The next big feature for smartphones (and all mobile devices, really) is the augmented reality browser. Augmented Reality applications show the world around you in a brand new way--through the looking glass of your smartphone. Layar is a pioneer of this new method of 'seeing the world' and they've just unveiled their 3D-engine to make their browser all the more real.
The 3D-engine in the Layar Reality Browser kicks Augmented Reality Browsers up a notch. Developers can now tag real-life objects with 3D text or even drop 3D images in the browser. In Layar's words, "the addition of 3D enables Layar developers to create more realistic and immersive augmented reality experiences for mobile devices."
The video above shows a hilarious Pac-Man game being played in your average park, though that in itself doesn't do much for end-users, developers will certainly take advantage of the added depth that 3D enables.
We're big fans of Augmented Reality Browsers and Layar is definitely an application we've kept a close eye on. We can't wait to see what 3D can do to an already wonderful Android application.
The Samsung InstinctQ (also known as the Samsung M900) just passed through the hands of the Notorious FCC. And when yet-to-be announced products pass through the FCC, it typically means it's going to be announced sooner rather than later. So should we expect the Samsung InstinctQ/M900 to take over the daily headlines in the near future?
We think yes. The Samsung InstinctQ was previously rumored to release in October, and though that seems a wee bit too close, we're fairly certain an announcement (at the least) is on its way. The Notorious FCC leaks that the InstinctQ will rock CDMA/EV-DO connectivity which definitely points toward Sprint being the carrier. Everything else seems to be standard fare--Android OS, Bluetooth, and WiFi. The InstinctQ deserves bonus points for a hardware keyboard though.
What do you guys think? Is a hardware QWERTY keyboard enough to make you pass on the HTC Hero and wait for this puppy? Or are you just happy to see Android take off?
Sprint has announced their 9th annual Developer Conference and for the first time ever, we'll have to pay attention. Why? Because the Sprint Developer Conference will have a heavy focus on our favorite Android OS, with Google Engineers on-site to discuss Android Market and more specifically, Android development. What makes the deal even sweeter is that Sprint will also be giving away 400 HTC Hero units to developers.
So if you're interested in Android development, head on over to the Sprint Dev Conference website to sign up! We love that Sprint is taking their Android efforts so seriously, we believe that this conference will be fruitful for developers and thus down the line, Android users.
The Sprint Developer Conference is October 26-28, 2009 at Santa Clara, California.
While Verizon & AT&T have aligned themselves with LTE and T-Mobile is sticking with 21Mbps HSPA+, Sprint has heavily invested in a WiMax network by Clearwire for their 4G-speed offerings. So it's really no surprise that Sprint is planning to release a WiMax-speed smartphone in 2010. What is surprising is that some reports are pointing that device to be a Samsung-built, Android-powered smartphone. Android, Samsung, and WiMax? We're already sold.
Though Sprint is just starting to launch their Android portfolio (with the wonderful HTC Hero), a truly ground-breaking device like a WiMax speed, Android-powered smartphone would be an absolute game changer for the sinking carrier. With the speed of WiMax, we're talking about data speeds 3-5x faster than what an iPhone 3GS can do. Yeah, that's pretty fast. By the end of 2010, about 80 cities will be covered in the WiMax network, a fairly respectable number given the breathtaking speeds of 4G.
We know 2009 isn't over yet but if a 4G/WiMax Android device is coming by the end of 2010, we won't even mind pining for a device that's more than a year away. What do you guys think? Android, Samsung, Sprint, WiMax for the win?
Cellular South, the largest privately held wireless provider in the US which focuses on customers in the gulf coast, will be the third US carrier to officially support Android (T-Mobile and Sprint being first and second). Cellular South just announced that they will offer the Sprint-styled HTC Hero to their 5 million customers and it'll pack all the goodies of Google Apps and Android Market. Confession: We've never heard of Cellular South until now.
The Sprint-styled HTC Hero is the generically designed, chin-less version of the HTC Hero that packs a 5 megapixel camera and runs HTC Sense. Though we wish that they would offer the daringly styled, chin-full GSM version, it's still great to see a small carrier like Cellular South put their efforts behind an Android device that we believe to be the best Android offering available.
If anyone is a Cellular South customer or ever used Cellular South, please let us know in the comments how Cellular South is!
One of the greatest things about Android is that any company can tweak, modify, or add to the open-source of Android. We've seen both HTC and Motorola do some really great things with that freedom and we're certain that more companies will dabble in the customization. Case in point: Larva Labs just showed a concept that'll give Android a "Intelligent Home Screen" a la Windows Mobile's Today Screen.
The "Intelligent Home Screen" allows Android users to filter through personal items and general items. In a demo of the "Intelligent Home Screen" we see that personal items such as SMS, e-mails, phone calls are loaded on the top portion of the screen and general items like RSS feeds are shown on the bottom of the screen. The two categories are separated by a date and time bar. The entire interface is customizable--you can choose how many personal items or general items to display, you can choose font size, and even what is shown.
The "Intelligent Home Screen" would be a welcome addition to Android because the concept of a Today Screen is so useful in day-to-day usage. Though Larva Labs' Intelligent Home Screen is only in concept form, we're pretty sure once this is available to Android users, it's going to be a hit. What do you guys think?
The leaked images are of the blurrycam nature and though that typically casts doubt in our minds, we just want this to be real so bad that we can forgive the shoddy camera work. The pictures never really detail the specifics of the amazingly beautiful UI that Sony Ericsson has built on top of Android (like HTC did with Sense) but a couple shots of Android staple screens are enough to hold us over.
Images of a white Sony Ericsson XPERIA X3 'Rachael' Android phone have also leaked. All the pictures of this highly anticipated Android phone can be found after the jump!
As always with anything intensive like this, proceed at your own discretion. The Cyanogen ROM, though wonderful, is still unofficial and a rooted phone, though amazing, may cause fits for the average user. If you're still interested in experiencing the new Android Market, head over to CyanogenMod to see how it's done.
Let us know your thoughts on the new Android Market!
Chalk this up as another reason to love Android. Android just received its second video broadcasting/streaming application, Ustream (the first being qik). Any Android user who downloads Ustream (for free in Android Market) will be able to instantly shoot video and stream it live over 3G or Wi-Fi. Other features include local recording for higher quality web sharing later and polling and chatting with viewers in real time.
One of the purported benefits of Ustream vs Qik is that Ustream handles latency (aka lag) better. In early testing, lag time of three seconds over 3G have been reported. That's nothing short of amazing. We're excited to see bigger developers release full-featured applications on Android, sorry we can't say the same for our iPhone using friends. Zing!
If you've been keeping track of the T-Mobile 3G rollout like we know you have, you'll be happy to know that it's steadily moving along. The latest cities to receive T-Mobile 3G are Honolulu, Hawaii and Salt Lake City, Utah. So whether you're enjoying the last remnants of summer in Waikiki or anticipating the impending snow season in Salt Lake City, you'll be able to experience the game changing feature that is 3G.
But the news gets even better for Philadelphians. T-Mobile is cranking up the current 3G in Philly and bringing 21Mbps HSPA+ to T-Mobile users in the city of Brotherly Love. We know that T-Mobile plans to use 21Mbps HSPA+ in lieu of moving to 4G (LTE) and though we disagree with the decision in the long-term, 21Mbps HSPA+ right now sounds like the best 3G data around. (For comparison, current T-Mobile 3G is capped at 1.8Mbps and even AT&T's 3G maxes out at 7.2Mbps)
Those in Honolulu, Salt Lake City, and especially Philadelphia, please let us know in the comments how the 3G is working!