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2 years ago

Android Game Review: Stardash

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YouTube link for mobile viewing

For anyone who grew up with a big, chunky original Game Boy or played old NES and SNES games, Stardash was made for you. Designed in 8-bit of the highest quality, Stardash aims to tug at your nostalgic heartstrings while giving everyone the same challenges and satisfaction found in the oldest of oldies.

Gameplay is about as straightforward as it gets. You've got left and right arrows and a jump button, nothing more. This game checks the frills at the door and gives you one task: dash. So dash you do, traversing increasingly difficult terrain and jumping over chasms while also making sure to jump on any enemies you see. (Historical records dictate this is the most efficient way to kill them.)

Throughout your adventures you'll also come across coins to pick up, although this is par the course for sidescrolling adventures of this sort. If you're lucky (or smart), you'll also find the optimal "high road" to get across the level, thus enabling you to reach the coveted 100-point balloon at the end of the level.

Aesthetically, you're getting just what you'd expect from a game carrying on the legacy Mario and friends. It's monochromatic, pixelated, and has upbeat, friendly sounding 8-bit music to accompany the visual. The buttons are large and cartoonish, but look like the buttons from the controllers of years past. If you weren't playing this on a high-powered phone, you could almost imagine you're back in the 80s.

There are tons of levels and secrets to enjoy (40 levels and four unlockable temples) as well as achievements out the wazoo thanks to OpenFeint support. It's as social as old-school gaming gets, and gives a nice nod to things like the whistles, what with the keys for temples and all.

Other than that, there isn't much to say. Stardash is awesome. You want it. You need it. Take a walk down memory lane and enjoy the trip or see what you young whippersnappers have been missing these days, with those super photorealistic things you've been playing on those HD moving picture boxes.

Stardash is $1.99 in the Android Market. We've got download links after the break.

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2 years ago

Fusion Garage might or might not be dead (is there a difference, though?)

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News spread like a single spark in a mostly uncaring world this weekend over the possible death of a manufacturer that never really manufactuered much of anything. Fusion Garage's website went down on Saturday, Engadget noticed. As of Monday morning, it's slowly come back to life. Sort of. It's currently a mishmash of a single shiny landing page, broken links and security warnings.

Then there's the part where Fusion Garage's PR apparently team quit. And then its lawyers. Not good.

And then there's the part that Fusion Garage was the company that had teamed up with TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington to build the $200 CrunchPad, only to not ever really do it and get itself in a huge legal pissing match with the Silicon Valley bigwig. Meanwhile, the CrunchPad became the Joojoo and died a quiet death in November 2010.

Fusion Garage came back in 2011 with a wacky staged press conference, complete with recorded audience sounds, where it introduced the Grid 10 and Grid 4 devices, which featured a crazy UI over an aging verison of Android. Unofficial sales numbers are said to be in the several. Fusion Garage's purchase page says "We are running out of stock. Thank you."

Responses to the news of Fusion Garage's demise reportedly have ranged from "Hunh?" to "Who?"

Less: FusionGarage

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2 years ago

Tapatalk Android forum app updates for Ice Cream Sandwich

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Tapatalk is one of the more popular ways to use the Android Central Forums from your smartphone. One problem though -- it wasn't playing nicely with Ice Cream Sandwich. But we've been working with the developer for a couple weeks now and can happily report that the app was just updated to fix the crashes in Android 4.0. So now you can browse and post in the Best Android Forums Anywhere™ from the Best Android Smartphone Yet™. Huzzah!

We've got download links after the break. And be sure to check out Android Central on it.

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2 years ago

The Android Google+ account promises a surprise come Monday

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The +Android team on Google+ has made a little announcement that we should expect a "surprise" tomorrow (Dec. 19).  What it may or may not be is currently the hot topic of discussion, and I'm not even going to make a guess.

But that doesn't mean you guys shouldn't -- speculate away in the comments, someone is bound to be right.

Source: +Android

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2 years ago

U.S. Cellular updating original Samsung Galaxy Tab to Android 2.3.5

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It might not be the belle of the ball any longer, but U.S. Cellular has approved an update for  the original 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab, bringing it some Gingerbread live in the form of Android version 2.3.5.  While it's not Honeycomb or Ice Cream Sandwich, it is a vast improvement over the Froyo (Android 2.2) build the Tab shipped with, and should breathe new life into your faithful electronic companion.  Besides the advantages of Gingerbread itself, the change log has a few nice bullet points:

  • VPN support
  • Improved volume control when playing a video or movie while listening with a headset
  • Google security patches:  DigiNotar certificate revocation; Libpng security update
  • Remove auto accept of Bluetooth paring for Handsfree Profile (HFP). This vulnerability allows a nearby third-party to auto connect to Bluetooth HFP and potentially access contact data on the mobile device.

Now, for the bad news.  The update is not an Over The Air (OTA) style affair, and must be done via the USB cable and a Windows computer.  This means that it's going to wipe away the data on your Tab, and of course involves software and driver installation on a PC.  Samsung has set up a nice support page for the issues that are bound to crop up, and of course the Android Central forums are full of people who can help -- don't be afraid to hit them up.  Check out the links if you're needing to update.

Source: U.S. Cellular.  More: Samsung

Thanks, Mark!

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2 years ago

Android 101: Logcat explained and detailed [from the forums]

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I know most of you guys and gals aren't used to sitting down and reading stack traces or debugging logs (you're better off, trust me), but sometimes during Android hacking and debugging reading the logcat output is a necessary evil.  When a developer asks for a log, it's usually followed by a command you don't understand with special characters, and no explanation of what you're doing.  That's fine for the busy developer, but every opportunity to learn something should be taken.  Android Central member JHuston456 has done an excellent job sorting out the switches and parameters used for the logcat command, and has done a fine job explaining them for normal folks.  For anyone who has rooted and plans to hack away at their phone, it's required reading.  Hit the forums, have a look, and thank JHuston456 when you're done. 

Source: Learn logcat like a pro

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2 years ago

Beloved webOS Twitter app Carbon coming to Android

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Now that webOS is all but dead, we're starting to see not only the end users defect to Android, but developers as well. And one of the more popular webOS Twitter apps is headed this way, too. Carbon, which already is working its way to Windows Phone 7, is coming to Android, developer dots & lines tells Android Central. 

It's currently in the design phase, UX director Saleh Esmaeili tells us. And he also gives us a little bit of insight into why we're just now seeing Carbon come to Android. In a word (OK, three words): Ice Cream Sandwich. Says Esmaeili:

"It was a little daunting when we first looked at Android SDKs and the lack of fluid UI design in the past, all changes with ICS. We can now benefit from animations and transitions along with lots of UI elements that can make designing a good experience possible on Android." 

You can never have enough Twitter clients, and you can never have enough good Twitter clients. Carbon undoubtedly will be in that latter category.

"We're very excited and are going to be on it full steam," Esmaeili says. Stay tuned, folks.

More: CarbonwebOS.com

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