Smart Defrag review

Smart Defrag 3 hits all the notes you'd expect from a defragger, but it is too aggressive in terms of advertising. It throws recommendations for other programs at you at every turn. Still, it makes up for that pestering with performance that rivals most defrag programs for Windows.

This program tries to replace Windows' default defragmentation widget by being more advanced and offering more style, features, and customizations. We're not kidding about replacing, either -- the program will turn off your usual defragmenter and install other programs if you don't uncheck those options during install, so be … Read more

Fragment lets you use prismlike effects on your photos

Fragment is a specialized photo tool that lets you add prismlike effects to your images, with an elegant interface layout that leads you through the process.

This isn't your run-of-the-mill retro photo filter app; Fragment superimposes complex geometric designs on your images and changes them with prism- and mirrorlike effects for truly unique results. In other words, it's perfect for artsier photo projects. If you're looking for a regular photo-editing app, you'll need to look elsewhere. But for something different from the normal fare, Fragment is in a league of its own.

Fragment your photos As … Read more

It wasn't easy, but Camera Awesome for Android is here

SmugMug's Camera Awesome, a well-reviewed iOS app for taking and editing photos, has arrived on Android, too. But it wasn't easy getting it there.

For the SmugMug programmers behind the $3 app, it took three tries wrestling with the difficulties of Android development before Tuesday's release was possible. The company began developing the two versions at the same time, but the Android version took 20 months longer to build because its first two development efforts faltered.

Chief Executive Don MacAskill blamed early Android shortcomings -- since fixed -- and persistent fragmentation of the Android market into devices … Read more

Startup Cover bets on Android's market clout, flexibility

Why do iOS users get all the new apps first?

Many companies get their start on Apple's mobile market, but a start-up called Cover that's launching Thursday hopes to find profits from the increasingly powerful and widely used Android instead. The company's software, free and beginning closed beta testing Thursday, is designed to make it easier and faster to use the app you want when using Google's operating system.

Cover shows a six-item list of a person's most-used apps down the left edge of a phone's lock screen. Tapping one of the icons launches … Read more

Survey: Company apps thwarted by mobile device diversity

What's standing in the way of your bank, employer, or favorite museum creating that app you want on your mobile device? The fact that there are so many devices, according to a quarterly survey by Appcelerator.

"The survey's top reported obstacle to mobile app delivery is building for multiple devices and platforms," Appcelerator said Tuesday after surveying IT executives, development directors, programmers, and others at 804 companies in August. Fanboys can quibble about how bad fragmentation really is within the realms of Android or iOS, but a higher level, it's definitely a concern.

Of the … Read more

AT&T pledges LTE compatibility, making way for smaller carriers

Small carriers around the US are likely rejoicing. AT&T announced it was revamping its network for LTE compatibility on Tuesday. This means that users will have far more options when choosing carriers for their LTE-enabled phones.

"AT&T, for its part, has committed to investing considerable time and resources to the modification of its 700MHz LTE network through the implementation of a newly-standardized software feature," AT&T's federal regulatory vice president Joan Marsh said in a statement. "That effort will allow AT&T's network to support Band 12 capable devices.&… Read more

Android fragmentation surges, but is that a bad thing?

The fragmentation of the Android market is both a strength and a weakness for users and developers, according to a new report by Open Signal.

On the one hand, it can be difficult to find and make apps that function across the entire Android ecosystem, while on the other hand there are literally thousands of options to choose from. Not only is the Android ecosystem fragmented by operating system -- such as Jelly Bean, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Gingerbread -- it's also chock full of different devices made by dozens of brands.

"For consumers, extreme fragmentation means that … Read more

Is Android fragmentation over with Jelly Bean's rise? Nope

Programmers and fanboys fixated on the thorny problem of Android fragmentation had reason to pay attention to Google statistics that this week showed the latest version of Android, Jelly Bean, surpassing the two-and-a-half-year-old Gingerbread as the most-used version of Android.

It's a notable achievement for Google, which has been trying to push the Android world toward the modernized features and interfaces of Android 4.x for years. It introduced Android 4.0, aka Ice Cream Sandwich, in late 2011, then refined it with 4.1 and 4.2, aka Jelly Bean, starting in May 2012.

The operating system variety … Read more

Apple takes swipe at Android with new fragmentation chart

Apple has fired a not-so-subtle shot over Android's bow with a new chart displaying its lack of operating system fragmentation.

The company recently started publishing how many people are running different versions of its iOS software. The chart, which is available in Apple's iOS Dev Center, shows that 93 percent of its users are running iOS 6. Another 6 percent have iOS 5 running on their devices. Only 1 percent of iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch owners are running an earlier version.

Apple highlighted its success at getting people to its latest operating system at the Worldwide Developers … Read more

Google engineers: We're trying to fix Android fragmentation

SAN FRANCISCO -- Engineers on the Google Android team say they are still working hard to ensure that Android updates are rolled out to new devices in a timely fashion.

During a fireside chat at the Google I/O developer conference here Thursday, 11 members of the Android development team fielded questions from the audience of developers. Android team members acknowledged the continuing issue of fragmentation within the Android ecosystem. But they also said they planned to continue a rapid pace of innovation.

"This is something we think about a lot," said Dave Burke, engineering director for the … Read more