You walk into a local mom and pop computer store and see a line of inexpensive, custom-built PCs running Windows 7. You’re in the market for a desktop, so you spend a few hundred dollars, take it home and fire it up. Sure, the case isn’t emblazoned with a recognizable logo, and the keyboard and mouse don’t share the same color scheme, but home-brewed or not, a PC is, by and large, a PC:
It can run all Windows 7 software; its internal components can be updated with new drivers from their respective manufacturers; you can plug in any Windows-compatible peripheral and begin using it immediately; any old monitor you have lying around will, as they say, plug and play.
In short, an off-brand PC behaves like any other PC on the market. It’s just not a Dell, a Sony VAIO or an HP.
But in the brave new world of Android tablets, this is all too often not the case. Windows is Windows. Android, on the other hand, is not necessarily Android, at least not the Android you’ve seen or used on mainstream devices. On that $200 no-name Android tablet you bought on eBay, Android may be little more than a sandbox OS akin to what you’d find on a cable company DVR. And that’s probably not what you had in mind when you bought it.
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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.
There’s still no official Dropbox app for Windows Phone 7, but if you’re a Dropbox user desperately looking for a way to access files from your phone, there is a new, third-party solution: Kickbox.
Built using Dropbox’s own API, Kickbox allows you to access files stored in your Dropbox right from a Windows Phone with a UI that’s sleek and attractive. Features include Office document viewing, tap-and-hold rename, copy and delete, and photo uploading.
There are still a lot of features we’re looking forward to seeing in future versions of Kickbox, but it’ll do in the current pinch.
Kickbox is currently $3.99.