Last May we saw the release of News360 for Honeycomb devices, and today they have released the version for the smaller screen. In a nutshell, News360 is a news aggregator app with over 4,000 global sources (find us in the Android section!) and it's visually stunning. The features are there, too -- the social integration with Facebook, Twitter, ReadItLater, Instapaper, and TripIt, the ability to favorite articles and and content to create your own customized newsfeed, and "automatically identifying and linking more than 700,000 companies, people, brands and locations with stories, and creating encyclopedic, wiki-style dossiers accessible with a single tap, without ever leaving the article." That means when you open an article, keywords are highlighted and a tap takes you to page inside the app full of pertinent information and other news links. Another very intriguing feature is set to come out this summer:
News360 will introduce a new cross-platform content personalization mechanism based on interests and reading preferences gathered from integrations with Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader and Evernote, among others. Automatically generated profiles will enable users to instantly discover the content that is relevant to them with one click of the News360 icon.
But the highlight here is easily the application design. It's smooth, with a fluid transition between pages, rich high resolution images, and quality inline video. It's also uniquely Android; versions are available for multiple platforms, each having the same overall look and feel yet keeping the controls and layout in the stye associated with each individual platform. The iPhone version, for example, has a familiar icon bar across the bottom, with the settings and favorites where you would expect them, and the Android version has those same controls in the upper right corner. It's the little touches like this that separate it from the pack. News360 is free from the Android Market for phones running Android 2.2 and higher, and you'll find the download link, some images showing off the interface, and the official press release after the break.
You want leaks, we got leaks! In the past couple days news has been coming out of the woodwork about upcoming Android phones, so I'll take a minute and wrap it all up neatly here in one place. Remember, these aren't 100 percent guaranteed dates by any means (cough Thunderbolt cough Droid Charge), but we're pretty confident in them.
First up we have the LG Thrill 4G and the HTC Status for you folks on AT&T. There's no exact date given for these two, but it looks like we'll be seeing them this month, as leaked docs show a July release date at Sam's Club. Both look to be awesome phones, each geared to a different audience. Folks wanting raw power and a 3D screen will love the OMAP4 powered Thrill 4G, and the HTC Status looks like a social networker's dream come true.
Sprint has some love to share on July 24, with the Samsung Conquer -- the first entry-level Wimax phone from Mr. Hesse and crew. Dual cameras, tri-band CDMA with 800MHz support, and Gingerbread sounds like a great way to have fun this summer. Guess where ... at Sam's Club
One more thing (you thought I forgot, didn't you?). There's another phone that a few of you have been looking forward to called the Droid Bionic that looks to be hitting the shelves on August 4. It's version three of the phone of your dreams -- dual-core OMAP might, LTE speed, and likely the best upgrade from an OG Droid or Droid X that anyone can imagine. We'll be on this one like a hawk, just like you will. At Sam's Club.
It's worth noting that these leaked dates are for Sam's Club (we mentioned that, right?) and not the official carrier stores. That means you might even be seeing these for sale a bit sooner at other retailers or at your carrier's brick and mortar location, something we've seen before. It's going to be another busy summer reviewing Android phones, and that's the way we like it!
There she be, folks -- Fieldrunners HD. It's tower defense done like never before, with excellent graphics and sounds. It's got more than 400 levels and four battlefields, seven towers and three difficulty levels, plus two additional modes once you beat the Classic game.
Fieldrunners HD is a pretty big download at 36MB, and it's available on Android smartphones (not tablets yet) running Android 2.2 and up. Download it from the Amazon Appstore for free today at the link below.
There's still be little more fanfare than the odd Twitter reply and Facebook post, but the Motorola Droid 3 is now live on Verizon's Droid Does website. Fire it up and you'll be taken through the litany of new specs, including five-row keyboard, dual-core processor and 4-inch qHD display.
According to this document the folks over at SprintFeed got their hands on (Sure looks like the ol' Sprint Playbook), Nexus S 4G users should expect an update to start rolling out July 11. The update includes a couple fixes from Google, namely enabling a secure setting for NFC and TTY support (ASAP!), but the stuff most are looking for seems to be baked in as well -- fixes to Wifi and 4G data signal strength and changes to the PRL download mechanism and configuration.
The OTA should roll out over a four-day period starting July 11, and all devices should have received the OTA by July 14. Of course the manual download location will probably get leaked soon after the roll out begins, and if so we'll let you know.
One of the more interesting (if less publicized) additions to Google Maps 5.7 is the ability to download map data locally to your phone. That's a godsend if you're traveling somewhere that has a spotty connection, or if you're overseas and trying to avoid roaming charges.
To enable downloading map data, you'll need to go into the Labs section of Google Maps. Hit the menu button, then More, then Labs, and tap on the Download Map Area section, like you see above.
You'll be able to download a 10-mile radius from any point. Hold your finger down on the map or choose a saved location, then tap Download Map Area. It's simple.
Need more? We've got video after the break. Bon appetit.
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!
The persistent rumors of an Android-powered “Facebook phone” culminated in the unveiling of the HTC ChaCha and its larger sibling, the Salsa, at Mobile World Congress back in February. With its full QWERTY keyboard and slightly silly name, the ChaCha drew attention for being the first phone to put the social network at the center of the user experience. Avid Facebookers were promised hardware and software to help them stay in touch with their legions of friends and followers -- a dedicated Facebook button was introduced, along with a specially-customized version of HTC’s Sense UI.
We’ve spent the past couple of weeks getting to grips with the HTC ChaCha on Three UK, which is available on Pay As You Go for £199.99, or for free on contracts starting at £20 per month. Read on to find out if we ‘Like’ the ChaCha, or whether we’d rather unfriend it and go our separate ways.
Microsoft and Samsung reportedly are in discussions over licensing fees concerning the latter's Android smartphones. Reuters, citing "local media," reported that Microsoft was "demanding" $15 per smartphone. Samsung reportedly countered with $10 per phone in exchange for "a deeper alliance with Microsoft for the U.S. company's Windows platform."
And thus the world continues to work as it's intended to. It's important to note that just as when HTC started forking over licensing fees to Microsoft, we're talking Microsoft and Samsung here, not Microsoft and Google, or Microsoft and Android. OK, maybe indirectly. But there are countless lines of proprietary code in Android, and any number of ways that code -- or, yes, possibly code from the Android Open Source Project itself -- could infringe on another company's patents. Problem right now is that nobody's saying which toes are getting stepped on, just that there's pressure on the foot.
And, finally, we round out the Launch Date Leakapolooza with Sprint, and the Samsung Conquer. That's the mid-level Android smartphone that a brief appearance on Sammy's website last week before being yanked. Specs, as you'll recall, include:
HTC is now pushing out its first over-the-air update for unbranded European Sensations, according to reports from users in several European countries. The update package reportedly weighs just under 27MB, and brings the Sensation up to software version 1.35.401.1 -- the exact same version which leaked last week in the form of an RUU (ROM update utility).
The general consensus seems to be that this is a small, incremental update consisting mostly of bug fixes and the like. The new software is still based on Android 2.3.3, and there's no sign that the bootloader has been unlocked in accordance with HTC's new bootloader policy. However, there are unconfirmed reports that the new software remedies some of the lag that users have been experiencing in the Sensation's homescreen launcher which, if true, would be very welcome indeed.
If you've got an unbranded European HTC Sensation, head over to 'Settings' -> 'About phone' -> 'Check for updates' to grab the new firmware, and report back to us in the comments if you notice any changes.
The Qualcomm roadmap for the next few years has leaked out, putting a time frame on the chips they announced last February. According to the leak, we should expect dual-core LTE, HSPA, and HSPA+ chips clocked anywhere from 1.5 GHz to 1.7 GHz to be in the hands of manufacturers late in Q3 of this year, with the Adreno 225 GPU on board. Come Q3 of next year, we should see the budget version start to make it's way into phones and other connected devices, with a Adreno 305 GPU and a bit lower (1.0-1.2GHz) clock speeds.
The "big deal," and what many are waiting for, are the quad-core Krait systems, complete with an Adreno 320 to push out 1080p video at 60 fps, and clock speeds in the 2 GHz and up range. We won't get to see those until early 2013 though. Of course, this is all subject to change -- if there's anything we all have learned from leaks, it's that they often don't hold true. They will arrive when they arrive, and I think we will love them.
If you're still rocking an unrooted, Vodafone-branded Nexus One, then you'll be pleased to hear that today sees the release of the official, Voda-approved Gingerbread update for these phones. The carrier has announced that Android 2.3.4 has begun rolling out over-the-air to its Nexus Ones, bringing these handsets up to date with unbranded Nexii.
Of the many new features in Gingerbread, Vodafone has highlighted the re-vamped UI and keyboard, SIP calling and improved power management in its release notes. It's an over-the-air (OTA) update, so simply check for updates in Settings -> About phone to grab the new software.
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