"Ep. 5: Adobe spills the beans on mobile Flash"
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Ep. 5: Adobe spills the beans on mobile Flash
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>>Adobe talks about mobile flash, Froyo begins its roll-out and the Kindle app is finally released. All that and more in this week's edition of Android Atlas Weekly for Tuesday, June 29th, 2010. I'm Jason Howell alongside Justin Eckhouse. Welcome, Justin. We also have Josh Lowensohn, associate editor for News.com. Thanks for stopping by.
>>Glad to be here.
>>Awesome. So yes, as Jason said at the top of the show, we have Anup here from Adobe and he's the director of technology strategy for the Flash platform. And we're going to be digging into Flash for mobile and Flash for Android more specifically today. And we're excited about this, haven't seen it. We're going to launch on CNettv for Flash Mobile, at CNettv.com. And welcome Anup.
>>Thank you, it's great to be here.
>>Do you want to start to tell us a little bit about what you do at Adobe-
>>And about the Flash launch.
>>I'd be happy to. I think it's one of the things that, as we get Flash more broadly deployed, away from just the desktops and onto mobiles and televisions, we have to deal with a whole new set of partners. Silicon companies, OEMs, service providers, that traditionally web distribution doesn't require. And those partners need not only help from us, they need guidance on how they get Flash working on their devices one part of the team that works with all the different partners and getting Flash onto your favorite phone.
>>Great. And so you've released Flash for- when was the official announcement?
>>We made the announcement just on the 22nd, that we have now released all of Flash Player 10.1, not just for desktops as we had a couple of weeks back, but also for Android and to all of our device partners in the open screening projects. So there's some 30, 40 different partners that are all working on Flash for new devices.
>>Right, okay. Great. So we have some questions of our own and we have some questions from users submitted on the Android Atlas blog. And if you just want to jump in and talk about things that are hot button issues for issues and for us. And I think Jason is going to take that away.
>>Hey, why don't we just start it off with a user question?. Because we have got quite a few questions, some of them quite a bit deeper than others. But I'm going to start with one that actually I've heard quite a few people talk about. Dr. Carl Roden [assumed spelling] said, "How do you guys plan to integrate keyboard interaction of Flash on devices that don't actually have keyboards?" I think it's a common issue now that we have wholly touch screen devices.
>>I think the bigger issue here is keyboards, but there's a lot of things that on the desktop we take for granted. Like hover states, and we don't have the mobile. So how you guys-
>>I think that's actually the better way to think about it is, how do we interact with the web in a device that's not a traditional desktop or laptop? How do we deal with not just keyboard and mice, but touch screens, accelerometers. All of these other things. And like any piece of software, we've added new APIs, new features, so that we integrate with the OS and the hardware of all these different devices. So keyboard is a great example, where if you have a device that has a keyboard that's already hooked up, just as you would expect it to be on your desktop. But if your phone doesn't have a keyboard, like let's say the Nexus One, we're actually going to integrate a soft keyboard device. You might have seen the Droid X launch last week. We're actually integrating it into that same mechanism. Where you can use the normal default keyboard, but one of the exciting features of the Droid X is that they've added swipe as an input method. That's automatically integrated. So when you tap on "Edit Fields" in a Flash application or a box or a webpage, that soft keyboard is automatically supported. Hover's a little more complex, because we've got no existing pointing device. Some devices have it, because they have the concept of a mouse or a pointer, and you can move it around with a pad or a joystick of some sort and hover gets set properly. Mouse enters, mouse leaves properly. We actually are sending hover events when somebody touches a touch screen, but it's sent immediately before the click. Which isn't necessarily ideal. It's a way to get some contact working and be compatible, but it's really about changing design paradigms and we've been showing developers how they can actually detect, if they're on a mobile device, what kinds of input methods are available and then they can design their application to dynamically do the right thing. It's just like in the early days of the web. HTML 3, HTML 2 even, we had a wider range of screen sizes, a wider range of input mechanisms for track balls and multiple button mice and things like that. And over time people got used to designing around a set of certain best practices. That's yet to Evolve on mobile and I think that's really where we're trying to give developers those tools so they can make those choices.
>>I think for developers and users alike, what do you expect, when we look at user interactions the desktop has versus mobile, do you expect that most sites are just going to work? Or that most sites in Flash applications needs some kind of minor or major renew layer?
>>That's one of the things we're really excited about with this release, is that most content just works. As we've done demos and we've shown this to people when we were at Google IO and started to get units out into people's hands, they were really surprised that content really did just work. And there were always certain things that the interaction model didn't quite fit or the buttons were too small for a small mobile screen. But we've gone and done a lot of work ourselves and with all of our partners to get as much content as possible just working. That's the starting point. We can do that, then it creates an easy opportunity for developers to pick and choose their assets and where they want to put their energy to optimize from mobile. There are some great mobile examples already up if you go to M.flash.com. There's a series of showcase sites on different partners, content owners, who have begun to optimize their contact for mobile. I know you guys built your application. Again, a great way to be thinking about what is it that you want to spend your time on, versus going back and fixing all of your body of content. We'd really like to make as much of that work as possible and then let you focus on your mobile-specific projects.
>>So for devices that aren't quite optimized, certain sites that don't work really well. Have you found that certain devices, Android devices with Flash installed on it tend to work better than others?
>>I don't know that I have enough experience just yet. We have seen some differences when it comes to performance and so more CPU, more memories on the newer android phones really do a better job. Droid X is an amazing device. It does definitely a better job than parsing a lot of recent web content than some of the older Android devices do. So I think from that perspective that's been noticeable. I don't think I've had enough time with enough different Android devices yet to get a feel for, are there input differences? Interaction differences? I'm sure there will be. But that's something, again that we think we're really getting closer to having a consistent experience across all these [inaudible].
>>So talking about devices, I think this is a really big issue for developers and for users alike. So currently it's really only available on Nexus One.
>>Or I guess, maybe, as of today?
>>That's where we're starting.
>>What is the long-term outlook for getting Flash on a bunch of devices? Is it always going to require 2.2? And what is the timeframe before we think we'll have some kind of high penetration? Because I think penetration has always been what Adobe and Flash have been able to handle. We are within X amount of months on 90 percent of the devices.
>>So what's that going to be like in the mobile world?
>>So it's a good discussion point and one that's not going to happen overnight. Mobile is more complex than for any number of reasons than it is on the desktop. And we have to really work closely with companies. Whereas on the desktop, we can build a new version of Flash Player, put it on our website, and it gets millions of downloads every day. And so we're not going to reach the 98 percent penetration that we have on the desktop in mobile overnight. We're currently thinking that is by the end of this year, it will probably be somewhere around 10 percent of all mobile will have Flash. And we are-
>>10 percent of all phones? Not just-
>>Not just generative ones but all Smartphones by the end of this year should have Flash that's given the existing relationships. We are dependent on Android 2.2, Froyo. And I can talk a little bit about why in a moment. But that's a big factor. And so as Froyo gets rolled out, certainly Nexus One is a starting one, that's the first one that's officially got support. But we think the Droid will likely get it. The Droid X is going to get it. The Samsung Galaxy S is getting. Then you have the Dell Streak the EVO. I think the Incredible. We'd have to go back and double check. But I think there's a lot of large body of existing Android phones that are exciting. They have enough horsepower, they've got enough CPU and memory that they'll provide a great flash experience. Froyo is that key lynchpin to enable that.
>>Now, okay. So Froyo users are going to be able to run Flash on their devices. How, if someone has 2.2 Froyo on their phone, how do they get a hold of this. Is it in the marketplace or is it pushed on the phone automatically? How do they get that?
>>So we've enabled a lot of different distribution mechanisms. The baseline is that it's in the Android market. And if you've got compatible phone, you do a search, you should see it as an available download.
>>Some people who will have 2.2 but won't have the compatible phone?
>>Not that we're aware of yet. Android is a big community and as an open source project, people can do all sorts of crazy things with it so, it's possible.
>>2.2 is not the only requirement. There's some kind of minimum CPU memory requirement there as well?
>>There will be, yes. And again, seen phones that have been running Android, particularly running 2.2 we haven't seen any gaps. That we think the hardware should be powerful enough. If you can run 2.2, you should be able to run Flash.
>>Is there any possibility whatsoever for older Smartphones, in general, to eventually get to this point?
>>It's possible. I mean, I think the real difficulty is, let's take an easy example. Past versions of Android and the browser in Android didn't have a plug-in API. How do we get Flash into them? And so someone's got to go do that work to create a plug-in API. Now that you're seeing some of those APIs in the open source project, maybe someone can go back and re-add those features and those capabilities to older OS'. So I won't say never, but it's something that there were enough things that we needed and Google was a great partner in enabling Flash in the browser, enabling access to the hardware so we could get acceleration working. Doing a lot of things that really made the Flash experience great. And that's going to be difficult to get to any other arbitrary platform. It's kind of like saying another version of an OS that's unrelated to Android would be just as impossible to get Flash running, but someone's got to do a lot of engineering work to make that work. So, it's something that we think the OEMs have expressed enough interest in moving to 2.2 quickly as they can, that we felt that was a good starting point. And we're certainly going to be supportive of getting many more devices working. If there are companies, individuals even, interested, we want to certainly support them whenever we can. It's about reach for us. We want Flash everywhere possible.
>>So in talking about reach, this is definitely an Android show, obviously, it's in the name. But what's important to Android developers, say, is a lot of reach and obviously I think you're saying you need a close relationship with OS/hardware manufactures to get Flash on that platform. Are there other platforms, Palm, etc. that are on the near-term horizon.
>>We've been really fortunate. The partners that have joined our open screen project and really been working for many months now on the Flash are more than just Androids. So Palm has announced their support for bringing Flash Player 2 Web OS. Rim has announced support that they're bringing that to the Blackberry platform. Nokia's announced that they're bringing it to the Symbian platform. Microsoft and Adobe have announced that they're working together to get it into Windows Phone 7. In additional to obviously the desktop platforms. So this is really about driving that broad adoption. I think what's interesting is that we now have partners that represent 19 of the top 20 mobile OEMs worldwide. That have either shipped Flash over the past 7 years, or have committed to shipping the new Flash Player 10.1. So I think you guys probably all know who the one is.
>>We can maybe guess.
>>I guess I have about it's got a high level. There are some very basic differences on what the mobile in Flash can do compared to the standard one as we trickle down to app development and after all-
>>It's a good question because that's really been the past. We had a different version of Flash for mobile than we did on the desktop.
>>So that was Flash Lite, yes, that a lot of folks know about and we've even seen some developers take versions of Flash Lite that was on HTC devices and get them working on their recent phones and calling it Flash. But it's not the same as Flash Player 10.1. This new release is the same code base as our desktop player. There are few deltas, but for the most part applications, developers have the same platform, the same APIs to build their web content for. So it is a new foundation for us. And guess what? It's also the same code base that we're using for the Google TV project. And that way we think it's a foundation for us to drive a lot of new innovation and features from upcoming releases. So this past year and a half or so have really been about take the desktop player and make it scale across all these different screens. We're not going to add a bunch of new features, go crazy on new capabilities. Get that scalable footprint in place so then we can drive a consistent platform for developers.
>>So one question we hear a lot from our users, we hear from developers. Or I'll say, one of the complaints is why has it taken this long to get Flash out on a platform? And not Flash Lite, because like you're saying Flash Lite is not really Flash. It's not what we think of because we all have tons of great Flash content and users have tons of Flash sites that they go to all the time. Is it just a matter of having to wait until hardware is up to running in Flash. What was it?
>>I think it's a lot of those things. It's no single factor. But, yes, hardware was a key constraint. When we began, when our first requests came from one of our Japanese partners 7 years ago to put Flash on their phone, we said, "Great. What do we have in terms of hardware resources?" And they said, "Well, we have 200K RAM and 20 Mps processing power." And we sort of went, "Oh. Well, we're not going to be able to get the desktop player working in that." So one is, new hardware and the new generation of chips from partners like Wal-Com [assumed spelling], TI, are amazing. There's really horsepower to run a full Flash player implementation. The OS' have to be more mature, that they can actually do things that Flash does on the desktop. Browser plug-ins, support for a standard browser instead of WAP and some of the other things we've seen in the past. So it's all of those things and it was a lot of engineering work of how do we not do everything in software the way we used to on the desktop, but use hardware, integrate with the platform but still keep that portable, consistent runtime available for developers. So, it's been a lot of engineering work. We know there's been a tremendous amount of demand but we're excited the release is out and developers are going to be able to get their hands on it and start using it.
>>So one last question from me is what about Air on Android? I know that you guys were pushing on that for an iPhone solution and a lot of developers are pretty disappointed that that didn't work out.
>>We were too, by the way.
>>That's true. So on the Android platform, you guys do have Air app?
>>We're working on Air, we actually have a beta program running now so developers can contact us to get into that beta program. We're excited because all those apps you've seen us demonstrate over the last several months, those can be packaged an APK and will run on Android. We have to do a little more work to finish the integration with Google Market, with the distribution networks, but we're excited about brining Air to this platform. And Air is another good example because where there's not this massive body of content that we have to be compatible with, we might be able to bring some of those Air capabilities to, for example, Android 2.1, not just 2.2. So that's a case where, again, we're looking at how can we get as broad as possible availability and there's a little more hope that we can get even on 2.1 running with Air.
>>If people listening to this are interested in getting in on this beta program, how do they get in touch with you for that?
>>I think we have a website and a link up at labs.adobe.com. You can check there for the Air beta and there's a sign-up link there as well. So that's the best way to get to us.
>>And what does Air look like for the user. Do you have to download the Air app and then download an Air runtime and then download the app you want?
>>So our goal really is to make it as seamless as possible so that Air apps feel like native apps on the platform. We're not trying to compete with other runtime widgets and things like that. So we want you to see the app you want in the market, click it, download it and then backend should do all the things necessary to let it work. And that means downloading the Air framework and then downloading the app. So that's the goal, that's the way we're planning on-
>>A 1 step process.
>>From a user perspective.
>>And there may be some limitations that don't quite get us there on the first go-around. But that's definitely the end result that we're trying to achieve.
>>Great. We have 1 last question from the chat room. They want to know what kind of phone you carry personally.
>>I'm carrying a Nexus One currently and I'm anxiously waiting for Motorola Verizon to update the Droid X to 2.2. That's probably what I'll be switching to.
>>Great. Well, thanks for joining us today Andrew. I think that was a great conversation, hopefully our users enjoyed it and we'll look forward to seeing-
>>Interacting with Flash.
>>On hopefully more devices.
>>Well, thanks for having me. I look forward to senior users trying out the new version.
>>And now the news.
>>I say, time for the news.
>>You need a cigar when you say that or something.
>>Who'd we let in the studio?
>>One time thing.
>>So yes, the news. Google had some news today about Android 2.2. So we're getting it on all of our phones, right?
>>Not quite. When they said a few weeks, they meant 5 or 6 for Google Air. And that's just for Nexus One, right? [Inaudible]
>>That's all they can control. Other than that, it's just begging and pleading.
>>I still have this update on my Nexus One and I didn't get it over the air, I had to do the manual update, which is surprisingly easy but a little bit terrifying.
>>Why is that?
>>Because you see this big screen with a bunch of red little writing.
>>It looks like you're behind the scenes.
>>And you have to pick out-
>>You could break it.
>>You could totally break it and lose your warranty if you don't know what you're doing. Imagine if you powered it off and just the off time during that process, you've probably screwed yourself.
>>So this is the thing that freaked me out. If you've never updated your Android phone before, it takes a good amount of time to start it back up. So mine was going for about 10 minutes and I had a really low battery at the time so I figured, hey maybe I'll plug it in. And second I did that, the wall, it came back up. And I think I did it at just the right time, but I thought I did something wrong. But this would never have happened when I've updated my iPhone. You see that little status bar.
>>So did you have to do it manually just because you didn't want to wait until it got to you?
>>Pretty much, yes.
>>Interesting. By the end of the week, it'll be on all phones, but now-
>>I can't wait that long.
>>Why does it take so long? Firefox releases as an update, and everyone can download it at the same time.
>>That's a good question for Google. They do that with a lot of stuff, though. You'd think that they'd have the capacity. It's probably not a capacity issue, right? It's just an issue of did we screw something up? Did they roll it out to everybody and they realized that there's one little blip that destroys everybody's phone? At least if they were to roll it out in stages.
>>Rumor is that's what happened to the first Froyo update for the Nexus One. They were pushing out to this very small group and then this people had problems so they pulled it back. So the internet today. I'm not sure if that's exactly how it went down.
>>I believe everything I read on there, especially on a little site called News.
>>Interesting. So along with Adobe Flash Air discussion we were having, which was really focused on developers and what the easiest way to get stuff out is and what platform is easiest to develop more. A survey was done this week by a mobile app development company called- what was it, Appcelerator [assumed spelling]?
>>So they asked 51,000 of their customers to weigh in on whole iPhone versus Android. Not from usability or a user perspective but from what do you want to develop for? Where are you placing your bets, both short and long term. And they had some surprising results. Maybe not for us at Android Atlas Weekly, but to the wider market as a whole. So they talked to 51,000 customers, IOS was overwhelmingly the pick for short-term success. So short-term everyone is focused on iPhones, because they clearly own the market for apps.
>>But for "long-term", 69 percent of people said that Android is their pick for long-term success.
What do you make of that, Josh?
>>I'm really not surprised by these numbers at all. A lot of developers know there's a lot of money in the app store and right now there's a huge ramp-up in Android devices but there's clearly a lot more money in terms of quick development when it comes to the iPhone. Probably a lot more resources and success stories already. I think what's really surprising about this survey is how much higher the Android tablet got, had a 62 percent interest to developers, compared to Blackberry. Which is- Blackberry's been around a long time. There's a ton of apps, maybe not as many when compared to other platforms. But it's got a pretty healthy, big user base and yet Android Tablet had double the interest, pretty much.
>>Tablets. Something that's not exactly mainstream yet.
>>How many Android tablets are there actually in the U.S.? 1?
>>Does the Dell Streak count as 1?
>>I think the EVO and the Droid acts as tablets. It is interesting, especially compared to this Blackberry which is a phone, but they've also announced that they're going to do a tablet as well. Does anyone use apps for Blackberry beside [inaudible]?
>>That's a good question. I'm not a Blackberry user, but-
>>I had a Blackberry for a short period of time and any of the apps I tried to use just ticked me off. Like, there was just always usability issues. I hated using the Blackberry for anything other than email. Surfing the web, or using these apps, it just wasn't fun.
>>I think it definitely depends on the device. When you see some of the older ones, like the Pearl or something, you don't want to do a Kindle app on that. But if you have any of the touch screen ones, it's nice. Nicer, rather.
>>And the app discovery on Blackberry is just hard.
>>That I think is the biggest thing in their way. There's no denying that with just the amount of devices, manufacturers that are all getting on the Android bandwagon right now. There's just going to be so much reach there. That it's impossible to deny that as a platform to develop for because automatically, boom, you're going to be available to so many different people.
>>Speaking of reach, Google just announced last week at their Droid X event, I believe, that they're now activated in 160,000 devices a day. Do you have any idea how many Apple activates iPhone? I mean, I know they sold 2.7 billion iPhones.
>>They sold 1.7 million from Thursday to Sunday, I believe was that number.
>>But that's a big upfront pop. So if we look at-
>>That's just iPhone 4. If you look at more- it's going to hit 3 or 4 million, maybe.
>>The big problem there is supply rate. What's interesting about this number, though, is that IO, I believe they announced 100,000? That's a pretty big jump in just a month.
>>Just a month.
>>Just a physical month.
>>Exactly, so that's from May and then from February, they were doing 60,000. And then last year, they were doing 30,000. So I wish we had this graphed out so you could look at it.
>>That's a huge jump.
>>It is. If they continue on this strategic trajectory, it will be amazing.
>>Could it be the EVO? The EVO was [inaudible] juncture.
>>I think it's the EVO. I think it's also just like so many phones. The Incredible has been sold out for a long time now. I think the Droid, although we all have good and bad things to say about our old friend, the Droid, it has been selling for $0 in a lot of places. So that's a pretty compelling price when you compare it to the iPhone.
>>And Google's Andy Rubin talked about this at IO. He was saying eventually Android phone is going to be the feature phone. The dumb phone of today's world. And right now they cost $100, and you said $0, but pretty soon it's just going to be that freebie phone you get with your contract.
>>Which is what Nokia was doing for decades. Which is even more of a reason for people to develop for this damn phone, because it's going to be in everybody's hands. At that point.
>>Plus the open platform is what people are flocking to, I'm sure. What they're really interested in is downloading apps that can do whatever they want on the phone. So there's this story, which is actually on CNet News this week about- it was a report about watching out for that screen that appears when you first install an app or it warns you about all the things that it does that to me is the blue screen that shows up before I install any software where you're just like, "Great."
>>Little bit easier to read, but after you've installed a number of apps, you just get pretty used to seeing the screen and going there's either a lot of stuff there or there's few things there.
>>It could be one thing like, we're going to steal your credit card. Okay, that's fine, just install it. Sounds great.
>>What I like about the screen is that when I first got my Android phone, it was like, wow my phone can do all this. And I have access to all these different things? Before with these apps, you never know what you're going to do.
>>We do ignore them.
>>You're right, eventually you ignore them. I mean this is an interesting debate. So the survey says that 20 percent of the 48,000 apps in the Android marketplace allow 3rd party access to "sensitive or private information." Some apps were found to have the ability to make calls and send text messages. Any interaction from mobile users. 5 percent of apps can call any number and 2 percent can send unknown SMS messages to premium numbers that incur expensive charges. You know the details in this report, and maybe what wasn't included is the number of apps on the Android market that do these very little niche things like send your friend colorful things with the animals- I don't even know what they're called. Emoticon messages that you don't get in a keyboard. Things like that. They can do that, but it doesn't mean they're always going to do that. So I think there's a high enough percentage in the market that it becomes a percentage.
>>So ask mobile is saying that those apps aren't necessarily malicious, but that there's the potential for abuse here. And this is the debate between an open app store where they just allow anything in there, or 3rd party out apps. You can go to any site on most phones and install a 3rd party-
>>As long as you're not on AT&T.
>>Right. But-or do you want a closed app store like Apple, where it's really high-level scrutiny. They check out what everything does. And there's some level of safety and security that is valuable.
>>That doesn't mean, however, that malicious things can get snuck in there behind the scenes as well.
>>The flipside to all this is that if you do get these apps that can do all of these things with your sensors and your data and stuff, do you really want to be spending all that time Okaying it every time. You'll wind up with something like this where you look at the user activation panel every time you do something. So there's always a trade off with these apps and these platforms. And you can't always have both.
>>I think we have the first example this week, actually, of apps that took advantage of this lax security that I'll say user have by hitting "Accept." There were a few applications that were basically released to test this. They were applications that didn't really do anything, but they have the potential to- one could read your phone remotely.
>>That seems usable.
>>It seems usable to somebody. Maybe not the phone owner. And I think they just wanted to make a point but Google, in another first here this week, activated their kill switch which allows them to kill apps remotely. And so it's interesting because there's issues on both sides of this. I remember when Amazon first did this with, I don't know what book it was-
>>I think it was 1984.
>>1984, yeah right, ironic. That they killed remotely. So you're seeing that Google, not only does the phone manufacturer get into my phone but Google can get into my phone and say, "Hey, we're going to take that back." And it's just this weird, fine, property line that makes me a little uncomfortable.
>>You know what, though? I'd rather give them that power and have something open where you can just get apps out and push updates instantly than apps where someone has to go through a long process.
>>It is. On the other side of the spectrum, it's their answer to an app review process. Something that can happen after the fact.
>>So just crowd source it and wait for people to complain?
>>Yes, or problems to pop up.
>>What I wonder is if- there has to have been some app in the app store, or up until this point, that was actually malicious. And why was this kill switch not used on it then? Why is it used on this thing that they said, they know is not going to do anything, it was just for research purposes. Why now?
>>What kind of research purposes was this for? That seems to me a B.S. answer. I think the guy maybe just wanted to see if he is that his research?
>>How stupid are people. Are they just going to hit "Accept" here?
>>But Google understandably has to be very cautious about this because their entire shtick is privacy and control and making sure everything is very- public and private are very separate by nature and it has to be that way for them to succeed in a very large business. So for them to take that same ethos and put it out into their mobile product, it's incredibly important.
>>Yes. I think also they don't want junk in the app store.
>>That's the simpler answer.
>>Which I don't know if this does a whole lot to put that at bay. Because there's a lot of junk in the Android app store they need to. Yeah, right.
>>So Dees and I have been talking about Droids on the show for a long time and I'd say in the last couple of months have been eagerly awaiting something better and we've talked about this Droid 2 for a long time and for awhile we were excited about it. And there's news this week that the Droid 2 will launch. This is from Android Me and its rumors that the Droid 2 is going to launch August 23rd, and it's going to ship with Froyo and so are you ready to buy it, Jason?
>>No. I'm not. For me it's beyond that. I won't be breaking my contract any time soon. But luckily my contract was only for a year, I don't know how that happened. So I can afford to wait until the end of the year and see which I actually want. [inaudible] taste.
>>Do you know if they're selling it off-contract? Can they even do that?
>>The Droid 2?
>>I looked at upgrading to the Incredible, with my contract having another year on it, it was 550.
>>That's the kind of thing where if you drop it in the toilet, you're going to feel horrible about it. And even more horrible about it.
>>So I think I agree with Jason here, that the Droid at this point looks like this old, archaic piece of hardware. And I loved it 6 months ago, it was the latest and greatest. And the disappointing thing about the Droid 2 for me and I think we may have mentioned this before is that it's basically the Droid with a master processer and they got rid of the D pad. So if I'm going to spend a bunch of money to get something new, there are a lot more compelling devices out there than a step-up from this old, square device.
>>Someone will. There are actually a lot of Droid solid Motorola defenders out there.
>>Let me ask a view as a bit of a Motorola outsiders, why did they call it the Droid 2 when there's also the Droid X? Sounds like they just had a branding problem.
>>So the Droid brand, it's really owned by George Lucas. But it was licensed by Verizon, so they control the Droid brand from all manufacturers, which creates even more confusion. So first you thought the Droid was this Motorola brand, but now it's not.
>>Now it's a series.
>>It's a line.
>>It creates some confusion. I guess Verizon could even say, "Hey, we're going to release a Droid that runs Windows Mobile."
>>Windows Mobile 7, right?
>>I don't know anything about that.
>>That's another show.
>>So we'll see what happens with that. I won't leave my judgment until then because I've already given you my judgment now on the Droid 2, but I'll leave further judgment until then. So we'll see. August 23rd. So, also, jumping over to the software apps space, Google Docs, which we all use and are looking at right now for the show. And I remember actually Jason, when you first got your Droid, how excited you were that you could get to Google Docs finally on your phone.
>>Yes. I use it every day. It's how I read up for BOL on the bus.
>>Just on the phone. So what is this going to mean for you. They released Google Docs for Android, iPhone, iPad. Special view, I guess it is, though the caveat, the big caveat here is that you can't edit docs. So are you going to use this? Are you forced into using this? Can you switch back?
>>That's a good question. I mean, I don't know- does it say in here when exactly it rolled out or if it has yet? Because if it was after this morning, I can tell you this morning on the bus, I noticed no difference in my Google spreadsheet on my Android phone. And I also know that I can edit it the way I've been doing. I can add links into cells. It's not very easy, but I can do it if I need to and I have before. So I haven't seen any change, but I definitely welcome it because there are some things about it that are very hard and eye-straining to look at.
>>To me this will be very exciting when I can edit docs, but it's a step in the right direction. And one other exciting piece of news this week is Kindle for Android.
>>Nice. Are you a Kindle user?
>>No. Are you Josh?
>>I want to be, but I don't really want to buy a Kindle. I feel like I waited too long to buy a Kindle. If I wanted to buy a Kindle at this point and then I think should I get an iPad? Should I get it on the iPad? But then I feel like, I'm an Android guy, I really need it on an Android tablet. And there's no Android tablet out, really, in the U.S. There's especially no good one that's good for an e-reader. But why would you buy a standalone reader these days?
>>Well, this is incredibly compelling now, considering it's on this many platforms. You have it on the Kindle itself, you have it on the iPad, iPhone. Now the Android too.
>>Now the Android, too. [inaudible]
>>They have it on desktop too.
>>Yes, although sitting there watching your computer. I know a lot of people do it, not judging.
>>Not a fan of that.
>>Maybe I want to rent it on my home theater PC and read on my TV. My big screen TV.
>>Turn the page.
>>Maybe they'll have it for Kinect.
>>So Kindle. I think Amazon has the best strategy here. They have the Kindle hardware, if you want to buy that, great. If not, we don't really care, we just want you to buy our books. That seems like a brilliant strategy. And I think Barnes and Noble following that too, they unfortunately don't have actually the best e-reader out there.
>>They're getting there.
>>I will say that the iPad is really cool.
>>I will say will have a user of this app on next week. Our guest host will be Molly Wood. She's going to come in here and she's actually really excited about this app on the Android. So she's going to talk about it as the app of the week next week.
>>That'll be interesting. She's a big Kindle user, so. But it's exciting. It's nice to see that there are apps coming out for Android. I feel like Android right now is how the Mac is in the software world. Where everything comes out for Windows first, and then hopefully you get it out for the Mac.
>>And then the apps costs more and don't do quite as much as they do on the other platforms?
>>That, the second part of your statement. Pretty much the way it works. So I think the same thing has been true of Android and the time. When did the Kindle app for the iPhone come out? Long, long time ago?
>>Yes, long time ago. It's been out for awhile.
>>All right. That breaks up my theory there. I'm at least glad to see its out and they've decided that this platform is good enough to deserve it. And hopefully, actually, the most exciting thing about this is when Android tablets come out, this app will probably just work. So we will wait to see what happens there. And now-
>>Speaking of apps-
>>It's time for the segment we call, "App of the Week."
>>That's right. It's an app in 60 seconds and I think Josh, you're going to take this. What are you going to do? We have a little music stinger. Are you ready for this?
>>Yes, I'm serious.
>>It's all old-timey music. It's cute.
>>Did you tell him about the electrocution and the chair?
>>Oh yes. I did not, but thanks for spoiling it. That was supposed to be a surprise. So all right, are you ready to go?
>>I'm- just do it.
>>Wait, I have to talk while this is going?
>>This is carnival music.
>>You're losing time.
>>All right. So this week is MSpot. This is a company that just launched for Windows PC, it's in your browser. And now they have an Android app and they just went public on Monday. So what it does is you store your music in the cloud. This is really, really distracting, by the way.
>>There, it's quieter.
>>You have 2 gigabytes in the cloud, where you can upload your music from your computer. It compresses them down to, I believe, 84 kilobytes. So if you have a 28 gigabyte library on your computer, it only takes up 1 or 2. Anyways, you can access it in the web, on your browser or on your Android phone and they have a really cool music app, takes your music, streams it over 3G, Edge, Wi-Fi. And then when you're all done playing a song, it actually adds it to your device, mobile storage and you can tell it how much storage you want to give it.
>>You really covered the points. I saw this in the news yesterday and downloaded it and played with it a little bit and I thought it was actually pretty nifty. Because it caches to your device, you've got it there later for when you lose connectivity or whatever. However, this morning on the way to work, I was listening to some music and for some strange reason, it would log me out mid-song. And it wasn't a connectivity issue, because I had it cached at that point. But I would press play, be listening to it for awhile, reading a story or whatever, and suddenly it'd just stop and I'd switch over and it said logging me in again. So I don't know- they're probably working out some kinks but I think the whole music through the cloud through the device is pretty cool. I like it a lot.
>>Free is a good price.
>>You can get more storage I believe, from $3 to $16 a month all the way up to 100 gigs.
>>That's a lot of space.
>>That is a lot of space. So you get 2 gigs for free?
>>And it's not- they compress it down when you upload it. You can hook it up with Windows Media Player and iTunes or just any folders anywhere in your computer, which is cool.
>>Good sound quality to it, too.
>>Awesome. So we have the Android tip of the week. This one sent to us by an emailer, Ricky, who says, "Hey guys, love the show. Just wanted to share a quick tip about 2.2 Froyo and Flash. We all know that Flash slows down the browser and makes scrolling really unpleasant and laggy. If you go to your browser setting and select, 'Enable Plug-ins,' you have the option for always on, on demand or off. By selecting on demand, it will only show Flash content when you click on the Flash content. That way when you go to the page with a lot of Flash ads, they won't render unless you click on it. I've had 2.2 on my Nexus One for a few weeks now. This tip has made my browsing experience flawless. Good job on the show, thanks." So that sounds great, you can speed up your browsing that way.
>>I did that [inaudible]. When you first set up Flash it says it's always on by default, you can actually speed it up quite a bit. But it's really great, especially for a game site. I was on our game site earlier testing Castle Crashers 2, and there's all this Flash junk at the top which you can turn off and just load the game.
>>Can you tell that- how do you tell that there is Flash on the page?
>>When it loads up it's this giant white square and then it has a little green, downward facing triangle. To download it, you just hit it and it downloads in the background.
>>It's amazingly simple.
>>That's awesome. That's the best kind of tip. And the best kind of tips are actually tips that users send up. Because then we don't have to do the work.
>>Thanks for sending that.
>>Yes, thanks a lot.
>>So our email this week is from Chip the Mech [phonetic spelling] engineer. "Loving the show so far, I just switched from my Palm Pre to the EVO and I love the phone. I'm trying to find a really good podcast catcher. Everything that I've tried so far is junk. One downloaded podcaster 1, [inaudible] at night, even when I set it to update it at midnight." So he wants an updater for his podcast. He had a really good one on the Palm Pre and he's tried 3 different one s on his EVO but has not found anything that has worked for him. So he wants to know what do we suggest for both free and paid alternative to what he's tried. He'll pay for one if it's a good one. And this is a great questions and it's one of the first things that I look for when I got my phone. I first tried Googling this and this was 6, 8 months ago but it was bad. It didn't let you do scheduled downloads. It just didn't do exactly what I needed it to. So I ended up getting this program that I definitely highly recommend. It's called Dog Catcher. I think it's $6. Like all apps in the Android store you can buy it and if you don't like it in 24 hours, you can get a refund, which is my plan. But $6, it works almost flawlessly for me. Handles video, handles audio, I think it even handles some text-based RSS content. And it can automatically download your content. When you are not using the phone you can have it check multiple times a day. You can check only when it's plugged in, only when you're on Wi-Fi. But it's pretty flexible and I found it to be a pretty good player for both audio and video.
>>Listen. I actually use Listen regularly myself. And I don't know if I've just gotten used to it, or what, but I actually really like it. It doesn't do video, but it is free and you can sync it up to your Google reader which is what I like. I can throw the podcast that I want into the Google reader , in the listen folder and it'll keep those things synced. And it does download those things behind the scenes. I don't know if you can schedule it but you can use it so it downloads when it's plugged in, which is what I have it set to.
>>That is nice.
>>It'll check regularly?
>>Yes. So when I open it up later on today, it'll have a podcast from 6 hours ago. I think I have it on 6 hour refresh right now.
>>And you use Dog Catcher?
>>No, I just use the [inaudible]. I don't listen to a lot of podcasts on that. I have my iPad for that. Which I like a little bit more.
>>Interesting. So check that out. That is our show for today. And I'd like to thank our guest from Adobe and next week, as Jason said, we're going to have guest Molly Wood reviewing Kindle for Android. And if you have any email or feedback you can send it to our new email address.
>>That's right, I got it figured out. email@example.com. Way better than the other one that was really long. So firstname.lastname@example.org.
>>And how about our URLs, has that been shortened?
>>No, but for now you can do Cnet.com/androidatlas for the blog and Cnet.com/live/android. Or Android Atlas, or whatever. I tried to cover all the bases, so if you think it, it probably works.
>>Worst case, Google it.
>>There we go. Thanks so much for stopping by Josh.
>>Thanks a lot. See you guys next week.
[ Music ]
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