One of the new most competing features of the newly release Motorola DROID was its ability to use Google new turn-by-turn navigation system. Google originally touted Google Maps Navigation as a feature only for Android 2.0, but seeing that there are probably 5 million Android handsets across the globe that may not get a 2.0 upgrade; Google has chosen to release the new feature to Android 1.6 devices. If you currently own the T-Mobile G1 or the myTouch 3G, head on over to the Android Market and grab the latest copy of Google Maps. All you have to do is type in the directions you want and then hit the Navigate button. Other new features include layer overlays for transit lines, Wikipedia Articles, about places, and more. You will not be able to take advantage of the “Navigate to” voice command feature since that is something that is built into Android 2.0 and not the app, but you can always create directions shortcuts from your home screen. Just long press on a blank area on your home screen and then select Shortcuts > Directions and then set up your destination. You can type in an address or name of a contact and select the appropriate icon to display. I’ve already got a whole folder of directions shortcuts set up and ready to go.
Google Maps Navigation is currently available only in the U.S. market, but I’m hoping that one of our readers can tell us if they can download the new app. According to xda-developers, there are reports of navigation working outside the U.S. on the ported version of Navigation from the DROID.
As a follow up to my Flyscreen review, (although its been a while) I figured i’d do a short review of Buzz Deck, Flyscreen’s cousin/rival.
Buzz Deck offers much of the same features as Flyscreen, give or take a few, but it is mostly mobile webpages consolidated within the app. You won’t find a calendar, or SMS ‘card’, but you have great RSS feeds and sites from the get go at your disposal. So, if Flyscreen wasn’t your thing, here is a great alternative if you didn’t like your lockscreen stealing the show!
With a UI similar to Palm’s WebOS (although omitting WebOS’ polish), the app uses ‘cards’ that you can add, remove, whatever. The cards are broken into certain sections, Social Networking, News Stream, Web Service, and Custom Cards, which allows you to add any website, and if available, will automatically put it into the mobile version. So whether its Facebook, Twitter, tech, sports, or celebrity gossip.. Well, there’s a card for that. There’s a card for just about anything, but not necessarily only on Buzz Deck. (may the Apple flames begin!)
Since the dawn of time (the launch of the HTC Dream about one year ago) there has been a complaint that the Android platform has no real way to sync with a PC to grab things like contacts, pictures and music. The iPhone has iTunes, but Android simply has a USB mass storage connection. Fortunately HTC listened to consumer complaints and created HTC Sync which now works with the Magic, Hero, and Tattoo. HTC Sync allows Android users to sync up your contacts from Outlook and even allows you to install Android apk files directly to your phone. HTC has just released a small update to the PC application which adds some additional functionality.
- This update for HTC Sync provides more connectivity between your HTC Phone and PC. Still providing synchronization between your Outlook and your HTC Phone, we’ve added in media enhancements, syncing your contacts pictures along with their contact information.
- Syncing now also syncs your HTC Phone’s time with your PC’s time and vice versa, providing the most accurate time for you, wherever, or whenever, you are.
- Sync your phone with ease. Just plug in your HTC phone to your PC using a Mini (Or Micro) USB cable and watch as HTC Sync displays your model name and starts to sync your information for you.
If you’ve owned an HTC phone before and are switching over to a new HTC Android phone, HTC Sync is an indispensable tool. In order to save yourself a little frustration, just remember to turn on USB debugging on your Android phone before you connect it to your PC.
Source: HTC Support
If you thought you needed a new Android 2.0 handset to get your Google Maps Navigation on, think again. The hard working folks at xda-developers have been able to tweak a few settings on the T-Mobile G1 to get the turn-by-turn directions feature working. Surprisingly, the Google Maps apk file was pulled from the Motorola Milestone which has been reported not to have Google Maps Navigation. Engadget has a few snap shots of the app in action, but if you want to know how to get it running on your rooted Android phone, head on over to xda-developers for all the details.
As you might already know from our earlier post this morning, Google will be introducing a new version of Google Maps on Android 2.0 which will include Google Maps Navigation. Google Maps Navigation is a turn-by-turn navigation system done the Google way. It includes many of the features we have all come to love from Google Maps (traffic, layers, search, streetview) to help you find your way from point A to point B.
- Search in plain English. No need to know the address. You can type a business name or even a kind of a business, just like you would on Google.
- Search by voice. Speak your destination instead of typing (English only): "Navigate to the de Young Museum in San Francisco".
- Traffic view. An on-screen indicator glows green, yellow, or red based on the current traffic conditions along your route. A single touch toggles a traffic view which shows the traffic ahead of you.
- Search along route. Search for any kind of business along your route, or turn on popular layers such as gas stations, restaurants, or parking.
- Satellite view. View your route overlaid on 3D satellite views with Google’s high-resolution aerial imagery.
- Street View. Visualize turns overlaid on Google’s Street View imagery. Navigation automatically switches to Street View as you approach your destination.
- Car dock mode. For certain devices, placing your phone in a car dock activates a special mode that makes it easy to use your device at arm’s length.
For now, Google is only rolling out Google Maps Navigation to the Android platform, but I would not be surprised if eventually it made its way to Windows Mobile and even the iPhone. The best thing about the new application is that it is free. no more paying monthly $10 a month to your carrier of software provider for turn-by-turn navigation. Google has put up a little demonstration video of how it all works. So sit back, relax, and let Michael (Google product manage) take you for a short tour of what Google Navigation has to offer.
A few days ago, I casually recommended the Handcent SMS app in my post about the Sprint HTC Hero messaging app glitch. Long story short, the Hero Messaging app was causing the battery to drain and replacing it with a new one from the Android Market fixes the issue. I got a few comments on the post and quite a few Twitter replies, mainly praising the Handcent app. I covered a few other the app’s features, but I thought it you guys might enjoy a thorough write-up on it to give you a better idea why I enjoy the app so much.
Handcent is a replacement SMS app for the Android platform. The first time I downloaded Handcent was back in early May. At the time, Hancent has some neat features which made it better than the standard Android SMS app, but since I was constantly flashing my G1, I found it quite annoying to install the app every few days. Over time though, Handcent was continually updated with new features and now has evolved into one of the most feature rich sms apps for Android.
Customization: Handcent can be customized to your heart’s content. The app allows you to choose various skins (Hero or iPhone), themes (light or dark), and conversation styles (Handcent classic, Hancdent, iPhone, Android) so that your sms conversations take on the feel that you want. Hancent also gives you the option to add a custom wallpaper to your messaging screen, change the font style, add or remove contact pictures, and even add in a signature to your sms.