Google Experimenting with Bringing AOSP to the Sony Xperia S

For years there has been a battle between AOSP fans and manufacturers to hack vanilla Android (or something close to it like CyanogenMod) onto devices instead of the manufacturer’s version of Android. The difficulty with this battle is that it takes a tremendous amount of work to get another ROM working on a device. A developer cannot simply take AOSP Android and load it onto a device because stock Android is actually designed to run on a specific device (currently the Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus, or Nexus 7).

Jean-Baptiste Queru, the technical head of the Android Open Source Project, wants to experiment with how AOSP works. Starting with the Xperia S, Queru has invited the community to experiment with porting AOSP to the device. “In theory, AOSP is designed such that it should be possible to plug in the files related to additional hardware targets,” said Queru in a Google Groups post. “In practice, that has never happened.”  (more…)

Why It Matters That Samsung Copied Apple [Opinion]

Samsung copied Apple. There really isn’t another way to put it. Samsung didn’t copy Apple in every conceivable way, but when you compare several of their phones to the iPhone, it’s clear that Samsung wanted their hardware and software to resemble that of Apple’s iPhone.

It’s easy for Android supporters to want to defend Samsung, but the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of Apple’s argument: Samsung realized that it needed to copy Apple to get ahead in the smartphone space. In terms of what this means for the lawsuit seems trivial, but there are deeper issues at stake. How did Samsung copying Apple damage the Android ecosystem as a whole and why should you care?

(more…)

The Google Experience [Opinion]

With the release of the Nexus 7, Google set its sights on Amazon to try and reclaim control of the Android tablet space. Ever since Amazon forked Android for the Kindle Fire there has been some confusion about what OEM software customization means. There seems to be some confusion in the industry about what TouchWiz and Sense really are. More and more often I have seen articles arguing that the Galaxy S III and the Kindle Fire offer the same non-Google experience. Even more shocking, I’ve heard arguments that AOSP is Android and the Nexus line of phones offers the “Google experience.” The question isn’t whether or not OEMs offer a Google experience (they do); the question is if they’ll keep a Google experience.

(more…)

Review: Firefox for Android

Choice in browsers has been an integral part in the history of computing. Mozilla has been at the heart of the push for choice in browsers from its inception out of Netscape to the introduction of Firefox in 2004. Since 2004, Mozilla has been dedicated to giving users a choice in browsers not only on the desktop, but on mobile.

The latest version of Firefox for Android, available in Google Play today, comes in the midst of heavy competition in browsers for Android with Dolphin HD, Opera Mobile, Opera Mini, and Firefox each having been downloaded more than ten million times. Perhaps even more dauntingly, Google is in the process of making Chrome the default browser in Android. Chrome made headlines in the last six weeks as it surpassed Internet Explorer to become the most used browser internationally on desktops. Mozilla is keenly aware that by developing Firefox for Android they are competing with Google in a way that is much less obvious on the desktop.

(more…)

A Little Less Online [Opinion]

Listen to the article: 

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

In late May Paul Miller of The Verge detailed his visit to a rally put on by various groups of Orthodox Jews about the dangers of the Internet. The article itself is a good read, but the video of the event is incredible. In the video Paul talks with a number of Orthodox Jews about their views on the Internet, but one man in particular, Eytan Kobre, an editor for Mishpacha Jewish Family Weekly, had some particularly fascinating things to say about how the Internet should be viewed.

(more…)

Google is Regaining Control of Android, Not Losing Control [Opinion]

There has been a lot of speculation surrounding Google’s purchase of Motorola and the rumor that Google will partner with five manufacturers for the Nexus project. There seem to be signs that things are changing around the way Google controls Android. Google needs the phone manufacturers and the carriers to ensure that handsets get into consumers’ hands, but the tug of war between OS vendor, OEM, and carrier hasn’t been pretty.  (more…)

An Interview with the Mobile Panda, @black_man_x

Droid Life is a site that was built on a passion for Android, especially its incarnation in the OG DROID. Back when I was still sporting the OG I remember coming across The Mobile Panda. Between blog posts and trolling podcasts, @black_man_x, as he’s known on Twitter, used to drop hints about future products and help out regular users. I’ve always appreciated his perspective on mobile, so I thought our lovely community of readers would enjoy the chance to read more about the Panda’s perspective on a variety of topics.  (more…)