Sandia Labs’ MegaDroid project simulates 300,000 Android phones to fight wireless catastrophes (video)
We’ve seen some large-scale simulations, including some that couldn’t get larger. Simulated cellular networks are still a rare breed, however, which makes Sandia National Laboratories’ MegaDroid project all the more important. The project’s cluster of off-the-shelf PCs emulates a town of 300,000 Android phones down to their cellular and GPS behavior, all with the aim of tracing the wider effects of natural disasters, hacking attempts and even simple software bugs. Researchers imagine the eventually public tool set being useful not just for app developers, but for the military and mesh network developers — the kind who’d need to know how their on-the-field networks are running even when local authorities try to shut them down. MegaDroid is still very much an in-progress effort, although Sandia Labs isn’t limiting its scope to Android and can see its work as relevant to iOS or any other platform where a ripple in the network can lead to a tidal wave of problems.
Yesterday along with the launch of the new iPhone 5 Apple also announced that they would shortly be releasing the next major build of their mobile OS, iOS 6.
iOS 6 will be released two days before the release of the iPhone 5 on the 19th of September, and Apple has now released the final build of iOS 6 to developers, iOS 6 Golden Master.
iOS 6 comes with some major new features which include new maps designed by Apple with turn by turn navigation, a new Passbook app, improvements to Apple’s Siri and more.
Apple’s iOS 6 will be available for the iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and will come installed on the new iPhone 5, it will also be available for the new iPad and iPad 2 as well as the fourth generation iPod Touch.
The march to the launch of Windows 8 soldiers on, as Microsoft has now opened the Windows Store for submissions from individuals in anticipation of the grand OS launch on October 26th. Previously, only those with company accounts were able to submit their applications for consideration in the Windows Store. The big news doesn’t end there, however, as Microsoft has also added 82 new markets for app submission, which means that in total, developers from 120 markets may now publish their applications to the Windows Store.
In additional news, Microsoft has also revealed that many MSDN subscribers will receive a free, one-year developer account to the Windows Store — eligible subscription levels include Visual Studio Professional, Test Professional, Premium, Ultimate, and BizSpark. Similarly, students that take part in Microsoft’s DreamSpark program will have their subscription fees waived. As it stands, both Windows 8 apps and traditional applications may be submitted for inclusion in the Windows Store, however in the case of applications for the desktop environment, purchasers will be re-routed to individual developer sites to make their purchase and grab the download.
Firefox 15 is barely fresh off the vine, and we’re already looking at a beta version 16 for both desktop platforms and Android. Mozilla’s test release builds in the first support for web apps that play nicely with the Mozilla Marketplace; as long as titles have a slight amount of extra formatting, they can slot into Firefox without hiccups. More treats exist if you’re running certain platforms: the Android crowd receives a Safari-style Reader Mode that strips out the fluff from pages, while Mac users see the once test-only VoiceOver support flipped on by default to improve accessibility. Even developers get a little something special through a quick-access toolbar and more readily accessible CSS4 scripting. If any of this sounds tempting, there’s a pair of source links waiting for your attention.
Facebook App Center goes globetrotting with 7 new countries, blankets all of the English-speaking world
Facebook’s App Center is having its passport stamped quite a lot lately. Just days after the HTML5 app portal set foot in the UK, it’s making the leap to seven more countries. Brazil, France, Germany, Russia, Spain, Taiwan and Turkey will all get a crack at using web apps both on the desktop as well as in the Android and iOS native clients. The new group is coming onboard in the next few weeks. In the meantime, countries where English makes a frequent appearance — Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK and the US — now supply the App Center for every single user. To help speed along the virtual customs claims, Facebook is trotting out a translation tool to get developers on the right track. It shouldn’t be long before App Center is a mainstay of the entire Facebook world, even though we may end up cursing the company after hour three of a Jetpack Joyride marathon.
As Google I/O 2012 rolls along, the YouTube team is updating its Android app to v4.0 with a load of new features, but you’ll need Android 4.0+ to take advantage of them (at least for now, see below). Available in 47 countries, the new app brings a brand new UI with support for channels that reflects the redesign rolled out on the website last year (not the circle-centric look that it is testing with a select few), and it can precache videos from your favorite channels for viewing later. All you have to do is select “preload” in the setting menu and it will pull down videos from your subscriptions and Watch Later queue when plugged in and on WiFi. To actually view them later you will still need to be online, but they’ll load instantly from the device’s storage instead of streaming.
Another new feature is integrated remote functionality to control playback on connected TVs and other devices. This apparently extends to more than just Google TV, as we’re told to “expect more updates later” on how this feature will become broadly available. If you’re not rocking the latest Android software don’t freak out yet, as the team indicates these features will come to more devices later. Developers should be excited too as there’s a slew of new YouTube APIs available, hit the source links below to check them out or download the app yourself.
The wait between iOS 6′s unveiling and its planned fall release just got a little bit shorter, as Apple has just pushed out beta 2. If you’re in the developer crowd that can try it out, don’t expect any revelations: the primarily focus is on the bug fixes that nudge the software closer to a final release. As in past years, multiple additional betas are expected between now and the time the iOS 6 is ready to come to the general public, so there’s likely still lots of room left for Apple to polish the release to a shine. Those paid up on their developer accounts can grab the update through the usual means and see just how much luster has been added since WWDC.
Microsoft’s Windows Phone team is making a few changes to how users are able to acquire apps on their devices but luckily, they probably won’t affect most of you. Starting today, users can no longer get apps from the Zune desktop software (the app store will remain for the Zune HD, as shown above), so they’ll need to browse via the website or directly on their phones, which Microsoft says the majority of users were already doing. The other change is that in the next few weeks, any users who have not upgraded their handsets to Windows Phone 7.5 Mango will no longer be able to download, update or review apps. Since the update is available for all Windows Phones (Android, we’re mostly talking about you) this shouldn’t be too much of a problem, and any laggards will regain their access after upgrading.
On a final note, the developer blog mentions the software needed for hardware partners to create phones for Bahrain, Israel, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, UAE and Vietnam and that there will be more news on these storefronts “in the weeks ahead.” With these moves, the squad has culled any reason to open a heavy memory hungry desktop program just to install some new apps from a PC (iTunes, we’re completely talking about you) and devs can write off supporting users still running on old platforms guilt-free. All that in one day? We bet they didn’t even have to use their AK — those old zune:// links however, will be missed.
Google has launched a new page on Google+, the Android Developers team now have their own Google+ page, and the page is designed to help Android Developers.
The Android Developer team will be sharing a number of things on Google+, and they will also be answering developer questions and giving tips on developing Android applications.
Welcome to a Google+ page designed just for all you Android Developers! A place for Android developers everywhere to meet, share, and connect with the people behind the Android developer experience:
• Add us to your circles to get info and updates directly from the Android team and join in on conversations around upcoming releases for Android Developer tools, SDKs, Hangouts, and training material.
• Join hangouts with members of the Android developer relations, product, engineering, and design teams. Ask your development questions, and get the inside scoop on the latest APIs and platform features.
• Join hangouts with other Android developers; share your app development stories and see how others have created awesome Android apps.
• See video and pics from Android developer events around the world and +1 or comment on posts to let us know what you think.
They will also host a live hangout every week, where the Android Developer team will answer questions and release information about new updates. You can find out more details about the Android Developers on Google+ over at their Google+ page.
Eric Schmidt was addressing the crowd at Le Web in Paris and recounted a tale when an Android user asked why apps were often written for iOS first, and then ported over to Google’s OS. His response? “My prediction is that six months from now, you’ll say the opposite.” After the uncomfortable silence had died down, he added that Android’s “open” model meant the company had volume on its side — and volume is what he feels will attract developers. He added that Ice Cream Sandwich would redress Android’s device fragmentation and the sheer number of hardware makers would ensure that 2012 would be Google’s year. At which point, everyone in the audience probably went back to their iPadsto read Twitter.
If you’ll rewind your mind in time to earlier this week, you might remember a clever proxy server from @plamoni that enabled Siri’s control of a thermostat through spoken commands. Now, the same bit of engineering has been exploited to enable voice control of third-party applications. In this example, FastPdfKit Reader is manipulated by various commands with SiriProxy acting in the middle. A plugin is used to add new commands to the ones recognized by Siri, and finally, the proxy then sends the final commands to the app. Those hoping to get hacking will find a complete list of instructions from the source link below. For everyone else, you’ll find the true magic after the break.
Enrolled in the iOS developer program and interested in iTunes Match? Better point that browser towards Apple’s dev portal, as Cupertino’s just flipped the switch for its upcoming music laundering service. There you’ll find iTunes 10.5 beta 6.1 with iTunes Match which’ll let you sign up for a yearly $24.99 fee. Hopping on the bandwagon early has extra rewards too — early birds get three months (on top of their yearly sub) for free. A tipster also provided us with a screencap (after the break) of his iPod touch running the current iOS beta, which now magically has a toggle for the service under the Music section of the Settings app. Taking the plunge? Let us know how you fare in the comments.
MobileMe’s impending demise just got one step closer, folks. Apple’s updated iCloud.com to now sport an official login page with what we’re assuming is Cupertino’s rendition of a CNC-machined aluminum unibody badge. It looks like those of you rocking iOS 5 or OS X 10.7.2 and who’ve also created an iCloud account are probably already busy frolicking through email, editing contacts and slinging calendar events all from the comfort of your browser. Those services already existed under its predecessor, but it looks as if Cupertino has spruced ‘em up with fresh paint jobs. A screenshot from MacRumors also shows the addition of an iWork section, which we’d surmise means the previously siloed iWork beta now has a new place to call home. We couldn’t get past the migration step with our trusty MobileMe account (disappointing proof is after the break), but you’re more than welcome to tap the more coverage link and have a go yourself.
Oh, and if you’re wondering how much it’ll cost you to claim more than those 5GB that Apple’s tossing in gratis, the folks over at Electronista have confirmed that an extra 10GB will cost $20 per year, while an extra 20GB runs $40 / year and an extra 50GB will demand $100 per annum.
One of the greatest reason why iPhone, apart from its amazing features and aesthetic design became so popular is because of the vast number of applications iTunes store has to offer. Even for web workers like designers and developers who rely heavily on computers and laptops, there are tonnes of interesting applications that may come in handy in your iPhone.
If you have some time to kill and feeling a little adventurous, how about checking out these interesting iPhone apps for designers and developers we’ve compiled? From database app for developers to color apps for designers and some apps suitable for both, here’s 20 Fresh iPhone apps for Designers and Developers. Full list after jump.
In an attempt to edge its way into the crowded mobile payments market, a new credit card scanning system is saying “ah, hell no!” to typing and swiping. Card.io is billed as an SDK that takes advantage of smartphone cameras to let devs accept credit, because, as its creators point out, “typing on mobile phones is slow, and most consumers don’t have a separate hardware attachment.” When it’s time to pull out the plastic, Card.io gets your phone’s camera going, and up pops a little green rectangle, in which you frame your card and snap a pic. Your credit card info is then processed by a third-party merchant, and the details are subsequently deleted from your phone. Can you hear that? That’s the sound of our chubby thumbs breathing a sigh of relief. The Card.io SDK for iOS is now available at the source link below, and an Android version should be close behind. For now, hop on past the break for a video demo.
Like an anxious admirer, HP continues to lavish gifts on the lucky devs over at WebOS Internals. This time it’s sending them pre-release TouchPads as an enticement to get busy and boost the 9.7-inch slate’s app count before it launches next month. HP recently promised that “thousands” of TouchPad apps are on their way and, in addition to attracting big names like Skype and Amazon Kindle, it’s also ensured that legacy apps continue to be supported on WebOS 3.0. With nearly 600 unofficial goodies sitting pretty at PreCentral’s homebrew app gallery, HP clearly feels it makes sense to reach out in that direction too. And who said love was just a trick?
Let’s see if we’re grokking this: Samsung is not only telling the dev community it’s okay to place custom ROMs on its flagship device, it’s actually encouraging the practice by handing out free phones? Atinm, the developer responsible for prepping CyanogenMod on the Captivate and Vibrant, took to Twitter to praise the manufacturer for sending him a free Galaxy S II. From the looks of it, Samsung sent the phone to a select number of devs intent on building an official release of CM7 for the GSII. Unlocking bootloaders has already become the new fancy with manufacturers like HTC, Motorola, and Sony Ericsson jumping on the bandwagon, but this is the first time we’ve heard of a company doling out free devices to the custom ROM community. Does this mean that, instead of enforcing TouchWiz with an iron fist, Samsung is looking at how this practice could actually benefit consumers? We doubt this will be the case for all of the company’s future Android phones, but wouldn’t you love to live in a world where it was?
While Google continues to work on an official Android Market for TVs, Sweden’s own People of Lava has announced the second version of the app store for its Scandinavia Android TV. With version 2.0 People of Lava is focusing on attracting developers to create apps specifically for the Android 1.5-powered TVs in order to fill its own app marketplace. Like Google, it has opened up a developer site stuffed with information for anyone interested in developing apps for the TVs, which are currently hand built in 42-, 47- and 55-inch sizes with prices starting at €2500 ($3,564). We wish them well, but with that high price developers may have as much trouble finding a wider audience as current Google TV partners have so far.