Estar: the Ultimate Android App to Master Your Battery Life

It’s not always easy to tell which apps are affecting your battery life the most.

A new Android app from Purdue University researchers, Estar, aims to fix this problem by identifying your most power-hungry apps, and providing more energy-efficient alternatives.

See also: Save Battery Life With These 7 Lite Versions of Your Favorite Apps

Upon launching, Estar provides two options: “install energy efficient apps” or “stop power hungry apps.” Selecting the first directs you to recommendations of popular social, news, communication and gaming apps that Estar has identified as being efficient; the app assigns a rating to each app in the Play Store.

But it’s the latter option that really showcases the best of what Estar offers. Choosing “stop power-hungry apps” displays how much of your battery’s resources the apps you’ve already installed are using. It also identifies the worst offenders (spoiler: Facebook Messenger is likely among them), and estimates how many minutes of battery life you’ll save by killing each power-sucking app. While it may not seem like much, a few minutes here and there could easily add up to an essential hour or two of battery life.

The Estar app will tell you which apps use the most battery, and provide less power-hungry alternatives.

Image: Mobile Enerlytics

The free app was created by Mobile Enerlytics, a four-person startup in Purdue’s Research Park incubator.

“An effective way to extend a smartphone’s battery life is to provide users with information about applications’ energy efficiency,” company CEO and cofounder Y. Charlie Hu said in a statement. “There are millions of apps in today’s market, and there are several alternatives to almost every popular app.”

For now, the app is Android only, but an iOS version is apparently in the works.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Article source

The Nexus 8 could get a Microsoft Surface-like keyboard cover

Just when you thought Nexus 8 rumors had run dry, a new leak outs a very Microsoft Surface-esque keyboard case designed for the forthcoming Google/HTC tablet.

Android Police spied a keyboard folio that will act as a wireless Bluetooth 4.0 keyboard and folding cover for HTC’s first Nexus tablet, thus far known as both Volantis and Flounder.

Supposedly the case will come as one piece that folds in half; the tablet’s backside will sit on top of the keyboard when not in use. Meanwhile, the cover for the 8.9-inch screen could be segmented and lined with magnets similar to the Smart Covers designed for the iPad Air and iPad mini 2.

Users should be able to fold up the segments into a triangle and use it to prop up their tablet for watching media or using the keyboard.

A front and back cover for the Nexus 8?

Another key piece of the cover’s design docket also reveals it could come with an integrated 450mAh battery plus a charging port built into the hinge. While it would be nice to use the case’s battery to keep the Nexus 8 topped off with energy, sources claim it will more likely be used to power the keyboard itself.

Nexuses are a-changing

Speculation has focused on Google planning a major shake-up of its Nexus tablets. Now the possible existence of an official keyboard case could signal the search company’s desires to produce a more productivity-focused slate.

Android Police also speculates that the Nexus 8 will come with 4:3 aspect ratio. This change could also make the slate better tuned for word processing and other content producing applications rather than simply viewing Google Play and streaming video.

Otherwise early reports have suggested the Nexus 8 tablet may come packing a QHD screen driven by a 64-bit Tegra K1 processor and 4GB of RAM. The tablet could also boast an 8MP rear camera paired with a 1.6MP front snapper, and be the first Android slate pre-loaded with Android L.

We’re anticipating the Nexus 8 to launch in October, so look out for it and its new keyboard case.

  • Google wants to change the wearables world with Android Wear

Article source

Why Do Android Apps Want So Much Access to My Data?

Every time you install an Android app, you’re asked to OK the app’s access to certain parts of your phone. You might see this, for example:

View gallery

.

This week, reader Maureen noted that these apps seemed to be overreaching just a tad. Why, for example, would The Weather Channel app need access to your Device and Call information? Why would it need to know if WiFi is enabled and the names of all nearby WiFi devices?

You may recall that Facebook encountered a bit of public pushback on this same issue when it released its Messenger app a few weeks ago. To install it, you had to give it permission to access your entire address book, send text messages, record videos using your camera, know your location at all times, and access the Internet when it wants. Everybody accused Facebook of getting greedy with its data harvesting.

As it turns out, all apps seem to ask for a lot of permissions, and most of it sounds a lot scarier than it is. If you’re an app developer for Android, Google says you must declare what parts of your phone your app can use — and you must use Google’s wording.

So Facebook had to use text that says, “Has access to your phone,” even though what it really means is “…if you try to call someone from within the Messenger app.” It had to use text that says, “Can access your camera,” when what it really meant was “…when you take a photo to send to a friend.”

I wrote to The Weather Channel to ask about its permissions, and a spokesperson told me the same kinds of things: Why does it need access to your phone? So that the app can make severe weather alerts pop onto the screen. Why does it need to know about nearby WiFi networks? Because Android phones use WiFi to help them figure out where you are — and The Weather Channel app needs to know where you are so it can give you local weather forecasts.

Google recently updated the way it displays permissions, making them cleaner and a little less scary. But if you ask me, the iPhone’s method is better yet. It asks you for access to some part of your phone only at the moment when it needs access.

View gallery

.

In any case, it’s ironic that Google runs into public-perception problems with these permissions screens, because the whole idea was to shine as a beacon of transparency and openness — not to scare people with overly broad wording.

Article source

Android app development course offered through Northeast State

Posted: Tuesday, September 2, 2014 3:22 pm
|


Updated: 3:32 pm, Tue Sep 2, 2014.

Android app development course offered through Northeast State

Bristol Herald Courier |

TriCities.com

Northeast State’s Workforce Solutions will offer an eight-week course on basic Android application development from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. every Tuesday beginning Sept. 30 through Nov. 18.

The course will be taught at the Kingsport Center for Higher Education, 300 W. Market St., Kingsport.

The course is suited for individuals who would like to gain an understanding of the process required to create an Android app including hardware capabilities, software design, development of graphics and writing code. Each participant will develop their own app for personal or professional use.

To receive a certificate, participants must be present for 80 percent of the course, complete all homework assignments and develop a functional app.

The first session will be an introduction to Android. Participants will learn about the Android operating system and the various hardware types used through the Android ecosystem.

The cost of the course is $195 and the registration deadline is Sept. 22. Students may register online at www.northeaststate.edu/workforcesolutions or contact Diana Harrison at 423-354-5520 or via email at dlharrison@NortheastState.edu.

© 2014 TriCities.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

on

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 3:22 pm.

Updated: 3:32 pm.

Article source

Google won't let Android Wear stagnate without frequent updates

Google has promised that it will release frequent updates to Android Wear, the smartwatch OS being adopted by companies like Asus, Samsung, Motorola, LG, and others.

Smartwatches will change much more rapidly than smartphones, the company said, and Google wants to stay at the forefront and actively shape how Android Wear evolves, according to CNET.

And unlike in smartphones, Google can reportedly push out Android Wear updates without having to run them by carriers first, a step that makes the smartphone update process take longer than it otherwise would.

Google reportedly has several Android Wear updates scheduled to arrive before the end of the year, with the first coming this week.

Future watch

These Android Wear updates will add features like the ability to pair smartwatches with Bluetooth headsets and the ability for smartwatches that have GPS to use geolocation to track users’ fitness sessions.

Google also plans to add a streamlined way for third-party developers to design their own Android Wear watch faces that users will be able to swap in and out on a whim – to display live sports game scores, stocks or other specific data.

Google’s Android Wear Engineering Director David Singleton told CNET that thousands of existing Android apps have already been updated to support Android Wear.

He added that Google will enable other connection types besides Bluetooth as its Android Wear hardware partners start expressing the desire to build watches that use them.

Meanwhile Android Vice President of Engineering Hiroshi Lockheimer said the company wants to keep updating Android Wear as quickly as possible. He said “it’s a lot simpler on watches,” where there are less steps in the update pipeline.

  • Here’s everything there is to know about Android Wear

Article source

Android Wear adding Bluetooth support, GPS, custom watch faces in future updates

Close

Thank you

Your message has been sent.

Close

Sorry

There was an error emailing this page.

By Derek Walter


Greenbot
|

Sep 2, 2014 10:39 AM PT

‘);//–”;
var adDivString = “”;
placementDiff = applyInsert($(this), adDivString);
if (debug) {
console.log(“Just placed an ad and the placementDiff is: ” + placementDiff);
}
placementTarget = cumulativeHeight + placementDiff + interModuleHeight + adHeightBuffer;
}
else {
var moduleDivString = “”;
var elementId = “drr-mod-”+moduleCounter;
moduleDivString = “”;
modules.push(elementId);

placementDiff = applyInsert($(this), moduleDivString);
if (debug) {
console.log(“Just placed a module and the placementDiff is: ” + placementDiff);
}
placementTarget = cumulativeHeight + placementDiff + interModuleHeight + moduleHeightBuffer;
moduleCounter++;
}
loopCounter++;
}
// Avoid placing elements too soon due to non-large figures inflating the cumulative height
if ($(this).is(“figure”) !$(this).is(“figure.large”)) {
cumulativeHeight += grafHeight;
}
else {
cumulativeHeight += $(this).height() + grafHeight;
}
}
});

// clone Related Stories module m-15 to come in after 2nd para in article body for mobile breakpoint display
var $relatedStories = $(‘.related-promo-wrapper’);
if ($relatedStories.length) {
var $relatedStoriesClone = $relatedStories.clone();
$relatedStoriesClone.insertAfter( “#drr-container p:eq(1)”);
}

var $insiderPromo = $(‘.insider-promo-wrapper’);
if ($insiderPromo.length) {
var $insiderPromoClone = $insiderPromo.clone();
$insiderPromoClone.insertAfter( “#drr-container p:eq(1)”);
}

//place left side element
cumulativeHeight = 0;
var leftPlacementTarget = tagHeight = leftPlacementTarget) {
if (debug) {
console.log(“congratulations… we’ve passed the initial start point”);
}
if (leftPlacementIndex == null) {
//it’s not good enough to not be a left avoid – it also shouldn’t be a

with an immediately preceding small or medium image left avoid.
if (!isLeftAvoid($(this)) noPrevFigures($(this)) ) {
leftPlacementIndex = $(this).index();
$leftPlacementElement = $(this);
leftPlacementLookaheadStart = cumulativeHeight;
if (debug) {
console.log(“is not a left avoid and no prev figures. ########## set placementIndex (“+leftPlacementIndex+”) and lookaheadStart (“+leftPlacementLookaheadStart+”) ##########”);
}
} else {
if (debug) {
console.log(“is a left avoid or has previous figures. continue”);
}
}
} else {
if (debug) {
console.log(“#### leftPlacementIndex already set to “+leftPlacementIndex+”. looking ahead…”);
}
//not null; has been set
if ((cumulativeHeight – leftPlacementLookaheadStart) leftIntervalHeight) {
if (debug) {
console.log(“###### THRESHOLD REACHED. LOOKAHEAD COMPLETE. END ###### (cumulativeHeight – leftPlacementLookaheadStart) (“+(cumulativeHeight-leftPlacementLookaheadStart)+”) leftIntervalHeight (“+leftIntervalHeight+”).”);
}
return false;
} else {
if (debug) {
console.log(“threshold not reached: (cumulativeHeight – leftPlacementLookaheadStart) (“+(cumulativeHeight-leftPlacementLookaheadStart)+”) tags
if (!(isLeftAvoid($(this)) ($(this).hasClass(‘small’) || $(this).hasClass(‘inline-small’) || $(this).hasClass(‘medium’) || $(this).hasClass(‘inline-medium’) || $(this).hasClass(‘apart’) ))) {
cumulativeHeight += $(this).height() + grafHeight;
}
if (debug) {
console.log(“——————– set cumulativeHeight(“+cumulativeHeight+”) —————”);
console.log(“”);
}
}
});
}

if (leftPlacementIndex != null elementNotNearEnd($leftPlacementElement, leftPixelWindow)) {
if (debug) {
console.log(” insert into index “+leftPlacementIndex);
}
$(“#drr-container”).children().eq(leftPlacementIndex).before(“

“);
}

IDG.GPT.trackOmniture();

// Add Right rail module content
for (var i=0; i= 0) {
var a = document.createElement(‘a’);
a.href = document.referrer;
var uriParts = a.pathname.split(‘/’);
a = ”;
if (typeof uriParts[3] == ‘undefined’) {
epoParams += “typeId=” + defaultTypeId + “referrer=home”; // default is ‘home’ behavior
}
else {
var refCatSlug = uriParts[3];
epoParams += “catSlug=” + refCatSlug + “referrer=article”;
}
}
// From SEARCH: Show article with catId same as current article
else if (document.referrer.indexOf(“google”) = 0 || document.referrer.indexOf(“yahoo”) = 0 || document.referrer.indexOf(“bing”) = 0) {
var categories = [2209];
if (categories instanceof Array categories.length 0) {
var primaryCatId = categories[0];
epoParams += “catId=” + primaryCatId + “referrer=search”;
}
else {
epoParams += “typeId=” + defaultTypeId + “referrer=home”; // default is ‘home’ behavior
}
}
// Default is to show like coming from homepage
else {

epoParams += “typeId=” + defaultTypeId + “referrer=home”;
// default is ‘home’ behavior
}
return epoParams;
}

/**
* @param jqo Original jquery object target
* @param divString The div to be inserted.
* @return Difference in height between original placement target and final target.
* Checks first 6 elements for an allowable placement (600 pixel window).
* If none, check nearby for elements that are not right avoids.
* If none, place element before current target.
*/
function applyInsert(jqo, divString) {
if (debug) {
console.log(“applyInsert at top and jqo index is: ” + jqo.index());
}

for (var i=0; i 0) {
children = $(“#drr-container”).children().slice(jqo.index(), allowElement.index() );
}
else {
children = $(“#drr-container”).children().slice(allowElement.index(), jqo.index());

}
if (children != null) {
children.each(function(i) {
if (debug) {
console.log(“About to add this element’s height to heigh diff offset”);
console.log($(this));
}
height += $(this).height() + grafHeight;
});
}
if (offset 300) {
if (debug) {
console.log(“isRightAvoid: found pre. return true”);
}
return true;
}
if (jqo.is(“figure”) jqo.hasClass(‘large’)) {
if (debug) {
console.log(“isRightAvoid: found figure.large return true”);
}
return true;
}
if (jqo.is(“figure”) jqo.hasClass(‘medium’) jqo.hasClass(‘inline’)) {
if (debug) {
console.log(“isRightAvoid: found figure has class medium and inline.”);
}
return true;
}

if (jqo.is(‘div’) jqo.hasClass(‘table-wrapper’)) {
if (debug) {
console.log(“isRightAvoid: found div with class table-wrapper”);
}
return true;
}
if (jqo.is(‘aside’)) {
if (jqo.hasClass(‘sidebar’) !jqo.hasClass(‘medium’)) {
if (debug) {
console.log(“isRightAvoid: found aside with class sidebar, without class medium”);
}
return true;
}
if (jqo.hasClass(‘statsTable’)) {
if (debug) {
console.log(“isRightAvoid: found aside with class statsTable”);
}
return true;
}
}
if (jqo.hasClass(‘download-asset’)) {
if (debug) {
console.log(“isRightAvoid: found class download-asset return true”);
}
return true;
}
if (jqo.hasClass(‘tableLarge’)) {
if (debug) {
console.log(“isRightAvoid: found class tableLarge return true”);
}
return true;
}
if (jqo.hasClass(‘reject’)) {
if (debug) {
console.log(“isRightAvoid: found class reject. return true”);
}
return true;
}
}
return false;
}

// Return true if element has class ‘reject’: will not place drr modules/ads next to these elements
function isRightReject(jqo) {
console.log(“in isRightReject”);
if (jqo != null) {
if (jqo.hasClass(“reject”)) {
if (debug) {
console.log(“isRightReject: found ‘reject’ class”);
}
return true;
}
return false;
}
return false;
}

// Returns true if height of all elements after this one is more than 500; false otherwise
function elementNotNearEnd(element, pixelWindow) {
if (pixelWindow == null) {
pixelWindow = 500;
}
if (element == null) {
return false;
}
var remainingHeight = 0;
var children = $(“#drr-container”).children().slice(element.index());
if (children == null) {
return false;
}
children.each(function(i){
remainingHeight += $(this).height();
});
if ( remainingHeight pixelWindow) {
return true;
}
else {
if (debug) {
console.log(“Element too close to end. Remaining height is: ” + remainingHeight + ” and window is ” + pixelWindow);
}
return false;
}
}

/**
* Return true if need to avoid this element when placing left module.
*/
function isLeftAvoid(jqo) {
if (jqo.is(“figure”)) {
if (debug) {
console.log(“isLeftAvoid: found figure. return true”);
}
return true;
}
if (jqo.is(“aside.pullquote”)) {
if (debug) {
console.log(“isLeftAvoid: found pullquote. return true”);
}
return true;
}
if (jqo.is(“pre”)) {
if (debug) {
console.log(“isLeftAvoid: found pre. return true”);
}
return true;
}
if (jqo.is(“div.gist”)) {
if (debug) {
console.log(“isLeftAvoid: found github code block. return true”);
}
return true;
}

if (jqo.is(“aside”) jqo.hasClass(“sidebar”) jqo.hasClass(“medium”)) {
if (debug) {
console.log(“isLeftAvoid: found medium sidebar. return true”);
}
return true;
}

if (jqo.hasClass(“statsTable”)) {
if (debug) {
console.log(“isLeftAvoid: found class statsTable. return true”);
}
return true;
}
return false;
}

/**
* return true if there are no figures before the target placement that might bleed down into placement element
*/
function noPrevFigures($originalTarget) {
var targetIndex = $originalTarget.index();
var numElementsLookBack = 5;
var figureIndex = null;
var figureHeight = null;
var startIndex = targetIndex – numElementsLookBack

Your Android Wear watch may soon track that daily run or play music through Bluetooth-connected headphones.

Such capabilities are part of the growing plans vision detailed by two Google engineers in a recent interview with CNET.

Director of Engineering for Android Wear David Singleton and Vice President of Engineering for Android Hiroshi Lockheimer told CNET that they want to extend how Android Wear interacts with other devices and expand developers’ flexibility in making custom watch faces. 

By adding GPS natively to Android Wear watches, you could conceivably ditch your phone during a jog, as the watch could track the route. With Bluetooth connectivity it could send music directly to your headphones. Currently you must rely on a connected Android phone to perform such actions.

The pair also promised support for custom watch faces, with Singleton praising “tremendous innovation from some third parties who have been able to figure out how to do some of this on their own.”

That is a different tone from July when a Google developer advocate said developers should stop making such watch faces and wait until an API was ready, likely to coincide with the release of Android L.

The interview comes right before a flurry of smartwatch announcements. Asus, LG, Sony, and Motorola are all unveiling Android Wear-powered watches in the next week. While the Moto 360 is one of the most anticipated, other hardware makers have ramped up their effort to also add in a competitor that also features a traditional round watchface.




Article source

Google's Android Wear team: We'll update early and often


View gallery

.

David Singleton, director of Android engineering, says “several” updates Android Wear updates are coming before the end of the year.
Stephen Lam/Getty Images

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — David Singleton, Google’s engineering director for the Android mobile operating system, is sitting in the company’s headquarters here playing air guitar.

As he strums his right hand in front of his Moto 360, the Motorola smartwatch set to hit the market this week, Singleton praises the third-party software developers using Android Wear, Google’s platform tailor-made for wearables. The company debuted the software in March, modified from Android, the most popular operating system in the world for smartphones and tablets.

“There are a lot of apps out there,” he says after he stops strumming, during an interview here. As for the guitar-playing program: “We would have never thought of that.”

He won’t say exactly how many apps there are, but offers that “thousands” of the more than 1 million programs in the Google Play store — where consumers download apps for their Android devices — have been updated to support Wear.


View gallery

.

By the end of 2014, 22 million wearables are expected to be shipped, according to research firm CCS Insight.
CNET

Google showed off the platform at its I/O developer conference in June, with demos on using the software to order food or hail a ride from a smartwatch. But the company has until now been mostly quiet about what’s next.

Google is readying “several” updates to Android Wear before the end of the year, with the first coming this week. Some features on the horizon include the ability to pair a smartwatch with a Bluetooth headset, Singleton says. Watches with hardware that supports GPS capabilities will also be able to use geolocation data to track their fitness sessions. So, if someone taking a run wanted to listen to music but leave her phone at home, she’d be able to store some songs on her watch, and listen to them through a set of Bluetooth headphones.

Android Wear will also let third-party developers design their own watch faces — which is what a wearer sees first when glancing at the watch — and let owners download them from the Play store. Customized watch faces — like ones that display current scores for a favorite sports team, or ones that show a certain company’s stock price — can be easily swapped out.

“We’ve been thinking about how you deliver services on a device like this that has such a small screen, that you can’t necessarily spend a lot of time interacting with.”

Some developers have already figured out how to design smartwatch faces, Singleton said, but there’s been no straightforward way to do it.

The wearables market — specifically the smartwatch part of it — is about to get a lot of attention. Three Android Wear devices have already been announced: The Moto 360, which has a round watch face and will reportedly sell for $250, LG’s $230 G Watch, and Samsung’s $200 Gear Live. Samsung also last week introduced the Gear S, the first smartwatch in its portfolio that will work independently from a smartphone (watches so far must typically be paired with another device, like a smartphone).

A handful of companies are expected to make wearables announcements at the IFA conference, Europe’s biggest tech show, in Berlin later this week. And Apple, Google’s archrival in smartphones, may also show off a wearable device of its own during a Sept. 9 press event where it’s expected to introduce a new version of the iPhone.

The category is still in its infancy, though the market has grown in the past year. In 2013, 9.7 million wearables were shipped, according to CCS Insight, a research firm. By the end of 2014, that figure is projected to jump to 22 million.

Android Wear everywhere

Google has ambitious plans for Android as a whole. At Google’s I/O conference in June, Android chief Sundar Pichai laid out plans to inject the platform into several facets of everyday life, powering everything from car dashboards to televisions to wearables.

Google’s OS has more than 1 billion active users, Pichai said, and runs on almost 80 percent of the world’s smartphones. In comparison, Apple’s iOS, which drives the iPhone and iPad, has around 17 percent share of the market.

But because Google’s software is an open platform — meaning anyone can adapt and use it — other brands, like Samsung, have modified the operating system to fit their needs. That’s left users to navigate the multiple iterations of Android running on hardware from Google’s many partners. And it’s a point that rival Apple, with its closed system around iOS, likes to drive home, calling Android fragmented.

“The overriding theme of the I/O keynote was Google reasserting control over Android,” Jan Dawson, founder of Jackdaw Research, said at the time. Because watches have limited space on their screens with simpler functions, Android Wear can be one realm where Google makes the software more uniform.

“[We've been] thinking about how you deliver services on a device like this that has such a small screen, that you can’t necessarily spend a lot of time interacting with,” says Singleton.

View gallery

.

Because of the cross-device integration, the watches can do many of the same things as other mobile apps, as well as hand off to other devices. A lot of the notifications offered are similar to Google’s Cards.

Google unveils Android Wear, its modified OS for wearables

View gallery

.

The Moto 360, scheduled to ship this summer, seemed to be one of the more attractive watches shown off by Google.

View gallery

.

Google’s application programming interface allows for both round or square watches; Motorola is thus far the only one offering a round one. Also, skeumorphism for the win!

View gallery

.

The food-ordering app was a big hit.

View gallery

.

You can’t fit a lot of information on one of these watch faces, as you’d expect.

View gallery

.

LG’s watch seems closest to shipping, though it’s not the most attractive or (in my opinion) really suited for women’s wrists.

View gallery

.

The LG G seems awfully large.

View gallery

.

This interface will have notifications and status reports similar to Android phones.

View gallery

.

The LG G also offers a blend of the analog and the digital; a notification about your flight on the bottom, and voice commands.

View gallery

.

An app can interface with Lyft.

View gallery

.

Unsurprisingly, you’ll be able to look stuff up via Google search.

View gallery

.

If you’re in the middle of something important, you can send yourself a reminder (to appear on another system) to check on your email later.

View gallery

.

This is one of the applications I think makes sense for a watch, if you can set it to pop up automatically with no input. That way, you can see your plane status while your hands are busy schlepping luggage.

View gallery

.

Your watch can tell you whether or not you need to rush.

View gallery

.

Though we didn’t get to see Samsung Gear — Google only announced the partnership — as with the other watches there will be vibration notifications, music app controls, voice reminders, and customized phone-call dismissing.

Google announces Samsung Gear Live smartwatch with Android Wear

But another difference that could serve Google well is the way most smartwatches (aside from Samsung’s newly announced Gear S watch) need to be paired with a phone to operate. So, Google will push out Android Wear updates without having to wait for carriers to test the software, like they generally do with phones and tablets. That should give Google more control over the software. The company says it is working closely with hardware partners to make sure the software works well with their devices.

Hiroshi Lockheimer, vice president of engineering for Android, says the goal is to be able to improve the software as fast as possible.

“It’s a lot simpler on watches,” says Lockheimer. With phones, lots of companies’ schedules have to align to make updates available. “There are different things on that pipeline that just don’t exist [with smartwatches]. And it makes it possible for us as an industry to push these updates out a lot quicker.”

Google has a definite stake in making sure the Android experience is consistent across the board. “It becomes much more important with wearables,” said Sameet Sinha, an analyst with the investment bank B. Riley and Co. “They are not individual devices; they need to talk to each other. It’s an ecosystem Google wants to develop.”

But wearables’ designs continue to evolve, and they may not be so co-dependent on other devices for long. Time will tell if Samsung’s Gear S watch is a harbinger or a rarity — and whether more watches will come out that have their own separate cellular connections.

Matthew Goldman, CEO of the personal finance app Wallaby, thinks Samsung’s new watch sets the trend. “It’s clear that you’re not going to need your phone,” said Goldman, who is unveiling the Android Wear version of his app on Thursday. Wallaby also runs on Google’s connected headset device Glass, the Pebble Smartwatch, and Samsung’s Gear 2, which is powered by the company’s homegrown operating system, Tizen.

Google, for its part, is waiting for more devices to take that route before building out support for cellular connections in Android Wear. “We’ll see other mechanisms for connecting, other than Bluetooth,” says Singleton. “We’ll start to enable those as we see partners wanting to build devices using them.”

Article source

webOS Reborn as LuneOS ROM for Select Android, webOS Devices


Print


It’s not exactly good, but it’s novel certainly

Palm’s fallen mobile operating system webOS still manages to make headlines even three years after its new owner, Hewlett-Packard Comp. (HPQ), laid it to rest.  Once viewed as a stronger challenger to Apple, Inc. (AAPL) in the premium smartphone space than Google Inc.’s (GOOG) Android, the OS is today finding new life thanks to several projects, one of which targets mobile devices.
 
Official support from HP for the now-defunct catalog of webOS devices ended in Jan. 2012 with the release of webOS 3.0.5.  Now at last there’s some fresh material for webOS die-hards, thanks to the Open webOS Project.
 
webOS is now sponsored by South Korea’s LG Electronics, Inc. (KRX:066570)(KRX:066575) which bought the OS in Feb. 2013 to use as a Smart TV platform.  The new owner is allowing a coalition of fans and veteran webOS developers to bring new open source webOS builds to mobile devices.  The project builds upon the earlier efforts HP, who began open-sourcing parts of webOS, starting with the release of the Enyo, a cross-platform JavaScript framework SDK.
 
At its core webOS was somewhat similar to Android, using many open source software components and an Android kernel.  As a result it’s been fairly easy for the project to freshen the core software.
 
Started in early 2012, the open webOS project quietly went through several test builds before launching Open webOS 1.0 in Sept. 2012.  In Jan. 2013, a build of OWOS 1.0 launched as an aftermarket ROM for the Nexus 7, an Android device. Since then much of the work has been put towards updating this codebase and porting it to new mobile devices.

The fruits of that labor were finally shown this week by WebOS Ports, a companion group of the Open WebOS project.  The group this week announced the launch of LuneOS — a freshened version of webOS.  LuneOS is based on the latest open source Linux web/GUI framework packages including QT 5.2, QML, and WebKit 2.
 
The just released launch build of LuneOS is available for the Nexus 4 and HP TouchPad.  The Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7 (2012 Wi-Fi-edition) are also supported, but will not receive ongoing support with future releases.


Screenshots of LuneOS in smartphone form


PivotCE, a Palm enthusiast project associated with the release, describes:

The first eye catching change is the new name we’ll be using for our project going forward. The distribution will be called “LuneOS” instead of “WebOS Ports Open webOS” because it wasn’t very catchy.  Lune is the French translation of moon and refers to the user interface we all love so much in legacy webOS, LunaSysMgr, which is named after the Latin/Spanish translation of moon.

The release model for LuneOS is a rolling one where each of the releases will get its own name from a list of coffee beverages. This first release is “Affogato”.

All work for each release is visible to the public and users can also update to unreleased stages to support the developers with testing and bug fixing. Our overall aim is to deliver high quality software which is stable and satisfies the needs of our users. We plan to have a new release at the beginning of each month.



The project’s evolution since its June 2013 Alpha 2 build includes revamps of many of the core apps (Memo, PDF app, file manager, Calculator, Email), support for Wi-Fi internet access, and a rewrite of the SysManager, which handles tasking on the target mobile hardware.

The project borrowed Android’s telephony system and graphics drivers.  The developers plan to later integrate Android’s open source camera and sensor drivers, as well as Android’s open source hardware-accelerated video decoding packages.


The Wi-Fi enabled LuneOS has revamped versions of many of the core webOS apps.


This is obviously a very limited release for a small set of devices — including deprecated webOS devices that have few current users.  And the developers involved realize that.  Their ambitions are much more down to Earth than Meego’s resurgent “Sailfish OS” effort by Jolla.  As they say:

Despite the limited scope, the developers involved are excited that LG is allowing them to make the most of webOS’ second chance at mobile life.  If you have a compatible device and would like to check out the LuneOS, the installation instructions can be found here.
 
In related news, HP recently settled with shareholders who were disgruntled at the death of webOS.  The settlement is reportedly worth $57M USD — more than enough to buy some devices to run LuneOS on.

Sources: PivotCE, via Engadget

Article source

Lenovo launches A536 smartphone at Rs 8,999

Chinese MNC Lenovo on Tuesday launched its smartphone A536 in India at Rs 8,999. The smartphone has a large 5 inch display  and Android™ 4.4 (KitKat) OS.

The smartphone’s 1.3GHz quad core processor helps to make multitasking faster, enables the Android OS to run smoother and delivers a more fluid gaming and video experience.

The phone has integrated front and rear camera. It’s 5MP auto-focus rear camera makes light work of capturing clear photos and video.  It also has 2 MP front fixed-focus camera.

The smartphone has fast Internet access with HSPA+ connectivity and download speeds of 21 Mbps.

The dual-sim smartphone has preloaded apps like SHAREit, which lets you share files wirelessly without network charges or a WiFi connection; Security, which speeds up your phone and protects it from viruses; and SYNCit, which lets you back up and restore contacts, SMS messages, and call logs.

The phone sports a satellite controlled GPS to guide the owners accurately even when they don’t have an Internet connection.

The phone weighing 148 gm (0.3 lbs) has a single speaker with 1 audio jack, Micro-USB and a MicroSD slot.

A536 has 1 GB RAM and 8 GB ROM. The memory is expandable up to 32GB with microSD card. The Li-Po 2000 mAh battery promises a standby time of  up to 12.5 days (2G/3G).

Article source

Google's Android Wear team: We'll update early and often


View gallery

.

David Singleton, director of Android engineering, says “several” updates Android Wear updates are coming before the end of the year.
Stephen Lam/Getty Images

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — David Singleton, Google’s engineering director for the Android mobile operating system, is sitting in the company’s headquarters here playing air guitar.

As he strums his right hand in front of his Moto 360, the Motorola smartwatch set to hit the market this week, Singleton praises the third-party software developers using Android Wear, Google’s platform tailor-made for wearables. The company debuted the software in March, modified from Android, the most popular operating system in the world for smartphones and tablets.

“There are a lot of apps out there,” he says after he stops strumming, during an interview here. As for the guitar-playing program: “We would have never thought of that.”

He won’t say exactly how many apps there are, but offers that “thousands” of the more than 1 million programs in the Google Play store — where consumers download apps for their Android devices — have been updated to support Wear.


View gallery

.

By the end of 2014, 22 million wearables are expected to be shipped, according to research firm CCS Insight.
CNET

Google showed off the platform at its I/O developer conference in June, with demos on using the software to order food or hail a ride from a smartwatch. But the company has until now been mostly quiet about what’s next.

Google is readying “several” updates to Android Wear before the end of the year, with the first coming this week. Some features on the horizon include the ability to pair a smartwatch with a Bluetooth headset, Singleton says. Watches with hardware that supports GPS capabilities will also be able to use geolocation data to track their fitness sessions. So, if someone taking a run wanted to listen to music but leave her phone at home, she’d be able to store some songs on her watch, and listen to them through a set of Bluetooth headphones.

Android Wear will also let third-party developers design their own watch faces — which is what a wearer sees first when glancing at the watch — and let owners download them from the Play store. Customized watch faces — like ones that display current scores for a favorite sports team, or ones that show a certain company’s stock price — can be easily swapped out.

“We’ve been thinking about how you deliver services on a device like this that has such a small screen, that you can’t necessarily spend a lot of time interacting with.”

Some developers have already figured out how to design smartwatch faces, Singleton said, but there’s been no straightforward way to do it.

The wearables market — specifically the smartwatch part of it — is about to get a lot of attention. Three Android Wear devices have already been announced: The Moto 360, which has a round watch face and will reportedly sell for $250, LG’s $230 G Watch, and Samsung’s $200 Gear Live. Samsung also last week introduced the Gear S, the first smartwatch in its portfolio that will work independently from a smartphone (watches so far must typically be paired with another device, like a smartphone).

A handful of companies are expected to make wearables announcements at the IFA conference, Europe’s biggest tech show, in Berlin later this week. And Apple, Google’s archrival in smartphones, may also show off a wearable device of its own during a Sept. 9 press event where it’s expected to introduce a new version of the iPhone.

The category is still in its infancy, though the market has grown in the past year. In 2013, 9.7 million wearables were shipped, according to CCS Insight, a research firm. By the end of 2014, that figure is projected to jump to 22 million.

Android Wear everywhere

Google has ambitious plans for Android as a whole. At Google’s I/O conference in June, Android chief Sundar Pichai laid out plans to inject the platform into several facets of everyday life, powering everything from car dashboards to televisions to wearables.

Google’s OS has more than 1 billion active users, Pichai said, and runs on almost 80 percent of the world’s smartphones. In comparison, Apple’s iOS, which drives the iPhone and iPad, has around 17 percent share of the market.

But because Google’s software is an open platform — meaning anyone can adapt and use it — other brands, like Samsung, have modified the operating system to fit their needs. That’s left users to navigate the multiple iterations of Android running on hardware from Google’s many partners. And it’s a point that rival Apple, with its closed system around iOS, likes to drive home, calling Android fragmented.

“The overriding theme of the I/O keynote was Google reasserting control over Android,” Jan Dawson, founder of Jackdaw Research, said at the time. Because watches have limited space on their screens with simpler functions, Android Wear can be one realm where Google makes the software more uniform.

“[We've been] thinking about how you deliver services on a device like this that has such a small screen, that you can’t necessarily spend a lot of time interacting with,” says Singleton.

View gallery

.

Because of the cross-device integration, the watches can do many of the same things as other mobile apps, as well as hand off to other devices. A lot of the notifications offered are similar to Google’s Cards.

Google unveils Android Wear, its modified OS for wearables

View gallery

.

The Moto 360, scheduled to ship this summer, seemed to be one of the more attractive watches shown off by Google.

View gallery

.

Google’s application programming interface allows for both round or square watches; Motorola is thus far the only one offering a round one. Also, skeumorphism for the win!

View gallery

.

The food-ordering app was a big hit.

View gallery

.

You can’t fit a lot of information on one of these watch faces, as you’d expect.

View gallery

.

LG’s watch seems closest to shipping, though it’s not the most attractive or (in my opinion) really suited for women’s wrists.

View gallery

.

The LG G seems awfully large.

View gallery

.

This interface will have notifications and status reports similar to Android phones.

View gallery

.

The LG G also offers a blend of the analog and the digital; a notification about your flight on the bottom, and voice commands.

View gallery

.

An app can interface with Lyft.

View gallery

.

Unsurprisingly, you’ll be able to look stuff up via Google search.

View gallery

.

If you’re in the middle of something important, you can send yourself a reminder (to appear on another system) to check on your email later.

View gallery

.

This is one of the applications I think makes sense for a watch, if you can set it to pop up automatically with no input. That way, you can see your plane status while your hands are busy schlepping luggage.

View gallery

.

Your watch can tell you whether or not you need to rush.

View gallery

.

Though we didn’t get to see Samsung Gear — Google only announced the partnership — as with the other watches there will be vibration notifications, music app controls, voice reminders, and customized phone-call dismissing.

Google announces Samsung Gear Live smartwatch with Android Wear

But another difference that could serve Google well is the way most smartwatches (aside from Samsung’s newly announced Gear S watch) need to be paired with a phone to operate. So, Google will push out Android Wear updates without having to wait for carriers to test the software, like they generally do with phones and tablets. That should give Google more control over the software. The company says it is working closely with hardware partners to make sure the software works well with their devices.

Hiroshi Lockheimer, vice president of engineering for Android, says the goal is to be able to improve the software as fast as possible.

“It’s a lot simpler on watches,” says Lockheimer. With phones, lots of companies’ schedules have to align to make updates available. “There are different things on that pipeline that just don’t exist [with smartwatches]. And it makes it possible for us as an industry to push these updates out a lot quicker.”

Google has a definite stake in making sure the Android experience is consistent across the board. “It becomes much more important with wearables,” said Sameet Sinha, an analyst with the investment bank B. Riley and Co. “They are not individual devices; they need to talk to each other. It’s an ecosystem Google wants to develop.”

But wearables’ designs continue to evolve, and they may not be so co-dependent on other devices for long. Time will tell if Samsung’s Gear S watch is a harbinger or a rarity — and whether more watches will come out that have their own separate cellular connections.

Matthew Goldman, CEO of the personal finance app Wallaby, thinks Samsung’s new watch sets the trend. “It’s clear that you’re not going to need your phone,” said Goldman, who is unveiling the Android Wear version of his app on Thursday. Wallaby also runs on Google’s connected headset device Glass, the Pebble Smartwatch, and Samsung’s Gear 2, which is powered by the company’s homegrown operating system, Tizen.

Google, for its part, is waiting for more devices to take that route before building out support for cellular connections in Android Wear. “We’ll see other mechanisms for connecting, other than Bluetooth,” says Singleton. “We’ll start to enable those as we see partners wanting to build devices using them.”

Article source