Google has unleashed a new tool for Android application creation cleverly named “App Inventor.” The new, web-based tool uses an MIT-created Open Block programming interface to provide easy visual queues to buttons, actions, and more. The new tool is designed to open Android programming to more people and be “simple to use, but also very powerful.” We’ve got Google’s video demo (albeit a short one) ready for you after the bounce. More →
i.TV, as we’re sure most iPhone owners out there are well aware, is the premier app for all things TV and Movie-related. Think if it as your one-stop-shop for TV programming schedules, community-sourced reviews, local movie schedules, ticket purchasing, streaming trailers, Netflix queue management and so on. Oh yeah, and it’s free. The company just announced a new upcoming version this morning, version 2.0, and it brings with it a bunch of exciting new stuff including:
- New, streamlined UI
- iTunes integration — Initiate available episode/movie/podcast purchases from within the app
- Push notifications — Push alerts for upcoming show reminders, new episodes, etc
- Introduction of the i.TV Remote Control Framework — New support for universal remotes. Devices can be connected via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or dock-connector. The new version currently supports TiVo HD and TiVO HD XL boxes but more devices are on the way.
We’ve been playing with the new version for a couple of weeks now and in short, it’s awesome. i.TV is pushing to become the beginning and end of all things entertainment and so far the company is doing a bang up job. Look for version 2.0 to pop up in the App Store soon (currently pending approval) and hit the jump for quick video overview of the new features.
Despite the fact that Symbian has gotten pretty gray up top over the past few years, it is still the world’s most popular smartphone operating system by a huge margin. S60 is incredibly capable and versatile, and Nokia has consistently pumped out solid hardware to carry it. That being said, it is hardly the most exciting mobile OS on the block these days and there are plenty of areas where S60 could use a solid adrenaline shot. Chris Woods of Mind-Flip, creator of the popular TextQuick app for S60 handsets, has targeted one such area and plans to use a bit of iPhone trickery in an effort to create a better user experience. We all know Apple can be a bit sneaky at times and one such example is the manner in which apps are launched. Mobile processors can only do so much in the age of the app, and finding a way to fill the time gap between launching an application and being able to use an application is something that Apple addressed well with the iPhone.
When the user taps an icon, the iPhone immediately zooms in to a JPEG that resembles the running application. While the handset is zooming in it is also launching the actual application in the background, the theory being that the app will be alive and ready to rock by the time the JPEG zoom animation is complete. Sure some apps take longer to load than others but by using this system, Apple is able to minimize the amount of time the user is staring at a screen while nothing is happening. S60 users are very familiar with this ’empty’ time – click on an app to launch it and more often than not you’ll be staring at a motionless display for 1-3+ seconds before anything at all happens. It will be interesting to follow Woods’ efforts as he attempts to apply this concept to S60 in a project dubbed Venus, as the Symbian OS is certainly not going to make this an easy task for him.