News: offline maps and transit navigation in Google Maps, Skype video calling, Google+ launch

Recent news:

  • Google Maps for Android was updated to version 5.7. New features include turn-by-turn transit navigation (beta), photo viewer for Place pages, and streamlined user interace for getting directions.
  • Google Maps update also added a very useful add-on to the Labs: offline maps download. To enable the add-on, open Maps -> More -> Labs and select “Download map area”. To actually download map tiles (10 by 10 mile region), long press on any point on the map, click on the pop-up window with the address, and select “Download map area”. After download is completed, outline will show regions where offline map is available.
  • Skype released version 2.0. New version includes redesigned user interface and video calling for selected Android phones. Unfortunately, as of now video calling is available only on the following phones: Google Nexus S, Nexus S 4G, HTC Desire S, Sony Ericsson Xperia neo, Sony Ericsson Xperia pro. The good news that video and audio quality during calls over 3G is excellent. Source: Android Police.
  • Google launched its social network called Google+ to private beta. First reviews are overwhelmingly positive with praise for such features as circles and hangout (group video chat with up to 10 participants). Service is currently in beta and requires invitation to sign up, but you can add your email to the wait list.

Notable articles:

  • An extensive article by Fortune magazine on how Android conquered the smartphone world titled 100 million Android fans can’t be wrong.
  • A comparison by Mika Mobile of experience with Battleheart game Google Market and Apple App store. The takeaway: “Daily revenue from Battleheart on Android is fairly close, within 80%, of it’s iOS counterpart at the moment.”

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