We’ve seen Android serve as the basis for so many innovative ventures, but NASA’s latest project could top them all. A team from NASA’s Ames Research center in California has began construction on a group of miniature satellites composed entirely of Nexus smartphones. The project, properly titled “PhoneSat” is just a small part of the larger Small Spacecraft Technology Program (SSTP) that aims to build nanosatellites by using small consumer electronics.
NASA has confirmed that the team has already built two nanosatellite prototype models. PhoneSat 1.0 is the first of the two, and offers limited functionality. The goal for this model is to simply observe and determine if a mini-satellite with a consumer smartphone can survive a short period of time in space. However, one of the most important aspects in determining success is if the satellite can actually send back actual health and picture data from space. In addition to sporting a Nexus One, the body of the satellite will include an array of batteries, a watchdog circuit to monitor the system (and reboot the phone, if necessary) and an external radio beacon.
PhoneSat 2.0 serves as the “advanced model”, and will attempt to improve on the functionality of PhoneSat 1.0 by utilizing a Samsung Nexus S. In addition to the smartphone, the satellite’s design will feature a two-way radio, a GPS receiver and solar arrays. The solar arrays will offer continuous power, while the two-way radio will act as the command center. Under the satellite is a group of magnetorquer coils, which are electromagnets that interact with Earth’s magnetic field. Naturally, these coils are attached to a set of reaction wheels to operators can control the unit’s movement in space.
Currently, the PhoneSat has no clear launch date, but it’s expected for both models to launch upon the maiden flight of Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Antares rocket later this year.
In a Google+ post yesterday, the CyanogenMod team announced that Ice Cream Sandwich (CM9) and Jelly Bean (CM10) won’t be supported for Snapdragon S1 devices. One such phone is the Nexus One and they stated that it would require a custom hboot to repartition the internal memory. The fact that there is only 512MB of RAM certainly doesn’t help the matter. On top of that, compromises to the CyanogenMod code would be necessary because of the proprietary libs available from 2.3.
They went on to say that “with enough time, effort, and hacks” it could be made to work, but they don’t feel the experience is worth all of that. Other main attraction phones that have the Snapdragon S1 are the HTC EVO 4G and the HTC Desire.
Choice is a wonderful thing, for many of us it’s probably the primary reason we own an Android phone in the first place. Speaking of which, it’s hard to beat that initial feeling when you get a brand new device. You remove it carefully from the box, peel off the plastic screen protector and admire it as it gleams spotlessly in your hands. Keeping your phone in such pristine condition throughout its life isn’t easy; however there are numerous solutions on the market that can help. The question is which solution works best? A quick search on the website of any mainstream tech retailer will bring up hundreds of sleeves, pouches, wallets, skins, cases and films. Would you prefer leather, suede, neoprene, plastic, rubber or even “invisible”? I’ve tried various solutions over the years with mixed results.
I’ve been a mobile phone connoisseur since the mid 90’s when Nokia ruled the roost. My trusty 3330 would be thrown in my pocket alongside my keys, coins and wallet without a care in the world. The one and only time I dropped it, I simply popped into town and bought a new exchangeable cover; job done. It was one of my early ventures into the smartphone world that made me re-evaluate the benefits of phone protectors. Back in 2004 I bought a sim-free iMate Jam (HTC Magician) and paid £500 cold hard cash. The store I purchased it from suggested a leather case for protection, which I decided to go for as I could definitely see the benefits. The case in question was a classic design which anyone who has been using phone or PDA’s for a number of years will definitely be familiar with. A couple of pieces of black leather on the front and back, joined by a few strips of black, elastic material with a leather ‘lid’ the folds over the top and sticks in place by way of some velcro tabs. If my memory serves me right, I think it even had a belt clip on the back (did anyone actually use those?). There was no question that this case would protect the phone. The problem was that the iMate Jam was a hefty old device. It was made of metal, as thick as a yellow pages directory and could probably have been used to anchor a small boat. Putting this phone in such a rugged case made it virtually impossible to pocket. It didn’t take long before I ditched the case and it also didn’t take long for me to regret that decision. On a visit to my parents’ house, the iMate was sitting in my shirt pocket. I bent down to pick something up and out it flew dropping a few feet onto the slate finished kitchen floor. I’d gained a sizable dent on the bottom corner and clearly some kind of loose connection somewhere as the device would perform a master reset every time I pressed the top half of the screen. Lesson learned.
For my next few phones I trialled numerous different cases, wallets and screen protectors and was never really entirely happy with any of them. Regardless of how discrete they claim to be, I find that screen protectors dull the screen and take away some of the responsiveness of a touch screen. Now perhaps it’s just in my mind but I definitely don’t find the experience as satisfying as using a ‘naked’ screen. This solution may be great for design however it’s not so great for function.
My next solution was the wallet type case where your phone clips into a plastic cradle and you close a cover over it like a book. This was slightly preferable to a screen film as once you open the cover you can use your device as nature intended. The trade-off here is that your phone lives permanently in the holder within the case. The hardware manufacturers spend millions on design teams to make your phone as aesthetically pleasing and ergonomically functional as possible, it seems ludicrous that we should then proceed to bolt it into an ugly plastic cradle and close a wallet over it? Although I don’t believe in style over substance (I’d probably own an iPhone if I did) I still like my phone to look smart. We have the opposite problem to the screen films here; a wallet will protect your phone whilst allowing you to interact with the touch screen unhindered however your phone loses its physical identity as it becomes a screen buried in a case.
It was completely by chance that I stumbled across a solution that I’ve stuck with ever since. I bought a Nexus One direct from Google on launch day and was pleasantly surprised to discover a soft neoprene pouch as part of the package. I’d already been contemplating which kind of case to use and had never considered trying a pouch previously. It seemed silly not to try it out seeing as it was ready and waiting. It didn’t take long for me to deduce that, although not perfect, this was the perfect solution for me. The case protects the phone nicely whilst it’s in your pocket, in a bag etc. It’s small enough and light enough not to be overly intrusive although padded enough to protect the phone from drops and bumps. When you need to use the phone you simply slide it out of the pouch and use it free from any obtrusive cases or protectors. The obvious pitfall here is dropping the phone whilst it’s in use but I’ve never had such an accident in the past so the risk is worth it when considering the probability.
My trusty Nexus One case lived on to protect my Galaxy S and I bought a new one for my Nexus S once the original became worn and tatty. Finding a solution for my Galaxy Nexus was a little trickier at first because I picked mine up on launch day and initially I could not find a pouch big enough, the curse of the early adopter. Eventually I found a suede pouch that was up to the job and I’m pleased to report that my Galaxy Nexus looks just as good today as it did the day I bought it.
I’m interested in hearing what the rest of you are using out there. Is your beloved smartphone currently ‘au naturel’ or have you managed to find a solution that works for you? Let me know in the comments below.
The latest news from the rumor mill sure is intriguing. Word on the street is HTC and Facebook will be participating in another joint venture to develop a smartphone. If you recall friends, both companies joined together to create the Facebook Phone last year, so yes friends, we will likely a follow-up to the oh-so familiar Facebook-centered smartphone that was heavily promoted last year. Like the original, the new smartphone will be a specially made device which is you guessed it— Facebook-centric that will arrive in the third quarter of this year.
DigiTimes reports HTC has some reasons for both HTC and Facebook making the second attempt at developing an exclusive or custom smartphone. Although Google selected HTC for the G1 (HTC Dream) and the Nexus One smartphones, Samsung has been the successor for the following Nexus phones— the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus. It looks like HTC is likely unhappy that Samsung is expected to continue on the Nexus line by developing the next Nexus device, so it’s decided to press on and partner with another opportunity for an exclusive and special device instead with Facebook. In addition, Facebook is in the midst of becoming a public company. That means it is expected to further expand its investments and sources of income. Naturally, the launch of its own brand of smartphones being part of its development strategy would be a good way to start.
And that’s the kicker folks— the new version of the Facebook phone would possibly not just feature a Facebook button, but rather be a more complete and integrated Facebook experience. It looks as if this upcoming device will have much more involvement with Facebook’s development team— so this may be the true Facebook phone we’ve all been speculating for years. Then again, it could of course be another Salsa/ChaCha-type phone, but hey– at least we’ll find out soon enough.
It appears that Google wants to get back into the direct sales department. They reported plan is an online store for Google branded tablets. If you remember, Google tried to sell to the masses with the Nexus One. It had lackluster sales and wasn’t embraced by many. According the WSJ, “people close to the matter” have said that Google plans to try it again. Only this time it’s going to be with tablets.
Google is desperately trying to cut into Apple’s share of the tablet market. They haven’t had much success, as they currently only control 20% of the market share. Google has been gaining on Apple, but not at a rate to make Apple worry. Back to the story at hand. The “people close to the matter” also claim that Samsung and Asus are going to be big players in the hardware department. This all sounds familiar, as Asus is rumored to be making the first Google branded tablet this year. Also they report that we may even see Jelly Been by the middle of the year, maybe even on the rumored Asus tablet.
There is no word on when Google plans to launch the online store. Google has neither confirmed or denied this. With the purchase of Motorola so close in their grasp, one could speculate, they are keeping it under wraps for that reason. Google will finally be able to build a tablet, or smartphone, exactly the way they want.
Only time will tell how this plays out for Google. They have tried this before and it didn’t go so well for them. It didn’t break them, but maybe they learned from it and now have a better idea as how to go about.
Source: Wall Street Journal
If you are a subscriber of regional wireless carrier I Wireless (which is based off T-Mobile), today is your lucky day. News has surfaced I Wireless will be launching the Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone and will be available for $199.99 (after a mail-in rebate) on contract or $609.99 if you have some dollars to spend and buy it off-contract. That means the lucky few of you who have been interested in the attractive smartphone, but didn’t want to switch to a certain red colored CDMA-based carrier or previously splurge an arm and a leg for the unlocked GSM version will now have the opportunity to own the smartphone which will run on the smooth EDGE/HSPA+ wireless spectrum powered by T-Mobile.
Speaking of T-Mobile, the phone’s arrival on I Wireless may possibly be an indication of something bigger. Considering the original G1, Nexus One and Nexus S smartphones operated on T-Mobile bands, it has been a bit unusual to not see the GSM version of the Galaxy Nexus officially on T-Mobile to say the least. Perhaps T-Mo is slyly plotting to bring the device to its stores eventually? Of course nothing is concrete or official, but you can’t help but wonder about the possiblity.
source: Android Central
We all have them… apps installed on our phones that are ad-supported. Ads are a fundamental part of the Google ecosystem, and many Android developers have found they are able to make some money by including ads in their apps and giving the app away for free. It’s a win-win system. Or is it?
Researchers from Purdue University, working with Microsoft, have discovered that potentially up to 75% of an app’s battery drain is caused by not the app itself, but rather the ad-serving processes the app uses. The research team developed an energy profiler they named EProf, which can measure the battery use of not only the app, but every thread the app spawns. The team then tested five Android apps, including Angry Birds, FreeChess, and the New York Times. All testing was done on a Nexus One running Android 2.3 Gingerbread.
Lead researcher Abhinav Pathak measured energy usage for one level of Angry Birds and found that the game itself only accounted for about 30% of the total battery drain. The remaining 70% was divided between serving up advertising and uploading user data. The user data is only uploaded once, however the ads are displayed throughout the game, draining the battery continually. It’s no wonder companies like NVIDIA are working on more efficient and lower power chips.
Similar results occurred with the other apps. Interestingly, the native browser as well as the New York Times app spent around 15% of their battery usage on user tracking processes.
The research team was not trying to expose a specific app for using too much juice. Their intention was to help developers and advertisers make their processes more efficient by providing the EProf software as an open-source tool.
So does this study make anyone think about paying for the ad-free version of apps? A buck or two seems like a reasonable price for keeping my battery in check.
What do you get when you combine 3D graphics, flying saucers and cats? One heck of a ride for Android with SpaceCat 3D. The glasses free 3D game allows you to enjoy a rich graphics quality platform landing game on your Android smartphone. The challenge is to dodge both moving and stationary walls, lasers and tight spots all while snatching up all of the floating space mice you can find. On your quest, be sure to take out all of the annoying SpaceRats you can for the crew of humans you’re loyal to. You can even share your score with the rest of the world via ScoreLoop.
In the year 3122, man has conquered space and has taken his favorite pets with him: Cats.
Did you know which are the favorite toys of cats on space? Flying saucers! Even better, chasing mice while flying around! They are the only ones that can go into the narrow spaces and capture the SpaceRats, an evolved species that keeps annoying the crew of the spaceships.
You’ll have the option to choose from 10 different cats for game-play and several spaceships to match them up with. Each ship has different characteristics and themes that you can choose from as well. Ready to give the game a go? Hit the break for some screen shots of the game and check out the quick video demo of the app in action. Feel free to drop a comment or two below as well of what you think.
From The Developer:
== Something more ==
* Feels like is not a real lander? Try the realistic control.
* To enable XPeria Play / Gametel support you need to select on-screen controls.
* We recommend a minimum hardware of Motorola Droid, Nexus One, Galaxy S or HTC Desire.
* For low end devices, touching the screen can slow down the gameplay, alternatively you can use the menu button to thrust.
* The search button makes a screenshot of the game (in /sdcard/spacecat), just in case you want to show how cute your cat is with his spaceship. I know, you have never figured this out.
* 3D engine: jPCT-AE
* Sound effects from The Freesound Project (http://www.freesound.org/)
Because the world will be a better place with more cats in flying saucers.
Well CES has come and gone and we saw a lot of great new devices as well as some questionable ones. That being said, many of you are itching for some new hardware. There’s been quite a few blockbuster Android releases here lately and a handful more in the immediate future, so…what happens to your current Android? Being the Android fans that you are I’m sure many of you have well kept devices and the fact of the matter is, there’s a market for them. You have likely sold items online before, but let me introduce you to a tool you may not be acquainted with. It’s called Swappa, and its a market dedicated solely to exchange of used Android devices. If you have ever tried selling a phone on ebay the ordeal can really be likened to a chore. Swappa streamlines the process dramatically, you can even log in with just your Facebook account if you wish and from there its only a matter of time. How much time you ask? In some cases not long at all.
Swappa user Shelby writes,
I posted my Nexus One for sale on Swappa.com. It was bought in under 30 seconds. Yeah. Wow. I am still in shock.
What are others saying? Well, Swappa user David now lives without that dilemma many of us have experienced,
So what happens if you just bought your Android phone and are already pining for another? Have no fear, Swappa.com is here.
As easy as it is to sell on Swappa, its arguably even easier to buy. One thing that’s particularly nice about Swappa is that it acts like a store. You don’t have to spend any time negotiating or connecting with the seller. You just buy the product like you would at any online store.
Swappa is indeed special in that it is a site by Android lovers for Android lovers. So if you’re perhaps trying to ditch your device for the latest and greatest or looking for that barely used phone released last month, Swappa may be the end of your troubles.
*By the way, every device sold on Swappa that has CyanogenMod installed results in a $5 donation to the developers of CyanogenMod AND If you are a Reddit user and you buy or sell a device on Swappa they will buy you a month of Reddit Gold to show their appreciation.
We brought to you news of Android bringing us news on Google+ that they would be giving us a surprise on Monday, and it appears they made good on that promise. What is the surprise you ask? Well it’s none other than the debut of Clash of the Nexus Ninjas, Vol. 3. Like the Nexus S and the Nexus One before it, the Galaxy Nexus’ unboxing has been left to the Red Ninja. While in the past, the unboxing by said ninja was done relatively quick, this third installment lets you, the user, help.
If you are interested in helping the ninja execute his mission, and a bunch of white and black ninjas along the way in 8-bit glory, hit the break below to get the app. Check out the video below as well to get a taste of what the app has to offer. It’s time for my third run through of the game. Can you say, goodbye work day?
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