Vodafone, HTC Announce New Android Phone
At a Vodafone press conference today, HTC and Vodafone announced the Magic, a new smartphone from HTC running Google's Android OS platform. The Magic is a slab-style device without a physical keyboard. It features HSDPA 7.2, a 3.2-inch QVGA capacitive touch display, trackball, GPS with compass for pedestrian navigation, 500 MB of memory plus memory card slot, and Wi-Fi. Like all Android phones, it features Google Mail, POP and IMAP email, Google Talk, Google Maps, and YouTube. It will be launched in the spring in the UK, Spain, Germany, France, and Italy.
Google Maps Gains New Offline/Roaming Powers
Google today launched two new features for Google Maps for Android: a Wi-Fi Only mode, and the option to store offline map data on removable memory cards. Together, the two features are especially useful for those traveling overseas, where data roaming is expensive.
Gmail for Android Gains Microsoft Exchange Support
Google today said the global Android Gmail app is set to add support for Microsoft Exchange. "Whether you're on Google Apps or Exchange, you can use the Gmail app on any Android device to send and receive mail," said Google in a blog post.
Google Improves Family Sharing In Calendar, Keep, and Photos
Google today detailed how families can use their Google account to stay connected and in sync with one another. Google already allows people to share media via Google Play Music, Google Play Movies & TV, and Google Play Books.
More Carriers and Phone Makers Agree to Adopt Google's RCS-Based 'Android Messages' Service
Google today said more wireless network operators and handset manufacturers will use Android Messages, its RCS-based messaging service, as the default SMS/MMS tool on their phones. (Android Messages was previously known as Google Messenger.) Some of the features of RCS, which is a global standard, include group chat, high-resolution photo sharing, advanced calling features, and read receipts.
Google Maps Replaces Directional Arrow with a Beam
Google today announced a minor change to Google Maps for Android that swaps out the direction arrow with a blue beam. Maps users will no longer see an arrow pointing in the direction of travel and will instead see a blue beam that indicates which way they are going.