Sprint's offering up another interseting accessibility option on select Android phones with its new Wireless CapTel service. Powered by Raketu, CapTel is real-time captioning for phone calls. You still make a call like normal. You're then connected to CapTel automatically and can listen to the call while reading the transcription in real time. Pretty cool, actually. Check out the video after the break.
During the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich demo we got to see another use for NFC. Beam, demonstrated sharing of information across devices and it looks like Google has now updated Google Maps to support the feature. You won't find it listed in the change logs though. In fact, the change log only states the update has reduced file sizes for app storage on different devices but the permissions tell the truth. New permissions requested are for NFC and when you put the pieces together, its safe to assume Beam support has been added to Google Maps.
We've been in love with the Swype keyboard since, well, forever. But time and time again we've threatened to break up over the stupidest of things. Because Swype's business model is to get preloaded onto phones and you technically can't download a full version, the beta installation process has always been a pain in the ass. Download the Swype app. Register. Sign in. Download the beta. When it comes time to update the beta version, you have to go through the whole thing again, and add in a step where you recover your forgotten password.
That ends now.
Swype Bets Version 3.26, in addition to bringing improved language control (which language you use at any given time), a refined key layout and new settings and help, also brings about automatic updates. You'll get notifications letting you know an update is available, and install it right through the settings. Easy as pie.
If you've just got to use your phone as a desktop trackpad, it's time to check out Mobile Mouse Pro. The popular iOS app (we really hate having to type that) has just been released for Android. And for $2.99 (that's a bit steep, eh?) your device will serve as a fully functioning trackpad, with full Windows compatability and everything. Give it a shot. Download links are after the break.
Go ahead, admit it: You've probably searched Youtube for something you'd prefer nobody know about. Nyan Cat. Teletubbies. Justin Bieber. The iPhone. Hey, we won't judge.
There's a quick and easy way to cover your tracks, though. Just dive into the Youtube app, hit the menu button, then choose settings. There you have a couple of search settings options. One clears the search history. The other will "block videos containing restricted content from appearing in search results." It's a pre-emptive strike, if you will. And while it won't keep Justin Bieber from showing in your Youtube search results, it should keep your more nefarious searches away from prying eyes.
With Halloween rapidly approaching it is time to get in the spirit and spice up your device with a little Halloween flavor. One of the many fun features of Android is the ability to run live wallpapers, and what better way to show a little bit of Halloween fun than to have some skulls flying across the screen, and some cobwebs? This live wallpaper, like most others that offer options to customize the speed, direction, and size of the objects will set you back only 99 cents, but that's a small price to pay to get in the spirit. Hit the break for download links.
Another week, another tower defense game. This one is in space, you say? And has an HD texture pack upgrade? And a giant, robo mech that protects your base? Alright, I'm sold. Let's have a look.
When you first open up Sentinel 3: Homeworld, you'll be prompted to download additional files (19MB worth, to be exact). I get it, it's a big game so not everything comes bundled in from the Market. There's also an optional 40MB "HD pack" add-on that's totally not mandatory, but recommended if you've got space to spare and you're playing on a tablet.
There's three game modes: Campaign, Endless, and Classic. In Campaign, you play through the (cliche and weak) story. You get to control where your mech's skill points are spent, buy more weapon slots for your ground and sentinel weapons, and buy the weapons themself.
Endless mode is just what is sounds like. Endless (natch) waves of bad guys come at you and you try to stave them off until you lose. The Classic mode is similar to the Campaign, except each level has you outfitted with specific towers and such to fend off your enemies.
Gameplay is typical from a tower defense game. You put up towers, they kill bad guys, you get money, and the whole cycle repeats itself. Sentinel 3 tries to differentiate itself from the pack with two ideas: the commander and the sentinel itself.
The commander is the mech I've mentioned a few times. He's controlled by the computer, parks himself in front of your barrier (your first physical structure in blocking your base), and generally owns anything that comes at him. He's got a wide range shot, can melee attack, and boosts the attack speed and damage of units within his 'morale' radius. (Morale is one of his stats you can boost up, too.)
The sentinel is your spaceship, presumeably floating in near-Homeworld orbit. As you continue to move through the levels, you'll be able to purchase new and exciting abilites for the sentinel. I think the first one you can buy are homing missiles that rain destruction upon your enemies. All the sentinel abilities require energy to use, and there's an energy pillar thing that keeps sending charges up as long as it doesn't get destroyed.
Sentinel 3 is also long. The first level on Classic took me 35 minutes, and that was with the fast forward option turned on. While this definitely promises a lot of gametime for your money, at some point you've got enough towers out to know you're not going to lose, and at that point, it feels like it wouldn't hurt to set your device down and go for a walk.
Still, there is a lot to do in Sentinel 3, between the three games modes, and then two styles within Classic. Oh, and did I mention there's four levels of difficulty? And OpenFeint support? Cause there is, and there's achievements to go along with everything, including things as simple as beating a level.
At $3.06, Sentinel 3 is one of the pricier games out there (but still cheap in the grand scheme of things), and for a fan of any tower defense game, feels like a must-have. The gameplay has just enough variation to keep things feeling fresh. There's interesting towers, lots of different enemies, and a sweet soundtrack, to boot. (What is it? Techno? Dubstep?)
If you're willing to take the plunge and bring the fight to the homeworld, download links are after the break.
If you're not much of a fan of the stock Android browser, you've probably tried Dolphin Browser in the past and realized it offers quite a few extra features when compared to the other multitude of options out there. The latest release being v7.0 has now landed as a GetJar exclusive and is available for download and iintroduces a new feature called Dolphin Connect:
Dolphin 7.0 is moving your mobile experience to the cloud by introducing Dolphin Connect. With Dolphin Connect your bookmarked sites and your browsing preferences will be kept in sync across all of your devices. No longer forget web addresses—Dolphin Connect remembers them for you. With Dolphin Connect, Dolphin will once again reshape the mobile browsing experience.
Dolphin retains all the great features from previous releases as well such as gestures, webzine and add-ons. If you've not taken Dolphin for a test drive in the past, now is a good time to give it a go. Full press release is past the break, you can hit the source link for the download.
By the way ... As if there wasn't enough going on today, our CrackBerry cousins are in the middle of their DevCon conference in San Francisco, where the topic of BBM on Android came up. RIM VP of developer relations Alec Saunders and Chris Smith, senior director of the BlackBerry Developer Program, pretty much shot it down -- for now -- with the former saying he "wasn't aware of it" and the latter saying "there are no plans for it."
Usually when a company says it "currently has no plans" or "we have nothing to announce at this time," it means full well they're working on it. But it's also worth mentioning that fake screenshots are fake, trollers gonna troll, our our boys on the ground at DevCon know their stuff. Keep calm and carry on.