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Voice Search & Transit Directions on Google Maps for Android-powered Phones

image Google has released an upgrade to Google Maps for Android-powered phones to include voice search, along with a bug fix and a new features.

Android is a software platform for mobile devices, running on the Linux operating system, and several hardware makers are also promoting it for use in netbooks.

New & Improved

With the new version of Google maps, you could:

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  • Search using your voice. This will make it all the more easy for people to search for places while on the go.
  • Choose the accent of your choice. The new version uses the voice recognition engine that understands English in American, Australian, and British accents.
  • Use the improved business listings that include content such as store hours, prices, ratings, and reviews, which will make it easier for you to decide where to go.
  • Make the most of the transit and walking directions. You can now get directions using public transportation in over 250 cities and the best route on-foot with pedestrian only pathways.
  • Google has also updated its Latitude application, which allows computer and Android users to share their location with friends:
    • The bug that caused background location updates to periodically stop for some has now been fixed.
    • Now, upon selecting “Detect your location” from the Latitude privacy menu, the location will continue to update as long as the phone is on.

A new experimental feature

“Updates” is a new experimental that lets users communicate by exchange comments by posting messages.

How does it work?

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  • Start Latitude
  • Click the “Updates” tab to shout out updates at friends when they’re at interesting locations
  • Start a conversation when you’re at your favorite location, or simply add more details to your Latitude location for your friends to see.

Note: This upgrade for now is not automatically pushed. The person you are sending messages to should have the new version of Google Maps for Android downloaded or else they will not get your messages otherwise.

(Source & Image credits: Google Mobile Blog)

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Speed up your Gmail for Mobile Experience

In April, Google had introduced a new version of Gmail for iPhones and Android-based devices. Today, Google launched some improvements to speed up the Gmail for mobile experience.

Some recent improvements

  1. Faster address auto-completion: As you begin typing the first few letters of a name or email address, Gmail for mobile will display the possible contacts.
  2. Keyboard shortcuts enabled for Android-powered devices with a physical keyboard: You can use Gmail keyboard shortcuts to quickly move through your inbox.

clip_image002

Some Keyboard Shortcuts

To turn on or off, go to Settings, and pick an option next to Keyboard shortcuts.

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Shortcut Key Definition
c Compose
/ Search
k Move to newer conversation
j Move to older conversation
n Next message
p Previous message
o or <Enter> Open
u Return to conversation list
e Archive
m Mute
x Select conversation
s Star a message or conversation
! Report spam
r Reply
a Reply all
f Forward
<Esc> Escape from input field
<Ctrl> + s Save draft
# Delete
l Label
v Move to
<Shift> + i Mark as read
<Shift> + u Mark as unread
[ Archive and previous
] Archive and next
z Undo
<Shift> + n Update current conversation
q Move cursor to chat search
y Remove from Current View*
. Show more actions
? Show keyboard shortcuts help

Gmail for mobile supports

  • iPhone/iPod Touch OS 2.2.1 or above
  • All Android-powered devices, and is available for US English only.

Give it a try and share your comments on what you think.

(Source & image credits: GoogleMobile)

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Google Android Based Netbook Launched In China

google androidIf there were Oscars for the biggest tech buzz of the year, then Netbooks would have already won it for 2009. Sooner than anticipated by market watchers world over, Google Android on a Netbook, is now available.

Today morning, I posted about the recent Netbook market trends and how ASUS is developing a netbook based on Google’s Android platform. But leaving ASUS and others behind in the race, it’s a Chinese manufacturer – Skytone that has won the race.

Features:

Based on ARM-II 533MHz CPU, Skytone’s Alpha 680 netbook fancies a 7-inch flip-around display and is available in a variety of colors including Pink, Yellow and Red.

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With only 1 GB of built-in solid-state memory, the built-in SD/MMC card slot shall come in handy.

To know the complete list of features/specifications, visit this page on Skytone

Zoom In:

google android netbook

I wonder how Yahoo got the view print in this official image release by Skytone.

Not to forget, the Skytone Alpha 680 Android netbook is expected to be priced in the range of $100 to $200. Let’s wait and see if the machine gets its way to India from China, before it could reach the US! I wish it does 😛

Link: Skytone

(Image Credits: Skytone)

(Source: Computerworld)

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Microsoft XP in less than $15

clip_image002Well, well, don’t jump over! While the news is still reported to be a leak, it also has some ifs and buts!

The exact news (leak) is that Microsoft has dropped the price of Windows XP for Netbooks to under $15 per license, which is almost one third of the price of a Windows Vista license that Microsoft typically charges the manufacturers of normal laptop makers when they bundle it with their products.

What is Netbook?

As you may already know, Netbooks are the small portable laptops, designed mostly for accessing only the Internet and remote web-based applications. If you wish to read more about Netbooks, then I will suggest you to visit this page on our all time favorite resource center wikipedia, but only after you read this post completely.

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Some Trends

  • Netbooks worldwide are picking up fast from mere 1% market share of the total laptop market in July to an alarming 19% month-on-month market share of laptops in December 2008. [Source: Pricegrabber report]
  • According to an estimate, almost thirty times more netbooks were sold in 2008 than in 2007 (400,000). [Source: eetimes]
  • For 2009, it is estimated that netbook sales will grow 189% to 21.5 million. [Source: eetimes]

All in all, netbook market seems to be the next big fish in this era of economic slowdown, no wonder all the biggies are pulling up their socks to get the big pie.

Here is a quick summary of what is happening in the market:

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  • ASUS has allocated engineers to develop netbook based on Google’s Android platform.[Source: Bloomberg]
  • Microsoft attributed its significant declines in Windows revenues last year largely to strong sales of netbooks that undercut its normally much more profitable business. [Source: electronista]
  • Microsoft has already confirmed that it will be providing a version of Windows 7 specifically designed for netbooks. [Source: CNET UK]
  • Dell and HP, the two biggest PC makers, both released a “Mini” series (the Inspiron Mini and HP Mini) in the netbooks market last year.
  • 70% of the total Netbook sales have been in Europe. [Source: UMPC]

So what do we expect?

  • A price war at a B2B level will definitely be transferred down to the consumer level. So expect a further slash in the netbooks prices in the US and Europe.
  • With 3G services being launched in India, the netbooks sales are poised to pick up fast in the Indian market too.

What is in it for me?

Well I would like to see Microsoft extending its price cut policy to off-the-shelf windows licenses for notebooks and PCs in the Indian market. Does anyone have the exact figures of the pirated OS market in India? I am sure no one would like to go for a pirated Windows if they could get a genuine one for Rs. 500. Microsoft could sure earn heavy bucks if they get into a price cut and volume sales game in India.

Anyone from Microsoft board room reading this??? 🙂

(Source: Electronista)

(Image Credit: Digital Tech News)

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T-Mobile’s G1 Tweaked for Multi-Touch Support!

tmobile g1 Since having a glimpse on the multi touch feature in Apple’s i-phone, every mobile phone user wanted to see this feature on their Nokia or other branded mobiles too. iPhone was hyped in around the world just because the unique multi-touch feature in it. People just went crazy to have a look and feel on this innovative feature in Apple’s iPhone.

Though multi-touch feature is yet to be announced officially by any other mobile handset manufacturers in the world, but the latest Android OS based T-mobile’s G1 has been tweaked by a software developer for multi-touch support atleast while using GPS and other specified apps.

To make multi-touch feature working on G1, the developer has patched the kernels and flashed the firmware. The developer has posted a detailed guide and a tutorial on how to tweak your G1 to enable multi-touch in it.

Link: Tutorial to enable Multi-Touch on T-Mobile G1

[Via Gizmodo]