Google is rolling out 'Favorite Places on Google' which is essentially a program that'll send window decals to 100,000 local businesses in the US that have basically been the most searched on Google. It's a cool idea if you think about it, a type of status symbol that local businesses can strive for. A QR code will be displayed on the storefront which will allow users to scan via their Android Phone (and others) and take you directly to the business' 'Place Page'. There you'll find reviews, coupons, and the option to even leave your own review. If you see the QR code, you know you've stumbled across a good thing.
Basically, Google is helping us determine and learn what the hottest spots around us are. We think it's a great idea. What about you?
Hit the jump to see Favorite Places on Google in action!
The New York Times recently covered the iPhone App Store, discussing the App Store's raging success and Apple's 'necessary evil' of a rejection process. Our good friend Rene over at the iPhone Blog calls the App Store an out and out success (which we agree with) but still calls out Apple for fleeing to the New York Times to deliver its message regarding the controversies (which we also agree with).
As we know, Android and Google have decided on an entirely different method of the application process, as in there isn't one. Developers make the app for Android. Developers submit the app to Android Market. The app for Android is available. There's also the added benefit of being able to deliver applications to multiple handsets on multiple carriers. Here's Eric Chu discussing Android Market:
“We’re doing everything we can to open the device to both developers and consumers,” says Eric Chu, group manager of the Android platform at Google. “That is a critical part of what we think makes Android unique: applications are no longer limited to a single device.”
Mr. Chu said the growing number of Android-powered phones available on multiple wireless carriers increases the financial opportunity for developers. “Last year at this time, we only had one device,” he says. “The volume is going up at a tremendous pace, and the developer ecosystem is seeing that.”
Obviously, with different handsets means different screen resolutions and form factors which app developers will have to account for. It's not all peachy when it comes to Android but we'd rather have the problem be solved by developers than a problem created by the company.
We love food. We love Yelp. And most of all, we love yelping for food. Thankfully, we can finally do just that on our Android phones. Yelp has just released their Yelp for Android app that'll use location services to search nearby businesses and display reader reviews. According to Yelp:
By leveraging location-aware technology, the Yelp for Android app determines your current location and then lets you search for nearby businesses, read reviews and access a moveable Google map that enables you to easily zoom in/out on a location and redefine your search based on that geographic area.
In addition to searching nearby businesses, you can also filter reviews by 'Price,' 'Open Now,' 'Special Offers' and browse 'Hot on Yelp'
Like all our other mobile applications, Yelp for Android works everywhere Yelp is available (US, Canada, UK and Ireland)
It's a fairly bare bones Yelp app but we're confident that more powerful features will come (the iPhone Yelp app supports augmented reality, quick tips, etc). We've been waiting for Yelp to come to Android for so long that we'll take anything at this point. If you're anything like us, you're always in search of the next great eatery or figuring out what to order. Yelp will help with that.
The first thing I was told after being handed a Motorola Droid was: "Be careful with that battery cover. It loves to come off." And, sure enough, it does.
The good news is that Bryan at The Gadgeteer has posted up a quick video showing a few quick seconds with a small flathead screwdriver can help keep that cover in place, so long as you don't mind some very minor surgery to your device. (We're not worried about it, but isn't really an official fix or anything.)
Check out video of Bryan's fix after the break, and let us know if it helps you any.
At noon today, approximately 1,000 people received the notification to update their handset. At around midnight this evening, 9,000 more will receive it. After the initial 10,000, there is a 48-hour waiting period. No one after that receives anything until December 10th at 12AM, which will be 200,000 people. It will continue at 200,000 devices a day until everyone is updated.
A refresh of the specs, for those of you with short attention spans:
3.7-inch WVGA AMOLED capacitive touchscreen.
Qualcomm QSD 8250 (Snapdragon) processor @ 1GHz.
5.0-megapixel camera with autofocus, flash and 720p video.
512MB ROM/256MB RAM.
Up to 16GB MicroSD card.
The other usual bells and whistles.
And before anybody starts yelling "Fake!" on the much better render here, remember that these are the same guys who leaked one of the first real shots of the HTC HD2 for Windows Mobile, and it turned out to be spot-on.
Text search and voice search are so yesterday. Today Google unveiled Google Goggles, turns your camera into a search tool. Check out the video above. In a nutshell, it takes a picture of something, analyzes it, and returns search results. How it works, according to the Big G:
We first send the user's image to Google's datacenters
We then create signatures of objects in the image using computer vision algorithms
We then compare signatures against all other known items in our image recognition databases; and
We then figure out how many matches exist; and
We then return one or more search results, based on available meta data and ranking signals; and
We do all of this in just a few seconds
Google Goggles is in its infancy, and we're going to spend the rest of the day trying to use it on every random object in our basement (save for the bodies, naturally). This should be fun. You can download Goggles now in the Android Market for phones with Android 1.6 and above. [Google Mobile blog]
Looks like the Android 2.0.1 update is starting to roll out for the Verizon Droid, with word coming fast and furious from our fourms, BGR and Twitter. This one's mandatory, and you're going to want it. Here are the bullet points of what's coming in the ESD56 update:
Improved OS stability.
Improved battery life.
Camera's autofocus is improved, time between shots is reduced.
Three-way calling enhancements.
Incoming call quality is improved.
Speakerphone remains on when call waiting kicks in.
Better Bluetooth, background echo eliminated, improved phone book transfer of contacts to in-vehicle systems.
GPS icon will disappear after a GPS app is closed.
SMS and MMS messages can be received after an EMS message is received.
SMS and MMS can now go to seven-digit addresses.
Google contact merging supports seven-digit numbers.
You patient types should be able to sit back and let the update come to you. As for the rest of us, go to Settings>About Phone>System Updates and see if it's available. And sound off in in the comments once you get it.
Things are all cyclical, aren't they? First, T-Mobile was the early adopter and only supporter of Android, then Sprint stole the shine by releasing the HTC Hero, then Verizon took them all to town with the release and ad onslaught of the Motorola DROID. Now there's rumors flying around that point both the HTC Passion and Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10, two highly anticipated Android phones, to T-Mobile. If all true, once again, T-Mobile will be the carrier for Android devices.
Tmonews is hearing that the HTC Passion, the device with a 1GHz Snapdragon Processor and immense touchscreen, will be available on T-Mobile. The launch is targeted for January but we're not sure how the recent delay affects the release. There's little detail on anything else. Even though rumors are pointing to T-Mobile, we still wouldn't rule out a Verizon release just yet.
For the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10, we had originally pegged it as a future AT&T device but it looks like that has changed. AndroidGuys has a document floating around that lists the 1700 MHz band (the T-Mobile 3G specific band) on the XPERIA X10. Since, no other carrier uses 1700 MHz like T-Mobile does, it's rather safe to say that it's heading to Magenta.
If T-Mobile does pull this off and carry two flagship Android devices at once, it's going to be huge for the carrier's brand, growth, and future success. We're definitely excited to see T-Mobile get back in the mix at the high-end for Android, they definitely deserve it after investing and believing in Android before anyone else.
Hey, hey! Looks like the DROID Eris will be joining the cool kids soon enough. The DROID Eris is set to receive the Android 2.0 software update in early 2010 that'll bring the already compelling device to the forefront of the discussion. HTC Sense UI + Android 2.0? How do you top that? From Verizon:
"The Droid Eris currently using Android 1.5, can and will be upgraded to newer a Android operating system software in first quarter 2010. The enhancement will allow customers to continue to enjoy the powerful HTC Sense experience while also gaining the additional benefits of Google Maps Navigation."
We're unsure if the update will be Android 2.0 or 2.1. Either way, we know HTC is hard at work in delivering an update to their HTC Sense handsets and we're going to take this in thinking that the Sprint HTC Hero will be eventually updated to Android 2.0 around the same time.
Been on the fence about picking up an HTC Eris on Verizon? Here's something to sweeten the deal. Cellstores is offering the Android 1.5 phone on Verizon for free, whether you're opening a new line or upgrading a current one. There's also free shipping and free shipping. That's a whole lotta free. Head here to pick one up.
The wait for the infamous HTC Passion – the Taiwanese manufacturer's first Android 2.0 phone sporting a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and 3.5-inch OLED touchscreen with multitouch (squee!) – may take a little longer than first believed.
"Market sources" apparently have said that the Passion (and that's likely just going to end up as the code name, btw) has been pushed back to "early 2010" so HTC can keep "working to further advance the software." When last we checked, the talk was that the Passion would be out by about now. Of course, what "early 2010" means is anybody's guess and really isn't that far-fetched a prediction, given that we only have three weeks or so left in 2009.
Also stated by this source is that HTC will announce the Espresso, the likely successor to the HTC Hero, at Mobile World Congress in February. That already has been stated by an HTC official, as well.
Say hello to your HTC Android devices for 2010. The Legend, Salsa, Tide, Buzz, and Bravo would like to meet you. After the recent leak of HTC's device codenames, we now have pictures and early specs to associate to those names. There's definitely a lot of exciting stuff coming from HTC and all these devices are currently targeted for release in the first half of 2010.
HTC has more or less split up their 2010 Android product lineup into three categories: social, design/lifestyle and performance (or as we call it, low, mid, and high). It looks like for 2010, HTC will introduce different form factors (front facing QWERTY candybar!) and new experiences. We're ridiculously excited.
Read on to see HTC's 2010 Android Smartphone Lineup!
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