Weekly News Round-up: What You May Have Missed in the World of Android

Usually I write these posts on Friday morning at about 3:30 a.m. The insomnia is brutal, but the quiet of the time is serene. Unfortunately, for the past couple of weeks I have broken my habit, and thus ended up scrambling to develop a late post or catch up. So commences, or ends, this week, and here’s the news:

  • The big battle, Oracle v. Google rages on in California. The first week is finished, and there’s nothing really shocking, except maybe maybe where Larry Page told the jury that Android wasn’t critical to Google. Um, “ex-squeeze me? Baking powder?” I beg to differ. While Android may not be central to Larry Page, I’m sure the developers and device manufacturers would disagree. Perhaps though, that signals an end to the development of Android. Which, according to this post, seems logical and relatively simple enough: Google gifts Android to Oracle, and screws leaves it to Amazon and device manufacturers to figure out the post-gift logistics.
  • By the way, if you’re still wondering what all the hustle and hub is about (Java) in the Oracle v. Google trial, you ought to check out this CNET post discussing the tech. You might also tour the evidence. It’s boring as all else, but if you have some free time, it’s fun to look at.
  • Something interesting to note for litigators from the Google trial is the makeup of the jury (via Wired): “The jury chosen for the trial is primarily composed of non-programmers, and prior to Page taking the stand, Judge Alsup once again described exactly what Oracle is challenging with its suit. Alsup explained that 37 Android APIs — ways for software to communicate with the operating system — are being challenged and that two of these 37 contain nine lines of code copied directly from Oracle’s copyrighted Java code. Oracle also says that there are two files within the same APIs where Google has lifted comments from its Java code.” This is an important tactical move that I think might favor Google, slightly. Having a less-tech sophisticated jury might make the 8 week trial as complex as a DNA hex code, but less likely to favor “heavy thinkers.” Litigators will want to take such practices into account. Early in my legal career, I once got burned by a jury because I thought a small business owner would be a perfect candidate to “see” my client’s position in an employment matter. Wrong! My star juror turned into the leader who led the jury to a 5 minute verdict against my client. Ouch. If anything, get away from matter-savvy jurors.
  • iHome, the popular audio accessory manufacturer for iOS entered the Android scene with its compact Android docking stations, the iC50 or iC3. I have one of these beauties from my iPod Touch days, and it’s fantastic. Sound quality is great, it’s compact, and it’s fashionable too. These accessories from iHome are sure to be hits with Android users too. You can order two of the devices from the iHome site for $59.99 or $39.99, or from Amazon (iC50 only for $49.99).
  • Google Drive could be coming as soon as next week according to this Mashable article and video.
  • Facebook 1.9 went live sometime between today and Friday. Aside from the fact that it took 2 restarts, a force close, and clearing the cache and data to get the app to work, it doesn’t seem much different than prior versions. I did notice a new camera feature that allows you to take photos and quickly share them on Facebook. Apparently there’s also some improvements for more messaging features and shortcuts, but I didn’t notice anything. If you want an in-depth look, check out this post on ZDNet.
  • I always like to customize my Android desktop. I’ve showed you my screens before, but this post talks about personalizing your dashboard with widgets. A word of caution though, widgets consume system resources and power, so use sparingly.
  • If you’re a mobile printer, you may be interested to know that Google Cloud Print allows you to print directly to FedEx Office. I like the Cloud Print service, occasionally sending documents from home to my office for printing. I don’t know how much I’d use the FedEx option, but having it available as a resource is fantastic.
  • Life of Android created their top 5 virtual assistant list. Vlingo is the only one on their list I can recommend, as it’s the only one that performs nearly perfect every time. However, you know my choice.
  • Android Central unboxed and played with the new Toshiba Excite tablets. The review is cool, though if you’re in the tablet market, read my recommendations.
  • Finally, if you’re struggling with your Android device, you may want to check out how to “modify” your device to get more from it.

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Jeff Taylor

I’m just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I’m also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.