Category Archives: Android

Must Know Tips & Tricks For The Galaxy Note

A while ago I did a ‘Must Know Tips & Tricks For The Galaxy S II‘ post and judging by the insane number of views that video has received on YouTube alone (almost 850,000), I thought I’d do a follow up video, this time for the Galaxy Note.

The Note is breaking new ground, not only for Samsung, but also for smartphones as such. A year ago 5″ phones bombed, Dell Streak is a prime example. However, with an HD screen and s much slimmer profile, the Galaxy Note quickly carving out more than a niche for itself.

Just like the S2, the Note runs Gingerbread with TouchWiz 4 on top. So a lot of the tips & tricks that work for the S2, will cross over to the Note as well. But with the S-Pen, the digital stylus that the note comes with, Samsung has introduced a few extras that you should be aware of.

Here are a few must knows:

If you haven’t already, I recommend checking out the Galaxy S2 tips post, in addition to the video, it also has a bunch of screenshots to serve as a guide. Those tips will work across almost any modern Samsung Android device.

Have anything else to share? Let us knows in the comments section below!

PVR Cinemas Releases Apps For Android & iOS

After neglecting to even have a mobile optimised website for ages, India’s biggest multiplex chain PVR Cinemas has finally gotten around to releasing an app to make lives of its customers much easier. As you would expect, both Android and iOS users are the first to receive the app and it seems Symbian and Windows Phone users are out of luck for now.

The free apps are available from Apple’s App Store (optimised for both iPhone and iPad) and the Android Market. The app lets you perform all the actions you would expect including booking tickets, checking show listings and showing previews of upcoming releases.

You need to enter your email address and phone number the first time you launch the app, after which it sends you a confirmation code which you can enter to start using the app. It automatically finds your location and selects the appropriate city.

PVR Cinemas Android App

While booking tickets you can select your seats and choose to pay via a credit card or opt to collect the tickets one hour prior to the show.

[via: Twitter]

Nokia Chimes In On Google’s Motorola Acquisition While Its Share Prices Shoot Up

We’ve heard from the major Android manufactures on what they feel about Google’s Motorola Mobility acquisition, but it would be interesting to hear what Nokia has to say about this. After all, pre Feb 11 Nokia was contemplating putting its eggs in the Android basket. Lets look at their official statement:

“This further reinforces our belief that opportunities for the growth of Nokia’s smartphone business will be greatest with Windows Phone. This could prove to be a massive catalyst for the Windows Phone ecosystem. Additionally, with our respective intellectual property portfolios, Nokia and Microsoft are working together to build and nurture an innovative ecosystem that benefits consumers, operators, developers and other device manufacturers.”

Nokia seems to believe (hopes?) that Google’s owning Motorola would drive a wedge between them and players like HTC and Samsung who already make Windows Phone devices. May be if Nokia had gone the Android way, then Google would’ve cross licensed Nokia’s treasure trove of patents and have not needed to buy Motorola Mobility, but then again Google wasn’t willing to cut Nokia a special deal so may be Nokia would’ve repaid them in the same coin and asked for a pretty steep price.

Meanwhile, Nokia’s stock has risen by over 12.5% since the news of Moto’s acquisition first broke. This looks like a recognition of how undervalued Nokia’s stock is and the rise is perhaps being fulled by speculation that Microsoft might just follow in Google’s lead and buy Nokia. It could also mean that the market seems to think that today’s deal might just benefit Nokia and its Windows Phone decision.

Nokia’s statement also underlines Nokia’s strong patent portfolio, which combined with Microsoft is as strong as any. Infact, even without adding Microsoft’s patents into the mix, Nokia has already forced Apple to pay up in a licensing deal.

[via: TIMN, ZCJ]

Google Buys Motorola: Creates An Android Licensee That’s First Among Equals

In a very interesting development, Google has just announced that it will be acquiring Motorola Mobility, the handset and tablet division of the company for a cool 12.5 billion dollars. As you can probably guess the primary driver for Google was its inherent lack of patents and Motorola’s 17,000 patents with another 7000 in the pipeline were too good to pass. Motorola will be run as a separate business and will remain an android licensee and Google promises that there will be no change on how Android is run.

Google Buys Motorola: Creates An Android Licensee That's First Among Equals

While this will provide some cushion for Android manufactures who were getting sued left, right and center, it will also sow a seed of distrust. While Google may still be calling Motorola just another Android licensee, make no mistake it will be the first among equals and that cannot make Samsung, HTC, Sony Ericsson or LG happy. While all of these companies has put its game face on and given a public hurrah! to the deal, I wonder how they actually feel.

“We welcome the news of today’s acquisition, which demonstrates that Google is deeply committed to defending Android, its partners, and the entire ecosystem” Peter Chou, CEO, HTC.

“I welcome Google’s commitment to defending Android and its partners” Bert Nordberg, President & CEO, Sony Ericsson.

“We welcome Google’s commitment to defending Android and its partners” Jong-Seok Park, Ph.D, President & CEO, LG.

“We welcome today’s news, which demonstrates Google’s deep commitment to defending Android, its partners, and the ecosystem” J.K. Shin, President, Samsung, Mobile Communications Division.

In the conference call following the announcement, Google did make it clear that rights to make the next Nexus device are still up for grabs for all partners and that Motorola would also participate in the bidding process just like Samsung or HTC. The current winner for the Nexus lineup was selected last Christmas, so we’ll only know the real outcome of this deal when its time for the next Nexus.

At the end of the day for Google, a large part of the 12.5 billion was mainly spent for patents, but it would be foolish of them not to effectively utilize the newly acquired hardware arm of theirs only for set top boxes, but for cutting edge smartphones as well. This represents a huge challenge for them, as no one has really successfully licensed a platform and competed with licensees, all at the same time. A slight hint of favoritism could push Samsung and HTC towards Windows Phone and that’s certainly not what Google is hoping to achieve.

The deal still needs to clear regulatory hurdles across the world, but once that happens it will be definitely be a very interesting time in Android’s growth story.

Exclusive: Nokia Maps Come To iOS & Android Via The HTML5 Route

Nokia recently made it clear that other manufactures of Windows Phone based devices would also have access to their famed Ovi Maps, slightly surprising, but I guess that was part of the deal they struck with Microsoft. But what’ll come as another pleasant surprise is that users on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android will not be left bereft either. Nokia’s soft launched a brand new HTML5 powered, mobile optimized Nokia Maps website that as you will see below works perfectly on Android and iOS.

Exclusive: Nokia Maps Come To iOS & Android Exclusive: Nokia Maps Come To iOS & Android

The website (m.maps.ovi.com) is still very much beta (read basic), with the last update being carried out on July 7, but you can still browse worldwide maps on the go and plan a route, both driving and walking. Coupled with access to the GPS, it lets you track your movement accurately. On Android, you get small zoom keys to let you zoom in and out, but on iOS pinch to zoom works perfectly making the experience a tad better. This is probably down to better support for HTML5 technologies on iOS v Android.

Here’s a quick video overview Nokia Maps on Android and iOS:

With the speed at which Nokia’s Maps team works, I can imagine that the website will get pretty regular updates, perhaps incorporating POI and other goodies soon. This move marks a clear assault on Google Maps which for a long time were the sole runners when it came to cross platform deployment. In a lot of countries where Google doesn’t offer navigation, Nokia Maps via their HTML5 foray have the opportunity of matching the functionality the native Google Maps app provides.

I can see Nokia going the Google way with this, offer everyone your Maps so they get hooked but keep the best experience for your own platform. If you’re wondering this is how it looks on the iPad 2.

Check out the video for the full blown overview of Nokia Maps on Android (Galaxy S2) and iOS (iPad 2).

Finally before you start making your mind about it, remember this is a soft launch, a first step so to speak.

Google Maps On Android Gets Downloadable Maps, Creeps Onto Ovi Maps Territory

Google Maps for Android just got a pretty impressive update that adds transition navigation into the mix, this means that your phone will now be able to tell you when its time to get off the bus, great when you don’t speak the local language or if your attention waivers. But more than that, it also brings a little hidden gem that a lot of people have been looking forward to in the form of downloadable maps.

Preload Google Maps

The feature is tucked away in the labs option and once you enable it, you can download 10×10 mile patches of maps around a particular point. You can have more than one area downloaded and you can choose any point in the world to download 10×10 mile maps around it. But there’s a catch, it seems the maps are for exploratory purposes only and will not help you in navigation. That being said, it shows that slowly but surely Google is getting there and beginning to challenge Nokia’s Ovi Maps (now Nokia Maps). Ovi Maps still let you navigate in a large number of countries around the world and Google Maps is failrly limited that way (no India navigation) but it is certainly that will give Nokia something to think about.

Here’s how everything works:

Preload Google Maps Preload Google Maps

  • Enable maps downloads in the Labs option. Once you do that, settings can be managed in the ‘Cache Settings’.

Preload Google Maps Preload Google Maps

  • Pick a spot, you needn’t even be in the same country. Click through and select download map area.

Preload Google Maps Preload Google Maps

  • Its a fairly light download, a little over 10 MB perhaps. You see what part of the map you’ve downloaded, giving you an option to see if you want another download to cover more area.

Preload Google Maps Preload Google Maps

  • Finally, you can manage the downloaded areas, delete and rename them.

The new version 5.7 also brings improved search suggestions, updated directions and a photo viewer for places. if you are wondering which countries get transit navigation, look here. More details at the Google Blog. If you are curious about transit navigation, here’s how it works:

So what do you prefer Google Maps, Ovi Maps or a combination of the two?