Pop quiz: List, in alphabetical order, all of the Google Nexus phones that officially have access to Google Wallet.
If you aswered the Sprint Nexus S 4G -- and only the Sprint Nexus S 4G -- you're exactly right. And it looks like it might stay that way for the time being. 9 to 5 Google, citing an unnamed source, reports that the Verizon Galaxy Nexus won't have access to Google Wallet, despite that sweet NFC chip tucked into the phone's battery.
And the kicker: Verizon is said to be the one keeping Google Wallet off its Galaxy Nexus. (Never mind that it's a Nexus phone, and remember that we're expecting a couple of Verizon-specific appliations preloaded. We called it Verizon's Nexus for a reason.) And the reason for no Google Wallet on the Galaxy Nexus, according to the anonymous source, is that it's a direct competitor to ISIS, another NFC standard backed by Verizon, along with manufacturers LG, HTC, Motorola, RIM, Samsung and Sony Ericsson.
Oh, and guess who else backs ISIS: AT&T and T-Mobile -- two U.S. carriers that have network-specific versions of the Samsung Nexus S in the United States, which, despite also having NFC capabilities, have no official build of Google Wallet. (Like with the Galaxy Nexus, you can hack Google Wallet on just fine, thank you very much.) Maybe that's just our tinfoil hat talking, but you can't deny that Google Wallet's only officially available on a single phone.
In a pair of unreleased memos seen in the usual spy-shot fashion, Sprint and T-Mobile both have, at least internally, discussed the Carrier IQ saga with their employees.
The memos discuss the use of Carrier IQ as you'd expect -- as a metrics tool for improving network and device service, and both reiterate that Carrier IQ isn't being used to spy on text messages, phone calls and the like, backing up responses that Carrier IQ recently gave The Verge in an interview.
T-Mobile: "T-Mobile does not use the tool to obtain the content of text, email or voice messages, or the specific destinations of customers' Internet activity. It is not used for marketing purposes. T-Mobile uses the Carrier IQ diagnostic tool to gather device data for effective troubleshooting and to increse the overall device and network performance for our customers.
Sprint: "Sprint uses the Carrier IQ data to only understand device performance on our network so we can identify when issues are occuring. ... Even with Carrier IQ, Sprint does not and cannot look at or record contents of messages, photos, videos, etc., nor do we sell or provide a direct feed of Carrier IQ data to anyone outside Sprint.
T-Mobile also details which of its current phones have Carrier IQ installed. You'll want to read the entire memos, which you can find at the source links below.
Tripit is one of the must have apps for frequent travelers. In fact, we recommended it in our Holiday Gift Guide: What to get the Frequent Traveler post. Great news for Kindle Fire owners as the travel app has now made it onto Amazon's Appstore for Android and is specifically designed for Amazon's tablet. (And the ad-free version is free today.)
If you're not familiar with TripIt, it is a free application that manages all of your travel needs. It makes a nice itinerary out of your trip so that you have it available only one-click away, offers sharing services so that you can let your loved ones know where and when you'll be travelling and much more.
There are a lot of games out there that start life "online" that eventually make their way to mobile platforms due to their popularity. One of those games is Gravity Guy from the folks at Miniclip, where you get run around defying all the laws physics and gravity while being chased by Gravity Troops in a fast paced side scroller that I find similar to the likes of Sonic the Hedgehog.
With multiplayer mode for up to four players built-in and two play modes to choose from, if side scrolling action is your thing then Gravity Guy is worth a look. The graphics are pretty awesome and Miniclip was mindful enough ensure gameplay lag was minimal, keeping the fast gameplay on level it should be.
If you're looking to see some more of Gravity Guy before you download, jump on past the break where we have screenshots for you, as well as the download link should you decide to give it a go. Gravity Guy is offered in both a free ad-supported version as well as a paid version.
Check-in favorite Gowalla today confirmed reports that it'd been purchased by Facebook. It'll continue to operate through January, and the service will offer you an option to export your Gowalla data. It also stresses that Facebook is acquiring the service, not the user data Gowalla's collected over the past two years.
The TV series "Scrubs" was killed off in 2010, but it's apparently being resurrected as an Android game. The usual cast of characters and forced jokes are there, and the developer's describing it thusly:
"Scrubs" is a hidden object game inspired by the TV series of the same name. As a young intern the player appears in the well-known "Sacred Heart" and meets all the familiar characters from this great sitcom. He will be involved in an intricate detective story and have to save the reputation of the hospital. Plenty of mini games will help you feel like a real doctor and operate with the medical tools such as scalpels, syringes etc.
"Scrubs" contains many riddles and puzzles, stylish black humor, dozens of awards and unusual twist for hidden object genre gameplay. At the start of every level a game location is generated, objects change their positions and unique level tasks are created. It means that even when users replay completed levels these locations will be new and unfamiliar. A great way to hugely increase the fun and replayability of the game.
Can't say we're waiting on pins and IV needles for this one. But if you're a "Scrubs" fan, look for it to hit the Market on Dec. 14.
Sometimes I come across a game that makes me feel really dumb really challenges the ol' noggin of mine, and I know I just have to share it with you all, the Android faithful (because Android users are inherently smart). Apparatus is one such game, and by the time you're done with it, you'll deserve either a pat on the back or a tasty cold one (or both).
If the name didn't completely give it away, Apparatus is about just that: building apparatuses. To do what, you may ask? To make sure a dark blue ball makes it's way safely into a sky blue box. That's it.
Now if you're wondering what makes Apparatus so difficult, it's because the game uses physics and all, so if any of your parts aren't stable and attached to something, they'll fall away into the nothingness pit that makes up the bottom of the screen.
Fortunately there's no penalty for completely botching the job (sometimes it's the only way to learn what's going on), and a simple tap of the pause button will get all of your objects reset on the screen.
For the first couple of levels there are hints that'll show you the ropes on apparatus-building (like how batteries work, how to tell which way your plank of wood will spin, and how to attach pieces of material together), so you're not totally out in the cold, but once you've been taught the basics, it's up to your own ingenuity to get the job done.
Perhaps even more amazing than the levels the game has you work through are the community-designed levels and the sandbox. From within the sandbox, you can build either an apparatus or a building challenge. When you're done designing your masterpiece, you can upload it to the community levels to people can try and beat it or just watch it unfold.
It's absolutely amazing to see someone construct a rudimentary gun using only these simple tools, or an impressive fireworks show with the only trigger being a wheel rolling over them, and more than makes this app worth its price.
Apparatus feel like one of those "must have" games on Android. It's cheap, forces you to be creative, and is filled with levels. Even if you never touch the main game, the sandbox and community sections can easily take hours out of your otherwise productive day, as you build and see what others have built. In a word, it's stellar.
Apparatus is $2.45 in the Android Market. We've got download links after the break.
Everyone likes bacon right? Of course you do, and now you can take bacon with you around everywhere. Ok it's BaconReader for Reddit, not actually bacon you can carry around. But it's a pretty awesome Reddit reader that has a ton of features built in:
Full user profile support
Color coded comment threads
Easy to use, full featured inbox
Rageface and look of disapproval support
One-tap access to your favorite subreddits
Search for new subreddits based on name or keyword and subscribe to them
If you're looking for a new way to dig into Reddit content, then make sure you take BaconReader for a spin. If you're really hardcore, you can upgrade to remove within the app for $1.99 to remove ads. You can hit the break for the download link and some more screenshots.
The developer of one of our favorite Android kids apps is backing, bringing its version of the "Itsy Bitsy Spider" to Android smartphones and tablets. Like its previous title, Wheels on the Bus, your kid taps its way through the app, with plenty of creatures and characters to interact with while learning the song.
In this case, the Itsy Bitsy Spider's working his way up the drain, in the rain, back down the spout again, and all that jazz. But it's got some friends along for the ride, and things get a little ... interesting when the snail turns into a banana, and a Nyan Cat sort-of-looking thing slides down the rainbow.
For just $1.99, it's good for the kid, and weird enough to keep the parents amused. Hit the break for download links.
Looking for something new to get addicted to? Yeah, we figured as much, and today the folks at Wildbit Studios have launched a new free game into the Android Market called Paper Zombie. Combining a first person shooter style, with an action filled adventure this game is sure to draw your interest, and create hours of entertainment. Check out the video above for a quick overview, and then be sure to hit the break for download links!
A new role-playing game for the Android platform enhanced with Papaya’s social features has been released in the Android Market and for those of you who enjoy classic turned-based battle controls that don't really require a lot of attention-- it might be worth a look.
Fallen Realms, places you in a free to play fantasy world where you must earn, discover, or purchase a deep assortment of weapons, armor, and magic to customize your character all in an effort to unearth seven dark artifacts whose powers will save or destroy all.
If you're not really a hardcore gamer and more a casual gamer who likes easy to control touch and play based games, Fallen Realms may be a perfect fit. It's pretty basic in its offerings and for some -- may feel repetative. Download link is past the break for you all, as well check out the source link for more info.
Angry Birds Seasons just got a new holiday update. But along with the new levels in "Wreck the Halls" came a few new permissions, including phone state and SMS permission, that furrowed a few brows. We caught up with Rovio for a big of explantion. Here 'tis:
On Android, the Angry Birds game itself asks only for the permission to use the Internet. Versions of the game that include advertisements, support for in-app purchases, or both, require additional permissions. The ones that might concern our customers the most are coarse location, phone state and SMS related permission.
Coarse location is used to target advertisements geographically, for example to avoid showing Chinese advertisements in the USA and vice-versa. Android also allows finer location discovery, but we have decided not to enable it for advertisement purposes.
Phone State Permissions:
The phone state permission is used to identify devices in order to implement advertisement frequency capping and targeting. Basically the aim is to avoid a situation where our customer has to view the same advertisement too many times on the device in question.
SMS related permissions:
SMS related permissions allow in-app purchases, where available. For example the Mighty Eagle, to be securely billed on the device owner’s phone bill.
Rovio does take privacy issues very seriously. The Android permissions that our games require are constantly reviewed and we strive to provide the best possible user experience while respecting our customers’ privacy.
Vector Unit, the folks behind Riptide GP (one of the best games for Android ever), has let us know that a new title -- Shine Runner -- will be available tomorrow in the Android Market. Imagine the same type of amazing physics and graphics used for futuristic Jet-Skis in Riptide GP, but imported into a moonshine runners airboat deep in the southern swamps, complete with gators, shacks, stumps, and revenuers. The game's goal is to maximize your score over a ten day period of smuggling through rivers and bayous, while keeping a step ahead of Johnny Law. But I think I'm going to end up with the same mindset as Ralf Knoesel, Vector Unit’s Technical Director, who says:
Our theme for this game is simple. Two words: ’Redneck Chaos.’ Yes, there’s strategy to the trading meta-game, but personally I just love smashing alligators into chicken coops, punting cops off the tops of levies… I’ve been working on Shine Runner for months now and I still laugh when I’m playing.
You had me at redneck chaos, Ralf. Hit the jump to see a few more screenshots and a gameplay trailer, then join me as we all wait patiently for tomorrow.
Carrier IQ has issued a new press release defending its business and reminding us all that it works not unilaterally, but for the operator -- the carrier. The nut:
Carrier IQ acts as an agent for the Operators. Each implementation is different and the diagnostic information actually gathered is determined by our customers – the mobile Operators. Carrier IQ does not gather any other data from devices.
We've got a massive discussion coming up on the podcast, folks.
Check out the whole press relase for yourself after the break.
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