For the past few years, apps for safer driving have been popping up all over the place -- all seeking to keep you safe on the road but when you think of augmented reality, that's not likely something you relate to safer driving. iOnRoad is looking to change that with their beta application released a few days ago:
iOnRoad improves driving in real-time using the power of advanced smartphones. The app uses the smartphone’s native camera and sensors to detect vehicles in front of the vehicle, alerting drivers when they are in danger. iOnRoad’s VisualRadar™, maps objects in front of the driver in realtime, calculating the user’s current speed using native sensors. As the vehicle approaches danger, an audio-visual warning pops up to warn the driver of a possible collision, allowing them to brake in time. The app can be used in “background mode,” allowing users to use the navigation app or take phone calls, while still remaining safe on the road.
iOnRoad has some great features baked into the app as well. Notification narration, road snapshots, so you have a record of bad drivers when you spot them or if you need to refer to them later. Plus, it learns from your driving habits which, can be viewed on your personal web dashboard. The app is available in the Android Market right now, in beta status and you can head on over to the iOnRoad website for more details. Download and some images past the break.
HDR is all the rage these days. Doing whatever it takes to get the true intensity of colors in a photo makes a lot of sense, as it can really add to the drama and beauty of photos you've taken.You can do this on a computer, and you can also do it on your phone.
HDR Camera+ takes a series of pictures in rapid succession (five or so), fuses them together, and then increases the range of colors in one single, high- resolution picture.
There's a built-in image stabilizer, so you don't need to try and keep your hand unflinchingly steady while all of the pictures are taken. In fact, the only time I saw a blurry picture was when I dramatically swung the camera around after I'd started the process, which speaks volumes about how strong the stabilization and merging processes are. And as always, lighting will play a key factor.
There's also a settings menu where you're able to change things like the color vividness, local contrast, micro contrast, exposure, and noise reduction, so you can tweak your newly HDR'd photos to your liking, before you've taken a single shot.
HDR Camera+ does cost a premium price of $3.99, but for the ability to take high quality HDR pictures all from your phone, that's a small price to pay.
We've got more examples of some HDR shots and download links after the break.
EA's leading soccerfootball title FIFA 12 is among the wealth of Xperia Play exclusives (on Android, at least) being offered towards the end of the year, and to whet gamers' appetites, EA and Sony Ericsson have released a new teaser trailer.
Both publisher and manufacturer are keen to show off FIFA's Xperia Play-optimized graphics and controls, so if you want to see both in action, join us after the jump to check out the new trailer. There's no official release date just yet, but we think a holiday launch window is fairly likely.
I might not think Siri is all that and a bag of chips, but I've got to hand it to Apple for one thing: it sounds good. Listening to the articulate, smooth-talking Siri, I couldn't help but think how archaic Android's own text-to-speech sounded. Compare Android's voice to Siri and you're left with the inevitable comparison to the Speak and Spell.
During one of my stints in the Android Central podcast chat, a reader suggested I give the SVOX Classic TTS Engine a shot, and boy, am I glad I did. Now the text-to-speech on Android is more than tolerable, and that's saying something.
When you install SVOX, you can't really do much in terms of text-to-speech. What you can do, however, is browse more than 25 languages, and once you've chosen a language, see the available voice packs for that language. Languages are sorted by a country's flag at the top of the screen, and you can move from flag-to-flag by swiping left and right.
Once you've decided on your language, you'll see the available language packs for that language. They're all given a human name, which is helpful to give you an idea of gender, at the very least. US English has five voices to choose from, although three seem to be more "for fun" and less "for actual use."
If you tap on any voice, you can listen to a sample of the voice, go straight to the Market to buy the voice pack, or get a free trial of the voice. The free trial lasts two weeks, so there's plenty of time to get acquainted with a voice before you pull the trigger and buy it.
Once you've purchased a voice, it'll show up in your app drawer as a separate app. Opening this app gives you controls over that particular voice, so you can set things like the device volume, text-to-speech volume, speed, and pitch.
More importantly, though, is the text field where you can listen to the voice say particular phrases. You can save phrases (maybe to show to friends later) and you can also share the voice through a variety of methods as well as force different pronounciations on things.
The last tidbit is probably one of the coolest features in SVOX, and if you spell something out phonetically in one voice, it shows up in all of the other voices, too. So if you've got a difficult-to-pronounce name (like my last name, apparently), you can try and find the best way to phonetically spell out the name or word you're thinking of, and SVOX will default to that pronounciation over it's standard way. Nifty.
Lastly, once you've got SVOX (and a voice pack) installed, you'll want to set it as the default TTS engine. This can be accomplished by venturing into your settings menu, poking around in Voice input and output, hitting Text-to-speech settings, and selecting SVOX Classic TTS from the Default Engine menu. Do that and voila, you've just brought your phone's text-to-speech up to 11.
The only downside of SVOX's voice packs is that they're $2.99 a piece, but once you get used to hearing a voice that more closely resembles that of a human, you won't want to go back to anything else. SVOX itself is free, and hey, at least you can demo any of the voices for a full two weeks!
We've got more screenshots of the app and download links to SVOX, Grace, and Michael after the break.
Google has released an official app for Google Offers, their location-based deal service. With the app, you can view, purchase and redeem deals right from your Android device.
When you open the app, you'll be shown the Featured deals of the day that are nearest to you, which is based on your GPS data. You can also slide to the right to access any offers you have purchased in the past. If you want to subscribe to other offers in other cities, simply go into the settings -> subscriptions and then select the area you wish to subscribe to.
There is a shortcut in the top right of the app to a barcode scanner in case you see a QR code that you wish to scan.
The biggest drawback is that while it's expanded to a slew of new cities, it's still fairly limited. To find out if you're city is included, visit the official Google Offers website.
Google Offers is available for free in the Android Market. We've got download links and our video walkthrough after the break.
For the most part -- Google Reader doesn't appear to of have changed all that much. Nothing like it's online counterpart that has seen some radical changes over the past few days love it or hate it. In this release you'll find left/right navigation and just visual changes for Ice Cream Sandwich and now rather then Google Buzz you have Google+ sharing options.
Google Docs however, has quite a few changes. You do get the visual changes that put it more inline with the look of Ice Cream Sandwich but you also get more optimizations for Honeycomb tablets, improved video playback as well as portrait and landscape modes. Information about your documents is now more easily found and sharing options have auto complete added as well. Both updates are available in the Android Market right now.
No one wants to leave their house in the morning dressed in their finest only to get hit ten minutes later by a nasty rain storm, do they? Sure there are tons of weather applications already available in the market, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for one more and the next one to enter is from Yahoo! Unlike any other application out there Yahoo! Weather gives you beautiful hi-resolution images of the city you are viewing the weather for, in addition to all the standard features like a five day forcast, the ability to share your current conditions on your favorite social media channel, and much more. Download links after the break.
Rut ro, Raggy. The iOS -- and therefore the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch -- just got itself a native Gmail app, straight from Google itself. That means proper Gmail on iOS, in its own application, and not though the iOS mail app with IMAP. Guess that means the end of Android, right?
Not so much.
The app itself isn't horrible. But neither does it feel like an Android or iOS application. It's in a weird in-between place. It's got push notifications, but you have to pull to refresh (on the other hand, the Android version doesn't do that -- it has a refresh button). You can get to your labels via a nice slide-out section on the left -- just like the Android version.
But the five-minute version is this: The addition of a Gmail app on iOS is a plus for iPhone and iPad users, and it's not likely steal users away all by itself.
We've got a brief walkthrough after the break (note that Google's pulled the app from the Apple App Store to fix a few bugs), and you can find loads more on our sister site, TiPb.com.
If you're into tower defense games then you'll want to get your hands on Age of Defenders from Cuketa. Having now gone official on the Android Market, Age of Defenders allows for multiplayer cross-platform action meaning, through the help of P2P and realtime sockets you can go head-to-head with iOS, Mac, PC and of course -- other Android players.
Given how the game is set up, phone users won't be able to get in on this action. However, tablet users -- game on. Age of Defenders will only set you back a few bucks in the Android Market and looks to be well worth it. Check out the trailer above, you'll find the download link past the break.
Like to fish? Love your Android phone? Me, too. I recently checked out My Fishing Companion and came away really pleased. It tackles (pardon the pun) the problem apps designed for fishermen seem to all have in common -- nobody wants to enter info on a touchscreen phone while out fishing -- by allowing you to set everything up beforehand, and having a one-click solution for things like location and weather data. Combined with a feature rich interface, and easy to manage lists and database for your catches, your gear, your places, and multimedia, it's one of the best outdoorsman's apps I've run across.
The full version of the app is $1.99, (Android 1.6 and higher) and it's well worth it. But the free (lite) version has most of the functionality, and is a great way to check it out yourself. We have the download links after the break, along with a video walkthrough and a handful of screenshots.
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