The BlackBerry Developer Conference kicked off today and RIM personnel didn’t waste any time getting to the goods. For starters, OpenGL ES support is finally coming to the BlackBerry platform (OS 5.0+). If you didn’t know, OpenGL is what gives modern smartphones such as the iPhone it’s amazing graphics in such small packages. But what good is powerful hardware without software? Again RIM answers, though this answer is somewhat a surprise.
Since the beginning of BlackBerry theme development started a few short years ago, the Plazmic Developers Kit was the one and only way to skin and theme your Berry. A couple months back RIM bought Plazmic which led many to believe that a more tightly integrated Theme Developer Kit was coming. I as well as many others I’m sure assumed that RIM would through in some a few more goodies and maybe a new name and call it a day. That isn’t the case however as RIM also announced today the BlackBerry Theme Studios 5.0. As you can see, RIM is really pushing customization and the whole consumer thing really hard. One interesting part about the new Theme Studio is the ability to add .PSD (Photoshop) directly cutting down on needlessly having to save those .PSD files as some other format such as .png before being used. Also, screen transitions such as zooming, sliding, wiping and fading can now be added much more easier than before. What this simply means is that instead of a few high-end theme makers having the power and know-how on how to make truly impressive themes, more hobby based and beginner theme builders will also be able to compete with the big boys. Nice job RIM!
The Developer Conference has just started however and there is plenty more to find out. Stay tuned.
Press release inside…
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I’m a tinkerer by heart. I love to fine tune my gadgets and software until they break — then I do it all over again. Nature of the beast I guess. Mac OS X has usually been a rather simple more simplistic OS in that without help from 3rd parties, it is generally pretty involved to make any system tweaks. It doesn’t matter if you actually don’t know how or don’t have time, I’m sure if a solution existed to drastically reduce your time spent tweaking you’d be all for it. What about something that allowed you to access “hidden features” or those features which Apple had added at some point of the 10.6 development process only to remove from the final version. Again, such things aren’t hard to find online and re-add yourself. But why waste time?
Secrets, a cleverly named free download allows you to access all kinds of hidden Snow Leopard tweaks ranging from more utility based ones that change how things operate and function to UI based tweaks that let you tweak everything to and including the dock. Hate the 3D dock? Click a checkbox and bam, it’s done. Now changing the dock is rather simple as a short terminal command can achieve the same thing. Though searching for and entering the command is precious seconds wasted. Don’t like the login background? Bam, it’s done. There are a ton of settings and hidden secretes to unleash with “Secrets”. Snow Leopard isn’t Blacktree’s first venture into the underground of the Mac OS X OS mind you. Over the years, Secrets has garnered quite a loyal following bringing with them various other tweaks and hidden features that aren’t just specific to the OS, but other OS X apps as well. See, there is a ton.
If you are any type of tinkerer, you need this app. Oh and don’t forget, it’s FREE. Ya, that’s compelling isn’t it. Get goin’…
Mobile users can watch the video here
It doesn’t seem like that long ago that custom “bottom dock” BlackBerry themes were the “it” thing with theme developers anxious over a UI layout that seemed rather simple. After watching the clip above, you can truly see how quickly BlackBerry themes have progressed in the relatively short time span of 1-2 years. The particular them showcased above was created by “Z Man Designs” and is titled “Transitions”. If you like the idea of organized and neatly arranged UI’s, you’re definitely going to want to give Transitions a look.
It’s by far the most innovative and unique BlackBerry theme to date. I’m really liking the animation effects as they do awesome job of covering up the aging qualities of the bone stock BlackBerry UI and OS. As far as organization is concerned, the theme breaks apps into four main categories: Apps, Messaging, Media, and Settings. As you scroll between the four categories, sub-categories and apps are displayed with crisp icons and smooth animations.
Given how cool this theme is, it comes off as a steal for only $2.00! I’d gladly give Zach a couple more dollars for a job well done. If you like Transitions and have your own unique theme idea, you may want to try your theme building chops in the “Transitions Contest”. It’s certainly worth your while as the winner will receive free Z Man Themes for a lifetime! An all around awesome deal from an awesome theme developer.
We all knew it was inevitable that AT&T would eventually jump in on the Android game. Though I’m sure many hoped they’d be a bit more timely and original. A few of you may see AT&T as milking the iPhone and it’s publicity for all it’s worth. While others may believe AT&T was simply waiting for the right handset to launch Android with. On that note, details of an HTC Hero launch on AT&T in early 2010 are building, leading to what we all suspected — that AT&T will finally launch an Android handset. Going back to that “waiting for a decent device to launch with arguement”, why launch a “new” handset 4-6 months after everyone else has had it? I understand that the Hero is a damn good Android phone, but with the absolute beauty that is the Sholes/DROID coming out soon and who knows what else in the wings for 2010, the Hero won’t cut it for a flagship, 1st Android device. I would think a completely unique and exclusive handset would make it’s way to AT&T. I guess I thought wrong. There’s still time though. We’ll see how it goes. Anyone else happy/sad/wishing for more?
Speed freaks looking forward to an Android device that can be used without lag from such simple things as swiping between homescreens, fresh rumors cropping up surrounding the upcoming Xperia X3 are quite the head turner. The monstrous 4-inch 852 x 480 touchscreen may be enough for some. Even the 8 megapixel camera will seal the deal for many more naysayers. But the real proof in the pudding is the reported usage of the highly sought after Snapdragon processor. Said processor is better than the rest of the Android devices with their measly ARM11 proc’s which are sadly stuck at 528MHz. Why so? Well, the Snapdragon units, if they are in fact Snapdragon powered will fly past their slower siblings packin’ 1GHz speed. Rounding out the things to lust after on this phone include the Rachel UI that was spied a couple months back. Rachel is yet another, classy rendition of Android’s visual presence which is pretty hot to say the least. Hopefully Sony develops and designs future hardware like the X3 as this one is looking to be quite a winner. Don’t you think?
By the way, don’t let the picture above trick you. Though this image shows an X3 running the already ‘outta my mind 1.6, it’s said that the final version will pack everything 2.0 has to offer. We can’t wait…
Acer’s Liquid UI enhancements have finally been set free from the inner sanctums of Acer HQ. What you’ll notice is a subtly tweaked UI — not bone stock, though not as reworked as HTC’s Sense UI. Personally, I love the stock Android skin, Sense UI, and Acer’s take on Android as well. What can I say, I’m easily pleased. Besides the mildly touched UI above, Acer also deemed it necessary to reveal more specs both software and hardware based. On the software front, a touched up dialer, app switching controls, and “socially aware” contacts take the cake. Moving to more tangible things, that which we already know:
- 1GHz Snapdraggon brain clocked down to 728 MHz
- 256MB RAM
- 3.5″ WVGA capacitive touchscreen
- 5mp camera
- 1,350 mAh battery
Again, hardware wise it’s nothing new. The battery in particular has me a bit worried that it’s going to peter out before you want to call it a day. That is, unless Acer has managed to wrestle a unicorn inside of this thing in which case anything is possible. Minor update I know. Hopefully it wets your appetite and at least holds you over until release time. Speaking of which, if you happen to catch that, let me know. Acer is trying to artificially build hype with a staggered revealing. *rolls eyes*
Well sweet Jebus. Android how I love thee. If HTC’s Sense UI has lost the luster of your eye or simply isn’t your cup ‘o tea, perhaps you’d care to try your luck with Motorola’s new Android skin, “MOTOBLUR”, on your trusty G1? I sure would! That is…if I had a G1. Moving on, the dirty deeds are detailed in the vid above in case you’re feeling gutsy.
After the whole Google/Cyanogen drama, I’m sure Google, and more importantly Moto won’t be too thrilled with this harmless port. Hey, if you come to the open source game you better learn that open source individuals share…not restrict the free flow of information and goods. Hack away guys (and gals)!