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If you haven't heard about Android 4.2 Jelly Bean's "Daydreams", well, they're a screensaver-like app that runs whenever your device is docked, or charging. There's a handful included with the stock Android 4.2, but there's a hidden one, too - it's unlockable if you access the Jelly Bean "Easter Egg" animation.
Tapping several times on the Android version number under Settings, then About Phone will display a large Jelly Bean smiley face. Press down on this for a few seconds and you'll be prompted with a screen filled with even more delicious-looking jelly beans.
Once you've done this, the "BeanFlinger" Daydream will be unlocked. You can find BeanFlinger under Settings, Display, Daydreams. This unlocking should work on any Android 4.2-based device that supports Daydreams.
The Android team has just made the Android 4.2 SDK (AP level 17) available for download, including some juicy nuggets of goodness for developers to mess around with. The SDK includes files and tools for application developers to use to create all the apps you see and download from the Google Play store, with some of the highlights being:
We've worked with our partners to run Renderscript computation directly in the GPU on the Nexus 10, a first for any mobile computation platform.
New ways to engage users
Users can now place interactive lock screen widgets directly on their device lock screens, for instant access to favorite apps and content. With just a small update, you can adapt any app widget to run on the lock screen. Daydream is an interactive screensaver mode that users can encounter when their devices are charging or docked in a desk dock. You can create interactive daydreams that users display in this mode, and they can include any type of content.
New interaction and entertainment experiences
Android 4.2 introduces platform support for external displays that goes beyond mirroring. Your apps can now target unique content to any number of displays attached to an Android device.
Microsoft's Daniel Moth has taken to the Microsoft Answers forum to talk about DirectX 11.1, stating that the latest iteration is part of Windows 8, as DirectX 11 was part of Windows 7 when launched.
But, DirectX 11 eventually made its way into Vista, where Moth has stated that "there is no plan for DirectX 11.1 to be made available on Windows 7". DirectX 11.1 doesn't add to much to the 3D graphics API table, which is a sigh of relief mostly.
DirectX 11.1 adds native stereoscopic 3D support, meaning that any PC games or applications written with DirectX 11.1 will sport support for viewing the content through stereoscopic 3D glasses by default. Before DirectX 11.1, games would need to be programmed with a particular GPU in mind. So this means we're not missing out on too much, but it shows that Microsoft are going to be pushing people into Windows 8 rather than port over bits of it to Windows 7.
Microsoft is pretty much only known in the operating system world for Windows, but the Redmond-based software giant have been working on another OS in secret, cheating on Windows.
The secret OS is known as project Midori, and according to ZDNet's well-sourced Mary Jo Foley, it has definitely been beating along in the labs at Microsoft. Midori is a new OS believed to be designed around Singularity, which was a Microsoft Research microkernel OS. The under-development OS was, and most likely still is, overseen by senior vice president of technical strategy, Eric Rudder.
The OS is reportedly a distributed, concurrent OS, and was referenced during a presentation last month at the OOPSLA 2012 conference. A handful of Microsoft employees presented a paper during the event which was titled Uniqueness and Reference Immutability for Safe Parallelism.
Users who have purchased or upgraded to Windows 8 should be receiving e-mails from Microsoft. In this case, they aren't spam and they aren't phising e-mails. In this instance, Microsoft has decided it is a good idea to send out e-mails to customers that explain how to use Windows 8 and do various tasks in the new environment.
Users should receive two e-mails from Microsoft, if they set up a Windows 8 device and associated it with a Microsoft account. The first of the two e-mails details the basics of Windows 8, including descriptions of Live tiles, charms, and switching between views or multiple Windows 8 apps.
The second e-mail is more about customization and is titled "Personalize your Windows." It features information on how to customize the Start screen, use built-in apps, download new apps, and creating a picture password. Both e-mails feature a link called "Learn More" or "Discover More" which will take users to Microsoft's site, where they can watch how-to videos and find more information.
Google Analytics for various sites around the web are having a new version of Mac OS X show up in their logs. The new version is identified as 10.9, and is likely the beta version of the latest Mac OS X being tested. As you can see in the picture below, 9to5Mac started seeing the new version on October 15.
They report that the IPs associated with the new operating system are coming from Apple's corporate network as well as in the Bay area. The screen resolution on two of the machines, according to 9to5Mac, is the same resolution that the 15-inch MachBook Pro with Retina display uses.
Of course, this could be faked data, but it's likely not the case. If you take a look at the timing and IP addresses, it tells the story. Around now is about the time that beta testing should be occurring for the new operating system and the IP addresses are located where they should be for beta testers.
Android uptake to 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich has been a bit slow, due in part to the large fragmentation that is present in Android, and the fact that the manufacturers have to produce the updates for the phones. The one nice thing about iPhones--ok, one of the nice things--is that updates are installed quickly across the product line.
But I digress, Ice Cream Sandwich is slowly making its way onto more and more devices, taking them away from the older Gingerbread, which still holds more than 50 percent of all Android devices. Part of the reason this is happening is due to peoples' two-year contracts expiring and more people going out and buying new devices running 4.0 and above.
ICS is at the heart of 25.8 percent of all Android devices, which is up from 23.7 percent last month. Jelly Bean has managed to capture 2.7 percent of the market, up 0.9 percent from the month prior. Gingerbread still rules the roost with 54.2 percent of all Android devices running the outdated operating system.
These numbers come from the Android devices that accessed Google Play in the 14 days prior to November 1.
Android is by far the most popular mobile operating system, very likely due to the fact that the phones vary so greatly between manufacturers. This means there is a phone available for nearly everyone that runs the Google-crafted operating system. Big or small screens, multicore processors, whatever your desire, there is an Android phone to meet your needs.
I'm sure this is why Android's market share came in at exactly 75 percent for the third quarter. This large number comes as no surprise to me at all, just like the market share numbers for Windows comes as no surprise. Apple's iOS market share is just one-fifth of this number, coming in at a tiny (by comparison) 14.9 percent.
BlackBerry and Symbian are still doing horribly. BalckBerry managed to grab just 4.3 percent of the market, falling 34.7 percent year-over-year. Symbian did even worse, capturing a tiny 2.3 percent and falling 77.3 percent year-over-year. Windows Phone 7 is still the biggest loser in terms of market share, but did the best in year-over-year change.
Windows Phone 7 captured just 2 percent of the market, but is up 140 percent year-over-year, which is impressive growth numbers. These numbers come from IDC, who produced the above chart.
Apple has just released iOS 6.0.1 ahead of the iPad mini being delivered to houses. The new version of the wildly popular mobile operating system brings numerous bug fixes that were discovered in iOS6. The update is available OTA, even for iPhone 5 users, though you'll have to go through an extra step to be able to grab the update OTA.
The fixes address issues such as the horizontal lines that appeared on the keyboard occasionally, a camera flash issue, issues with Wi-Fi when connected to a secure network, fixes for some cellular network issues, and a bug that prevents the iPhone 5 from updating over-the-air.
For iPhone 5 users to update over-the-air, they first have to download an updated updater. This will then allow them to pull down the 69MB update to their devices wirelessly. Grab the update, fix the bugs on your device, and let us know what you think of it in the comments. I'm personally hoping the device feels snappier.
Android 4.2 sports a bunch of different features and optimizations, but one of the biggest standouts is definitely going to be Photo Sphere. Android-based phones have had panoramic photo modes for a while, but this is a big change to that.
Apple's iOS 6 came in late to the party with their own mode, but Google are really ramping up the feature on Android 4.2. On the new OS, users can take pictures in any direction, with the OS doing the stitching of images together. It might not sound like a lot, but this is actually quite an amazing feature.
This means you can take pictures not just left to right, or right to left, but up and down, creating a near 360-degree image, which takes viewers "inside of the scene". Photo Spheres are stored as JPEG files, with all of the information required to look at them embedded as open XML metadata in the image itself.