There are two kinds of people in this world -- those who love Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and those who are wrong. For those in the former group, there's now a "Hot Light" app for Android. Using sophisticated doughnut technology, it triangulates your position relative to nearby Krispy Kreme eateries and then notifies you whether the "Hot Now" sign is on -- and it'll alert when you the switch is thrown.
It is simultaneously the most happy (for when that sweet, sweet notification comes in) and sad (light no blinky) Android app we've ever used.
I'm not a big app guy, I'll admit. I like to check them out, and maybe even keep them around for a week or so, but there's just a few I keep around forever. I do happen to like buying them and checking them out, though, so I go through a lot of them. Here's my list of "keepers." Check them out after the break.
Ed. note: The game was sideloaded on a Toshiba Thrive, as it doesn't natively install from the Android Market.
Oh, boy, here we go again. One man stranded on a spaceship? Been there. Hordes of Necromorphs? Done that. On Android? Well now, slow down there, Ace. Now we're talking.
Yes, it's finally happened. Electronics Arts has brought its shock-filled, gore-laden, space epic to Android, and man oh man, was it worth the wait. Dead Space has all the markings of a AAA title, and if it weren't for the slightly dumbed down graphics, you wouldn't know you were playing on a mobile device.
For fans of the Dead Space story, you'll be pleased to know that Dead Space (for Android) is part of the canon and takes place three years after the first official game but before the events of the second.
You play the aptly-named Vandal, a voice-distorted, identity-protected agent of the Church, who is "perfect" for sabotaging power supplies and causing havoc on his ship. Well, until all Hell breaks loose. Necromorphs start pouring out from every hole and crevice, gallivanting about all nimbly bimbly, all with the intent to gobble you up.
But this is Dead Space. You expected that.
For a mobile game, Dead Space plays well. Incredibly well, actually. EA has finally come up with a control scheme that doesn't use a restricting virtual joystick but still is as tight and (fairly) precise as a physical one. Instead of limiting your movement within an imaginary circle, EA simply says, "Move your fingers on top of Vandal as though you were using a virtual joystick and he'll respond appropriately."
It's effective, it feels good, and you never run the risk of stretching your hands too far out and running into the bezel, thereby stopping your movement completely. It works, and I hope to see other enterprising game developers shamelessly copy this control method for their own games. It'll make everyone's experience better.
Shooting is equally intuitive, with a simple tap bringing up your targeting reticule, and another tap popping off a shot. For those mining weapons that can shoot either horizontally or vertically, EA employed a quick screen tilt to change firing modes. No buttons to push, no combos to remember, just a quick tilt and the accelerometer will handle the rest. Just like with the non-existant joystick, it just works.
Graphically, the game looks great. Yeah, they're not quite PC or console graphics (that's especially evident on the Necromorphs close up), but by and large, everything looks amazing. Vandal looks like an absolute boss, and the glowing column along his spine (along with the rest of his getup) is incredibly detailed.
The opening sequence of the game also realy shows off the masterpiece EA has put together for us. Ship environments look realistic. Planets look impressive and rocky. With six different environments to fight (and survive) through, you'll constantly be finding something new to look at (and admire). Weapons look not only futurisitc and worthy of your nerd love, but functional, too. And did I mention the whole thing is voice acted?
There's also the requisite amounts of over-the-top gore, seen as you dismember Necromorphs, find brutalized corpses, and discover messages written in the final moments of someone's life. It all adds up to the heart-pounding experience EA is trying to pull you into. (I mean, they do recommend playing the game with headphones on.)
Overall, Dead Space is one of the strongest entries we've had into serious Android gaming yet, and it has earned a special spot in the upper echelons of the Market, reserved only for those games that truly push the boundry of what we're seeing. Other notables that come to mind are Shadowgun and Emissary of War, so Dead Space finds itself in elite company, and rightfully so.
If you can handle the gore, the thrills, and the heart-pounding "gotcha" moments, Dead Space is most definitely for you. Dead Space is $7.43 in the Android Market.
The folks at Max MP have released version 2.0 of PowerAmp, their excellent music player for Android. We've loved PowerAmp in it's previous versions, and 2.0 looks to be a great update with improved media scanning, Samsung Galaxy Nexus support, and SD card mounting fixes. Add this to their list of great features, like tag editing, theme support, scrobbling, and that amazing graphical EQ and you have one of the best music players for mobile on any platform. You can download the 15-day trial version of PowerAmp after the break, and the full version costs $4.99. PowerAmp requires Android 2.1 or higher.
To help celebrate they also have a new Twitter account and a contest to give away 32GB microSD cards to store some music on. The contest starts Friday Dec. 30 at noon Central time, and ends Jan.1 at midnight Central. Follow @PowerAmp2 for the full details.
So you found a new Android phone under your tree this year did you? Welcome to the family, we're glad you're here, and you picked the right place to visit. We understand all the options and choices can be a bit overwhelming if you're new to smartphones in general, or switching from another platform. We have you covered, and here's a great set of resources to get you started.
Android forums: Most times the answers you want and need come from people just like you -- Android users. You'll find out forums full of helpful and friendly people, who also know their stuff when it comes to Android devices.
Help and Tips: When your new phone or tablet can do so much, sometimes it's hard to figure out the how and where. These handy tips will get you pointed in the right direction so you can begin to make things you own.
Accessories: Looking for a case to protect your new phone? Or maybe you want a spare battery or a new data cable? We have you covered at the Android Central store.
Applications: Android has about half a million apps, and sorting through them all is impossible. We can help -- we look at more than a few and let you know about the ones we're particularly fond of. Check it out!
And finally, our own forums adviser milominderbinder has the ultimate resource for any Android user in his Getting Started With Android post. It's legendary, and we're darn lucky to have him around. Be sure to have a read -- I promise you'll learn something.
The Android Dictionary: You're going to see a lot of terminology you may not understand, and we've got a great reference here for you. Bookmark this one.
You're in for a treat with your new Android powered device, and you can always count on us to steer you right. Settle in, and enjoy yourselves!
Weather Underground has long been a go-to source for weather information online. And now, finally, we have a proper Weather Underground Android app.
The main view is a nicely laid out three-panel screen. The top section shows the current temperature, "feels like" temp, wind speed and direction, humidity and a thumbnail image of what it's like outside. Tap it and you'll get the current dewpoint, visibility, pressure (in inches), wind gusts, GPS coordinates, and when the conditions were last updated. Tap it a third time and you'll get a brief forecast for the rest of the week.
The second section, in the middle of the screen, shows three days at a glance, with high/low temperatures and chance of precipitation. You can swipe to get the next three days. Tap a day to get the hourly forecast.
And the bottom section of the main view, taking up a little less than half of the entire screen, is a Google map with nearby personal weather stations reporting the current temperature. Tap the map, and it goes to a full-screen version with radar laid on top. You can adjust the overlays of the "WunderMap," toggling storm tracks, satellite, visible satellite, temperatures, cameras and animation.
Other options include making locations as favorites, seeing sever weather alerts for a location, and signing into your Weather Underground account.
All in all, the Weather Underground app continues Wunderground's penchant for excellent weather information, and it works well enough on Android smartphones and tablets. But the app's animations are fairly laggy, and it doesn't yet have a home screen widget. And while we're just starting the winter season, we'd hope to see a dedicated tropical weather section (if not an entire app from Wunderground) by the start of hurricane season June 1. But, hey, the app's free, and it's quickly found a place on our phones.
We've got download links, hands-on video and more screen shots after the break.
One of the best things about toting around an Android phone is the way you can make it yours. Wallpapers, widgets, icon sets, even system apps can all be customized just about any darn way you please, and Christmas is a great time to do it! We dug around and found a few things you could use to get your Android phone into the Christmas spirit, check 'em out after the break.