1 week ago
Google Earth updated with Street View, better search and directions, new interface
Check out the world without ever leaving your chair, Street View has come to Google Earth
The Google Earth application has received a major update today, and with version 7.1.1 comes a trio of great changes. The most obvious, and definitely the coolest, is that you can now zoom the whole way down to Street View to check out the world at street level. Long a staple on Google Maps for Android and the web, this is a nice addition.
Besides Street View, Google has improved the search functionality, made directions allowing you to see a 3D view of transit, walking, bike and driving directions. Another major change comes to the UI, which now offers a slide-out panel from the left side much like the Google+ app.
Google Earth has come a long way, and it's nice to see an app that can take advantage of today's high-powered phones and their processing muscle. If you've never tried it, or if it's been a while since you had a look, grab it from the Google Play link above.
1 week ago
Gameloft's Blitz Brigade coming to Android and iOS May 9
Grab your weapons and 11 friends, and get ready to play Blitz Brigade, a new multiplayer FPS from Gameloft coming tomorrow
Way back in January we talked about Blitz Brigade, an upcoming team FPS from Gameloft. We just got word that we'll be able to get our hands on the official release May 9 -- that's tomorrow. The game, which is a total rip of Team Fortress 2 combined with Battlefield Heros (not like that's a bad thing), looks like a lot of bloody fun.
Set in WWII, the free to play title will be focused on team-style multiplayer, but there will also be a full set of 120 single player challenges if that's more your style. Teams can be up to 12 players, using four different maps and in death match or domination mode. With five different classes (Soldier. Gunner, Sniper, Medic and Stealth), three different vehicle types, and over 100 upgradeable weapons it sounds like a whole lot of fun.
We'll know more, and have a good look at Blitz Brigade, after it launches tomorrow. In the meantime, hit the break for some more screen shots and the original game trailer.
1 week ago
Apex Launcher hits v2.0 with new features, improved settings
Several new "Pro" features and even more tweaks now available in the settings
One of the most well-known names in third party launchers, Apex Launcher, has just made the jump up to version 2.0 with several new features and improvements across the app. The biggest improvements come if you've paid for the "Pro" version of the app, where you'll now get folders in the app drawer, integration with Apex Notifier and notification badge support. If you've yet to spring for the paid version, you'll still see some big changes. The free version has added support for changing vibration duration, update translations, improved the activity and wallpaper pickers and made important changes to the settings menu layout.
If you haven't taken a look at Apex in a while, now may be the time to do it. You can download the free version from the Play Store link at the top of the post, and if you want some more advanced features pick up the $3.99 paid version right here as well.
1 week ago
Sprint adds Path to preloaded 'Discover It' widget on Galaxy S4, HTC One
This is just "a first step" of Sprint and Path collaboration
On its official blog, Path made a quick post today explaining that it will be included as one of the apps highlighted in a "Discover It" widget that is loaded on some of Sprint's latest devices. The widget, which effectively has stub apps that let you download the full apps with just one tap, is preloaded on the home screens of phones like the Galaxy S4 and HTC One. While this is pretty innocent and something that many carriers participate in, we're a little weary of the promise from today's post by Kevin McGinnis, vice president of product at Sprint: “Sprint and Path are finding ways to collaborate to enhance our customers’ experience. This is a first step."
Which certainly hints at further integration of Path into at least some of Sprint's devices going forward. Given Path's less than stellar history of protecting user's privacy even when they willingly download and sign up for the service, we're not so sure that's a great idea. We'll be keeping an eye out for further Path "integration" on Sprint going forward.
1 week ago
The OUYA gets an iFixit teardown, rates 9 of 10 for repairability
With just a few common tools you can have your new OUYA torn apart and spread all over your desk
The $99 OUYA console is gradually making its way into the hands of Kickstarter backers, so the folks over at iFixit had to do what they do best -- tear it apart. The news is good here, and if you're the type who regularly has their electronics all over a workbench in multiple pieces, you'll appreciate the internal design and engineering.
The casing of both the console itself and the controller are simple to crack open, and extracting the big pieces is easy. No special tools are necessary, and you can put away that heat gun as you'll only need hex and Phillips head drivers to completely disassemble both parts. In fact, the only "difficult" user-servicable part to remove is the CPU heat sink, which is soldered in place versus using metallic clips.
Now we don't expect (nor do we recommend) that the average user will get out a set of screwdrivers and tear apart their new OUYA. But it's nice to know that if you ever need to do something like replace a dust-choked fan, or the circuit board of the joysticks, it's easy to do yourself or to have someone else do it for you. Hit the source link for a complete walkthrough of the process, chock full of part numbers and pictures.
1 week ago
Spring Cleaning: Win an ASUS MeMO Pad tablet!
Comments are closed folks. Look for more spring cleaning soon!
Let's make a pretty big dent in the pile on my desk, shall we? The ASUS MeMO Pad might be far from our favorite 7-inch Android tablet out there, but that doesn't mean we don't want it to go to a good home. Despite what the box shows, we're giving away the same one we reviewed, in its "cherry pink" color. (Which really is more cherry than it is pink.)
To win this guy, just leave a comment on this post. We'll shut things down at midnight EDT tonight and pick a winner. (And, yes, we'll be announcing all the winners later this week.) Good luck, everybody!
1 week ago
LG holding 'Optimus G series' launch event in Macau
A wider Asian launch for the Optimus G Pro? Event scheduled for May 30.
LG has sent out "save the date" invites for a launch event in Macau, China on May 30. The event, which will focus on "a member of the Optimus G series" has started going out to members of the press, and the invite seems to suggest the LG Optimus G Pro will be seeing a wider Asian launch following the Korean and Japanese releases earlier in the year. (What's more, that phone in the image sure looks a lot like the black Optimus G Pro.)
We'll have to wait and see what LG's got up its sleeve, but with the event taking place in China, we suspect whatever it is will be tightly focused on that market.
1 week ago
CyanogenMod 10.1 RC1 builds now available
Release candidate builds now available for some forty devices
Following the third "M snapshot" build just under a month ago, the CyanogenMod team is pushing ahead with the roll-out of the first "RC" or release candidate build of CM 10.1. RC1 of the Android 4.2.2-based firmware is now available for a total of forty devices, and in its announcement news post today the team says it expects this to be one of the last milestones before the stable release of CM 10.1.
The list of devices with RC1 builds available includes the current crop of Nexus phones and tablets (and the Nexus Q), various U.S. Galaxy S3 phones, U.S. Galaxy Note models, the international HTC One X and LG Optimus G. You can see the full list of codenames over at the CM announcement post, linked below. As usual, the builds themselves are available from the official download page at get.cm. Happy flashing!
1 week ago
AT&T's HTC First down to 99 cents on contract for a limited time
'Facebook Phone' currently selling for next to nothing on 2-year plan
If you've been tempted to pick up the Facebook-centric HTC First on AT&T, the carrier's hoping a temporary price drop might push you over the edge. The First, which runs the social network's Facebook Home software atop near-vanilla Android, is today selling online for just 99 cents with a two-year service agreement, down from $99 at launch.
However if you want to get the First at this significantly reduced price you may not want to hang around. Engadget's Brad Molen tweets that the price drop is a promotional change rather than a permanent reduction.
In our review of the HTC First we praised its build quality and ergonomic form factor, though we had some misgivings about the usefulness of Facebook's home screen to the average smartphone user. Of course, you could always disable Facebook Home and be left with an attractive mid-to-high-end HTC phone running a vanilla Android UI.
Source: AT&T; @phonewisdom
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1 week ago
Using the HTC First without Facebook Home
Just a few taps in the settings turns the First into an entirely new device
When we reviewed the HTC First, we found the hardware and performance to be decidedly top-notch considering its pricing and placement in AT&T's lineup. For $100 on-contract -- or $449 off -- you could have a phone with a great screen, acceptable specs and a form factor that fits in your hand without contortion. Discussion of the HTC First then took a turn towards intrigue when it was discovered that you could quickly and permanently turn off the Facebook Home software. It continued when we then saw that sitting underneath Home was something that genuinely looked like stock Android 4.1.
Just like any other Android launcher, there are no strings attached here -- turning off Facebook Home disables it until you choose to turn it back on. A small, well-built device that can simply be changed over to run a more vanilla Android experience is something that many have been looking for as average screen sizes have ballooned in the last couple of years. So what's it like to use the HTC First with Facebook Home permanently turned off? Well, it's actually a generally great experience. Stick around after the break and see some of the details.