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2 years ago

Apps of the Week: Local Flickr Muzei, Slender Man Origins, Stack Exchange and more!

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You want some apps and we've got a list for you to check out

It's Saturday afternoon, and among other things that means it's time to check out our Apps of the Week column. We round up a grouping of apps from each of the Android Central writers and put them on display here, accompanying each with a quick explanation of why we're currently using them. Sometimes the apps are new, sometimes they're old, but in any case if they're installed on our devices they have something going for them.

We have games, wallpapers, tools and utilities to show off this week — catch the full list after the break

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2 years ago

What I'm playing this week: Shardlands

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Inherit telekinesis, get zapped into another dimension, and grab some energy orbs while you're there. 

Shardlands found its way into the Play Store this week, and I've having a ton of fun taking it in. This is a beautifully-rendered puzzle game where players have to navigate an otherworldly maze using telekinetic powers and guile. The goal of each stage is to collect every energy orb peppered throughout. Players can drag platforms with various properties and sizes to bridge gaps, though this can be tricky while you're avoiding brutish alien monsters, incinerating lasers, and other hazards. Controls are straightforward, with single taps used to move or squash simple enemies, double-taps to sprint, and swipes to move in-game elements about. 

The core mechanics of moving around shaped blocks to help you get from point A to point B aren't new by any means, but usually they're reserved much simpler games. In that sense, rendering these stages in lush 3D is a very nice visual change of pace. New mechanics are introduced regularly and mixed with previous ones for some really interesting puzzles, plus you have a bit of twitch gameplay interspersed when avoiding patrolling bad guys. The soundtrack is altogether ethereal and really sets the mood for exploring an alien landscape. 

There are 25 levels all told, which isn't a lot in the grand scheme of puzzle games, but they're amply challenging, and if you're interested in quality rather than quantity, the $3.99 premium upgrade to get rid of ads and unlock extra levels is totally worth it. Check out the trailer below to see the game in action, or hit the Google Play link above to give the trial a shot. 

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2 years ago

AC asks: What's your favorite Muzei source?

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Muzei has quickly become one of our favorite live wallpapers for Android devices. It's smartly designed, easy to use and extensible, allowing you to pull in images from any number of sources.

Our question: What's your favorite so far? I'm partial to APOD right now, but there are plenty others — and you can always use your own images if you'd like.

So what's everybody using? Let us know in the comments.

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2 years ago

Long Valentine's Day lines won't bother you with these Android games to play

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A few sweet games with a Valentine's Day theme

Love is in the air, and the most fortunate among us will soon celebrate Valentine’s Day with someone special. And if you’re dining somewhere nice for the holiday, you’re probably going to spend more than a few minutes waiting to be seated. Why not pass the time with Valentine-themed content in your favorite Android game? We’ve got nine festive games for him and her that you won’t want to put down when the server comes around.

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2 years ago

All you need to know about BBM 2.0 for Android

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It's a big update with plenty to take in, so let's break it down

BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) version 2.0 for Android dropped yesterday, and it's a pretty sizeable update with plenty to get your head around. Fortunately, we know some good folks who are pretty handy with all things BlackBerry. Our buddies over at CrackBerry have jumped in with both feet and taken a good look at what's what with the newest iteration of their favorite – now cross-platform – messaging service.

So, join us after the break for a breakdown of the best damn BBM coverage you'll find, anywhere. We'll also be checking back and updating with anything more we come across. In the meantime if you've got questions, answers or anything else to say about the latest in BBM for Android hit us up in the comments or the Android Central BBM forums!

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2 years ago

Sonic Dash update adds Eggman boss challenge

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SEGA's endless runner Sonic Dash is being updated with a new boss challenge, featuring none other than Dr. Eggman (or Robotnik, if you prefer). The update adds a boss battle with the longtime series villain, challenging players to dodge missiles, exploside traps and other nasties as they progress through the supersonic gauntlet, with a "massive score bonus" promised for those who send Eggman packing.

The publisher says its next Sonic Dash "global challenge" will begin next Friday, Feb. 21, allowing players to work together to unlock a new Sonic universe character "who is sure to steal some hearts."

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2 years ago

Muzei Live Wallpaper updated to fix daily art refresh issues

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Two crashes related to buttons and permissions fixed as well

Muzei Live Wallpaper, the great new app from Roman Nurik (of DashClock and Google), has received its first important update to fix a few bugs with the initial release. Folks who installed Muzei to have their wallpaper refresh daily with a selection of fine art may have noticed that the image, well, didn't refresh — that's fixed now through a combination of the new app and a change to Google Cloud Storage for image hosting.

Further, the new update fixes a couple crashes related to using the "Activate" button and a permissions-related crash. If you haven't given Muzei a look, it's worth your time to do so — you can grab a download from the Play Store link above.

Via: +Roman Nurik

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2 years ago

Everything you need to know to get started using the Xposed Framework

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There is a lot to know about the Xposed Framework, and a lot that could go wrong — use this guide to get started

So you have an Android phone because you know you can bend and twist just about everything in the software until you make it just right. You've done the custom ROM thing, but there are still things you want to tweak. That's where the Xposed Framework comes into the picture.

Xposed is a base system that allows you to download modules, each of which can make one or more changes to the UI of your device. Things like adding the three dot menu to every app, or enabling the full 20MP sensor for Superior Auto in Sony cameras, or any manner of changes. There's a whole list of modules you can download and install at the Xposed repo site.

Because it's such a powerful tool, there are also a million things that can go wrong if you just jump in without knowing what you're doing. You should definitely read all the documentation, but AC Forums Ambassador Golfdriver97 has also whipped up a really handy getting started guide to keep you pointed in the right direction. Read it. Twice.

Half the fun of hacking your phone is fixing it when you've broken it, but some tools are a bit more complicated than others. Xposed is powerful, and guides like this one are a great way to keep things going smoothly.

Read the getting started with Xposed Framework guide

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2 years ago

You should now have Google Play Services 4.2, so cast all the things!

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A quick heads up, folks, that you should now (or very, very shortly) have the latest version of Google Play Services on your phone. This is the thing that lets other things do things on your phone — and all without needing a full-on system update, so it's kind of important. 

And as was mentioned earlier this month, this update opens up the Google Cast SDK, which allows apps to easily stream from your device to the TV. There's also an improved Google Drive API, and more. 

You don't have to do anything to get this latest version — just sit back and it'll come to you automatically if it hasn't already. And for those whose patience may have been lacking, the earlier version that pushed out should be overwritten by this one, so all's good.

Source: +Google Developers

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2 years ago

Creepy puzzler The Room 2 now available on Android

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Hit iPad game now available from Google Play and the Amazon Appstore

​If puzzle games are your bag, then you need to check out The Room 2 which has just hit Android today. Having debuted on the iPad in late 2013 and being nominated for a BAFTA Games Award here in the UK, we're finally offered the chance to play for ourselves. 

The Room 2 is Fireproof Games' follow up to the first The Room title, and offers more of the same style of creepy puzzle solving action. The developers describe it as a "physical puzzler, wrapped in a mystery game, inside a beautifully tactile 3D world." It's pretty intense graphically, too, and as such requires a fair amount of hardware to play, so it might not be compatible with some of your devices. 

The Room 2 is available now in the Google Play Store and Amazon Appstore for $2.99. 

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2 years ago

Skype says improved chat experience is coming

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Skype this morning in a blog post addressed what may be our biggest complaint with the service — the clunky experience that is chat on mobile. Sync is, well, bad, push notifications are intermittent — basically not good all around. But here's the deal:

We know that as users have started using Skype on multiple devices, they’ve had difficulty keeping conversations in sync, or they’ve missed messages and seen “read” messages on one device that are still marked as “unread” on another.  We’ve been working hard to solve these issues while adding other experiences to make an improved Skype chat.

That most certainly would be an improvement, and would go a long way toward getting folks to actually keep Skype open on their phones. (We're speaking from experience here.)

Skype also says we can look for a better overall experience on mobile, including better battery usage, startup time and resume times. And in a future update, you'll be able to only receive notifications on devices that you're actually using. 

We're not actually seeing an update to the Skype app just yet, so stay tuned, we suppose.

More: Skype Blog

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2 years ago

BBM 2.0 dropping today, brings Channels, location sharing, multimedia, DropBox, emoticons, bigger groups and more!

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OK, all you BBM users out there. Today's the day that version 2.0 drops in Google Play. It's a pretty major change, indeed.

The big strokes of what's new? How about ...

  • BBM Voice: You can make free calls to your BBM contacts on BlackBerry, Android and IOS, anywhere in the world, over Wifi or your cell connection.
  • BBM Channels: Chat with other BBM users about ... well, whatever you want.
  • Location sharing using Glympse.
  • Attach pictures, voice notes, calendar events or contacts.
  • DropBox integration.
  • New emoticons.
  • Larger BBM groups.

And that's that. The update is now live, so hit the link above to get your update on!

More: BlackBerry

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2 years ago

Angry Birds Stella revealed by Rovio, all about the BFFs

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Five new birds will join Stella in this lady-bird focused title

Rovio teased its next Angry Birds title just yesterday, but today we have a title and an apparent theme. Angry Birds Stella will be the next release, and will feature five new birds alongside the pink, Stella bird seen before in the Angry Birds franchise. 

Stella and her BFFs will no doubt be getting into some kind of mischief as part of the game, but since there isn't any gameplay information to go with this we'll have to wait on that one. It almost looks like Rovio slipped into a Disney movie from this image. In any case, we're sure to hear more as we get closer to release, currently slated for fall. 

Source: Rovio (1), (2)

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2 years ago

Dropdot lets kids connect the dots on Android

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At Apps World last week, we met both veteran and inexperienced game developers alike. Some creators were preparing to publish their first games. That counts fort Summer Wu, whose first title Dropdot has just gone live exclusively on Android.

Dropdot is a connect-the-dots game for young children. It packs a simple user interface, a wide array of puzzles, and even some stealthy educational benefits. The game will be free for the first few months of release, so parents with toddlers and preschoolers are definitely going to want to grab it. Learn more and get a sneak peak at the game’s puzzle creation feature after the break.

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2 years ago

Google Play Music update adds offline radio caching, in-app device management and several fixes

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A few buttons change places and functionality improves across the entire app

It's been a little while since our last Google Play Music update, but we can say with today's new features the wait was worth it. First on the list is the ability to cache radio stations for offline listening — just like you were always able to do with specific albums and tracks, you can now create radio stations and save them for offline listening. It isn't totally clear how much of the station is cached (they're usually "infinitely" long), but we're sure a good bit of listening will be required before you hit the end of the cache.

Next up is in-app management of your Google Play Music authorized devices. Anyone with a number of devices or just switches phones often will know that you quickly hit the cap of 10 authorized devices, and now you can manage which ones have access to your music account directly from the app settings. Speaking of settings, they're nested in the slide-in panel from the left side now rather than an overflow button in the top action bar.

There are a few more fixes and tweaks throughout the interface in the latest update as well. You now have better options for managing your music queue with "Play Next" buttons on songs, albums and artist listings, the Cast button for sending music to your Chromecast moves down to the bottom center of album art when viewing your current song and you now have the ability to manually refresh your music collection from the settings.

It's a whole lot to digest for just one update, but we think more than a few Google Play Music users will be enjoying these improvements — we already are.

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