If you want to transcode video for a smartphone or tablet, there are few better tools – paid or free – than Handbrake. This open source application, which runs on both Mac OS and Windows, makes converting video for mobile device viewing as easy as a few mouse clicks. The main downside is that it is so infrequently updated (it’s been more than year since the last version was released).
But the folks behind Handbrake have finally updated the application, which is now at version 0.9.6. There are a slew of changes and improvements, but the primary benefit we’ve seen is that the new version transcodes videos considerably faster than before. There are now two Android presets: Android Mid (phones) and Android High (tablets). iPhone and iPad presets remain, of course, along with an improved “Normal” preset which churns out excellent general use MP4 video files. On the downside, HandBrake 0.9.6 breaks VLC-powered DVD ripping since VLC 2.0 no longer supports this. Also gone is the file size option which users could employ to generate video files that were a specific size.
On Windows, make sure you download the bit version that matches your OS installation (32-bit or 64-bit); Windows XP, Vista and 7 are supported. On the Mac side, HandBrake now requires Mac OS 10.6 or above and is only available in 64-bit.
When we think of Android software, we most often picture those applications that run on the devices themselves; but there are also useful titles that run on PCs and Macs which help you get more out of an Android phone or tablet.
We’ve put together a list of our favorite applications of this type – including syncing tools, video encoders, and media management software – to help you find your way. And we’ll continue to add to the list over time. Have a suggestion we missed? Let us know in the comments section.
Read: Android Device Utilities & Software Tools for Windows & Mac OS
We’ve received a number of emails from readers regarding their inability to install the Amazon Appstore for Android on their AT&T Android phones. The required “Unknown Sources” option in the Applications Settings menu is missing, which prevents the app from being installed.
Unfortunately, there is no way – without a little hacking – to install the Appstore on these phones; AT&T has purposely removed the option to install third-party apps, i.e. apps outside the Android Market. And that, as they say, is that.
In the end, only customer complaints have any hope of changing this ridiculous end-user lockout. But until AT&T allows third-party apps to be installed, if you want the Amazon Appstore -or any non-Market apps – on your AT&T Android phone, it must be rooted.
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After months of waiting, the Amazon Appstore for Android is open for business. If you’re an Android user, take note: this has the potential to be a huge development for Android-powered smartphones and tablets, and introduces some much-needed competition for Google’s Android Market.
There are several things you need to do to get started using the Amazon Appstore.
To use the Amazon Appstore for Android, you’ll need an Amazon account. You probably already have one, but if not it’s free to setup. Next, on your Android device, enable app installation from unknown sources; this allows non-Android Market applications to be installed on your device. If you’ve ever installed an APK file directly from your Android device, you’ve already enabled this feature, but if not tap Settings > Applications on your phone or tablet, then check the box next to Unknown Sources.
Now you’re ready to install the Appstore app on your device. On your PC, go to the Amazon Appstore for Android page and enter your phone number or email address in the box labeled Get Started on the right side of the page. You’ll receive a link to download the Appstore app. It’s probably best to use email so you won’t have to pay for a text message (unless you have unlimited messaging). If you use email, be sure it’s an address you can view from your device.
Once you receive the email or text message, tap the link to install the app. After installation, the icon Amazon Apps will appear in your Apps Menu. Open it and input your Amazon Account credentials.
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Popular service support for Windows Phone 7 continues. Monday, Flickr – an online photo and video hosting service – announced a version of its software for Windows Phone, in addition to a Windows 7 Slate edition.
The Windows Phone Flickr app allows users to view their photos, see recent activity, view uploads from contacts, and share photos from a Windows Phone 7 device. The app supports hi-res displays, including zoom support and original resolution viewing. Other features include geo-location, viewing photos taken near your current location, panoramic blades, comments, and auto sync.
Flickr is now available in the Marketplace. To learn more, click here.