These days, parents have a multitude of options when it comes to keeping track of their kids. They can call, text, or even use child locator services. But kids don’t like having to call mommy while they’re hanging with their friends, and they most certainly resent being tracked by a mysterious Big Brother service.
Nearparent is a beta app for Android that might achieve the delicate balance between mutual respect and parental concern. Kids can use the app to check in occasionally, letting parents know that they are okay. But there are also check-ins to indicate a need. A yellow check-in lets the parents know that they need basic assistance, and a red check-in signifies urgent need.
In order to provide a constant support net for the child’s potential needs, the parent can assign a trusted network of adults that can be notified if the parent is unavailable. That way, you don’t have to be scared of being too far away from your child, or have a panic attack if your battery dies.
Nearparent, which is compatible with Android 2.1+, is currently available for free from the Android Market. Run it past your kids and let us know what they think: Is it any less invasive than a simple child locator service?
With 24 million members, ooVoo is second behind the 660 million members that belong to Skype. But in an effort to pick up some new accounts, the former is now offering a free video chat app (in Beta, we might add) on the Android Market that will produce 3-way video calls on certain Android phones running Froyo or higher. Unlike Skype, which charges $8.99 monthly, ooVoo’s service is loaded with banner ads which helps keep the price at zero.
For those who don’t mind shelling out some money, ooVoo does over a 5 way plan called ooVoo Plus for $9.95 monthly and a 6 way plan called ooVoo Pro for $29.95 per month. Both paid plans do not show advertisements. All of the video calls can be made over 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi.
According to Philippe Schwartz, CEO of ooVoo, “We listened closely to ooVoo users who have been asking for free expanded multi-point capability. ooVoo continues to raise the bar in the fast-growing video chat category as we create competitive advantages over Skype that will bring more satisfied users to video calling powered by ooVoo.”
Back in February, Nielsen had ooVoo listed as the fastest growing app in the communications industry and the service is adding memberships at the rate of 50,000 daily during Q1 of 2011.Right now, the Video Chat app is supported on the HTC EVO 3G &4G, Samsung Epic, Samsung Galaxy S GT-i9000, Samsunbg Galaxy Tab 3.0 and T-Mobile MyTouch 4G. Coming soon will be support for the HTC ThunderBolt and the Samsung Galaxy S 4G.
Sony Ericsson officially becomes the first cell phone manufacturer to launch its own app channel in Android Market. It is a carrier-dependent feature, from what we understand, so not everywhere the My Apps option will be replaced by the Sony Ericsson channel, but it should have started rolling out as we speak. My Apps is still there, you just have to hit the menu button to access it, as it seems.
The idea is to group all apps that are specifically designed for the company’s handsets, under one roof. We bet this is a precursor to offering phone-specific apps too (nudge, wink, Sony Ericsson Xperia Play), like exclusive titles for the only Android handset with a dedicated game controller. As per Sony Ericsson, its own Android Market channel will:
” – Provide recommendations to help you find the best games & apps that enhance your Sony Ericsson ‘most entertaining’ experience.
– Provide a way to easily find original apps from Sony Ericsson such as Timescape plugins etc.
– From time to time offer exclusive games & apps only available in this channel.
– Help our developer partners promote their apps & games giving them a highlighted market space to our consumers.”
We are already marking a trend here, with phone and chipset manufacturers, as well as other entities, creating their own tidy little universes inside the ragtag Cosmos of Android Market, all in the name of product differentiation.
Possibly related to Google’s recent new promotions and deals with its check-in feature with Latitude, we’re greeted with a minor update to Google Maps for Android which brings it up to v.5.3.1.
There’s nothing much in terms of new features with this update, but instead, we basically find some bug fixes that help improve some of its Latitude features. Specifically, the new version of Google Maps for Android essentially corrects some bugs with the auto check-in and Manage My Places. Aside from those two specific items addressed, there really isn’t anything else from this update.
So if you plan on using the location based check-in features with the app, just be sure to install the new update so you’re all set to get those nifty new deals.
via Android Central
A.I. type is an app in beta mode, available for free from the Android Market. In combination with the Gingerbread keyboard and an Android phone running 2.2 or higher, the app increases your typing speed by making auto-corrections and also by guessing what word you will type next. According to the developer, using A.I. type can save you 75% of the number of keystrokes normally used when typing..
Because the app reaches into the clouds for information, the software doesn’t require much storage space. We installed it on a Motorola DROID and found that the program works as advertised. As you are writing a sentence, the program suggests the next word. Just click on the correct word and you have just saved yourself a number of key strokes. The app also supports multiple languages and voice recognition.
If you are familiar with the Swiftkey keyboard, you will find A.I. to be somewhat similar. The difference is that the former comes with its own QWERTY keyboard while the latter uses the Gingerbread QWERTY. If you’re not sure about downloading the app, you can check out the video below.
Continuing to promote the seriousness and usefulness of its services over the competition, Fring is now looking to get some feedback on its new Group Video Calls feature that’s in limited beta as we speak.
Available to a limited set of users using the app on Android smartphones and the iPhone, the new feature basically allows you to enjoy free Group Video calls with up to 4 friends simultaneously. Essentially, when all users connect, you’ll be able to see all four faces of the people included in the video chat directly on your handset. Definitely nice if you want the presence of everyone in front of you, but then again, some people might find it rather difficult in getting some face time.
Currently, Fring has used up their entire beta slots for the iPhone, however, there are still some spots left for people using Android. You’d better apply now if you want to be able to check out this new feature and provide them some solid feedback about the new service.
HTC is slowly realizing its vision of a joint hardware-software-cloud experience that it reiterated way back in September last year, when it lifted the veil from the HTC Desire HD and updated Sense UI.
At today’s event in London the flourishing cell phone manufacturer got one huge step closer to that goal, announcing HTC Sense 3.0. Running on the powerful dual-core HTC Sensation (our hands-on here), and its T-Mobile version the HTC Sensation 4G, the new Sense UI is designed with speed of interaction in mind.
Starting off with the lock screen, you will notice that it now allows you to pin photos or various widgets, for example the weather or FriendStream ones, to it, as well as four app shortcuts. Thus you will be able to launch your most used apps, and have an instant glimpse at the weather situation or your friend’s Facebook updates without even unlocking the phone. This should have been an integral feature of Android in the first place.
The homescreens have received a new 3D transitional animation and endless carousel, so you can swirl through screens, widgets and shortcuts, floating around, until you find what you are looking for. Speaking of eye-candy, the Weather widget now occupies the whole screen and those 3D effects we mentioned are now dispersed throughout the main menu as well.
HTC has included its own productivity goodies in Sense 3.0, like a video editor, task manager, support for Wi-Fi printing, and HTC Trace, the Swype-like text entry method. The limit on tabs you can have open simultaneously in the browser, has also been removed. The social networking integration has been deepened, with even the ability to see if the friend that is calling you has a birthday today, if you have synced your Facebook account.
One of the most useful additions is actually under the hood – greatly improved shutter lag, with negligible shot-to-shot times. The next improvement is that the Sense UI now lives up to its name, as it uses intelligently the information from the phone’s sensors to know if the handset is in a pocket or a purse, and ring louder, until you take it out, then the ringer diminishes volume.
All in all, these sound like great additions to the already very helpful update that was the last HTC Sense version, which brought along the Locations app for offline navigation, HTCSense.com for remote phone management, and other niceties (our video review here). We can’t wait to get our hands on a Sensation-al unit to review the new Sense UI.
We imagine that RIM is cringing after last week’s release of enhanced enterprise capability for the Android OS. Google has added new features for both Google Apps for Business and Google Apps for Education customers, which should make Android an even more competitive enterprise option.
First of all, the enterprise upgrade will add lost device location. The administrator can then change the device’s PIN and password remotely. Secondly, the admin will be able to remotely encrypt the device, should there be a sudden impending security concern.
And thirdly, users will be able to search the Google Apps administrator’s directory, and use those contacts just like they were saved on their own device.
In its never ending attempt to attract users to its location based social networking aspects of Google Latitude, Google has just added some new features that will surely provide some incentives to using their service over the competition.
Even though Foursquare currently offers a similar program, Google is now making available a variety of promotions and discounts to its Google Latitude users. In fact, they’re going full speed ahead with this one since they’ve landed deals with popular national retailers such as Arby’s, Quizno’s, RadioShack, and American Eagle Outfitters.
Essentially, Android and iPhone users can check-in to any to these participating stores in Google Latitude and receive some deals – such as coupons or discounts. Of course, there are some achievements given out if you happen to check-in to locations frequently; like being rewarded the “Regulars,” “VIP,” and “Guru” statuses. And naturally, businesses can go beyond by concocting their own unique rankings and rewards.
So if you happen to shop at these location more time often than none, you might want to check-in using Google Latitude and receive some special deals – and the more times you check-in, the better the rewards.
It has just been announced that CyanogenMod 7, the popular aftermarket firmware for Android-powered smartphones, has reached its final version and has been released in the wild. For those of you that are not aware what CyanogenMod is, it is basically a modified Android distribution that has been developed by smartphone enthusiasts independently from Google. The custom firmware enables a number of advanced device settings to be tweaked and is also claimed to have better performance when compared to stock Android ROMs. Another advantage of CyanogenMod 7 is that it is built on top of Gingerbread and it can run on devices which would not usually get an update to Android’s latest version.
The latest version of CyanogenMod adds more than just neat screen-off and screen-on animations. Besides the features seen in its previous releases, CyanogenMod 7 will allow for applications to be launched while the screen is locked by performing given gestures with your finger. Furthermore, having Incognito mode on makes sure that none of your web browsing history remains stored on the smartphone, and OpenVPN adds support for establishing VPN (Virtual Private Network) connections. Check the official CyanogenMod web page (link included below) for a full list of features and improvements over the previous version of the mod.
If you are new to CyanogenMod and willing to give it a try, be aware that installing it onto your smartphone involves rooting the device, which in certain circumstances might void your warranty. Make sure you check with the mod’s official web page before doing anything that may potentially brick your phone.