(Xbox720) Hands off the smartphone map, California court tells drivers

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Mapping technology and smartphones often go hand in hand, but in California if you want to check your destination on your mobile device dont be driving at the same time.

Thats the word from a court there that says looking at a mapping program on a phone while driving is against the law.

A driver argued that state laws regarding distracted driving pertain to talking, texting and using the Internet while on the phone, but not using a mapping program. The court disagreed.

Technically, the ruling suggests if you want to use a mapping program in California you have to do it without touching a mobile device. For a lot of people that wouldnt be a problem. Google Maps on Android, for example, delivers stellar spoken turn-by-turn directions that you can initiate while parked.

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Google Launches Brand New Play Store

The Google Play stores dramatic redesign was unveiled today after much anticipation. The new design attempts to brighten up the app store experience, improving usability, capability, and appearance all at once.

The Google Play store is the built-in hub for downloading content to mobile devices that run on the Android operating system. It gives access to apps, games, movies, TV shows, music, and more. The new interface distinguishes those major categories with distinct, color-coded icons that greet you right at the top of the screen. Its also been brightened up and reorganized, with cleaner lines, stronger colors, and more straightforward segregation between sections. This would appear to make it simpler and more intuitive to navigate. Google has also reportedly improved the purchasing process, which received some criticism in the previous version.

As we engage with more and more media through our mobile devices, including HD content and immersive 3D games, tablets and smartphones have their work cut out for them. The new Play store has adapted to increasing demands for graphic-heavy content, providing visual content recommendations with large, colorful cards . Android users can now process huge amounts of that content on tablets like the Lenovo IdeaTab S2110 and the Sony Xperia Tablet Z, which run seamless HD media off of Qualcomm Snapdragon processors.

The new Play store is rolling out with Android 2.2 devices as of today. Android users have anticipated it for a while, but since it has just been unveiled, a consensus from the notoriously opinionated crowd of Android enthusiasts has yet to form.

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Use a Google Voice phone number to keep your personal number private

Last year I shared three things you should know about Google Voice basically a rundown of three cool ways to use the service.

Here’s a fourth: Use it as a disposable phone number.

See, when you sign up for Google Voice , which you can do for any new or existing Google/Gmail account, you get the option of choosing a new phone number. (You can also port an existing number, but that’s not part of the discussion today.)

One of the neat things about Google Voice is that you can route calls to that number to any/all of your existing numbers (home, office, cell phone, etc.).

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