Interestingly enough, two Android OEMs, Huawei and Explay, will show Yandex.Kit devices at MWC. Which is interesting, because earlier this month, Ars Technica claimed that leaked GMS licensing terms prohibited companies from releasing Android forks ("The agreement places a company-wide ban on Android forks [...]"). If that is indeed true, then Huawei (I'm not familiar with Explay) will be in for a surprise.
Alternatively, companies can release de-Googled Android phones (alongside Google Android phones) just fine. I guess we'll find out.
The Revolution is not only more powerful than most, but also a first-of-its-kind. Geeksphone MultiOS technology allows you to choose your operating system. Starting with Google Android operating system, you can seamlessly switch to Boot2Gecko by Mozilla, or any other community-supported flavor of an OS. You choose, and we will keep you updated thanks to our 1-click OTA system.
There are three reasons why this phone fascinates me. One, it is the first non-crappy device for Firefox OS, which I'm interested in, but never got into because I didn't want to waste money on underpowered hardware. This phone seems to solve that. Two, it's designed to provide dual-boot from the get-go, so you can truly run multiple ROMs. Three, it's an x86 phone, which fascinates me simply because it isn't ARM - and opens up possibilities of craziness like desktop operating systems on your phone.
It's also relatively cheap at EUR 222, which is almost doable as an impulse buy. I'm keeping my eye on this one.
Jolla, the Finnish smartphone and Sailfish OS developer, today announced that Jolla's mobile operating system Sailfish OS has reached release 1.0 and is now ready for global distribution. Jolla is also introducing availability of the Sailfish OS experience as downloadable software to devices running Android OS.
A major milestone for the young company. The fourth big update to Sailfish OS will be released early March, at which point the operating system leaves beta and hits 1.0. This fourth update will further improve landscape supports, include visual changes, new camera functionality, and more.
On top of that, Sailfish will be made available for popular Android devices as well, so that you no longer need to buy a Jolla phone in order to use the operating system. Furthermore - and I did not see this one coming - they will release a Sailfish launcher for Android that brings some of the operating system's unique features to Android.
These men and women are on a roll.
As we walk through our daily lives, we use visual cues to navigate and understand the world around us. We observe the size and shape of objects and rooms, and we learn their position and layout almost effortlessly over time. This awareness of space and motion is fundamental to the way we interact with our environment and each other. We are physical beings that live in a 3D world. Yet, our mobile devices assume that physical world ends at the boundaries of the screen.
The goal of Project Tango is to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion.
A privacy nightmare, obviously, but the technology is impressive, still.
When Gabriel Weinberg launched a search engine in 2008, plenty of people thought he was insane. How could DuckDuckGo, a tiny, Philadelphia-based startup, go up against Google? One way, he wagered, was by respecting user privacy. Six years later, we're living in the post-Snowden era, and the idea doesn't seem so crazy.
In fact, DuckDuckGo is exploding.
I wonder what the future holds for DuckDuckGo. Will there be a point where people leave Google Search completely, instead of just casting curious glances at DDG?
Facebook today announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire WhatsApp, a rapidly growing cross-platform mobile messaging company, for a total of approximately $16 billion, including $4 billion in cash and approximately $12 billion worth of Facebook shares. The agreement also provides for an additional $3 billion in restricted stock units to be granted to WhatsApp’s founders and employees that will vest over four years subsequent to closing.
A huge deal. WhatsApp is one of the biggest messaging services is in the world - maybe even the biggest.
Canonical today announces it has signed agreements with mobile device manufacturers bq (Spain) and Meizu (China) to bring Ubuntu smartphones to consumers globally. Canonical is working with these partners to ship the first Ubuntu devices on the latest hardware in 2014. Ubuntu has also received significant support from the world's biggest carriers, some of which intend to work with OEM partners to bring phones to market this year.
Good news for Canonical.
Gionee has announced what the company claims is the thinnest smartphone in the world. Aside from boasting the most impressive 5.55mm waistline, the Elife S5.5 runs an Android-based Amigo OS, sports an octa-core 1.7 GHz processor, 2GB of RAM and a duo of 13 MP and 5 MP cameras (back and front).
I've already made the jump to Chinese smartphones early last year, and with still zero complaints about the Find 5, I have no intention of ever going back. Here, too, Gionee, shows that the stereotype we have here of Chinese devices being nothing but clones is starting to get very, very outdated. Influenced by lobbying from western companies, our governments will do all they can to block the influx of Chinese devices for as long as they can, but it won't take long for consumer demand for high-quality devices at low prices to overcome that.
Chinese companies like Oppo, Huawei, Xaomi, and others will do to the device market what Japanese and later South-Korean car brands have done to the car market. If I were a Korean, Japanese, or American device maker - I'd be worried.
Also, I totally want this phone. Beautiful.
So, convertibles. Laptop/tablet hybrids. I think their popularity started with early Asus Transformers, but since then, they've become a pretty big staple in the device landscape. Since I'm in the market for a replacement for my dreadful ARM Surface RT, I've been looking at this market segment again, and have noted that there's a lot of choice out there.
After the dreadful experience with the Surface RT, I'm steering clear of anything Windows RT-related. An x86-based convertible Windows 8.1 machine, however, still has some major appeal due to its excellent desktop application support that fits in nicely with my existing workstation. The tablet side of Windows 8.1, however, is still woefully underserved, with very few applications, and even those that do exist are of abysmal quality.
As far as hardware goes, the Lenovo Miix 2 10" (not to be confused with the older Miix 2!) has really grabbed by attention. It's supposed to end up at around EUR 400-500, which is acceptable. The Surface 2 Pro is also interesting, but quite expensive - although it does have a far better processor than the 10" Miix 2. There's also an 11" Miix 2 which sports the same processor as the Surface 2 Pro, but 11" seems a bit large in my view.
I've also been looking at Android convertibles, and here I run into a bit of trouble - most of them tend to run outdated versions of Android, and I'm really not looking forward to figuring out which of them have the best AOSP support. Do any of you have any suggestions here? Any models to look for? Experiences with custom, AOSP-like ROMs?
An even bigger question regarding Android on convertibles is just how well Android handles laptop-like computing. Does it do a good job of it, considering where Android comes from? It seems like to me that where Windows has the upper hand on the laptop side of the convertible, Android rules on the tablet side of it. Am I right in thinking this is so?
The MorphOS development team is proud to announce the public release of MorphOS 3.5, which introduces support for PowerMac 7,2 machines and features various bug fixes as well as other improvements. For an overview of the included changes, please read our release notes.
They released 3.5.1 shortly after to fix a boot issue in 3.5.
The Acer C720 is similar in specs to other Chromebooks currently on the market. It's a Haswell architecture with a dual core Celeron, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB flash, HDMI-out, 3 USB, webcam, Bluetooth, and a 1366x768 px screen. It's 0.8" tall, and weighs just 2.76 lbs. Its battery life is rated for 8.5 hours but in real world usage rated at about 7 hours. You can view its specs in detail here.
The laptop feels very light, sturdy and of a good build quality. Its keyboard is easy to get accustomed to, and I had no trouble at all, coming from a radically different keyboard design on the DELL. The ChromeOS function keys are really handy too, e.g. to change brightness, volume etc. The touchpad has the right size, position and responsiveness too.
The University of California, Berkeley, has been authorised by Alcatel-Lucent to release all Plan 9 software previously governed by the Lucent Public License, Version 1.02 under the GNU General Public License, Version 2.
You can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; version 2 of the License.
I never really dove too deep into Plan 9, but it has always fascinated me. I think it's time to learn more - and I suggest you do so too. It's weekend, after all, right?
BareMetal is a 64-bit OS for x86-64 based computers. The OS is written entirely in Assembly, while applications can be written in Assembly or C/C++.
BareMetal boots via Pure64 and has a command line interface with the ability to load programs/data from a hard drive. Current plans for v0.7.0 call for basic TCP/IP support, improved file handling, as well as general bug fixes and optimizations.
Another day, another fear-mongering 'Android is closed!'-article at Ars Technica. After Peter Bright's article last week (sharply torn to shreds by Dianne Hackborn), we now have an article with the scary title "New Android OEM licensing terms leak; 'open' comes with a lot of restrictions".
The title itself is already highly misleading, since one, the licensing terms aren't new (they're from early 2011 - that's three years old), and two, they're not licensing terms for Android, but for the suite of Google applications that run atop Android.
This article makes the classic mistake about the nature of Android. It conflates the Android Open Source Project with the suite of optional proprietary Google applications, the GMS. These old, most likely outdated licensing terms cover the Google applications, and not the open source Android platform, which anyone can download, alter, build and ship. Everyone can build a smartphone business based on the Android Open Source Project, which is a complete smartphone operating system.
Major scoop by Tom Warren.
Sources familiar with Microsoft's plans tell The Verge that the company is seriously considering allowing Android apps to run on both Windows and Windows Phone. While planning is ongoing and it's still early, we're told that some inside Microsoft favor the idea of simply enabling Android apps inside its Windows and Windows Phone Stores, while others believe it could lead to the death of the Windows platform altogether. The mixed (and strong) feelings internally highlight that Microsoft will need to be careful with any radical move.
Now, I have a very crazy theory about this whole thing. I obviously have no inside sources like Warren has, so load this image in another tab while reading this, but what if instead of this being an attempt to bridge the 'application gap', this is the first step in a Microsoft transition towards Android as a whole?
Much like the PC world, which eventually settled on two players, the mobile world has settled on two players: Android and iOS. It's the cold and harsh truth. Does it really make sense for Microsoft to focus all that energy on developing Windows Phone - not to a whole lot of avail so far - when they could just take Android, add their own services, and more importantly, their own very popular and ubiquitous enterprise software, and sell that instead? Microsoft actually started out as an application software provider, and not as an operating system vendor, so it's not like they would do something they're not comfortable with.
The biggest reason this crazy, unfounded theory came to my mind is that I simply cannot believe Microsoft would actually make it possible to run Android applications on Windows Phone. First, running Android applications on another platform is not exactly issue-free. Second, this has not exactly helped BlackBerry (and Sailfish, for that matter) either. Third, Windows Phone (and Windows 8 Metro) are already afterthoughts for developers, nothing more than mere side-projects in between iOS and Android work. Why would any of them develop native applications if they can just send their already completed APK to Microsoft? It'd be the death of Windows Phone and Metro.
Combined with the news that Nokia's Android phone is actually going to come out, it wouldn't surprise me at all if Microsoft is thinking about phasing out Windows Phone, with the ability to run Android applications on the platform as a first step in this migration.
There are major issues with such an approach, of course, not least of which the problem Amazon has also run into: no Google Play Services, meaning several popular applications won't run at all. If you're truly, truly outrageous, you could even consider a pact between Microsoft and Google, a combined effort that would take some possible antitrust heat off Google's back, and would give them a united front against Apple and iOS. Even this has precedent: unlike what some think, Microsoft and Apple have a long history of close cooperation. There's no reason Microsoft wouldn't do it again, if needed.
In any case, this is all very interesting stuff, and it shows just how much of a problem the lack of any presence in the mobile world has become for Microsoft. The new CEO has some very tough calls to make.
Jolla has released their Sialfish browser as open source, so it seems like a good moment to dive into the lower levels of their Gecko-based browser.
In this post I'd like to shade some light on what technology is used in the browser application for Sailfish OS.
By now it's a widely known fact that the browser is based on the Gecko engine which is developed by Mozilla corp. and is used in their Firefox browser and Firefox OS. For some reason it's not that known that the Sailfish browser is built upon the EmbedLite embedding API (also known as IPCLiteAPI) for Gecko.
This embedding API started as a research project in Nokia by Oleg Romashin and Andrey Petrov at the times when Nokia was still developing the Maemo platform. Currently the project is maintained by Tatiana Meshkova.
The Amiga Operating System implementation of FUSE has been realized via a project called Filesysbox by Leif Salomonsson. A special thanks goes out to Leif for allowing his hard work to be utilized.
Amiga programmer extraordinaire Fredrik Wikström was then commissioned to port Filesysbox over to AmigaOS. Fredrik took the original code and updated it to AmigaOS 4.1 standards. This work included utilizing advanced DOS features such as object notification and the new file system API which seeks to completely avoid the esoteric DOS packet interface. Colin Wenzel is the main man behind the advanced DOS features.
Since I'm sure at least some of you will do a double-take upon reading this summary: they're referring to another kind of DOS.
The mysterious developer of the world's most popular free app, who drew global attention this past weekend with his sudden decision to remove it, tells Forbes that Flappy Bird is dead. Permanently.
This will go down as one of the craziest stories in what I reluctantly call "technology" of all time.
A lot of new features in Windows Phone 8.1 - to be released around April - are starting to appear. First and foremost, it seems Windows Phone is finally getting a notification centre, which was long overdue. Microsoft originally intended live tiles to replace notifications, but as someone who has used Windows Phone extensively, live tiles are annoying in that they don't always show the notification count, and on top of that, are generally too small to contain enough information, forcing you to go into the application anyway, defeating their purpose. It seems Microsoft has finally figured out that a notification centre is pretty much mandatory these days.
Furthermore, the private SDK releases reveal some more information, including some low-level changes.
There's more interesting stuff in there, like the ability to change the default messaging application, the back button will no longer terminate applications but suspend them, an improved camera application, and more.
All in all, it does look like a worthy update for Windows Phone users, but there's nothing in there that other platforms haven't been enjoying for years now. In other words, it doesn't really contain anything that gives the platform an edge over the competition or that makes it stand out. None of these features is going to convince an iOS or Android user from leaving their platform behind. Still, these are just the new features and changes extracted from the private SDK, so there's bound to be more stuff hiding in the shadows that we don't yet know about.
It's curious though that the preview SDK releases are private, something that was met with lots of complaints back during the run-up Windows Phone 8, since it means developers can't get their stuff ready before the release hits. Luckily, though, the new developer program does mean anyone can get the 8.1 update as soon as it's released.
I'm hoping my relatively old HTC 8X won't be left out of the loop, because this looks like a worthy update for Windows Phone users.
Nokia plans to release this month a smartphone that runs a version of Google's Android mobile software, according to people familiar with the matter, as it concludes the sale of its handset business to Microsoft.
It's all but confirmed now that the Nokia X Android phone will actually be released. Number one question: will this be Nokia's next N9 (dead on arrival, released because it's done anyway), or will it be a true attempt by Nokia - and thus Microsoft - to establish a lasting replacement for Asha?
Second question: how successful can a Play Services-less Android phone really be?