Google announced huge changes for Google Maps at their Google I/O keynote today, revealing a completely redesigned web version of the service for desktop, complete with improvements to rerouting in transit, Google Earth integration without additional plugins, and more. The new web platform also features public transit information, a new schedule view, and more.
In particular, the new 3D mapping features look pretty incredible – and I can’t wait to try them out. More exciting, however, is that they also announced a new, revamped version of Maps for iPhone and Android, as well as Google Maps for iPad, which will be launched sometime this summer.
The new desktop version is rolling out soon, and Google has launched a preview page for users to enter their email address to request early access. More details are available at TheNextWeb and The Verge, as well as on Google’s Preview page. Check out the below video to see the new Google Maps for desktop in action!
While I have been a happy iPhone user for years, I must admit that I have used and appreciated Nokia’s Lumia 920 – if I had encountered this phone before the iPhone, I very well may have chosen Windows Phone 8 as my go-to platform rather than iOS. Today, Nokia unveiled an even newer model of their flagship line of Windows phones – the Lumia 925.
The Lumia 925 is made mostly from aluminum, and has an absolutely gorgeous design. It also packs an 8.7MP camera with a very clever optical image stabilization feature. It’s also much thinner and lighter than the Lumia 920 – although that comes at the cost of the 920′s wireless charging support.
Between the great camera, the new thinner and lighter design, and some nice hardware improvements under the hood, the Lumia 920 looks like a great new addition to Nokia’s lineup – and the most solid Windows Phone 8 device available to date. It will be available in Europe starting in June, with a launch on T-Mobile’s U.S. network shortly thereafter.
We look forward to getting one in for review as soon as we can – and of course, you’ll be the first ones to know when that happens! For more information, read the official press release, or check out Nokia’s product page for the device.
Intel hasn’t significantly updated their Thunderbolt technology since Apple launched the lightning-fast IO in their 2011 MacBook Pro. Despite the fact that the technology hasn’t caught on very quickly (currently, most Thunderbolt products are targeted at professionals, with few real consumer-level products available), today, Intel announced the next generation of Thunderbolt, which will double the maximum transfer speed from 10GB/s to 20GB/s.
Here at NAB, Intel just introduced the next generation of its Thunderboltinterface, which promises a data rate of 20 Gbps in both directions (on each of the two channels) as opposed to 10 Gbps for the previous version. Of course, the company stepped back for a moment first, boasting that Thunderbolt currently has about 200 licensees, and more compatible devices — along with new, thinner cables — should be coming out in the following months. Building up to the big reveal, Intel also shared some info about its new Thunderbolt host controller, (code-named Redwood Ridge), which will be built into some of Intel’s upcoming fourth-gen Core processors.
In addition, Intel has also announced an intermediate update called Redwood Ridge to launch with the company’s Haswell-series processors, which will bring support for DisplayPort 1.2, as well as support for 4K displays and video transfers. This is an important step towards Apple releasing a Retina version of its Thunderbolt display (as well as Retina iMacs). It’s also likely one of the main reasons Apple has delayed updating their Mac Pro line of computers.
AnandTech shares the details on the new “Redwood Ridge” chips:
Intel is announcing two this week: the DSL4510 and DSL4410. These two are replacements for Intel’s current DSL3510 and DSL3310, with 4/2 and 2/1 (channels/ports) respectively. There are no performance changes other than official support for DisplayPort 1.2 (and thus 4K displays). If you connect either of these parts to a Thunderbolt display you still only get DP 1.1a support. There’s still a PCIe gen 2 x4 interface on the other end of these controllers.
The Redwood Ridge parts should be a little cheaper as they integrate a 1V voltage regulator that used to be external. The integration also reduces board area by a bit. Power consumption is also lower at idle compared to Cactus Ridge, and disconnected power consumption is significantly lower (1mW vs. 7mW for Cactus Ridge). Redwood Ridge includes the appropriate hooks for Haswell’s upcoming aggressive platform power management reductions. Ultimately this is the real focus behind Redwood Ridge. With Haswell, all components on the platform need to be more power efficient – Intel’s own silicon included.
The new Redwood Ridge chips are set to debut later this year, while the faster 20GB/s “Falcon Ridge” chips should launch sometime in 2014.
At its media event today, Facebook announced changes in the way its popular News Feed is displayed to users on desktop, smartphone, and tablet devices. The company says it has increased the size of shared images and video content, while introducing sub-feeds to allow users to focus on particular content.
Today we’re announcing a new version of Facebook designed to reduce clutter and focus more on stories from the people you care about. You see all the stories you saw in your News Feed before, but with a fresh new look. We’ve completely rebuilt each story to be much more vibrant and colorful and highlight the content that your friends are sharing. Photos, news articles, maps and events all look brighter and more beautiful.
The newsfeed will have the same look and feel no matter where it is accessed, be it from the desktop, smartphone, or tablet.
Facebook users will have the option to choose between four different News Feed categories:
All Friends — This feed shows everything your friends are sharing.
Photos — This feed contains nothing but photos from friends and liked pages.
Music — A feed with posts just about the music you listen to.
Following — A feed with the latest news from the pages you and the people you follow.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg says the service is aiming to “give everyone in the world the best personalized newspaper we can.” Interested users can sign up for a waiting list (be sure to scroll to the bottom) for early access to the new News Feed on the desktop. Smartphone and tablet versions will be rolling out over the coming weeks.
Roku officially unveiled the latest version of their streaming media player today - the Roku 3, and it aims to give the Apple TV a serious run for the money. The device sports a brand new, completely redesigned interface, including the ability to search through all available videos on every channel from a single search box. The interface has also been optimized for speed, efficiency, and better content discovery.
Aside from the impressive-looking new interface, the Roku 3 itself has also gotten a nice facelift, trading in the hard corners found on previous models with smooth curves. The Roku 3 also packs serious performance improvements over its predecessors, including dual-band WiFi, and should be capable of loading content, navigating channels, and so forth much more quickly and smoothly.
One of the more interesting parts of the Roku 3, however, is the remote. The remote is capable of carrying audio from the Roku over WiFi, and includes a headphone jack for “private listening mode.” This allows you to watch your favorite shows without disturbing others with the noise. That’s impressive, and something I would use all the time. The remote is also gesture-sensitive, adding Wii-like controls when playing games on the device (such as Angry Birds).
All in all, the Roku 3 looks like a seriously impressive device – and it’s pricing is extremely competitive at just $ 99 (the same price as an Apple TV). It also does a great job of showing just how behind-the-times the Apple TV is as a video streaming solution. If not for AirPlay on the Apple TV, and the ability to play back DRM-protected iTunes content, there’d be no reason to choose the Apple TV over the Roku 3 at all!