Thursday, December 8, 2011

App Development In The Classroom

Technology and the classroom, have come a long way. Now one school is offering a class on how to develop applications. You may think that I’m referring to a college course, although this is for high school students. There is a high school in Winchester, MA (Winchester High School) that is offering a class on Android app development. The name of the class is Designing Applications (Apps) for Android.

With Android being open sourced it has fewer design and publishing restrictions than Apple, therefore making it a more accessible tool for an educational course. Teacher Daniel Downs knows the future of technology is now and that future is in mobile devices, both in cellular phones and tablets.

Daniel Downs has created an educational curriculum that challenges the pupil in design, implementation, and the testing process of application development. Therefore enabling the student to have an immediate use of the app, Downs has chosen to use the software programs such as Adobe Flash CS5, Accelerometer, Java, Phone Gap and Google App Inventor Tools. These programs were chose because of their interactive educational value. 

These programs or tools are a part of hypermedia, as opposed to multimedia. Thus enabling a greater interactive learning process. Since the inception of this class, Designing Applications for Android, 32 original children’s applications have been designed and published, including Healthy Helper, The Adventures of Piggly Wiggly and Spooky Shapes to name a few.

Students are currently developing an app to replace the school’s paper agenda planners. Once finished, this app will enable each student to type their homework under digital touch-sensitive buttons that is connected to each teacher’s website. This is such a great accomplishment for these students and their teacher. We will see more schools follow their lead? What do you think?


Last week we heard numerous reports regarding the software known as Carrier IQ. What is Carrier IQ? Carrier IQ is a diagnostic software that is used by U.S. phone networks to monitor phone usage. There are some although, that worry that maybe it monitors them too much. Is this Carrier IQ as evil as everyone is making it out to be? A security expert last week demonstrated the app reading text messages and monitoring web browsing activity and transmitting the data to Carrier IQ.

Carrier IQ has denied this and says that the software was just designed for “diagnostics”. They even went as far as to release the following statement:

“A few individual’s have identified that there is a great deal of information available to the Carrier IQ software inside the handset, our software doesn’t record, store or transmit the contents of SMS messages, email, photographs, audio or video”, a company spokesperson said. “For example, we understand whether an SMS was sent accurately, but do not record or transmit the content of the SMS. We know which applications are draining your battery, but do not capture the screen.”   

I know see why some have become alarmed regarding this little sinister app. However rest assured there is a little light at the end of the tunnel. Now Android users can install the Carrier IQ Detector app, which is made freely available. Upon running this app it will instantly inform you if you have the Carrier IQ app on your handset or tablet. This app although, does what it says, detects. It will NOT uninstall Carrier IQ.

Carrier IQ has been placed deep within the firmware of the device, it is nearly impossible to remove. The Carrier IQ Detector app was developed for non technical users to determine if their device has been affected by this software. Of all the handsets and tablets in the U.S., how many devices is it on? All of the major carriers use it. Is it on your phone or tablet?


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

10 Billion Downloads And $.10 Apps


The Android Marketplace reached a major milestone, they surpassed 10 billion downloads.  This is an amazing feat, so to coincide with this accomplishment; Google has partnered with some of the app developers and are offering some apps for $.10. Yes, $10. Cents, for a limited time though.

Starting today 12/06/2011 they have made the following apps available for this amazing price. These apps include:

 Asphalt 6 HD

Color & Draw For Kids

Endomondo Sports Tracker Pro

FieldRunners HD

Great Little War Game


Paper Camera

Sketchbook Mobile

Soundhound Infinity

Swiftkey X

What are you waiting for? Head on over to the Android Marketplace now and get some great apps for only $.10 cents. You can access the market on your favorite Android device or on your PC at  Remember this is a 10 day event to coincide with this amazing feat. Check the market for the next 10 days for some great apps!


One Million Apps: It’s A Wonderful App World

We will hit a milestone this week, 1 million apps for the smartphone and tablet markets. Among the four major platforms, Apple, Android, RIM and Microsoft, there are almost 1 million apps available to date. This is truly an amazing accomplishment considering the rapid growth of the smartphones and tablets. Sure you could go to the App Store, Android Marketplace, RIM’s App World or Windows Marketplace to purchase a number of apps in numerous categories, but why would you? All of these apps are available in one place,

The company Mobilewalla, a search, discovery and analytics engine that tracks apps in real time has made this discovery. They are the ones who have provided this information. As of yesterday among the top 4 platforms there were 989,476 apps available. About 2,000 apps a day hit their “markets”, this number has always increased in number in December due to the holiday rush. In the last 12 months Apple apps grew from 338,000 to 589,148. Android’s numbers rose as well from 115,000 to 319,774. You can follow the million app milestone on Twitter at #millionmobileapps.

The app race began just 3 short years ago when Apple opened the App Store in 2008 and Google opened the Marketplace later that same year. Will the other’s catch up to Apple & Google? The downside of this is that a lot of developers have complained about a flooding of the app markets, with many apps being offered for free, making it harder to charger for others. This therefore hinders the development of great apps in the future.

Another problem is that some mobile users have become accustomed to the free apps and they just make do with the free apps. According to a report 38% of users don’t pay for apps. Out of that 38% I wonder if jailbroken and root users are included in these statistics? I know that I’m happier with my jailbroken iPod Touch and my rooted Droid, and wouldn’t have it any other way. What do you think?

Monday, December 5, 2011


For those of us who are, shall I say big Android geeks, the is a place that we’ve got to visit. It’s called Androidland. It’s located in Melbourne, Australia. Telstra, Australia’s leading telecommunications and information company has teamed up with Google to open up a Android retail store. Could this be a challenge to Apple’s retail store dominance? Will there be more stores like this around the world in the future?

This Androidland was opened by both Telstra and Google to showcase the Android OS on both the smartphone and the tablet. It has a huge 154 square feet of space, that displays interactive technology, games and on site experts to explain the features on the Android OS. Just in time for ICS (Ice Cream Sandwhich).

This retail store was also opened up because of the high demand and the high popularity of the Android OS. Consumers can have a hands on approach to Android. Visitors to Androidland can get advice from Android experts on how to set up their devices, smartphones and tablets. Do you need recommendations on which apps should you choose? Let the experts help with that as well.

There is also an interactive spaceship zone which let visitors pilot the Google Earth app on a giant screen, play Angry birds on an interactive screen, and create an Android avatar that can be printed or shared. If you are researching your next phone or tablet, this is the place to be. Not only did Telstra get help from Google, but they had collaboration from handset makers like Samsung, HTC, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and LG. This is definitely for the Android geek at heart. Pretty Cool! What do you think?


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