This is a nice update for our readers down in Australia. As of today, you can use Google Maps to give you free turn by turn navigation on your Android device providing it's running Android 1.6 or higher. Australia is the latest in a string of countries to get the popular navigation service, and all functions, including traffic conditions for select cities, seem to be online. If you live in Australia, be sure to try out the new Google maps and let us know how it's working for you below or in our forums. Via [Sydney Morning Herald] Thanks Tristan!
For those of you not running the latest and greatest Android smartphone but still have a hankering for some Angry Birds, fear not -- a "lite" version of the game is in the works. In a blog post about recent feedback it's received, developer Rovio says the following:
"We are currently developing a lighter solution to run Angry Birds on lower end Android devices. This does not mean lighter gameplay or a lesser amount of levels, but a game experience optimized for devices with less processing power.
Rovio also trumpets GetJar, saying it used the web-based app distributor instead of the Android Market because "we wanted to make Angry Birds available for every feasible Android device ... and why the game is supported by advertising." (We'll let you try to figure that one out.)
Rovio also listed all of the phones that aren't currently supported by Angry birds. That list includes the Droid Eris, HTC Dream, Hero, Magic/Sapphire/myTouch 3G, Tattoo, Wildfire, Huawei Ideos, LG Ally, LG GW620, Motorola Backflip, Motorola Cliq, Samsung Acclaim, Samsung Moment, Samsung Spica, Samsung Transform, Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini, T-Mobile G1 and the new old G2. Plus, anything running on Cupcake (Android 1.5) or below is not supported; same goes for custom ROMs (though we all know that's just a CYA move).
We've run Angry Birds on the Samsung Transform -- not great, but it works -- and the HTC Wildfire -- don't bother -- so it's great to see that a lite version is in the works.s [Rovio]
Update: Ah! PC Mag's Sascha Segan got clarification on the G2 not being supported. It's the old Euro G2 (as in the Euro version of the myTouch), not the brand new T-Mobile G2.
HTC this morning released source code for a trio of Android phones: the long-awaited first look at the myTouch 4G, plus the latest maintenance updates for the T-Mobile G2 and the Droid Incredible.
As always, some proprietary code will be missing, and unless you're a modder there's not much you can do with this stuff. But for those of you waiting on custom ROMs, things are about to get better. [HTC Developer Center]
Samsung Mobile Canada has announced via Facebook that "Android 2.2 will be released for Vibrant from Bell and Captivate from Rogers in mid-December, and for the Fascinate from TELUS in early 2011. We’ll post further details as they become available."
You can call that good news, or bad news, but at least we have a time frame. Still no new word for any of the US Galaxy S phones, which will likely depend on the individual carrier. We're watching and waiting, too. To our Canadian readers -- pass the time in the forums with the rest of us waiting for the elusive update. [ Samsung Mobile Canada via MobileSyrup]
This Verizon advertisement in this month's Esquire magazine featuring the Droid 2 Global probably will be the last one we run here. Because while the D2G never was officially announced, it just sort of came into existence and is available on Verizon's website with little fanfare. You'll also note the Droid Pro in this advert -- it's available now, too.
So that's half of the global lineup we saw teased a month ago. Missing from the equation are the HTC Merge, which we've had our hands all over and are expecting any time now, and the LG enV Pro, which has either been delayed or canceled, depending on whom you ask.
HTC's custom Windows-only syncing application, HTC Sync, has just been updated to version 3.0. Big changes include:
Support for groups in Contacts
Calendar syncing for up to 1 year in advance
"My Favorite" item support to Contacts
HTC Sync works with most of HTC's high-end offerings, so those interested can find download and install instructions past the link. There seems to be multiple editions of Sync, so if your phone isn't listed with this release, go to Support (at the top of the page), select your phone from the list, and then click on downloads. [HTC] Thanks to NaZ for the tip!
While it may still be in short supply, Bell has made the Samsung Galaxy Tab available for customers looking to get their tablet fix. Bell has priced the Samsung Galaxy Tab at $649.95 with no contract but they also have some data plans that when subscribed to will bring that price down a little.
Starting at $20/500MB and going up to $35/5GB the Tablet flex plans will give you an instant rebate of $50 off the device purchase cost. Since they are "flex" plans, if you go over your allotted amount you'll be automatically bumped up to the next plan. If data exceeds 5GB, 1.5¢ per additional MB will be charged. Best to check the Bell website before you head on out to your local store though, they're not available in all locations. [MobileSyrup]
The coverage map war between Verizon Wireless and AT&T continues as Big Red deals a heavy, fourth-generation blow to AT&T's ... 3G network?
At first glance, Verizon Wireless wants you to think the unrivaled red footprint seen here is their 4G/LTE coverage map, but it's not, it's their current 3G coverage. Further inspection reveals their 4G launch markets -- indicated by small, green bullseyes, peppered throughout the map. Alternatively, AT&T's 3G coverage is indicated by small specks of blue scattered across the country.
Verizon Wireless has made AT&T their full-time whipping boy, but part of me wonders why T-Mobile and Sprint weren't included here. AT&T and Verizon Wireless are always battling to be No. 1, so it's obvious why they've targeted AT&T. But the other two members of the big four actually have 4G service up and running. T-Mobile claims to have the nation's largest 4G network, while Sprint is home to PC World's voted twobest smartphones, and the nation's first 4G network.
But hey, every carrier has at least one or two awesome Android phones, so that's all we really care about. [via Twitter]
But if we have a look back at Google I/O in May, there are some other big, welcome changes that just might be coming. Vic Gundotra (Google Vice President of engineering) gave us a bunch of teasers during the Day 2 keynote last spring; let's have a look after the break.
After stating earlier this week that they would not be participating in Verizon Wireless's LTE licensing program and would instead build its own network and services, Cellular South and Samsung have announced a deal that will bring Long Term Evolution (LTE) to the Cellular South network by the fourth quarter of 2011.
“Our move to 4G is driven by our vision of creating an unmatched experience and enabling our customers to experience pervasive wireless Internet connectivity and mobility,” said Hu Meena, president and CEO of Cellular South. “Cellular South is pleased to partner with Samsung Mobile on an LTE solution that uses our entire spectrum in the lower 700 MHz band. “This network will deliver a first-class LTE experience to our customers who want the freedom to access content and services and to communicate in new and innovative ways, whether it’s viewing video, browsing the mobile web, listening to their favorite music, gaming or social media.”
Cellular South will deploy services using voice-over LTE (VoLTE) and Samsung has committed to two LTE-enabled handsets by the fourth quarter of 2011 on the carrier. You can read the full press release after the break.
Our "General Help and How To" and device forums have been a great resource for new Android users and it's always good to highlight some stuff from them. If you're a person who likes to help out, have a look at some of the threads below. Maybe you can help?
As we get closer and closer to the unveiling of Android 2.3 Gingebread, let's look back at one Google app that seems to have fallen by the wayside. Google Listen is the podcatcher of choice for a lot of us, whether it's for its Google Reader integration, its ease of use -- and that it's free. But it's not without its shortcomings, that's for sure.
If you're currently thinking about buying an external wall charger for your spare Evo battery, an extra USB charging/sync cable, or some sort of charging/media dock for your Evo 4G, then the Mobi Products Charging Cradle with Spare Battery Charger might be a better investment, simply because you get all three of these in one unit.
If you're anything like me, the last surface you want to rest your shiny new smartphone on is a hard, unforgiving desktop; peppered with scratch-happy microscopic dirt and debris that are going to do nothing but reak havoc on your device's nice clean finish. I avoid setting my Evo down on tables and countertops at all cost. If I've got to, I make sure to give it a good once over with my hand, and then set it down very gently. Although the Evo comes with a built-in kickstand, it's not quite sturdy enough for my liking, but that's not to say I don't use it, because I do, and rather frequently. But for my money, nothing beats a nice sturdy charging cradle, complete with USB sync capabilities, and a spare battery charging slot.
Check out some more pictures and get my thoughts on this unit after the break.
It was only a few weeks ago when Nullsoft's Winamp exploded onto the Android market. And despite being in beta, we were quite surprised by how usable and polished it was. Its WiFi syncing alone is reason enough to have it installed on your Android phone, even if you use a different music player.
Fans of streaming radio will appreciate one of Winamp for Android's latest additions, as Nullsoft has focused on implementing support for SHOUTcast -- their proprietary internet radio software. Functionality may be limited, but this test build allows you to browse top stations, genres, and search terms. Users can stations to their favorites, and even browse recently listened-to stations.
"Yeah, but Jesse, I already use Slacker/Pandora for my internet radio. Why should I care about this?"
Well, I'll tell you why, dear pessimistic Android Central reader. As I type this, there are 44,287 free SHOUTcast radio stations, and Winamp can tune in to any of those, from anywhere in the world (so long as you're connected to the internet of course).
No ETA has been given as to when we'll see this update live in the market. [Download Squad]
Prior to the release of the Xperia X10, Sony Ericsson made it clear to potential buyers that their premiere Android phone would not receive any multitouch love. However, in a recent post on their product blog, Sony Ericsson appears to be going back on their word. And that's a good thing. According to this post, some of their hardworking engineers were able to dig a little deeper into the driver and firmware for the touch digitizer, and enhanced (or enabled) its multi touch tracking.
They also mention that the X10's digitizer is not perfect when it comes to multitouch, so multitouch functionality will be very limited. How limited, you ask? Right now they plan on enabling pinch to zoom for just the browser and Google Maps. It might not sound like much, but when I stop and think about it, most of my pinching and zooming is done within those two apps. SE also noted that third party applications will also support multitouch/pinch to zoom on the X10, but the experience may be a bit buggy.
SE hasn't given an exact date as to when you can start using two fingers on your X10, but they're aiming to have this pushed out via OTA in Q1 of next year. [Sony Ericsson]
Join in on the Xperia X10 discussion in our X10 forum
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