This morning brought great news for Apple users as they finally have a Maps app that just might work. Google came through and bailed out Apple with the release of the Google Maps app in the Apple app store last night. When this whole fiasco happened, I thought that Google shouldn’t bother developing an app. If Apple wanted to denounce Google, then let them wallow in their own mistakes. Furthermore, since Google wants to promote Android, wouldn’t they just keep it to Android to make it that much more appealing to iOS users?
Unfortunately that really isn’t the correct way of thinking since iOS is a revenue source for Google. Apple and Google might be major competitors, but they are two entirely different companies. You won’t find Apple-made apps in the Google Play Store because Apple has nothing to gain, but since Google derives revenues from ads and clicks, they have everything to gain by making their products available to the competition. In the past we reported that a lot of Google’s mobile revenues actually come from iOS devices, so why should Google shun that? It’s easy for me to say don’t do it, but it just didn’t make business sense for Google to ignore the situation. So iOS users now have a better experience thanks to Google. Maybe they will remember that the next time they buy a new phone. Probably not.
If you happen to be a bus rider in London and own an NFC-based device like the astounding Galaxy S III smartphone, today is a momentous day for you. Transport for London has announced its activation for contactless payments using NFC technology on 8,500 of its buses. When using the NFC payment, customers can pay the same fare as a traditional Oyster card user, which is £1.35 as opposed to the standard £2.30 cash fare. There is a catch to this technology though— customers will need to ensure their NFC-based device has a special logo in order to utilize the contactless payment technology and as of now, we only know of Orange UK’s version of the Galaxy S III having the special logo. On the other hand, there is a slim possibility that other NFC-equipped devices could potentially work, especially since there’s no mention of what exact devices are compatible exactly.
Still, today is a pretty significant breakthrough and it should be only a matter of time before we see other transport companies take advantage of this technology. We’re all looking at you New York City MTA!
We already know that Sprint & Clearwire has quite the relationship, but Sprint fully intends from not just owning some of Clearwire, but it wants to acquire what’s left of the available Clearwire share. Reuters reports that Sprint (by way of Softbank) wants full control of Clearwire’s network and subsequent spectrum by making a full $2.1 billion offer. If the deal is approved (and all indications point to its approval), the entire value of Clearwire would be worth somewhere in the area of $4.2 billion— though we won’t see the deal formally approved until at least sometime in the March or April of the upcoming year.
Talk about Sprint wanting to put a ring on it. Sheesh.We’ll be on the lookout for any further developments on this big news.
It looks like Shazam and SoundHound are going to have a little more competition from Google. Google’s Sound Search widget was recently only (officially) available to devices running stock Jelly Bean, which is a pretty narrow slice of devices in the Android ecosystem. It couldn’t really gain much traction against established apps like SoundHound or Shazam because it simply couldn’t get on enough devices. Google fortunately realized this, and today made the Sound Search app available in the Play Store for any device running 4.0 and above.
The Sound Search has a leg up on its competition because it links you to music directly in the Play Store, since it’s all Google-maintained. It also features search history syncing across devices, so you can identify the song when you’re out and then actually download it at home on your tablet. Not bad, right? Hit the break for the download link if you’re interested.
The virtual tour guide known as Field Trip has been updated to allow users to save location cards as the app helps discover what Google calls “the cool, hidden, and unique.” The update includes a few bug fixes and battery consumption tweaks but it’s the card save feature that represents the biggest improvement. Users can save a card to read at a more convenient time, add it to the list of favorite locations or flag bad information. Hey, I think I know another near-magical Google product that uses cards. Might we some day see Field Trip rolled into Google Now? Update now or hit the download link below if you’ve yet to give Field Trip a go!
Play Store Download Link
I’d say most, if not all, of our readers might have used Google to search for something in 2012 once or twice. Just a few times. Or probably thousands of times. Google performed over 1.2 trillion web searches in 146 languages, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Google’s got a finger on the pulse of the internet. And with the information from those 1.2 trillion web searches, Google summed up 2012 in a 2 minute video. And in typical Google fashion, there’s a handful of easter eggs in the video. Hit the break for the video and the link Google’s own page for Zeitgeist 2012.
Republic Wireless announced today that they have begun shipping pre-ordered smartphones for their new wireless service. Republic Wireless is using a “Hybrid Wi-Fi cellular Calling network” to provide service. The network utilizes any available wifi for a primary network and Sprint’s 3G network for the secondary network. According to Republic Wireless CEO David Morken, the service will “invert the status quo” by relying on cheap, plentiful wifi and only reverting to more costly, limited cellular when wifi is not available. This approach helps keep the cost down which enables Republic Wireless to offer a monthly service for only $19 that includes unlimited talk, text, and data. Republic Wireless is currently shipping the Motorola DEFY XT for $249 plus a $10 startup fee. The service is pay-as-you-go, so no long term contract locks customers in to the service.
Hit the break to see a video announcement from Republic Wireless and to read the full press release.
With LG’s Nexus 4, Samsung’s Galaxy S III and Note 2 receiving all of the news lately of their great sales, it’s good to see HTC get some of the spotlight for once. It seems as if their Asia only Android device (Droid DNA in the US) in the Butterfly has been selling quite well and is prompting HTC to increase their shipments of the device.
According to Jack Tong, the president of HTC’s North Asia said “We will ship a large number of devices by the end of this month, due to the success of the HTC Butterfly J in Japan.”
The Butterfly sports a beautiful 5″ 1080p display paired with Quolcomm’s new quad-core S4 pro processor. If you’re curious about HTC’s new successful device, you can check out our review of Verizon’s Droid DNA right here!
source: Focus Taiwan
Sony has released their Motiongraph application that allows users to create photos that essentially “move.” You shoot a short 2 second video and use various images from the videos you record to create your own gifs. Pretty nifty, don’t you think?
The video below showcases the new app and how you can use it. The app is available in the Google Play Store for $0.99!
Play Store Download Link
Google has rolled out an update to its Currents application today, allowing users to easily scan various categories, publications and breaking news. The minor upgrade may not seem a like a huge deal, but the new navigation metric will give users the ability to browse through the latest and most popular headlines without delving into a specific article or publication.
A new array of categories has also been added, meaning readers can now view articles based on subject matter like Entertainment, Sports and Lifestyle. Additionally, stories from specific publications can now be navigated by swiping vertically–something that will come as a welcomed addition for those who previously used Currents. You can find the full list of changes at the source link below.