Google fights iOS developer advantage with new Android classes

In an apparent effort to close the gap on iOS and its developer advantage, Google has announced a new set of Android developer classes aimed at helping walk developers through a series of lessons. Android Training will offer more than 30 lessons on larger topics.

New Android widgets measure real-time mobile data use

One of my favorite features in Google(s goog) Android 4.0 on my Galaxy Nexus is the real-time and historical data use. I can monitor my mobile broadband usage against my monthly plan and even drill down to see which apps are using more data than others. Plus I can set alerts when I near the cap on my data. While its a great native function in Android 4.0, few phones today actually have Android 4.0.

That’s where Onavo comes in. We’ve covered the mobile application for iOS and Android devices in the past as it helps consumers keep track of their smartphone’s data usage. On iOS devices, can even have data run through Onavo’s servers, where it gets compressed: By doing this, you can surf the web more often without bumping up a set data cap. Onavo doesn’t do this for Android devices yet, but as of Thursday, it does offer real-time monitoring widgets; something not available on iOS(s aapl) devices. Here’s the description of each, per Onavo’s blog:

  • App Watch: Track how much data each app uses in the selected time frame. This widget updates automatically based on usage, and allows you to swirl through the apps that are using your data plan.
  • Data Plan Used: A slim, 1×4 widget, to see how much of your data plan is left this month. Super handy widget, and very easy to understand – MB used and the day of your bill cycle.
  • Live Data Usage: Another slim widget, to monitor which apps have been using data in the last 30min.

Again, Onavo could always monitor data usage in the past, similar to Android 4.0. But even on my Galaxy Nexus, there aren’t any widgets to monitor this mobile broadband use. Instead, the functionality is found in the “Wireless & Networks” settings and there aren’t any corresponding widgets.

Onavo is a free app that now includes these widgets, so if you’re interested in real-time data monitoring for non-Wi-Fi networks, hit up the Android Market for the most recent version of the app.

Today in Mobile

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Millennial Media is planning to public early next year, citing an unnamed source. Millennial doesn’t grab as many headlines as some others in the space, but it certainly grabs market share: It claims about 17 percent of the U.S. market, according to IDC, second to Google’s 24 percent but more than Apple’s 15 percent. Those figures illustrate just how competitive the mobile-ad space remains, and Millennial has done an amazing job competing against much bigger players. And with the market finally coming into its own — it’s set to double next year to $4.1 billion, according to IDC — there will be an enormous amount of opportunity in the coming months and years.

Three hurdles for Microsoft’s mobile future

Microsoft quietly made a personnel move this week that may indicate the company is working toward a unified operating system for handsets, tablets and PCs. But this is a critical moment for Windows Phone, and Microsoft should first tackle a few other important things to regain its lost relevance in mobile.

How publishers must adapt to multiple content discovery options

Last week, companies including Google, Facebook and NetShelter introduced new products and services that, while unrelated, all promise to be new vehicles for web content discovery. And with so many new offerings coming to market, content companies must evaluate whether and how to best use services like news reader apps (Google Currents and mobile Flipboard), social sharing mechanisms, etc., to achieve objectives like audience acquisition, content engagement and revenue.

What the share economy can learn from the cloud

In the past few years we have seen accommodation-sharing company Airbnb grab a valuation of over $1 billion and car-sharing leader Zipcar squeak into profitability sooner than expected. Those developments, among others, suggest the share economy is alive and well, but how can this space continue to grow? It might take a hint or two from cloud computing.

Today in Cleantech

In a blog post yesterday afternoon, Google announced that it was shutting down its RE < C (renewable energy cheaper than coal) program. One of the focuses of that program was a heliostat solar project that has become increasingly less attractive as solar PV panel prices have plunged. It was great that Google allocated its own talented engineers for renewable energy projects but it’s understandable that Google reached the obvious conclusion that it doesn’t necessarily have a research edge on established solar companies. What would be more unfortunate was if Google stopped providing venture capital money for companies developing new tech that will bring down Google’s data center energy costs. It has made over $850 million in investments in the cleantech and green IT space, and those investments have been key to highlighting the relationship between computing and clean energy.