There's a fresh update to Street View rolling out today and it has a little something for everyone. Counting among the changes in this release, there's a new satellite mode and a toggle for photographers to market themselves for work. A few visuals have been tweaked, including a better-looking search results screen. And a teardown item lets us know that the developers are planning a cool little feature that can take care of blurring out faces before uploading photos for the public to see.
For many of us, the Street View name is linked to a convenient way to look around at places we haven't been, whether it's just an address we're about to drive to or one of the world's greatest mountains. We don't usually associate it with making money, but a lot of businesses have started investing in virtual tours to attract more customers. For a few years, Google has been working to help businesses pair up with independent photographers and agencies to capture scenery for potential visitors. The interface for this was entirely web based, but now it looks like some of the operations will soon become available through the Street View app itself.
Here's a surprise for you. For once we're not talking about a photo editing app that has come to Android after being available on iOS for months or worse yet, years. How novel! Overam is the name of said app and it's being released on Android first (maybe only?).
While Overam does offer the usual panoply of filters, its selling point is the usage of geometric shapes to create a disconnect between two parts of the image and highlight the one you want. You start with one of 200+ geometric shapes ranging from the simple to the most complex, pick one of the 5 different blur effects included, add a filter if you want to (including dual filters that only apply to part of the image), and you can save your photo locally, share it, or go on to make another edit on top of it.
Developer Klinker Apps, the folks behind the Talon Twitter client and the EvolveSMS messaging app, have just released Blur, a free launcher replacement that takes the approach introduced by the Google Now Launcher and opens it up to other apps. With Blur, any app that adds on support for the launcher can have its own dedicated page that rests right on a person's homescreen. In practice, this means users can swipe to the left to access their Twitter feed, text messages, a basic calculator, or a dedicated Google Now page that the Klinker brothers MacGyvered to imitate the GNL. More pages are hopefully on the way.
We've all heard it time and time again: generally speaking, people hate manufacturer skins on Android phones, i.e. Blur, Touchwiz, Sense, etc. I realize that not everyone falls into this category, but I think it's probably safe to say that the bulk of Android users do. It looks like we're not the only ones that are opposed to manufactures gumming up our beloved Android with their custom overlays - Virgin Mobile, a prepaid subsidiary of Sprint, has taken a pro-stock-Android approach to all of its devices. Have a look at what a Virgin spokesperson told PCmag via email:
Virgin Mobile USA aims to make available devices that allow the end user to have the freedom to customize the device to their liking.
You saw some of the leaked Bionic pictures earlier today, but now thanks to PhoneHK we can give you even more information about the upcoming monster of a Motorola handset. First and foremost, this thing will (at least according to this test unit) be running Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread right out of the gate:
That's a relief. If the Bionic had shipped with Froyo, Motorola might have had a user rebellion on its hands. What other goodies were revealed by the generous leaker about the Bionic?
4.5" qHD display
8MP rear camera, 1080p video recording, plus front-facing camera
WebTop dock accessory
1750mAh battery (that's large)
You can see some of the new BLUR in action below in various screenshots, including a translucent notification bar and 3D homescreen previews:
Not much was known for a fact about the next crown jewel in the Droid line of Android phones that played a such a crucial part in the growth of the OS in the past 2 years. We had a suspicion that it would have a 4" screen, lose "the lip," and gain a dual-core CPU and a front-facing camera, all while bearing the name Droid 3, but no concrete proof of any of those.
A series of Droid 3 training videos surfaced today, well ahead of the device's release, which is rumored to be sometime this summer. The videos clearly show and confirm a larger form factor with curvier lines (4" sounds about right now), an 8MP HD camera that is capable of 1080P video recording, an updated version of MOTOBLUR (just look at that lock screen), a 5-row keyboard with a dedicated number row, and an HDMI output.
Update: It looks like the homescreen is just a generic placeholder, because it's the same one used here for the Optimus V at Best Buy. Thanks Nate!
This may not be of interest to the 7 people out there that actually like Motorola's Blur interface, but for the rest of us this is pretty good news. It looks like Motorola is prepping a new DROID-esque Android 2.2 device for Virgin Mobile USA, and it appears to be sans-Blur in the one leaked picture that Pocketnow has obtained.
With that said, it looks like the device may still be running some sort of a custom interface, judging by the three-column homescreen grid, which is not currently possible with stock Froyo's four-column launcher.
Similar to devices being offered up by competing carriers – Sprint’s Intercept, AT&T’s Backflip and Aria, T-Mobile’s entire line-up – Verizon plans to introduce a cheaper, low-end alternative to pricier Android models. Engadget reports that the the Motorola WX445 runs Android 2.1 with some type of MOTOBLUR overlay (possibly the same version used on the Droid X), and sports a screen measuring somewhere between 2.5 and 3 inches.
The phone was also described as looking very “cheap,” and has been likened to a keyboardless Palm Pre. It goes without saying that this device probably won’t be the biggest hit in Verizon’s Android line-up.