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Shop for Android apps with Amazon Appstore for Android

Amazon.com recently released it's latest Android application, the Amazon Appstore for Android. Along with Amazon's other free Android apps (Shopping, MP3, Kindle, IMDb Movies & TV, and Audible), you can now download/purchase Android apps right from Amazon's website.

The Amazon's Appstore for Android website
The Amazon's Appstore for Android website

Here's a quote from Amazon's site about the Amazon Appstore for Android:

"The Amazon Appstore for Android is a place where you can get a paid app for free every day, view app recommendations based on your past purchases from Amazon, and shop using Amazon's trusted payment technology. You can also test apps on a simulated Android phone using a feature called "Test Drive." You can shop from your computer, or directly on your phone or internet tablet."

To get started, you will need to download the Amazon Appstore for Android app and have an account on Amazon.com. For more information on the Amazon.com Appstore for Android app, click on the following links.

Appstore for Android

Detailed instructions for installing the Amazon Appstore for Android app

    Geek Note:
  • Amazon Appstore apps are currently only available in the United States.
  • Some apps require root-level permissions on your Android device to work. Download these apps only if you know your Android device is rooted (allowing root access to the Android operating system).

Google opens web based Android Market

The one thing I love about my Android-based smartphone is the availability of applications for it. And finding and installing Android applications just got easier. Google has recently opened a web-based version of the Android Market.

The Google Android Market website homepage
The Google Android Market website homepage

The website is clean and easy to navigate, with clearly marked tabs. I found the amount of applications to be the most available for Android based hardware anywhere. I found quite a few that I had never seen on the Verizon version of the Android Market application.

A typical application category list
A typical application category list

I browsed through a few categories and found an application to download. Remember that you have to be signed in to your g-mail account associated with your phone to install any applications. I clicked on install and got the following prompt asking for the installation location. I selected my phone and clicked install.

Android Market application installation screen
Android Market application installation screen

I got a confirmation that the app would be downloaded to my Android.

Android Market download confirmation screen
Android Market download confirmation screen

I checked my phone and sure enough, on the status bar on top was an icon indicating an app had been installed. A quick check confirmed the installation of the application.

This is, by far, the easiest way to find and install Android applications I have found to date. Hands down the best! If you have an Android powered device, I highly recommend you go over to Google Play and take a look around.

Android 2.2 (Froyo) OS Update

I got a notice on my Motorola Android phone the other day, telling me that the Android OS 2.2 (Froyo) update was ready for download. I backed up my Android, disconnected the USB cord from my pc, and started the update.

Android 2.2 OS Update
Home Screens for both Android 2.1 and Android 2.2

The first noticeable change is on the Home screen. The Home screen now has dedicated shortcuts for Phone, Launcher, and Browser. On either side of the Shortcuts are Home Screen tabs, which make switching between the five different panels and knowing which one you're viewing a breeze.

The Browser has been enhanced using a new rendering engine, V8, which enables faster loading of JavaScript heavy pages. The ability to play Flash videos is apparently on its way.

The Camera and Gallery got a makeover too. There are now onscreen buttons for controlling zoom, flash, focus, exposure, white balance, and geo-tagging. The Camcorder now uses the LED flash to record video in low light or at night.

A new feature is the ability to tether the 3G connection using the USB cable. On some Android models, like the Nexus One, you can also create a portable WlFi hotspot. There may be additional fees for these services, so it's best to contact your service provider for more details.

The support for Exchange has also been upgraded. Remote wipe, Auto-discovery, and improved security are just a few of the changes.

There are changes under the hood too. Using Dalvik JIT, performance has been increased up 2x-5x for CPU heavy code. And Kernel Memory Management Boost improved memory reclaim performance by 20% for faster switching between applications.

Note:
I did have a couple of issues with existing applications on my phone. One I had to remove completely. Another, DejaOffice, had to be reinstalled, as it had an updated version for this platform (Android 2.2).

Update 8/20/2010: I recently had my Bluetooth headset die, and since writing this article have replaced it. I am happy to report that the voice-enabled dialing feature in this update does work.

Android Gallery 2.1 Force Close issue

I recently had an issue with the Gallery application on my Google Android 2.1. I would get an error message every time I started the Gallery app telling me, "Sorry! The application Gallery (process com.collliris.media) has stopped unexpectedly. Please try again.". Selecting 'Force Close' just put it into a loop. The only way to get out was to press the 'Return' key as the Galley app restarted.

I used SyncToy and backed up the contents of my Android. I then found several articles and tried a few of the suggestions. The following is the final process I went through to fix this issue:

  1. I mounted my Android to my PC via the USB cable, created a SyncToy backup, and copied the folder to another drive (I am going to modify the backup before restoring it, so I want a copy of the original backup)
  2. I umounted my Android from the PC.
  3. On my Android, I went to Settings>SD card and phone storage> and selected 'Unmount SD card'
  4. I then selected 'Format SD card'. Once reformatted, you will want to remount the SD card (my Android remounted the SD card automatically)
  5. In the backup on my PC, I deleted the contents of the \Android\data\com.cooliris.media and \DCIM\.thumbnails directories
  6. I then mounted the Android to my PC, recreated the folder pairing in SyncToy, and restored my data to the Android

After syncing my applications a couple of times, all of my settings were back. And now, the Gallery application works perfectly fine again.

Tether your Android's 3G to your pc with PdaNet

When I changed over to the Android, one of the functions I wanted was to use its 3G data connection with my netbook. I found this great program from June Fabrics Technology called PdaNet. It allows you to tether your Android's 3G without having to do any hacking.

PDA.net

Once the installation is complete on both PC and Android, you will find connecting to be easy. Just connect the USB cable from the Android to the PC, start the PdaNet app on your Android and then use the tray icon in Windows to connect. Here's a quote from their web site:

PDA.net has been one of the most popular software for Windows Mobile phones, Palm OS phones, and iPhones. It is now ported to the Android system! PdaNet provides you with FULL Internet access, so all your email, instant message programs will work without any setting changes. Supports both USB Tether and Bluetooth DUN.

PdaNet does NOT require root access or hacking your phone's firmware in order to work. It is just a regular Android application that works on all Android phones as-is. Tethering is fast, secure, and USB mode will also charge your phone at the same time. Your phone can either connect to 3G data, WiFi, or even through VPN, and PdaNet will share the connection with your computer.

If you are looking to connect to the internet on your computer through your smartphone, I recommend you go over to June Fabrics site and take a look at their line of PdaNet products. BTW: If you use Windows 7, you can create a WiFi hot spot with PdaNet and Virtual Router.

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