It looks like the new Google Play Services rolling out today held one more surprise besides hints of Android Device Manager. With the latest update, Android's Photo Sphere viewer can make use of the on-board compass, allowing you to navigate a sphere just by moving your device, much like Streetview's "Compass Mode."
To enter compass mode, users need only press the arrow icon in the lower left corner of the screen. The icon automatically disappears when you aren't touching the screen, allowing you to look at the sphere uninterrupted.
This is a small enhancement, but one that makes Photo Spheres just that much more awesome. Read More
It looks like owners of AT&T's Inspire 4G should be expecting an OTA update any time now – HTC posted a notice to their support site earlier indicating that an update carrying software build 3.20.502.2 would begin rolling out July 31, 2012 (today).
The update, which AT&T recommends setting aside about 20 minutes for, brings just a few new features and a small handful of fixes/enhancements. New features include HTC Sense 3.0, "Task Manager," and AT&T Address Book.
Today's OTA also carries call optimization improvements (meant to reduce dropped calls), improved security, a fix for SMS thread contact display, and an improvement to the phone's use of background data. Read More
One of the bigger changes we saw in the jump from Gingerbread/Honeycomb to Ice Cream Sandwich was in the camera app. ICS not only brought a streamlined, more subtle design to an app that so badly needed it, but also introduced zero shutter-lag, meaning the time between pressing the shutter release and capturing a photo was pushed down to (almost) zero. In fact in many cases, the time between touch and capture is imperceptible. This was huge.
At today's Jelly Bean announcement, however, we learned that Jelly Bean treats users to even more enhancements to the camera app. While they are rather minor tweaks, they enhance the app's productivity and usability by a lot, something that seems to be a common thread in Jelly Bean's enhancements. Read More
Another major enhancement we've just learned about with the announcement of Jelly Bean is called Project Butter. Butter (so named likely due to the colloquialism "smooth as butter") represents a new, more efficient processing framework for Android's latest and greatest iteration, making the OS much faster (allowing animation up to 60fps). Android 4.1 also makes apps more responsive, reducing touch latency and "anticipating where your finger will be at the time of screen refresh."
"How is such an enhancement possible?" I can almost hear you wondering. Take it from the Android developer site:
To ensure a consistent framerate, Android 4.1 extends vsync timing across all drawing and animation done by the Android framework.