Just moments ago on stage at BlackBerry World 2011, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis (no, the other one is also CMO, dummy) announced a strategic mobile partnership with Microsoft (translation: we’re super scared of Andy Rubin). Starting around the holiday timeframe, Microsoft’s Bing maps and search will be the preferred search and mapping solutions for BlackBerry products. We’re talking about a system-level integration, “far beyond a search box,” RIM said. Check out our live coverage of RIM’s BlackBerry World 2011 keynote for more!
Google Maps has hit a new milestone as the first Android application to surpass the 50 million download mark. The free application has seen many revisions since its public introduction in 2008 — as part of Android 1.6 — and now includes 3D modeling with multi-touch zoom and panning, free voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation, and support for Google’s Latitude and Places products. Given that it’s available on every iteration of Android — that we can think of — we’re not surprised to learn it’s the most downloaded application ever. Congrats to the Google Maps team. More →
Good news for Nokia, as the Finnish company is slated to be the first company to receive approval from China for its online mapping service. Nokia submitted an application for its Ovi Maps when a new Chinese law requiring regulatory approval for all online mapping services went into effect in June 2010. According to a representative from the the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping, Nokia’s application is slated to get the rubber stamp of approval from China’s regulatory body and will be subject to public opinion before receiving final approval. Though twenty-six companies are currently seeking approval, Google and Microsoft have not submitted an application for their respective mapping services. With all the drama surrounding Nokia and its Symbian^3 OS, it is a refreshing change to see the Espoo-based company get some positive press. More →
A report in the Wednesday edition of the French Canadian news site cyberpresse.ca suggests that Apple has acquired Poly9, a Canadian company that develops a web-based mapping program. According to the report, Poly9 has shuttered its Canadian office and pulled down its website. All of Poly9’s employees have been relocated to Apple’s Cupertino campus and are forbidden to speak of the deal due to confidentiality agreements that were presumably signed as part of the acquisition. Apple has not officially commented on the acquistion so we will have to wait and wonder what the Cupertino company is planning to do with the second mapping company it has taken under its wing. Any thoughts?
T-Mobile G1 owners had long wondered who would be the first to offer true navigation services for Android handsets and today we have our answer. Later this month, Android users will be able to begin testing out TeleNav GPS Navigator, the brand new navigation application that will surely be as usable and feature-rich as its BlackBerry cousin – actually, even more so. The app features 3D turn-by-turn GPS navigation with voice guidance on top of nationwide maps and a business listing directory of over 10 million POIs. It will also provide traffic alerts, gas prices, weather forecasts and even direct access to restaurant reviews. TeleNav co-founder Sal Dhanani had this to say:
TeleNav has become synonymous with mobile phone GPS navigation. It is relied upon by millions of mobile customers. It was important to us that we build a great application for Android and the G1 so that customers with this phone would have a remarkable experience. The device’s large, beautiful touch screen creates an incredible navigation experience when combined with our software.
TeleNav GPS Navigator will become available as a free 30-day trial beginning Tuesday February 24, and will run $9.99 per month for those who find it useful enough to hold on to. Unlike some bigger navigation companies building nav software for mobiles such as Garmin and Tom Tom, TeleNav still opts for the monthly subscription model as opposed to a one-time fee. The idea behind a one-time fee of course — make mobile navigation purchases akin to buying a dedicated navigation unit. Buy the hardware, get the service forever, pay a subscription if you want advanced features. Different users have different preferences of course but we wonder how TeleNav would fair with a one-time fee option as well. Which pricing model do you guys prefer?
Palringo first launched its instant messaging app for the iPhone back in July and for six months it has been one of the best options available for IM on the iPhone. The app is sleek and functional, marrying text IM, picture messaging and PTT-like vocal messaging with a multi-platform solution that covers all of the major chat services. Oh, and it’s all free. Today, Palringo announced a new build that adds some great new functionality to its already-capable app revolving around Location Based Services (LBS). As is the trend these days, software developers are finding all sorts of different ways to integrate LBS into their offerings but sometimes things get a tad out of control. Do you think any of your Twitter friends really want you to broadcast your location every 10 minutes? In an IM app however, location adds a new and useful layer to contact presence and Palringo is working on some great features. Included in this update, users will now see location and distance (from the user) data alongside each Palringo contact in their list. In a forthcoming update due very soon, tapping a contact’s location will bring up a map displaying all contacts within a 6-mile radius. The user will also be able to bring up a map displaying his or her own location. We’re sure you can see where Palringo is going with all this, but suffice it say we can expect pretty great things in the near future from Palringo surrounding LBS. If you haven’t tried the app yet, definitely hit the app store and do so. Those of you with jailbroken iPhones, toss Backgrounder into the mix for best results.
Google Maps Mobile is probably Google’s most actively developed mobile application. It seems like there are new versions popping up for one platform or another every couple of weeks these days. In the past few months for example, Google has issued a native S60 version updated several times, various versions that can make use of internal GPS, versions that can integrate with device phonebooks and Nokia Maps, cell-based location, etc. For the most recent feature addition, Google has decided to implement a bit of voice recognition. Sweet! A new version of Google Maps Mobile has been made available for the US BlackBerry Pearl 8110, 8120 and 8130 that allows users to speak their search criteria rather than type it. Voice search uses the same voice recognition engine as GOOG-411, Google’s free information service, so we know the accuracy will be spot on. Using pretty much couldn’t be easier:
- Press “0” to center the map view around your location
- Press the left-side key and hold it while you say the name or type of business you’re looking for (for example, “pizza”)
- When you’re done speaking, release the left-side key, and our voice recognition technology will figure out your request and find the business you’ve been looking for, no typing needed.
These days there’s a pretty good chance that the rest of your BlackBerry-toting friends make fun of you from time to time because you’re still carrying a Pearl. Opportunities might be few and far between, but here’s a good chance to show them a little something they can’t have quite yet. Hit http://www.google.com/gmm from your Pearl to snag the latest build.