Archive for October, 2009

Google rolls out limited Google Voice support for your existing phone number

October 30, 2009


I signed up with Grand Central way back when it first launched and then transitioned to Google Voice along with everyone else. I then paid $10 for a custom Google number and love the experience on Google Android devices. I was browsing through the Google blogs and discovered that Google is now offering you the ability to use Google Voice with your existing phone number instead of having to select and use a new number. Keep in mind this is a lighter version of Google Voice as you can see in this blog post and in the chart shown below. If you have a Google Voice account, you can add Google voicemail to any mobile phone linked to your account.

Click to see larger comparison chart.

They posted the video below to show many of the features and explain the voicemail system.

The main reason I plan to add Google voicemail to my existing mobile number is for the text transcription of voicemail, but I still plan to stick with my custom Google Voice phone number because there are so many additional valuable features and using a device like an HTC Hero makes for a rather seamless experience.

by Matthew Miller

[via ZDNet]



Motorola DROID first hands-on with Pics and Videos!

October 29, 2009


We’ve got the DROID in our hands… and it is sweet. Moto claims that this is the thinnest full QWERTY slider on the market, and we’re apt to believe it. The phone is incredibly slick and solid, and we’re definitely looking forward to putting it through its paces. We’ll have more photos, video, and a full review coming, so stay tuned!

Some quick observations on the phone:

  • That big screen is killer. Bright, crisp, and tons of room for your icons and widgets.
  • Speed is noticeably improved — particularly when moving from app to app. We did notice that some of the home screen scrolling looked laggy.
  • Android 2.0 is definitely cleaned up — but it’s most definitely still Android
  • The browser seems significantly improved — pages now load up in a fully zoomed-out mode, and the load times and scrolling are way snappier.
  • The keyboard takes some getting used to, and it suffers from a similar hand-position issue as the G1, but it’s fairly usable. We think it’ll be second nature once we spend some time with it.
  • Facebook is integrated into accounts, which means some of that BLUR functionality is here (though now it’s part of Android 2.0 natively). The good news is that when you add a Facebook account you can choose to pull all Facebook info and contacts, or just info related to your existing contacts — a real clutter buster.

Update: We’ve added a new gallery, and video is on the way!

Update 2: Video is up after the break! More coming too…

Update 3: And we’ve got a browser speed test to round things out.

Update 4: We’ve added another gallery of the car and home docks, which are pretty neat — the phone detects the dock magnetically, and switches to the appropriate mode. We’re told that there’ll also be third-party docks, and that Google’s the one behind the different interface modes, so this could be just the tip of the iceberg.

Gallery: Motorola DROID first hands-on

Gallery: Motorola DROID closer look

Gallery: Motorola DROID car and home docks hands-on

by Joshua Topolsky

[via engadget]


Announcing Google Maps Navigation for Android 2.0

October 29, 2009


Since 2005, millions of people have relied on Google Maps for mobile to get directions on the go. However, there’s always been one problem: Once you’re behind the wheel, a list of driving directions just isn’t that easy to use. It doesn’t tell you when your turn is coming up. And if you miss a turn? Forget it, you’re on your own.

Today we’re excited to announce the next step for Google Maps for mobile: Google Maps Navigation (Beta) for Android 2.0 devices.

This new feature comes with everything you’d expect to find in a GPS navigation system, like 3D views, turn-by-turn voice guidance and automatic rerouting. But unlike most navigation systems, Google Maps Navigation was built from the ground up to take advantage of your phone’s Internet connection.

Here are seven features that are possible because Google Maps Navigation is connected to the Internet:

The most recent map and business data
When you use Google Maps Navigation, your phone automatically gets the most up-to-date maps and business listings from Google Maps — you never need to buy map upgrades or update your device. And this data is continuously improving, thanks to users who report maps issues and businesses who activate their listings with Google Local Business Center.

Search in plain English
Google Maps Navigation brings the speed, power and simplicity of Google search to your car. If you don’t know the address you’re looking for, don’t worry. Simply enter the name of a business, a landmark or just about anything into the search box, and Google will find it for you. Then press “Navigate”, and you’re on your way.

Search by voice
Typing on a phone can be difficult, especially in the car, so with Google Maps Navigation, you can say your destination instead. Hold down the search button to activate voice search, then tell your phone what you want to do (like “Navigate to Pike Place in Seattle”), and navigation will start automatically.

Traffic view
Google Maps Navigation gets live traffic data over the Internet. A traffic indicator light in the corner of the screen glows green, yellow or red, depending on the current traffic conditions along your route. If there’s a jam ahead of you, you’ll know. To get more details, tap the light to zoom out to an aerial view showing traffic speeds and incidents ahead. And if the traffic doesn’t look good, you can choose an alternate route.

Search along route
For those times when you’re already on the road and need to find a business, Google Maps Navigation searches along your route to give you results that won’t take you far from your path. You can search for a specific business by name or by type, or you can turn on popular layers, such as gas stations, restaurants or parking.

Satellite view
Google Maps Navigation uses the same satellite imagery as Google Maps on the desktop to help you get to your destination. Turn on the satellite layer for a high-resolution, 3D view of your upcoming route. Besides looking cool, satellite view can help you make sense of complicated maneuvers.

Street View
If you want to know what your next turn looks like, double-tap the map to zoom into Street View, which shows the turn as you’ll see it, with your route overlaid. And since locating an address can sometimes be tricky, we’ll show you a picture of your destination as you approach the end of your route, so you’ll know exactly what to look for.

Since there’s nothing quite like seeing the product in action, we made this video to demonstrate a real-life example:

The first phone to have Google Maps Navigation and Android 2.0 is the Droid from Verizon. Google Maps Navigation is initially available in the United States. And like other Google Maps features, Navigation is free.

Check out the Google Maps Navigation page to learn more and browse a gallery of product screenshots. Take Google Maps Navigation for a spin, and bring Internet-connected GPS navigation with you in your car.

Posted by Keith Ito, Software Engineer

[via GoogleBlog]

Droid War Brews Between AT&T & Verizon

October 28, 2009


NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Apple’s (AAPL Quote) iPhone success has provoked backlash among its partner AT&T (T Quote) and would-be Verizon (VZ Quote).

The Androids are lining up for battle.

AT&T, looking beyond these iPhone glory days at a post-Apple era, has taken a big step toward offering its own Google (GOOG Quote) Android devices, some say as early as this year.

This shift in allegiance comes as Verizon and Motorola (MOT Quote) prepare to unveil the hotly anticipated Droid, the anti-iPhone — iDon’t, Droid Does — Google Android phone at a press conference Wednesday.

Invitation to a Google Android event hosted by Motorola and Verizon

Not to be left out of the Android party, AT&T made some unusually favorable comments about the magic that could be made with a Google phone on its new, fast 3G network.

“I think those devices will actually work best on our network,” AT&T wireless chief Ralph De La Vega told analysts on an earnings call Thursday. “We have kicked the tires on Android,” he said, adding: “Now we are working with handset manufacturers to bring products to market.”

Apple’s exclusive iPhone agreement with AT&T is set to expire in June. So it isn’t exactly a shock to see Ma Bell moving more quickly to get on the Android bandwagon. An AT&T representative said the shift from evaluation to production is a new development but would only reiterate statements saying the company expects to have an Android phone in 2010.

Dell (DELL Quote) is expected to bring its Android phone to AT&T early next year, but there may be an even better and quicker option for AT&T to enter the Android camp.

As TheStreet reported earlier this week, Google is working with a phone design manufacturer to have its own Google-branded Android phone available this year.

People familiar with the production plans say Google has ordered phones in a quantity large enough to suggests a full blown rollout, and not a trickle of developer’s trial models.

Google doesn’t have its own retail outlet to sell an Android phone, and AT&T, the top phone seller in the third quarter, may just have room on its Christmas inventory list.

Says one analyst: “Now that AT&T has decided to go with Android, why wouldn’t they go with the best version, the one developed by Google.”

The iPhone raised the bar on smartphones. Apple proved that cool devices need strong software to make a winning combo. Research In Motion (RIMM Quote), Palm (PALM Quote), Nokia (NOK Quote), Motorola (MOT Quote) and Samsung are among the current rivals competing against the iPhone standard.

Google’s open, Web-friendly, easy-to-customize Android operating system is now seen as the most compelling alternative to Apple’s software.

“From a carrier perspective, this couldn’t have come any sooner,” says Northeast Securities analyst Ashok Kumar. “Google is the only vendor that can get them immediate market share by virtue of its software strength.”

By Scott Moritz

[via TheStreet]

Raytheon Sends Android To Battlefield

October 26, 2009


The defense contractor is the latest–and perhaps least likely–convert to Google’s mobile platform.


Using Android software tools, Raytheon ( RTN news people ) engineers built a basic application for military personnel that combines maps with a buddy list. Raytheon calls the entire framework the Raytheon Android Tactical System, or RATS for short. Mark Bigham, a vice president of business development in Raytheon’s Intelligence and Information Systems unit, says the company selected Android because its open-source nature made developing applications easy.

Every part of RATS is tailored for use on a battlefield. A soldier could make an unmanned plane a “buddy,” for instance, and track its progress on a map using his phone. He could then access streaming video from the plane, giving him a bird’s eye view of the area. Soldiers could also use the buddy list to trace the locations of other members of their squad.

Some RATS services stress a fast connection to the Department of Defense’s Internet-like data network. This would enable a soldier on a mission to take a picture of a suspect and send the image to military headquarters for identification. RATS includes some lightweight encryption to ensure that outsiders can’t intercept the images or video or hack into the phone’s buddy list.

Eventually, RATS devices could double as biometric scanners. A small device could snap on top of the phone’s camera and capture fingerprints, says Bigham. The photos could then be sent to an off-site facility for processing.

Most of these features have been incorporated into the basic RATS application, which Raytheon says took more than two years to build. The company expects to finalize contracts and deploy RATS in the next month or two. Bigham says the Department of Defense has expressed interest at “a very senior level” and believes that other government groups, such as the Department of Homeland Security and law enforcement agencies may sign on, too.

by Elizabeth Woyke

[via Forbes]


Dell Streak 5-inch 3G Android MID Leak with Video

October 23, 2009


After Dell CEO Michael Dell confirmed that the company’s Android smartphone would, in fact, make it to the US – albeit with some changes from the original Chinese model – details of a second Android-based device have leaked.  According to and another image supplied to SlashGear, you’re looking at the Dell Streak, a 5-inch WVGA 800 x 480 touchscreen Android 2.0 Donut MID, with WiFi, Bluetooth and 3G WWAN connectivity.  Front photos of the Dell Streak – together with size comparison shots – in the gallery, together with a hands-on video after the cut.

DSC07432 540x435

The Dell Streak – as the prototype is labelled – also has a 5-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash, a microSD card slot and a 1,300mAh battery.  Hands-on feedback is scant, aside from that the WiFi was very sensitive.  From the video, below, we can see that hardware controls are minimal, with three touch-sensitive buttons along the right-hand side of the display and volume controls – together with a camera shortcut and an unknown key – on the top edge.  A multifunction dock connector is on the bottom edge, and there appears to be a front-facing camera – presumably for video calls – on the left-hand side of the display.  On the “engineering sample” label, meanwhile, the model variant is listed as “US”, suggesting that at least prototypes using US-spec 3G are being tested.

The existence of the device fits in with rumors from back in June, when the Wall Street Journal reported that Dell had been developing Android MID prototypes.  Described as “larger than Apple’s iPod touch”, the speculation was fuelled by later comments from Dell’s consumer devision president, Ronald Garriques, who suggested that the company was considering screen sizes ranging from 4- to 12-inches.




Thanks Trung Tran!

[via Slash Gear]


Android Turns One: First Year Stats

October 23, 2009


AndroidHappy birthday Android! It’s hard to believe, but Google’s mobile OS is a year old today, and we’ve got the facts and figures showing what impact it’s made right here.

Precisely a year ago today, Google launched Android by making it open source and available to all. The first Android phone, HTC’s T-Mobile G1, launched a week later, and while it took the best part of 10 months for other companies to chime in with their efforts, the Android revolution is now well and truly underway with Samsung, Huawei and Motorola all selling Google blowers, and LG and Sony Ericsson hurriedly preparing their offerings.

The G1 is also the second most popular smartphone for surfing online, after the iPhone, and although the Android Market is still playing catch up to the iPhone App Store in hard sales, it’s getting close in relative popularity: AdMob’s survey found that Android users download 9.1 apps a month, compared to 10.2 for iPhone obsessives.

And for the next year? Expect plenty more Android phones to come, as well as everything from Android e-readers to netbooks and PMPs, as well as the promising 2.0 update.

This was posted yesterday via [ News]


Via con Google

October 22, 2009






I’ve been pondering the “with Google” (WG) branding found on the back of the G1.  Was this in initial marketing move by Google to get awareness out there for Android,  letting people know who sponsored Android or is this a user interface issue wherewith your device without Google would be different than the one that is.

Looking back over Android’s Year One, I think it’s safe to say that all of the Android devices have at least GMail, Calendar, Contacts, and GTalk out of the box and other Google apps can be downloaded out of Market like Finance, Listen, and Voice.  So why the WG mark then?  I suspect it is because of hardware design.  Google insisted on the unique slide mechanism design, trackball, and a full QWERTY.

This looks to be more like the “Intel Inside” sticker that you see on PCs and now can be viewed in hind sight as a hardware design effort in collaboration with Google and HTC.  The G1, Magic, and Hero hardware designs all carry the WG mark but are also the least appealing visually, even though Sense is the overriding UI on the Hero.  The WG branding may have even stifled the flow and design of handsets for Google to establish a brand for hardware and software user interface alike.

So what does this mean for us?  Only goodness is that the OHA manufacturers look to be gearing up after cautiously watching from the sidelines as the G1 battled it out with iPhones, BlackBerrys, and all the rest.  And let’s be honest, if Android not only survived but thrived on the G1, then this is just another reason why 2010 may be the year of the Robot.

[via AndroidGuys]


Motorola?s Banking on Android Big Time with 8 more OPhones Due in 2010

October 22, 2009


Gotta love Open Source, Marvell Technology has already been developing it’s own version of Android and is going to be releasing it on Motorola hardware in China.


HELSINKI, Oct 13 (Reuters) – China Mobile (0941.HK), the world’s largest mobile carrier by subscribers, will next year introduce eight OPhone smartphone models from U.S. phone maker Motorola (MOT.N), a company official told Reuters.

China Mobile unveiled plans last month to sell 3G smartphones using a lower-cost cellphone platform called OPhone, developed by California-based Marvell Technology (MRVL.O), in what it hopes will be a major advance for its 3G service.

Companies that have signed on to make OPhone-based phones so far include mostly smaller names like Dell (DELL.O), the PC heavyweight which chose the platform for its first foray into the handset business.

Marvell has said that mobile carriers in Asia, the United States and Europe are all looking at OPhone-based phones, including U.S.-based AT&T (T.N), whose mobile division has certified the platform for use on its network. [ID:nHKG2728] (Reporting by Tarmo Virki;

[via Reuters]


Verizon Tips Oct. 30 for ‘Droid’ Phone

October 21, 2009


A new promotional Web site from Verizon Wireless appears to mention an October 30 date for their new Android 2.0-powered “Droid” phone. It’s still unclear whether that’s an announcement or sale date.

The site, at, contains a countdown clock in code using ten symbols, each of which represent a number from 0-9. If you decode the symbols, the clock is counting down to midnight at the beginning of October 30, 2009. (At 9:29 PM on October 17, the clock read 12 days, 2 hours, 30 minutes, and some seconds.)

The site’s promotional language describes the Droid further. It promises “5 megapixels … Android 2.0 … speech recognition … notification panel … directions … video … tunes … 10,000+ apps … the network … multitasking … high speed … hi-res.”

The site also attacks Apple’s iPhone in direct language that’s rarely been seen before. “iDon’t take night shots,” it says in an Apple-like font on a white background, similar to the look of Apple ads. “iDon’t allow open development … everything iDon’t, DroidDoes.”

The Droid is generally assumed to be the name of a Verizon Android phone produced by Motorola. Last week, Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam promised the first of several Android phone launches “in a few weeks” and followed up with an official press photo of himself and Google CEO Eric Schmidt wielding two Verizon Android phones, one assumed to be the Motorola device and the other looking like a variant of Sprint’s HTC Hero.

No other phones so far have run version 2.0 of the Android OS, codenamed “Eclair,” though the appearance of a giant inflatable pastry on the Google campus this week foreshadowed its coming.

Verizon has been stepping up their widely-derided smartphone line recently with the Windows Mobile 6.5-powered HTC Imagio and an anticipated near-term release of the BlackBerry Storm2, which we reviewed this week.

You can sign up for more information about Verizon’s “Droid” at

(Thanks to Boy Genius for tipping me off to the site URL via Twitter)


by Sascha Segan

[via PCMAG]