Google Goggles is pretty damn cool, being able to nearly instantly recognize just about anything you can take a picture of. And in Version 1.3, it's gotten faster -- and smarter.
First off, scanning barcodes is much faster. Takes about a second now. Then there's the print ad feature -- scan the ad and it'll find search results about the product. And what's really cool is that you can scan a Sudoku puzzle and have the puzzle solved for your lazy butt get a little help. It's pretty damn cool. Video of it in action and download links are after the break. [Google]
Just a few weeks separated from its beta launch in the Android Market, the new Dolphin Mini browser has grown out of beta status and officially entered the Android Market, V1.0. Along with the release comes several new features and bug fixes, including a new data backup and restore feature.
New backup and restore feature
Refined UI and toolbox design
New bookmarks label
New flash plugin and updated flash settings
New address bar "quick options" by long pressing address bar
Dolphin Browser mini has quickly become one of our favorite browsers of choice, so be sure to check out this official release in the Market and let us know what you think in the comments section. [via Dolphin Browser Blog]
During Samsung's CES Keynote Thursday, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts spent a little time with the Xfinity application, both on a smart TV and the Samsung Galaxy Tab. We've been told this was coming, and it looks really cool. Not only can you change the channel on your cable box, you can find content and watch it right on your Android device. Social media and live TV playback are coming soon, so it's likely the app will launch without either.
Speaking of launch, no details about when, or OS requirements were announced. Hurry Comcast, we've waited patiently long enough.
If you've taken matters into your own hands and use custom ROMs on your Android device, you've surely heard of CyanogenMod. Version 7 is the initial Gingerbread build, and it looks like we'll be seeing nightly builds in the near future. No word on exactly which devices we're talking about to start with, but the Nexus One, T-Mobile G2, the Nexus S are good bets. The rest will follow as the developers get things closer to working, so hang tight and you should be seeing the build bot at work shortly for your phone. [@cyanogen]
Android users will be able to download apps through Amazon later this year
Amazon today announced its Amazon Appstore Developer portal -- an Android app store within the Amazon ecosystem. It's largely familiar, with the usual hooks for developers, though we'll have to wait a little while to judge its usefulness from a consumer standpoint. We spoke with Amazon's Aaron Rubenson, category leader for Mobile Services for Amazon.com, and Ameesh Paleja, general manager for the Engineering Division of Mobile Services for Amazon.com, for more details.
Today's launch is for developers. Consumers will be able to download apps through Amazon later this year.
Developers will upload apps through a self-service portal, developer.amazon.com, and include screenshots and metadata.
Developers keep 70 percent of the revenue, with Amazon getting the other 30 percent. That's in line with the other major app stores.
Developers will be paid once a month, within 30 days of the end of the month.
There's not mechanism for app refunds, other than for installation problems. That's much like Amazon's MP3 store. If you buy it, you buy it.
Amazon will screen apps to make sure they pass basic functionality. They'll test on a multitude of devices, on a the various versions of Android, to make sure it works and isn't malicious.
Apps may be rejected for content; guidelines will be publicly posted.
Amazon's not sure yet how long the app approval process may wake.
When the customer-facing store is launched, you'll be able to purchase phones from the website, or directly from the phone.
Amazon wants its app store to be available on as many phones as possible. Amazon was a little vague on how AT&T's ban on sideloading may affect this, but said "We're working with them to figure out the best way to resolve that."
There's a $99 annual program fee; Amazon's waiving it for the first year.
Given Amazon's size, this obviously is one of the larger competitors to Google's own Android Market. Will it take off? We'll have to see. A couple of major questions that remain are whether it'll be preloaded on phones, and just how easy it will be to install apps. Today's just about the developers. So get to downloading, and let us know how it works out.
We've got more screen shots and a Q&A chock full of questions and answers after the break.
TouchType online, the folks behind the amazing SwiftKey keyboard for Android (check out their development forum here at Android Central), has sent out an email to all their beta test program participants letting them know that open beta sign-up for the SwiftKey VIP program is ending Jan. 18. The SwiftKey VIP program gives access to testing builds of the application, as well as access to the confidential VIP discussion forum at SwiftKey's website. Anyone with software beta-testing experience, or who would like to get started should enroll while they can -- you can do that right here. Word is some great new features are soon to be tested, and you don't want to miss out on a chance to test them.
Joe Braidwood, Chief Marketing Officer at TouchType also reminds everyone that it's not too late to vote in the CES Mobile Apps Showdown, so check that out right here, and make your voice heard.
We've read enough books on the Samsung Galaxy Tab to say that e-reading's a breeze on Android tablets. But that hasn't stopped Amazon from wanting to improve its Kindle app, and today it announced it's working on a new version for Android tablets. Amazon didn't offer up much beyond that, though it's probably safe to say we'll see something along the lines of the iPad version. And that ain't too shabby. [Press release]
Opera's set to unveil its Android tablet-tweaked browser this week at CES, and they just unveiled a quick preview. Yep, looks like a slightly scaled up version to us, too. Check out the video after the break. [Opera]
Shopping apps are on the rise as smartphone popularity increases, and Winn-Dixie is one of the latest retailers to add their app to the pile. Right from their Android device, Winn-Dixie shoppers can now view weekly fliers, sales specific to their local store, and create shopping lists they can share with other users, and even sync with their computer.
Quick show of hands: How many of you use some sort of photo hosting service to get your pictures off your Android device, rather than grabbing your USB cable and transferring them manually? Or do you always have a USB cable/charging cradle on your desk, but you're too lazy to enable USB storage mode? Would you rather just browse the contents of your SD card (and root folder if rooted) via your computer's browser?
There are plenty of apps on the market that allow you to browse the files on your Android device via Wi-Fi, but I've never used one that does it as well as Browsix. More info and download links after the break.
Better late than never, it's our "Hey, it's the holidays, cut us some slack" edition of our weekly apps roundup. Many of you may be getting your first Android device, and we are sure you are extremely happy about it. The Android market is loaded with many great applications, but let us take you through some of our favorites of this week, and be sure to check out all of our other suggestions here.
It's that time of year where folks start making new years resolutions. One of the top new years resolutions is typically to be more fit or physically active. Some stick to that and follow through while if you're like me you'll likely forget about it in a week. In an effort to help you keep that resolution afloat the developers of Run Keeper have made their fitness tracking and measuring app available for free until the end of January. If you're looking to share your stats, stay in shape and track it all at the same time you can't beat the price here. Hit the download after the break. [Run Keeper]
Combining great graphics, an ominous soundtrack, and challenging game-play, Galaxy NGC3D is a great new game on the Android Market. The premise is simple -- man your fighter, and destroy them before they destroy you, but if you're looking for a cakewalk look elsewhere. You need a bit of skill (or practice) to pilot your ship through space, and the physics and drifting in a zero gravity environment seem as realistic as can be, at least to an earthling like myself. After a few frustrating hours playing, I got some serious satisfaction from flying in, putting an enemy in my sights, and blasting them into space dust. And to make it even better, it's one of the eleven new Open Feint games, so you can share progress and scores with your gaming buddies.
The game has a full plate full of settings, both the normal things like music volume as well as advanced settings for the on-screen graphics. The app seems coded pretty well, on my Evo 4G it can handle things set pretty high, and the Nexus S runs it great with everything cranked up to the max. There's also a little bonus -- it's set up for use with a Zeemote controller, which should work really well with this one. Speaking of bonuses -- Hyperbees (check out their developers forum right here) has set up their own contest in the Android Central forums, where ten winners will be able to grab a free copy of Galaxy NGC3D, and one lucky winner will be sporting their own Zeemote controller to play the heck out of this one, and many other games. High-tail it into the forums and try your luck, the contest ends Friday, Dec 31 at noon Eastern.
You can grab the full version of Galaxy NGC3D on sale until the contest ends tomorrow at noon on the market for a 99 cents, and there's a link to the free trial (thanks for that developers!), a gameplay video, and a handful of screenshots after the break -- check em out. Thanks Monika, Tom, and all the folks at Hyperbees!
There's no shortage of Internet radio apps out there. There are so many, in fact, that I once ran out of music while testing a few for a roundup. Yes, there are more Internet radio apps than there is music on the Internet. Go figure.
But the reason I keep coming back to TuneIn Radio is simple -- local stations. There are times I want to listen to local public radio, be it for the news, or local music, or just because. And TuneIn Radio has my local public radio station -- WUWF, for those of you stalking from home. It also has private local stations, too.
The app itself is pretty foolproof. Fire it up, chose "Local Radio" and it determines where you are through some sort of black magic (or any of your phones location services, we gather) and gives you a few options. Plus, you get all sorts of Internet radio stations, too.
Are there better Internet radio stations? Perhaps. But TuneIn Radio's worked very well for me. And at the low, low cost of FREE, the price is right. Give it a shot. More screenies and download links are after the break.
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