It looks like Amazon isn’t going to simply wait around while Apple’s iPad and iPhone kill their eBook market. Instead, they are expanding beyond Apple and RIM and into the Android market by bringing their Kindle reader to the platform.
They already have an application for the iPhone, iPad and Blackberry and now they are planning to release one for Android powered smartphones. The Android app will look like its iPhone counterpart and include the the ability to read, preview, and purchase books from Amazon’s Kindle bookstore. You will also be able to navigate with a finger flick and sync reading progress across all supported platforms — which is a nice feature if, like me, you have several platforms.
The app is reportedly also compatible with popular Android handsets including the Moto DROID, Nexus One, HTC Droid Eris and HTC Incredible. Look for it in the Android Market soon. You can also sign up at Amazon to be notified when it becomes available.
In a surprise announcement Friday, popular 3D desktop software firm, Bump Top revealed it had been acquired by Google. 3 years ago, the company founder, Anand Agarawala discussed their innovative interface at the 2007 TED Conference.
Built for Macs as well as Windows PC’s, Bump Top re-imagines the computer desktop as a three-dimensional desk-like space filled with icons and images piled up on the surface and pinned to the virtual walls. Agarawala at the time, famously described his interface as designed to “(move away from the) same old crap.”
With Google acquiring Bump Top, the speculation begins as to how the company may integrate this 3D environment into their existing product line. The Android mobile OS is a natural fit, initially launching on smartphones, but eventually making its way into the inevitable Android-powered tablets that are on the near horizon. The Bump Top multi-touch interface would allow Google to better compete with Apple whose multi-touch on the iPhone, iPod and recently released iPad are the industry benchmark.
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A seemingly non-stop parade of awesome Android-powered mobile phones have released over the past six months. Notable handsets include the original Motorola Droid, Google’s Nexus One, among others. On April 29th, Verizon will release HTC’s newest creation, the ‘Droid Incredible’ and it will be available for $199.99 (with 2-year activation). What makes this newest droid so incredible? Let’s take a close look at the specs, shall we?
Powered by the spunky 1-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, the Droid Incredible uses the same screen as the Nexus One; a vibrant 3.7-inch, 800-by-480 OLED touch screen that dominates the business side.
Flip it over and it’s difficult not to notice the 8 megapixel camera with dual LED flash, something of a necessity with the notoriously poor low-light performance experienced with these built-in phone cams. For reference, the older Motorola Droid released last November also sported dual LED flashes, but topped out at 5 megapixels.
Running the latest Android OS v2.1 and sporting 8GB of on-board memory, HTC is also including its Android over-lay, HTC Sense UI which spiffs up the stock Android start screen tremendously. With HTC Sense enabled, your home screen starts up with a gorgeous animated weather graphic and over-sized clock. Flick your screen to the left or right and you’ll have access to full-screen contacts with photos, e-mail and numerous social networking hooks.
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We’ve all speculated that the time would come when everyone’s favorite free TV and movie streaming site, Hulu.com, would start charging a subscription for people that wanted to use the site to its full potential. Now it seems that time has finally come.
Even though the site is a close second to Google’s YouTube, and has generated more than $100 million in revenue from advertising, major networks are now vying to take some of that profit. The solution? A monthly subscription plan. From LA Times:
Under the proposal, Hulu would continue to provide for free the five most recent episodes of shows like Fox’s “Glee,” “ABC’s “Lost” or NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” But viewers who want to see additional episodes would pay $9.95 a month to access a more comprehensive selection, called Hulu Plus, these people said.
Hulu plans to begin testing the subscription service as soon as May 24, according to people with knowledge of the plans.
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It looks like Verizon and Motorola have decided it’s time to give users what they really want: the ability to use Android OS 2.1. According to reports around the tech Internets, the update is now being pushed out to users of the Moto DROID smartphone. However, don’t get worried if you haven’t gotten the update yet as it will be a “gradual” rollout” which should hit most of you DROID loving folks by week’s end.
Here’s what the update does for you:
• Pinch-to-zoom now available when using the browser, Gallery, and Google Maps.
• New Weather and News application plus widget.
• The Weather and News app pulls the information you want from the Web and brings it to your fingertips.
• New support for voice-to-text entry.
• Whenever a text-entry box appears, simply tap the microphone icon on the virtual keyboard and speak.
• New Gallery application with 3D layout. View and share photos taken with your phone and images from your online Picasa Web albums.
• Live Wallpapers offer richer animated, interactive backgrounds on the home screen. Access them with a long press anywhere on the home screen.
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Over at the terrific Boy Genius Report, they’ve got the reported details on the upcoming update to the Motorola DROID. This update will bring the DROID to Android Software version 2.1.
Sadly, as exciting as that is for DROID owners, the rollout details are somewhat underwhelming, especially if you’re not a fan of waiting. Check ’em out:
• At noon EDT on 3/18, 1,000 users will receive notification of the update
• At 11:59 PM EDT on 3/18, 9,000 more users will receive the update notification
• After the first 10,000 users receive the update on 3/18, there will be a 24-hour period when no additional upgrades will be delivered
• On Day 3 (3/20), 200,000 users will receive the update notification at 11:59 PM EDT
• This schedule will continue each day thereafter until the update has been delivered to all users
• And here are a few conditions needed for the update to be applied:
• An OTA download requires 40% or more power availability
• If the device is not connected to an external power source or 20% or more power if it is connected to an external source
• If roaming, the customer will not receive the update
So it seems those of you getting the update the “legit” way will have some time to wait. Those of you who can’t wait that long and will acquire the update by other means, well, you’re wait won’t be as long. Happy updating.
Who hasn’t walked down the street and seen people with their heads buried in their iPhones? And you know they aren’t all looking up stock quotes or making work calls. Most are playing Paper Toss or checking in with Foursquare. We even see those jealous Verizon customers with their Droids as they secretly wait for their carrier to pick up the iPhone.
Smart phones are the way technology is pointing with their layers of functionality and ever increasing capabilities. That’s why it wasn’t a surprise Thursday morning when the Wall Street Journal reported that Sony would be entering the smart phone arena. Of special interest to this particular item though is that it will be “capable of downloading and playing PlayStation games”, possibly referring to PlayStation One titles specifically.
Reported as a device that “blurs distinctions among a netbook, an e-reader and a PlayStation Portable,” they are already expecting a 2010 launch. It is possible that Sony may make a big announcement regarding this phone next week during the Games Developers Conference.
With ever declining PSP sales and the lackluster response to the PSP Go, one would think the portable device market was in trouble. Nintendo has shown with the DS and the record breaking game sales of Plants vs. Zombies on the iPhone have shown that this isn’t the case however and that Sony is just searching for its niche still.
Today, the mobile phone landscape has changed quite a bit because soon you’ll be able to make calls via Skype using your Verizon Wireless cell phone. The two companies announced their “strategic relationship” at the 2010 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
The new Skype mobile product enhances Verizon Wireless’ smartphones for users who have data plans by offering a new way to call around the globe, while also giving hundreds of millions of Skype users around the world the opportunity to communicate with friends, family and business colleagues in the United States using Verizon Wireless.
Here are the highlights of this new partnership:
• Users with a data plan can make and receive unlimited Skype-to-Skype voice calls to any Skype user around the world.
• Calls to international phone numbers, if made through Skype mobile, will be at the Skype Out calling rate.
• Users can send and receive instant messages to other Skype users and remain connected to see friends’ online statuses.
The rollout for Skype mobile will comprehensive and coming to existing phones like the BlackBerry Storm, the Storm 2, the BlackBerry Curve, the BlackBerry Tour, the Motorola DROID, the HTC DROID ERIS and the Motorola DEVOUR.
If you have one of those phones and a 3G data plan, you’ll be able to start using Skype mobile when it goes live in March. See AT&T, that wasn’t so hard.
There’s no denying Twitter’s popularity. It’s everywhere and many people use it all day, every day. So, if you need to Tweet while on the go, you need an smartphone with a Twitter app on it. The iPhone has several, with Tweetie and Twitterific probably being the most popular.
That’s great, but what if you’re using a cool Android powered smartphone like Verizon’s DROID? Fortunately, there’s a app for you too in the form of Seesmic. And now, the folks who make Seesmic have updated their app with some cool new features.
Among the new features are multiple account support with cross-posting, extra large font size, auto-correction of typing, automatic profile updates, on device twitter password management and optional timeline position memory so you jump back to the last tweets that you were reading.
The latest version of Seesmic is available now for free from the Android Market. If you check it out, be sure to come back and let us know how it compares to other Android Twitter apps like Twidroid and Tweetcaster.
According to the highly informed Boy Genius, Verizon is at it again with the latest version of its Droid and Droid Eris promotions. This time, as with previous promotions, if you are looking to grab a DROID and/or a DROID Eris for you and someone you love (or two for yourself, why not?), you still have until Christmas Eve to make this holiday purchase.
Starting today and extended until December 24th, Verizon Wireless is offering the DROID Eris as part of its popular “Buy One, Get One Free” promotion. Just like with previous promotions, if you buy a DROID or a DROID Eris, you are eligible to receive a DROID Eris for free. Of course, a new two year customer agreement for each new piece of smartphone goodness is required. You didn’t think you were going to get off that easy, did you?
We’re still evaluating our Motorola DROID here at The Flickcast test kitchens and its pretty darn cool. Still, as much as we hate to admit it, we kinda love our iPhones a little more so far. Although, with the state of AT&T’s network and Fake Steve Jobs’ “Operation Chokehold” going down this Friday, Verizon is looking better and better all the time.