Custom home screens appear to be all the rage these days on the Android platform. Just shortly after the G1 launched last fall, apps like aHome and Open Home, and Panda hit the Android Market. HTC has even gotten into the game with their Sense UI on the HTC Hero. The idea is simple. Create a customized home screen app to give users a different UI or experience. Now, Larva Labs is getting into the game as well. You might know them more for their games such as Retro Defense or Word Pops, but Larva Labs appears to be committed to giving you a unique home screen unlike all the others out there. The Larva Labs Intelligent Home Screen offers more of a data centric perspective which allows you to stay on top of all your information and feeds without the clutter of icons or widgets. To be honest, it actually looks a lot more like the standard view on a Windows Mobile handset than anything we have seen on android before. But don’t let that put you off. One of the major criticisms that Android and the iPhone have both gotten is that they are app centric handsets, not data centric. The Intelligent Home Screen pulls all the data from your Calendar, Email, Phone Stocks, News, Twitter, Weather, and more and displays them all on the home screen in layered fashion. You can even prioritize the information by dragging the feed up or down on the screen and by color coding. And if you need more details from any of the feeds, just tap the feed icon on the right side. The idea is simple and elegant and might be the key to making the Android platform a more business centric handset.
We have a few more images after the jump and a short video of the Intelligent Home Screen in action.
Source: Android and Me
Earlier this week, the Augmented Traffic team released version 1.0.3 of their Augmented Traffic Views app for the Android system. This app is the latest in the wave of augmented reality apps, apps which overlay the android camera and blur the line between the real world and the virtual world.
The Augmented Traffic app is available in approximately 25 metro locations, and uses the city’s traffic cameras to provide real-time traffic information for commuters. For the last few days I have been testing this application on my daily commute.
I have been very impressed with the speed at which the app picks up your location. The location feature has the same level of accuracy we have come to expect with Google maps, and manages to pick up your location in about 5 seconds. Very quick compared to some of the other GPS apps out there.
Skyhook Wireless has been working hard to make sure Android apps are giving you the best experience possible. Skyhook does not have any apps of its own on the Android Market, but they have partnered with app developers to help integrate their hybrid positioning system that leverages Wi-Fi, GPS and cell towers to help deliver a more precise location for location based apps. A few weeks back, Skyhook Wireless announced their partnership with Sherpa and has since continued to roll out new partnerships with other Android developers. SIM Checker, Aloqa, and TIE your money are the latest apps to take advantage of Skyhook’s hybrid positioning system. The partnership between these developers will allow them to better pinpoint the location of your Android powered phone and in turn help deliver better search results and services to you. Since location based apps seem to be a dime a dozen on the Android Market these days, I’m sure Skyhook Wireless has a long list of developers that they are planning on partnering with.
Be sure to check out a short summery of SIM Checker, Aloqa, and TIE your money after the jump.
It’s been rumored for months. Android users have been teased with leaked screenshots and speculation, but now Facebook has finally unleashed their official Android app to the Android Market. I’d suggest heading on over to the Android Market and downloading the app, but if you’re hoping for the same features that iPhone users get out of their Facebook app, you might be a little disappointed. In fact, Bloo appears to have a more complete Facebook integration than what the official app does. I have only played with it for a few minutes and managed to grab a few screenshots of the app. I’ll hold off on a full review for a bit since Facebook deserves more than a rushed review.
More Android news to close out the day, this time it’s coming directly from Google’s Android Developers blog. Earlier this week, Tyler from Android Atlas posted up some leaked shots of a revamped Android Market. There was some speculation that the images were just a minor UI update, but now the Android team has confirmed that what we saw was just a small glimpse of a larger Android Market overhaul.
New Android Market features include:
- application screenshots
- promotional icons
- better application description
The Market will also feature sports, health, themes, and comics categories which developers can use for new or existing apps. The Android team is encouraging developers to start taking advantage of the new features now by updating their apps Android Market publisher website so that they are all set when the Android Market rolls out to handsets that get the Android 1.6 upgrade. I’m sure you all want to know when Android 1.6 is coming…. well… if I knew, I would tell you. Motorola’s new handsets are expected to ship with the new updated OS and Verizon and T-Mobile are expecting to see those new phones some time next month. Lets just hope that T-Mobile and HTC have something in the works already for those of us who already have out Android handsets. Check out a short video walkthrough of the new market after the jump.
To be quite honest, it’s a bit hard to find good quality games on the Android Market these days. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of games out there to choose from, but most the developers don’t spend enough time refining the graphics or creating a user experience that simply leaves you wanting more. Hexage, on the other hand, has surfaced as an android game developer that understands the balance between design, usability, and fun. Their first game for the Android platform (Buka) was an incredibly entertaining game which pitted you and against a whole lot of "baddies" as you floated through space. Hexage is now gearing up for their second launch with TOTEMO which is expected to hit the Android Market on September 11th. TOTEMO is a puzzle game, offering up to 60 puzzle variations in story mode or endless fun is survival mode. I have not had a chance to review TOTEMO yet, but when I do, I’ll be sure to give you the inside scoop on the game. We have some screen shots of some of the action after the break and there’s also a teaser trailer on YouTube as well. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that Hexage submitted TOTEMO in the android Developers Challenge 2.
I’m sure that by now, most Android fans are somewhat familiar with Geodelic’s Sherpa application for Android. Sherpa allows you find local businesses based on your location without the need to search. The app worked great when you had your GPS signal turned on, but things got a little out of hand when the app couldn’t lock on to that GPS signal. Fortunately the good people over at SKYHOOK Wireless have jumped on board to partner with geodelic to give Sherpa another option to find its location. SKYHOOK Wireless has developed a hybrid positioning system to fully leverage Wi-Fi, GPS and cell towers in order to give you a more precise location regardless of whether you are indoors at the mall or standing in the middle of the street.
"Skyhook offers a major enhancement to the application’s location awareness," said Rahul Sonnad, CEO and founder at Geodelic. "This allows Geodelic to more accurately target content for a user, whether they are in a mall or walking down the street. We developed Sherpa to give users a customized experience based on their location and interests. Skyhook provides the location performance that our application demands."
Hit the read more link for the full press release.