Google Maps Navigation comes to Android 1.6

Google Maps Navigation at work.One of the most exciting parts of the Motorola Droid launch was the inclusion of Google Maps Navigation, a free turn-by-turn GPS system from Google. At first the feature was only compatible with phones running Android 2.0, which is only the Droid. Today Google announced that it would be moving the nav system down to Android 1.6, opening up the service to phones like the MyTouch 3G and G1.

I’d call this a big win for Android users. Until this update the hope was that some enterprising developer would hack the thing down to 1.6. This still leaves out the Motorola CLIQ and HTC Droid Eris, but hey, it’s better than the original situation. The 1.6 release also adds layers, allowing you to overlay information on the map, like Wikipedia articles on local points of interest and public transit lines. The one thing 1.6 is missing is the “navigate to” voice command, so you’ll have to enter everything by hand. Life’s tough, isn’t it?

Samsung’s Omnia Update Unlocks GPS

There’s some good news for all you Samsung Omnia owners out there. Today Samsung released an update that unlocks your GPS functionality, giving third-party applications a chance to help you get where you need to go.

As I’m sure you’re painfully aware, the only way to get from point A to point B with your phone was to use Verizon’s VZ Navigator. If limiting your options wasn’t enough, the service also runs a hefty $9.99/month, $2.99/day. Giving GPS access to other applications means you could find yourself a couple hamburgers richer each month.

You can download the update by following this handy link (thanks, CNet!). As for the other goodies in the update, you’ll get the newest Microsoft Adaptation Kit Upgrade, AKU 1.5.1, and that Bluetooth support for VZ Access Manager you’ve been waiting for. Drop a note in the comments if you’re having any trouble.

UPDATE: Garmin 310XT Now Available

A couple months ago we ran a feature on the Garmin 310XT – a super duper all-in-wonder fitness watch that was as of yet unavailable. Rejoice you masochistic types – Jeff from runningcenters.com dropped by to let us know that the watch is now available on that site for early release.

You can check our post on the watch at this link. Here’s what Running Centers has to say:

Finally, a GPS-enabled training device that isn’t afraid of the water. The rugged Forerunner 310XT is the triathlete’s indispensable training tool — a GPS-enabled, swim-proof trainer that tracks bike and run data and sends it wirelessly to your computer. This multi-sport device has up to 20 hours of battery life, tracks distance, pace and heart rate (optional), and goes from wrist to bike in seconds…

Thanks for the update, Jeff.

OS 3.0: The Big News of WWDC?

Find My iPhoneWith all the excitement surrounding the new iPhone release it’s difficult not to notice the absence of a certain, rumored to be healthy CEO. Apple restructured their laptop line, announced two OS updates, and announced the newest iPhone, all without their captain at the helm. Hopefully Jobs will soon be well enough to return to his handicapped parking space.

We’ve talked Macbooks, we’ve talked iPhone, but Apple spent most of the keynote on OS 3.0 and the new options it yields for developers. All of this stuff was really old hat – landscape keyboard, copy and paste, tethering, MMS. The big disappointment so far is that tethering and MMS are both unsupported by AT&T at this time, with support apparently coming at the end of the summer. Why AT&T can’t get it together when 20 other carriers can baffles me.

One cool feature coming to OS 3.0 on the 17th is “Find My iPhone.” The service, which is only available to MobileMe customers, allows you to locate your phone on a map using a web browser. Using the service you can also send alerts to the phone, including a message stating, “This phone is lost. If found, please call me at [number you specify].” (You can actually input any message, this is just the one Apple demoed.) You can do this from a distance, allowing you, hopefully, to get your phone back. Find My iPhone also includes a sort of kill pill, allowing you to remote wipe the phone. It would be really nice if it could disable the phone, rendering it useless to whomever snags it should they not acquiesce with your return requests. The remote wipe is really there to ensure your privacy, though, allowing you to restore the phone to factory settings from a distance. I smell some nasty pranks coming with this one. Don’t leave your MobileMe password where your friends can find it.

Apple relinquished the stage late in their 3.0 presentation, allowing developers to showcase new functions like GPS navigation and in-game purchases. The developer presentations dragged on, plagued twice by technical difficulties and eating up precious minutes. By the 100 minute mark I would bet few people were hoping for an iPhone update. It came, though, fitting the remaining time slot well as more of an evolution than a revolution.

Charging Gadgets Is A Walk In The Park

nPower PEGYou’re going green, trying to reduce your energy footprint, but that damn iPhone of yours keeps dying. Tremont Electric has your solution.

Called the nPower PEG (Personal Energy Generator), Tremont’s newest device harnesses kinetic energy to generate electricity and power your devices. According to the company, the PEG is capable of charging an average device up to 80% capacity in just an hour of average movement, like walking. Because the PEG comes equipped with a USB 2.0 jack, it’s compatible with just about every device on the market.

I’ve seen this type of thing before, usually in the style of a belt worn around your hips for maximum shaking on impact. The PEG, though, doesn’t need to be worn. Trow it in a backpack, a purse, even just across your passenger’s seat. Virtually any movement will start to generate the juice you need to keep your gadgets at max capacity.

According to Tremont Electric, “If our entire target market used the PEG to recharge their cell phones for an hour each day, instead of plugging into a wall outlet, they would reduce the amount of electricity needed from the grid by 25.4 million kilowatts. That’s enough energy to power 21,000 households for an entire year.” Pretty huge change for a small device.

The nPower PEG is just 9 inches tall with a 1.5 inch diameter and weighs 9 ounces. A release date remains to be announced, but you can sign up and be one of the first to get preorder information.