Your Twitter Stream Just Got More Interactive!

Twitter announced today that tweets containing links to a whole new set of partner sites will become interactive. It will allow for users to preview content, view images, play videos and more. The list of partner sites contains TIME, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and more. The feature will be made available both the regular and mobile twitter sites.

More details available on the Twitter Blog

Angry Birds Off to a Flying Start on Android

Angry Birds, the ultra addictive game that has topped 11 million downloads on iPhones and iPads, broke another record over the weekend. In the first two days of being available on the Android platform, the game averaged a million Angry Birdsdownloads per day.  Rovio, the maker of Angry Birds, announced this via a tweet. Obviously, the fact that the game is currently available for free on Android has contributed to the flying start. Yet, it appears that Rovio may not have entirely expected things to go so well since the download frenzy crashed the GetJar site forcing them to make the game available on the Android market as well.

A smashing success, no doubt!

Google Voice Actions Lets You Text, Email, Find Music and More on Your Android Phone

Android might just have pulled ahead of the iPhone in having a real voice based management feature. By real, we mean one that lets you text and email. Google announced Voice Actions for Android Phones on August 12th. While we are all familiar with the voice search feature on the Google app (available on both iPhone and Android phones), Voice Actions takes the ease of talking instead of typing to a whole new level.

The following is a list of commands that can be performed via Voice Actions:

  • send text to [contact] [message]
  • listen to [artist/song/album]
  • call [business]
  • call [contact]
  • send email to [contact] [message]
  • go to [website]
  • note to self [note]
  • navigate to [location/business name]
  • directions to [location/business name]
  • map of [location]

And here is the official video on the feature.

In comparison, the Voice Control feature available in iPhone 3GS covers only the calling and music playing functions.

Voice Actions require Android 2.2 and will come pre-installed in Motorola Droid 2 phones. Other phones running Android 2.2 will have to download app updates from the Android Marketplace.

While this is great news for Android users, it is somewhat of a game changer for companies such as Vlingo which were building similar voice based messaging apps for the Android phones. However, Vlingo appears to have taken the news in its stride. In a gracious post on their blog, the CEO of Vlingo has congratulated Google and announced that Vlingo for Android will be free effective immediately so that users can compare for themselves.

The jury is still out on how intuitive and accurate Voice Actions is, but one thing is for sure; it will put a serious dent in number of people texting and driving. And that makes Voice Actions worthy of celebration.

Source: Google Blog, Vlingo Blog

New Law Targets ‘Conflict Minerals’ Used by Electronics Makers

Conflict Minerals SmartPhonesA new U.S. law aims to put the skids on the use of ‘conflict minerals’ in electronics manufacturing. The provision — tucked in the financial reform bill passed recently — requires publicly-traded companies and electronic makers to submit an annual report revealing whether or not they use “conflict-free” minerals and outlining what they are doing to ensure their minerals are “conflict-free.”

The law however, does not mandate any penalties for companies that do end up using such minerals. Yet, having to publicly disclose that their products are funding wars should be a big enough deterrent for any serious manufacturer.

Reporting on the law, CNN states:

The bill does not mention the penalty for using conflict minerals, but says companies will have to certify where their minerals come from and what measures were taken to ensure they did not originate from conflict areas.

Results and disclosures would then be posted on the companies’ websites, according to the bill.

The law appears to be primarily focused on the minerals coming out of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is rich in minerals such as tantalum and colton that are used by electronics makers.

Source: CNN via treehugger

Photo by: Julien Harneis

UAE to Suspend Blackberry Service

 UAE Suspends Blackberry ServiceIf you plan to do this year’s holiday shopping in Dubai, your Blackberry may not come to much use. Or so it appears after the United Arab Emirates announced that it was suspending Blackberry services starting Oct. 11. The suspension will apply to both users and visitors in the country, and will continue until an “acceptable solution” is developed and applied.

The core issue appears to be about how Blackberry handles data, and specifically the fact that data is being exported and managed by a “foreign commercial operation”

Announcing the move, UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) told Reuters:

“Today’s decision is based on the fact that, in their current form, certain Blackberry services allow users to act without any legal accountability, causing judicial, social and national security concerns for the UAE”

Only Blackberry appears to have landed in trouble. The TRA has cleared the data handling methods of Apple’s iPhone and smartphones from Nokia, which form Blackberry’s main rivals in the region.

Source: Reuters

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