Earlier this morning, Google did the iOS crowd a generous favor by flipping the switch on its Street View service to help alleviate some of those Maps troubles, so it’s only natural to take care of the Android faithful as well. With that in mind, Google has updated its Gesture Search to be fully compatible with the ASUS-built Nexus 7, as well as improving the application’s UI, boosting search performance, adding support for more languages and allowing contacts without digits to now be searchable. The new version of Gesture Search can be downloaded now via Google Play, straight from your device or by simply using the link down below.
Over the next few weeks, we can surely expect iOS developers from all over the globe to start pushing out updates to make their applications better interact with Apple’s iOS 6 and that all-new screen found on the iPhone 5. And, because we know some of you choose Chrome over Cupertino’s built-in Safari browser, we thought we’d single out the fact that Google has outed a new version of the app which makes it friendly with the new iPhone’s larger display as well as the most recent variant of iOS. Aside from the iPhone 5 / iOS 6 compatibility, though, Mountain View also bundled in some undisclosed stability and security improvements in version 21.0.1180.82 (!) of the web browsing application. As is usually the case, you’ll find the updated Chrome goods in the App Store — link for that is just down below.
In case you didn’t notice, Microsoft and Nokia are holding a pretty major press event right now, and while we’ve mainly been waiting for some shiny new hardware, a few fresh apps never hurt either. Nokia just made a joint announcement with AOL, unveiling an entertainment hub called Entrance, which will be available only on Nokia’s Windows Phone devices. AOL (which happens to be Engadget’s parent company) naturally used the app as a way to highlight its various properties, including Moviefone, AOL Music and Huffington Post Entertainment. So, for example, you might watch trailers or buy tickets on Moviefone, or read news from HuffPo. Like its various Android apps, it includes Shoutcast Radio integration with streaming from over 55,000 radio stations worldwide. Perhaps the most compelling bit, though, is an augmented reality feature with overlays for movie posters and show times. The app’s free and available for download at the source link below, and we’ve also got some screenshots to help give you a sense for the look and feel.
Microsoft’s promise to bring a SkyDrive app to Android devices a few days ago has been kept. The folks in Redmond have announced that the aforementioned mobile software is now available for those who fancy Google’s operating system. As you might expect, the list of features follows suit with the existing iOS and Windows Phone applications — including multiple photo or video uploads, file sharing, opening stored files and file management with the ability to sort folders. While the app was built to work best with Android 4.0, it’ll play nice with any handset that runs Gingerbread and above. If you’re ready to install, a few clicks will do just that via the Google Play link below.
It’s not like there’s any shortage of alternatives, but those sticking with the ooh-ficial Twitter app on iOS and Android woke up to a rather pleasant update today. Briefly, the company’s promising improvements to discover, search and notifications, with the new build allowing users to view “Activity” — described as a “stream of updates that shows which tweets are favorited or retweeted by the people you follow and which accounts those people follow or add to lists.” Search has also been made simpler in both programs, with the Connect tab allowing you to start typing the first or last name or username of the person you’re looking for and watching autocomplete handle the rest. Finally (and perhaps most importantly), notifications for Interactions are in place, enabling busybodies to know right away when a tweet has been retweeted or favorited. Hit up your market of choice to get the new bytes, or just visit one of the source links below. Your call — no pressure.
The crew in Ottawa is now taking square aim at Aperture, Lightroomand other similarly situated products with its new product called AfterShot Pro. Available for Linux, Macintosh and Windows, the software retails for $99 and promises to deliver a complete workflow for RAW files, including file management, batch processing and non-destructive editing capabilities. AfterShot Pro is said to be fully multithreaded and optimized for multiple cores and CPUs. A trial is available for download from the company’s website, while physical copies will begin shipping by month’s end. It’ll certainly be an uphill battle for the scrappy competitor up north, but with a product portfolio heavily leveraged in the graphics industry, it certainly seems time that Corel jumped into the fray.
Belkin announces WeMo home automation system; controls electrical outlets with your smartphone, motion
If you’re looking to control the electrical outlets of your home or apartment via your newfangled smartphone, Belkin has you covered. The company has unveiled the first two products of its newly launched WeMo line of home automation technology. The WeMo Home Control Switch is a plug that doubles as a programmable on / off for any device from lighting to coffee pots. Alongside the outlet power control, the WeMo Motion Sensor will detect your movement and when used in tandem with the Home Control Switch, can be programmed to power on electrical items in reaction to motion. Both pieces of the Belkin kit require the free WeMo app and will set you back $49.99 and $59.99, in order of mention. These two initial products will be available in the US in March, with more devices coming in the Fall.
If you’ve been dreaming of a world where Android apps are free to roam across your Windows desktop, you’re in luck, because BlueStacks has just turned your reverie into reality. Today, the startup unveiled an alpha version of its App Player — software that allows users to run a host of Android apps on Windows PCs, tablets or desktops, without requiring them to make modifications to their original OS. Available as a free download, this early test version comes pre-loaded with ten apps, and can support an extra 26, on top of that. BlueStacks’ free Cloud Connect app, meanwhile, allows you to port third-party apps directly from your handset to your computer, though some games, including Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja, are prohibited. Those, it turns out, will be included under a paid version of the App Player, which BlueStacks hopes to launch at a later date. You can take the free software for a spin at the source link below, or meander past the break for a demo video, along with a pair of press releases.
Earlier this month, Microsoft announced a new slate of Xbox Live partnerships with Verizon, Comcast, and a host of other content providers. Now, the company has unveiled new details about the code upon which these new apps will run. Sources close to the situation tell GigaOM that the new framework, code-named “Lakeview,” will be based on Silverlight, but will also bring a few new features from Xbox Kinect, including voice recognition and gesture-based controls. More intriguing, perhaps, are insider claims that Microsoft’s new content partners stream video using Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming, rather than Redmond’s Smooth Streaming. GigaOM‘s sources went on to say that Microsoft has been introducing major changes to the platform over the past few weeks, in the hopes of having it ready for third-party developers once the Xbox Live update rolls out. Spokespersons for Xbox and Silverlight said they have “nothing to announce” about the new framework, though GigaOMreports that Redmond is aiming to release the update on Black Friday.
The latest Skype update for Android is available to everyone, but it only enables video chat on four specific handsets. Fortunately, impatient modders have gone some way to correcting this profound injustice, by creating APKs that activate video calling on other handsets too. So far we’ve heard of successful ports on the Samsung Galaxy S II and the HTC Sensation, Thunderbolt and EVO 4G. If you’ve got some other handset with Android 2.3, a little experimentation with the APK might also be worth your while. However, we just tried it on an Xperia Arc and didn’t get very far: the app ran, but efforts to communicate with an Xperia Neo resulted in one-way video, a locked landscape mode and plenty of awkwardness. Let us know if you fare better — you’ll find a Thunderbolt-specific download at the DroidLife source link, and a more general APK at TechPetals.
The latest update to Skype’s Android application has just been rolled out and a big part of its goodie delivery is two-way video calling. Only a quartet of phones are supported right now: Google’s own Nexus S, HTC’s Desire S, and the Xperia Neo and Pro from Sony Ericsson, all handsets that shipped with Android 2.3 installed. We suspect the rest of the Android world won’t be far behind — Thunderbolt users will surely be wondering why they’re not included in this first batch — but for now it’s just that fearsome foursome. Also included in Skype v18.104.22.168 is a UI overhaul and support for SMS messaging, neither of which suffers from any handset restrictions. Hit up the Android Market on your phone (the web Market still lists version 1) to get at the latest software.
We’re always looking for excuses to get behind the wheel, so naturally the new Dynamic Music function in the Mini Connected app made us yearn for a chance to hit the road. Version 2.0 brings this headline feature to the iPhone, which includes exclusively-composed music that adjusts based on things like a compatible Mini Cooper’s “longitudinal and lateral acceleration.” In other words, the faster and crazier you drive, the more exciting the music becomes. So instead of having mom in the passenger seat begging you to slow down, there’s music that encourages you to do the opposite. The press release even references a “hallmark Mini go-kart feeling,” so you might want to make sure everyone’s buckled up before you plug in. Should anyone fail to do so, a new feature called Mission Control will let you know, also nagging about poor driving conditions. How’s that for a mixed signal?
Are you finding the Bing iOS app not quite as tablet-optimized as it could be? Microsoft seems to agree with you, as it’s just released a new version of Bing designed to make the most of the iPad’s more spacious dimensions. It works with both generations of the tablet, though iOS 4.2 is required, and brings an arsenal of goodies to tempt users into giving it a try. A trends area will serve up the top-searched items on Bing, a dedicated movie- and trailer-searching section will help make your matinee decisions that little bit easier, and multiple map views will enlighten you with turn-by-turn directions and real-time transit info. There are even weather updates for up to five cities via MSN Weather and, if for whatever reason you don’t find the touch-centric interface to your liking, there’s a Bing Voice Search option as well. All for free. On the iPad. Boy, that must bruise some egos up in the Redmond. Video after the break.
What you once knew as the Google Mobile App has been rechristened the Google Search app, signifying a renewed focus for Google’s primary iOS application. Having formerly served as a multifunctional access point to all of Google’s varied web apps, the new software is now geared to serve search needs first, with its other offerings relegated to a secondary “Apps” menu. There’s also the addition of a new toolbar, accessible by swiping left to right, and improved fast-app switching support. The ever-present bug fixes and a few more user interface tweaks complete the list of changes. To get your download on, you may exploit either the source link below or the QR code above.
It’s the first of March, which in NVIDIA land means no longer just talking about Tegra Zone, but actually activating it and letting users see what all the fuss is about. For those who’ve not yet heard of it, the Tegra Zone is an Android application that curates and highlights content that would most benefit from having the dual-core power of that Tegra 2 chip within your device. At launch, that means a hand-picked selection of games whose makers have gone the extra mile and thrown in additional geometric detail, heavier computation loads, and higher-resolution textures specifically for Tegra 2 smartphones and tablets. The snazzier, more interactive games will still be sourced from the Android Market, the Tegra Zone is no more than a portal unto the vast world of Android content, but it’s hoped that its presence will help convey the full value of owning a dual-core mobile device. Even if that value will go down considerably when NVIDIA introduces its quad-core SOC in August — but, one super chip at a time!