Today's Google Earth announcement brought a couple of nice new features to the Google Maps suite. In addition to moving offline maps out of Labs, the company also pre-empted rumors of Apple-branded 3D map software with a demo of some stellar 3D maps that Google has been creating with high-tech camera planes. Yes, Google now has camera planes.
The company is using some sophisticated mapping software and planes outfitted with a bevy of camera sensors to create photo-realistic 3D maps of the entire terrain of a metropolitan area.
Open Garden is hands down one of the most impressive apps I've seen this year. The app, first introduced at TechCrunch Disrupt NYC 2012 as the startup that would go on to win the conference title of Most Innovative Startup, allows users to create an "open garden" of internet connectivity for multiple devices to share. The startup's official website explains it this way:
The operators sell us fancy handsets, but behave as if broken networks are a fact of life.
A few days ago, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson revealed that the cellular industry would be moving towards data-only plans in the next few years, rather than the separated voice, message, and data system that is used today. Under the new system, voice and messages would be billed as data.
We've reported on AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson's ideas on "toll-free" data usage, but it looks like he's expecting another big shift in data plans - the availability of data-only cellphone plans.
Indicating that we could expect such plans to arrive within two years' time, Stephenson said that text messages and phone calls "would be considered just another form of data." So, instead of having limits on minutes, text messages, and data usage, all would be combined under a single counter.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, speaking at the Sanford Bernstein Strategic Decisions conference, teased a possible solution for customers who feel beleaguered by tiered data, and who have been avoiding data-heavy services due to plan limitations.
Stephenson suggested that, as part of new "toll free" data plans, certain data-hungry services' traffic would be excluded from users' monthly data allotment, meaning that services like, for example, Netflix, could be used without eating up your entire data plan.
The CEO of AT&T's mobile business, Ralph de la Vega, told CNET in an interview that the company is working on family data plans that would give consumers one big pot of data that all devices could share. While minute plans have worked this way for years, since tiered data came along, customers have been waiting on a way to pool their data.
No details are available on how the plans will work, or how it will affect subsidized devices.
Remember that problem Galaxy Nexus devices were having on Sprint where owners couldn't get any connection to any data network at all? Well, if you happened to be one of those owners, how could you forget? Worry not, though! Sprint just announced it will be rolling out a fix over "a 1-2 day period."
You'll need to be connected to a WiFi network to do anything (though this shouldn't be new to you if you're affected by this problem).
Pop quiz: How long does it take for a new version of Android to be widely adopted? A new version of Android comes out, AOSP updates, OEMs adapt it to a myriad of devices, and carriers test the updates. That process. How long does it take?
It's a tough question to answer, mostly because Google doesn't provide data like that. The official site shows a 6 month version history, and that's it.
If you're on the Sprint network, and you're thinking about upgrading to the Galaxy Nexus, you might want to hold off for a bit. Some users in Sprint's forums are reporting that they are unable to connect to Sprint's 3G data network, instead only able to get data via WiFi. Ouch.
Said one user, who attached the above screenshot:
I've attached a screen shot from RF Signal Tracker.
It shows EVDO-A is available and a "Network State" of "CONNECTING"
Every now and then it will get a data connection and the network state changes to CONNECTED, but that will only last for a few seconds. It doesn't matter if I'm in an area with 2bars or 5 bars, same results. I've tried toggling all of the differnt options under Mobile Networks.
Hope you're not tired of hearing about the Google Drive! As the rumors about Google's Totally Not Dropbox service leak out in ever-increasing droves, it gets safer and safer to assume the launch is imminent. According to Reuters, Google may be launching the service as soon as Tuesday. Or, as they're calling it across the pond, "today."
Reuters also reports that Google will be offering paid storage options going all the way up to 100GB for a price.