Google has updated Google Maps for Android to version 5.1 today, bringing big changes to Latitude. Where Latitude once was just a pin on a map, now there are check-ins, to connect a place to the location.
Users who opt-in for the new Latitude can set it up to notify them when they are at a location so they can manually check-in, or set up locations to automagically check them in when they arrive. In either case, Latitude checks you out when you leave. There are also settings to decide how and where to share your location. These new features make Latitude much more competitive with other location aware social media, and seem worth checking out if that's your thing. Grab the official update for Maps through the Android Market. There's a video after the break that does a great walk through, check it out. [Official Google Blog]
At times it almost feels as though there should be a reward for finding just the perfect application in the market. With more than 100,000 apps, and more being added every day, it can be a bit of a challenge. But that's where we come in. Let's take a look at what some of us run as our favorite applications for this week, and just maybe you will find some of them useful!
Angry Birds Rio, a combination of what's surely the most popular mobile game of all time with an upcoming Hollywood animated feature, is said to be hitting "app stores everywhere" in March 2011, just in time to play on your Motorola Xoom. Based on the game trailer (you can see it after the break) it looks like our feathered friends have made their way to Brazil, and have some sort of wildlife exploiting Cockatoo to battle it out with this go 'round. Not much to go on, other than 20th Century Fox backing the project and tie-ins with their new animated feature Rio due in April 2011. We'll know more in six weeks or so.
In the meantime, watch the trailer and speculate like the rest of us! [@RovioMobile]
Videocam Illusion for Android is a camera effects application that works with the video camera on your Android phone. We've seen similar apps that manipulate still pictures, and while they're really fun and useful, Videocam Illusion takes it to the next level by adding effects on-the-fly to live video you shoot from your phone. You can shoot up to 480p (720x480) video through the app, and the free version has four filters, four effects, and two masks to choose from. You can also shoot video at 1.33x speed.
The paid version has 18 filters, 13 effects, six masks, and your choice of five different recording speeds. They both work really well, saving the video to your SD card in .mov format for easy playback on your computer. And since stock Android doesn't playback .mov files, the Videocam Illusion app includes a player to preview -- and show off -- your masterpiece. There's a video demo, some screenshots, as well as the download link for the free version after the break.
Beautiful Widgets, the popular clock and weather app from Level Up Studios, saw a significant update this morning to version 3.3. This update brought several welcome changes, including the new "Super Clock" widgets. Besides for the obvious new look, these widgets are hi-res, allowing them to be scaled without quality loss. You can also swap out the weather icon with one that shows you your battery status, or choose from one of the new clock only widgets if you only care about the time.
Beautiful Widgets was one of my first app downloads when I got my Droid over a year ago, and I've loved using it ever since. Full changelog, market link, and two more screenshots after the break.
Facebook just pushed out a an update for it's Android app. The new version is 1.5.1 adds Facebook Deals (though we can't quite see where they are in the app just yet) and has a few bug fixes, including one in which closed chats would reappear after relaunching the app. Updated now in the Android Market, or there's a download link after the break. [Facebook] Thanks to everyone who sent this in!
If gaming on your Android device is something that you enjoy to do, and old-fashioned games catch your attention, Aeon Racer is a game you will not want to miss out on. This game has a retro feel like Asteroid but is fast-paced and is sure to keep you on your toes. While trying to fly your spaceship through the levels, which progressively contain more and more barriers, the intensity increases since your ship continues to go faster and faster.
The game offers three different galaxies, each of which contains five levels which continually get harder and harder as they go on. The game is controlled by simply tilting your device to maintain control of your space ship as you cruise through the levels. If you get through the levels and are looking for more, there is an infinite mode, which allows you to play until you are done.Aeon Racer is $2.18 in the Android Market. Hit the break for download links.
If you're a user of Slacker Radio, head on over to the Android Market and update the app. (This one deals with permissions, so it won't update automatically.) There are a handful of bugfixes, but the big one for us is that you'll now get higher bitrates and larger album art when streaming over a 4G network.
Google last week teased us all with a test of number porting. Today it's gone live for everyone. You're going to need to think about this a bit before you dive in, however. If you port your current cell phone number to Google Voice, your current plan will be canceled, and you may be subject to an early termination penalty if you're still under contract. You'll then need to get a new plan, with a new number, which you'll then instruct Google Voice to ring.
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