Google Maps Now For Indoors Navigation

Google Maps has always helped us to plan our trips, or find way when we thought we’re lost. But Maps always dropped you at the front door of your destination, to help you get lost again once you get inside a mall, airport or a retail store.

google indoor maps logo

This time, Google has launched a striking new feature with Google Maps 6.0 for Android, allowing users to navigate their way through the indoors of some specific malls & airports.



San Francisco Airport before & after Indoor Google Maps

San Francisco Airport before & after Indoor Google Maps

So now dump that You-are-here map standing lonely at the airport & grab your Android to get to the luggage area in time!

The familiar blue dot shows your approximate location when indoors & the Maps show the floor plan. As soon as you move up or down a level in a multistory building, the interface will automatically update to display which floor you’re on.


Mall of America before & after Indoor Google Maps

Mall of America before & after Indoor Google Maps

Besides, you can always manually choose which floor to show maps for.Though currently, the indoor maps are only available for select large retailers, airports and transit stations in the U.S. and Japan, like Mall of America, IKEA, Chicago O’Hare (ORD), San Francisco International Airport (SFO) & more.

Samsung Google Galaxy Nexus Prime with Android Ice Cream Sandwich

In a media event earlier yesterday, Google & Samsung held an event in Hong Kong, where the duo announced the new Android Ice Cream Sandwich & Samsung Google Nexus Prime, the first phone to sport the new Android OS.
android ice cream sandwich logo
Let’s have  quick look of the star features of Nexus Prime & Android ICS:
  • Processor: Dual core 1.2 GHz processor.
  • Display: 4.65-inch screen HD Super-AMOLED screen.
  • Network: support for 4G
  • [ICS] Faster: Smooth gestures & fast graphical interface. New font optimized for HD & new software buttons accessible via touch, apart from the hardware buttons. Better improved keyboard.
  • Face detection: Forget the text password, it’s your face which will now unlock your phone.
  • Camera: Zero shutter lag, auto-focus, takes low-light photos, shoots panoramas and 1080p HD videos, also featuring time-lapse. Instant editing options like red-eye removal, cropping & instant share.
  • [ICS] Google Plus has been integrated into the OS, sporting features like instant share.
  • [ICS] Data Usage analytics: See which app is eating up most bytes of your smartphone.
  • [ICS] Android Beam: Simply bump your phone against another Android to transfer videos, maps or other content, cool!
  • Gmail and Google calendar have slick new looks and are integrated into the OS.
  • [ICS] The People app: Improves your contacts list, see your contacts in magazine-style, and it also links people with all of their social profiles.

Samsung Google Nexus Prime with Android Ice Cream Sandwich

Developers can download Software Development Kit (SDK), immediately. The Nexus Prime will start shipping to the U.S., Canada, Europe & Asia from November.

Samsung Nexus Prime Photo Gallery

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Nexus Prime Video

5 awesome free online image editors

For long, Adobe Photoshop CS5 has been the king of easy & in-depth image editing, and . But some new photo editing tools have started emerging that allow you to customize your photos online, no need to download heavy Adobe softwares and pay for them, these online tools are very easy to use, allow sufficient editing options and yeah, are totally free.

1. Photoshop Express

Photoshop is among the most popular image editing softwares, today. Well, I think its the best, even online. Adobe allows you to use some of the basic features of Photoshop online for free, in an amazing dark interface with so much simplicity & yet a variety of controls, that even a caveman can produce marvelous cave paintings :p.

Photo editing screenshot in Photoshop Express online

Above image was edited using Adobe Photoshop Express (PSE), that’s what Photoshop’s online image editor is called. You can add text, frames, stickers, apply a variety of effects with in-depth control & what not. PSE has also got apps for iOS & Android to allow editing on-the-go.

2. Picnik

You must have heard or used Picnik somewhere, it’s that popular. It has a really great variety of Free & Premium editing features with great efficiency & control, enough to make Photoshop (let’s call it PS from now on) sweat.

Photo editing screenshot in Picnik

They’ve got everything from color effects & frames, to stickers & special effects. What I really liked were seasonal settings that allow you to add Halloween pumpkins or Christmas presents to you photo as per the season.

 3. Pixlr

When I opened Pixlr’s free image editor online for the first time, I got to the help menu & saw about, to check had I really opened Pixlr, or is it Photoshop! Pixlr editor’s interface is very much like Adobe Photoshop, as you can clearly see in the screenshot below.

Photo editing screenshot in Pixlr

Apart from the interface, many of its features also resemble Photoshop. It’s got a navigator, allows you to create layers, see history, has a toolbox with similar tools like the Magic Wand in PS. Pixlr has even got a Filter menu where you can find great effects, yup like PS again. But then, it’s a great tool for rookie editors.

4. FotoFlexer

In a very primitive interface, you get a fairly good variety of editing options. In FotoFlexer, you can even add animated objects, like a sparkling butterfly or star, or insert your friend’s face into that of a wrestler, or….say a donkey 😉

Photo editing screenshot in fotoflexer

It allows you to edit settings like contrast & color balance, you may add text or stickers, add borders, make a poster out of your picture, or do loads of other things. What needs improvement is the interface & more in-detail control of its features.

5. Avairy

Aviary editor has a simple yet effective interface with merely 16 editing options. It also sports 4 image effects that are pretty good, but lack user-control, they’re more of a one-touch image effects.

Photo editing screenshot in aviary

The mainstream 16 options are very basic and don’t provide for extensive editing, but are very useful. I could effortlessly touch-up my flower image shown above to bring in more colors & the stickers provide a good makeover with that hat & mustache, no?

Aviary also provides extensions for Chrome & Firefox that allow you to edit any picture while browsing, with just a right click on the image. You don’t need to leave the page as the editor opens up in a lightbox. Though the extension editor is quite slow, it serves the purpose.

Did I miss out on your favorite online photo editor? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.


[Update] Android Ice-cream Sandwich & Samsung Nexus Prime launch on Oct. 19

The media event was previously scheduled for October 11, 2011. But following Steve Job’s death it had been delayed. Google & Samsung have now announced the event to be held in Hong Kong on October 19. The media event will see the launch of much awaited Google Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich version & Samsung’s Google Nexus Prime.

android ice cream sandwich logo

Nexus Prime will be the first smartphone to house this new OS. Though the event doesn’t mention “ice cream sandwich”, but its invitation contains a sandwiched version of Android’s logo. Samsung Nexus Prime is reported to have a dual-core 1.5 GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and 4G LTE, among some other star features, which will include compatibility with Google Wallet.



VLC media player now available for android & how to install it

Time to gather your MKVs, AVIs, MP4s and all other videos! VLC media player, the most popular and free media player which supports every video format (and audio too), is now available in Android! The VLC player was available on the iOS and is now available on the Android platform as well. However, it is still in its pre-Alpha stage.


vlc available for android

VLC player is available for all platforms on PC – be it MAC, Windows or Linux. The reason why VLC is very popular is because it can play almost all kinds of video formats out there in the world and sometimes even the corrupt ones! It can automatically detect media files that are present on your SDcard and hence very convenient. Imagine having the power of playing any video of any format on your Android device.

VLC media player

The VLC player app released is still in its early stage and hence currently under development. It is a very early build provided by an Android developer by the name of CVPCS. Because of the way VLC is built, it will not support all Android devices. Instead, CVPCS has provided with two versions – NEON and Non-NEON version. These are basically different versions for different processors.

VLC for Android will be using the Native Development Kit (NDK). Because of this, the app will be compiling native-level binaries which will work only on the class of processors for which they were designed. Hence the same build will not work across all Android devices.

How to install VLC app on Android

First you need to determine whether your smartphone processor is of the type NEON or not. Use your file manager app for this. Locate the folder /proc/cpuinfo. Open that file. It should look something like this:

Processor: ARMv7 Processor rev 2 (v7l)
Processor: 0
BogoMIPS: 1597.74
Features: swp half thumb fastmult vfp edsp thumbee neon vfpv3
CPU implementer: 0×41
CPU architecture: 7
CPU variant: 0×1
CPU part: 0xc09
CPU revision: 2

Have a look at the Features line. Search for the keyword “neon”. If it’s present (like in the example above) then you need to download the NEON version of the app. If it’s not there then you download the Non-NEON version.

To install the VLC player on your Android, follow the steps below:

  • Download the appropriate VLC Player app to your android:
  • Locate it using the file manager and install it.
  • Now run the installed VLC player app. It should run in the video mode by default.
  • Toggle between the video and music mode by a one touch button which is present at the top right corner of the screen.
  • To play your media files, specify the directories. For this, go to Menu>>Preferences>>Directories and choose the desired folders to play.

Voila! Your VLC player is up and running on your Android device! However, remember that this version is in its (pre-) Alpha stage. This version will consume much battery power, and is buggy and unstable. Nevertheless, it’s heartening to have a VLC app for your Android.

About The Author:
Kate is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on luxury and lifestyle. Beside this she is fond of gadgets. These days she is researching a lot about mobile phones as she is planning to buy one.