Whether you call them UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), RPAs (remotely piloted aircraft), or drones, there's no denying that they are making waves. It's hard to bring up the subject without specifically talking about the DJI Phantom series. In the year since it was announced, the Phantom 3 has become the crowd favorite among photographers. Today, DJI announced the brand new Phantom 4, and it includes a boatload of improvements and new technology over earlier models.
The Phantom 4 looks a lot like its predecessors, but almost every aspect has been touched up or completely redesigned. The chassis is both stronger and lighter thanks to a new magnesium core, which should help in the event of a collision and hopefully bring up the flight time just a bit.
Whether you travel for leisure or business, the logistics of crossing country or state borders are a nightmare. TripIt has been trying to simplify the process for years, providing travelers with a way to track their flight, hotel reservation, car rental, and other plans in one central place. The app just got better now thanks to a new addition: Traveler Profile.
The profile lives inside TripIt's side menu in the Android (and iOS) app. It houses both travel documents and travel contacts, acting as a hub for everything you might need while on the go. Your passport, driver license, resident cards, as well as your babysitter's number, doctor, and others can be easily added.
Google Now is constantly gaining new abilities that are generally awesome, if a little bit creepy. One such feature, brought to our attention today, is the ability to keep track of flight prices.
This is another automatic feature whereby Google infers your intention and presents useful info on that basis. In this case, if you are eyeing a flight or itinerary through Google Flights (it does not appear that this works with other travel booking sites right now), Google will make a note of that and drop a helpful card into your Google Now screen to let you know when the price of that flight changes.
Last night, Google started a slow rollout of the new Maps with version 7.5. Since the previous version was 7.4, we knew there had to be some key features that prompted the update - it couldn't just be a bug fixer. After thoroughly examining the UI, I was unable to find anything new.
As it turns out, that's because the new feature Google stuffed into the app only shows up upon very specific conditions. Luckily, with the help of the latest iOS changelog (how ironic), thanks to our upcoming CES reservations, and by peeking at the APK source, we finally zeroed in on these conditions and can without further ado introduce the main feature of Maps 7.5.
Planning a trip can be stressful. You have to find a good hotel within your budget, get a flight that won't have 17 out-of-the-way layovers, figure out decent restaurants once you in arrive in said destination – it's really just kind of a pain. Since we're all tech savvy users here (right?), of course, we use our smartphones to simplify our lives, and apps like TripAdvisor make a big difference when it comes to having unbon voyage.
And today, TripAdvisor is even more helpful than ever, thanks to a recent update that bumped the app up to v3.0.
Popular beta testing platform TestFlight has officially announced its arrival to Android in private beta form, in a post to the TestFlight blog. If you're wondering how popular TestFlight really is, the same post should provide some reference: the service has been trusted with smoothing the process of beta app deployment for over 300,000 iOS apps. Needless to say, its expansion to Android is big news.
Of course, Android already has HockeyApp.net, and the Play Store offers private app deployment, TestFlight provides the ingredients for an impressively sleek beta testing process with secure deployment, tracking, and – perhaps best of all – centralized feedback.
In a time long before Captain America was even a glimmer in Strategic Scientific Reserve's eye, there was another World War. Did you know that? Yep. There were a lot of airplanes in it. Sky Gamblers: Rise of Glory lets players take those planes up in the air in a flight sim/aerial combat game that actually looks rather polished. Take a look:
Sky Gamblers has been released before, but it looks like it was a Sony-exclusive for a while (nearly all reviews were from Sony devices). Now, everyone can get in on the action. With a compatible device, of course.
Though we've seen Android run on a number of devices beyond just phones and tablets, it's always nice to see another company turn to Android for specialized purposes. It seems that Boeing is doing just that, having recently unveiled Android-powered entertainment systems for their 787 Dreamliner jet.
Boeing announced that it will offer two different entertainment systems for the 787, both of them running Android - the Panasonic eX3, and the Thales TopSeries Avant. However, more specific details have only been announced for the Thales model, which was shown off during a demonstration at the Farnborough International Airshow.
The TopSeries Avant was shown in both 10" and 17" sizes, and for such specialized devices they feature fairly modern specs: a dual core ARM processor and 1GB RAM, and a whopping 256GB of storage, due to the fact that they are primarily media devices.
Hey! Good news! The F.A.A is going to take another look at its stance on "no digital devices during take-off/landing" policy. Sounds pretty promising, right? Not so fast -- this process could take... well, forever. Why is that? Because in order to change the policy, every single device would have to be tested. One at a time. On every plane in existence. No, I'm not kidding.
For example, if the F.A.A wanted to approve Amazon's Kindle for use on planes during taxi, take-off, and landing, then it would have to test every single version of the Kindle (and Fire) on every single plane, on every single airline.
Want to know which online service makes my life a lot easier? Hipmunk. For the uninitiate, Hipmunk is a flight search service with a difference. In addition to sorting available flights by the standard duration and price metrics, Hipmunk can also arrange flights according to "agony", i.e. incorporating factors such as number of stops and total duration. Although its mobile site is adequate, I am pleased to report that Hipmunk has finally launched its Android app, which is available for free from the Market.
The app has all the features of the desktop and mobile site: you enter your destination, departure and arrival dates, select the number of passengers, and whether you wish to travel by coach (economy), business or first class.