The Open Handset Alliance, a group of 47 technology and mobile companies who have come together to accelerate innovation in mobile applications, have developed an open source mobile development platform, called Android.
Android™ delivers a complete set of software for mobile devices: an operating system, middleware and key mobile applications. The Android Software Development Kit (SDK) is now available.
Android was built from the ground-up to enable developers to create compelling mobile applications that take full advantage of all a handset has to offer. It was built to be truly open. For example, an application can call upon any of the phone's core functionality such as making calls, sending text messages, or using the camera, allowing developers to create richer and more cohesive experiences for users. Android is built on the open Linux Kernel. Furthermore, it utilizes a custom virtual machine that was designed to optimize memory and hardware resources in a mobile environment. Android is open source; it can be liberally extended to incorporate new cutting edge technologies as they emerge. The platform will continue to evolve as the developer community works together to build innovative mobile applications.
All applications are created equal
Android does not differentiate between the phone's core applications and third-party applications. They can all be built to have equal access to a phone's capabilities providing users with a broad spectrum of applications and services. With devices built on the Android Platform, users are able to fully tailor the phone to their interests. They can swap out the phone's homescreen, the style of the dialer, or any of the applications. They can even instruct their phones to use their favorite photo viewing application to handle the viewing of all photos.
Breaking down application boundaries
Android breaks down the barriers to building new and innovative applications. For example, a developer can combine information from the web with data on an individual's mobile phone -- such as the user's contacts, calendar, or geographic location -- to provide a more relevant user experience. With Android, a developer can build an application that enables users to view the location of their friends and be alerted when they are in the vicinity giving them a chance to connect.
Fast & easy application development
Android provides access to a wide range of useful libraries and tools that can be used to build rich applications. For example, Android enables developers to obtain the location of the device, and allows devices to communicate with one another enabling rich peer-to-peer social applications. In addition, Android includes a full set of tools that have been built from the ground up alongside the platform providing developers with high productivity and deep insight into their applications.
Facebook is turning into a legitimate video hosting and sharing platform with two important developments that are captured in this Robert Scoble video interview:
• It now supports hi-definition videos. I believe they are supported only at modest sizes (in the 400 pixels wide range), while regular videos can go up to 720 pixels wide.
• Facebook is now enabling video embeds on regular websites and blogs. This is a huge step toward Facebook "opening up," as Robert points out. And, yes, it means that you can upload a video to Facebook, embed the video on your outside blog, and your readers will be able to see and play the video without having to sign into Facebook.
Facebook is now getting 100,000 uploads a day, and these moves should make it a much more formidable player in the video hosting space.
Chris Putnam, software engineer at Facebook who runs the video team, points out the technical limitations:
• Your HD video must be no larger than 1 gigabyte
• Your video must be no longer than 20 minutes (for verified members) and 2 minutes (for unverified members). [from SocialMedia.bizUPDATE
Long after other media joined the digital revolution, book publishers clung to the reassuringly low-tech tools of printing press, paper and ink.
European libraries have joined to produce Europeana, an online database of two million books and other cultural items.
But now the world of books is starting to go digital, too.
Late last month, American authors and publishers reached an agreement with Google to settle lawsuits over Google’s Book Search program, which scans millions of books and makes their contents available on the Internet. The deal lets Google sell electronic versions of copyrighted works that have gone out of print.
“Almost overnight, not only has the largest publishing deal been struck, but the largest bookshop in the world has been built, even if it is not quite open for business yet,” wrote Neill Denny, editor of The Bookseller, a trade publication based in London, on his blog.
The settlement remains subject to court approval, and the bookshop would operate only in the United States for now. But the agreement is only one of many initiatives under which books are making what may be the biggest technological leap since Gutenberg invented moveable type.
This month, a group of European national libraries and archives plans to open Europeana, an online database of two million books and other cultural and historical items, including films, paintings, newspapers and sound recordings. Letters from Mozart to his friends, from the Austrian National Library in Vienna are there, along with early printings of his work, from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. MOREUPDATE
Here is Cory Doctorow's talk at Cambridge UK on 'Life in the Information Economy.'
Cory is a blogger, science fiction author and journalist. He is editor of Boing Boing, the world’s 11th best blog (according to Time magazine). In this fantastic, wide-ranging and quick-fire talk, he talks about copyright, why DRM is doomed, piracy, and much more.
Adobe have released a beta web based version of their industry standard photo manipulation and editing tool, Photoshop. The web based version is stripped down with basic functionality, but is free and requires no download or installation so will come in very handy for anyone wanting to do a quick crop, colour adjust or resize. UPDATE
[ From YouTube ] - Whether a YouTube video has 10 views or 10,000,000, people always want to know the same thing: who's watching this? Where do viewers come from? How did they find my video?
Finally, we have some answers. Today we're releasing YouTube Insight, a free tool that enables anyone with a YouTube account to view detailed statistics about the videos that they upload to the site. For example, uploaders can see how often their videos are viewed in different geographic regions, as well as how popular they are relative to all videos in that market over a given period of time. You can also delve deeper into the lifecycle of your videos, like how long it takes for a video to become popular, and what happens to video views as popularity peaks.
How does this help you? Well, using these metrics, you can increase your videos' view counts and improve your popularity on the site. For instance, you might learn that your videos are most popular on Wednesdays, that you have a huge following in Spain, or that new videos that play off previous content become more popular more quickly. With this information, you can concentrate on creating compelling new content that appeals to your target audiences, and post these videos on days you know these viewers are on the site. (Maybe even post your next video in Spanish?) And for those of you who are also partners, the more popular a video is, the more advertising revenue it can generate.
We'll be making new features and additional information available fairly quickly -- like a specific breakdown of how viewers discovered the video -- so keep an eye out as we roll out new features. As for now, you can find currently available metrics by clicking under the "About this Video" button under "My account > Videos, Favourites, Playlists > Manage my Videos." UPDATE
PrimetimeRewind.tv and Hulu.com have launched their new sites which provide users with free access to high quality video content including most of your favourite TV shows from the major networks - all legit. The 3D cube effect on PrimeTimeRewind is a nice touch and the videos stream pretty quickly. Only bad point is that they are ad supported - but the quality of the content may make up for this. No doubt these services will become very popular very quickly... UPDATE
The hot rumor of the day, brought to us by the inquisitive lads at the Financial Times of London, says that Sony has been in heavy talks with Microsoft to bring the Blu-ray player device to the Xbox 360.
The rumor has expanded throughout the Internet, with some groups believing that once Warner Brothers dropped the hammer at CES 2008 and chose the Blu-ray consortium, the Redmond group all but cast off the HD DVD format immediately, despite their public support for more than a month. In the ensuing weeks, with more and more studios and retailers going Blu, and Toshiba finally deciding to drop their High-Def baby, the talks between Sony and MS have gotten way more intense.
There are a few possible results here and like everything else, they all have to do with money. Consumers could easily switch up to a Blu-ray player, but only if there's a significant savings difference between the Blu-ray XBox player and the other separate Blu-ray players out there. And Blu-ray players are expensive. Remember that at one point, the XBox HD DVD was one of the best HD DVD player deals out there, just like the Blu-ray PS3 was finally thought to be a good buy when it went down to a reasonable price.
TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader.
The annual conference now brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).
This site makes the best talks and performances from TED available to the public, for free. Almost 200 talks from our archive are now available, with more added each week. These videos are released under a Creative Commons license, so they can be freely shared and reposted. UPDATE
It's official: Toshiba, the leading partner in the HD DVD camp, has waved the white flag. The next generation DVD format war is over. Blu-ray wins.
The move to stop production of HD DVD players and recorders was an "agonising decision", according to Toshiba president Atsutoshi Nishida, but one that the company had to take after "judging that there is no way of winning the competition."
Looking back, the tipping point came when Warner Bros. decided to join Sony Pictures Entertainment, MGM, Disney, 20th Century Fox, New Line Cinema and Lionsgate, by defecting to the Blu-ray camp -- resulting in an estimated three quarters of new film releases being available exclusively on Blu-ray.
What followed was to some extent inevitable. Blockbuster, Netflix and Wal-Mart all dropped support for HD DVD, and Best Buy also said it would favor Blu-ray. The old adage, "follow the money", which in this case means content, applies. [from Steve O'Hear at ReadWrite Web.com]
With this year's TED conference starting in just over a week, it's worth noting that they've been posting videos of some of the talks given by Net luminaries over the years. [from Social Media.Biz ] More here.UPDATE
It's a big week coming up in the Mobile Web world. The annual Mobile World Congress is being held in Barcelona, 11-14 February. The early buzz is around Google's much (and oft) rumored GPhone. According to the Times Online, Google "is expected to produce a prototype mobile handset" at the show. Even if Google itself doesn't unveil a phone, there will be plenty of Android prototypes on display (Google's open source Mobile Operating System). [by Richard McManus - Read/Write Web] UPDATE
Forecast #1: The world will have a billion millionaires by 2025. Globalization and technological innovation are driving this increased prosperity. But challenges to prosperity will also become more acute, such as water shortages that will affect two-thirds of world population by 2025.
Forecast #2: Fashion will go wired as technologies and tastes converge to revolutionize the textile industry. Researchers in smart fabrics and intelligent textiles (SFIT) are working with the fashion industry to bring us color-changing or perfume-emitting jeans, wristwatches that work as digital wallets, and running shoes like the Nike +iPod that watch where you're going (possibly allowing others to do the same). Powering these gizmos remains a key obstacle. But industry watchers estimate that a $400 million market for SFIT is already in place and predict that smart fabrics could revitalize the U.S. and European textile industry.
Forecast #3: The threat of another cold war with China, Russia, or both could replace terrorism as the chief foreign-policy concern of the United States. Scenarios for what a war with China or Russia would look like make the clashes and wars in which the United States is now involved seem insignificant. The power of radical jihadists is trivial compared with Soviet missile capabilities, for instance. The focus of U.S. foreign policy should thus be on preventing an engagement among Great Powers.
Forecast #4: Counterfeiting of currency will proliferate, driving the move toward a cashless society. Sophisticated new optical scanning technologies could, in the next five years, be a boon for currency counterfeiters, so societies are increasingly putting aside their privacy fears about going cashless. Meanwhile, cashless technologies are improving, making them far easier and safer to use.
Forecast #5: The earth is on the verge of a significant extinction event. The twenty-first century could witness a biodiversity collapse 100 to 1,000 times greater than any previous extinction since the dawn of humanity, according to the World Resources Institute. Protecting biodiversity in a time of increased resource consumption, overpopulation, and environmental degradation will require continued sacrifice on the part of local, often impoverished communities. Experts contend that incorporating local communities' economic interests into conservation plans will be essential to species protection in the next century.
Wixi is a media focused social network where users interact with each other by privately watching, posting, and sharing content of all media types, including photos, audio, and video. The site offers a unique interface whereby media can be managed in the same way files are organized on a computer desktop, creating a true “drag and drop” and “click and play” experience. UPDATE
Clip from the 1967 film 1999 A.D. in which we see the family of the future shopping, paying bills and using electronic mail from home. How strangely accurate were those predictions? Except for the dodgy gender roles... [thanks to boingboing.net] UPDATE
Opera have just released a new version of their amazing browser for mobile phones, Opera Mini. This browser basically sends the web page you searched for to Opera's servers who rejig it into a much smaller size before sending it to your phone. The end result is a web page that loads really quickly and looks as close to the original page as you can possibly get on a mobile phone. Highly recommended. It also has an excellently intuitive zoom in and out feature as well as a handy virtual cursor. Download it! Here are some of its features...
New full screen mode
Browse in landscape mode. Jealous of the iPhone? Opera Mini may not rotate when you turn your phone, but a quick shortcut key (‘#’ and ‘*’) makes it easy to change the screen orientation
Add the search engine of your choice to the start page, just like the Opera desktop browser.
A number of optimizations for BlackBerry phones including a native menu
Supports SSL connections for banking sites, Amazon and more (though we would advise caution nonetheless)
Improved support for small fonts, cookies and more. UPDATE
A new site called vConvert allows you to convert and download videos from YouTube in a matter of seconds. They have a good range of options, including mobile 3GP, mp4, wmv and Quicktime movies. A very useful service... UPDATE
The old model of TV broadcasting the same content to be viewed by millions of people at the same time is dying. Users of the web want content they have chosen to watch, on demand. And they want to be able to mix it up, put their own spin on it and put it back out there. Web Video is coming on leaps and bounds. Already, one can hook their laptop up to the 42" and stream movies, TV shows, cartoons, you name it, from sites that collect video links from elsewhere on the web. Why don't the owners of these shows offer them legitimately in this way? For free, but surrounded by ad content to pay the bills. Perhaps a very minute charge could be applied to movie streams, but charging $9.99 to watch a streamed movie online is not going to take. Perhaps the idea of a blanket licence fee is the best option. Divide it among the artists based on views, ratings, downloads or such similar measuring tools. A fair and reasonable monthly charge on top of the broadband bill in exchange for the privilege of accessing a celestial jukebox of audio visual content would be fine by me. UPDATE