One of the coolest looking things in the new Windows Phone 7 "Mango" release (see all the coverage you can handle at WPCentral) is Microsoft's Bing Vision. It's essentially a Google Goggles clone (great artists copy/borrow/steal and all that), but the UI is really cool. Your search categories are visible while the camera is running, looking fancy and nice as a semi-transparent overlay while you're capturing the content you want to scan. Of course, WP7's Metro UI and its typographic look is in full force here as well.
As for functionality, Bing Vision doesn't look like it does anything out of the ordinary. No solving Sudoku puzzles, no translation built in, and the jury is still out about how it handles business cards. But that's not what people will think when they see it. I'm one of those "function trumps form" kind of guys, but the mobile market is growing like wildfire, and maybe it's time for Google to step up and revamp the UI and visual style of some of their apps so they look as good as they perform.
I use Google Goggles a lot, mostly because I'm a geek who loves to play with cutting edge tech, and I've went "all-in" with Googles apps and services. It works great, but visual appeal is lacking compared to the competition. See for yourself -- there's a video after the break.
Good news for Sonos owners out there, as today Sonos has officially launched the MOG music service on Sonos. After a short software update, you'll be able to tap into MOG's custom radio stations or 11-million song catalog.
For those of you using the Android Sonos Controller, an update enabling MOG integration is in the Market. Better yet, current Sonos owners get a free, 14-day trial to MOG, so you can see if it whets your whistle.
Yeah, it's only a dummy unit, and we've already crawled all over the real thing. But this is UC Cellular's HTC Merge, folks. And that means that ... it's the same HTC Merge we've come to know and love ... on US Cellular.
We are a little surprised that there's no USCC branding on the front of this dummy unit, but it does appear on the back (pictures are after the break). Otherwise, same ol' phone. The latest rumored release date is May 31 -- and USCC hasn't come yelling that it's incorrect (it's happened once before), so maybe there's a little more truth to this one. Stay tuned.
News360, the popularcross-platform news aggregator, is now available for Android tablets running Honeycomb. News360 takes a bit of a different approach, combining 1,500 global sources (yes, Android Central is in there, so no worries) and a beautiful visual style. If you're not familiar, the "360" view is a special treat, with article images floating in a spherical feeling cloud, hence the 360. The application makes great use of the new API's with the action bar and fragments, both in the search view as well as the article view. The developers have taken the time to really make a great example of a quality Android app, and we appreciate (and enjoy) that.
Besides the normal use of searching for tags, users can customize their own "feeds," and the developers say that future versions will analyze a your Facebook, Twitter, TripIt, and Evernote accounts to offer automatic personalization. That sounds like quite the feat, and I for one am very interested to see the result. In its current state, the application connects with your social accounts (Facebook, Twitter, ReadItLater, Instapaper, and TripIt) to share articles, and can filter results based on your location. Things are well on the way to a personal news channel.
And the best part of it all -- News360 is free. This makes it available for everyone with a Honeycomb tablet, and makes for a very easy way to download and evaluate the app for yourself. We've got the full press release, a series of pictures, and the download link after the break.
Believe it or not, folks, you're looking at the latest Android tablet/e-reader/thingy from Barnes & Noble. It's the all-new Nook -- six inches of E Ink Pearl on a Wifi-only device. It weighs just 7.5 ounces and is 35 percent lighter and 15 percent thinner than the first-gen Nook.
It sports 2GB of storage for 1,000 digital books, and also has a microSD card slot for even more storage.
But, what gets us excited, really, is that it's running Android 2.1 -- so you know we're going to have some fun hacking this thing.
The new Nook is currently available for preorder for $139 and starts shipping on June 10. Full presser's after the break.
A new phone means two things -- we get 'em in our mitts and show you everything there is to know about them, and the system gets dumped into the forums. The Motorola Droid X2 is no exception. New Blur for 2.2? It's in there. New wallpapers? Yep, we got those, too. New ringtones? You betcha. Of course the core system files probably aren't of any use to most of us, but you know those ROM devs -- they do all sorts of magic with them. Hopefully there's something there they can find useful for those keeping their OG Droid X for a while longer. Hit the forums and grab what ya need!
File Manager is one of the first Honeycomb-optimized file managers for Android. It's one of those utilities you have to have on your Android 3.0 tablet, no questions asked. With Android, you're not forced to use a separate program on your computer to add or move files around, so a file browser of some sort is awful handy. You can use it to keep track of and sort all your pictures, videos, documents, and anything else you can think of that you're keeping around in your tablet's storage space.
With File Manager HD, you really don't need to ever hook up the cable to your computer. It has a built-in LAN browser, so any shared files or folders from your computer (Windows, Mac and Linux) are available right from the comfort of your easy chair. It's full of other great features, too:
High definition (1280x800) support
3 sets of commercial icons for 60+ different file types, toolbar and menu items
If you happen to be the proud owner of a Google I/O editionGalaxy Tab 10.1 you'll be interested to know that it makes interesting use of the stock Bluetooth stack. And as such, you can do some pretty cool things with it.
One of those things is the ability to load up an emulator app and start playing some Super Mario Brothers -- with a wireless controller. Of course, some other tablets are capable of this as well -- more specifically the Motorola Xoom. When paired with the exact same tools it can have the same end result -- but it's not a Google I/O edition Galaxy Tab 10.1.
PS: If you were more interested in where you may obtain the live wallpaper running in the background than you were in running Super Mario Brothers, we got you covered there as well. it's actually from ASUS EeePad Transformer and can be picked up from this thread over at XDA.
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