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27 May 12 My 30 Day Android Challenge…Day 26


 

Today marks the 27th day of my Android challenge and with three days left, attempts to really integrate Android into my life have risen to another level. At this point I’m neck-deep in wading through the wonders and disappointments of the Android platform. Most notable is my sudden commitment to finding the perfect launcher/lock-screen combination which has taken up far too much of my time.

Before I get into that, I want to once again continue my praise for Swiftkey and its recent notification that I’ve saved 10,000 keystrokes. Whether or not that number is 100% right is really irrelevant to me — I know for a fact it has saved me keystrokes. The real number of saved keystrokes while interesting, doesn’t make me love the app more or less, I just love it. I swear I’m not being paid to promote this app, but I do have to wonder how this challenge would be turning out without Swiftkey, an app I’m not entirely sure I can ever give up.

Moving on and echoing my earlier reports, I’m still in love with default app switching and have settled on Firefox Beta as my browser of choice on Gingerbread and Chrome Beta on Ice Cream Sandwich. I’ve been back on the HTC One S for the last week and I’ll likely continue with it for a few more days as I complete the challenge.

The addition of Comcast’s Xfinity app in the past 48 hours has also made my Android experience more on par with that of my iPhone. I know prospect of watching a lengthy television show on a smaller screen isn’t appealing to everyone, but choice is choice and I’d rather have the option of doing so than not at all. At the very least it lessens the game between apps that I both want and need on my iPhone and have been unable to get on my Android device.

One thing that I did want to discuss in this post briefly since I’m going to make it short as my last report will come in the next couple of days is that of customization. One of the greatest assets of the Android platform is your ability to completely customize the device. In my eyes, that’s both a blessing and a curse. The iPhone 4S I have is unlocked, purchased unlocked directly from Apple so I had no need to jailbreak it prior to unlocking. That wasn’t the case with the iPhone 4 I sold before purchasing my 4S. When jailbroken, I spent hours endlessly customizing the icons, wallpapers, lock-screens, widgets and all the fun little tweaks one can have while jailbroken. While you don’t need to jailbreak your Android device to customize, (unless you want custom ROM’s, then you have to root), customizing the device is equally frustrating for me.

First, let me clarify my definition of the word frustrating, it’s not frustrating in the sense that I’m angered or upset, I’m frustrated because I can take up so much time looking for the perfect set-up. I’m frustrated because I’m never happy with one particular look. I’ve customized my icons, lock-screen, wallpaper, and widgets almost every day I’ve had a device in my hand the last 27 days. Perhaps I’m just obsessive with trying to find that “one” look that will keep me happy, or maybe I’m just hard to please. Either way, customizing my Android device has taken up far more time than I would care to admit.

So again, when I say the word “frustrated,” you’ll have to ignore the first definition that pops in your mind and recognize I’m frustrated because the options are so plentiful, so refreshing that it’s causing me to get — frustrated. First world problems right?

In any event, my challenge is almost over and while I know many of you are emailing, tweeting and wondering if I’ll stick with Android, do a 30 day Windows Challenge or go running back to my iPhone, check out the final report in the next few days and you’ll find out all the answers!

Article source: http://www.tmonews.com/2012/05/my-30-day-android-challenge-day-26/

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21 May 12 Google Chrome now syncs tabs across multiple devices


Google has updated its Chrome browser, adding the ability to sync browser tabs across multiple devices to make a single session of Chrome accessible as you move from desktop, to mobile, and back again.

The update has also come to the Chrome Beta for Android.

The update marks a milestone for Chrome on Android, which is quickly overtaking the original Android browser in terms of features. Unfortunately, Chrome Beta is only available to those running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which currently accounts for only around five percent of all Android devices. If you can use the Chrome Beta, enabling Tab Sync is possible by signing in to your Chrome account and opening a new tab, where you’ll find the new “Other devices” menu. The process is identical on the PC version of Chrome.

As of now, Chrome is available on PC, Mac, Linux, and Android, leaving iOS users unable to try Chrome Mobile and the Tab Sync feature. However, this could change in the near future, with some predictions that Google will launch Chrome for iOS devices this year.

Source: Google Chrome Blog

Here’s a quick video from Google introducing the new Tab sync feature.

Article source: http://www.gizmag.com/chrome-tab-sync/22602/

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09 May 12 How to reclaim your Android UI from OEM skins like TouchWiz, Sense, and Blur


Android Skins

There are a scant few Android devices on the market that ship with the stock user interface Google designed. In the distant past, that was a good thing. Android really needed that help back in 2009, and even into the early part of 2010. However, OEMs have continued to skin the OS long past the point it was warranted, but don’t count on it stopping anytime soon. Instead, why not take your phone back to the stock Gingerbread or Ice Cream Sandwich experience with a few easy-to-install apps? Without so much as rooting your phone, you can sweep most of the OEM chrome under the rug with some great third-party apps.

Home screen

The most heavy-handed OEM modification of Android tends to come on the home screen. Android 4.0 in particular has made the home screen much cleaner and easier to use, but OEMs often add features and tweak icons until we’re right back in mid-2010 as far as usability and attractiveness go. If you want to really skip the skin, it’s time for a home screen replacement.

Apex LauncherAnyone on an Android 4.0 device would do well to take a look at Apex Launcher. The real value with this app is that is looks and works almost exactly like the stock Android 4.0 home screen, which is fabulous. Folders, the app drawer, and widgets work like they are supposed to, but there are some handy extras that fit in extremely well.

With Apex Launcher, you can customize the scrolling animation, keep more apps in the dock, and customize apps icons and folders. That last one is great if your device uses obnoxious redesigned app icons. A paid version of Apex comes with multitouch gestures, widgets in the dock, better folder management, and more. The only drawback is that you have to be rooted to have widgets in the app drawer like the stock home screen.

Those not on Android 4.0 or later should take a look at ADW Launcher EX. This home screen moves a little bit further from the Android 4.0 aesthetic, but has a lot of excellent features. You can tweak the way the home screen scrolls, how widgets are sized, and how many home screens you have. ADW EX has a solid tablet UI in addition to the phone layout as well. It also saves presets so you can change the look of the home screen instantly.

The paid version of Apex is $3.99, and ADW EX is $3 in the Play Store. Both are worlds better than what you get with TouchWiz, Sense, or Blur, but your taste and affinity for customization will dictate which one you prefer.

Browser

Chrome BetaSo the stock Android browser is probably not long for this world. Google is testing the Chrome Beta right now, and that will almost certainly end up being the default browser in the future. But for now, OEMs are free to tweak and skin the browser as they like — sometimes with more or less success. If you don’t like the dark gradient in Sense, or that bright blue in the new TouchWiz on the Galaxy S3, there are a few options.

If you have an Android 4.0 device, you should definitely get the aforementioned Chrome Beta for Android. This browser has a ton in common with the desktop version of Chrome. Being a beta, there are still some stability issues, but I’ve found most problems to be cropping up on tablets. Chrome on phones seems to be extremely stable. Chrome has excellent search, incognito mode, tab sync, bookmark sync, and it’s very fast.

If your phone is not compatible with Chrome, or you just don’t care for it, Dolphin Browser HD is your friend. Dolphin isn’t quite as refined as Chrome for Android is, but it has more features than you’ll know what to do with. There are true tabs, voice control, on-screen gestures, add-ons, and bookmark sync.

Both Chrome and Dolphin HD have better interfaces than some of the OEM options, and I’ve always found them to be very snappy. Both browsers are also entirely free.

Next page: Replacing the Camera, Gallery, and Music apps

Article source: http://www.extremetech.com/mobile/128901-how-to-reclaim-your-android-phone-from-oem-skins-like-touchwiz-sense-and-blur

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20 Apr 12 Google Chrome Browser for Android Gets Updated with Desktop View, Languages …


Google Chrome Browser

(Photo: Google) – Google Chrome Browser for Android Gets Updated with Desktop View, Languages and More

If you are a fan of Chrome – the popular desktop Web browser made by Google, then you will love to get it on your Android device, especially since now it has received a major update, which adds new features and expands language support.

The recent update brings 31 new languages to Chrome Beta. The older version was only available in English language.

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The update also brings cool, new features. For instance, users can now request for desktop version of a Web site for better view, instead of accessing only mobile version. Then there’s the all-new Incognito mode that lets you browse with privacy so that the browsing history is not saved on the device. Browser tabs are also stacked like cards for easy viewing. Thanks to the built-in accelerometer, users can flip through these tabs by tilting the device.

 Another useful feature added with this update is the link zoom functionality. Whenever a user is trying to click on a URL link, which is relatively hard to touch as surround by some other URL’s, then the browser will zoom in on that area in a bubble making it easy to select the desired link. External links will also now open in tabs, instead of new windows, when multiple tabs are opened.

Moreover, you can use the browser on a Wi-Fi network with proxy setup. Users can assign application to handle links on their own when clicking on a new URL in Chrome. And, like the desktop version, the mobile version of Google Chrome also has ability to add bookmarks to homescreen as shortcuts.

Chrome Beta is available on Google Play Store. But you will need an Ice Cream Sandwich-enabled smartphone or tablet in order to download it. And a big share of Android devices runs Android v2.3 Gingerbread at the moment (and more than 90% of Android devices do not run Android 4.0 ICS). So the browser is not as high on downloads as expected, but it is marching forward day by day.

With new smartphones getting rolled out in the market, featuring Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box, the future for Chrome is bright. We may see Google replacing its Android Web kit browser in its mobile operating system with Chrome browser in near future.

Nonetheless, despite this recent update, the Google’s favorite browser is not yet as perfect as it is on desktop. Still it is in beta mode and Flash support is currently off. The biggest drawback of Chrome Beta is that it is only available for devices running Android OS v4.0 codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich.

(reported by Johnny Wills, edited by Surojit Chatterjee)

Article source: http://www.mobilenapps.com/articles/1736/20120419/google-chrome-browser-android-gets-updated-desktop.htm

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19 Apr 12 Chrome Beta for Android now available in the Philippines


Google Chrome beta for Android

Google Chrome beta for Android

MANILA, Philippines — Google has now made available its Chrome-branded Android mobile browser for users in the Philippines, packed with new features that make the desktop and mobile versions more connected and integrated, the search giant announced Wednesday.

First released in February for a limited number of countries, the Chrome for Android Beta can now be downloaded in any territory that has access to the Google Play Shop (formerly Android Market), Google said.

Compatibility, however, is still restricted to Android phones running the Ice Cream Sandwich version of the popular mobile operating system.

Just like its desktop counterpart, the Chrome for Android browser is built to be simple and fast, Google claimed, with a number of features introduced to marry the two digital experiences together.

“Chrome for Android also features seamless sign-in and sync so you can take personalized web browsing experience wherever, across devices,” the company said.

Among the new features introduced into the new beta version include the ability to view the desktop version of a website; the automatic detection of phone numbers and email addresses on webpages so they can easily be clicked and dialed; the ability to add bookmarks on the home screen for quick access; and the addition of country-specific default search engines.

Other features released during the initial availability are also still available, such as the syncing of tabs from desktop to mobile version – “so you can exactly where you left off” – and the automatic syncing of bookmarks from the desktop version.

“We reimagined tabs so they fit just as naturally on a small-screen phone as they do on a larger screen tablet,” Google said. “You can flip or swipe between an unlimited number of tabs using intuitive gestures, as if you’re holding a deck of cards in the palm of your hands, each one a new window to the web.”

All these features, however, require a single sign-on into the user’s Google account to become functional.

Google Chrome for the desktop was launched by Google in 2008, and has been making headways since, surpassing popular choices such as Mozilla’s Firefox and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

According to the website w3schools.com, Chrome has already surpassed Firefox with a 37.3 percent market share in March, eclipsing the latter’s close 36.3 percent share. Internet Explorer, on the other hand, has shrunk its share to just 18.9 percent during the period.

Article source: http://www.interaksyon.com/article/29807/chrome-beta-for-android-now-available-in-the-philippines

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08 Mar 12 Google Chrome Beta for Android receives an update


Google Chrome Beta for Android receives an update


Worth Reading?

NoYes

Google Chrome Beta’s last update was back on February 24th, and this particular revision has primarily focused of bug fixes. Chrome should now properly run on any version of Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), so many of the custom ROMs out there could possibly be supported. There are still the same three known issues since the previous update: No way to toggle between mobile/desktop UA, YouTube links don’t prompt specific application use, and proxy settings are still not supported.


If you run into any new issues while navigating from page to page using Chrome Beta, you can let Google know of a bug by submitting it to them directly. Chrome has proven to be an extremely fast, lightweight mobile browser. It’s still hard to tell when it will leave its Beta, but it’s well past the stage needed to operate for daily use.

Hopefully we see it on Android 2.0+ devices in the future, but as of now there is no evidence proving it will even be considered. Android 4.0 only covers 1.9% of devices, so why would Google limit the amount of Chrome Beta users? The more people that get to try it out, the more people that are able to suggest future bug fixes. What do you all think – should Google open Chrome to devices running Android 2.0+?

[via Google Play Store]

Article source: http://androidcommunity.com/google-chrome-beta-for-android-receives-an-update-20120307/

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28 Feb 12 How to view open Android Chrome Beta tabs in Chrome desktop


Trying to view open tabs from an
Android device in the desktop client didn’t seem possible, but a savvy Twitter follower saves the day.

When Chrome Beta for Android launched, my biggest complaint was the fact that open tabs on my Android device didn’t sync back to Chrome desktop. The sync from the desktop to Android device worked great, but when I wanted to view open tabs from my Android device in the desktop client, they were nowhere to be found.

Thanks to a savvy Twitter follower, I now have a way to access my Chrome Beta tabs on the desktop. And while it’s not as clean of an implementation as one would hope, it’ll do for now.

It’s that easy. Go ahead and try it. Launch Chrome on your desktop and type “chrome://sessions/” into the address bar.

(Credit:
Screenshot by Jason Cipriani)

You should then see a list of all your Chrome sessions, as well as the tabs currently open in those sessions. If your Android device doesn’t show up at first, refresh the page a few times, and it should eventually show up. Again, this isn’t a perfect solution.

Let’s hope having this feature built into the desktop client, instead of hiding it, is something we will be seeing in an update.

Article source: http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-57385823-285/how-to-view-open-android-chrome-beta-tabs-in-chrome-desktop/?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=

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28 Feb 12 How to view open Android Chrome Beta tabs in Chrome desktop


Trying to view open tabs from an
Android device in the desktop client didn’t seem possible, but a savvy Twitter follower saves the day.

When Chrome Beta for Android launched, my biggest complaint was the fact that open tabs on my Android device didn’t sync back to Chrome desktop. The sync from the desktop to Android device worked great, but when I wanted to view open tabs from my Android device in the desktop client, they were nowhere to be found.

Thanks to a savvy Twitter follower, I now have a way to access my Chrome Beta tabs on the desktop. And while it’s not as clean of an implementation as one would hope, it’ll do for now.

It’s that easy. Go ahead and try it. Launch Chrome on your desktop and type “chrome://sessions/” into the address bar.

(Credit:
Screenshot by Jason Cipriani)

You should then see a list of all your Chrome sessions, as well as the tabs currently open in those sessions. If your Android device doesn’t show up at first, refresh the page a few times, and it should eventually show up. Again, this isn’t a perfect solution.

Let’s hope having this feature built into the desktop client, instead of hiding it, is something we will be seeing in an update.

Article source: http://howto.cnet.com/how-to-view-open-android-chrome-beta-tabs-in-chrome-desktop/8301-11310_39-57385823-285.html

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27 Feb 12 Chrome Beta lands in Singapore Android Market


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Article source: http://www.techgoondu.com/2012/02/27/chrome-beta-lands-in-singapore-android-market/

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13 Feb 12 Chrome 18 beta pumps up the graphics


Between the official rollout of Chrome 17 and the launch of Chrome for Android, it’s already been a busy week for Google’s popular Web browser.

On Thursday, however, Chrome reached yet another milestone with the release of the beta version of Chrome 18, which appears to be particularly notable for the graphics improvements it enables.


“Every day the web becomes more powerful, allowing developers to create the next generation of beautiful, immersive experiences online,” wrote Associate Product Manager Tom Wiltzius in a Thursday post on the Google Chrome blog. “In our latest Chrome Beta release, we’ve made a few enhancements to ensure users have a smooth ride in these graphics-intensive applications.”

Faster and Smoother

Two key improvements promise to deliver better graphics to a wide range of users.

First, Chrome 18 enables GPU-accelerated rendering of 2D Canvas content, which should make Canvas-based games and animations run faster and feel smoother for most Windows and Mac users, Google engineers John Bauman and Brian Salomon explained in a separate post on the Chromium Blog.

To see which features are being accelerated, users of the new beta can type “chrome://gpu” into the software’s address bar.

“This is a tricky area to optimize, due to the wide variety of hardware and operating system configurations found in the wild,” Bauman and Salomon noted. “We’ve made a series of small improvements to the way this acceleration works.”

A Helping Hand on XP

For users with older hardware, meanwhile, the new Chrome 18 beta offers another graphics boost.

Because of their older GPUs and graphics drivers, such PCs typically can’t enjoy the rich content provided by technologies such as WebGL. The new Chrome beta, however, aims to work around those limitations.

Specifically, it now enables such PCs to display 3D content via SwiftShader, a software rasterizer Google has licensed from TransGaming that will automatically kick in for users who can’t run content on the GPU.

“Although SwiftShader won’t perform as well as a real GPU, it will be an improvement for many of our users on older operating systems such as Windows XP,” Bauman and Salomon wrote.

Targeting testers and early users, the new Chrome 18 beta version is now available as a free download for Windows XP, Vista, and 7. The developers of the software are particularly interested in feedback about performance with 2D Canvas graphics content, they say, so if you decide to check it out, you’re encouraged to report any bugs.

Article source: http://www.macworld.co.uk/digitallifestyle/news/index.cfm?newsid=3336835

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