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05 Jun 12 Instapaper releases Android app


Instapaper, yet another app that’s been missing from Android, makes its debut, again minus some features available for iPhones and iPads. Like Instagram, Instapaper doesn’t have all the bells and whistles the iOS app does.

“We’re working hard to add additional features to Instapaper for Android,” according to a company blog post. “We believe that we’ve captured the core Instapaper experience but can’t wait to make the app even better.”

The Android app, which allows you to save Web pages for offline reading later, does include adjustable fonts, Dark Mode for reading in low light, folders, rotation lock and native Android sharing. The app also syncs between multiple devices, so you can pick up where you left off. 

And, like the iOS app, you can download up to 500 articles at a time. 

While it is missing some features for now, the app does support the various flavors of Android, including for 7-inch tablets such as Kindle Fire and Nook and big, honking 10-inchers such as the Xoom and Galaxy. The company said that all updates to come are free for customers who buy the app, regardless of which Android store it’s from.

The app goes for $2.99 and runs on Android 2.2 and beyond.

Instapaper for Android is available now on Google Play and is expected to be available soon for Barnes Noble’s Nook and on Amazon’s Appstore.

 

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Article source: http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-instapaper-android-20120604,0,5568311.story

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22 May 12 Amazon’s Android Appstore Allows Users to Test Apps on Phones


You no longer need a PC browser to test out apps from Amazon’s Appstore for Android. The online retailer recently announced that you can try out apps before you buy them by using the company’s new beta feature, Test Drive for Android. All you need is a compatible device and the Amazon Appstore for Android app version 2.6.53 or higher.

Amazon's Android Appstore Allows Users to Test Apps on PhonesThe company said only select Android devices will be able to use the new feature at launch, but did not elaborate on which phones were compatible. If your phone is compatible, a green “Test Drive” button will appear on an app’s product page above the “Save for Later” and “Share” buttons. Amazon said more devices will be able to use the new feature in the coming months.

Amazon has more than 5,000 Android apps ready to use Test Drive, and it aims to make the entire Appstore catalog available. At launch, only apps that use basic touchscreen features and device accelerometers have Test Drive enabled. Apps that require multitouch, a keyboard, microphone, camera, gyroscope, near-field communication (NFC), or GPS are not yet available.

Unlike Google Play’s 15-minute refund policy, Amazon’s beta version of Test Drive for Android does not require you to purchase the app first to try it out. Instead, the company puts the power of the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) servers to work. Whenever you try an app via Test Drive, a version of the app is launched on Amazon’s EC2 servers. Your taps and other inputs are sent to Amazon’s servers, and all display and audio outputs are sent back to your device. You can purchase an app at any point during your test drive.

Amazon's Android Appstore Allows Users to Test Apps on PhonesTo check if your phone has the latest version of Amazon Appstore for Android, open the app’s settings. You should see the version of your app under “Version and Release Notes.”

Amazon originally launched Test Drive as a PC-only feature in early 2011 with the debut of the Appstore for Android. The company said it has enabled more than 16,000 apps for the PC-based version of Test Drive since then.

Connect with Ian Paul (@ianpaul) on Twitter and Google+, and with Today@PCWorld on Twitter for the latest tech news and analysis.

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Article source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/255969/amazons_android_appstore_allows_users_to_test_apps_on_phones.html

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18 May 12 $74 MK802 Android micro-PC beats Cotton Candy to the punch


A pair of inexpensive micro-PCs have generated quite a bit of buzz this year. The dirt-cheap Raspberry Pi started shipping in mid-April, but the FXI Cotton Candy has yet to make it out the door. The $200 Android PC-on-a-stick will also have some competition once it finally arrives: a very similar $74 AllWinner A10-based system has already popped up on online shopping sites.

Meet the MK802, which (like the Cotton Candy) features an ARM processor, Android 4.0, and WiFi connectivity. It’s not quite as powerful, with a single-core 1.5GHz AllWinner A10 processor and 512MB memory compared to a dual-core 1.2GHz Exynos chip and 1GB. The MK802 does offer two USB ports — one full-sized and one micro — and it utilizes the same Mali 400 GPU as the Cotton Candy.

One other difference is that the MK802 sports an HDMI port, not an HDMI plug. That means, of course, that you’ll still need a cable or a male-to-male plug to hook up to your HDTV or monitor. Really, though, that’s a reasonable trade-off when you consider that you can buy almost three MK802s for the same price as a single Cotton Candy.

If you do decide to pick up the MK802, remember that you’ll have to rely on your own stash of APKs or a third-party marketplace like the Amazon Appstore, at least initially. With the ridiculously low price tag on this device, it’s a good bet that the Android developer community will jump on this solid little stick computer and hack in support for Google Play in the very near future.

CNX Software, via Liliputing


Article source: http://www.geek.com/articles/chips/74-mk802-android-micro-pc-beats-cotton-candy-to-the-punch-20120517/

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15 May 12 Kingsoft Office for Android Brings Free Document Editing to Your Mobile Devices


A few months back I called Kingsoft Office the best Microsoft Office alternative you’ve never heard of. Now Kingsoft is making waves again with a mobile version of that impressive suite.

Kingsoft Office for Android lets you open, edit, and create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations right on your smartphone or tablet. And it’s noteworthy not just for its Microsoft Office compatibility, but also its price: the app is free.

How good could a free office suite be? In this case, pretty darn good. The app supports Word, Excel, and PowerPoint file formats, meaning you should be able to open and edit any existing documents you want to bring along.

It also lets you create these kinds of documents from scratch, saving them either to your device or any cloud-storage service that supports WebDAV. Alas, Dropbox isn’t one of them, but Box.net does — and support for that service is built directly into the app.

I’m particularly impressed by Kingsoft Office’s interface. Like the desktop version, it employs tabs for easy switching between multiple open documents. And it just plain looks nice (see below), especially on a tablet, which is where an app like this makes the most sense.

Indeed, if you’ve been wondering whether a tablet can really take the place of a laptop, Kingsoft Office adds a big checkmark to the “yes!” column. For any serious document work, I think you’ll want to pair it with a Bluetooth keyboard — but then you’re good to go (both literally and figuratively).

One note for Kindle Fire users: You can find Kingsoft Office in the Amazon Appstore, but it shows up there as a trial version. To get the full-featured free version that’s available from Google Play, you’ll need to venture into the settings, enable Allow Installation of Application From Unknown Sources, and then sideload the app. If you’re not sure how, a little Web searching will reveal the necessary steps. (It’s easy.)

If you’ve tried any of the other office-suite apps for Android, hit the comments and let me know if you think they’re any better — and why. For my money (in this case no money), the best option by far is Kingsoft’s.

Article source: http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/255577/kingsoft_office_for_android_brings_free_document_editing_to_your_mobile_devices.html

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03 Apr 12 Amazon Dominates Google in App Revenue: Thank Apple?


Android fans love to criticize Apple’s locked-down strategy when it comes to hardware, iTunes content, and the iOS platform. But a study from the mobile advertising firm Flurry suggests Apple is on to something. Users of Amazon Appstore, on average, spend three times the amount they’re spending on Google Play. Why? That’s something Amazon, Apple and its millions of iOS users know – it’s all about convenience.

Mobile advertising firm Flurry found that the Amazon Appstore generates 89 percent of the revenue for in-app purchases, while Google Play only earns 23 percent. That’s a significant difference.

“Amazon’s bet to fork Android in order to put consumers into their own shopping experience on Kindle Fire appears to be paying off,” argues Flurry’s Peter Farago.

The Kindle Fire is a key part of Amazon’s success in convincing us to hand over our hard-earned cash. There are several reasons for this: first off, Fire users cannot easily download popular apps from anywhere other than the Amazon Appstore. Like iTunes, the Kindle Fire is tied to a single source for content.

Apple uses this to great effect in its own mobile content strategy, and as a result has built a considerable business as the entire iOS ecosystem matures. The platform is on lock down, and all the revenue funnels back to Apple. The device becomes the storefront. It’s genius.

Apple and Amazon’s Retail Experience Is Key

It also doesn’t hurt that both Apple and Amazon have experience in retail. Apple runs one of the most successful brick-and-mortar retail chains in the world, while Amazon is the biggest online retailer. Google on the other hand does not have this experience. It is a search company at heart.

The retail advantage also plays into why iTunes and the Amazon Appstore convert so many of us into paying customers: easy payment options. iTunes requires a payment method in order to download anything, and Amazon’s own one-click payment system ties into the Appstore.

If you want an app, it’s “click” to buy and download: everything is already in place to make that purchase. The Android Market and now Google Play however do not require payment information for downloading free apps, which puts developers at a disadvantage when attempting to hawk in-app purchases.

Developers have to worry whether or not users will take the time to enter the information, which it seems as if many are not from Flurry’s data. This may explain why there is such a huge discrepancy between revenues for Amazon’s Appstore and Google Play.

In any case, Amazon’s emergence on the market is definitely a positive for developers looking to make money with Android. As a result, Google may find it necessary to reconsider its strategy around Google Play in order to keep developers happy.

For more tech news and commentary, follow Ed on Twitter at @edoswald, on Facebook, or on Google+.

Article source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/253035/amazon_dominates_google_in_app_revenue_thank_apple.html

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03 Apr 12 Amazon’s Dominates Google in App Revenue: Thank Apple?


Android fans love to criticize Apple’s locked-down strategy when it comes to hardware, iTunes content, and the iOS platform. But a study from the mobile advertising firm Flurry suggests Apple is on to something. Users of Amazon Appstore, on average, spend three times the amount they’re spending on Google Play. Why? That’s something Amazon, Apple and its millions of iOS users know – it’s all about convenience.

Mobile advertising firm Flurry found that the Amazon Appstore generates 89 percent of the revenue for in-app purchases, while Google Play only earns 23 percent. That’s a significant difference.

“Amazon’s bet to fork Android in order to put consumers into their own shopping experience on Kindle Fire appears to be paying off,” argues Flurry’s Peter Farago.

The Kindle Fire is a key part of Amazon’s success in convincing us to hand over our hard-earned cash. There are several reasons for this: first off, Fire users cannot easily download popular apps from anywhere other than the Amazon Appstore. Like iTunes, the Kindle Fire is tied to a single source for content.

Apple uses this to great effect in its own mobile content strategy, and as a result has built a considerable business as the entire iOS ecosystem matures. The platform is on lock down, and all the revenue funnels back to Apple. The device becomes the storefront. It’s genius.

Apple and Amazon’s Retail Experience Is Key

It also doesn’t hurt that both Apple and Amazon have experience in retail. Apple runs one of the most successful brick-and-mortar retail chains in the world, while Amazon is the biggest online retailer. Google on the other hand does not have this experience. It is a search company at heart.

The retail advantage also plays into why iTunes and the Amazon Appstore convert so many of us into paying customers: easy payment options. iTunes requires a payment method in order to download anything, and Amazon’s own one-click payment system ties into the Appstore.

If you want an app, it’s “click” to buy and download: everything is already in place to make that purchase. The Android Market and now Google Play however do not require payment information for downloading free apps, which puts developers at a disadvantage when attempting to hawk in-app purchases.

Developers have to worry whether or not users will take the time to enter the information, which it seems as if many are not from Flurry’s data. This may explain why there is such a huge discrepancy between revenues for Amazon’s Appstore and Google Play.

In any case, Amazon’s emergence on the market is definitely a positive for developers looking to make money with Android. As a result, Google may find it necessary to reconsider its strategy around Google Play in order to keep developers happy.

For more tech news and commentary, follow Ed on Twitter at @edoswald, on Facebook, or on Google+.

Article source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/253035/amazons_dominates_google_in_app_revenue_thank_apple.html

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