Android 1.5-powered tablet. 7 inches. Has a camera. Roughly $200. Seems good for people who enjoy stretched out Android apps on a 7-inch display.
The same guys are working on an Android 2.1 tablet that seems to be a lot more usable and seems to have better specs. Bump the specs up a bit, throw Froyo on it, and it’d probably be a fairly decent tablet hardware-wise.
Then the only issue is the mediocre software. But that’s part of the game on Android.
I’ve wanted to write a social network curator for a while now, but I haven’t had the time and don’t envision having it anytime soon.
Each one of your “friends” gets a point value. The people you care most about get a higher value, the people you care less about get a lower value. Each time they share something, that post gains whatever amount of points your friend is set to. When something shared goes over the point threshold you set, it appears in this curated feed, sorted by points in decreasing order.
There are lots of questions on why it’s taking so long for Iconoclasm to be updated for iOS 4; I’m going to lay out what’s going on, what’s going to happen, and why it’s going to happen this way.
1. 3.1.x support is going away.
I want to devote my energy into making Iconoclasm better for users of the most current versions of the operating system. 3.1.x differs greatly from 3.2+, and keeping the code around bloats up the codebase with little benefit. Users on old iPods/iPhones need not worry; I plan on releasing a “classic” Iconoclasm package (for free, regardless of whether or not you have purchased Iconoclasm or not) once the next release is out that will only support 3.1.x, so you can still get your hands on it.
2. Due to 4.0 radically changing things and the hackish nature of per-page layouts, per-page will not be in the next update.
It kills me to say this, but hear me out.
The first thing is that 4.0 practically changes everything relating to icon lists, and not necessarily for the better. Unlike 3.2, where the underlying implementation got simpler, 4.0 borrows the improvements from 3.2 and then complexifies it to oblivion. The end result boils down to this: every change made to icon lists can go wrong in a lot more ways.
The second thing is that per-page layouts’ implementation is relatively fragile code. All this time, Iconoclasm’s been pulling strings behind the scenes to make it look like you have a different layout on each page. The problem is that very minor changes in that string-pulling code can screw stuff up badly; if you remember the issues with Iconoclasm 1.4 and 1.4.1, it was all due to a one-line change in that code.
Flash forward to 4.0, where that code no longer works. The good news is that theoretically it could be rewritten to work on 4.0. The bad news is that a) that code would need lots of testing due to the increased risk of repercussions with each icon list change and b) I appear to have run into a bug where SpringBoard reports the number of icons in an icon list incorrectly when an icon is about to be inserted or moved into a different icon list. Until I can figure out how to get an accurate icon count or a viable workaround, per-page cannot be implemented in 4.0.
Obviously, this will be disappointing news to people who use per-page layouts. Realize that this is how extension development works: we are ultimately modifying applications we do not have the source code for and that can be changed at any time (by the developer or by other extensions!) Stuff can break at any time and sometimes finding workarounds takes a while.
3. In the meantime, other features will be added to compensate for the lack of per-page mode.
This is a list of stuff I’ve had in my mind for a while:
Simple mode: no layouts, no pain. Just say how many rows, how many columns, press a button, presto. (Thanks to phoenix3200 for essentially implementing this and letting me use it wholesale in Iconoclasm.)
Actual landscape support for iPad.
An Android-like mode where icons stop shifting to the first free slot when dropped on a slot.
A smarter implementation of layout-free mode.
I’ll need time to add in some of those features and test things thoroughly, so I am aiming for a Sunday Monday night or Monday Tuesday release date. IconSupport, which Iconoclasm depends on, should get an update relatively soon; it is currently being tested by trusted parties. Stay tuned to @Iconoclasm_ on Twitter or the Facebook page for up-to-the-minute info.
edit: Forgot I had an engagement on Sunday. Pushed the dates up a day; release is likely to be on Monday night or Tuesday.
What keeps nearly every Android device and OS release from being truly great are deep-rooted issues that have no apparent solution for the foreseeable future. The device manufacturers aren’t very good at software, yet they keep writing their own. The OS has no consistent hardware platform to target. The manufacturers produce devices with inconsistent build quality (the Droid’s battery door, the Nexus One’s button misalignment) and lots of why-is-this-here moments (the Droid’s keyboard, the Nexus One’s trackball). The current must-have Android phone changes every few months, and they’re often radically different from each other, making it difficult for consumers, developers, the press, and the carriers to build loyalty toward any of them or entrench them in the market. The OS needs to be updated over the air with three involved parties, only one of whom is motivated to update it. Features are added when they can be, not when (or if) they should be, or if they can be done well. Nearly every usability detail appears to be an afterthought, as if “design” is relegated to a coat of paint at the end of the development cycle rather than a deep-rooted philosophy throughout it.
Pretty much sums up what I think is wrong with Android as a whole.
Marco’s a great writer and he does a great job at pointing out the difference in philosophy between iPhone and Android as mobile platforms.
I do think Marco’s slightly wrong when he mentions “Linux on the desktop”: several of my non-geek friends have switched to Ubuntu in the last two years without any geek help. Even if I dislike Ubuntu as a distribution, I feel they are ready for primetime desktop adoption. The problem now is attracting commoners to Ubuntu without any visible marketing.