When it comes to value-added software on Android phones, I'm typically first in line to call "gimmick!" But today, Sony announced a new service for Xperia phones that actually sounds genuinely useful - my Xperia. It's pretty simple, really. You get a web UI that allows you to track your phone on a map, cause it to emit a sound (it even overrides silent mode), lock it and display a message, or remotely wipe it.
There isn't a lot to say about the newest update to the Yelp app for Android, but that doesn't matter - the one notable change is a biggie. Yelp has finally integrated Google Maps API v2 released back in the beginning of December, which rids Yelpers of the terrible WebView Maps API. The new maps API is hardware accelerated and vector-based, drastically increasing performance and level of detail. You get pan, zoom, tilt, and rotate, along with 3D buildings, indoor building maps, landmark labels, and terrain shading.
Blockbuster, the former golden child of movie rentals, is feeling left out lately. No one is paying attention to its online offerings, no doubt partially because it's been broken into a thousand pieces. However, today the company launched a new, central service for renting movies online with just one app for all devices: Blockbuster On Demand.
When we say "rent", we do mean that. There is no subscription option that we see yet, and every movie costs a few bucks to check out for a 24-hour period.
While Google's fledgling music service is pretty good, it's still far from perfect. Most GMusic users could probably jot down a laundry list of issues with both the app and service at a moment's notice; however, Google's slowly-but-surely doing its part to correct some of those problems. Let's take today's Play Music app update for example.
Earlier this month, we took a look at famed Android developer Koushik "Koush" Dutta's newest app: Carbon. Having absolutely nothing to do with the heavily belated Twitter app of the same name, this Carbon is a backup tool for apps and app data. So, how's it different than Titanium Backup? It doesn't require root. To put it mildly, this is something that Android users have longed for since, well, always.
OpenTable is a pretty fantastic app that can help you place reservations at restaurants nearby. While plenty of services let you find local eateries, few help you get in. Once you're seated and eating, though, what do you do? Enjoy your meal? Nah. That's for fancy pants. You should take pictures of your food! That's where Foodspotting comes in.
You see, Foodspotting takes the vanity of snapping shots of your dish and turns it into a service.
If you've got a decent gaming PC and you haven't tried Hawken, you really should give it a try. The free-to-play online shooter captures the atmosphere of a gigantic, hulking death machine in a way that doesn't have an equal, and the first-person perspective and customizable mechs make ita nice tribute to the old Mech Warrior series. And if you've already tried it and liked it, NVIDIA has a promotional live wallpaper that's right up your rusted, diesel-splattered alley.
When it comes to online safety and passwords, I live and die by a password manager. I use one on my PCs, as well as my Android smartphones and tablets. This way, I always have my passwords with me, and I only have to remember one (to get into the password manager). In fact, I've never even seen some of my passwords when I use a generator.
This contest is now over.
Google Wallet received its first significant update in a while today, with a mildly refreshed UI, bug fixes, but no new features. In fact, as Ron points out, references to all the features we were excited about having actually been removed from the app. Like the Wallet Card, and P2P money transfers. It doesn't mean those ideas are dead, per se, but we would guess it does mean they're experiencing some delays.