Nexus One changes in availability, Google To Stop Selling Nexus Soon

Google launched Nexus One in January with two goals in mind: to introduce a beacon of innovation among Android handsets, and to make it quick and easy for people to buy an Android phone. We’re very happy with the adoption of Android in general, and the innovation delivered through Nexus One. Already, a lot of the innovation that went into creating Nexus One has found its way into numerous Android handsets, like the HTC Evo 4G from Sprint and the Verizon Droid Incredible by HTC.

But, as with every innovation, some parts worked better than others. While the global adoption of the Android platform has exceeded its expectations, the web store has not. It’s remained a niche channel for early adopters, but it’s clear that many customers like a hands-on experience before buying a phone, and they also want a wide range of service plans to chose from.

So today they’re announcing the following changes:

More retail availability. As they make Nexus One available in more countries we’ll follow the same model we’ve adopted in Europe, where they’re working with partners to offer Nexus One to consumers through existing retail channels. They’ll shift to a similar model globally.

From retail to viewing. Once they have increased the availability of Nexus One devices in stores, they’ll stop selling handsets via the web store, and will instead use it as an online store window to showcase a variety of Android phones available globally.

Innovation requires constant iteration. We believe that the changes we’re announcing today will help get more phones to more people quicker, which is good for the entire Android ecosystem: users, partners and also Google.

Google Goggles: Translate Text Using Google Goggles

Google Goggles 1.1 for Android added another feature that makes visual search more useful: translating text. For now, the application detects text in the following languages: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and is able to translate the text to all the languages supported by Google Translate.

“Traveling to another country can be an amazing experience. The opportunity to immerse yourself in a different culture can give you a new perspective. However, it can be hard to fully enjoy the experience if you do not understand the local language. For example, ordering food from a menu you can not read can be an adventure,” explains Google’s mobile blog.

Google says that it’s a good idea to point your phone at the phrase you want to translate and select the region that includes the text to improve detection.

I tested the feature by trying to translate phrases from a French magazine (Science & Vie Junior), but the results weren’t great all the time. Here’s one of the best results:

(screenshots taken using ShootMe on a Nexus One)

To install Google Goggles, you need a phone that runs Android 1.6+. Search for Goggles in the Android Market or open the barcode scanner and scan this QR code.

What Are Your Favorite Android Apps?

Even if tech blogs keep track of the number of apps in the Android Market, it’s important to know that Android users can install applications from other sources. If Google decides that an application like Music Junk should be removed from the Market, you can install it from SlideME or from any other website.

There are many reasons why the number of Android apps is still small: Android Market is not available for all Android phones, paid apps are only available in a few countries, there’s no official web interface and Google has rarely promoted Android Market. That’s why I decided to share some of my favorite Android apps. I’ve only tested them using Google Nexus One, but they should work on other Android phones.

1. Quick Settings replaces a lot of widgets: it’s the quickest way to turn off WiFi, to change brightness settings, to turn off auto rotation or turn on bluetooth.

2. NetCounter is a simple application that monitors network traffic for 3G and WiFi. It’s useful if you don’t have a mobile data plan or your traffic is limited.

3. AppBrain is a useful service that lets you find other great Android applications. It shows recommendations, applications that are suddenly popular and it also have a web interface.

4. Cubed is a music player with an innovative user interface. It’s better looking than the stock music player and it’s fun to use.

5. Spare Parts is an application from Android’s SDK which shows a lot of interesting stats about your phone’s battery and a summary of application usage. If you’re wondering how much time your Android phone spent with screen on or you want to monitor the network traffic of an application, use Spare Parts.

6. Astro is one of the best Android file managers and it comes with a lot of nifty perks, including an image viewer and an archive viewer.

7. AK Notepad is a simple application for writing notes. You can add a note to your home screen, add a reminder or export it to a text file.

8. StopWatch provides a stop watch timer, a countdown timer and has a very simple user interface.

9. Ethereal Dialpad lets you “create flowing music with an expressive touch synthesizer”. It’s relaxing and you never get bored using it.

10. Seesmic is my favorite free Twitter client for Android. It has support for multiple accounts, background notifications and it has a great composing dialog.

11. Google Translate combines translation with a text-to-speech service. If you use voice input, you don’t even have to type the text you want to translate.

12. Nexus One Torch – probably the best flashlight application for a rooted Nexus One.

What are your favorite Android applications?

Flash Player on Mobile Phones – iPhone, Andriod ,Windows Mobile, Symbian, Palm and Google

Apple’s CEO wrote a thoughtful post about Adobe Flash and explained the reasons why Apple doesn’t intend to add support for Flash to the iPhone OS:

“Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.”

Steve Jobs says that Flash doesn’t perform well on mobile devices, it drains the battery and it’s not optimized for touch interfaces. Flash is also a way to create cross-platform applications, but Apple doesn’t want applications that look the same way on all mobile platforms and don’t take advantage of iPhone’s features. “We cannot be at the mercy of a third party” is the main reason why Steve Jobs doesn’t want to include Flash’s runtime. Flash’s main use today is to play videos, but web developers should start using the native video tag, which is already supported by most web browsers, including iPhone’s browser.

Apple’s refusal to support Flash in popular products like iPhone or iPad has an important side-effect: web developers will be forced to take advantage of HTML5 features like native video, canvas or create animations using SVG, instead of/in addition to using Adobe’s proprietary plug-in.

Unfortunately, users can’t access a lot of content on their mobile devices. There are many sites built using Flash and many popular sites use Flash to create animations, charts and other interactive content. Adobe is already working on Flash Player 10.1, the first version of the plug-in that will work on smartphones, if you don’t take into account Flash Lite. Flash will soon be available for Android, Windows Mobile, Symbian, Palm and Google will include the plug-in in Chrome and Chrome OS. Flash Player 10.1 for Android will be available as a public preview in May at Google I/O and the general release will be in June.

Google’s decision is pragmatic: even if HTML5 is the future, Flash is an important part of the web today. “[Sometimes being open] means not being militant about the things consumer are actually enjoying,” said Google’s Andy Rubin. Users will be able to choose if they want to enable Flash and Adobe will be pressured to deliver a better product.

Some might say that Android is actually the anti-iPhoneOS: it’s an open source operating system, it encourages competition and collaboration in the mobile space, it lets you replace built-in functionality, install applications from other sources than the Android Market and customize your device. Android is not “at the mercy of a third party”, but third parties can add a lot of value. Even if Android’s user experience is inferior to iPhone’s user experience, Android is an open platform that can be fully customized and a better catalyst for innovation. Android doesn’t strive for perfection, it’s a flexible platform that lets you transform a device into whatever you want it to be.

Google Mobile Image Search now has many image thumbnails

If there’s one thing that I like about Bing’s iPhone application is the interface for image search. Google borrowed some ideas from Bing and improved the mobile version of Google Image Search for iPhone and Android.

“In the redesign of Google Image Search for mobile, available today for iPhone 3.0+ and Android 2.1 devices, Google focused on making it easy to quickly see as many image thumbnails as possible. The thumbnails are square to maximize the number of images we can get on the screen at one time so you can scan them quickly. You can swipe to see the next or previous page of results, or tap the large, stationary ‘Next’ and ‘Previous’ page buttons. We optimized for speed so that the images appear quickly when you browse,” explains Google.

Google Image Search’s interface for iPhone and Android is much better than the desktop interface, which really needs an update. The Sideshow extension for Chrome enhances Google Image Search and other photo sites, but it would be better if Google implemented some of its feature.

Watch New York Times App for Android

Andrew B. visited Nexus One’s YouTube channel and noticed a demo for an official New York Times application:

I was on YouTube yesterday and noticed Google’s Nexus One channel released a new video. The title looked like it had not been edited because it used underscores instead of spaces and it ended with the file extension.

The video showcased a New York Times app for Android running on the Nexus One with the user flipping through news articles and using the widget. The video has been pulled and I can’t find it on either Google’s main or Nexus One channel.

The New York Times application for iPhone is one of the best free apps from Apple’s App Store, so it’s not surprising to see that Google wanted a similar application for Android.

A FAQ page from the NYTimes site has more information:

“The NYTimes application for Android has a unique video display experience, font size adjustment and the ability to share articles via e-mail, SMS, and social apps such as Twitter and Facebook. The NYTimes application for Android works on Android smartphones with operating system version 1.6x or higher. It’s available for free at the Android Market (app store). On your Android smartphone, visit to download the application.”

{ Thanks, Andrew. }