You will remember that the new Barnes & Noble eReader, NOOKcolor was rooted successfully earlier this month. The rooting method is not for the uninitiated and will require you to know a fair bit of command-line hacking. As we had noted, the rooted NOOKcolor was recently hacked to run Android 2.2.
Now, the developers working on this hack have gone one more step ahead and have ensured complete access to the Android marketplace over NOOKcolor. The steps required to enable this are quite complicated and you can read the instructions here. Nevertheless, do remember that this process is quite risky and unless you are absolutely sure, do not go ahead on this one.
That does not mean those who have tried should stop from letting us know on how the process works. As always, write to us in the comments below.
This is something that is likely to tick you off if you are an Android user. Google has announced a few significant changes to their Android marketplace. While most of the changes – like an increase in the size-cap of .APK files and the launch of a carousel on the market place home are positive changes, a new policy to restrict the refund window on paid apps is likely to irk many.
According to the latest update, Android users will now only get 15 minutes from the time of purchase to try an app before deciding to ask for a refund. This is drastically lower than the 24 hour window that existed until now. Why’s that? Eric Chu from the Android Developer Ecosystem explains,
“Since most users who request a refund do so within minutes of purchase, we will reduce the refund window on Market to 15 minutes. This change will be largely transparent to buyers, but will help developers manage their businesses more effectively.”
While a 24 hour window is agreeably too large for trying an app out, a 15 minute window does not help either. It makes sense to give the users at least an hour or two before shutting the refund window. What do you think?
Google is yet to launch an online Android store that will let you find and install Android apps from your computer without having to launch the market from your phone. That is coming soon though with some nice features like “Chrome to Phone” that will let you download apps directly from a Chrome browser already having been demoed by Google.
But till that happens, you can check out one of these four websites to help you in your Android app discovery efforts.
Androlib : This is one of the oldest online Android marketplaces. Every listed app also contains other details like ratings, download statistics and reviews. You can also directly point your Android phone at the QR code to start the download. Visit
AppBrain : This is yet another popular Android marketplaces on the internet. Apps are neatly categorized and also ranked based on their popularity over the past day, week or lifetime. There is also an Android app for AppBrain that is synced to the website. This way, you can bookmark the apps you need to download online and launch the AppBrain app to begin the download process. Visit
Cyrket : Cyrket is a more broad online marketplace in that you can find apps for both the Android as well as Palm platforms. The user interface is really simple and easy to use. Visit
AndroidZoom : This is one of the more recent launches and is pretty similar to the other marketplaces. In addition, the website will also mail the download link for the app to your email address so that you may click and install from your phone. Visit
Are there more online Android markets that you are aware of?
If you are on an Android phone, you will soon be able to pay for apps from your Paypal account. A leaked screenshot of an upcoming update to the Android publisher website shows a new ‘Enable Paypal Payments‘ option. What this option will do is to let Android phone users transfer money from their Paypal account to their Checkout in order to pay the app bills. No word on whether this is going to be optional or going to be enabled on all Android paid apps.
Either way, this is a very welcome addition to the Android marketplace. Google Checkout has not exactly done well and with Paypal, for all complaints over its high fees, has been one popular online payment gateway and its incorporation into the Android market should give users a good alternative channel to source money from for their app purchases.
Several users on Android discussion forums have been noticing a new update to their Android Market app that brings several new features to their Android 2.1 handset. The update primarily introduces features such as widgets that were hitherto a part of FroYo Android 2.2 to the Eclair crowd. Here are some reactions from users who have noticed it,
“There is a new market. Comments are now on a separate tab and you can rate comments too.”
“I have a Droid X and the Market updated to version 2.07 today. I had a theme which made the market graphics black and white and they have been restored to the normal green and multi-colored.”
“got the silent update on fascinate, phone had root and lag fix, everything works… including the widget.”
Apparently, not all Android 2.1 phones seem to have got the new update. Do you see it on your Android? If not, reboot and try again. Let us know in the comments.
Electronic Arts may have already own a few titles in the Android marketplace. But sure, they are not as conspicuous on the Android platform as they are on the iOS App Store. With Android gaining a lot of marketshare lately, it looks like EA may have finally woken up to Android. We hear that the popular Madden NFL 11 gaming application shall soon be making its way to the Android market. This comes directly from the company in a tweet posted recently.
Eric Brown, the CFO at Electronic Arts has also indicated that Android shall be the company’s new priority. In a talk at the Deutsche Bank Tech Conference held recently, Brown said,
“So I think there’s a lot to happen in the future in Android, and we’re trying to position our mobile business to take advantage of that trend. I think the next big positive wave to push better growth in mobile will be the deployment of an App Store equivalent for the Android operating system. We think long term … the Android market is going to take its share.”
I think it’s just a matter of time before all the other popular titles from EA make it to the Android marketplace.
eBay and Google are reported to be in talks over a possible integration of the Android app marketplace with Paypal’s payment processing system. The rumor, which both companies have not confirmed so far, will allow Android phone users to make app purchases using Paypal. At present, this is only possible over a credit card or Google’s payment processing system – Google Checkout.
Paypal is one of the leading online payment gateway systems that is however often criticized for its extraordinarily high charges on transaction fee. While many users would any day prefer a Paypal payment over possible direct credit card checkout (which can lead to possible wireless thefts), it is not clear how customers will view Paypal vis-a-vis Checkout in a Google-controlled environment. Also, it is not clear if Google stands to make a commission on every transaction made via Paypal over the Android marketplace.
This is not an official statement as yet. But from what I’ve heard, Netflix could be working on an Android app that shall be launching soon. According to a Reddit user named NFLX, the video rental and movie streaming company is actively hiring Android developers who shall be developing an Android version of their mobile application.
This makes sense. Netflix has not always been at the forefront of emerging technology. But the company has always ensured that their service is available on the most popular platforms. Only recently, we had the streaming service being made available on the iPad. Now, with Android overtaking iOS in the popularity charts, there is no wonder that Netflix is now seeking Android developers.
There is absolutely no word on the launch date or the price points, but it is likely that an announcement regarding this should be made at least by the fall of this year.
I recently wrote about the new Augen GenTouch78 Android tablet that the company was releasing on KMart at a price of $149.99. One of the interesting features about the 7-inches display tablet running Android 2.1 is the availability of the Android market app. Interesting because, this is an application that is yet to be publicly announced for any Android tablet computer.
It now appears that the company may have obtained the Android market app via an unauthorized vendor. In a statement made to LaptopMag, a Google spokesperson has indicated that their company has not licensed the Android market app to Augen and hence this could be technically illegal. The spokesperson has said,
“Augen included proprietary Google software in their product via an unauthorized vendor. Google only licenses its software to partners and OHA [Open Handset Alliance] members directly.”
It is worth noting that while the Android operating system is itself an open source software, the Android market app is not and only licensed partners are allowed to offer this application on their devices. LaptopMag points out that the fact that this is illegal could then explain an issue noticed with the use of the application on GenTouch78. The website points out that the Android market app only lets users search for apps though downloading was not possible.
It will be interesting to see how Augen’s retail partner KMart decides to proceed in this regard. Considering that incorporation of unlicensed software amounts to piracy, it is likely that KMart may choose to stop selling Augen GenTouch78. There is no statement from the company in that effect so far, though.
“Easy Root” – an easy one-click solution for users looking to root Android 2.2 on their Motorola Droid, Droid-X and Milestone has reportedly been removed from the Android Marketplace. While I have not been able to try the app out myself, the app presumably offers an easy way for non-techie users of these Android handsets to be able to root their Motorola phones. Unlike most other rooting applications, Easy Root does not require users to connect their handsets to a computer. Instead, they were required to download the $1 app from the Marketplace and tap ‘Root Me‘ to get started.
Interestingly though, it is Google and not the developer who has pulled the app from the marketplace. The reasoning is not exactly clear since rooting is now legal and hence Google – a company that extolls open source – should have no problem with letting a rooting application on their marketplace.
There are speculations though that the app may have been removed because it used Google’s open source for profit-making motives. A user on the Google support thread notes,
“I was told that the reason it was suspended is because it used googles source code and made a profit using the source code only which i actually think is against the EULA.”
While I cannot vouch for the credibility of the statements, that definitely appears to be a valid reason though. Will the developer relaunch this app as a free download? Possible. Let’s wait and watch.
PS : If you have a Droid X, then check out these two links for alternate rooting solutions.