Best budget smartphones

Even if you don’t see a device here with your name on it, they all prove the theory that you don’t need to spend top dollar to enjoy premium mobile features.

Nokia Lumia 710 (T-Mobile)

The $49.99 Nokia Lumia 710 is an excellent way to get the growing capabilities of a Windows Mango smartphone for a rock-bottom price. Though it isn’t an Android superphone with a luscious AMOLED display, it’s a practical device that covers all the mobile bases.


(Credit: Sarah Tew )

ZTE Warp (Boost Mobile)

The ZTE Warp offers a solid Android Gingerbread experience, rich call quality, and a conservative design, all for an affordable $199 on Boost Mobile’s prepaid, no-contract cellular service


(Credit: Josh Miller)

Pantech Pocket (AT&T)

An intriguing design, user-friendly take on Android, and a reliable camera make the Pantech Pocket an interesting choice for AT&T. It also has 4G HSPA+ speeds.


(Credit: Josh Miller)

HTC Wildfire S (Metro PCS)

The HTC Wildfire S is a beautifully built Android 2.3 Gingerbread handset with a decent 5-megapixel camera and lots of additional software features.


(Credit: Josh Miller)

Samsung Focus Flash (AT&T)

The Samsung Focus Flash offers excellent value for its modest price, with a zippy 1.4GHz processor, two cameras, and a vivid screen

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Android app store download reaches 10,00,00,00,000

To put it into perspective, the Android Market hit 1 billion downloads in July 2010 after launching in 2008, and later surpassed the 6 billion mark during July 2011.

Of course, one has to throw in the necessary comparison to iTunes. The Apple App Storereached 10 billion downloads as of January 2011 after launching in July 2008.

To celebrate and reward Android customers, Google will be making select paid apps available for 10 cents each. A new set of apps will be up for promotion each day for the next 10 days.

Make HTML5 mobile appS

It’s actually not hard. There are a number of companies that offer the ability to create your own app for a minimal fee, which is great for small businesses looking to stay relevant in this increasingly mobile world. Or if you just have a lot of time on your hands.

Take Conduit. The company made its money creating branded toolbars found on your browser. But over the past few months, it has been expanding into the mobile world with a free servicethat allows you to build an app and mobile Web site in minutes. It’s part of a planned shift by the company to build its consumer awareness after spending years serving other businesses in a white label capacity.

“We’re trying to give companies a tool to really go mobile,” said Ori Lavie, vice president of product strategy at Conduit Mobile. “It’s sometimes a difficult struggle.”

 

You can select how many categories, or tabs, you want on your app.

(Credit: Conduit)

 

I’ve tried the service, and it’s pretty simple to use. The best part: it’s completely free. Conduit has a team set up that will take you through the submission process and it will even pay your fee to get the app up in the various mobile app stores. As with everything in life, there are some catches, and Conduit’s offer is a limited-time promotion.

For the purposes of testing, I decided to build a mobile application out of my personal Tumblr blog,Annoying PR. Conduit’s browser-based tool allowed me to select from a set template for how the app would look–including different appearances for each platform.

To add content to the app, I typed in the address for my blog, which drew in the feed. I also added my Twitter and Facebook accounts.

In terms of the look, I was able to change up the color scheme. I also chose a background, splash page, screenshots, and a logo for the app. You can pick images from a provided library of upload your own images.

There’s also an option to run mobile ads on the app, in which Conduit and the customer would split any potential revenue. I opted not to run ads on my app.

 

Potentially get your app on multiple devices.

(Credit: Conduit)

 

The tool worked very much like WordPress, Tumblr, or any other Web site or blog creation service, and is fairly intuitive.

Within minutes I had an HTML5 mobile Web site built. The site worked a lot like an app, especially after I chose to put it on my iPhone‘s home screen. The address, which uses a Conduit-hosted URL, isn’t exactly the catchiest.

(Point your mobile browser here to check out the HTML5 site.)

Of course, I care more about getting it into app form, which is where there are complications. Yes, Conduit will offer to take your app through the submission process–all while covering your fees–but only after its compliance team deems the app ready. It can kick back the app if it lacks content or uses copyrighted or offensive material.

Once the app is ready, an option comes up that allows you to take advantage of this promotion.

In my case, the app wasn’t ready for primetime. I got a message from a Conduit team member saying my app had insufficient content and suggested I add more categories and images. I added more content from CNET’s YouTube page and a contact tab and resubmitted it. I’m hoping for more luck the next time around.

Lavie said the review process by Conduit may take a few days and getting approval from iTunes and Samsung’s Bada may take a few weeks. Beyond iOS, Android, and Bada, a separate Nokia app is created as well. It also creates a Web app for Microsoft’s Windows Phone and BlackBerry, although the site says native apps were coming soon.

Its simple format means this is a better option for businesses without a lot of technical resources to pursue their own app. Large companies and major brands with money behind them are better off building an app from scratch, since it’ll likely be able to take more advantage of the device. There’s a reason why major companies are pouring money into building apps–they want to be a permanent fixture on a device you stare at dozens of times a day.

It’s not just businesses; ambitious individuals are also getting into the app game. Lavie said opera singer Andrea Bocelli will have a personal app up through Conduit, as well as two NFL players who haven’t yet launched their programs yet. He added he expects bands and DJs to be interested in the capability.

It doesn’t have to be small business or celebrities. Conduit’s offer removes any barriers and complications, meaning anyone with something meaningful to share could conceivably build an app. So this is my challenge to readers: use Conduit to build your own app. If I get enough responses, I’ll highlight them in an upcoming Inside Apps column.

Google Android 4.0 and its SDK tools

Android 4.0 builds on the things people love most about Android — efficient multitasking, rich notifications, customizable home screens, resizable widgets, and deep interactivity — and adds powerful new ways of communicating and sharing. It includes many great features for users, including social and sharing integration, network data usage control, innovative connectivity and camera options, and an updated set of standard apps.
For developers, Android 4.0 introduces many new capabilities and APIs. Here are some highlights:

Unified UI toolkit:

A single set of UI components, styles, and capabilities for phones, tablets, and other devices.

Rich communication and sharing:

New social and calendar APIs, Android Beam for NFC-based instant sharing, Wi-Fi Direct support, Bluetooth Health Device Profile support.

Deep interactivity and customization:

Improved notifications, lockscreen with camera and music controls, and improved app management in the launcher.

New graphics, camera, and media capabilities:

Image and video effects, precise camera metering and face detection, new media codecs and containers.

Interface and input:

Hardware-accelerated 2D drawing, new grid-based layout, improved soft keyboard, spell-checker API, stylus input support, and better mouse support.

Improved accessibility:

New accessibility APIs and text-to-speech APIs for writing new engines.

Enhancements for enterprise:

Keychain and VPN APIs for managing credentials and connections, a new administrator policy for disabling the camera.

For a complete overview of what’s new for users and developers, please read the Android 4.0 Platform Highlights.
Alongside the new Android platform, we are releasing new versions of the SDK Tools (r14) and ADT Plugin (14.0) for Eclipse. Among the highlights are:

  • Improved build performance in Ant and Eclipse
  • Improved layout and XML editors

To get started developing on Android 4.0, visit the Android Developers site for information about the Android 4.0 platform, the SDK Tools, and the ADT Plugin.
If you have already developed and published apps, we encourage you to download the Android 4.0 platform now, to begin testing your app before devices arrive in stores.

Check out the video below for a closer look at Android 4.0 in action.

Android WallpaperS