In less than two weeks, Vodafone will be launching the HTC Magic. It will be the second phone to be powered by the Android OS, but the first powered by Android 1.5 (aka the cupcake build). There are quite a few enhancements included in this new build, many of which I wrote about when I reviewed a Google build and an HTC build of Android 15 for the HTC Magic. But the one new addition that stands out the most with the introduction of Android 1.5 is the support for home screen widgets.
Android widgets aren’t anything new. Google included three of them (analog clock, search, and picture frame) in the original Android 1.0 that shipped on the T-Mobile G1. But to the developer’s disappointment, the Android team didn’t release any documentation on how additional widgets could be developed.
A few days ago, we broke the news that Google had yanked all the 3G tethering apps from the Android Market. Google pulled the apps since they did not comply with T-mobiles TOS. I guess it took Google a few days to realize that the HTC Dream (currently the only Android phone on the market) is also available in other countries and also from other service providers. Google has sent out a message to the app developers, stating:
"We inadvertently unpublished your application for all mobile providers; if you like, we can restore your app so that all Android Market users outside the T-Mobile US network will have access to your application."
Let’s just hope, Google learns from their mistake and takes a more systematic approach next time they decide to remove app from the Android Market.
Reports are coming in from all over the web, stating that Google has started pulling tethering apps from the Android Market. I currently have aNetShare installed on my rooted G1 (the app allows me to tether my 3G or EDGE connection over WiFi with multiple WiFi enabled devices), but a quick search on the Android Market shows that the app is not longer available. The assumption is that Google is getting pressure from T-mobile to remove these apps since they violate T-mobile’s user agreement policies (no internet sharing). For those of you who are disappointed with Google for doing for removing these apps, keep in mind, you can still legally install the apps if you get them from the developer or any other website that might have them posted.
If you already have a tethering app installed on your G1, I’d hang on to it even if you don’t use it that often.
The one thing I enjoy most about Facebook is that people constantly update their profile pictures. It gives you a better representation of how they see themselves or what mood they are in. Google does an adequate job of syncing all the images you gave in Gmail with your Android phone, but unless you are an avid Picasa Web user, most your contacts are pictureless. Facebook Sync is a new app on the Android Market that promises to bring images to all your contacts as long as you are friends with them on Facebook. Facebook Sync is fairly simple. When you open the app, there’s an check box at the bottom that asks if you want to replace non-Facebook photos that you might already have in your contacts. All that’s left to do is tap the "Start friend photo sync" and away you go. A web window opens up in which you will need to enter in your Facebook login info to allow that app to gain access to your friends list. Once it starts the sync process, if shows you each friend picture that it is syncing to your contacts. Once Facebook Sync has finished going through all your friends and contacts, it gives you a little readout of how many contact entries were synced.
Facebook Sync is extremely simple, but I’m sure most Android users who have a Facebook account will find that it’s an extremely useful tool to complete your contacts list. If you’re on your G1 right now, just click here in your phones browser or else just head over to the market and search "Facebook Sync"
There are a lot of different reasons to buy the T-Mobile G1. Some people simply love Google, others like Android or simply want an OpenSource OS. Me? I like my phone to be versatile enough to do almost anything. My wife thinks it’s a bit ridiculous that I check the Android Market a few times a day. What can I say, I must be addicted.
It’s been really a week since Google opened the floodgates, unleashing priced apps onto the Android market. Within that time there, more than 200 new priced apps have shown up, but something’s missing. There are a lot of useful apps out there, but I just get the feeling that there is still a huge void that app developers have yet to fill.
So what’s missing for you? Let us know. I’m sure we all have a dream app on our wish list that we’re hoping will get release on the Android Market.
The Android Market is now offering priced apps to G1 users. I still have not seen any, but have gotten reports from a few people that they are starting to show up. For those of you still wondering how you will pay for the priced apps, Google has chosen to use their Google Checkout service. This allows them to integrate the e-mail account used on the phone to be tied in to the payment system. We’ve also dug up Google’s Android Market policies and have chosen to highlight a few of them. there will be a 24 hour buyers remorse period, so if you paid for an app and it’s not something you want to keep, Google will get your money back. Also, don’t expect any Porn applications to show up on the Android Market. Google’s committed to keeping their Android OS and the Marketplace child friendly.
- Returns: You have 24 hours from the time of purchase (not download) to return any applications purchased from Android Market for a full refund of any applicable fees. The option to return an application within this timeframe will be made available to you through the Android Market user interface. You may not return any Products other than applications.
- Upgrades: Android Market does not provide upgrade functionality for any Products. If a Product offers free or paid upgrades, those upgrades must be obtained directly from the Developer responsible for the Product.
- Reinstalls: You are allowed an unlimited number of reinstalls of each application obtained via the Market.
- Product Removals: From time to time, Google may discover a Product on the Market that violates the Android Market Developer Distribution Agreement or other legal agreements, laws, regulations or policies. In such an instance, Google retains the right to remotely remove those applications from your Device at its sole discretion. If that occurs Google will make reasonable efforts to recover the purchase price of the Product, if any, from the originating Developer on your behalf. If Google is unable to recover the full amount of the purchase price, it will divide any recovered amounts between the affected users on a pro rata basis.
- Chargeback and Billing Disputes: Google is not responsible for billing disputes arising from purchases on Android Market. All billing issues should be directed to the Developer in question, the payment processor, or your credit card company as appropriate.
- Customer Support: Support for the use and operation of the Market (including how to find, purchase, download, return and remove Products) is provided by Google in the user interface of the Market application. Google does not provide customer support for Products distributed by Developers on Android Market. Each Developer is responsible for determining the level of customer support they provide and you should contact them directly.
Android has not been known to be business friendly. The lack of Exchange support and it’s inability to read or write Microsoft Office files have dealt it a huge setback in the corporate market. Quickoffice is not offering a solution to part of that problem. Quickoffice for Android now gives business users (or anyone else who want to access their Office files) the ability to sort through their Word and Excel files from their Android handset. Unfortunately, there is still now way you will be able to edit those files on your phone quite yet, but it’s better than nothing.
Quickoffice allows you to open .doc and .xls files, zoom through their contents, and even adjusts screen orientation with the built-in accelerometer. It also ships with a file manager that allows you to sort, navigate, rename, and delete those Word and Excel files. Quickoffice is available on the Android Market for $7.99 (ok, that’s what their website says, but we still have not seen it show up).