Google Maps By Motorola Droid Bionic

Google Maps By Motorola Droid Bionic (awesome): As of late, I found the mapping experience to be much better on Android devices, and that certainly has to do with the fact that Google Maps Motorola Droid Bionic has been improving its mapping application on its own platform, while leaving other mobile OSes in the cold. It’s not a bad tactic to gain an edge, and the net result is that Android users have been getting steady improvements, while others have mostly stagnated.

First, Google Maps Motorola Droid Bionic Android users get free turn-by-turn navigation. This is a big deal as this feature can cost quite a bit of money on other platforms. Secondly, new features like “download map area” are introduced on a regular basis. This one is supposed to let you preload an area the size of a city, this is really cool. Here’s how to enable it:

1/ in Google Map, do Menu>More>Labs>enable pre-cache map area

2/ go to the map, select a place, expand the place’s options and choose “pre-chace map area”
In my case, Google Maps has pre-cached the whole city of San Francisco, and it is going to boost Google Map’s speed.

Skype (having issues with video): Skype often comes up as the preferred VOIP software Droid Motorola Bionic (there are many others). The good news is that Skype is fully functional on the Droid Bionic, and that include video calls with both cameras (front/back) – however, I have been having intermittent issues with the cameras. Sometime during audio calls, the sound works, but the video is black.

In theory, to enable video calls, you have to go in the option menu and check the video calls box. Apparently, Skype is not capable of detecting that this feature works.

When it works, video calling is good over LTE Bionic Droid, but I noticed that the colors seem to be in 16-bit (65k colors) instead of 24-bit (16M colors). It’s not the phone’s fault. I bet that it is a Skype optimization to save bandwidth. My Galaxy S2 shows the exact same color reduction. [Skype for Android]