I'm not sure how many of our readers are pilots, but here goes anyway. Garmin has updated its Pilot app for Android to version 6.2, and with it comes a bunch of new features. I won't pretend I know what any of it really means, but I'll try to summarise the new additions as best I can.
Planes are usually very basic and drab inside, but Virgin America has been trying to make them slightly less so with built-in entertainment systems. The airline is rolling out a new beta version of its Red entertainment platform. Why do we care? It's based on Android, not that you could tell just by looking.
Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got a Game Boy-style platformer, a new entry in a long-running strategy series, an adventure expatriate from the PC, and an air traffic control sequel. Without further ado:
This game is neither "two bit" in the sense of extremely simple computer graphics, nor "two-bit" in the sense of being cheap or unworthy.
Travelers passing through TSA checkpoints are sometimes asked to turn on electronic devices like laptops and phones, but that's about to be mandatory for passengers on direct flights to the US from certain overseas airports. This is part of the enhanced security measures recently ordered by Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson. If your phone (or some other device) doesn't turn on, you'll have to leave it behind.
Garmin doesn't get as much attention in the age of smartphones, but pilots and other professionals still rely on it. The Garmin Pilot app is a tool for flyboys to keep track of what's going on in the great blue yonder, and it's just gotten a big update to v3.0.
Namco-Bandai released Sky Gamblers: Rise Of Glory more than a year ago, and the WWI 3D air combat game was well-received. The sequel takes the setting to the near future with a mix of modern fighter jets and alien invaders. Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy is definitely one of the most graphically-intensive entries in the admittedly small niche, and the loose arcade style is well-suited to touch controls.
The game isn't quite as sci-fi as the trailer on the Play Store suggests: when Air Supremacy launched on iOS 18 months ago (sigh), its primary campaign had you facing off against conventional air and ground targets.
Duolingo, the much-loved app/game for learning new languages, got its second significant Android update this morning since being released back in May. Version 1.2 of the app brings with it the ability to store up to an hour of lessons on-device for offline use. Previously, Duolingo required an always-on internet connection in order to download your lessons and stay in sync with the server, but with the latest update this is no longer necessary. Here's the Play Store changelog in full:
New in version 1.2:
Frequent fliers, subway riders, and those with spotty internet connections get ready… offline mode is here!
If you crane your neck skyward, you may see the contrail of a jet or two. Should you want a more up close and personal look, Plane Finder 3D has just taxied up to the Google Play gate. This app tracks flights in real time over a number of cities.
The feature set is a bit light right now, but there is some real potential here. There are over two-dozen cities tracked in Plane Finder 3D, each with satellite imagery ground maps. You can pan around and zoom in on any plane, then tap to get the flight number, airline, and go into first-person mode.
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. This is in stark contrast to the previous method of simply using 3D building models.