Win an Android Tablet from is a newly launched website, providing crowdsourced testing for Android app developers.

As any developer will be aware, it’s one thing to write an app that works well on your own handset. It’s a totally different story to create an app that will function correctly on the myriad of different Android devices out there, with completely different screen sizes, memory limitations, and OS versions.

Elusivestars aims to solve this problem, by connecting developers with real-life users who can test the app before launching publicly. You pay users a small amount to download & install your app, and they will provide feedback on a number of different topics including usability, appearance & stability.

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Galaxy Nexus & Android 4.0

Google Android 4.0 LogoI watched the live Google/Samsung announcement of the Galaxy Nexus yesterday. The event was held in Hong Kong, and streamed live to the Android Developers YouTube channel. I wasn’t completely blown away by the hardware – seems pretty run-of-the-mill after being spoiled with the Galaxy S II. But I was impressed to see how much thought Google has put into the user experience for Android 4.0 (“Ice Cream Sandwich”).

I get the impression that this time, Google’s focused on the little things. Like zero shutter lag for the camera, rather than the megapixel count. Or streamlining the voice-to-text capabilities, as well as copy & paste. These “little things” are really the things that matter for consumers. Apple’s known this for a long time, and one of the selling points for Apple’s phones is the great user experience (even if the flexibility isn’t there). I think Google’s trying to take a leaf from Apple’s book here, and start building an engaging, “love-able” (their words, not mine!) user interface. An admirable goal, and from what I’ve seen, they have taken big steps in this direction with the latest version of Android.

But that’s the consumer side of things. For developers, Android 4.0 introduces a number of new concepts, including:

  • Unified UI toolkit – “A single set of UI components, styles, and capabilities for phones, tablets, and other devices”. So Android 4.0 has finally pulled together the Gingerbread & Honeycomb releases.
  • Rich communication and sharing – A bunch of new APIs, most significantly Android Beam, which enables NFC-based instant sharing between smartphones.
  • New lock screen – Not sure how much opportunity there is for developers to plug in here, but Google has introduced a new set of instant actions which can be accessed directly from the lock screen (camera & music controls).

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Apple iPhone 4S vs. Samsung Galaxy S II

iPhone vs AndroidOk, so maybe the title’s just a little bit of a linkbait. 😉 But I got a very strong sense of déjà vu when I woke up this morning and first read the specs for the new iPhone 4S. Dual-core processor, 8MP camera, world phone…. hang on a sec, that’s describing my phone! My Samsung Galaxy S II that is. The one I’ve had in my pocket for months already.

This feeling of “been there, done that” only increased when I read on further to the details of iOS 5 (A̶n̶d̶r̶o̶i̶d̶ ̶s̶t̶y̶l̶e̶ improved notifications, anyone?) When the iPhone 4 was announced, it seemed to blow away all the competition. It was simply better than anything else out there. But I can hardly say the same about yesterday’s announcement. In my opinion, it was the most unimpressive iPhone release yet. Sure, the iPhone 4S is obviously an incremental upgrade to the iPhone 4. And many of the improvements are welcome. But they’re also long overdue – and suspiciously familiar to long-time Android users.

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The Benefits of Positive Feedback

Have you ever downloaded an app from the Android Market, or App Store, and after using it for a few minutes thought “this is just awesome”? If you’re like me, the answer is yes. But was your first thought to contact the developer and tell him how happy you are? Or did you just keep using the app, happy to have something that works?

I was reading the comments on Tap That! Number the other day. Here’s the latest review by someone called Jake:

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Android Asset Studio – Generate Icons for your Android App

I’d like to introduce you to a wonderful tool which I’ve been using recently for packaging all my Android apps. It’s called the Android Asset Studio, and contains a variety of tools you can use to generate icons for your Android app. If you’re looking for an easy way to generate professional looking launcher icons, or simply trying to resize your company logo to fit the Android notification tray, look no further. This handy little website is the perfect tool for all your Android icon needs.

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Samsung Galaxy S II vs. HTC Sensation – Which is best?

The Samsung Galaxy S2 is the most popular phone in Samsung's Android lineupThe two hottest smartphones announced this year are the Samsung Galaxy S II, and the HTC Sensation. Both devices have fantastic specs and a huge 4.3″ screen. But at the end of the day, which one performs best? Which one should you buy? Read on for a full comparison, including a color-coded table showing where each phone wins in specifications.

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