During Microsoft’s Windows Phone Mango press conference in New York today, the company confirmed that Nokia’s first Windows Phone devices will run the newest Mango operating system when they’re released. That suggests that the phones could land as soon as this fall, when Mango makes its debut. Microsoft also confirmed that it already has Nokia prototype devices running in its labs today. Other new partners include Fujitsu, Acer, and ZTE, and Microsoft said that we can expect new Windows Phones from Samsung, HTC, and LG as well.
In a recent blog post, Google Software Engineer Stanley Chen revealed the latest addition to Gmail’s feature set, Smart Labels. The new labeling system, which can be turned on via the Labs section of Gmail, tries to help you automatically organize incoming email. “Smart Labels automatically categorizes incoming Bulk, Notification and Forum messages, and labels them as such,” reads the announcement. “‘Bulk’ mail includes any kind of mass mailing (such as newsletters and promotional email) and gets filtered out of your inbox by default (where you can easily read it later), ‘Notifications’ are messages sent to you directly (like account statements and receipts), and email from group mailing lists gets labeled as ‘Forums.’” Smart Labels can be tweaked and customized to fit your workflow and function in harmony with Gmail’s Filters. The new feature is available to all Gmail users immediately. More →
Nokia has just made a new, beta version of its Ovi Maps suite available for download via the Beta Labs channel. The update, version number 3.6, allows users to download street maps directly to their device using Wi-Fi, features a new, unified “My Position” and “Search” feature, improves transit line display, and betters compass calibration on your device. If you’re a Symbian user, and want to try out the new goods, head on over to Nokia’s Labs site and have yourself a download. More →
Today, Adobe announced the release of its Flash Player 10.2 beta software via its Labs website. The new bits aim to shore-up the speed and efficiency of the internet video player. As Adobe explains:
Flash Player 10.2 beta introduces a number of enhancements we’re excited to share, including Stage Video, a new API that delivers best-in-class, high performance video playback across platforms. The new beta also includes Internet Explorer 9 hardware acceleration support previewed earlier (in Flash Player “Square”), enhanced text rendering, and two popular requests from the community: a native custom mouse cursors API and support for full screen playback with multiple monitors.
As you can see from the above statement, the new player will support GPU acceleration when used in conjunction with the Internet Explorer 9 web browser. Adobe boasts that with its new Stage Video API and GPU acceleration the have “seen laptops play smooth 1080p HD video with just over 0% CPU usage.” Hit the read link to grab the new goodies. More →
Search giant Google has announced a new labs feature for their Gmail web-based email client called “video chat enhancements.” As Google explains:
Visit the Gmail Labs tab under Settings, turn on “Video chat enhancements,” and right away, you’ll see higher resolution video and a bigger video chat window.The higher resolution video uses a new playback mechanism which enables widescreen VGA and frees up valuable resources on your computer. For it to work, both you and the person you’re chatting with will need to have the lab turned on.
If you find yourself frequently using the video chat feature of Gmail, take the new feature for a spin and let us know what you think. More →
Today, Google posted a quick note to let everyone know about a new “labs” search feature that is available to all Gmail users. The new feature will make the default Gmail search textbox query all your Gmail and Google Docs simultaneously. As Google describes, “Once you enable it from the Gmail Labs tab under Settings, the ‘Search Mail’ button in Gmail will say ‘Search Mail and Docs’ instead, and your search results will include matching documents and sites in addition to email messages.” This seems like a pretty handy feature for those of who are heavily invested in the Google Apps world and have a plethora of Google Docs. Let us know what you think. More →
Google’s ongoing quest to woo us by dangling countless feature carrots until we bite and fork over all of our data continues. This time around, a pretty unique new feature comes by way of Gmail Labs that will be perfect for those who have been lulled to sleep by Gmail’s clean UI. Multiple Inboxes, introduced yesterday evening, gives Gmail users the option to add additional label-based inboxes to their inbox screens. The new feature definitely adds a healthy dose of busy to Gmail’s less-is-more interface but those who regularly utilize labels will likely find the addition appealing. Multiple Inboxes is being rolled out gradually, as with all Labs features so don’t fret if you’re not yet finding it on your Labs tab under settings. We liken the service to Outlook displaying multiple folders on one screen, which probably wouldn’t be overly helpful as far as productivity is concerned. As such, we far prefer the old fashioned way of doing things – clicking on a label in the sidebar to see relevant emails. Better yet, you can quickly and easily view all unread messages for any label(s) with this little trick we use:
- Go to Settings -> Labs and enable Quick Links
- At the top of any mail view in Gmail, perform a search – label:xxx label:unread – where xxx is any label for which you would like to see unread messages
- In the new Quick Links box at the bottom of your sidebar, click “Add Quick Link”
- Name the Quick Link and click “Ok”
- Lather, rinse and repeat for any other labels you’d like fast access to
As you save these pages you’ll see each one listed in the Quick Links box. Click on one at any time and you’re in business. Which method do you guys prefer?
Apparently, people have a lot to do these days. If we had a dollar for every web-based task manager out there, well, our next giveaway would probably be a diamond-encrusted Vertu. For web developers, it makes perfect sense; if you can manage to get people reliant on a web-based task manager you’re looking at a pretty fair number of pageviews each day from each user. Those developing all of these task managers may want to take notice however, as Google is treading on your turf. The king of all things web has just announced the addition of a simple task manager to the Gmail web UI by way of Gmail Labs. It’s no mistake, by the way, that the new Tasks item sites atop the Labs list. For the time being it offers pretty basic though useful functionality but you should expect some big and interesting things to come of Tasks – Google Calendar integration, mobile implementations and so on. For the time being, Tasks sits atop the Gmail UI as a new frame that is always visible unless you minimize it or choose to pop it out into a new window of its own. You can add new tasks quickly and easily, and even instantly link an email to a new task by checking the box on its row and pressing shift + T or choosing “Add to Tasks” from the More Actions box. Despite being pretty basic for now, Tasks already contains more than enough functionality to become a very useful tool to assist users in managing everything that takes place within Gmail and slightly beyond. As the Tasks team flushes the product out however, look for it to jump outside of Gmail and put some serious dents in the SaaS task management game.
It appears that Google is just about finished rolling out its latest enhancement to Gmail and so far we like what we’re seeing. Gmail Labs was first announced last month and is exactly what you think it would be if you’ve ever played around with Google Labs before; a collection of experimental Gmail add-ons. Initially available only to US and UK users, we’re now getting word that other regions have gotten a taste of the Google juice as well. Google explains Gmail Labs as follows:
Gmail engineers come up with new ideas all the time. Gmail Labs is our place to try them out and get your feedback. None of these features are really ready for prime time yet, so they may change, break or disappear at any time.
Access to the new feature set can be found on the Labs tab under your Settings menu and there are currently 13 experimental features to play with. There are a few items of interest to us at this point and the first is Quick Links. Quick Links is essentially a Gmail-specific bookmarks toolbar. It gives you easy access to custom searches or anything else you might feel like bookmarking. It would be great if we could easily customize the sidebar and move the quick links box to the top however. The second Labs add-on we like is the ability to customize keyboard shortcuts. Enabling this feature will add a new tab to the settings menu where you can configure shortcuts to any keys you like. Finally, we like that Google has added a Mouse Gestures feature. Enabling it allows you to “hold right-click and move the mouse left to go to a previous conversation, move it right to go to the next conversation, and move up to go back to the inbox view.” We’re huge fans of the easyGestures add-on for Firefox so this is right up our alley. So if you’re a Gmail user, and who isn’t these days, definitely spend a few minutes checking out the new Labs section.