An Android smartphone without the phone, the Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2 ($199.99 list) is the same price as the Apple?iPod Touch ($199, 5 stars), but doesn’t quite measure up. It’s good enough, though, for people who want to run Android apps without investing in a smartphone and a data plan.?
Physical Design and Networking Looking a lot like a midrange Android smartphone, the Galaxy Player 4.2 is constructed from black and chrome plastic, with a physical Home button beneath the 4.2-inch, 800-by-480 IPS LCD screen. It’s slim at 2.6 by 4.89 by .35 inches (HWD) and light at 4 ounces, but it doesn’t have the premium feel of the iPod touch.
There’s a 2-megapixel camera around back and a VGA camera on the front. The power and headphone jacks are on the bottom panel, and the MicroSD card slot is under the removable plastic back, next to the removable battery. The player comes with unremarkable earbuds and a power adapter.
The Galaxy Player 4.2 connects to the Internet using Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, albeit only at 2.4 (not 5) GHz. The player also integrates GPS, which is of questionable value, as pretty much everywhere you’d need GPS, you won’t have an Internet connection. There’s Bluetooth too, and the player can act as a Bluetooth headset for another phone.?
Performance Performance is adequate but uninspiring. The Galaxy Player 4.2 is basically a 2010-era Galaxy S phone, with a single-core?1GHz Cortex-A8 processor running Android 2.3. (Don’t expect an Android 4.0 update.) Benchmarks are roughly on par with lower-midrange smartphones like the LG Optimus M+ ($129,?3.5 stars), LG Optimus Elite ($29.99,?3 stars), and Samsung Exhibit II ($199.99,?3.5 stars). It’s what you’d expect at this price.
The Player comes with all the standard Android apps, so you can browse the Web, check your email, chat online, and such. The Home screen comes set up with attractive clock and weather widgets, but of course, this being Android, you can toss those out and replace them with others if you’d like.
Samsung bundles some really ambitious games with the Galaxy Player 4.2, though: Need for Speed Hot Pursuit and FIFA 12. Both are console-quality titles that require massive extra downloads (290MB and 1.6GB respectively) and both run adequately, but not perfectly smoothly. I’d stick more with casual games on this device.
Smart View is another interesting pre-loaded app; it turns the Galaxy Player 4.2 into a smart remote control for a Samsung TV. I tested it with a Samsung UN46ES8000F ($2,999.99, 3.5 stars). The app configured automatically, and let me pick apps from the HDTV’s Smart Hub. But the main, virtual remote is a series of scrolling screens, and it took quite a few flicks to get to the feature I was looking for sometimes. If you’re looking for a fancy remote for your TV, a Samsung tablet like the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) ($249,?4 stars) would be a better bet because of its greater real estate.
Otherwise, the Google Play market is here, and the Galaxy Player 4.2 is compatible with the 400,000 apps there.
Multimedia, Storage and Battery Life The Galaxy Player comes with about 6.5GB of storage, but did you see how big those game downloads are? A memory card is practically a must here; it’s a good thing that our 64GB SanDisk card worked fine.
True to its name, the Galaxy Player can handle a range of music and video formats including MP3, AAC, MPEG4, H.264, DivX, Xvid, and WMV. It handles files up to 720p HD, but not 1080p HD video. There’s an FM radio onboard, which works when headphones are plugged in. Sound quality is very good, with no hiss, and the music player comes with an equalizer option offering various scenarios for different types of music.
It’s hard to get your video onto a TV, though. The Galaxy Player didn’t support our MHL HDMI adapter, and attempts to stream video over Samsung’s AllShare DLNA app ended in endless buffering.
The 2-megapixel camera offers no surprises, capturing moderately sharp photos in daylight, and somewhat blurry ones in low light. The images aren’t noisy, but two megapixels is behind the times. The VGA front camera, on the other hand, is hideously noisy. The main camera records smooth-enough 640-by-480 video at 25 frames per second indoors and out.
We got 6 hours, 57 minutes of solid video playback with the screen set to maximum brightness. That’s longer than the competing iPod touch, and promises a solid day’s worth of use.
Conclusions If you want to run 400,000 Android apps and don’t want to invest in a smartphone, the Galaxy Player 4.2 is among your better bets. It’s less expensive and more capable than the older Galaxy Player 4.0 and the Sony NQZ-Z1000 ($249, 3 stars), and has a decent screen resolution unlike the Galaxy Player 3.6 ($149, 3 stars). We’d give this handheld a higher rating if it wasn’t running last year’s version of Android on two-year-old hardware, but even so, it performs well.
The Apple iPod touch is a better device overall: the same price, but slimmer, with a higher-quality display, better video recording, even more apps, and a stronger track record for software updates.?It’s not so much better to outweigh the platform question, though. Maybe you hate iTunes with a burning passion.?Maybe you need a lot of storage (a Galaxy Player with 64GB card bought from Amazon costs $263; a 64GB iPod touch is $399.) While the iPod touch is still our Editors’ Choice MP3 player, the Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2 is a top pick for?Android partisans who don’t want an Android phone.
More MP3 Player Reviews: ??? Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2 ??? Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6 ??? Sony Walkman Mobile Entertainment Player (NWZ-Z1000) ??? Motorola MotoActv ??? Samsung Galaxy Player 4.0 ?? more
A new Java utility should help Android developers and designers who need to rapidly prototype application layouts. The appropriately named Android Design Preview mirrors part of your desktop on an Android device over USB — just select area on your computer screen and it’ll show up remotely using the Android Debug Bridge. It’s more lightweight than a VNC app and doesn’t require a lot of mucking with settings, whether you’re coding on Windows, Mac OS X or Linux. In other words, it’s perfect for dealing with indecisive project managers who don’t know what they want until you show it to them, and since it’s free, you won’t even need their budgetary approval.
Like Amazon, Opera wants to build a more efficient web browser for Android than what is offered by Google. According to Cnet, they’re calling it Opera with Turbo. Inelegant as the name may sound, the idea behind it is anything but. More »
All you patient Android users waiting on an official TiVo app might not have to wait much longer. According to a full-page TiVo advertisement found in the latest issue of CEPro’s magazine, the TiVo app will be coming “soon” to Android OS products.
Exactly what “Android OS products” it will be coming to remains a mystery, as does the specifics of what features the app will include. The statement does come after a reference to the TiVo app for Apple’s iPad so one can assume the Android version will include the same features.
If we assume this to be true, Android users will soon be able to enjoy:
View full-screen program guides and explore cast and crew information without ever interrupting the show you?re watching
Browse your recorded shows or search across broadcast TV and TiVo?s premium web partners
Easily post comments or recommendations about what you?re watching on your Facebook or Twitter accounts
When you find a show you want to watch, simply flick it and it begins playing on your TV
While on the road, manage your Season Pass? recordings and To-Do List, or simply browse content and schedule recordings
The app is available for free to iPad users so it will most likely be free for Android users as well. If the iPad app requirements remain the same, Android users will have to have one of the following TiVo hardware platforms: TiVo? Premiere & Premiere XL (Series4 only) running TiVo software version 14.7 or later.
Unfortunately that’s all the info we have for now and while it doesn’t say much, it at least indicates that they have been working on a TiVo app for Android and that it should be coming “soon.”
By Richard Adhikari TechNewsWorld 06/10/11 5:00 AM PT
The Android Market, the single largest repository of Android software, is open to all sellers. That openness is part of the Android platform’s appeal, but it comes at a price. There have been several instances of malicious apps being distributed in the Market, and they’ve raised questions about what responsibility, if any, Google has to ensure the wares in its store are safe.
Android apps are becoming more popular as the Android operating system gains ground in the mobile market.
IDC expects Android to take more than 40 percent of the worldwide smartphone market in the second half of 2011.
However, with Android’s growing popularity comes a growing risk of malware attacks.
Malware has hit apps in the Android Market on at least two notable occasions this year, in March and then in early June, forcing Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) to pull about 75 tainted apps in all.
Improper coding also affects users of Android apps. Motorola (NYSE: MOT) CEO Sanjay Jha has commented, in essence, that bad apps are behind 70 percent of the returns of Motorola’s Android devices.
Google’s open approach to the Android Market plays a part in these problems. Unlike Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), Google doesn’t test or pre-vet apps submitted to its apps market.
Is it time Google clamped down and began testing Android apps before letting them into the Android Market?
Google’s Malware Problems
There are about 300,000 apps in the Android Market, and this number is expected to hit 425,000 by the end of August, Research 2 Guidance has predicted.
Meanwhile, In-Stat’s research shows that Android and Apple users are “significantly more likely” than BlackBerry users to download mobile apps.
The two malware attacks that hit Android apps this year used variants of the same code. Lookout Mobile Security, which discovered the attacks, christened the malware “DroidDream.”
It’s not clear exactly how many people were impacted in all, but Lookout Mobile estimates the June attack ht between 30,000 and 120,000 victims.
Sink, Swim or Go With the Flow
“The ubiquity of Android and its flexibility creates a real systemic risk if it’s not managed with care,” Tom Kellerman, chief technology officer at AirPatrol, told TechNewsWorld.
Android “has a very innovative model and takes extensive measures to make the system secure and control access to private information,” said Alicia diVittorio, a spokesperson for Lookout Mobile Security.
While both Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platforms “have a level of systemic risk, Google has opted for an open model to give users more choice, and with more choice comes more responsibility,” diVittorio told TechNewsWorld.
Where Does the Buck Stop?
Google’s response to both DroidDream attacks was to pull the infected apps from the market.
Should it have taken a more proactive approach, possibly by having apps pre-vetted? Perhaps that approach could have prevented some bad apps from reaching phones, but no net is 100 percent effective.
“There is no authority on the Internet that keeps users from downloading malicious applications from any source,” Stephen Gates, director of field engineering at Top Layer, told TechNewsWorld.
“So why should we blame Google if we download a malicious app onto our Droid smartphone?” Gates asked.
User responsibility is a major factor in security, suggested Fred Touchette, a senior security analyst at AppRiver.
The Path of the Righteous
“Human nature is typically the weakest link in security,” Touchette pointed out. “Many of the dangers surrounding malicious apps could be avoided with more scrutiny of apps from the start.”
For example, many of the apps in the most recent Android malware attack had lurid names such as “Hilton Sex Sound” and “Hot Sexy Videos,” Touchette told TechNewsWorld.
“Those erring on the side of caution would most likely have been kept safe from falling prey to these malicious downloads,” Touchette said.
There’s No Way to Delay That Trouble Comin’ Every Day
The risk posed by Android apps is poised to spread to fields other than mobile devices.
Several companies have begun making Google TVs, which run Android apps.
A company by the name of Blue Stacks recently announced technology that will let users seamlessly run Android apps on their x86-based Windows devices.
That might open up a whole new world of hurt to Windows device owners.
Bluestacks decline to comment when approached.
Openness Can Be a Good Thing
So should Google pre-vet apps?
The number of apps on the Android Market is staggering, and the cost of vetting the existing ones and pre-vetting incoming apps would be “astronomical,” Top Layer’s Gates pointed out.
Further, false positives — where a good app mistakenly tests as a bad one — would be a real issue.
“You would literally have to charge either the downloader or the writer of the app, making every application more expensive,” Gates said.
That proposition could run into a major obstacle — namely that few people are making money developing Android apps, as the major of Android device users seem to prefer free apps.
“Pre-vetting apps would take away some of the appeal of Android’s open source platform, but it would increase security since it’s this very open source platform that’s the basis of Android’s vulnerability,” AppRiver’s Touchette stated.
That low bone density causes osteoporosis and a risk of fracture is common knowledge. But an excessively high bone density is also harmful. The most serious form of excessively high bone density is a rare, hereditary disease which can lead to the patient’s death by the age of only five. Researchers at Lund University in [...]
SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Intel Corp said on Monday that Chief Executive Officer Paul Otellini will retire in May, as the world’s leading chipmaker grapples with weak PC demand and an industry shift toward mobile computing. Intel said it would consider both internal and external candidates for the CEO position and it expected the [...]
Leukemia???It?s hard for siblings of kids with leukemia.The sick kid gets all the attention.When my son had it his brother and sister had to be shipped off to stay with relatives a lot. They feel left out. And scared for their brother. It was tough.Here is where you?ll find some good info, including testamonials: http://www.leukemia-lymphoma.org/hm_lls [...]