This Week in Mobile: Instant Apps, Google Play, and Swift 3.0

This was a huge week for Android, with Google I/O announcing a host of interesting news and updates. If Android isn't your thing, we've got lots of iOS related news for you too.Android In case you missed it, I put together an article summarizing the key announcements. While the Wear 2.0 and Android N previews were interesting, the eye-catching news was around Instant Apps, where you can run an Android app without needing to install. The expansion of Firebase to an all-encompassing area for every aspect of app management was a highlight too. There was a lot of hype around Google Play coming to Chrome OS, something that has been rumored for the last few weeks. Maybe Google's Awareness API is what you're looking for to build an app with a difference, making them context aware. Once you put your trust in certain apps, they can do "stuff" based on what various sensors on your phone pick up. Ever considering Building Your Own Dependency Injection Library? This video shows you how to follow some of the key features of Guice and Dagger for your own Android apps. It would seem that Android is Eating Apple's Market Share Everywhere. Are you seeing this trend in your own userbase? Honestly, the Firebase enhancements are amazing. You should check out this article about the new Firebase Crash Reporting. Animate all the things. Transitions in Android is an enjoyable read about how to get the most out of animations in Material Design apps.Maybe it's time to consider branching out into VR, with Daydream on the way this fall. Finally, here are some Android projects for you to try out: NavigationTabStrip: Navigation tab strip with smooth interactions.butterknife: Bind Android views and callbacks to fields and methods.SwipeBackHelper: Swipe to close your activity .Fragmentation: A powerful library to manage fragments in Android.iOSLearn why Twitter's team went about Building Fabric.app in Swift.There's a great four part series on Pattern Matching in Swift. It's the ideal way to learn everything you need to know on the topic.I still need to find to time to delve into the details of what's going on with Swift 3.0. Thankfully, the guys at Hacking With Swift have put together detailed code examples of what's changing.Advanced Graphics With Core Animation, a talk by Tim Oliver, will help you raise your animation game.10 Thousand Times Faster Swift talks through some potential performance optimizations that might speed up your app. Swift Functional Programming: Basic Concepts looks at the simpler parts of functional programming, and how Swift supports it. Some Swift projects for your consideration:PMAlertController: A great and customizable substitute to UIAlertController.ParticlesLoadingView: A customizable SpriteKit particles animation on the border of a view.preview-transition: PreviewTransition is a simple preview gallery controller.Unbox: The easy to use Swift JSON decoder.GeneralWe all have unproductive days; here are six ways to recover from any one of them. According to Dan Maccarone & Sarah Doody, The UX of Learning UX is Broken. Do you agree?Lionhead was a huge gaming studio, behind some great games, such as the Fable series. Learn the (complicated) inside story of Peter Molyneux's company.Finally, make sure to read eBay MIND Patterns, with frontend coding patterns (and anti-patterns) for building accessible e-commerce web pages, widgets and workflows.

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Dinosaur duo sported exotic spikes and horns

WASHINGTON Two newly discovered dinosaurs unearthed in the western U.S. states of Montana and Utah are illustrating the exotic appearance some of these beasts developed, with fanciful horns and spikes, toward the end of their reign on Earth.Scientists on Wednesday announced the discovery of fossils of two species that provide new insights into an important group of truck-sized, four-legged, plant-munching, horned dinosaurs that roamed the landscape late in the Cretaceous Period.Both dinosaurs were members of a group called ceratopsians that included the well-known Triceratops, typically possessing parrot-like beaks to crop low-growing herbs and shrubs, a bony neck shield, or frill, and forward-pointing facial horns. Fossils of Machairoceratops cronusi, which lived about 77 million years ago, were found in Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.Machairoceratops, up to 26 feet (8 meters) long, had two large, forward-curving spikes coming out of the back of its shield, each marked by a peculiar groove extending from the base of the spike to the tip, Ohio University paleontologist Eric Lund said. Machairoceratops also had two horns over its eyes and probably one over its nose, although the incomplete fossils did not show that. Fossils of Spiclypeus shipporum, which lived about 76 million years ago, were discovered near the town of Winifred, Montana.Spiclypeus, about 15 feet (4.5 meters) long, boasted brow horns sticking out sideways rather than pointing forward, paleontologist Jordan Mallon of the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa said. It had spikes at the back of its frill that pointed in different directions: some curling forward and others projecting outward, Mallon said. "We think the horns and frills were probably used for display of some sort, either for sexual or species recognition," Mallon said.This Spiclypeus individual was dubbed "Judith" because the fossils came from the Judith River rock formation. Judith apparently lived a painful life. The upper bone in its left front leg bore signs of disease: arthritis near the shoulder joint and a hole near the elbow caused by a bone infection."I think Spiclypeus wins top prize for being the most aesthetically pleasing horned dinosaur, but that's my bias talking," Mallon said. "I think a visitor to the Late Cretaceous would have been immediately intimidated by standing in the shadow of Judith's spiky skull, but then overcome with sympathy after noting the animal ambling about painfully on only three legs."The research was published in the journal PLOS ONE. (Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule splashes down in Pacific Ocean

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. A SpaceX Dragon capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday carrying about 3,700 pounds (1,680 kg) of experiment results and cargo from the International Space Station, NASA said. It was the first return load from the station in a year, following a SpaceX launch accident in June 2015 that destroyed another unmanned Dragon capsule.The company’s Dragon capsules are currently the only ships that can return cargo from the station, a $100 billion research laboratory that flies about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.Space Exploration Technologies Corp, known as SpaceX, resumed Dragon flights to the station last month.Ground controllers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston earlier on Wednesday used the station’s robot arm to pluck the unmanned capsule from its berthing port and position it for release into space. British astronaut Timothy Peake, working from inside the space station’s cupola module, then commanded the crane to free its grip at 9:19 a.m. EDT/1319 GMT as the station sailed over Australia so Dragon could begin its ride back to Earth. "Dragon spacecraft has served us well. It's good to see it departing full of science, and we wish it a safe recovery back on planet Earth," Peake radioed to Mission Control in Houston.The capsule parachuted into the Pacific Ocean at 2:51 p.m. EDT/1851 GMT, splashing down about 260 miles (420 km) southwest of Long Beach, California.Dragon’s returning cargo includes more than 1,000 tubes of blood, urine and saliva samples from the one-year mission of former U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko. The men returned to Earth in March. Also aboard Dragon is the upper torso and life-support system of the faulty spacesuit NASA astronaut Tim Kopra wore during a January spacewalk. The spacewalk was cut short when water began leaking into his helmet.NASA has had problems with leaking spacesuits before, including the near-drowning of Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano during a July 2013 outing.Returning Kopra's spacesuit will allow engineers to better investigate the source of the water, NASA spokesman Daniel Huot said. NASA plans to resume spacewalks after the next Dragon capsule arrives early this summer. The spaceship will carry a new docking system so that future crewed versions of Dragon, as well as Boeing’s (BA.N) CST-100 Starliner, can park at the station. Both capsules, developed in public-private partnerships with NASA, are scheduled for test flights next year.(This story has been refiled to correct astronaut's name in paragraphs 10 and 12) (Editing by Nick Zieminski and Leslie Adler)

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Oracle paints Google as unfair competitor in retrial over Android

SAN FRANCISCO An attorney for Oracle Corp told jurors on Tuesday that Alphabet Inc's Google deliberately took Oracle's intellectual property without permission, kicking off a $9 billion retrial.Oracle claims Google's Android violated its copyright on parts of the Java programming language, while Google says it should be able to use Java without paying a fee under the fair-use provision of copyright law.The case previously went to trial in 2012, but a jury deadlocked. If the new jury in San Francisco federal court rules against Google on fair use, then it will consider Oracle's $9 billion damages request.In court on Tuesday, Oracle attorney Peter Backs said about 100,000 Android smartphones will have been activated by the time he finished his hour-long opening statement, and 3 billion phones had been activated since the lawsuit began. That translated into $42 billion in revenue, he said, and all those phones contained Oracle's valuable property."You do not take somebody's property without permission and use it for your own benefit," Backs said. He said Google's defense cannot cover what they did with Java, and called it the "fair-use excuse." Under U.S. copyright law, "fair use" allows limited use of copyrighted material, without acquiring permission from the rights holder, for purposes such as research, commentary or news reporting. Google has argued that the elements of Java at issue should not be subject to copyright at all, and even if they are, Oracle has vastly overstated its damages claim. An attorney for Google is expected to deliver opening statements later on Tuesday, and Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt is set to be Google's first witness. (Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Andrew Hay)

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Facebook beverages won't be a thing in China after rare trademark win

HONG KONG Chinese people won't be able to quench their thirst with a refreshing "face book" beverage, after the U.S. social networking company won a rare trademark victory against a local firm in China.By contrast, Apple Inc (AAPL.O) last month lost its battle to prevent a domestic company from using the "iPhone" trademark on leather goods in China.China's intellectual property protections are often perceived as quite lax but they are steadily improving, lawyers say. The victory may offer a glimmer of hope for Facebook Inc (FB.O) in China, where its social network is not accessible and its business is mainly selling overseas advertising for Chinese companies.The Beijing Municipal High People's Court said the Zhongshan Pearl River Drinks application, filed in 2011, to label certain foods and beverages "face book" was an obvious act of copying and harmed fair market competition. A Facebook spokeswoman declined to comment. An employee at Pearl River Drinks said the case was not widely known at the company and that the staff member in charge of it was not available for comment.Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other executives have made concerted efforts to woo Chinese officials. In March, Zuckerberg had a rare meeting with the country's propaganda tsar, a suggestion of warming relations between Facebook and the government. Zuckerberg frequently makes headlines in China, where he has achieved celebrity status by making speeches in Mandarin and sharing pictures of runs through noxious smog in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.Facebook had previously objected to China's Trademark Review and Adjudication Board twice but was unsuccessful, prompting its decision to take the case to court. (Reporting by Stella Tsang; Writing by Paul Carsten; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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