A lot of the best applications for Android is made by Google themselves so when Google announces a new Android Application, we pay attention. This new one from Google is called My Tracks which serves as a GPS tracking application. Specifically:
My Tracks records tracks of outdoor activities using the phone's built-in GPS. It shows these tracks on a map and presents live statistics, including an elevation profile. And here's the best part: it lets you easily share your activities with friends and the world using Google Maps, as well as archive your training history with Google Docs.
You can just download the application from Android Market and be on your tracking way! No dongles necessary, no additional desktop software required. Here's a specific list of things that can be done with My Tracks:
Record and visualize GPS tracks while running, hiking, biking, skiing — or any other outdoor activity
Get live statistics, such as total/moving time, (average) speed, distance, and elevation profile
Send performance statistics to Google Docs to build a training history
Mark places and describe activities for others to discover via Google Maps
If you're eager to learn more about this new app, click the jump to see a video of My Tracks in action!
You know what's great about Android? It's versatility. We've seen Android ported over to many different devices that it's entirely probable that every electronic device will one day run Android (we're only half kidding). Today's newest Android Powered Device is from the folks at the MOTO Development Group who have written a custom driver to create Android running on an E-Ink Display. If they get everything tweaked out and optimized the way they want it to (the current screen flickers much too often as it refreshes), who will ever want a Kindle with its bare bones OS ? Check out the above video to see the device in action!
One of the criticisms of T-Mobile's G1 Android phone is the battery life - it's not exactly awe-inspiring. Broadcom Corporation, a member of the Open Handset Alliance, has announced a new "combo" chip which is available for Android handset designers. The new chip (BCM4325) and driver software integrates the FM radio, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi, offering the following advantages:
The biggest bonus of all - decreased power consumption for a longer-lasting battery between charges.
Reduced board space - since it's all in one chip, designers will have more circuit board real estate to work with.
Lower production costs, which should translate into less expensive handsets for the consumer.
It's nice to see members of the Open Handset Alliance like Broadcom who can deliver technology that improve the Android experience. So far I'm pretty happy with my G1, but when new Android handsets start surfacing, and if they boast the integration and benefits that the Broadcom chip offer, it might be enough to pull me off the middle of the fence.
A recent Wall Street Journal online article, by Nick Wingfield, spotlighted Microsoft and their plans to roll out a new series of programs and services for mobile phones. It is their attempt to catch up beat back competition like innovator Apple and their highly-successful App Store. Microsoft plans on offering a software site of their own, recognizing that he who attracts the most developers, wins.
Why is this important to those of us who follow the way of the Green 'Droid? At the end of this WSJ article, Mr. Wingfield credits unknown insiders who claim that the Android Market will start offering paid apps this week:
This week Google will start allowing developers to charge for software sold through the Android Market, according to people familiar with the matter.
I like free apps just as much as the next person, but having the ability to start buying apps in the Android Market should result in two huge benefits, as far as I'm concerned: 1) higher-quality apps because developers can start making some scratch, and 2) more developers jumping on the Android development bandwagon because there's money to be made. It sounds like this news couldn't have come too soon. Are you excited for paid apps? How much are you willing to pay for a decent app for your Android phone?
Hey that didn't take too long! TeleNav just announced that they'll be releasing their turn-by-turn GPS navigation software for Android on February 24th. The TeleNav software will include full color 3D graphics, speech recognition, one-click rerouting, traffic alerts, weather updates, gas prices, and restaurant reviews. Supposedly over 10 million businesses and services will be packed into the TeleNav software. Sounds good, right?
Well here comes the kicker. After a 30-day free trial (yay!), the software will run for $9.99 a month (boo!). I know, a pretty stiff price to pay. Currently, there's no word on whether it'll hit the Android Market or explore an alternative route and we have no idea how big the application will be. Though the price is high, this is still exciting news! Hopefully we'll see more turn-by-turn GPS software in the near future.
UPDATE: According to our good friend Matthew Miller there are other pricing options: $9.99/monthly, $99 for a year, $249 for four years. He has spent a fair amount of time with the software so you can check out his impressions here.
One of the pitfalls of the T-Mobile G1 is that it has pretty weak battery life. I don't think I'm the only one who is constantly trying to conserve battery or plugging in the G1 to a charger. Luckily, we have a Seidio Extended Battery for the G1 that packs 1400mAh (15% more) of charge without adding any unnecessary bulk.
We just received ours and will be following up with a full review after a couple days of testing. In the meantime, you can solve your own G1 battery woes by heading over to our Android Central store here!
There's a cool new feature in Gmail Labs which allows you to include your location in your e-mail signature. It determines your location by either reading your IP address and estimating or if you install Google Gears' location module it can give you Wi-Fi triangulation which is much more accurate.
This location signature feature is pretty neat, especially if you're on vacation or just an all around global trekker. But does anyone else think there should be an Android equivalent? Or is Google Latitude enough?
Boo. We're hoping this doesn't become a trend because we desperately want our Second Android Device as soon as possible. But according to Engadget, Samsung is delaying their Android Phone and won't be showcasing their Android devices at next week's Mobile World Congress where Android is expected to make a HUGE showing.
Officially, the Head of Marketing for Mobile Device Younghee Lee said that none of their Android powered devices would be shown at the conference. Hopefully, this doesn't reflect on the rest of the MWC because we still fully expect to see the future of Android.
If you didn't notice, after the RC33 Update Android Market is no longer in BETA and is now presumably much better (joke). We're sure this isn't that big of a deal but it is interesting since Google typically places all its applications in beta purgatory. Case in point: GMail which launched 5 years ago still carries the BETA tag. So I guess if you run into any trouble with the "new" Android Market feel free to complain! It's no longer BETA!
“I don’t really understand their strategy. Maybe somebody else does. If I went to my shareholder meeting, my analyst meeting, and said: ‘Hey, we’ve just launched a new product that has no revenue model!’… I’m not sure that my investors would take that very well. But that’s kind of what Google’s telling their investors about Android,”
And since at the time Google didn't defend itself, we said:
Though he is technically right and that Google doesn’t make money on Android alone, he seems to be missing the point. Android serves as an extension of Google’s services which all point back to search which all point back to ad revenue which all lead to money. Google’s logic? If more people use Android, more people use Google, and more money for us. So we’ll give Android away, heck, they’ll let anyone use and tinker with it. Makes sense here.
And after waiting a good 3 months for Google to defend itself on its business model for Android stating:
"As the internet grows, so does Google benefit from potential growth," he continued. "I think our business model has proven that it works well so far."
So I guess Google agrees with us: any way to improve the Internet experience, be it on a mobile device or a PC will somehow trickle down and help Google's bottom line. We think that's as good a strategy as any. What do you guys think?
It's no secret that Apple and Google are quite chummy. They have a fairly good working relationship which may explain why Google complied with Apple's request to exclude multi-touch from the Android feature-set. If you are even remotely familiar with Apple's iPhone, you will know that multi-touch allows for multiple input on the touchscreen at the same time, allowing for "pinching" and "stretching" images on the display. You can read more about this at our sister site, The iPhone blog.
Palm has made no such attempts to play nice by offering their own multi-touch on the upcoming Palm Pre device, where they may have painted a big patent-infringement bulls-eye on their back for Apple to take aim. It will be interesting to see what Apple actually does with the Palm situation, but given Google's compliance with Apple's request, they may sit back comfortably with a tub of popcorn and watch the fur fly, so to speak. Personally, I would LOVE having multi-touch on my G1. It's not a deal-breaker, but it's easy to get spoiled after using an iPhone for a while. Maybe Google has played their cards right by serving up an open OS so that some nameless, faceless developer out there can serve up some multi-touch, 3rd-party-style, and skirt the legalities altogether?
With the RC33 update of Android slowly rolling out to G1 users across the country it's only fitting that Google has announced that the Android 1.1 SDK is now available to developers. Applications written with previous SDK versions will work fine in 1.1 but if you want to take advantage of the new API's in 1.1, this is the SDK for you.
According to Dan Morrill of Android Developers Blog, the update is "quite minor, but useful". Along with the new APIs, the 1.1 SDK has a new emulator image to let you test your applications. If you're interested in this kind of thing, the release notes are here.
Great news! From February 13th through February 16th T-Mobile is going to waive all activation fees AND upgrade fees for "qualified purchases". We have no idea what "qualified purchases" actually means so we're just going to think of this offer as a Valentine's Weekend Special of sorts. Supposedly, this deal will also work online as well.
So if you've been on the fence on getting yourself that T-Mobile G1, this weekend is as good as any!
Just as we wait for more Android handsets to launch and join the lonely G1, there's news of another Linux-based mobile platform with a substantial international collaborative effort: LiMo Foundation. Release 2 is now ready, adding enhancements like improved security, location-based services, and robust multimedia support, to name a few. LiMo also claims that, in 2009, six major carriers are lined up to carry their handsets: Verizon, Vodafone, NTT DoCoMo, Telefonica, Orange, and SK Telecom - seems like an impressive lineup.
Will LiMo gain some traction and compete with Google's Android? Having some Linux-based competition should be a good thing, because in the end, it's the consumers that win. Is LiMo worth a look?
If everyone who says they are launching an Android phone actually launches an Android phone in the near future, the G1 is about to have lots and lots of company. One IS the loneliest number (poor G1), but how about between 6 and 8 Android phones from O2 Germany ALONE?
According to Venturebeat as reported by phandroid, an O2 product manager at an Official Press Conference at O2 Innovation Days in Germany was quoted as saying, "We want to get out 6 to 8 Android devices this year.” If this actually happens over in Germany in '09, what can we expect here in the States? At this point, I think we would be happy to have at least another two or three Android devices to choose from, hopefully with a variety of form-factors. What do YOU want to see for Android handsets this year?
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