When is Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday? What is the currency used in Kiribati? If you've got a short question burning a hole in your brain--and an Android, WebOS, or Android phone in your hand--Google may be able to help.
On Thursday, the search giant opened its ability to surface short answers to definitive search queries to select mobile platforms. Search in English for a well-documented query, like a country capital or president, famous composer, or movie release date, and you should see an answer--and its Web sources--surface near the top of the search results page.
Not every … Read more
Boost Mobile's new Motorola i296 won't win any beauty contests, and its feature set is hardly dazzling, but we can almost guarantee that you'll get a durable phone with reliable call quality. We're basing this assumption on the previous Motorola i335, which resembles the i296 in many ways. Even two and half years after it went on sale, the i335 remains one of our favorite handsets for both Boost and Nextel.
As with most iDEN devices, the i296 is built to military specifications for the usual elements like dust, salt fog, and humidity. It also has … Read more
Though LG is a founding member of the Open Handset Alliance, the manufacturer has introduced just a handful of Android phones so far. Only one model, the Ally for Verizon Wireless, has landed in the United States and even that was just a few weeks ago.
That will soon change, however, as LG CEO Nam Yong recently announced that his company would introduce 20 Android-powered devices by the end of this year. Though the new models will be on a global scale, and the number doesn't take into account the same phone being rebranded for other carriers, it's … Read more
In recent years, you may have seen a story or two about how toilet seats are cleaner than your cell phone. Well, there may not be an app for eliminating those teeming germs from your mobile, but Violight, a company that specializes in UV toothbrush sanitizers, has developed something called the Cell Phone Sanitizer to execute microbes.
Violight says it's the first UV sanitizing device designed to "eliminate up to 99.9% of germs and bacteria on your cell phone," as well other small electronic devices, including earbuds and Bluetooth headsets.
According to the company, the germicidal … Read more
Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha isn't a "great believer" in video conferencing on mobile phones, but regardless, he said the company will bring two to four new handsets that support the feature later this year.
Jha revealed this little nugget of information after an Executives Club presentation in Chicago, but didn't mention any specific models, simply stating that they would all have front-facing cameras that would allow for video chats.
Also, despite the … Read more
Editors' note: This post was updated at 11 a.m. June 10, 2010, to correct the information about the unlimited data plan for existing customers, which they can choose to keep when upgrading to the iPhone 4.
Last year, I upgraded to the iPhone 3GS (from the 3G) without much deliberation. It was obviously a decision made against my better financial judgment. But this is not new. I, and generally those who buy Apple products, do that a lot.
Apart from the fact that I was a year younger (and therefore that much less wise and patient), it was also because the 3GS was significantly faster than the 3G, and it has a compass. For the former, if you have experience with both versions of the phone, you'd surely agree with me. About the latter, it's personal, as I tend to have no idea which direction I'm headed. Literally, of course.
This year, on the other hand, mulling over whether I should upgrade has given me a neck pain. The new iPhone 4 indeed offers some exciting new features. I am sold on the new screen; my co-worker Eric Franklin, who reviews computer monitors, said it "totally blows him away" (though he has never actually seen the device). I'm also sold on the new design and the front-facing camera. (Believe it or not, I am not too keen on the gyroscope.) In short, I am not going to argue why I want to upgrade.
Instead, here are the reasons I can't see rushing to upgrade just yet.
1. No unlimited data with tethering.
As it's been widely reported, starting June 7, AT&T killed the once-mandatory unlimited data plan for the iPhone. Instead you can opt for the 200MB or 2GB plans that cost $15 or $25 a month, respectively. Of course you'll have to pay extra if you go over the limit.
This, however, only applies to new subscribers. Existing iPhone users, like me, are grandfathered in. However there's a catch: you won't be able to use tethering, which requires a limited data plan plus another $20/month.
AT&T says that tethering will be made available together with the iOS 4 (iPhone OS 4.0). It's ironic, however, that it won't be allowed on phones with existing unlimited data plan. Not a good deal.
Now, most people are actually doing fine with just 200MB or 2GB a month, but savvy users could easily exceed that, even a few times over, especially if they tether.
A lot of iPhone owners use the phone's 3G connection to download apps, music, and podcasts, as the cellular connection allows for downloading files that are 20MB or less. If you do this or stream YouTube videos regularly, you will quickly see that your monthly ration of 200MB or even 2GB is far from enough. I didn't check mine, but I have friends who average 4GB or 6GB a month.
(Even though AT&T has disabled tethering starting with iPhone OS version 3.0.1, those who stay with version 3.0, which I do, can still use this feature. You can also have your phone jailbroken to use tethering, via a free third-party app, without AT&T being able to do anything about it.)
2. You won't miss much.
This only applies to owners of the iPhone 3GS. Your iPhone will be able to fully enjoy version 4.0 of the iPhone OS (now called iOS), the biggest benefit of which is multitasking. Yes, you'll miss the front-facing camera, and hence FaceTime, but it will be a while before there are apps/services that fully take advantage of this.
Also, FaceTime is most appealing, for me personally at least, when you can video-chat on the go via a cellular connection. However, at least in the beginning, the app will only be able to run using a Wi-Fi network. And even when it can be used with a 3G connection, this will directly affect your data plan. The lack of unlimited data plan makes this a feature that you wish you didn't have when you see the bill at the end of the month.
What I sure will miss, however, is the A4 chip that's slated to offer a significant boost in performance. But nonetheless, the iPhone 3GS is already pretty snappy. I can live with that.… Read more
I've definitely come to rely on Google's turn-by-turn voice navigation to guide me through some twists and turns of California's coastline. Starting Wednesday, Canadians and some Europeans will similarly be able to ditch their satnav systems and fire up their Android phones instead.
Google Maps 4.2 with Navigation will pop into the Android Market apps in Canada, and in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland--as long as your smartphone runs 1.6 of the Android operating system or higher.
That's not all the localization love Google has in store. … Read more
Almost one month after we first learned of U.S. Cellular's upcoming exclusive Android handset, the first official look at the phone has arrived online.
How do we know it's official? Samsung is the party responsible for the leaked image. An Engadget reader happened upon the phone "without much effort" and passed along the picture. It also looks exactly like the phone that was on display at Google I/O last month.
Google is in the driver's seat with Ford and now General Motors, as both automakers are unveiling services to enable car owners to send Google Maps directions to their in-car systems.
GM said Tuesday that its new service will let drivers download Google Maps from their smartphones to their OnStar navigation systems, where they can listen to turn-by-turn directions. The feature, known as OnStar eNav, will become available through Google Maps at the end of this month, according to the automaker.