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Google Maps for Android updated to 5.5, enhanced check ins, ratings and Latitude location history

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Google offer a growing number of in-house developed apps for their Android smartphone platform and they know that we, as users, expect a solid experience. We mentioned the improvements that came to the recent update of Google Goggles and now it’s Maps’ turn, for the second time this month.

Google Maps for Android logo

Google Maps version 5.5 rather than adding features, improves on its existing repertoire. For a start ‘check in’ and ‘rate and review’ buttons have appeared on any Places pages you might pull up. This basically gives you better integration of Latitude and its location logging, alongside quick review access, for when you want to make or break ‘that place you were just at’. Read more »

Xperia PLAY munchies: first phone to get Minecraft plus Kristin Schaal advertising campaign bloopers [VIDEO]

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In case you haven’t heard of it, Minecraft has single-handedly become the biggest indie game of the century. Created by Swedish game developer Markus ‘Notch’ Persson in 2009, Minecraft is a completely randomly generated sandbox world that allows players to build out of practically anything they can find. Although the title is still in its beta, as of early February 2011, it had sold over 1,230,000 units and has only been available on PC and Mac, until now.

Kristin Schaal holding a Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY with Minecraft on its screen Read more »

Galaxy Tab 10.1 to hit US stores with Android 3.1 any day now

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We mentioned that Samsung Germany recently updated their online store to include a host of accessories for the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. This pointed to the possibility of the 10.1′s official release very soon and our suspicions look to be on the money.

Samsung US cheeky tweet

Samsung US let out a highly suggestive tweet the other day with a link to the Galaxy Tab 10.1 notification site. Rumor has it that 8 June is the date to mark down in your calendars and if all goes to plan, you should be able to pick up some 8.6mm thick goodness from then on. Read more »

A new 5 inch tabphone crossover: The Pantech Vega No.5 [VIDEO]

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Another device has arisen to join the ranks of convergence devices, among the likes of the Dell Streak and the Samsung Galaxy S WiFi 5.0, there is now a new 5-inch tablet-phone to add to this unusual lineup.

Pantech Vega No.5 tabphone

The Pantech Vega No.5 is a competent machine, not to be confused with its recently released, similarly specced smartphone brother, the Pantech Vega Racer (which for a start has a smaller 4.3″ display). The Vega is chocked full of decent hardware; performance wise it holds a dual-core 1.5GHz (MSM8660) Qualcomm processor, 1GB of DDR2 RAM and comes with 16GB of internal memory (plus an SDHC card slot for removable memory). Read more »

500,000 apps strong, we look back at what made Apple’s App Store what it is today [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Apple’s App Store pioneered a business model that’s set a precedent for the mobile app purchase and download infrastructure. Blackberry have since launched the Blackberry App Store and the Android Market going strong, but in celebration of a landmark 500,000 approved applications, we look back at the achievements the App Store has made to make it what it is today.

App Store Perspective

The statistics compiled below come courtesy of a collaboration between the app discovery service 148apps, mobile gaming company Chillingo and San Francisco-based app discovery company, Chomp. They’ve found out how much it’d cost you to buy every paid app available and looked into the future too. Take a look… Read more »

Windows Phone 7.5 Mango bringing over 500 new features to the platform, tasty [VIDEO]

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Steve Ballmer was speaking at the Japanese Microsoft Developer Forum 2011 and on his run through of all things Microsoft, the subject of Windows Phone naturally cropped up. What he actually spoke about was the upcoming iteration of Windows Phone, version 7.5 aka “Mango”.

Windows Phone Update Banner

Ballmer promised two very exciting things. Firstly, that Mango will be bringing over 500 new features to the platform. Read more »

Samsung Germany now offering shiny new accessories for your Galaxy Tab 10.1, that you can’t buy yet

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The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 has been tantalizing us for some time now and still we must wait. We’ve seen it pop up in Russia and there’s word of its release in India. Pricing and spec sheets are floating around the internet and still we must wait!

Galaxy Tab 10.1 accessories banner

The good news is that June should see the worldwide launch of the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Samsung have kept schtum thus far on an official global release dates but in specific regions, days and months have already been hinted at and if it’s available in one region, it’s release elsewhere won’t be far off. Read more »

Is the Toshiba “Thrive” Android Honeycomb tablet just around the corner?

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We’ve spoken of Toshiba’s upcoming 10.1″ Android tab on numerous occasions before. It made an appearance at CES and we caught that back in January, specs popped up from BestBuy in early April and a scheduled release was slated for June in Japan.

Toshiba Thrive Tablet

Now, however it would seem that the Toshiba tab in question might be finally making its way across to the US and not only that, it gets a new name too. Read more »

Grab one of these new fruity Acer netbooks for some happy summer surfing

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Fancy a nice refreshing glass of Pink Peach, or maybe some Orange Papaya, what about Blue Curacao or Lemon Yellow? Well sadly these aren’t fruity cocktails but in fact the exotic names of the color choices available for one of Acer’s latest netbooks.

Acer Aspire One Happy 2 on GSMArena Blog

The Acer Aspire One Happy 2 is ushering in the summer gadget season with its colorful outer shell and some powerful inner workings. Read more »

RIM and BlackBerry: the fruits of their labour [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Are you a fan of all things RIM, or maybe just a Blackberry addict? Either way, here’s an interesting infographic courtesy of the Geekaphone squad that celebrates the Canadian telecoms giant and their signature smartphones.

Blackberry logo and text

Did you know US President Obama has one, or that co-CEO Jim Balsillie mortgaged his house in order to help the company out in its early days. Fun facts like this and more down below, check it out Read more »

Gameloft relax their DRM rules, help avoid downloading-woes on Android

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Gameloft, the company responsible for a plethora of well known mobile games across all sorts of platforms including iOS and now Android, have taken steps to make it that much easier for you to transfer your games from your old Android device, to your new one.

the black-on-white Gameloft logo 2011

Previously, transferring your Gameloft purchases was an arduous task, whichever way you tried it. Read more »

Is Apple prepping a surprise product announcement for 19 May?

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Apple love their secrets and this instance is no different. Although the big cheese, I mean fruit, have yet to confirm anything officially, signs point to Thursday, May 19th as a day to mark down in your calendars.

Apple Logo behind velvet curtain

Why? What has made you put your conspiracy hat on GSM Arena? We’ll sources say somethings afoot and it makes sense to pin it down to the 19th as the start of something, as this marks the Apple Store’s 10th anniversary.

So lets look at the facts Read more »

Why Google’s cloud-based Chromebooks could turn into a thunderstorm of fail

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Mike Elgan argues an interesting case and we’d have to agree with him. The potential for failure that comes with Chrome OS and the new Google Chromebooks, is strong. To many, it might be fair to say that Windows is the OS we most commonly live with, despite its many, many flaws; the OS we love to hate if you will and Google feels it’s time to give the people an OS they can be proud of.

broken google chrome logo on samsung chromebook

Of course Microsoft have the enviable position of having the dominant OS across both the business and personal computing markets and one that Apple and Google would both surely kill for. But what does it take to knock Windows off the top spot? Google think their new way of doing things is the way of the future. A cloud based computing service where all your files, personal information and what-not are suspended in the cloud; the biggest draw being that if your computer were to fail, you lose nothing and could instantly pick up where you left off. Read more »

Google I/O 2011 Keynote and speeches hit YouTube

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If your a fan of Google’s I/O events each year, but got caught short and ended up missing out on watching the big announcements unfold live, good news! Both the Keynotes and sessions from the 2011 event are now up and online for your viewing pleasure, available from the Google Developers YouTube Channel, here.

Google I/O banner

This years I/O conference was attended by nearly 1 million developers and was live-streamed over 161 countries worldwide. The focus of day 1′s Keynote was Android. Read more »

Visa unveiling the most comprehensive mobile payment scheme to date

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Credit card giant Visa plans to roll out the most extensive digital wallet system ever attempted by a credit card processor, bank or carrier that will focus on NFC in its implementation across Canada and the US. To kick the service off they need to see a greater adoption of NFC readers from merchants, those willing to pay transaction fees back to Visa or its partner banks whilst using the service.

Visa NFC sample

Visa already uses NFC readers (about 150,000 of them) in conjunction with its PayWave service but this new scheme sees Visa make far greater use of its existing reach. There are currently over 1.8 billion Visa cards in use worldwide, usable at over 30 million stores, with more than 50% of credit card transactions in the US being handled by Visa followed by MasterCard, American Express and Discover as the next largest companies. Read more »