rageagainstthecage-arm5.bin”
5) type “/data/local/tmp/rageagainstthecage-arm5.bin” (without quotes) in adb shell
5) wait till adb shell closes
6) adb shell again, and now you should have # (i.e. adb root shell)
7) type “mount -o rw,remount /dev/block/stl9 /system” without quotes in adb rootshell to mount system as rw
exit adb rootshell
9) push su and busybox to /system/bin using “adb push <path to su>/su /system/bin/su” AND “adb push <path to busybox>/busybox /system/bin/busybox”
10) push Superuser.apk to /system/app using “adb push <path to Superuser apk>/Superuser.apk /system/app”
11) adb shell
12) you will be back at the # shell
13) cd /system/bin
14) chmod 4755 su
15) chmod 4755 busybox
16) reboot your device

Check out the screenshots below.

Update:  Posted a quick walkthrough of most of the changes on Youtube.

My Take on Tablet PCs

RIM Playbook Tablet

It looks like the tablet market is beginning to heat up.  First the Apple iPad, then the Samsung Galaxy Tab, and now RIM’s Playbook.  RIM’s announcement especially made me think about what tablet would work for me.

Apple iPad

First of all, let me start by saying my ideal tablet hasn’t come out yet.  The iPad resembles a “big iPod Touch” to me in looks and more importantly, functionality.  iOS as a platform is too limited.  It seems to be tailored to those who want to consume data, media, etc.  I want a tablet I can create with.

Samsung Galaxy Tab

Next, the Samsung Galaxy Tab (or insert Android-powered tablets).  I can very much appreciate Android.  As a smartphone OS it is solid.  As a tablet OS (in its current form), not so much.  The Samsung Galaxy Tab appears to be a big Galaxy S…and I already have a Galaxy S Captivate.  The Galaxy Tab would simply be redundant for me.  The Galaxy Tab doesn’t present any new features that don’t already exist on my Captivate.  Another issue, Android fragmentation.  Android’s openness is the epitomy of a gift and a curse.  On one hand, Android users aren’t locked into one form factor, one hardware design like iOS. However, Android is used on everything from portable media players to smartphones to tablets to in car entertainment systems. By getting an Android tablet, I am not guaranteed top have a genuine Android experience, much less guaranteed Android’s core apps (Market, Gmail, Talk, etc.).

HP Slate

I have seen some parts of the Windows 7-based tablet, the HP Slate.  That seems like its right up my alley.  I’m able to do all my “work” that I do on my desktop, on my tablet.  The only downside is it lacks the mobility from a user interface perspective.  Windows 7 isn’t exactly the greatest touch based UI out there.  Furthermore, Windows 7 is a full-blown desktop operating system.  Battery life may not be that good (I need 10 hours between charges).  I think if some company can develop a skin to cover up Windows 7 (for most tasks anyway) and optimizes power consumption, then it can be successful.  Then there is a Google Chrome OS based tablet.

I haven’t seen much of Chrome OS, but it supposedly thrives it’s ability to run web applications…so its guaranteed to be “light”.  Other OSes that could potentially make for a good tablet PC are WebOS and Meego.

Do what is my ideal tablet? A device that bridges the mobility of a smartphone and the power and flexibility of a laptop.  It’s going to need a good amount of connectivity and communication options.  SD card reader, USB ports, front facing camera, mic & speakers, and WiFi.  It needs to run a flexible, but mobile oriented OS as well.  I’m probably asking for a lot, so I can settle for a subset of these features.

Fortunately, I’m not in the “I will buy now” market for a while (saving for a wedding).  So hopefully the tablet market matures in the next 12-18 months. In the meantime, I wait…