Project Ara close to prototype status, and Motorola CEO suggests it could be sold through Moto Maker

When we first heard of Motorola’s Project Ara, a modular phone concept that would seemingly allow folks to upgrade different components of their phone independently of others, we were a little skeptical. It isn’t that we thought the idea wasn’t possible — technology proves that anything is possible as each year passes us by — but we didn’t wholly believe that we were close to seeing anything practical.

Thankfully, Dennis Woodside assures us that isn’t the case. In a Hangout session that the CEO did with prominent tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee, Woodside revealed that the team is close to producing its first prototype. The general public obviously won’t be able to get their hands on it, but a prototype means that we’d be one step closer to seeing this exciting idea become reality.

Of course, a prototype alone is no guarantee that the team is close to offering a consumer product, but what will happen when that time eventually comes? Woodside suggests Moto Maker could be the perfect destination for getting your phone made the way you want in more areas than design alone:

Ara is much further out, but you can see how those two things tie together and how, as we introduce new materials into Moto Maker, we’re going to pursue that theme across our product line going forward.

Imagine being able to craft your own smartphone. Perhaps the camera isn’t that important to you, so you opt for a cheaper 5 megapixel shooter instead of tricking it out with a 13 megapixel beast. And maybe that 32GB of storage isn’t enough, so you get a 64GB module that can also be expanded using a microSD card slot. And, well, who won’t want to spring for the most RAM and most powerful chipset they can get?

motorola-project-ara-featured-LARGE-2

Dreaming aside, it’s a future that could soon be very real, and it’ll be extremely exciting to see what Motorola ends up coming with after the exhausting research and development process eventually brings us something tangible. Watch the full Hangout above.

Interview with Josh Presseisen, Founder and CEO of Crescent Moon Games. …

Josh Presseisen: My first memory of video games would be my aunt’s Atari, I used to play Combat and Pac-man on it when I’d go to visit her.

It was very exciting back then! I was very into video games. When I was young I had a few computers that my uncle got for me, the Timex Sinclair 1000, which also came with a game programming book. I’d spend hours messing around with the games in the book and trying to make my own. The coolest computer I had for programming games was the TI–994a - it looked like a Delorean!

When the NES was launched, I was really obsessed with Super Mario Brothers, Zelda, and Metroid.

There was a brief time of a few years where I wasn’t doing video game stuff, which was in my band years - I was in a band and touring for a while, then got a job doing graphics stuff. My interest in video games returned after that.

Founded in 2009, Josh Presseisen is CEO, owner and founder of Crescent Moon Studios. Half game development studio, half publisher, Presseisen heads up the company’s “publishing, developing, marketing, finances, and more.”

You’ve probably played some of Crescent Moon’s titles, games such as Paper Monsters, Pocket RPG, Siegecraft and Ravensword: Shadowlands.

DroidGamers: What are some of your classical influences? (Video Games, Movies, Books, Art, etc.) that left and impression on you?

Josh: Hmm, well, I’d have to say, my favorite video game is Metroid - although Journey has now taken second place in my top 5.

As for books, my favorite is The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, I also love some cheesy fantasy books like the Xanth series by Piers Anthony, The Martian Chronicles and Ender’s Game.

My favorite movies are The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, The Goonies, E.T., Back to the Future and Blade Runner.

Art - I love the art of Roger Dean, Ralph Mcquarrie, Moebius.


Ravensword: Shadowlands

DroidGamers: With programming when you were younger, was game development something you were interested in? Was there a moment when you thought that it might something I want to do for a living or was it more of a hobby?

Josh: I’m not sure at the time if I was thinking -‘this is what I want to do when I grow up’, I was into a lot of different things when I was younger - including trying to invent things and music.

DroidGamers: At the time, was the prospect of developing Ravensword: The Fallen King daunting to you? having little prior experience with game development?

Josh: It was a bit daunting, but I was working on the PC version before getting it onto the iPhone. The phones were so primitive back then, that I had to really lower the resolution of the assets in the game by quite a bit to make it run, and we had to do some tricks for performance. It was quite a lot of work to get it working well.

DroidGamers: What was the mobile landscape during the development of the original Ravensword? Especially for a game of that scale

Josh: Well it was an open playing field back then. There was basically nothing like Ravensword, so I knew it would be an instant success when we released it. There were almost no big 3d games at all on mobile devices back in 2009.


Neon Shadow

DroidGamers: Can you comment on your experience working with a publisher (Chillingo)? Were there frustrations, things you learned or what you though could be improved upon (seeing that Crescent Moon is a publisher).

Josh: It was great to work with them, actually. They were very easy going, they had a lot of great suggestions. I can’t actually say anything bad about them, I love Chris and Joe. Becoming a publisher was a decision that I made early on for a few reasons - I knew that just making a game once per year would not pay the bills forever and I also knew that I could help other developers with the process and my experience in art and design. It wasn’t the easiest process to go through, but in the end I think it was definitely for the best! Most if not all of the developers that I work with can say that they’ve had a good experience working with me.

DroidGamers: In the large mobile app stores, visibility is key to having a successful game - especially with an independent title. Publishing primarily with independent developers how do you, as a publisher, help developers with visibility, marketing, etc.

Josh: In regards to market, Crescent Moon has a pretty big following of players - and we cross promote all of the games with each other, through our website, social media and other means. We do have some good connections in the industry having been there so long, that help us get media coverage for each game, and features from Google.

DroidGamers: What are your thoughts on the growing subsection of Android-based microconsoles like the OUYA, Gamestick, etc.Ravensword: Shadowlands is already on the OUYA, but is there a chance that we will see more Cresent Moon titles on platforms like that?

Josh: Its interesting. I wonder where it will go. Ravensword wasn’t as successful on the Ouya as we had hoped - but I think what will be telling will be after Christmas is over, to see if the Ouya has really survived as a platform and if the system it uses really works. I am a bit skeptical on the demo approach. For the players - its a good thing, they can try out the demo, and if they don’t like it, they don’t need to purchase it. However, if you think about it - most purchases on mobile are probably impulse buys. This removes that possibility. Its kind of sad to think of it this way, but that’s the way that most developers make money in this industry. Removing the possibility of an impulse buy greatly decreases the chances that someone will actually buy your game.

DroidGamers: What does the future of Crescent Games hold? New games, the Forest Moon label, new projects?

Josh: We have a ton of games coming out. Probably 4–5 games, and more by the end of the year.

We'd like to thank Josh Presseisen for taking the time out of his busy schedule to sit down with us and do this interview. If you have any questions for Josh, you can usually get in touch with him over on our forums where he posts about his new games when they are released and offers up support.

Phonejoy Play – An interview with Martin Kessler and their new controller

This past January, the young Hong Kong-based startup, Phonejoy, publicly displayed their first Kickstarter project, the Phonejoy Play, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Frustrated by the lack of adequate Android gaming hardware, the duo of Martin and Alex founded Phonejoy in 2011 and set out to create the best gamepad for Android devices. In doing so, they created the original Phonejoy (or Phonejoy Analog), a Bluetooth controller for Android devices. Executing on what others had failed to do at the time.

Where’s your “thermonuclear war” now, Apple? – Larry Page on Android, Apple, driverless cars and secret experiments

google ceo larry page

You’ve got to hand it to geniuses like Larry Page, one third of the so-called Google triumvirate, who is currently the company’s Chief Executive Officer. Fifteen odd years after co-founding what is now the world’s biggest search engine — and picking up a few tech assets along the way — Page sat down with Wired for an interview, in which Steven Levy picked his brain for his thoughts and opinions on a handful of matters.

Autonomous cars, augmented reality and shooting for the moon

First among these is about Google X Lab, which is Google’s secretive skunkworks laboratory, and which the company uses for research and development, and which have produced some of the more interesting technologies the company has been experimenting with, such as Project Glass and the Driverless Car.

Google is shooting for the moon with some of these projects, but Page says such moon-shot projects are important to innovation. Unlike some companies such as Apple, which seem to be focusing on a very small number of things (which is not altogether bad, Page says, since it’s working well for the very profitable Cupertino company), Google wants to spend its resources on solving a lot of problems. “We have all this money, we have all these people, why aren’t we doing more stuff?” Page asks.

The Google co-founder is not worried about wasting his time on trivial efforts that people might say will involve spending too much money on “crazy things.” For instance, some of the mainstream and established technologies today have been products of these pursuits. “But those are now the things they’re most excited about—YouTube, Chrome, Android. If you’re not doing some things that are crazy, then you’re doing the wrong things.”

Of course, Google is not only spending time on the outliers and on the seemingly crazy tech that people might end up taking for granted five or ten years from now. There are always the mundane tasks like trying to implement a consistent look and feel for Google’s core products like Chrome, Search or Gmail, as well as integrating the user experience when you have dozens and dozens of ways to share a single piece of information. “A great deal of my effort is spent making sure that we have a great user experience across our core products,” Page has stressed.

On Android

Perhaps the more exciting part of the interview with Page would involve his thoughts on the smartphone ecosystem and the “thermonuclear war” that Steve Jobs promised that his company would wage against Android, which the late ex-CEO called a “copycat product.”

“How well is that working?” Page asked, referring to whether Apple had been successful in its attempts so far to fight against Android head-on. Recall that Apple waged legal battles against major Android smartphone manufacturers, and even won a landmark billion dollar case against Samsung for patent infringement. Other cases are ongoing, although Apple has been able to reach a compromise with some companies like HTC.

However, Samsung is now winning the war. It’s not exactly in the legal arena where Apple brought the game, but in the market, where Samsung has trounced its competition, with Android leaving the iPhone in the dust in sales and market share.

It was not always all fun with Android, though. When Google acquired the mobile startup sometime in 2005, there was uncertainty whether the product would fly. But what was certain was that “existing mobile operating systems were terrible.” Google stood its ground, and found success several years after. “I don’t think that betting on Android was that big a stretch. You just had to have the conviction to make a long-term investment and to believe that things could be a lot better.”

Page even found time to (unintentionally) rub some salt in Apple’s wounds, recalling the recent iOS 6 Maps kerfuffle. While the Google CEO was careful not to comment on partner relationships, he stressed that when iPhone users lost Google Maps functionality, they started appreciating it even more. “[W]e’ve been working on Maps for a long time, and it’s nice to see people realize that we’ve put a lot of effort and investment into it. That’s clearly more appreciated now.”

Apart from moon-shot projects, Android vs. iPhone and secret skunkworks facilities, Page shared insights on other issues like Motorola Mobility’s independence, Google’s employee count and the company’s weekly TGIF meetings (which are actually held Thursdays). Check out the source link for the Wired interview. Given that you’re probably already an Android fan, you might already be familiar with much of the platform’s history and recent news. But this will be a good read nonetheless, especially if you like the thought of sci-fi ideas coming to reality. Anyone interested in artificial brains?

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Nokia CEO Stephen Elop might pee pants, launch Android phone

A couple years ago, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said they wouldn’t use Android because it was like being a Finnish boy that pees in his pants to stay warm throughout the winter. The latest rumors suggest the company might do exactly that and now further speculation is being made based on a comment Elop made himself that apparently leave the Android door open (and zipper down?).

“In the current ecosystem wars we are using Windows Phone as our weapon. But we are always thinking about what’s coming next, what will be the role of HTML 5, Android… Today we are committed and satisfied with Microsoft, but anything is possible.”

It was one of our 12 predictions for Android in 2013: Nokia ends Microsoft partnership and embraces Android. Sure it sounded like a long shot — what with Nokia CEO Stephen Elop’s harsh words about the Android platform. But it seems lackluster sales and a not-so-bright future could signal the end of their exclusivity agreement with Microsoft.

Nokia’s sword is definitely getting duller and turning to Android may be their last hope at giving the company their edge back. The Nokia 920 running stock Android 4.2 Jelly Bean is a mighty fine proposition and Android could always use another player entering the market. It’s no fun having Samsung dominate the industry.

Naysayers will point to the comment and say a Nokia Android phone is hogwash, claiming a high profile company exec needs to maintain neutrality to some degree; playing it safe is a classic PR move. That luxury would normally be granted, but when you’ve likened an operating system to pants peeing, and then later to decry said pants peeing platform, you’ve got to wonder if that Microsoft Gerber 8 did something to baby Nokia’s belly.

If Stephen Elop and Nokia do enter the Android space, I’ll welcome them with open arms. After all, I am a huge Billy Madison fan:

And if peeing in your pants is cool… I hope to consider Nokia as Miles Davis.

[via WinSource]

Developer interview: Juha Huttenen of Grafetee

Smartphones have found their use in just about any application today, and crime-fighting is just one of them. Straight from Finland (the hometown of Nokia), the developers of Grafetee have developed a system through which users can explore and collaborate based on their localities. Currently, citizens and authorities from Finland have found a very effective way of fighting crime through the app.

Grafetee allows users to explore, discover and bookmark events, places and locations that they can then share with friends. The app is so handy even the police in Finland are using it.

Grafetee’s development is actually funded by the Finnish government, and it’s interesting to learn how this kind of app can help solve problems and find solutions elsewhere. The app is now available on both iOS and Android platforms as free downloads. We caught up with Juha Huttunen, CEO at Grafetee, and got his insights on the app and its practical functionalities.

What’s the background?

The background for Grafetee is that we wanted to have an app that would enable people to find all kinds of interesting content near their location and bookmark places they need to later find. Me and Arttu were both finding a new apartment and were quite frustrated that there was no easy way to collect all the open houses you wanted to your phone so that you’d have them with you when needed. Thus we built one.

From business perspective we wanted to create a platform that would enable organizations to mobilize their location based data for consumers to view either through the Grafetee mobile app or our customizable website or even crowdsource location based data as the Finnish Police is doing with Grafetee. We had done some small testing earlier but started building this for real in early April this year. The summer we spent piloting the app in Finland with some local partners like the Police and now are launching Grafetee internationally.

Our goal is that Grafetee would be the app many if not most businesses use to broadcast their location specific data and the platform of choice to crowdsource location speficic data. Likewise we aim it to be the go to app for consumers wanting to find interesting things near their location.

We just released a minute long video on Friday showing what you can do with the app. It’s on our site and also on YouTube. That pretty well also shows the things we think make Grafetee unique among many other location based apps.

Can you tell me what makes your app unique?

Even though there is a location based chat or bulletin board in Grafetee the things that sets us apart from the others are:

1. Viewing third party content around you.

At the moment these include e.g. Wikipedia, Foursquare, Yelp, Flickr and Instagram but we can add new content very quickly when ever we or our users come across something interesting. We have some local data sources as well like e.g. UK real estate, Finnish real estate, Finnish local reviews, Finnish lunch lists and so on that are only visible to users in their relevant areas.

In a way you can think this as an RSS reader that just reads stuff related to real world locations around you rather than web articles. It’s intended to help you discover your surroundings when e.g. in a new city. A few of our users have said that Grafetee is by far the best travel guide to a new city even though Grafetee is not really a travel guide app as such.

2. Bookmarking locations from any website to your phone without the need to register with our bookmarklet.

The user can create their own feeds and collect places from any website for later use and share easily with friends (directly from your phone’s contact list rather than Facebook integration etc.). Combined with the data from point one above this makes for some interesting use cases. I’ve written two examples (mostly pictures) of using the private feeds which you can download here: for real estate (PDF) and for travel (PDF).

We also offer an “Add to Grafetee” button for websites allowing their users to bookmark their locations with a single click on the site (more here, it is simply a few rows of javascript embedded to a site). That makes the described use cases even more powerful.

Our first partner to use this is the biggest real estate site in Finland. We’d love to get more similar partners especially in the US and the UK. With our bookmarklet the user can achieve the same on any site though, the button just makes it a bit easier. The bookmarklet does automatically get most content and location right from sites as TripAdvisor, Trulia, Zillow, Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com and many others, so it is pretty great feature even without the button.

3. Grafetee is also an easy platform for any organization that either wants to broadcast location based data or crowdsource it.

A few examples of this (in addition to the global feeds we have like Wikipedia etc.) are the Finnish Police and a local startup here in Helsinki. The Police wants to crowdsource tips from the public related to security. Thus we created a service for them in a matter of hours using Grafetee. It’s called Lähivinkki (in Finnish unfortunately). Now they have that website where people leave the tips and in the mobile it is one feed in Grafetee. They just launched it nationally and are talking about it next week in an international event to other police forces.

We also did a similar thing to a local startup who wanted to launch their own location based service for buying and selling services and used goods. Instead of using months to develop software they asked us for help after seeing the Police service in action. We created the service for the startup using Grafetee and did it in two days most of which was graphics work, i.e. designing their website. The service is yet to be launched so I can’t yet point you to it, they will launch it in Finland first late this month and later go international.

Grafetee is also used by e.g. a local school district here in Helsinki. They are piloting location based teaching methods with Grafetee. It is a very flexible platform for anyone interested in broadcasting or crowdsourcing location based data in any field or business.

Check out some screenshots below. Grafetee is a free download on Google Play, and also works on iOS devices.

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    Android Authority Developer Interviews: Moborobo

    developer-interviews-moborobo

    You might know Moborobo as an all-in-one Android management tool for PCs and Macs. Moborobo aims to offer a simple way to sync and manage your device from your computer, just like iTunes does for iOS devices.

    We’ve sat down with Frank Chen, the CEO of Moborobo Inc, and discussed about Android in general and developing for Android in particular. Check out our latest developer interview below.

    Tell us about your team and how you got into Android app development.

    Our team consists of a combination of experienced industry professionals and young college graduates with open-minded, innovative thinking capability. The mixture offers a strong baseline to support the creation of next generation of ideas that are useful for the users.

    We had always been very interested in smartphones and were awed by the new breakthrough when the iPhone debuted. In 2009, when the Linux-based Android system came into the market, we soon realized its great potential due to its open platform. We then realized that one important thing Android lacked is the official desktop management tool. iOS has iTunes, while the Windows Phones have Zune, but Android has nothing besides a bunch of PC suites provided by different phone manufacturers.

    Many Android users claim that they are quite satisfied with what Google provides, such as backing up contacts and everything else on Android “over the air”, through use of Google services and applications like Titanium Backup. However, these utilities either require users to have a good knowledge of their Android phones and Google services, or require users to root their phones to use them, making it hard for new Android subscribers to access and use.

    To make things easier for new Android users to get started, we decided to develop an Android management tool that would allow Android subscribers to easily manage and backup everything on their Android phone, download everything they may ever need, and most importantly, a tool that is free to use.

    What apps are you currently working on? Which are the most popular?

    Along with our flagship product, Moborobo, the Android PC manager, we are currently working on a few various Android applications, such as Mobo Launcher – an Android home replacement application; Mobo Daemon – an application that lets you connect your Android to your PC through WiFi; and Mobo Market – a mobile market application that allows you to download games & apps from the Moborobo download center.

    Our most popular application at the current time would be Moborobo, the Android PC manager. Apart from the traditional media/file management and backup/restore features, Moborobo integrates complete application control, including app downloads, installation, removal and updates, and complete data management, with access to calls, messages, call logs, the ability to send SMS from computer desktops, live streaming, and screenshot captures for Android devices. Meanwhile, Moborobo also supports iOS devices, and allows users to transfer contacts and texts from an iOS device to Android and vice versa.  You can download a copy of Moborobo 2.0 at moborobo.com, and it is 100% free to use.

    Moborobo Team

    The Moborobo team

    What inspired you to create your apps? 

    When our team acquired our first Android device, we found it was quite complicated, with too many options and settings that we were not familiar with. Creating contact backups, managing applications, and transferring media to PC were very difficult during the first few days. We learned from the internet that we needed to use several applications to handle these operations, while some even required rooting the phone. To a new subscriber who just learned how to download Apps from Google Market, these things were too hard to access and use.

    Surely others must have experienced the same problems as we had. We realized the importance of a simple-to-use desktop management tool. After some discussion within our team, the prototype of Moborobo gradually appeared in our mind: an all-in-one PC program that integrates all the essential needs of an Android user:  game/app downloads, backing up contacts, and file management and transfers.  After that, we got to work, and now we have Moborobo 2.0. That’s how it all started.

    What are you planning to work on in the future?

    We are planning to expand our download center, building the Moborobo download center into a comprehensive resource market where users can find everything they need for their Android device. It will feature things like applications, games, videos, music, ringtones and themes. Meanwhile, we are keeping on improving the push and recommend system to offer the most relevant content to fit your lifestyle and interests.

    We are looking for partners to help provide this content to the users, and we are planning to offer a well-integrated platform to Android developers to share and distribute their products, as well as gain feedback from the users. We aim to grow Moborobo into a new distribution channel to reach out to the vast number of Android users.

    In addition, our mobile resource market application will be completed very soon, giving users more convenience when downloading applications, themes, and wallpapers from their mobile phones. We believe that this mobile resource market application will be a strong complement to the Moborobo download center.

    Moborobo Daemon

    How do you monetize your apps?

    Advertising, paid app downloads, and revenue share with in-app/game purchase are the three main sources of revenues right now. We are actively exploring opportunities in other value-added services as well.

    Did you consider developing for iOS, WP, or other platforms?

    Yes, we do support iOS currently. We offer some basic features, like contact data management and the ability to transfer their contact data between iOS and Android.

    We are still working on other features, such as media manager, and resource downloads. But due to the restraints and regulations by Apple, this process is moving a little slower than we’d like. We would like to ask our iOS users to be patient and stay tuned for the release of Moborobo on iOS.

    We are still considering whether to add WP to Moborobo, and are following the number of users of WP in the market.

    What are the biggest challenges and rewards that you encountered as an Android developer?

    One of the biggest challenges we encountered was the diversity of Android systems. Google didn’t provide a common standard for the Android operating system that each phone manufacturer should follow. Different brands, even different models within the same brand, have some tiny differences. This makes it hard to attend to all the users with their unique issues. We have produced various tutorials on our website to guide users in using Moborobo more effectively.

    It’s really rewarding to see that people are actually using our products and support our work. One of the most rewarding things about developing applications is to have users like your work.

    I’ve even heard from some of our users that Moborobo is changing the way they would normally use their Android device! Yes, we are!

    Moborobo Office

    The team’s offices

    What do you love and what do you hate about Android?

    We really love the openness and flexibility of the Android system. It really offers great opportunities for app developers and platform developers. However, the same openness creates fragmentation, which makes it hard for one to come up with apps that work for all the phone models.  But we are still trying very hard to support as many phones as possible and resolve the issues encountered for each phone. I would like to ask our users to help us to improve Moborobo, and we welcome any suggestions and feedbacks our users may have.

    Before we developed Moborobo, the one thing I used to hate about Android is the absence of an official desktop management tool. But now that we have come up with the solution, I do not hate it anymore. (laughter)

    What are the areas where you think Google should improve?

    I think Google has done an incredible job catching up and overtaking iOS for the number position in the smartphone market.  Its openness has provided great business opportunities to many small developers such as us. Unfortunately, it also creates a lot of fragmentation. It will be interesting to see how Google will resolve this issue, as well as how Google plans to work in the tablet market against the iPad. We will be watching closely, and try to help Google in any small way we can and profit from it at the same time. (laughter)

    What are the most exciting things you are looking forward to about working in Android development?

    By using Android devices, we were able to identify some issues that caused inconveniences to us, and these issues fostered ideas that provide the next business opportunity.  And there are always new ideas waiting to be discovered and turned into new business ventures. Moborobo is such a creation. The idea of cross-platform contact data transfer between Android and iOS system was brought to us by a friend who was switching from Android to iPhone. The app data backup feature was inspired by one of our team members who didn’t want to lose all his games saved when he planned to switch to a new Android phone. To see these ideas and concepts come true and get accepted by our users is the most exciting thing that we are looking forward to.

    What advice would you give to would-be Android developers?

    The one piece of advice that I would give to Android developers is “Just do it!” Don’t wait around! If you have a good idea, write it down and work to make it a reality. In this field, no idea is a bad idea. it’s just a matter of hard work, good timing and a little bit of luck.

    Our team is working on a platform within our software to offer a place where users and developers can come together and share ideas and applications. We welcome all developers to come along and share with the community.

    What’s your favorite Android device, and what are your favorite apps for Android?

    My favorite device would be the Samsung Galaxy Note, with the extra large screen. I really enjoy it and can’t go anywhere without it! In terms of my favorite applications, I have so many, but the ones that tops the lists are Dropbox, Viber, Mobo Launcher, Fruit Ninja, Swype, and Mobo Player.


    This article, Android Authority Developer Interviews: Moborobo , was originally published at AndroidAuthority.com - Your Android News Source.


    Android Authority On Air – Episode 23 – Live with Chameleon

    This week, we dig into Android’s latest launcher, Chameleon, along with this week’s special guest Phill, from their development team.  Screen real estate, widgets, and home screens based on a context system make Chameleon extremely powerful. Chameleon, now in private beta, will soon be launching an SDK system to allow developers from all walks of life to create additional widgets.  Don’t worry Kickstarter backers, you’ll be getting your invites in the next few days. Chameleon has a lot of potential and they keep adding functionality. Keep an eye on this application, it’s going to get better.

    Google’s Wallet grows up, allows any major credit card to be added. Google adds additional security features which make Wallet extremely enticing. The Nexus Q goes free to those that pre-ordered, the rest of us will have to wait while Google figures out exactly what they want to do with the Q. They plan on adding more functionality, which is great news. Next up, Verizon gets a slap on the wrist resulting in tethering changes. This is a good thing. Users can now download tethering apps directly from the Google Play store and bypass the $20/month fee. Thanks FCC. Sadly, a bunch of old Snapdragon phones won’t be getting CM9 or CM10. They’ll have to settle for Cm7.2 or non-CM ICS/JB ports in the future.

    Miss the show? Tune in or watch below:

    YouTube
    SoundCloud
    Stitcher
    iTunes
    RSS

    Links:

    Google Wallet can now add any credit card or debit card
    Nexus Q launch delayed, more functionality on the way
    Samsung releases rejected trial evidence, infuriates Judge Koh
    FCC tells Verizon to pay $1.25 million and unblock tethering apps
    No updates past CM 7.2 for Nexus One, HTC Desire, Legend, Xperia X10 and others
    ICS on 16% of all Android devices, Jelly Bean at 0.8%


    This article, Android Authority On Air – Episode 23 – Live with Chameleon , was originally published at AndroidAuthority.com - Your Android News Source.


    Exclusive interview: Gabor Vida from Teknision talks about Chameleon, developing for Android, and user experience

    gabor vida teknision

    Chameleon, the innovative Android launcher developed by Teknision (creators of the Blackberry PlayBook UI), made quite a stir in the Android community. The intelligent overlay promises to change the way we use our devices, by offering ”a better home screen for your Android tablet, designed to fit your lifestyle”. The project got successfully funded on Kickstarter (after some misadventures) and is currently in beta stage. In fact, if you backed Chameleon on Kickstarter, you should soon receive your invitation for the beta test.

    We sat down with Gabor Vida, President of Teknision, to discuss about Chameleon, Kickstarter, and user interfaces. Check out the interview below. In addition, our resident Hangout host Derek Ross will be talking with Phillipp Motuzas, a developer working on Chameleon, during our Android Authority On Air Hangout show. Make sure to check our Google Plus page tonight at  9:30pm EDT and prepare your questions!

    Tell us a little about yourself and Teknision – how did you get into UI design?

    Teknision started in 2001 in response to the growing demand for more engaging and interactive web site experiences. We were an early adopter of Adobe Flash, often creating experiences based on technologies still in beta. I think it was the move from marketing driven experiences to application development that made the transformative change in Teknision. It was a time when you had two different kinds of designers – the academic and the artist. We were a fusion of both. From the very beginning we believed that the user experience is the embodiment of the brand, which means that marketing and usability both have to be in harmony.

    At Teknision, you’ve worked with companies like RIM, Intel, Sony, or Adobe. How important is UX for these technology giants? What are some trends you noticed in this area?

    UX has definitely taken the center stage. The move to mobile as the dominant computing experience – over the desktop – has fuelled the need for UX talent. From the application perspective, we now have a glut of mobile applications and the successful ones are the ones who provide valuable functionality with a compelling user experience. The focus on UX is even more important from a hardware perspective. Consumers don’t really care about performance specs anymore and most devices are practically the same. The only real difference is the user experience.

    People are excited about Chameleon! How long did it take you and your team to get to the beta stage?

    Chameleon has been in production in one form or another for the last 9 months and we are really excited to see it get to the beta stage. It started as a technology prototype for Texas Instruments and was met with so much acclaim that we decided to make a product out of it. Since then we have had a dedicated team working on making the best product we can.

    What is the philosophy behind Chameleon?

    The philosophy behind Chameleon is twofold.

    First, Android homescreens are a great idea but poorly executed. A homescreen should be a digest of the information you are interested in. For example, how often do you pick up your tablet and check your email, social feeds and news? Often you do all three. However, you do so by launching individual applications one at a time. The information you are looking for should be on your homescreen instead of being accessible only through an application. Chameleon makes it easy to create multiple homescreens each with multiple widgets that give you the information you are looking for.

    Second, your information needs change depending on your context. Chameleon’s context engine makes it easy to automatically display the proper homescreen at the right place and time. For example, you may have a different homescreen for weekday mornings, work, weekday evenings, weekends, vacation. Chameleon can automatically change your homescreen depending on your needs.

    When will it be released to the public? When do you think you will support smartphones and more tablet form factors?

    We are planning for a September 1 release. So far, it looks good but this month will be dedicated to getting it out to our early backers and extensive beta testing. Chameleon is already designed to support as many tablet form factors as possible. Unfortunately, due to the incredibly large variety of Android tablets, we couldn’t test it on every tablet, but it should work on the vast majority. As for smartphones, we have a roadmap for the smartphone version, but no firm release date yet.

    Why did you choose Kickstarter and how would you characterize your experience with crowdfunding?

    We chose Kickstarter because of the huge and unique audience it has. People on Kickstarter are actively looking for new products and are willing to pay to pre-order them. Kickstarter has been an incredible experience. Obviously, the sales we made were great but the press attention and connection to the Android community has been almost overwhelming. I would suggest crowdfunding to anyone. The biggest word of advice I could give is to focus on communication. We updated our backers often and they have been very appreciative. When you pre-order something based on a great demo, it goes a long way to actually see it in development to build faith in the product.

    Why would consumers want to give Chameleon their time and screen real estate?

    Every Android tablet has a homescreen. You may as well make it the best one.

    What are the biggest challenges you are facing in the development of Chameleon?

    I think we are finding the typical challenges of software development: performance testing, usability testing, hardware testing, trying to make deadlines, staying in contact with the community and customer support. The hardest part for us is that we are doing all of this with a very small team. It’s been a lot of late nights!

    Smart Agents is a very exciting concept – tell us more about it.

    Smart Agents are the next iteration of the context engine. We plan on adding more and more contexts so that Chameleon can respond intelligently. Currently, we have homescreen based contexts of time and location. We will be adding more homescreen based context and the long range roadmap includes making widgets themselves contextually aware and be able to talk to each other.

    What is your favorite mobile platform and which platform do you think is the “best” in terms of UI?

    It’s really hard to pick a favorite. As a designer, I come from the Apple world and still think that the simplicity of iOS is the key to its success. Trust me, anyone can make something complicated but it’s really hard to make something simple. The PlayBook is my baby because we designed the OS. However, creating Chameleon has shown us the vast potential of Android. Going forward, I think that Android will be the source of the most innovation in both UX and technologies.

    What do you think about Android 4.1 Jelly Bean in terms of UI? What are the areas you think Google could improve?

    I think it’s a great step forward, but I think that Google still has a lot of room for refinement. The Jelly Bean UX is still more complicated than it has to be.


    This article, Exclusive interview: Gabor Vida from Teknision talks about Chameleon, developing for Android, and user experience , was originally published at AndroidAuthority.com - Your Android News Source.