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22 Dec 12 Flipboard Proves — Again — That Android Tablet Apps Don’t Have to Suck

Flipboard’s new tablet-optimized Android app proves, yet again, that Android tablet apps don’t have to be lousy. Photo: Ariel Zambelich/Wired

Flipboard’s tablet-optimized version of its Android app is everything you expect if you’ve ever used Flipboard on another gadget, which is to say it’s awesome. And it’s exactly what other big-time app makers should be doing, but too many aren’t.

The elegant app puts Twitter, Facebook, Rdio, Spotify, Instagram, Dropbox, eBay, Yelp, Foursquare and everyone else on notice: Your Android tablet apps don’t have to suck, and if they do, it’s because you’re lazy. It isn’t that these companies can’t make apps that look as great as they work, it’s just that they chose not to.

Flipboard’s app looks and works fantastically on both 7-inch and 10-inch slates. The stiff board turns seen in Flipboard’s other apps are just as responsive on the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets we tested the app on. My Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Flickr, SoundCloud, Tumblr and Facebook feeds appeared without a hitch. So did articles and videos pulled from dozens of sources around the web. Everything was laid out in Flipboard’s lovely magazine-like user interface — exactly as expected.

The app responds to the various screen sizes found in Android tablets, taking full advantage of the platform’s widescreen displays and perfectly scaling as needed. Flipboard said it spent more than a year working with Samsung to ensure its app works seamlessly on the Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note tablets, but you can also run it on any other Android tablet, including Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes Noble’s Nook.

Flipboard isn’t alone in making a slick Android tablet app. Netflix, Hulu, Plume, Mint, Instapaper and Tiny Co. offer tablet-optimized apps that rock. Google has released plenty of design tools for tablet-optimized Android apps and practically begged developers to get on board. And of course Google builds fantastic tablet apps, providing many examples for others to follow.

But Flipboard remains remarkable. The app that Steve Jobs loved on his iPad has lost nothing in its translation to Android tablets and makes full use of their different form factors. This is significant, because it proves once again that good Android tablet apps are possible and gives users the great experience they deserve.

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21 Dec 12 Report: Google Prepping $99 Nexus 7 Tablet

With Christmas just days away, the tablet wars are still in full swing as shoppers snag devices like the iPad, Kindle Fire, Nexus 7, or Microsoft Surface. While all of these devices offer rich user experiences, final decisions often boil down to price sensitivity. A report out of Taiwan indicates that Google is planning to further disrupt the tablet market by introducing a $99 version of its Android tablet next year.

The Nexus 7 has been widely praised as the best tablet next to the iPad, thanks to its $199-$299 price tag. However, according to Taiwan’s Digitimes, Google is hoping to open the flood gates to higher user adoption by releasing a cheaper Nexus 7 tablet that will be priced between $99 to $149 some time next year. The report claims that Google and Asus are working with touch-screen maker Shenzhen O-Film Tech to introduce the cheaper Nexus 7 using glass-film-film (GFF) technology that will also help to make the device thinner.

A significantly cheaper, high-quality tablet like the Nexus 7 could be the next frontier for capturing tablet consumers if recent reviews of the competition are any indication. The iPad mini is popular, but consumers aren’t too enthused by its non-Retina display and heftier, $329 starting price.

The report claims that Google’s cheaper Nexus 7 will first target emerging markets, with initial shipments in the range of 500,000-600,000 units. The new model is reportedly scheduled to ship some time in the first or second quarter of 2013.

For more, see PCMag’s review of the Nexus 7 and the slideshow below.

Google Nexus 7

Google Nexus 7

Google Play on Nexus 7

Music Player on Nexus 7

Google Nexus 7 Right

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18 Jun 12 MYHABIT Shopping App Extends to Kindle Fire and Android Platform


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—, a private fashion sale site from, Inc., today announced the new MYHABIT App designed
specifically for Kindle Fire and Android mobile phones. The free app
offers easy, on-the-go access to the curated selection of sales
beginning at 9:00 AM PT/12:00 PM ET daily on Customers can
use the app to shop limited-time sales of top brands and stay informed
with start of sale reminders on upcoming sale events for women, men,
designer, children and home, while enjoying fast, free shipping on all
orders delivered to U.S. addresses.

“Since we launched the MYHABIT app for iPhone, our customers have been
requesting a MYHABIT shopping application for Kindle Fire and Android
and we’re thrilled to now bring it to them,” said Daren Hull, General
Manager for MYHABIT. “The shopping app is another way for us to offer
our customers easy access to sales from their favorite brands. In
addition to the MYHABIT site features our customers already know and
love, the app helps customers stay informed of upcoming sale events and
purchase from their favored device immediately, wherever they are.”

The MYHABIT App offers up to 60 percent off hand-picked styles from
designer and boutique brands across women’s, men’s, children’s and home
departments. Customers can easily browse by department and sale event,
and will experience detailed product pages with in-depth descriptions,
videos and images with a zoom feature for up-close details. MYHABIT
offers free, instant membership; fast, free shipping and free return
shipping on eligible U.S. orders; and flat rate $15 international
shipping to select countries.

The MYHABIT App for Kindle Fire and Android is available for free at the
Amazon Appstore for Android at
or from Google Play. For more information, please visit .


MYHABIT, developed and launched by in 2011, is a
membership-only fashion destination offering up to 60 percent off list
prices of designer and boutique brands in women’s, men’s, designer, home
and children’s departments. The private-sale site features daily,
limited-time sales beginning at 9:00 AM PT/12:00 PM ET. MYHABIT is a
luxurious fashion destination for shopping hand-picked items, which also
sets a new standard in convenience and service with free, instant
membership; fast, free shipping and free return shipping in the U.S. on
eligible items; and fast, $15 international shipping to select countries.

About, Inc.

/quotes/zigman/63011/quotes/nls/amzn AMZN

, a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle,
opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth’s
Biggest Selection., Inc. seeks to be Earth’s most
customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything
they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the
lowest possible prices. and other sellers offer millions of
unique new, refurbished and used items in categories such as Books;
Movies, Music Games; Digital Downloads; Electronics Computers; Home
Garden; Toys, Kids Baby; Grocery; Apparel, Shoes Jewelry; Health
Beauty; Sports Outdoors; and Tools, Auto Industrial. Amazon Web
Services provides Amazon’s developer customers with access to
in-the-cloud infrastructure services based on Amazon’s own back-end
technology platform, which developers can use to enable virtually any
type of business. The new latest generation Kindle is the lightest, most
compact Kindle ever and features the same 6-inch, most advanced
electronic ink display that reads like real paper even in bright
sunlight. Kindle Touch is a new addition to the Kindle family with an
easy-to-use touch screen that makes it easier than ever to turn pages,
search, shop, and take notes — still with all the benefits of the most
advanced electronic ink display. Kindle Touch 3G is the top of the line
e-reader and offers the same new design and features of Kindle Touch,
with the unparalleled added convenience of free 3G. Kindle Fire is the
Kindle for movies, TV shows, music, books, magazines, apps, games and
web browsing with all the content, free storage in the Amazon Cloud,
Whispersync, Amazon Silk (Amazon’s new revolutionary cloud-accelerated
web browser), vibrant color touch screen, and powerful dual-core

Amazon and its affiliates operate websites, including , , , , , , , ,
and .
As used herein, “,” “we,” “our” and similar terms
include, Inc., and its subsidiaries, unless the context
indicates otherwise.

Forward-Looking Statements

This announcement contains forward-looking statements within the meaning
of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Actual results may differ significantly
from management’s expectations. These forward-looking statements involve
risks and uncertainties that include, among others, risks related to
competition, management of growth, new products, services and
technologies, potential fluctuations in operating results, international
expansion, outcomes of legal proceedings and claims, fulfillment center
optimization, seasonality, commercial agreements, acquisitions and
strategic transactions, foreign exchange rates, system interruption,
inventory, government regulation and taxation, payments and fraud. More
information about factors that potentially could affect’s
financial results is included in’s
filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its most
recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent filings.

, Inc.
        Media Hotline, 206-266-7180            

Copyright Business Wire 2012


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11 Jun 12 Android hits 900k activations per day

The announcement came from Rubin after rumors surfaced that he may be planning to leave Google. In the message, the Google executive said that he has “no plans” to do so.

Apple and Android have been wooing developers as it’s become increasingly apparent that the company that can command the widest, most useful breadth of mobile applications will have the edge in the smartphone war.

A study released last week by the team at the analytics firm Flurry revealed that developers still prefer Apple’s iOS to Android by a large margin. Of new project starts, 69 percent of developers went with Apple’s system over Google’s, though that was down from 73 percent in the previous quarter.

Fragmentation in Android seems to still be a big problem for Google, with 70 percent of user sessions still on Gingerbread, an older version of the operating system. Google is trying to fix this with the introduction of Ice Cream Sandwich, which better unifies tablets and smartphone, but has had less than a year to get its latest push underway. Samsung is clearly the most popular Android handset maker, with six of the top 10 Android devices, the study showed. Motorola and HTC make up the rest of the list, with one exception: the Kindle Fire from Amazon has 4 percent of Android’s market share.

Another problem that’s popped up for Android has been the simple fact that Apple applications seem to return more money per user. According to the study, Android developers earn just 24 cents for every dollar they get from iOS.

The combined effect of fragmentation and lower revenue, the study said, is likely why developers still like Apple.

“In short, Android delivers less gain and more pain than iOS, which we believe is the key reason 7 out of every 10 apps built in the new economy are for iOS instead of Android,” the study said.

Google’s own developers conference, Google I/O, runs from June 27-29, and Slashgear reports the company is rumored to make a tablet announcement.

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08 Jun 12 iOS still tops Android with app developers

Flurry Analytics)

Android‘s greater share of the smartphone market, Apple’s iOS continues to attract greater support from app developers.

Nearly seven of every 10 apps being created in the first quarter of 2012 were for the iOS platform, with the remaining three going to Android, according to new data released today by research firm Flurry Analytics. iOS generates twice as many apps as Android despite Google’s mobile operating system commanding 50.8 percent of the smartphone market compared with Apple’s 31.4 percent, according to ComScore data release last week.

One key reason for Apple’s popularity with developers is its dominance in the
tablet market. Apple’s iPad accounted for 88 percent of all tablet user sessions in the first five months of 2012, followed by Samsung’s Galaxy Tab with 9 percent and Amazon’s
Kindle Fire with 3 percent.

App authors can also expect a greater payout from iOS compared with Android, with Apple’s mobile operating system delivering developers four times the revenue as their Android counterpart per user, Flurry found.

“At the end of the day, developers run businesses, and businesses seek out markets where revenue opportunities are highest and the cost of building and distributing is lowest,” Flurry said in its findings. “In short, Android delivers less gain and more pain than iOS, which we believe is the key reason 7 out of every 10 apps built in the new economy are for iOS instead of Android.”

Flurry Analytics)

Another contributing factor to developer disparity is fragmentation in software and hardware, which Flurry said appears to be increasing, making Google’s platform more complex and costly for developers. The study notes that 17 of the top 20 Android devices in May 2012 had a share of 6 percent or less in consumer application sessions, meaning that each additional device supported by developers will deliver only a small increase in distribution.

Firmware is also a stumbling point, with Gingerbread, the third newest Android version, commanding 70 percent of user sessions, while newer versions Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich combined register on 11 percent of market penetration.

“This means that the majority of consumers are running on an Android operating system that is three to four iterations old,” Flurry said.

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08 Jun 12 Has Android lost its mojo?

One sad Android

One of the most striking differences between Computex 2011 and this years’ show is how few Android and ARM devices are being shown. There have been a few demos that highlight hardware from Qualcomm and Nvidia, or show Microsoft’s next-gen Windows 8 running on ARM hardware, but these announcements are few and far between.

That’s not to say Android is completely gone from the show — it isn’t — but the mood last year was that Microsoft had missed the boat with Windows 8. While Redmond toiled, its erstwhile partners were clambering aboard the SS Android to set sail for the land of Milk and Tablets.

Xoom tabletThat was before the boat mostly sank. Android as a whole claimed nearly half the tablet market in 2011, but the only device to break away from the pack and make a name for itself was Amazon’s Kindle Fire — a tablet that cost half of what an iPad 2 did, and one that’s sold basically at-cost as a way to hook customers on Amazon Prime. Adding insult to injury is the fact that while the Kindle Fire does run Android, Amazon did a huge amount of work to customize the experience and de-emphasize Google’s OS as a brand. Samsung was bogged down by Apple’s lawsuits, the PlayBook turned out to be pants, and the Xoom xucked.

It’s not clear if there are bad feelings between Google and the various OEMs who bet big money on Android-powered tablets, but the focus during the show is overwhelmingly on Microsoft, Intel, and Windows 8. Most of the demo hardware is x86-based, even though Windows on ARM tablets are supposedly the Next Big Thing — again, you can find them if you look, but there aren’t very many and we’ve seen most of them before. ARM tablets running ICS 4.0 or Jelly Bean 4.2 are even rarer.

This is troubling for several reasons. Microsoft’s numerous ARM restrictions make it clear that the company plans to treat ARM owners like second-class citizens. The company runs the risk of bifurcating the market by creating two de facto Windows standards. x86 devices, be they tablets or notebooks, will be able to install alternate browsers or download applications that aren’t stamped with the MS seal of approval. ARM owners can’t do either. In theory, a strong Android presence in tablets provides an option for customers who aren’t enamored of Microsoft or Apple — but only if manufacturers continue to build around the OS.

Phones: Slow uptake, or business as usual?

The phone situation is markedly different. There’s no danger of Android going anywhere; analyst firms like Gartner expect Android to hold a majority share of the phone market through 2016. What’s more interesting, particularly given the way OEMs have turned away from Android on tablets, is the way Ice Cream Sandwich isn’t gaining traction.

Android Market Share

Seven months after release, Ice Cream Sandwich holds just 7.1% of the market. We know from other sources that Android 2.3 (Gingerbraed) had roughly 40% of the market in October 2011, with another 45% still using the older 2.2 (Froyo) at that time. We consulted WayBackMachine for additional data points on how the transition looked earlier in 2011.

In early March 2011, Android 2.2 held 61.3% of the market, with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) at just 0.7%. By late June, roughly six months after release, 9.2% of phones were running a flavor of Gingerbread. Our last available data point is for July 18, but it shows devices running Android 2.3.3 – 2.3.4 at 17.6% of the market — almost double the previous month’s total. By October, Froyo and Gingerbread were running neck-and-neck.

That’s good news for phone owners impatient for the next round of Google goodies, especially after missing out on Honeycomb, but it points to a major disconnect between when Google delivers OS updates and when carriers actually start shipping them in volume. If ICS hits true to form, we should see a major spike in its usage rates beginning in July or August.

If it doesn’t, other factors may be in play. Google has rolled out updates to Android before, but Ice Cream Sandwich’s debut kicked off a flurry of requests for OS updates and a substantial amount of user unhappiness when phone companies claimed they needed 5-7 months to release an updated OS. Device manufacturers aren’t that used to interacting directly with customers or having to pay attention to their demands; quality issues and phone problems are almost always handled by the carriers long before they get back to Samsung, HTC, or Motorola. Android’s openness works to break down those walls. By de-prioritizing upgrades, carriers can send a message to Google over who’s really in charge of the OS business.

As for tablets, current evidence suggests that Android’s long-term strength may depend on how consumers respond to Windows 8 when it ships out on tablet devices. We’re hoping to see a vibrant community emerge for both devices, if only to keep Microsoft on its toes. For now, most eyes are tracking Redmond, but if Microsoft can’t counter the iPad 3 — and let’s face it, no one has a great track record there — OEMs may start paying more attention to Android again.

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06 Jun 12 All Android 4 posts

Archos unveils low-cost Android 4.0 tablet for kids

An “Alvin and the Chipmunks”-themed tablet just for kids? Sounds great, but the skeptic in me says it’ll be underpowered and overpriced.

At $129.99, the Archos ChildPad definitely isn’t overpriced, especially when you consider that “adult” tablets (like the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet) start at around $200.

As for power, one could argue that younger kids don’t need much. But the ChildPad has decent specs, including a 1GHz ARM Cortex processor, 7-inch screen, front-facing camera, and Android 4.0.

In other words, it’s more than adequately equipped for the likes of Angry Birds, educational apps, music, movies, and other kid-oriented stuff. Plus, it’s modeled in kid-friendly blue and white, and it comes with exclusive “Alvin and the Chipmunks 3″ content (consisting of clips, pictures, wallpaper, and an online game).


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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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04 Jun 12 Instapaper Releases Android App

Instapaper for Android launched today, adding to the growing list of iOS-turned-Android applications.

Developer Mobelux, which previously built Tumblr for iPhone and Android, was handpicked to create the new app, which is available today via Google Play for $2.99. It will work on devices running Android 2.1 and higher.

Instapaper allows users to save Web pages for later reading, keeping articles from your favorite websites stored offline and ready to read wherever you may not have access to data or Wi-Fi networks.

“Great for long articles and blog posts that you find during the day and would like to read, but don’t have the time when you find them,” the app’s Google Play Store description said.

Most websites can be saved as text-only, with adjustable fonts, text size, line spacing and margins; you can keep articles organized in folders, and share them via a Web browser.

The Android app release comes just days after the iOS app received an update, adding Background Update Locations to the 4.2.2 version. Instapaper now automatically downloads new articles whenever a user enters or leaves locations such as their home or workplace. The app stores the locations only within itself, and does not share them or send them to any web service, according to an Instapaper blog post.

The news was first reported by The Verge, which also talked to Instapaper creator Marco Arment, a known Apple fan. “Android is not in my world. It’s not in my attention span most days,” he told the blog. “Thinking about the iOS app is a full-time job, and staying competitive on iOS is a full-time job.”

Arment was inspired to explore an Android version of Instapaper thanks to the success of the Android-based Amazon Kindle Fire and the Barnes Noble Nook. “For me personally, Instapaper is now a tablet app first, and smartphone second,” he told The Verge.

Instapaper said the Android app was built “specifically for small tablets like Kindle Fire and Nook Color, large tablets like the Motorola Xoom as well as most Android phones running 2.1 (Eclair) and up.”

The Android app is expected to be available soon in the Amazon App Store and the Nook Store, Arment told The Verge.

For more, see PCMag’s original review of Instapaper for iOS and the slideshow below.

For more from Stephanie, follow her on Twitter @smlotPCMag.

View Slideshow
See all (5) slides

Instapaper 2.2 : Main Screen

Instapaper 2.2 : Menu

Instapaper 2.2 : Dan Costa's Column

Instapaper 2.2 : Gibson Interview

For the top stories in tech, follow us on Twitter at @PCMag.

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04 Jun 12 Exclusive: Instapaper for Android launches (hands-on)

“Android is not in my world. It’s not in my attention span most days. Thinking about the iOS app is a full-time job, and staying competitive on iOS is a full-time job.” This quote comes from Instapaper creator Marco Arment not even three weeks ago in an interview with Joshua Topolsky on On The Verge.

Evidently, Arment was keeping a pretty big secret. Instapaper for Android launches today for $2.99 on smartphones and tablets, and you can find it in the Google Play Store and soon in the Amazon App Store and Nook Store. What makes the app launch so significant is that aside from Instagram and Flipboard, Instapaper might just be the next-most-desired (and elusive) Android app ever. The excitement surrounding a possible Instapaper Android app has not been just because people wanted the app itself, but also because creator Arment often publicly expressed distaste for building on Android — almost out of principle. “I think it was the success of the Kindle Fire and the Nook that tipped my hand,” Arment told us.

So, he entrusted the Instapaper name to developer Mobelux, which has previously built Tumblr for iPhone and Android, as well as Carousel, a handsome Instagram viewer for Mac. Mobelux wasn’t the winner of the app-building challenge Arment started in jest, but was instead a great fit with a compatible heritage. Arment met Mobelux co-founder and Creative Director Jeff Rock all the way back in 2008 when Tumblr was in talks to buy Rock’s Tumblrette Tumblr client for iPhone. Arment (still full-time at Tumblr) got to know Rock and his team, who quickly became the backbone of Tumblr’s mobile app strategy.

After Arment’s scuffle online over the fiscal viability of building an Android app (and several years of hanging out with Mobelux at WWDC), he approached Rock and asked if he was interested in building an app for him. “[It] seemed like a perfect project to collaborate on,” Rock told me, so Instapaper for Android was born, a bit longer ago than you might think. But is the app any good? Read on to find out.

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