The Motorola DROID is a symbol of change, for a bunch of different reasons. The fact is, the DROID is a Motorola phone, exclusive to Verizon Wireless, and runs Android 2.0. There is major significance for each of those three bullet points, and that’s not even getting into the actual device. In many ways, the DROID is something new for all three companies involved, which is likely why the three worked to closely together on getting the device just right. So the question is, did they succeed? We’ve had the device for about a week now, and we’ve been playing with it non-stop for the most part. We know what you’re probably wondering—how does the DROID stand up to the iPhone? Is Android 2.0 actually better than what we’ve seen from the platform on other devices? Does the Verizon network really make a difference?
We’ve got all the answers for you in our Motorola DROID review, so sit back, and read on for our take.
One of the nicest features in Android 2.0 is Google Maps Navigation. In a nutshell, it’s Google Maps with turn-by-turn GPS navigation, and voice guidance. Google has put together a video that introduces Google Maps Navigation, which we’ve embedded above, but there are some of the features that stand out to us:
- Live traffic: Since Google Maps can show you traffic info, it’s obviously built-in to Google Maps Navigation, at no extra cost.
- Routes always current: When you search for directions, Google Maps Navigation searches the cloud, and gives you the best current route based on the most recent data
- Layers: You can overlay different types on data over your maps, like restaurants, gas stations, and more.
- Live street view: This is just awesome. You can use the Google Street View feature to get a fantastic visual of your surroundings while driving
- FREE!: Google Maps Navigation is free. That includes the GPS, the live traffic data, and the always updated maps. That is a big deal.
Today, Google “announced” a feature that technically already existed before now, but giving it a name makes it more real, right?
Google says that by taking advantage of the conditional call forwarding feature your carrier provides, you can forward calls that you do not answer on your phone to your Google Voice phone number, thereby replacing your company’s voicemail with Google’s. This functionality has actually always existed: Google Help forums reveal countless people already were setting up their functionality long before Google made this announcement.
It boils down to setting up your call forwarding feature (*71 or the like) to forward to your Google Voice number (or your “Access Number” if you sign up “Without a Google Number”). Then, when your call is forwarded to the Google Voice number, the voice mail is logged and transcribed and stored online, with delivery options such as email or text message to your cell phone. You don’t get all the features you get if you use an actual Google Voice number for people to call, but it is still a nifty service.
A bit more information about Google Voice after the jump.
Read More | The Official Google Blog
Motorola has unveiled their smartphone strategy going forward, and it all begins with the Motorola CLIQ, The CLIQ is an Android-powered smartphone that will be available on T-Mobile later this fall. The CLIQ packs in 3G, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, 5-megapixel camera, GPS, and a tie-in to social networking contacts that they’ve named MOTOBLUR.
MOTOBLUR is interesting. The CLIQ logs in to your various social networks and points of communication - things like email, text messages, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Picasa, Photobucket, RSS, and more. It takes all the activity in all these services, and shows you content in a single feed on the main screen, and you can respond to any of these by tapping on them.
On the hardware side, the Motorola CLIQ has a 320x480 3.1-inch display, along with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard that also has a D-pad, so you know you can even get your gaming on with this phone. The 5 megapixel camera has autofocus, and records video at 24 and 30 frames per second. There’s also a headphone jack, GPS, and 3G, as previously mentioned. As far as wireless goes, the CLIQ packs in Wi-Fi, alongside Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR. You’ll be able to get your hands on a Motorola CLIQ later this fall.
If you happen to rely heavily on Gmail for your day-to-day work, or even for personal things, you may be scrambling right now, as there is a Gmail outage going on. Twitter has run amuck, with people complaining left and right, and endless cries of “Gmail is down! Oh noes!!”. Remember peeps - if you need constant access to your data, you need to have it stored locally on your computer. Use Gmail over IMAP, so at least you always have your archives. Me personally? I use Mail.app in OS X so I always have access to my entire email history. So, just how many of you are severely affected by Gmail being down?
In case you missed it, Google introduced Google Wave to the world a couple of months ago during their Google I/O conference back in May. It was instantly heralded as one of the best things ever seen on these here Internets, and regardless of how you feel about it, you’ve got to at least admit that there is some serious innovation happening there. Now, Google is preparing to release Google Wave in public beta. Starting September 30th, 100,000 people will get access to the Google Wave public beta. Wanna be a part of it? Hit the link below to apply.
If you haven’t seen it, here is the video where Google reveals Google Wave.
Read More | Google Wave Sign-up
Ever since the Google Chrome OS was announced, many have been wondering which partners would be working with Google to release new devices based on the ambitious operating system. As it turns out, Google is answering those questions, releasing a short list of partners that they’re working with.
Today, Google has announced that they’re partnering with Acer, Adobe, ASUS, FreeScale, Lenovo, Texas Instruments, Toshiba, QUALCOMM, Hewlett-Packard (HP.)
Read More | Google Chrome Blog
Look like the reasoning behind Google announcing their new Chrome OS yesterday was to take some of the steam away from a Microsoft announcement due this Monday. Word on the street is that Microsoft is set to announce a web-based Microsoft Office product at this Monday’s Worldwide Partner Conference, taking place in New Orleans.
So, what are the clues that a new Office in the cloud is on its way? Well, for starters, my pal Robert Scoble has been giving hints about a Microsoft product that he has seen, but can’t talk about, hinting at what Microsoft will be dropping on Monday. He did specifically state that is isn’t the new Microsoft non-IE browser, and that the product does run in a browser, including non-IE browsers.
Also, check out Office.com. Looks like the current owners of that domain are getting ready to move off of it, so that someone new can step in. Yup.
Remember, Google also removed the beta tag from their suite of products just the other day as well, to appease business users and maybe lure them into using Google’s online office suite. It seems that all signs point to Microsoft announcing a web-based Microsoft Office suite, which would run completely in the browser. Think about it - Microsoft Office is huge, some consider it a resource hog, and that is the allure of Google Docs and the rest of the Google offering. If Microsoft put it online, without all the bloat, that makes it a lot tougher for Google to defeat.
Read More | Robert Scoble's FriendFeed
Google just announced Chrome OS, their entry into the operating system world. According to the Google Developer Blog, Chrome OS will be a lightweight, open source OS platform meant to “power computers ranging from small netbooks to full-zize desktop systems,” with the goal being a practically instant-on system that takes you right into the web. Chrome OS will be able to run on x86 and ARM chips, which means 32-bit computers, including Intel Atom machines, can play nice, along with mobile platforms. All-in-all, Google aims to make the Internet the bulk of the operating system, with Chrome OS just providing some supporting architecture. Offline mode will undoubtedly be supported, since it’s built in to the Google Apps suite of products. Google says they are already working with OEMs, and we should see devices that are running Chrome OS hit the market in the second half of 2010.
The competition in the OS space is heating up, and the biggest winner, from where we sit, is going to be the consumers. Game on.
Read More | Chrome OS
Whoa! I never thought I’d live to see the day, but Google has finally decided that it was time for Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar, and Google Docs to lose their status as beta products. No, you won’t find any changes to any of them. So, why the change? Well, businesses aren’t prone to rely on products that are in beta, even if they are five years old, like Gmail is. Look out, Microsoft.
Read More | Google Apps Out of Beta