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Android Leftovers

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  • ​Google beats back Oracle again in Java Android case

    To recap, Oracle claimed the 37 Java application programming interface (API) packages Google used to develop Android are covered by copyright. Of course, that's not really the issue. True, the the US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals foolishly ruled that APIs could be copyrighted. But the US District Court for the Northern District of California ruled in May 2016 that Google's use of the Java APIs were not subject to copyright licensing fees. Instead, Android's use of the APIs was covered by "fair use."

  • Google’s Open Source Fuchsia OS: The Mystery Linux Distro

    Few things are more tantalizing than a good mystery, and Google is making waves for an open source-centric mystery that may end up having profound implications. It all started in August when an extensive and unusual code repository for a new operating system called Fuchsia was discovered online, and now the growing source code set is on GitHub.

    Thus far, Google officials have been mostly mum on the aim of this operating system, although they have made a few things clear in chat forums. Two developers listed on Fuchsia's GitHub page — Christopher Anderson and Brian Swetland — are known for their work with embedded systems. The Verge, among other sites, has made a few logical deductions about the possible embedded systems focus for Fuchsia: “Looking into Fuchsia's code points gives us a few clues. For example, the OS is built on Magenta, a “medium-sized microkernel” that is itself based on a project called LittleKernel, which is designed to be used in embedded systems,” the site reports.

    The GitHub postings that confirm that Fuchsia is based on Magenta are particularly notable because Magenta has had applications in the embedded systems space. Here are some direct quotes: "Magenta is a new kernel that powers the Fuchsia OS. Magenta is composed of a microkernel as well as a small set of userspace services, drivers, and libraries necessary for the system to boot, talk to hardware, load userspace processes and run them, etc. Fuchsia builds a much larger OS on top of this foundation."

  • As Blackberry pulls out of handset business it has some big patent strategy calls to make

Android Leftovers

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How I Use Android: Android Central Editor Emeritus Phil Nickinson

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Android
Interviews

In the meantime, I was able to convince Phil to step out of his metaphorical kitchen for a few minutes to chat about how he uses Android in his day-to-day life. This is a man who has seen and used practically every Android device over the past several years, after all -- and a fair number of apps and customization tools, to boot.

So what devices does someone with so much knowledge carry around in his own trousers, and how does he make the most of what they have to offer?

Enough with the suspense already. In his own words, this is how Phil Nickinson uses Android.

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Best Android Phones Under 5.7 Inches

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Android

There's no question that Samsung hit a home run with its Galaxy S7 line. We already think the smaller GS7 is the best phone under 5.2 inches, and the larger, curved-screen Galaxy S7 edge is our pick for the best phone under 5.7 inches. Why? It takes everything we love about the smaller phone and makes it bigger — but not too much.

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Android Leftovers

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Android

Sony Xperia X Compact review: Small Android is still good, but not much better

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Android
Reviews

Sony's Xperia X Compact is basically the newest version of the Z5 Compact that hit the US earlier this year. But just because it's a newer version of the (comparatively) tiny handset doesn't mean it's an upgrade in every way. Sony is pushing the camera sensors in the X Compact and the flagship-level XZ, as well as new features like five-axis image stabilization and HDR photo mode. Sony knows cameras, so we know the shooter in the X Compact will at least be competent. However, it has to be good enough to encourage photography buffs to shell out $499 for this unlocked handset while delivering solid performance across the board as well.

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Alphabet's Plans to Create Android PCs Should Make Microsoft a Little Nervous

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Android

Four years after Microsoft (MSFT) first tried to give the world unified PC/mobile operating systems via the dual fiascoes known as Windows 8 and Windows RT, Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google appears set to take its own stab at the concept. And there are reasons to think the company will see a measure of success.

Citing "two independent and reliable sources," Android Police reports Google plans to launch a notebook in the third quarter of 2017 that will likely be the first new device to showcase Andromeda, a version of Android that will integrate many features associated with Google's Chrome OS PC operating system.

The notebook will reportedly be called the Pixel 3, and carry a $788 price. Its feature set reportedly include a 12.3-inch display, an Intel (INTC) processor, a glass trackpad, a tablet mode and stylus support.

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Android Leftovers

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Android
  • Goodbye QWERTY: BlackBerry stops making hardware

    BlackBerry CEO John Chen has been hinting at this move for almost a year now: today BlackBerry announced it will no longer design hardware. Say goodbye to all the crazy hardware QWERTY devices, ultra-wide phones, and unique slider designs.

    Speaking to investors, BlackBerry CEO John Chen described the move as a "pivot to software," saying, "The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners. This allows us to reduce capital requirements and enhance return on invested capital." The "Outsourcing to partners" plan is something we've already seen with the "BlackBerry" DTEK50, which was just a rebranded Alcatel Idol 4.

    Chen is now betting the future of the company on software, saying, "In Q2, we more than doubled our software revenue year over year and delivered the highest gross margin in the company's history. We also completed initial shipments of BlackBerry Radar, an end-to-end asset tracking system, and signed a strategic licensing agreement to drive global growth in our BBM consumer business."

    BlackBerry never effectively responded to the 2007 launch of the iPhone and the resulting transition to modern touchscreen smartphones. BlackBerry took swings with devices like the BlackBerry Storm in 2008, its first touchscreen phone; and the BlackBerry Z10 in 2013, the first BlackBerry phone with an OS designed for touch, but neither caught on. BlackBerry's first viable competitor to the iPhone didn't arrive until it finally switched to Android in 2015 with the BlackBerry Priv. It was the first decent BlackBerry phone in some time, but the high price and subpar hardware led to poor sales.

  • Oracle's 'Gamechanger' Evidence Really Just Evidence Of Oracle Lawyers Failing To Read

    Then on to the main show: Oracle's claim that Google hid the plans to make Android apps work on Chrome OS. Google had revealed to Oracle its "App Runtime for Chrome" (ARC) setup, and it was discussed by Oracle's experts, but at Google I/O, Google revealed new plans for apps to run in Chrome OS that were not using ARC, but rather a brand new setup, which Google internally referred to as ARC++. Oracle argued that Google only revealed to them ARC, but not ARC++ and that was super relevant to the fair use argument, because it showed that Android was replacing more than just the mobile device market for Java. But, here's Oracle's big problem: Google had actually revealed to Oracle the plans for ARC++. It appears that Oracle's lawyers just missed that fact. Ouch.

  • Understanding Android's balance between openness and security

    At the 2016 Structure Security conference, Google's Adrian Ludwig talked about the balance between keeping Android as open as possible, while also keeping it secure.

  • Google's Nougat Android update hits the sweet spot: Software 'isn't flashy, but still pretty handy'

    Nougat, Google's latest update of its Android smartphone software, isn't particularly flashy; you might not even notice what's different about it at first.

    But it offers a number of practical time-saving features, plus a few that could save money — and perhaps even your life.

    Nougat is starting to appear on phones, including new ones expected from Google next week.

  • How to change the home screen launcher on Android
  • Andromeda: Chrome OS and Android will merge
  • Sale of Kodi 'fully-loaded' streaming boxes faces legal test
  • Android boxes: Middlesbrough man to be first to be prosecuted for selling streaming kits

Expandable, outdoor IoT gateway runs Android on i.MX6

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Android
Linux

VIA’s “Artigo A830” IoT gateway runs Android on an i.MX6 DualLite SoC and offers HDMI, GbE, microSD, numerous serial and USB ports, plus -20 to 60° operation.

As the name suggests, the VIA Technologies Artigo A830 Streetwise IoT Platform is designed for outdoor Internet of Things gateway applications. These are said to include smart lockers, vending machines, information kiosks, and signage devices that run “intensive multimedia shopping, entertainment, and navigation applications.” The outdoors focus is supported with an extended -20 to 60°C operating range, as well as surge and ESD protection for surviving challenges such as a nearby lightning strike.

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Purism’s next product could be a smartphone that runs Linux/free software

Purism is a company that’s been developing laptops and tablets that run Linux-based, free and open source software for a few years. Now Purism is considering building a smartphone and the company is soliciting feedback from potential customers. The idea would be to release a Librem Phone that runs GNU/Linux rather than Android, and which offers security and privacy features to help set it apart from most other phones on the market. Read more

Cinnamon 3.2 in Linux Mint 18.1 Supports Vertical Panels, Better Accelerometers

After informing the community a few days ago about the Mintbox Mini Pro PC and the upcoming improvements and new features shipping with the XApps software projects in Linux Mint 18.1, Clement Lefebvre just published the monthly Linux Mint newsletter. Read more

Blender 2.78 Open-Source 3D Graphics Software Released with Spherical Stereo VR

Today, September 30, 2016, the Blender Foundation is proud to release Blender 2.78, the latest stable and most advanced version of the popular, open-source, free, and cross-platform Blender 3D modelling software. Blender 2.78 comes six months after the release of Blender 2.77, and it's a major update that adds numerous new features and improvements, among which we can mention rendering of spherical stereo images for VR (Virtual Reality), viewport rendering improvements, as well as brand new freehand curves drawing over surfaces. Moreover, the Grease Pencil received awesome improvements and it now doubles as both an animation and drawing tool, powerful new options have been added for B-Bones, it's now possible to import and export basic operators in the Alembic support, and the Cloth Physics feature received new Simulation Speed option and Dynamic Base Mesh support. Read more

OSS Leftovers

  • Tools for writing the next best seller
    I am using bibisco in conjunction with LibreOffice on my Ubuntu 16.04 Asus laptop that I converted over from Windows 7 to develop my characters, scenes, and plot. I tried Manuskript, but find that I like bibisco better, although the results are similar. For one, it gives helpful prompts.
  • GNOME Calendar App to Feature a New Sidebar, Week View & Attendees in GNOME 3.24
    GNOME developer Georges Stavracas wrote an in-depth blog post the other day to inform the GNOME, Linux, and Open Source communities about the upcoming improvements and new features coming to the GNOME Calendar apps. Now that some of us are already enjoying the recently released GNOME 3.22 desktop environment, the GNOME developers are hard at work to improve the GNOME apps and core components by either adding new exciting features and technologies or improving existing ones.
  • PHP version 5.6.27RC1 and 7.0.12RC1
  • Kubernetes Arrives in New Flavors
    Kubernetes has taken center stage in recent days, and, as we’ve been noting in recent posts, the open source container cluster manager is heading in new directions. Google has just announced the release of Kubernetes 1.4, which makes the tool much easier to install. Meanwhile, Canonical has now launched its own distribution of Kubernetes, with enterprise support, across a range of public clouds and private infrastructure. It's Kubernetes at the core, but features a number of extra bells and whistles.
  • 2016 Women in Open Source Award Winners
    We hope you enjoy and are inspired by this short video celebrating Preeti Murthy and Jessica McKellar, the winners of this year’s Red Hat Women in Open Source Awards.
  • Tech, talent and tools: The secret to monetizing open-source
    “In California during the gold rush, you didn’t make money digging for gold; you made money selling shovels,” said Mehta. A fitting metaphor for the idea that investing in talent and tools, especially tools, is how to turn a profit. The actual data, databases, algorithms and so on would be open source. Money would come from the tools to use that technology to benefit specific areas, such as automation of healthcare. And healthcare is a good place to start. “Big Data is all about making life cheaper, better. … If we forget about how to solve problems for humans, we’ve lost. We want to be known for enriching life,” said Mehta.
  • Changing the way we design for the web
    On the one hand, open source should mean lower cost of entry for people from poorer communities (like me, growing up). But on the other, I feel it is hard to contribute when under- or unemployed. I had a grant to work on the Web Animations API documentation, but I can't do as much as I'd like with other animation features (motion paths, advanced timing functions) because I need to spend a lot of time working on my own business, getting paid. Essentially this leads to an awkward model where the only contributors are employed programmers—and when it comes to open source animation or design APIs, platforms, etc, this lack of user input really starts to show. Or, the only products with thriving open source development teams are those that have financially lucrative futures, turning the open source software (OSS) model into a capitalist one.
  • Leaders in Data Management and Open Source Innovation to Gather for Postgres Vision 2016
  • CloudReady by neverware
    I thought I would put together a quick “installation” review of a product called CloudReady by neverware. What is CloudReady? CloudReady is basically a project to bring Chromium OS to those who would like to convert traditional laptops into Chromebook-like devices. I stumbled on them several months ago and finally decided to see how hard it was to install Chromium OS and how functional it actually was as a Chromebook-like device. I have a few low end (netbook-like) devices and I have been trying to figure out how I could make them functional for my boys, I thought this might be the solution.
  • Mozilla tells Firefox OS devs to fork off if they want to chase open web apps vision
    The Mozilla Foundation's Firefox development team has decided enough is enough and will stop supporting Windows XP and Vista in March 2017 and also bin Firefox OS. The OS first. In this post Mozillans Ari Jaaksi and David Bryant, respectively the head of connected devices and veep for platform engineering, write that “By the end of 2015 Mozilla leadership had come to the conclusion that our then Firefox OS initiative of shipping phones with commercial partners would not bring Mozilla the returns we sought.” That decision means that “as of the end of July 2016 have stopped all commercial development on Firefox OS.”
  • Cloudera Delivers Release Built on Apache Spark 2.0, and Advances Kudu
    Cloudera, focused on Apache Hadoop and other open source technologies,has announced its release built on the Apache Spark 2.0 (Beta), with enhancements to the API experience, performance improvements, and enhanced machine learning capabilities. The company is also working with the community to continue developing Apache Kudu 1.0, recently released by the Apache Software Foundation, which we covered here. Kudu is an open source columnar storage engine built for the Apache Hadoop ecosystem designed to enable flexible, high-performance analytic pipelines. Taken together, Cloudera's new tools are giving it more diverse kinds of presence on the Big Data scene. Cloudera claims it was the first Hadoop big data analytics vendor to deliver a commercially supported version of Spark, and has participated actively in the open source community to enhance Spark for the enterprise through its One Platform Initiative. "With Spark 2.0, organizations are better able to take advantage of streaming data, develop richer machine learning models, and deploy them in real time, enabling more workloads to go into production," the company reports.
  • Cloudera Delivers Enterprise-Grade Real-Time Streaming and Machine Learning with Apache Spark 2.0 and Drives Community Innovation with Apache Kudu 1.0
  • INSIDE Secure and Marvell Deliver Open Source Open Data Plane Security VPN Solution [Ed: “open source Open Data Plane (ODP) security API” sounds like nonsensical openwashing]
    INSIDE Secure (Paris:INSD), at the heart of security solutions for mobile and connected devices and network equipment, today announced the Marvell-INSIDE Secure solution, a collaboration that provides open source Open Data Plane (ODP) security API support on Marvell’s ARMADA® 8K and ARMADA 7K System-on-Chip (SoC) families with embedded INSIDE Secure Security Protocol Accelerator IP technology. The Marvell-INSIDE Secure solution provides customers with an easy and efficient way to secure their high-speed networking applications with access to all of the ARM ecosystem’s software support.
  • GE, Bosch Combine Resources to Bolster IoT
  • OpenBSD 6.0 Limited Edition CD set (signed by developers)
    Five OpenBSD 6.0 CD-ROM copies were signed by 40 developers during the g2k16 Hackathon in Cambridge, UK. Those copies are being auctioned sequentially on ebay. All proceeds will be donated to the OpenBSD Foundation to support and further the development of free software based on the OpenBSD operating system.
  • Friday Working together for Free Software Directory IRC meetup: September 30th
  • Machine Learning with Python
    I first heard the term “machine learning” a few years ago, and to be honest, I basically ignored it that time. I knew that it was a powerful technique, and I knew that it was in vogue, but I didn’t know what it really was— what problems it was designed to solve, how it solved them and how it related to the other sorts of issues I was working on in my professional (consulting) life and in my graduate-school research. But in the past few years, machine learning has become a topic that most will avoid at their professional peril. Despite the scary-sounding name, the ideas behind machine learning aren’t that difficult to understand. Moreover, a great deal of open-source software makes it possible for anyone to use machine learning in their own work or research. I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that machine learning already is having a huge impact on the computer industry and on our day-to-day lives.