Over the past few months now, Google has been slowly rolling out new features to their Google Mobile search engine. The latest, called "Open now" allows users to search for places in their local area that are well -- open now based on their listed hours.
Be it a pizza shop, shopping center or whatever the case may be. No one likes to get ready and head out to a place only to find out they closed 15 minute before you got there. So using the open now feature while search will only show you places that are open in your local area that you may visit.
If you're looking for more information, Google will break it down further for you by distance, star ratings and you can also read reviews and see images of places especially if that place is a restaurant or hotel. Currently it's only enabled for the U.S. like most things we expect Google will roll it out to other areas over time. [Google Mobile Blog]
Following yesterday's price and availability announcement for the UK Wi-Fi Xoom, the Carphone Warehouse has updated its preview page with pre-order pricing and other info for the UK 3G version of Motorola's Honeycomb tablet. Carphone has priced the 3G Xoom at £599.99 (~$960) SIM-free, a £100 bump from the Wi-Fi-only version. There's been no mention of any subsidized on-contract prices, however the retailer is sweetening the SIM-free deal with the inclusion of a free charging dock worth £34.99. The shipping date has also been updated from "April" to "early April", so it'll likely arrive around the same time as the Wi-Fi version, which will ship during the first week of April. [Carphone Warehouse]
Don't look now, but it would seem that people love them some Angry Birds. A shocker, we know. Rovio announced at the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) that the free-with-ads Android version of the popular game had been downloaded an astounding 30 million times. What is even more impressive is that Rovio claimed five million downloads back in early December. They said they were pulling in $1 million in ad revenue back then, so some quick math would estimate that they might be raking in north of $6 million per month now. That's a lot of irate avians. [Joystiq]
With all the new devices coming out and their updated specs a lot of folks look towards gaming on the Android platform now more then ever. Bigger screens, higher resolutions, dual core processors and the power to push some crazy graphics all makes for some great game play. Have you come across any games that blew your mind lately? If so, let us know about it in the Android Central forums.
In your daily dose of "Nope, no release date for the HTC ThunderBolt just yet," we bring you a commercial that's been floating around. And it's pretty darn good, as you'd expect from HTC and/or Verizon. And, nope, there's still no release date. [Android Central Forums]
PayPal is offering prizes of up to $25,000 to developers to come up with the best use of PayPal secure payments in an Android app. The PayPal X Developer Challenge runs until May 14, so there's plenty of time to get your ideas turned into code and uploaded to the Android Market. PayPal says its looking for "something new, something surprising, something with business potential, something that integrates PayPal payments."
First prize is $25,000, $15,000 for second and $10,000 for third, and all three will also receive marketing and PR support from PayPal to help generate interest in their apps. [PayPal]
The Samsung Captivate just got its official Android 2.2 Froyo update. So it's only fitting that the CyanogenMod community project just released an initial CM7 Gingebread build. That's right, Android 2.3.3 for the Samsung Captivate. It's being billed as a usable test release, but undoubtedly bugs will crop up. Give it a whirl if you want -- you'll be glad you did. [via XDA]
No, your eyes do not deceive you. What you see here supposedly is a display at a Sam's Club trainer store (a faux store where they show real stores how it's done) with a Wifi-only Motorola Xoom. At least, that's what the display says. No telling when it might actually be coming, and considering the price tag shows it running Android 2.0 "Homeycomb" -- there's a Photoshop contest waiting to happen -- well, we'll just have to see, won't we.
Verizon just released a very unexpected OTA update for the HTC Droid Eris. No, seriously -- look! The latest update to hit the Eris brings the little guy to ROM: 2.41.605.6 and the Radio: 2.42.01.04.27. Sadly, this is not Froyo. Remember, the Eris isn't getting Froyo.
Here is a list changes from the update:
Improved Bluetooth connection performance with Mercedes-Benz E350 automobiles.
New Twitter authentication allows users to login to their accounts with ease.
The Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) display, showcasing the strength of the incoming signal on the device, has been visually improved.
Visual Voice Mail (v1.0.19) now comes preloaded.
Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 calendars can now be synced with the device.
Videos, pictures, and audio multimedia messages can be sent and received with or without text included.
Videos, pictures, and audio multimedia messages sent to devices on other wireless carrier networks will be received.
We're more than fond of seeing a little DIY smartphone hackery, and Android Central Forums member jhoove09 brings us a cool little project. Back when he used a Palm Pre (hi, PreCentral!), he'd grown tired of forgetting his security card at home, and so he hacked it into the phone's Touchstone cover. And now that he's moved onto, shall we say, greener pastures, it was time to do the same to his new HTC EVO Shift 4G.
It's a pretty cool little project. And with NFC slowly gaining in popularity, something like this -- minus acetone and super glue -- might well become more common with our phones. Check out the full story at the source link. [Android Central Forums]
He's back, folks. Snoop DoGGGG. Charmin' the ladies, or whatever it is you kids do these days. If you missed the first installment, Snoop D-O-(Double)-Double-G is playing three parts alongside ... wait for it ... Warren G (remember him?) as part of MetroPCS' "G-Connection" promotion for the Samsung Galaxy Indulge. If they ever get the LG G-Slate, things might really get out of hand.
Check out the first installment of the G-Connection after the break.
A new Google Maps update has hit the Android Market, bringing the app to Version 5.2. The latest update from the Google Maps team mostly focuses on the social aspect.
For those of you that use Google's Hotpot, you will now be able to tweet your reviews using the integrated rating widget. The reviews will be appear in searches, Google.com/hotpot, and on Place pages.
In addition to the new tweetable Hotpot reviews, Google Latitude users will now be able to "ping" their friends. The new ping feature will appear in the notification bar. So, now instead of texting, emailing, or calling them, you can just ping them to meetup.
Google has also reminded us that you can also check-in using Google Latitude. The check-in feature was added last month to version 5.1. Not the biggest update in the world, but still, the Google Maps team is always innovating and updating the app.
Here's the changlog:
Post your reviews of places to Twitter
Check in at places with Google Latitude to earn status and share with friends
Ping Latitude friends to ask them to check in. Friends will get a check-in request notification from you.
Search for a place to check in from Latitude if it's not in the suggested list of places.
The Samsung Fascinate is one sexy phone with a smooth yet slippery plastic surface. One wrong move and the next thing you know you're helplessly watching as it transitions from sexy to scratched. Enter the Seidio Innocase II Surface: a high-quality case designed to add moderate protection while retaining the Fascinate's sleek appearance.
Assembly is quick and easy. There are two interlocking pieces that slide snuggly into place. Each 1 mm piece is constructed from durable soft-touch plastic and lined with felt for additional protection during assembly and removal. The soft-touch plastic gives you the grip you're looking for and feels oh so good in the hands.
There are cutouts for the the volume and power buttons, mic, speaker, USB port, 3.5mm jack, lanyard, and camera. The bottom raises the camera lens and speaker away from flat surfaces. The raised speaker provides the additional benefit of improved audio quality. If you're like me and carry a spare battery, you'll be happy to know that a push and slide of the bottom piece allows for quick and easy removal. Overall I was pleased with the quality and appearance of this minimalistic case. If you're looking for a nice mix of style and protection; you can't go wrong with the Seidio Innocase II Surface for the Fascinate.
The Seidio Innocase II Surface for the Samsung Fascinate comes in five colors -- black, blue, burgundy, amethyst and pearl white -- and is available in the the Android Central Store for $27.95. We've got more pics after the break.
As for what we'll see? More likely than not, something with the name "EVO" attached. Might be a true sequel, but remember that Sprint's told us the original EVO 4G and EVO Shift 4G are just the first in what will be a growing EVO brand.
Anyhoo, we'll be at CTIA in a couple of weeks to bring it all to you.
It's kinda been the white whale of smartphone nerds -- RIM's BlackBerry Messenger running on something other than a BlackBerry. We've seen a number of third-party clients come and go with occasional success. But as a poll at CrackBerry.com indicated late last year, you all (and us, too) want BBM on your phone, be it BlackBerry, Android or iPhone.
And according to an anonymously sourced post at BGR, it might finally happen. The anonymous sources claim BBM will be headed to Android and iOS by the end of the year. And while it'll be functional (and free), it'll also be stripped down from the full BB version, meaning you'll get basic messaging functionality but not location or picture sharing, and the like.
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