You’ve got to be confident of your product if you’re going to use the word ‘awesome’ in its name. But really, Dashwire’s file transfer app, Awesome Drop, lives up to the name pretty darn well. Here’s a quick review.
It’s very simple so let’s have Brody, the ‘Dashwire Intern’ describe it. It’s a…
…super easy, web-based way to transfer files from your computer to your Android phone – no wires or accounts required.
No sooner had I published yesterday’s post about alternatives to the BBC’s iPlayer for Android since they (the BBC) forced beebPlayer’s removal from the Market than I learnt of another. And for live TV it outplays the other options discussed.
Take a bow tvcatchup.com.
A couple of months ago Dave Johnston announced on his blog that he was stopping development of beebPlayer, his amazing iPlayer for Android app. Not only that but he had decided to withdraw it from the Android Market. In his post about the decision he didn’t give much away but it was pretty clear pressure was brought to bear. Dave doesn’t say so explicitly, but you’ve got to suspect the BBC asked him to cease and desist.
But then a month later, the BBC announced that Android devices would, for the first time, be officially supported by iPlayer. Yay!
Oh, wait, only those devices running Flash 10.1 and for most networks available on wi-fi only. Great. So only a handful of phones will be supported and by a service less functional than one provided by the now defunct beebPlayer app.
<fume>It wouldn’t be so bad if Apple users didn’t get their own version – presumably because BBC media types wouldn’t be seen dead with anything else. </fume>
Anyway, enough ranting, what are the alternatives if you’re stuck with an older Android phone and/or not on Vodafone or 3 networks? Well there are a couple. [Read the rest of this entry...]
If you’ve ever fancied creating your own apps rather than just downloading/buying other people’s, you need to take a look at Google’s new free to use app design tool, Inventor. This amazing web app uses a drag and drop interface using standardised controls to build up surprisingly complex applications without you having the first clue about the code being written for you in the background. Magic.
Well that’s the theory – haven’t actually tried it yet since it’s still in beta and you have to request access from Google. We’ll report back if and when our application is approved. Tell you what though, it looks awesome! Check out this video:
I’m not one of those smartphone owners who leaves their device switched on all day and night so the first thing I do before making breakfast is to switch on my ‘trusty’ G1 so it can boot while the tea is brewing. I normally hear the reassuring bong to tell me it’s successfully booted from the kitchen and I know all’s well with the world.
But yesterday there was no bong. The G1 wasn’t completely dead but nothing I did would persuade it to start. These were the initial symptoms.
Have you tried the Google Goggles app? It’s amazing. Flippin’ amazing! I mean really, really mind bogglingly, unbelievably… amazing. You have to try it if you’ve got an Android phone.
Err, so what is it? It’s sort of a reverse image search look-up. Take a picture with your phone’s camera and the app tries to recognise the image and return search results. Apparently if you’re out and about you can take a picture of a landmark and it’ll try to tell you about it. For best results activate GPS so Google knows roughly where you are.
I haven’t tried the geo-location functionality yet (it’s 11.30pm, it’s dark and I’m at home) but just taking a couple of photos of books and CD covers convinced me of its genius. In every case the item was recognised in a couple of seconds. If you’re cynical (like my GF) you’ll assume it’s just performed some simple OCR function – but no – cover the text and it works just as rapidly.
So, anyway, it’s good. Try it.
The Speed Test app for Android is brought to us by speedtest.net who provide a free to use analysis tool for testing broadband internet connections via their web site.
The app does pretty much the same thing for your Android phone – providing latency (ping), download and upload time tests. This isn’t the most feature packed app in the world but the results are interesting and it’s very well executed. Results are stored, so you can check your connection (wi-fi or 3G) at various times of the day and in different locations (if that’s the kind of thing you like to do) and you can choose which server to connect to too. Good job since my local server consistently refused to allow the download test for some peculiar reason.
Interesting fact: My G1 managed an upload speed on a 3G connection almost as fast as my supposedly-much-faster wi-fi connection.
In truth, there’s probably not a lot of point to this app but it is quite revealing and I guess useful if you’re experiencing problems with your connection.
Speed Test is available for free in the Android Market. An iPhone version is also available.
We’re all used to tech-blog posts from either side of the iPhone / Android debate which are less than objective. It goes with the territory and it’s fair enough – personal blogs are personal.
Is it too much to ask that the mainstream media educate themselves a bit and don’t just focus on the iPhone though? Don’t know what I mean? Then just check out this prime example spotted in the Daily Telegraph (a ‘quality’ British national paper) the other day.
The article’s title, ‘I’ve seen the future of shopping and it cost me £1.19′ refers to the purchase by the author of Red Laser, an iPhone app which does much the same as Shop Savvy for Android. Except it doesn’t include a database of physical shops, just online prices. So it’s not free, it’s not as functional and it arrived on the market months after the Android offering – and yet the writer nearly wets himself with excitement. Here’s a particularly irritating passage:
What would be really good would be a high street version which can compare prices in physical stores. For the moment though, this will do very nicely indeed.
Unfortunately, this kind of thing is pretty common but hopefully as Android market share grows we’ll see it less. At least some of the comments at the end of the article set the author straight. Maybe he’ll read them.
British gadget magazine Stuff named the HTC Hero which runs the Android operating system as their gadget of the year at their annual awards show this week. Surprising, perhaps, since the shortlist also contained the iPhone 3G S but it sounds like the Hero got the nod as much as for its innovation as anything else – and as a reward for being the first true rival to the iPhone.
It’s worth noting that the Palm Pre isn’t yet available in the UK so couldn’t figure in the results.
Here’s what the judging panel said about their decision:
No smartphone floored us in the way the Hero did this year. It transformed Google’s Android OS from also-ran into genuine contender, and proved its mettle by squaring up to the iPhone 3GS without the slightest whimper.
Sure, the iPhone may have sold by the tankerload and wowed us with its apps, but it was an evolution of an already excellent gadget. Conversely, our Hero came from nowhere with its social networking integration, its multi-touch interface and superior multimedia skills. It’s the only mobile we’d consider getting over an iPhone – and that’s really saying something.
Slightly bizarrely the iPhone did pick up phone of the year – work that one out… Slightly less surprisingly, it also won readers’ gadget of the year.
Here’s a link to the Stuff magazine awards mini site.