Struggling to get online or get directions? Here’s how to fix those weak connectinos
GPS and Wi-Fi are an essential part of the Android experience. Whether you’re searching for directions on Google Maps or checking-in to a place on Facebook or Foursquare, you probably won’t notice how much you use GPS until your device is struggles to find your location.
Although problems with your device’s hardware or software can cause permanent GPS issues, the problem will usually be something that automatically resolves itself in time, for example when you move into an area that has better GPS coverage. However, this is little consolation when you’re lost and you need directions straight away.
It’s a similar story with your device’s Wi-Fi. Sometimes, you’ll know that an open network is in range, but for some reason your Android either isn’t detecting it or it’s detected the network but is refusing to connect to it. Again, most of the time this is a temporary blip and your device’s Wi-Fi will spontaneously start working again. But, what about when you urgently need internet access, for example when you’re expecting an important email?
Google Maps for Android has a range of hidden ‘Labs’ features that add valuable functionality to the app. Read on to find out more about them.Measure
A handy one for walkers, the Measure feature enables you to measure the ‘as the crow flies’ distance between two or more points on the map. Tap the tape measure icon and choose your points. Hit the icon again when you’re done. Bubble Buttons
With Bubble Buttons you can call a business directly from within the map view. This feature adds a small phone icon to the window that pops open when you highlight a business. Tap this icon and you’ll be calling that business. Bigger Text
Bigger Text does nothing other than what its name says it will do. Enabling this feature increase the size of the text on your maps. It’s not configurable, sadly, but is a handy way to be able to see where you are, especially on smaller screens. Changing labs
Some of these features may disappear from Labs without notice, and new ones may appear with equally little fanfare. Keep an eye on the Labs section in Maps to see what other goodies appear.
Want to use Google Maps even when you don’t have an internet connection? It’s possible to download entire maps using a well-hidden feature. Read on to find out how.
We make no secret of the fact that Google Maps is one of out all time favourite apps. A fantastic local search function that draws on the immense power of Googe’s search engine, fast performance, great routing and, of course, full free 3D navigation with voice.
What more could you ask for? Well, actually there is one thing.
The sole downside to Google Maps is that you need a data connection to use it. The maps are downloaded as you need them, and while the app downloads and caches map areas intelligently, ensuring you should never actually run out of map data while you’re driving or walking, when you’re overseas and your phone is racking up the roaming charges even a few minutes of Google Maps use can be expensive.
Route 66 Maps + Navigation is a brand new Android satnav app that includes a unique augmented reality view.
Is this the future of satnav?
The new Route 66 Maps + Navigation app, available now in the Android Market, includes the unique Follow Me feature with augmented reality navigation. It displays a live view of the road ahead – taken from your phone or tablet’s camera – and overlays it with a line showing your plotted route and an image of a car that you can simply follow.
Whether it proves to be a valuable driving aid or a distraction we’ll find out soon when we give the app a full review.