It sure is nice when the folks building your operating system also make some of the best applications around. Proof -- Google Maps for Android's new updates. Little things make for great software, and the Google maps app is chock full of them. Today's update brings biking directions, a direct shortcut to turn by turn navigation in the app drawer, and the coolest new feature is destination sharing. Enter your destination and you can now share the address with your friends via email or SMS, as well as popular social media sites like Facebook, Buzz or Twitter. Open your market app and update maps to check out the new features. Android 1.6+ only. Sorry Cupcakers. [via Google Mobile Blog]
We'd love to take all of you with us next week to the Google I/O developers conference in San Francisco, but you know how much it costs to check luggage these days. The good news is we'll be there to bring back all the latest Android news (including the likely possibility of seeing Froyo and Flash make their official debut). And you can follow along, if you want, with Google's official I/O Android application. Schedules, maps, the works. It's a must-have if you're going, and cool to play with if you're kibitzing from the sidelines. More screen shots after the break. [Market link]
The New York Times is one of the nation's leading sources of news, and its website is one a great extension of that. As people continue to work longer hours, travel farther to work, and try to pack every day full of things to do, it can be a little hard to find time to sit down and read the paper or browse the web. The Times has developed an Android application [Market link] that brings you its content in a very professional, easy to read manner. Let's take a look, after the break.
Android 2.0+ The Dolphin Browser is an old favorite on Android, and it just got a nice refresh in the form of the Dolphin Browser HD. You want tabbed browsing? You got it. Gesture support? Yep. It's there. How about the ability to download a YouTube video straight onto your SD card? Sure thing. Go ahead and give it a shot with our hands-on video after the break.
If you missed out on one of the 30 copies of WaveSecure we gave away, we're not done yet. For one month, you can get WaveSecure at a 20 percent discount if you use the promo code WS-ACENTRAL. That's 20 percent off what you'd pay for the peace of mind to know that you can locate your phone if it's lost or stolen, and that you can lock out anyone trying to insert an unauthorized SIM card. Get WaveSecure for just $15.90 for the next month at WaveSecure's site (and be sure to click on the promo code link).
Android 1.6+ We were there in February in Barcelona when Google first demonstrated the language translation power of Google Goggles. [Market link] Today, it's gotten even better. Version 1.1 brings translation for English, French, Italian, German and Spanish, and that's just the start. There's also better bar code recognition, more artwork and logos are in the database, the app's user interface has been improved, and you can search using images already in your phone's gallery. [Google Mobile blog]
There are a few good task managers in the Android Market, but I've been looking for a simple way to access my Google tasks lists. Looks like Kevin over at Lifehacker stumbled across something that certainly does the trick. Fire up your Android web browser and head to Google tasks mobile for Android [http://mail.google.com/tasks/android] for a slick web interface to Google tasks built just for the Android web browser. Does everything I want without all the overhead, and leaves precious app space for important things like Farm Frenzy. If you're like me and just want a simple way to access your Google tasks, you gotta have a look. [via Lifehacker]
Swype - your favorite finger sliding keyboard is diving head-first into the mainstream phone market. The small company, which only employs 27 people, estimates it will be on over 10 million smartphones by the end of this year. Chances are you’ll be seeing Swype on some future handsets from any of the four major US cell providers -- so those “hunting and pecking” days just might be over.
Phones aren’t the only thing that Swype can be applied to; the company has big plans to integrate its software into some of the upcoming Android tablets, and a 12-inch Swype keyboard is enough to impress almost anyone. Even with all this expanding and growth, Swype has expressed no interest in a partnership with Apple -- which is A-OK with us Android users. If you're new to Swype, head on over to our Keyboard Roundup and see if it's right for you!
That's right, folks, the Mint personal finance app [market link] is finally available for Android. For the uninitiated, Mint plugs into your bank accounts (kind of like Microsoft Money did back in the day) and helps you keep track of expenses, spending, budgeting and the like. It's free, it's a lifesaver. And if we didn't still keep our life savings in a sock in the top drawer, we'd probably use it, too. [Mint] Thanks to everyone who sent this in
Android 2.1+ Two weeks ago, Twitter announced it was developing its own official Android app. Today, that client was released. You can find it now in the Android Market. [link] There's been a bit of gnashing of teeth over whether Twitter is effectively stabbing outside developers in the back. But after just a few minutes with the app, that's certainly not the case yet, for a couple reasons. One is that the app is open source -- Google will release the code. The other is that, so far, the app is pretty simple.
That's not to say the app is bad. Far from it. But it's pretty basic. It currently only handles one account at a time (that's a deal-breaker for me). Tweets are displayed simply but effectively. You won't have a problem reading them. All of the usual features are there -- search, retweet (only native retweets, unfortunately), picture upload, etc. But the bells and whistles that you find on such apps as Seesmic and Twidroid keep them at the top of our must-have Twitter app list for now. Check it out and let us know what you think in the comments. [Twitter] Thanks to everyone who sent this in! Screenshots after the break.
Caddyman over at androidforums has posted up a new Android 2.1 leak for the Droid Eris. There's a huge list of bugfixes, and from the looks of it the odd connectivity issues Eris users were seeing with the previous leaks should have been addressed, as well as the pesky bugs with the latest Google Voice app. For those of you running one of the previous leaks, this is something you'll want to look at for sure!
Warning - This is leaked beta testing software, and wasn't meant for general use. Flashing it will wipe your phone, and take away root if you have it. As always, use your best judgment and flash at your own risk!
Links, changelog, and further instructions can be found HERE. Thanks, kbaker!
Let's take a quick look at the new Skyfire 2.0 browser for Android, shall we? Full page rendering? Check. Flash video? Check. Bells and whistles? Check and check. Our quick verdict: So long as you're not worried about any privacy concerns regarding proxy browsers, this could easily become your main browser.
Update: Re-recorded the video to fix an error or three.
Why do we care so much about another browser for Android when the stock Webkit browser works pretty darn well? Two words: Mozilla Weave. Being able to sync your history, bookmarks and even open tabs between your desktop and mobile browser is something I've been wanting since first hearing about Fennec. And we're getting closer.
Note that this is still very early in the development stage. While anyone can download and install this build of Fennec, it will crash. It will hang. It's a little buggy. And it's very cool that Mozilla lets us play with it this early in its life, so don't judge it too harshly. A few warnings from Mozilla's Vladimir Vukićević:
We've only really tested this on the Motorola Droid and the Nexus One.
It will likely not eat your phone, but bugs might cause your phone to stop responding, requiring a reboot.
Memory usage of this build isn't great -- in many ways it's a debug build, and we haven't really done a lot of optimization yet. This could cause some problems with large pages, especially on low memory devices like the Droid.
You'll see the app exit and relaunch on first start, as well as on add-on installs; this is a quirk of our install process, and we're working to get rid of it.
You can't open links from other apps using Fennec; we should have this for the next build.
Anyhoo, you can download Fennec here. (FWIW: Mozilla tested with the Nexus One and Droid -- your mileage may vary -- and it does NOT work if you're running Apps2SD.) And be sure to read Vlad's blog for complete instructions and troubleshooting, including instructions for installing Weave.
So, just a few hours ago Phil showed us some custom themes for the HTC_IME keyboard. I know you readers love to support us, so I figured I would make a sweet Android Central keyboard to share with all of you! The install of the keyboard is rather easy, and goes as follows. Note: Your phone does NOT have to be rooted to do this.
Download this file (Android_Central_Keyboard.apk, ~4 megabytes), and install with your favorite file browser.
Go to Settings then Language & Keyboard > Check HTC_IME mod
Open a text entry area, long press anywhere, select input method, and select HTC_IME mod
Enjoy your new keyboard, and show it off to all your friends!
Hope you all enjoy this keyboard as much as I am, and if you come up with your own Android Central creations, we would love to see them in the forums!
There have been a few stories in the news of late of a certain tech company losing a certain phone in a bar. If only they'd had WaveSecure. With it, you can back up, lock, locate or wipe your Android phone from any computer, anywhere, at any time. Phone stolen? Not a problem. WaveSecure locks it down and alerts a designated contact if a new SIM card is inserted and requires a PIN to unlock. (Only applies to GSM phones, of course.) Left it somewhere? Track it down with Google Maps. (Get the full run-down at WaveSecure's site.)
And we've got 30 1-year subscriptions (normally $19.90) to give away. All you have to do is leave a comment on this story through 11:59 p.m. EDT tonight and tell us the worst place you've ever left/lost/or had your phone stolen. We'll pick 30 winners at random and e-mail the subscription codes. Good luck!
Portions of this page are modifications based on work created and shared by the Android Open Source Project
and used according to terms described in the Creative Commons 2.5 Attribution License. AndroidCentral is an independent site
that is not affiliated with or endorsed by Google.