Google just announced Google Maps Navigation for Android 2.0 that'll offer users free turn-by-turn navigation. You heard that right. Google Maps. Free Turn-By-Turn Navigation. Android 2.0. Google Maps Navigation has everything you'd expect to find in a GPS application--3D views, turn-by-turn voice guidance, and automatic rerouting--but also adds compelling new features that's 'built from the ground up to take advantage of your phone's Internet connection'. Google lists seven features that are possible because Google Maps Navigation is connected to the Internet:
Always have the most recent maps and business data
Search with the power of Google (no need to know exact address, Google can do the legwork)
Search by voice
Live traffic data just like you see in the current Google Maps with real-time information
Search along route allows you to search for results that won't take you far from your route
Satellite View -- high resolution, 3D view of your route
Street View -- you'll be able to see where you need to turn, what your final address is, etc
This is big for Google Maps and even bigger for Android 2.0. Turn-by-turn navigation has probably been the most requested feature for Google Maps and for Google Maps Navigation to come native on the Droid (with a slick car dock UI to boot) and future Android 2.0 devices is a huge bullet point victory over competing mobile smartphones. Eventually, Google Maps Navigation will make its way to other phones but there's nothing like being first (and nothing like being free!).
We're imagining that Verizon is going to position the Droid as the high-end option with the Droid Eris becoming a lower-end handset. Hard to imagine a HTC Hero as a low-end device but with all the hype going to the Droid and the weaker specs, it's definitely possible. Another scenario could be the Droid Eris marketed as a keyboard-less option that uses the beautiful UI of HTC Sense as opposed to stock Android 2.0, keyboard-including option of the Droid. [bgr]
Verizon Training Employees on Droid Eris
It looks like Verizon Employees are getting themselves familiar with the Droid Eris. The screenshot (above) leaked from a Verizon Employee (natch) shows the training module that they have to go through. So if anyone had any doubt of this puppy landing on Verizon, they should cease now.
It looks like the previously reported November 6th release date will hold true for both the Droid and the Droid Eris. This is amazing because Verizon will have gone from zero Android devices to two of the best Android devices available almost overnight.
What's interesting is that Verizon decided to dual-launch both handsets on the same day. Over at Sprint, they've staggered the release of the HTC Hero and Samsung Moment nearly a month apart to offer both handsets a chance to shine. Palm is also introducing the low-end Pixie much later than the high-end Pre. In fact, we don't remember the last time two noteworthy handsets were launched on the same day. But we guess, if they're both ready, why not get them out to the public as soon as possible, right? Hopefully, they won't cannibalize each other. [bgr]
Verizon Stores Getting Shipment of Droids?
And lastly, we have an unsubstantiated rumor to bid you good morning. A tipster is telling us that Verizon stores will be getting shipments of Droids as soon as this week. In fact, his particular store is receiving 100+ units as soon by the end of the week. 100 units seems like a lot for a first shipment but if it's a store located in a big city and if shipment is split between the Droid and the Droid Eris, it's a somewhat feasible number. We're just passing what we hear along, but if the November 6th release date is true, stores should be getting their Droids soon enough. We'll find out soon enough! thanks anonymous tipster!
It just may be Gingerbread. In a short, humor-filled interview, Google Engineering Program Manager Ryan Gibson jokes about the pains in creating the nicknames for these Android builds and mentions 'Gingerbread House' when answering what comes after Flan. Obviously it's nothing close to being official since 'Gingerbread' is 2 builds after the next Android build (Eclair) and the overall joking nature of the interview but we kind of, sort of like the name.
Can you guys think of a dessert better suited to be the codename for the next, next Android build? In the meantime, hopefully we'll enjoy Eclair soon enough!
Google just announced that the Android SDK now supports Android 2.0 'Eclair'! We've seen Android 2.0 in screenshots from the Droid but Google is only officially introducing the 'Eclair' build of Android now. In 2.0, Android users will be able to use new features such as:
Multiple accounts can be added to Android for contact and email sync (devs can create sync adapters that provide sync with additional data sources)
Quick Contact gives quick access to actions (call, SMS, email, maps, etc) for your Contacts (accessible in Contacts, Email, Messaging, and Calendar)
Unified email inbox to support multiple accounts on one page
Search through all SMS/MMS messages
Android keyboard is improved
Refreshed UI with actionable browser URL bar enables users to directly tap the address bar for instant searches and navigation. Browser can also double-tap to zoom and there's support for HTML5
expanded Camera offerings: Built-in flash support, Digital zoom, Scene mode, White balance, Color effect, and Macro focus
Combine those improvements with what came in Android 1.6 and the all around tweaks and performance enhancements that come with new releases and it looks like Android 2.0 'Eclair' is going to be a winner. Now that the 2.0 SDK is out of the bag, how about officially releasing it for the rest of us Android users, Google?
Okay, it's official. The next couple weeks are going to be HUGE for Android. Sony Ericsson just scheduled an event for November 3rd that promises to be "extraordinary and magical". What could this be about? Well, poke around the site's source code and you can find 'Rachael' mentioned by name so yeah, this is the announcement for our most anticipated Android device--the Sony Ericsson 'Rachael' XPERIA X3 (or at least, that's what we've known it as).
Though we won't commit to the official name of the device (some outlets are reporting it's the X10 or the Inifnity), it really doesn't matter. The specs are going to be gorgeous, the already leaked UI is amazing, and to have it announced so soon? Perfect. We're not sure what carrier the 'Rachael' is going to land on--we're leaning towards T-Mobile since AT&T hasn't acknowledged Android--but we'll soon find out on November 3rd!
To refresh you on makes the 'Rachael' so special: a 4-inch 800x480 touchscreen, 1GHz processor, 8.1 megapixel camera with flash and video recording, 3.5mm headphone jack, your usual slew of connectivity options, and its own custom UI.
Don't get jealous. HTC has made the HTC Sense UI available to the HTC Magic...in Taiwan. The custom Sense UI which makes the HTC Hero the best Android phone currently on the market is now available to Chunghwa Telecom customers with an HTC Magic. There's really no telling when (if, ever) HTC Sense will roll out to Magics around the world but if it does happen, the lifespan of the Magic will be dramatically extended.
Signs have been pointing to T-Mobile myTouch 3G users being left in the dark when it comes to HTC Sense because of the slightly different hardware between the myTouch and the Magic but one can still hope for access to one of the most beautiful UI's around. HTC Magics have a better chance of receiving Sense but HTC has yet to give official word. Stay hopeful.
If you're interested in seeing how the T-Mobile Motorola CLIQ and MOTOBLUR works, take a look at the video released by T-Mobile above! The Motorola CLIQ should already be on their way (or maybe even in your hands) for T-Mobile customers who've pre-ordered and will be available to the general public on November 2nd. Social Networking is all the rage and the CLIQ stylishly combines them all in one device.
It looks like the mystery of the HTC Android device above is about to get solved. When we first spotted the device, it was rocking the 1GHz Snapdragon processor (that's about to re-define speed on a mobile device) and was called the HTC Dragon. Now, as more information comes about, it looks like the device above is the HTC Dragon but in CDMA form, re-named the HTC Passion. It looks like the HTC Passion is headed to Verizon to join the Droid and Droid Eris to make one heck of an Android lineup on Big Red.
Basically, the HTC Passion will become the Android equivalent to the WinMob HTC HD2 and will arrive sometime in Q4 2009 running Android 2.0. We're not sure it will come with HTC Sense but if this is all true, Verizon is about to take over the Android market with some of the most dynamic Android phones to date. Hopefully, we'll hear more about Verizon's Android plans at their October 28th event!
You didn't think Motorola and Verizon would be alone with Android 2.0 handsets, did you? HTC just confirmed that their upcoming Android phones will also be equipped with Android 2.0 'Eclair'. In fact, HTC said that they've had Android 2.0 in-house for a while now so they've definitely been able to develop phones for the much anticipated Android build.
We've seen Android 2.0 in screenshots already and it definitely builds on the Android platform and improves the overall experience. We're very excited to see how 2.0 runs on the Droid and can only imagine that HTC will continue its Android excellence once 'Eclair' is released on their handsets. What's odd is that Google has yet to release a SDK for Android 2.0 (we're still on Android 1.6) and Sprint Android phones are stuck on 1.5. We're hoping the situation will become more clear and all of us Android users will enjoy the benefits of 2.0 at the same time.
Ask anyone who or what HTC was just a few years ago and no one would know. But now they're one of the biggest smartphone makers in the world and certainly the biggest and longest supporter of Android around. And as far as HTC smartphones can reach with their countless form factors on different platforms, they still manage to spur innovation with both their designs and software and offer high-end build quality in their devices. We're happy that HTC has been a staunch supporter of Android and hopeful to see more devices come from their way.
We're even happier now that HTC has decided to step into the spotlight after so many years behind the scenes. The 'You' ad campaign is what we believe to be their first foray into mainstream consumer marketing and it works wonderfully well. Just take a look at the commercial above. To quote, 'You don't need to get a phone. You need a phone that gets you'.
And if you like what you saw, there's another commercial after the jump!
Just to get everybody up to speed with the latest Verizon Droid happenings (and there's a lot):
A print Droid advertisement (in the San Diego Union Tribune) shows the date 11.06.09 along with the usual slew of "iDon't/Droid Does"-isms. We're going to assume that's the release date which makes a lot of sense considering the Verizon Droid Event is scheduled for October 28th and that'll leave Big Red ample time to prepare for the launch of the Droid. The November 6th date also falls in line with previous reports. [phandroid]
The Motorola Droid has popped up on eBay (looks like there is 3 available) for anyone willing to spend thousands of dollars on what might possibly be the best Android phone available. Would we recommend buying them? No, especially if the Droid is launching in early November and also no because we don't want you guys to drive up the price for us! We kid. kind of.
A GSM/HSPA version of the Droid (with AT&T 3G-friendly bands) has cleared the FCC and that has a lot of people whispering it could see light as the first Android device on the Death Star network. We're thinking this is too good to be true considering Verizon has created a whole ad campaign for the Droid and to see it on a competing carrier would be disastrous--put it this way, could you ever see Verizon paying for the marketing of a phone on AT&T? Plus, AT&T has yet to officially acknowledge Android's existence. We're thinking the Droid is heading to Rogers in Canada (same 3G-bands as AT&T) and will remain exclusive to Verizon in the US. [mobilecrunch]
BGR says that the DroidDoes.com website shown in all the Droid advertisements hit 2.5 million pageviews and 170,000 opt-in e-mail addresses in about three days. Yeah, we think this Droid is going to be a success.
That's all the Droid news over the weekend, we hope you're all caught up! Still, we're sure there will be more details coming out before the official Verizon Droid Event on October 28th starts so stay tuned!
The specs aren't officially official but from what we've heard, it rocks a 4-inch 800x480 touchscreen, 1GHz processor, 8.1 megapixel camera with flash and video recording, 3.5mm headphone jack, and your usual slew of connectivity options. Not to mention, the custom UI that Sony Ericsson built gets more beautiful every time we watch it. It's expected to release early Q1 2010.
Hit the jump for more pictures of the Sony Ericsson 'Rachael' XPERIA X3!
T-Mobile just officially introduced their 'Project Dark' rate plans, Even More and Even More Plus. The new rate plans look exactly like what we saw leaked last week and though it falls just a bit short of our sky high expectations, is still a great move by Magenta. On Even More plans, you'll be able to get unlimited voice, text, and data for $99/month on a 2 year contract. On Even More Plus plans, you'll get the same unlimited voice, text, and data for $79/month without any contract.
The catch of being on the no-contract Even More Plus plans is that your future phone won't be subsidized by T-Mobile (which means the G1 will cost you $399.99 on Even More Plus as opposed to $129.99 on Even More). But even if there is a premium attached to no-contract living, the ability to get out anytime seems like a great perk and plus, it looks like you'll still be able to purchase phones over a period of time with no interest.
The Even More unlimited plan is similar to what Sprint is offering and according to T-Mobile is half the price of comparable AT&T and Verizon plans. The Even More Plus is what excites us, if T-Mobile can have the entire industry headed to no-contract wireless service, we're in.
What do you guys think of T-Mobile's Even More and Even More Plus plans?
Engadget is reporting that 'Droid' for Verizon is not going to be just one single phone but rather a series of phones. From our own sources, we've heard similar things, so we can independently corroborate their report. So after the first Droid (the phone we're all drooling over made by Motorola) gets announced and released, we'll see the Droid Eris very soon--they're saying as soon as November 6th, but we're unable to confirm.
We think that Verizon creating a brand of 'Droid' devices is a great move by Big Red. They can use their strong Verizon brand to build another strong brand name for their future devices. That brand recognition will speak volumes in the future when we'll associate Droid devices along the likes of new Blackberries and iPhones. If Google isn't going to make a Gphone, Verizon might as well create Droid. It identifies quickly with Android (and Verizon) and judging by its first iteration, will become synonymous with high quality and desirable phones.
Not to mention that the Droid name will certainly differentiate Android powered smartphones from Verizon's typical dumbphone lineup. The "iDon't come in different styles/Droid Does" ad almost writes itself. Having a series of 'Droid' phones shows just how serious Verizon is with their upcoming Android lineup, they're in it for the long haul and they're banking it on being successful. We're going to agree with them.
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