Headlines

2 years ago

Chrome for Android updated with bugfixes

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Get thee to thy nearest Android Market Android apps section in Google Play, as there's an update to the Chrome for Android browser. What's new, you ask? Bugfixes, says Google, including a bigun' that was keeping Chrome from starting up on some versions of Ice Cream Sandwich. (That's kind of a big deal because Chrome for Android only works on Ice Cream Sandwich.

Anyhoo. Download links are after the break if you need 'em.

More: Google Chrome Releases blog

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2 years ago

The Chicken Bandit [Android game review]

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With hundreds of thousands of apps in the Android Market Google Play, it can be hard to find the ones you need to try. That's where we come in, and I just found one that screams to be installed. It's called The Chicken Bandit, and the premise is simple -- you're a cowboy, who rides a giant chicken, and robs trains protected by robots. (Go on, pinch yourself, you're awake). 

Gameplay is easy enough. You tilt your phone or tablet to move forwards and backwards, swipe across the screen to lasso bags of money and safes, and tap to shoot out windows, doors, and robotic deputies. All while riding a giant chicken. It's smooth, the graphics are fluid and drawn in a cool retro-cowboy style, and the action is fast-paced enough to keep you interested. There's also mini-games like a quick draw against a robot, a general store to buy upgrades and new gear, and a level boss or two. Chickens, cowboys, and robots have never been so much fun.

I've found myself playing games on my Android phones and tablets a lot more than I ever imagined myself doing. Fun, and silly, games like The Chicken Bandit are a big part of the reason why. This one's perfect for wasting a bit of time while at the DMV or during your lunch break, and it saves progress so you can just pick up and continue at your leisure. There's a lot to be said for deep, console-style games, but games that you can just tap and play a few minutes at a time will always have a place. The Chicken Bandit is that game for me.

The game is built to work with Android 2.1 or higher, so it's going to run on most every device out there. There's a free demo version (we've got links after the break) as well as the full version for $2.99. Both have giant chickens. Hit the jump to see a quick demo through the tutorial.

More: ChickenBandit

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2 years ago

Readability for Android hits Monday - we've got your preview today!

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Welcome to Readability for Android. So-called "read-it-later" apps have become a godsend for when you're short on time and even shorter on bandwidth. A couple clicks and webpages are sent from your desktop browser to an app your phone, stripping off the fat and leaving pure lean meat on the bone.

Readability is the latest in this line of applications. Having just been released for iOS, it'll be release for Android on Monday, March 12. We got to take Readability for a quick spin today. And if this sort of app service is indispensable for you, we're glad to report that Readability performs wonderfully.

If you're new to this space, the idea's simple. You sign up with Readability (I did it right from my phone -- just took a few seconds) and then install a plugin in your browser. (They've got plug-ins for all the major browsers.) When you get to a webpage you want to send to your phone, you click the Readability. You then have the option to "read now," "read later" or "send to Kindle."

Once a webpage hits the Readability on your phone or tablet -- it looks just fine on a 10-incher like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 -- everything's stripped out except for the text, images and links. No muss, no fuss, no messy load times. It's got a web view built in, too, so if you want to see something in its original format, it's just a click away.

We've got a full review on the way. For now, check out some preview screenies after the break.

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2 years ago

Google Music Manager also updated with Google Play branding

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Not a huge update, we suppose, but the Google Play branding has made its way into a new version of what previous was Google Music Manager. Guess now it's Google Play Music Manager? Snag the latest version at the link below.

Download: Google Play Music Manager; Thanks, Chris!

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2 years ago

Android Central on Google Currents: 198,000 subscribers ... and still growing!

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Google Currents so far has survived the Google Play rebranding. (Play Currents?) So now's as good a time as any to check in and see how it's doing. And at the time of this writing, Android Central has an astounding 198,000 subscribers.

Floored. Simply floored.

If you haven't checked out our Google Currents edition yet, it's the same Android Central you've come to know and love, neatly packaged into more of a magazine format. Check out our full walkthrough, and be sure to subscribe to Android Central on Google Currents!

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2 years ago

Reminder: The Android Market is now the Play Store

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We've gotten more than a few e-mails today from folks wondering where the heck their Android Market app has gone and run off to. (Don't laugh, it's perfectly OK to take a day off from obsessing over Android news.)

If you missed the news yesterday, the Android Market is now the Google Play Store. Or, rather, everything that was in the Android Market is now a part of Google Play, and you get to it all through the Play Store. Or something like that. We're still trying to decide exactly how to phrase all this without having to take a second breath.

Anyhoo. Just look for the Play Store icon you see above. Same goes for Google Books, and Google Movies. And Google Music. And Play Books. And Play Movies. And Play Music. Just the same, only different.

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2 years ago

Gravilux [Android App Review]

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YouTube link for mobile viewing

One of my favorite parts of this app reviewing gig is coming across really obscure apps that can't fit into a specific genre. To me, Gravilux is just that. Its developers describe it as a "combination of painting, animation, art, science, and gaming," which is as confusing and uninformative as it sounds. Fortunately, it gives me license to create a new word in its honor, and I've settled on gamelication. (Appligametion just doesn't have the same ring to it).

Now that we've established Gravilux is an unwinnable game of beauty and finesse, what is it exactly you do? Simply put, you touch the screen. When you touch the screen, that incredible grid of dots begins to rapidly gravitate toward all of the inputs on your screen, creating a swirling mess of anarchy and motion. It's awesome.

One of the coolest parts of Gravilux is that it analyzes whatever hardware it's running on before it loads up a grid, so it knows exactly how many dots should be on screen for the best experience. By default, colors are set to black and white, but with a simple hop into the settings menu, you're able to pick up to three colors or randomize the whole bit.

The trade-off here is your performance; what once ran smoothly now might be choppy and laggy. The solution is another simple hop into the settings menu, and then change your grid density. With a couple thousand less points bouncing about on screen (using beautiful real-time physics), things will speed right back up to where they were before.

You can also toy with settings like gravity strength and turn on antigravity from said settings menu, and most importantly, you can change how the dots react to your touch. Normally, they'll be attracted to your input, but if you so desire, you can set them to be repelled.

The result is a lot of negative space on the screen and dots being pushed up against the edges of the screen, bouncing around and struggling against your fingery might. It's not quite as stimulating as the swirling mass, but it's still impressive to see.

My one major complaint with Gravilux is that it's completely devoid of sound. (I made my own sound effects in the video.) For something so visually creative and dynamic, a nice, Osmos HD-esque soundtrack would have really pushed Gravilux over the top. Still, even without it, it's a gamelication that everyone should try at least once (and if you're up for it, again and again).

Gravilux is $1.99 in the Google Play Store. We've got download links after the break.

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2 years ago

Sony PlayStation Suite SDK public beta coming April

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Sony has announced that the software development kit for its PlayStation Suite will launch in public beta form from this April. The public release follows the closed beta of the SDK, which began in November 2011, and was open to a select few developers in the United States, the UK and Japan.

The kit allows game developers to create titles optimized for PlayStation-certified phones and tablets, like the Xperia Play and Tablet S, as well as Sony's recently-launched PlayStation Vita gaming system (and we'd expect the Vita angle alone to attract a fair few devs).

The public beta will be open to anyone and everyone, free of charge. However, the full version will set devs back $99 annually when it lands later in the year.

We've got the full press release from Sony after the break.

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2 years ago

Bank of America introduces new tablet optimized app for Android

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If you're an Android tablet owner, you'll likely have noticed that most banking apps out there haven't really been optimized for tablet usage. Looking to change that is Bank Of America, which has introduced a tablet-optimized version of its mobile banking application.

Features:

  • Pay bills and transfer funds.
  • Review account balances.
  • Find ATM and banking center locations using GPS, with no address input required.

While the features are what you would expect from a mobile banking application, the layout is what really takes the cake here. The design of the app looks great and offers a way better viewing experience for those who are on the go but still need access to their financial info. Keep in mind, you will have to be subscribed to online banking in order for it all to work. You'll find the download beyond the break.

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2 years ago

Google Play Store now replacing Android Market over-the-air

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The new Google Play Store has started rolling out to Android phones, tablets and Google TV's over the air, following Google's announcement earlier today. The Play Store (or Play Shop in the UK) replaces the Android Market, and unites all of Google's content delivery platforms under one single brand. Essentially, you can buy music, apps, books and movies just you've always been able to do, only now the naming scheme is a little more coherent. The icon may be different, but the app works just the same.

If you want to speed up the update process, the usual trick involving force-closing Market, clearing data, uninstalling updates and then loading up the app again seems to work.

The arrival of Google Play brings to a close the era of the Android Market, which launched way back in October 2008, shortly after the original Android smartphone, the T-Mobile G1. Back then, this is what it looked like. We've come a long way.

So farewell, Android Market. If you've already noticed the Play Store on your device, be sure to shout out in the comments. We've got pics of the new Play Store on Google TV after the break.

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2 years ago

Are you an Android developer? Or a Google Play developer?

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Above are two sets of branding standards, one old, one new. It's pretty obvious to tell which is which. On top, the now-defunct "Available in Android Market" badge you might have seen on any number of Android app developers' websites. Beneath is the new Google Play branding, which either denotes an "Android app on Google play" or tells you to "Get it on Google Play."

For the moment, we'll forgive the fact that Google Play and the branding apparently have decided to diverge when it comes to proper capitalization. (We're going to stick with Google Play, not Google play.)

And we're not going to weigh in on the new triangle logo. Either you love it or you don't. And all the polls in the world won't change anything -- Google Play and the triangle logo will still be there in the morning.

But we are a little concerned about how this new branding takes Android out of play, at least visually. The Android green (#A4C639, if you didn't know) certainly is recognizable after all these years. Same goes for the Bugdroid logo. Now we've got the new triangle logo, none of the Android green, and no happy Bugdroid showing you the way.

Is this an insurmountable problem for developers and marketing firms? Probably not. It's doubtful you'll see the Bugdroid or Android green disappear from boxes or signage anytime soon. But it is an interesting move by Google. And it begs this question:

Where will we see the triangle logo next? 

More: Android brand guidelines

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2 years ago

OnLive Desktop [Android App Review]

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YouTube link for mobile viewing

If there's one company I've been incredibly impressed with as of late, it's got to be OnLive. First they bring their popular game streaming service to Android, give us a fully functional universal remote to use with it, and then, as if to top themselves off, bring something altogether unheard of: OnLive Desktop.

For those curious about how OnLive Desktop works, the premise is pretty simple: instead of streaming games to your Android tablet over a high-speed internet connection, you're streaming a fully functional Windows 7 installation, thereby allowing yourself to keep the laptop at home and do your Windows work on your tablet. It's a cool idea, and fortunately for OnLive, it works really well.

If you have an OnLive account (for games), you've already got a standard OnLive Desktop account. Simply login and you're taken to your Windows 7 desktop, complete with Microsoft Office programs, Adobe Reader, and your own personal Documents folder, ripe for hosting up to 2GB in OnLive's cloud. (If you want to be able to surf the internet using Internet Explorer or host more than 2GB of files, you'll have to pony up $4.99/month for OnLive's "Plus" service. Boo.)

As far as function goes, OnLive has really hit the nail on the head. Opening programs is snappier than on some older computers I've used, and pairing your tablet up with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse only enhances your experience and efficiency. If you're using your finger to navigate (as I suspect most of you might), you'll notice that no double-clicks are needed; all programs act almost like hyperlinks. With only a single tap, you can open anything your heart desires (as long as it's installed on OnLive's machines).

Overall, while I think OnLive has built a really great app that functions well, I'm not sure it's entirely practical, given the options you have to edit programs natively on Android. With apps like QuickOffice Pro (or HD, in the case of tablets) giving you rich document editing right in Android, services like Dropbox giving you excellent document syncing and cloud storage, and full Flash support built right into the standard browser (something you only get with OnLive's "Plus" plan), I'm left scratching my head about how many people will jump on OnLive's bandwagon and really need it.

Regardless, the app is phenomenal (and it's free!). If you're up for giving it a spin, we've got download links after the break.

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2 years ago

Pick up 25 top Android apps for 49 cents each on Google Play

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We could tell something was up when a bunch of leading applications suddenly appeared on the Android Market for just 49 cents. And now we know why -- Google is celebrating the launch of its new Google Play content portal by offering a 25 leading Android apps for 49 cents each (49p in the UK). There also seems to be a new daily "Play of the Day" promotion running, in which one app has its price slashed to just 25 cents -- or 20p if you're in the UK.

The first Play of the Day is Where's My Water, and the top 25, 49-cent apps include top-tier games and programs like World of Goo, Osmos HD, SoundHound, Dead Space and SwiftKey X. There's a lot of great stuff on there that usually sells for a much higher price, so if you're after a few new games or apps, hit the source link to browse through the top 25.

Source: Google Play

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2 years ago

Rebranded Google Play apps starting to push out already

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The ink is hardly dry on the new Google Play signage, and newly rebranded Google Play apps are already starting to drop into the Android Market Google Play Store Android apps section. (See, isn't that easier to say?)

Google's Music, Videos and Books apps will update and rebrand themselves to Play Music, Play Movies and Play Books, if you're running Android 2.2 and above, and if you've already got them in your country of residence. (Paid apps are available in these countries, music in the U.S. only, movies in the U.S., UK, Canada and Japan, and books in the U.S., UK, Canada and Australia.)

The Android Market will update itself to the Google Play Store at some point.

More: Google Play FAQ

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2 years ago

Google Play unveiled - the new place for Music, Apps, Books and Video

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Google's content portal for Android apps, music, books and video content has been consolidated under a new name -- Google Play. Google Play which is now live on the web at play.google.com, will replace the old Android Market, Google Music, Google Books and Videos service, giving users  a clear one-stop location for content.

The way you buy music, apps and other content from Google through the web, or your phone or tablet won't change, but the branding behind the places where you get your content will. Instead of heading several differently-named stores for each type of content, it'll all be available under the Google Play portal.

Android (2.2+) users with the old Android Market app installed will soon see it updated to Play Store, while Google's Music, Movies and Books apps for Android will be updated to incorporate the new Play branding.

So it's an important step for Google as a content provider, existing users shouldn't notice too many changes in the way app, music and video purchasing works. You can still rent a movie once and watch it on YouTube, your phone or your tablet. And you can still send apps to your phone from Play, just as you could with the Android Market.

We've got a brief introductory video after the break. Check back later for a more extensive walkthrough.

More: Google Play Q&A

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