Digital Life

Nokia adds social media element to voice navigation

Now you have the option to choose from a library of user generated voice packs to navigate you to far away places.

But first, you’ll need a Nokia phone.

Nokia has just released Own Voice for Ovi Maps. The Own Voice app lets you record and share your own navigation instructions in your own voice to use in Ovi Maps, directly from your Nokia.

The Own Voice app lets you create your very own voice pack with a step-by-step guide. All you need is a quiet place to record your voice and ample time to go through the 53-step process. Once you’re done, you can share your voice pack with the world.

With over 10 million Ovi Maps downloads, there’s going to be plenty of voices to choose from. You can even share your voice pack via Facebook and Twitter and if you find one you really like (or hate) then you can rate it too.

Own Voice for Ovi Maps is available only in English and is compatible with all Nokia devices which support the new version of Ovi Maps (3.03). Own Voice app is available for free at Nokia’s Ove Store.

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Bring your iPhone back in time with the iRetrofone base

Remember the desk phone dock for iPhone?

That was an iPhone dock that made the smartphone function like a standard deskphone albeit with some neat modern touches like built-in speakers and a microphone so that you can play music from your iPhone or talk on speakerphone. You can also transfer data, sync and charge your iPhone with your computer.

The handmade iRetrofone Base is something else altogether.

Sculpted like it just jumped out of time portal right from the 1950s and casted one at a time from resin, the iRetrofone is designed to be compatible with all iphones. It’s not just a pretty dock mind you, the handset is fully funcational so you can use it just like a classic corded phone. It accepts USB and can be used to charge and sync with a computer.

The makers of the iRetrofone base says it is “easy to use, avoids radiation and looks cool“.

If this is the dock you’ve been looking for, check out details on the iRetrofone base here. It’ll set you back a hefty US$195. Whoa.

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Twitter App for Android available for download

Twitter has announced on its blog that they have officially released an App for Android, saying that “Robots like to share too”! You can download Twitter for Android at the Market by searching for “Twitter”.

We’ve downloaded the app and we are liking it. The Interface is simple yet packed with all the tweeting features you ever need. On the front screen, you get the latest trends appearing at the bottom.

Like any other apps, it also features notifications that checks for alerts in the background. The only downside is the lack of multiple twitter account support which you can get in Seesmic. Another limitation is that the Twitter Android is only for Android 2.1 and above.

This is just the beginning as the Twitter team promises more to come for the Android.

More screenshots and download QR code after the jump

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Google introduces new Image Search for Android and iPhone

Google recently released a redesigned interface for Image Search on Android 2.1 devices and the iPhone 3.0+. The redesign eleminates the need for you to browse through numerous pages of search results. Instead the new interface focused on making lookign for images easy, allowing you to quickly see as many image thumbnails as possible.

Here are some of the details of the new image search on Android 2.1 and iPhone 3.0+:

  • The thumbnails are square to maximize the number of images we can get on the screen at one time so you can scan them quickly
  • You can swipe to see the next or previous page of results, or tap the large, stationary ‘Next’ and ‘Previous’ page buttons
  • Image Search is now optimized for speed so that the images appear quickly when you browse

We really like the swipe feature, searching for images is now indeed so much more easier and faster. The response and loading is almost instantaneous. It’s like the whole WWW is your picture galery.

Head on over to www.google.com on your phone and tap on “Images” to try out the new enhacements in Image Search. It’s available in over 38 languages worldwide including Malaysia.

Check out the video after the jump.

By the way, did you know that you can now use Google Maps free turn-by-turn navigation in Malaysia? Details here.

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Steve Jobs explains Apple’s stand on Flash support

Just couple of days back, Adobe officially announces that they have given up all hopes of Flash development for iPhone Apps.  Steve Jobs obviously had made it clear that Flash is no go citing stability and HTML5 is the way forward.

To cement his stand, Steve Jobs released a press release on the matter that touches 6 points below:

  • Not open standards – Flash being closed while HTML5 is more open
  • Full web experience – Flash being old and missing out on full web experience
  • Reliability and performance – Steve Jobs continue to bang on Flash being the main cause of crashes on Macs
  • Battery Life – Flash being software dependent and takes a big chunk out of iPhone battery life
  • Touch Interface – Flash being developed for mouse input and not suitable for touch
  • Dependency on 3rd party – Any platform enhancements would require 3rd party tools to enhance their features as well which could take time to reach out to developers

Engadget has a nice summary of Steve Job’s statement and have some interesting debate points as well.

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Google Maps navigation for the rest of us!

Google Maps Navigation is now available in Malaysia! Well, sort of, unofficially. There’s a modded Google Maps 4.1 called “Brut Google Maps r6” which allows Map Navigation to work at places without official support.

That’s right, you can finally use Google’s turn by turn navigation before its officially available outside the United States and recently United Kingdom.

Head on to the thread at XDA Developer Forums to download the BRUT edition of Google Maps 4.1. You would need to allow installation of software of “Unknown sources” from your Android settings first.

We’ve tried it and it isn’t without any flaws and limitation. We discovered that there’s no street name displayed at the top (Unnamed road) and timing of Voice Guidance is too late. The GPS lady voice often gives direction AFTER making the turn, which is pointless. So you would need to depend on the on screen directions instead.

Although it is not perfect, it is still something usable. Thanks to BRUT!

More details here.

[thanks mmmaak for the tip]

Juice up iPhones without the bulk

iPhones or most smart phones in general are not exactly frugal when it comes to power. Most users would charged twice or more daily and some will need to invest on a battery pack.

Most battery packs, particularly attachable ones such as mophie Juice Packs are bulky and often makes the iPhone look like a overgrown brick. While external battery packs are cumbersome and you’ll look silly making a call with one attached.

A company called MiLi addresses those issues with its Powerskin. Battery packs that gives you 1200mAH of juice at a size of a normal back plate iPhone Case. Plus, the Powerskin gives you 8 different colour combinations which is more than the standard black/white you get from Morphie.

More details on MiLi Powerskin here.

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Opera Mini for iPhone: Top free app download around the world!

Like it or not, there is now a mobile web browser alternative for the iPhone. While the jury is still out on whether the Opera Mini is actually better than iPhone’s native Mobile Safari, iPhone users are downloading it by the droves around the world – the new mobile browser is currently the top free app in all 22 App Stores!

What’s clear is the fact the iPhone user like to have a choice – a choice to choose a mobile browser of their liking.

Here’s hoping Apple will open up the App Store to alternative apps.

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Video How-To: Opera Mini not working on iPhone?

After Opera Mini was approved by Apple, many have rushed to download the app. Unfortunately things didn’t go well for some users. There are quite a number of people complained that they couldn’t pages to load with Opera Mini on their iPhones or iPods.

Before blaming Opera or even Apple for approving such a “useless” app, there’s actually some configuration that needs to be changed if you can’t browse load pages at all.

The solution is simple, go into the Opera Mini settings and change the Protocol to HTTP. The default setting of Socket doesn’t work for some people which we believe it could be telco related.

Check out the video below after the jump on how to change your settings on your Opera Mini.

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