Sure, you think your network's good. But just how good is it? Root Wireless is looking to answer that and crowdsource the nation's cellular network, at that. Today it released a free beta application that utilizes smartphones as network monitoring devices. (Check out CrackBerry.com's interview with them at CES in January.)
Supported Android devices are the Google Nexus One, Motorola Cliq, HTC Droid Eris and T-Mobile G1.
Here's how it works: You load up Root Wireless' app on your phone, and use it to monitor the network. Then you sign in at MyTrueCoverage.com, and your network strength is plotted on Google Maps. A handy tool if you're looking to determine just how good (or bad) a cell carrier is where you live, work and play. Full presser after the break.
Take a lot of photos? Do you use Picasa to sort and store them? If so, here’s another reason to look towards Mountain View when buying a tablet. Our SPE sister site The iPhone Blog reports the latest from Apple CEO (and part time CSR) Steve Jobs.
…Are there any plans to support Picasa’s faces and albums in iTunes, so I can take full advantage of the [iPad] Photos application, since Photoshop Album is long discontinued. If not, please can you look into supporting the Picasa library format?
And the response from Steve Jobs:
No, but iPhoto on the Mac has much better Faces and Places features.
Sent from my iPhone
Granted, it’s his baby and he can decide who and what to support, but the list of iDont’s seems to get bigger each time we hear from Mr. Jobs about this thing. If you’re not using a Mac with Faces and Places, don’t fret. Android has you covered.
Sent from my old Tablet PC tethered to my Android [via TiPb]
Whether it's streaming Internet radio or keeping as much of your music collection as you can on a microSD card, you gotta admit there are some great ways to keep the tunes flowing on your Android phone.
Yeah, we probably could have split these into two categories - streaming and non. But no matter, you guys had some great picks. After the break, we take a look at your favorite options.
Android 1.6+ If you're into Google Buzz but have wanted to be able to post text and photos from your Android home screen, you're now in luck. Google's made a Buzz widget available in the Android Market that does exactly that. It's English-only for now, but it makes Google's new social networking feature that much easier to use. Get in now in the Android Market. [Google]
Realtors, take note: Zillow, the popular Web site that allows estimates your home value -- and more important, your neighbors' home values -- has just announced its first Android application. With it you get:
Estimate home values, home details and historical data on 95 million U.S. homes – nearly all homes in the country.
Curbside images of homes using Google Street View.
Multiple photos, home details, and contact information on homes for sale, for rent or listed as Make Me Move, allowing home shoppers to peek inside home listings and call or email agents, owners and landlords right from the app.
Shoppers can filter their home searches by sale price, rental price, number of bedrooms and bathrooms and listing type (for sale, for rent, Make Me Move, and recently sold).
Users can search for homes and neighborhoods utilizing voice search – just say an address, neighborhood or city and the Zillow Android App will take you there.
Very cool stuff if you're looking for a home, or are a Realtor. Check out video of Zillow for Android in action after the break, and grab it now in the Android Market. [Zillow]
Android 1.6+Google Maps went and updated itself to Version 4.1 tonight, bringing with it an updated search page, support for multiple accounts, a Latitude widget and -- this is very cool -- the ability to make Google Maps your live wallpaper. Let's break it down, erm, after the break.
"Currently there are no plans to update the HTC Tattoo with éclair."
HTC has been known to change its mind, and Tattoo owners can only hope that it happens again. The Tattoo for sure isn't a powerhouse, but it's a nice little phone that fills a niche in Android's lineup. Since the Tattoo was released just last November, it's pretty disheartening to find out that it's already reached the end of it's software update path. Any readers using one of these small sexy phones? Sound off in the comments! [Tracy and Matt's blog]
Android 1.6+ ZumoDrive, a cloud media storage/streaming/sync solution, is now available for Android. Here's the skinny: Install an app on your computer, and media (music, photos and the like) become accessible through the ZumoDrive app on your phone. You get 1 gigabyte of storage for starters (take a tour and get it upped to 2GB), and tiered pricing is available, from 10GB for $2.99 a month to a whopping 500GB for $79.99 a month. [ZumoDrive | Market link]
Opera Mini features data compression on the server side, which means it's fast. Very fast. It will load almost anything faster than a standard mobile browser, so there's almost no point in comparing the two (we don't bother in this hands-on). Also remember that this is beta software, so bugs are likely. And, no, there's no Flash support, and no multitouch. But everything ran pretty smoothly in our brief testing. Check it out after the break.
Most of us are waiting for Opera Mobile for Android to somehow make it on Android phones but the next best thing has landed on the newswire: Opera Mini 5 Beta is now available for Android. And little brother browser ain't so shabby. Opera Mini 5 Beta comes with tabbed browsing, speed dial bookmarks, download manager, password manager, and other features. Opera Mini is typically a speedy browser and this iteration is no exception.
It's supposed to work with all Android devices so everyone gets to play! Try it out yourself by searching Opera Mini 5 in Android Market or by heading to m.opera.com/next
One of the first questions we get from new Android users is "Great phone. Now how do I get my music on it?" And one of the first answers we give is "doubleTwist." The free software syncs with just about every smartphone out there, has the Amazon MP3 Store built in, and -- best of all -- frees you from the shackles of iTunes. And the Windows application just got a major update, adding:
doubleTwist Podcasts - the world's largest podcast search engine! Search, subscribe and sync podcasts to any device.
Improved the speed of the sync planning phase and transfer of media items to device.
Support for network drives that are mounted as a drive letter.
Tether, formerly known as TetherBerry, has spent lots of time behind the scenes porting their extremely successful BlackBerry application to Android. Tonight is a great night for many that have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of this beta. Tether has sent out emails to those that have signed up for their long awaited beta so that public testing can begin.
This announcement comes shortly after they announced their 1st Birthday Celebration, which includes some amazing prizes, including 3 Android devices. If you are not signed up for this beta and want to sign up, point your mouse here, fill out the few pieces of required information and sit back and wait. At this time there is no word as to when more testers will be given the application, but keep an eye out for more information to come!
Chances are if you've been hanging around Android for a while you've run across the Pure series of widgets. There's Pure calendar, Pure messenger and now, Pure music.
The widget works with the stock Android music players (or HTC's music player, if that's how you roll) and like the other Pure widgets is skinnable, so you can make it look however you want. The widget also is available in several sizes, from a 1x1 spot to 4x4. It offers direct controls to your music including repeat mode, shuffle mode and Bluetooth on/off.
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