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2 years ago

Google Maps 5.7 brings public transit navigation, better search, improved Places

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Google Maps just got a sizable update, with a slew of new features that those of you in major metro areas are going to want to check out. First and foremost is the addition of Transit Navigation. It's in beta (of course), but gives you directions via public transit in more than 400 cities worldwide, tying it all into turn-by-turn directions.

And speaking of directions, you're getting easier access to the nav button (anyone who's ever used it will be thankful for this). Also, Google Places are easier to get to, and they're better integrated into the search results. Also, photos are now integrated into Places results.

Here are the bullet points you'll see after updating:

  • Get GPS stop-by-stop public transit directions in Navigation (beta)
  • Receive search suggestions based on previous direction destinations and visited Place pages
  • Get directions in fewer clicks with the updated directions experience
  • Improved battery power management for Navigation (beta)
  • Browser photos of Place pages in a gallery view
  • Use the Download Map Area lap to save map areas for offline viewing

Google's demo video and Market links are after the break. Get to updating, everybody!

Source: Google Maps Blog

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2 years ago

Android Quick App: Earth Live Wallpaper

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As long as I'm on a kick with live wallpapers, I figured I should show you guys one of the biggest and best, Earth Live Wallpaper. And trust me, I know what you're thinking. "Live wallpaper, again?" Trust me, you'll like it.

Earth Live Wallpaper is a pretty stock live wallpaper. You've got our beautiful blue home planet set against a backdrop of stars, and there's even the moon orbiting, to boot. Water is blue, clouds are white, and all is well with the wallpaper.

Then you open up the settings menu and realize this is an incredibly full-featured wallpaper that has absolutely no intention of limiting you to just Earth, and also simultaneously proves the developer has a great sense of humor.

Diving into the settings menu, you're presented with a few sub-menus. You've got things like globe aspect (for changing aspect and position), globe behavior (how you interact with said globe), maps, background, starfield, and foreground. The aspect and behavior menus are fairly straightforward. Want to move the position of the globe? That's the way to do it.

The part of this wallpaper that really won me over was the maps section. I was thinking, "Maps? Of what, highways and things?" Oh no, if you think like me, prepare to be pleasantly surprised.

Maps aren't different map overlays of our fine planet, but actually different skins for the otherwise generic globe to don and show off. You've got the standards, like a few for Earth, the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and the like, but the developer really stepped things up a notch with their incredibly long and otherwise creative list of nonexistent planets and/or heavenly bodies.

In my perusing of the list, there's such greats as the Death Star (both versions), the Earth from Futurama, Krypton, Cybertron, and even their own take on Hades. There's a slew of Star Wars planets to pick from along with some Star Trek ones alongside, so there's something for everyone.

In terms of performance, I didn't notice any hiccups regardless of skin I'd chosen, so if you want to get your geek on live wallpaper-style, I'd seriously suggest this as one way to do it. Earth Live Wallpaper is free, so nothing lost if you change your mind, but it's still fun, even for a little while.

Download links and more pictures are after the break.

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2 years ago

Words with Friends back on Honeycomb, looking better than ever

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Admittedly, it's been a few weeks since I last let my wife beat me had my butt kicked at Words with Friends. And in that time, it's disappeared from the Android Market for Honeycomb devices, and reappeared, more stable (hopefully) and better looking than ever.

One thing the update won't do: Keep your younger brother from cheating, or your spouse from beating you the old fashioned way. Regardless, download links are after the break.

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2 years ago

Google+ for Android walkthrough

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 Google's latest app is a slick one, but will it be a home run? 

 

Google+ (pronounced "Google Plus") is still pretty fresh on the scene. It's barely a week old as of this writing, actually, and still in a relatively closed beta process. But it's definitely been a trial by fire. We've read about it, we've talked about it, and shoot, the app has even gotten it's first second update in the Market, so now it's time for a thorough rundown of Google's latest baby, mobile-style.

Join me after the break  to see what the hype's all about, how Google is doing things right, and why you should still lust for an invite (but without spamming your email!).

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2 years ago

Android Quick App: Juice Defender Ultimate

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We've all been there: You played Angry Birds for too long or manually refreshed your Gmail inbox incessantly. Before you knew it, your battery was in the red. Unfortunately, this app won't help that, but for everyone else who uses their phone in moderate-to-heavy amounts without needing to always be on it, I'd suggest Juice Defender Ultimate.

Juice Defender Ultimate is actually a paid upgrade to Latedroid's free add-on, Juice Defender - battery saver. If you want the highest degree of control over your battery, though, you'll want to upgrade to the Ultimate (over 9000?) version.

Upgrading to Juice Defender Ultimate nets you a whole slew of new options, namely in the "customize" and "advanced" menus. It also comes with three fairly comprehensive presets, if you don't want to fiddle with all sorts of choices but still want your battery life to last all day.

I myself used mostly the balanced customizable profiles, and saw great dividends from both. The best part about any of the presets is that they're click-and-go. Regardless if you want balanced or aggressive, take your pick and the app handles the rest.

If you feel like getting a little bit wild, customizing your own plan is relatively simple as well. You gain another menu to poke around on, as well as some neat options for controlling various data networks. You can either grant or deny Juice Defender Ultimate permission to auto-disable 3G and Wifi, as well as enable a feature called "Location," where Juice Defender Ultimate learns where the networks are that you connect to, and enables Wifi whenever you're in range.

Perhaps my favorite feature, though, is the scheduling feature. With this choice, you can let the app periodically enable data connectivity so everything still has an opportunity so sync. The intervals range from five minutes to two hours, and even using the five minute one (which I used exclusively), I saw my battery life increase exponentially.

To anyone whose battery life leaves a bit to be desired, I'd recommend Juice Defender Ultimate wholeheartedly. It's a one-time fee of $7.13, but it definitely works. And hey, think about how much you're saving compared to an extended battery!

Pictures of my average battery use, more app screenshots, and download links are all after the break.

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2 years ago

Android Central Editors' app picks for July 2, 2011

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We just got past Canada Day, and now it's the Fourth of July weekend, and you will be busy outside with the barbecue and having some fun with the family, but who can really pass up the opportunity to find some new applications? Let's hit the break and check out some of our favorite picks for this week.

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2 years ago

Windows 8 UI looks pretty cool on Android tablets [video]

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Youtube link for mobile viewing

Over the past little while we've seen plenty of portions of the Windows Phone 7 UI land on Android devices. The music player, contacts, app launcher and more have all made their move but now we're getting a look at the Windows 8 live tiles up and running on a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 courtesy of the folks over at WP7Android. It's a preview of their upcoming app, WP7Lock with the rest being completed by ADW EX and a lot of time spent in Desktop Visualizer. In any event, it looks pretty cool if you ask us but what do you all think? Sound off in the comments.

Source: WP7Android; via WPCentral

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2 years ago

Google prepping Google Videos for Phones?

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Way back at GoogleIO, Google showed off their upcoming movie rental service, releasing the service to the Motorola Xoom, promising that other devices would be added in "a few weeks."  It's taken awhile, but it seems like Google is finally preparing to push the app out to a wider audience.

Several members tipped us about seeing the application in the market briefly yesterday evening, and while the app itself doesn't work on phone's yet, I was able to download it before it disappeared again.  No word on when the application will be officially available, but hopefully this is a sign that it's almost ready.  Anyone with a non-rooted device looking forward to having this on their phone?

After the break is a brief video shot by one of our readers (loukkra) showing off the app running on his Nexus S.

Thanks Small_law and loukkra! 

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2 years ago

Into the deep end: We dive head-first into Android's Pool Party photo sharing app

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Thanks to a generous reader, we've found ourselves taking a couple of laps through the Pool Party, the photo sharing application developed within Google by its "Slide" team. Whether Pool Party's an active part of the new Google+ social network on Google or just an internal project whose innards will be (or have been) adopted by services such as Google+ remains to be seen.

So what is Pool Party? Plain and simple, it's photo sharing. You log in, create "Pools," and share photos. You can invite individual users to a Pool, and in the process grant them access to view, comment on, save, share and "like" photos within that pool. You can have multiple pools (no idea if there's a maximum), with different people in each pool.

And that's about it. Photo sharing, plain and simple.

The app itself -- which is still in private beta as of this writing -- is simple, straightforward, and plenty fast. It's pretty spartan, with little in the way of user interface or settings. You can change your first and last name, profile photo, gender, and whether you want to receive live updates.

As for the Pools themselves, you can change the Pool name; view, add and remove members; receive e-mail updates on pool activity (including each time a photo or comment is posted); and whether or not to receive push notifications.

There's also a web component (at poolpartyapp.com), which is pretty much the same thing, just in browser.

So will we see a Pool Party in Google+? Or will the services be folded in? That remains to be seen. But let's certainly hope so, as the Pool Party app (there's also one available for iOS, which our pals at TiPb have given the what-for) is clean, easy photo sharing, and that's a must-have for a social network looking to break the Facebook hold on the world.

We've got a plethora of screen shots after the break.

Thanks, Dr_Mcq!
More coverage: TechCrunch

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2 years ago

Waste your afternoon playing Nexus Contraptions (we are!)

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Sometimes, Google does something just because it's fun.  Nexus Contraptions, a browser-based game in the style of Apparatus is one of those things.  Move objects around so they get in the path of a "g" branded ball, and bounce it into the funnel.  Sounds easy, but it isn't.  Sounds fun, and it is!  You're timed, so if you're feeling competitive you have that, too. 

Fun aside, is this the first step to Google integrating web gaming?  If so, I like where it's going based on this one.  Now quit listening to me and go waste some time!

Nexus Contraptions via @googlenexus

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