As everyone who’s left their house in the last decade is no doubt aware, the market for personal MP3-playing devices is totally, 100% up in the air. There are no clear winners yet. Despite overwhelming demand for an easy-to-use, versatile, robust media playing device, no such device exists. At least, not to Samsung’s knowledge. Which is why they’ve cleverly decided to take the Android platform and make a handheld, non-phone device. This is brilliant! You can do stuff with it! Like apps! And I’m pretty sure it plays music. I think Android has a built-in music player, right?
This should serve as a warning sign to all of the other device manufacturers out there to get it in gear. Pun intended*. In the near-decade since Napster made people aware that all music is free forever, there has not been a single device, gadget, or pod that has come along to fill the hole that Samsung is about to fill. Frankly, they could take the market if someone else doesn’t step up.
Of course, Samsung would have a much harder time of it if a.) Android weren’t known primarily, if not solely for their robust multimedia applications, 2.) there were another device on the market that was already synonymous with personal multimedia playback, and d.) this device didn’t have that gorgeous AMOLED screen that’s become the Galaxy series’ trademark.
What’s that? It has a Super Clear LCD screen instead? Ah. Well. Two out of three ain’t bad, right?
*- I’m so….so sorry.
If you’re like me, you’re constantly looking for ways to make your phone’s homescreen weird people out. Well, if weird looks are what you’re looking for, look no further! The Seeds of Life live wallpaper for Android (2.1+) is just the kind of sperm-tastic visual oddity you need!
To be honest, there have been a lot of live wallpapers since the feature’s introduction that simply don’t live up to the hype. The brilliance of live wallpapers isn’t just motion. It’s customization! It’s interactivity! It’s creating something that’s dynamic and responsive and makes your phone feel alive! And boy does Seeds of Life deliver!
For starters, you can customize the speed, population, or color of the….*ahem*…..”seeds”. Which the wallpaper insists is what they are. Hey, far be it from me to call a spade a spade. You can also customize the background color, or accept the default of cycling between soft, colorful background hues. Relaxing!
But the fun doesn’t stop there! Remember, these things are interactive! Once you’ve set it as your live wallpaper, tap anywhere on the screen and the “seeds” will begin swimming in that direction. Moreover, drag an icon or widget to any spot on your homescreen, either from the drawer or elsewhere on your homescreen. As soon as it lands, all the little seeds will immediately scurry over to see what’s up! Looks like they’re trying to get in, almost! Ha! Actually, you know, I think one may have made it in. Just one, though.
For roughly $0.77 in the Market, how could you possibly pass up such a fertil-err, fun live wallpaper?
Way back in the day, I tried out the software keyboard everyone’s talking about: Swype. It was a public beta, so I thought, “Hey, why not give it a whirl?” And whirl we did, good internet. Round, and swirling, and across, up and down, wheeeee. I actually liked it. Then, 14 days later, the keyboard expired. I had a sad.
Now, I’m honestly not sure what happened. If it was a trial or a beta or whatnot, I really couldn’t tell you. It’s been way too long, and I kinda moved on. I just remember knowing that one day, Swype was no longer functioning, the app kindly thanked me for trying, and I no longer had any way to use it. Kinda sucked. A sentiment I expressed moments ago on Twitter. To be clear, my only problem with Swype is that it’s not exactly easy to use it. I currently use SwiftKey, which I downloaded from the Market. This is not Swype’s chosen distribution model, but it’s safe to say that if I want Swype on my rooted Evo, I can’t do that. They even have a distribution deal to supply Evo’s with Swype, but since I’ve chosen another ROM, I can’t use it. And if I were using a completely unsupported phone, I’d be up the creek. Unless there’s a beta. Which might be temporary. Though, certain helpful Lifehacker editor’s might disagree. Still. Just a minor annoyance. No biggie.
Except, Swype seems to have not taken too kindly to my off-the-cuff remark. Like myself, though, Swype prefers resolution over confrontation, so they offered me a compromise:
@ocentertainment If you’ll foot the bill for a full Customer Support department, we’ll make it available to end-users 😛
Honestly, that sounds like a pretty good deal. I accept! Swype: as a formal recognition of our agreement, I hereby declare, in front of all three of my readers, that I will (eventually) pay for your Customer Support department! I’m kinda short on cash right now, so, uh…..is it cool if I give you an IOU?
In the meantime, for right now, the beta is open again for a while. So if you want Swype, have at it!
Samsung’s Galaxy S line is already kind of confusing. They have different form factors, different materials, different carriers. The few things they have in common is they’re all called Galaxy S. They all run Samsung’s TouchWiz interface. And they’re all notoriously slow to get updates, with most U.S. handsets still sitting pretty with Android 2.1. This well after the announcement of Android 2.3, and even after the promised deadline of “by the end of November.” But there is some good news: the Samsung Intercept (on Sprint anyway) is getting the 2.2 treatment right now. Why? Because Samsung hates you.
There’s no other explanation, really. The Galaxy S line launched in the U.S. in July with the Captivate on AT&T. July 18th, to be exact. The Intercept, a far cheaper, far less capable, far less popular phone was launched one week earlier on a somewhat less popular carrier. It has now received the update sooner than most other Galaxy S phones.
Samsung has also announced they intend to bring Froyo to the Samsung Anycall Ultra S S7350H Elegant Edition, Samsung S9110 watch phone, and the Samsung Moment before any more Galaxy S phones. Though, the latter announcement is simply because the Moment likes to be teased.
When asked if the U.S. Captivate would ever see an update to Froyo, or possibly Gingerbread, the Samsung rep we spoke to laughed for a solid minute into the phone before hanging up on us.
Paul Buchheit, the creator of and lead developer for Gmail, the service that made the world believe in Google’s ability to hold our data, as opposed to just showing us stuff online, recently stated that “Chrome OS has no purpose that isn’t better served by Android.” Zing! Hahaha! Ouch! Oooh, burn! Oh, snap! Wait what!
He also went on to decry the Virtual Boy as “a clumsy device, whose setup is too difficult, and games too basic to be enjoyable”. He also stated that Windows ME was “a clunky OS, with little to no improvement over Windows 98”. And concerning the Playstation Move, he said “Oh wait, you mean that new Wii controller?”
To be fair to Chrome OS, this guy not only uses FriendFeed, he created it. Any predictions of how the internet will accept a platform should be taken with the pillar of salt formerly known as Lot’s wife.
Andy Rubin is on Twitter. Though, I don’t think he uses it much. He has only two tweets. The first was in response to some banter with Apple about the openness of Android. Some Linux-y code or whatever. For his next tweet, he’s sticking with his theme of “Dear Apple, Eat Me.”
Back in August, Eric Schmidt boasted that there are 200,000 Android activations per day. At a press conference shortly thereafter on September 1st, Apple fired back with the revelation they launch 230,000 iOS devices. Note: “devices”. Not iPhones. This includes iPads and iPod Touches. Well now, @arubin informs the internet that there are 300,000 Android phones activated daily.
You ever get the feeling that Steve Jobs is Commodus and Andy Rubin is rallying the crowd of the Colosseum to his side? Ok, yeah, me neither. But whatever. I like this guy’s style.
If you’ve never heard of The Astonishing Tribe, one could hardly blame you. But they deserve some recognition. Remember when the G1 came out? And folks looked at it and thought “Wow, this UI looks amazing! I’ve never seen anything like it! Absolutely gorgeous!” No? Well, The Astonishing Tribe is the one largely responsible for why you didn’t. And now they’re owned by RIM.
Of course, that’s not the only thing TAT has worked on. Why there’s…..ummm…. uhhhh….I think they…did…umm…something….
Well, according to their website they say they make an Android homescreen replacement. I guess their interface designs were so good that Google had no choice but to let them go, get someone else to work on Android’s UI, and leave TAT to do their own thing. You know, like how Warner Bros treats Christopher Nolan. (Hey, you make a movie like The Dark Knight, studios will let you go as deep into your dreams as you want, too.)
Trouble is, I have no idea what phones actually use TAT Home. TAT specifically states their customers are phone vendors, not consumers. So you can’t just download TAT from the market. So, who’s going to put their TAT Home interface on their Android phones?Well, the guys who make Blackberries of cour-wait what.
RIM, who’s never been the best at making both a functional and gorgeous UI (they pretty much just stick with functional), has bought out the company that makes some gorgeous interfaces that are of questionable functionality. Should be a hit! Or something!
Personally, I have a sick feeling in my stomach about this. It’s the same feeling I get when my dad dresses like a hipster.
Nielsen, the company that’s indirectly responsible for the cancellation of Firefly (friggin’ ratings, what do they know?) has released a smartphone study that confirms what sexist, chauvinistic men have known for years: women don’t know what they want.
When asked what smartphone operating system users planning to upgrade would like for their next phone, 14.9% of men said they were undecided, while a substantially higher percentage, 23.8% of women had no idea what they planned to get. The difference between them, almost 9% of women polled, is a larger group than either gender’s subgroup that said they wanted a Windows Mobile phone. This, of course, raises the question: People still want Windows Mobile phones?
Now, I’m sure some naysayers will come along and say “How dare you! A small percentage of women being undecided on their cellphone purchase which could be as far as a year away doesn’t imply that an entire gender is incapable of making decisions!” Well, to you I would ask one simple question: If we can’t extrapolate the (sometimes perfectly rational) opinions and desires of a percentage of a type of people and apply them to the entire group, where did we get stereotypes in the first place? Hmm?
I think I’ve made my point.
So, Steve Wozniak was talking to the Netherlands. The Netherlands was all “Steve Wozniaken. What do you dink of ze Androidun phonessen?”* And Wozniak was all “D00d! Have j00 seen speech recognition!! Android t3h pwnz0rz t3h iPhone. Moar featurez!!!” He then went on to go through a fifteen-minute power point presentation detailing how Android would become the dominant smartphone platform, and discussed his upcoming dinner date with Eric Schmidt, before finally revealing his Google tattoo on his left pec.
Except remember that stuff I said about Steve Wozniak saying Android was gonna win some stuff? Yeah, see, what I meant was that, I don’t actually read De Telegraaf. Nor can I. But Steve Wozniak does. And when Steve Wozniak saw what the blogs had written about what Steve Wozniak said in De Telegraaf, he wrote in to Engadget saying, “Naw, man. I know Steve Wozniak and Steve Wozniak would never say anything like that. He’s all about the iPhone. And Android is made of suck.”
The important thing, though, is that the fanboy arguments can continue on unhindered.
*– Note: I have no idea what Dutch sounds like.
I went offline for two days, and you, gadget news world, went and threw a party, trashed my house, and left me to clean up the mess. Thanks.
First, Facebook decided to raid my inbox, taking all my best aged IMs and malt messages for a Wave-knockoff cocktail. It tastes like a worn-out Web 2.0 spritzer with just a dash of dogfood. Facebook then proceeded to spray it all over my drapes. I am pleased. as. punch. Which, I might add, you guys also spilled everywhere.
Then Google decided to rifle through my wallet, taking out the credit cards and such and adding them to Android Gingerbread as a new NFC filter. Google, you are the only guy I know who will come to a party to work on a project. You’re going to spend days on end in your basement ignoring a lovely wife someday.
Though, really, I could get past all of that if you guys didn’t invite a band. The Beatles? I mean, how did you guys get them to show?
Ah. New Deal with iTunes. I see. Still, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook.
Get the groupies off my couch, wash the stink of gin and Facebook out of the car’s fur and please, don’t mess with the-
What, Google? You made a Google Voice app for the iPhone while I was ranting? Fan-freaking-tastic.
Next time, ask before you guys do anything while I’m gone.