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Alas poor Nexus, I knew you well …
May 5, 2015 | 10:25 am

Nexus 7The news that Google has officially discontinued the Nexus 7 line of tablets will be greeted with indifference or even outright enthusiasm by some. After all, the device has lately been causing a lot of vexation in the wake of Google's rollout of Android 5.0 Lollipop - although at least that delivered on the original promise of keeping all Nexus devices up to date with the latest version of the OS. But the Nexus 7, back in the - not too distant - day (of 2012) was first in the Nexus tablet line and first tablet to ship with Android...

Google takes handwriting input mainstream
April 16, 2015 | 2:25 pm

I'm a diehard, unapologetic advocate of handwriting input for mobile devices - and indeed, just about any other type of text entry whatsoever - so it's good to be able to report that Google has finally taken the plunge and rolled out its own handwriting solution, in the shape of Google Handwriting Input for Android. This app clocks in at a download of just over 13MB, at least on my Nexus 7, and claims to support even the most atrocious doctor's scrawl. The Google Play Store blurb explains: Google Handwriting Input allows you to handwrite text on your phone or tablet in 82 languages....

My experience so far with Android Lollipop 5.1
March 22, 2015 | 2:25 pm

Screenshot_2015-03-21-07-50-24 Previously I posted about my experience on my Nexus 7 2012 edition with the Android 5.0 Lollipop upgrade. And my first positive impressions of the new Android iteration got a lot of negative response. So here goes again. My machine has just upgraded to Android Lollipop 5.1, and here is my experience so far. Do bear in mind that my first good experience with Android 5.0 Lollipop got a lot more frustrating later on, with long lags switching between apps, frequent "not responding" messages, etc. I don't know whether this was some kind of accumulation of cruft or similar cumulative problems,...

Latest Android Developers Dashboards figures show Lollipop start to register
March 3, 2015 | 2:25 pm

The latest figures for platform share of the various versions of the Android OS, tabulated on the Android Developers Dashboards, show that Android 5.0 Lollipop is finally starting to pare off its slice of the overall pie, with 3.3 percent of devices accessing the Google Play Store during the seven-day period ending March 2nd, 2015, running Google's latest Android OS iteration. Android 4.4 KitKat, meanwhile, the immediately prior version, is present on almost 41 percent of all such devices. This does mean, though, that more devices are still running Android 4.0.3-4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich, at almost 6 percent, and Android 2.3.3-2.3.7 Gingerbread,...

Android is: The Dominator
February 27, 2015 | 10:25 am

httpwww.teleread.org20100406cleaning-up-epubs-to-work-with-ibook-aggregatorsandroid-attack.jpgForget Fifty Shades of Grey - how about Fifty Flavors of Lloyd? Yes, if you want to see a dominant force cracking its whip over the supine global smartphone market, Android in IDC's latest Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker is the one you want to catch. According to the IDC numbers, "Android and iOS inched closer to total domination of the worldwide smartphone market in both the fourth quarter (4Q14) and the calendar year 2014 (CY14)." And in particular, while iOS saw its market share fall slightly from 15.1 percent in 2013 to 14.8 percent  in 2014, Android grew its market...

Audible.com offers great audiobooks, lousy player applications
February 14, 2015 | 10:45 am

Audible has a great selection of audiobook downloads, and reasonable prices—especially if you buy during one of their frequent sales, using the discount offer for buying them together with certain Kindle e-books, or using one of their monthly credits. But since Audible’s books contain DRM, in some respect they are only as good as their player—which, sadly, is not all that great. I’ve been listening to a lot of audiobooks lately. It’s something I can do during the parts of my day job that don’t require a lot of brainpower, and it’s fun to hear a good book reading....

Interactive graphic novel Midnight Rises by John Scalzi interacts with new mobile shooter game
February 5, 2015 | 6:07 pm

midnightrisesInteractive book apps may not yet have set the world on fire, but there is at least one place for them—as an adjunct to video games. On January 28, 2015, Industrial Toys LLC released Midnight Rises, an interactive graphic novel application for iOS. The e-comic serves as a prelude to Midnight Star, a mobile shooter game which Industrial Toys LLC released for iOS today. (Both applications are expected to come to Android “sometime soon.”) Midnight Rises was written by John Scalzi, with art by Mike Choi and music by Serj Tankian. The first chapter is free; the next two are 99...

Android platform numbers show Lollipop get a licking
February 4, 2015 | 2:25 pm

The latest Android Developers Dashboard numbers for the week ending February 2nd show the Android OS version 5.0 Lollipop, the latest and greatest, getting only the most tentative tonguing by users, at just 1.6 percent of the Android user base.  At this rate, it could take a long while for the new OS iteration to … ahem … stick. The previous version, 4.4 KitKat, meanwhile, is still forging ahead, at just under 40 percent of all Android OS users accessing the Google Play Store. Ice Cream Sandwich is at 6.4 percent, Gingerbread at 7.4 percent, Froyo at a measly 0.4 percent,...

OxygenOS is oxygen for OnePlus’s OS woes?
February 2, 2015 | 10:25 am

The OnePlus initiative,  "a technology startup committed to bringing the best possible technology to users around the world," which sought to create cheap yet fully featured Android smartphones for global markets, ran into trouble recently over licensing disputes in India with CyanogenMod, the Android OS mod of choice for many smartphone cognoscenti and its preferred software so far. Now, OnePlus has apparently decided that the solution is its own fork of the Android OS, dubbed OxygenOS. The OnePlus statement on the issue reads: As many of you know, we will be launching our own ROM in the near future. We’ve spent a lot...

Android hits the billion mark in smartphone shipments
January 30, 2015 | 6:25 pm

Android mascot, LloydAccording to a recent report by Strategy Analytics, shipments of smartphones running the Android OS reached 1 billion for the first time in 2014, when "global smartphone shipments grew 30 percent annually to reach a record 1.3 billion units."The report continues: "Android has become the first ever smartphone operating system to ship more than 1 billion units in a single year. Android accounted for a huge 81 percent share of all smartphones shipped globally in 2014, and Apple iOS remains its only serious threat for now." This rather puts a dent in recent laudatory reports of Apple's sales numbers, claiming that Google...

The great Teleread Android 5.0 Lollipop upgrade poll: Results
December 27, 2014 | 11:31 am

SurveyMonkey Android user experience 1 As many of you will remember, after my article "Android latest: Lollipop does not suck" brought reams of comment (67 posts in all) primarily to the effect that in their experience Android 5.0 Lollipop did suck, especially in the context of a mandatory upgrade, we called a poll to systematize the feedback. The results of the SurveyMonkey poll, with 32 responses in since December 6th, and most (some 70 percent) upgrading Nexus 7 devices (2012 or 2013 versions) are as follows. Asked how their experience of Android 5.0 Lollipop had been, almost 20 percent said "Very Good," and a further almost...

To gain more e-book marketshare, Apple should make iBooks for Android
December 22, 2014 | 2:25 pm

appledroidCan a company give Amazon a run in 2015 when it comes to ebooks? Maybe, but the company with the best footing is Apple. Anecdotally, several authors have mentioned the successes they have had through Apple’s iBooks. This is a good new for authors who are looking for other avenues to sell their books. But keeping iBooks strictly for Apple products may not do it. iBooks has been around since 2010 when it was launched with the iPad. In 2013, iBooks became an integrated app on iOS 8. Since that time, iBooks seems to be taking more of the market share. In October,...

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