Another week has flown by and there has been some exciting news in the smartphone world. I have been keeping my eyes open for some of the coolest applications and accessories and for some platforms it was a very hard to narrow it down to just one choice. I have chosen a mix this week of accessories and apps and will finish this week's spotlight with a peek at an upcoming browser for Android smartphones that is something I have never seen on a phone before.
Google Maps for Android got an important update this week. Some of the features include search by voice, public transit directions, walking directions, and major improvements to business listings and Google Latitude. Get transit directions for over 250 cities and the business listings now include more information such as reviews and store hours.
This is perfectly timed for the summer vacation schedule. Imagine a visit to NYC with easy access to transit routes and walking directions as you tour the museums and enjoy the city without walking around trying to unfold big maps and find your way around.
"You may also notice a new experimental feature called Updates that lets you communicate with friends and post messages. Start Latitude and 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 restaurant, or just add more details to your Latitude location for your friends to see. Your friends will also need to download this new version of Google Maps for Android in order to use this experimental Updates feature -- they will not get your messages otherwise."
BlackBerry Smartphones This week iSkin announced the availability of the iSkin Vibes and Vibes FX for BlackBerry. I don't know what it is about these skins, but I have wanted one for my BlackBerry ever since I saw cherrichiodo post about the ones for iPhone here. I love the eye-popping colors and according to cherrichiodo's review here it's a great skin. Some of the features are a screen protector, camera flash guard, protection for your ports, and for all you germophobes out there, the skins are infused with Microban antimicrobial protection to help combat the germs a phone's surface could have without such protection.
To check out the full availability of colors and patterns available for your device head over to iSkins.
Of course the biggest things in the Apple world this week are Wednesday's launch of iPhone 3.0 and Friday's launch of the iPhone 3G S. But there was one app in particular that caught my attention. The sudden burst in popularity of Twitter has had developers constantly vying for the top spot in the Twitter client lineup. One of the most popular Twitter clients for the desktop is TweetDeck and this week they have launched a mobile version, TweetDeck for iPhone.
Via IntoMobile "TweetDeck uses a multi-pane setup, similar to the desktop version, to keep your tweets organized. You get desktop-to-mobile TweetDeck sync, Facebook toolbar-esque status updates, support for multiple accounts, shake-to-refresh, and full-featured account management directly from the app itself - all while you navigate around with finger-flicking ease."
You can download TweetDeck for iPhone for free via AppStore or iTunes.
One very important networking tool for the business community is LinkedIn. This is not social networking like facebook or myspace, but a professional networking site where users can connect with others in their industry. I know many PinStack members use LinkedIn and have asked about a mobile BlackBerry application that would allow them to work with their LinkedIn profile but so far there has not been one. But for you lucky Palm Pre owners there is now a free LinkedIn app for you!
Via the LinkedIn Blog "We designed this application from the ground up for the new webOS platform. As a result, you’ll find the application features a simple but elegant set of features that integrate seamlessly into the platform. With LinkedIn for the Palm Pre, you can easily view up-to-date information about any of your LinkedIn connections. We’ve also seamlessly integrated LinkedIn search into the interface – typing in a name will not only search your connections, but will also reach across the cloud to LinkedIn to search the entire LinkedIn network in the background." You will find the LinkedIn app in the Pre application catalog.
Most Interesting Find of the Week
And here is something to watch for in the future. Right now it is only available on Android and in the Netherlands but it will be heading more European countries, the USA, and the iPhone 3GS in the coming months. It's called Layar and it is being called the worlds 1st mobile augmented reality browser. It uses the GPS, camera and compass of the device to identify your surroundings and give you information.
For more info check out this article on Gizmodo and watch the video below!
Great features this week, Az! The Layars video is really amazing - can't wait 'til we get it here and really hope RIM keeps up with the competition - there are some really interesting, and tempting, devices/features around the corner.
For every complex problem there is a solution, that is simple, neat, .....and wrong! (H. L. Mencken) jblackfish(at)pinstack(dot)com
I wonder if the Storm2 will get a magnetometer....that would make it possible for them to make Layars for that too. Just when I think I am sure I can't leave BlackBerry I see something like this and the HTC Magic/myTouch is calling me....