Headlines

2 years ago

Google Maps go indoors in the UK

4

Indoor maps has been announced today by Google for UK Android users. Currently 40 maps are now available ranging from train stations to indoor shopping centers.

It may not be a feature that we all use very often but as more and more indoor maps become integrated with Google, the more I see its use increasing. And it is a pretty handy thing to have at your disposal. There is nothing worse than arriving at a large train terminal for example and having no idea where the platform you need is. Especially after a few drinks!  Now all the information is right at your fingertips.

It is just a case of zooming in on the location in question and the map will automatically adjust to show you the floor plan. Simple. And it works beautifully. I just tested it on the Samsung Galaxy SIII. Clever stuff.

Thinking about it I can't understand why we didn't have this feature before. I reckon I can shave some time off of taking the Mrs shopping with this!

Read more and comment

 
2 years ago

Crank your volume to 11 with Volume+

32

Ever wish you could crank the volume on your Android device up to an 11 so you could actually hear the notifications or boost the volume during calls? After purchasing my Galaxy Nexus I found that the sound level was a little low for my preference, and I immediately began looking for ways to boost the volume. There are a bunch of sound applications in the Google Play Store, but unfortunately many of them just seem to help change the sounds, and not actually boost the volume.  Luckily for me a search of the Android Central forums led me to a great application, Volume+, that just so happens to have a free and paid versions.

I began with installing the free version to see what types of enhancements it could bring me, and I was immediately pleased with the results. One the application is launched there are options to change speaker, headset or Bluetooth settings, as well as giving the option to upgrade to the full version. If you are looking to get louder notifications from the device speakers, or crank the music a bit higher, click on speaker modification then check the first option. Towards the bottom it gives you a volume level option in which you can add +1 - +4 to the sounds, depending how loud you want it to go. The paid version will bring you all the way up to +8, which is likely more than any of us will really need. In addition to volume enhancements you can change the bass levels and in the paid version there are EQ settings as well.

If you desire to have louder volume during calls on your headset or Bluetooth you can make modification to those in the same fashion as the speaker. This allows you to make things a little louder than the headset you are using wanted it to be, so proceed with caution while cranking this up. Overall the application is great, it is super simple and that is all it needs to be. Let those pesky quiet notifications be gone, and take control of your sound levels today!

Download: Volume+

Read more and comment

 
2 years ago

Let your Android device teach you how to tie your tie

21

Ever find yourself getting ready for a big date, or an important dinner, only to realize you have no idea how to tie your tie? Now you need to grab some ties, run across the house, hop on the computer and hope that YouTube has a good video for you to follow, right? Well, wrong. Grab your Android device, download a free app and boom -- learn how to tie one of many knots while on the go. Whether you want a Kelvin, a Windsor, or maybe just a Simple Double, you can learn with ease all from one free application.

The application itself is quite simple, launch it, check out the pictures to see which kind of knot you prefer, and then click on that one. Once you have opened a knot it will then teach you in a few simple pictures how to properly tie it, and then you are ready to go. If you are unsure of which type of knot to use for which occasion, clicking on the knot will bring a quick summary of when it is ideal to tie that type, and that will help you decide.

As far as options go you won't find many of them here. From the main page you can access a small menu that allows you to view the pictures normal, or as you would view them in a mirror. This can be a huge help since many will probably be attempting this in front of a mirror, and with the pictures showing as such it will make it easier to understand. The application is free, and ad supported, and while you won't use this type of thing regularly throughout your day, it could definitely come in handy. Grab the application from the download link provided, and challenge yourself to a new knot today!

Download: How to Tie a Tie

Read more and comment

 
2 years ago

What is a Nexus stock image, and how do you use it?

17

Hacking your Galaxy Nexus is cool - but even cooler is being able to fix it and get back to stock

With all the Jelly Bean ROMs floating around out there, more than a few of us have put our Galaxy Nexus devices so far off the official path that we need breadcrumbs to find our way back. Custom firmware is half the fun of owning one of Google's wide-open phones, and we encourage everyone to learn what they can and see if it's something they want to try. But sometimes, you just want to go home again. Getting your Galaxy Nexus back to the state it was out-of-the-box is pretty straightforward for most variants.

We say variants, because "official" images exist only for the yakju (GSM), takju (Google Play version) and mysid (Verizon) versions. The good news here is that plenty of unofficial methods will help you if you have a different version, and our Galaxy Nexus forum is just the place to find them. If you're rocking the Sprint version, or one of the Samsung world versions, head there and ask the pros. For the rest, it's pretty easy.

Read more and comment

 
2 years ago

Official VLC for Android build enters beta, if you can get it

28

We heard from VideoLAN a couple of weeks ago with suggestions that an official VLC build for Android was finally nigh. Well, nigh becomes today, as the first official beta of VLC for Android is available for download from Google Play right now. It comes boasting, as we would expect, a pretty impressive list of features and support:

  • Plays all files, in all formats, like the classic VLC.
  • Audio and video media library, with full search.
  • Support for network streams, including HLS.
  • Supports Android from version 2.1 (platform-7).
  • Supports ARMv6, ARMv7 and ARMv7+NEON.
  • Subtitles support, embedded and external, including ASS and DVD subtitles.
  • Multi audio or subtitles tracks selection.
  • Multi-core decoding, for Cortex-A7 A9 and A15 chips.
  • Experimental hardware decoding.
  • Gestures, headphones control.

For anyone who isn't familiar, VLC is an extremely powerful, open-source, media player, that can pretty much play any type of media file thrown at it. An official build for Android has been a long time coming, but there have been several, unofficial builds to play with. We've been using one for quite some time now, and the results are pretty impressive. True to its word, we've yet to find a video that has stumped it. And, despite expecting bugs, it has proved surprisingly stable thus far. Bodes well for the official build. 

There are a few conditions though. This is the NEON version only at this time, but other builds will be coming that support a wider range of devices. And, VideoLAN has published a list of recommended devices to try out the beta on, but it's not a compatibility list, so go take a look. But, do be warned, we are seeing a big old list of incompatible devices.

From what we've seen so far, there's every possibility it's a location based issue and not an actual device incompatibility. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is listed as a recommended device by VideoLAN, but on the American side of the Atlantic, we're seeing the "cannot be installed in your device's country" message in both the U.S. and Canada. 

It's also important to note that this is an early beta, and it's likely to be full of bugs. But, it does come with a homescreen widget. Things will change before the final release too. In any case, it's finally here, and the developers are keen for users to join in the testing, and engage with them in their official forums. 

For the full rundown, hit the source link below, and head on over to Google Play to grab yourselves a copy. We know a lot of you guys have been waiting on this one. We're going to go away and have a good look ourselves

Source: VideoLAN; Download: VLC Beta for Android

Read more and comment

 
2 years ago

Android developers demystify application security (the sky is not falling!)

7

As soon as the schedule for Google I/O 2012's developer sessions was announced, I knew the Security and Privacy in Android Apps session was going to be a must-attend session. The Internet and its FUD machine gives Android security a lot of bad press, and while some of it is warranted, some of it is just sensationalism. Android is a big name and big names in big headlines sell papers. 

I'm so glad I felt forced to attend this one. The presenters (Android security engineer Jon Larimer, and Android framework and security engineer Kenny Root) did a wonderful job. It was developer-oriented for sure, but laid out in a way that even novice coders (or rusty old ones) would understand. The gist of it all was typically Google, and typically open -- the tools and methods to provide a very secure Android application are there, developers have to use them correctly. Android's open-market model means there is no one to review every app before it goes in Google Play, and with easy sideloading just about any code can find its way on your device. (Hopefully with your knowledge.) It's up to developers to use the tools to make a safe, secure, and useful application. It might sound like Google is passing the buck on security here, but we have to remember that the alternative is a locked-down garden of corporate evil  model like Apple where they control everything that goes in or out of a phone you paid for. I prefer the open model, and I imagine that most of you reading will agree.

The basics, like Android's sandbox, were covered, as well as some outside-the-box thinking, like the risk of Web containers and home-made encryption. We saw examples of how to use the correct app permissions (and only use the correct permissions), developer account security to keep your good name safe and untarnished in Google Play, and even the insecure nature of being online was covered. Larimer and Root did a great job telling the attendees (the room was so crowded they had to turn folks away to meet fire-safety code) about the hazards that exist and the tools to combat them. It was the perfect example of why Google I/O is important to all of us -- developers need to hear this stuff. The short of it:

  • Our mobile devices are full of very important (to us) and private data.
  • Applications must be designed to protect data.
  • Any and all data exposed to your application must be kept secure.
  • Android uses application sandboxing and the Linux security and permissions model, so you have to be wary of what other apps are going to ask your app to do for them.
  • Permissions are of the utmost importance. Learn what each one does, and only use the ones you must.
  • Intents and APIs should be used instead of global permissions.
  • Your (the developers) name is on the tin. Spend the time to make sure your product is secure and user info is kept private.

It's a relatively simple set of guidelines, with about a million ways to go wrong. Luckily Google is ready and willing to help with sessions like this as well as various code-jams and developer hangouts across the globe. 

What was initially something I thought I had to attend, like it or not, turned out to be the highlight of the entire event for me. Google is serious about application security and your privacy, and they want to help every developer write great apps that keep users data safe and sound. If you're not an Android dev, you can feel good that Google knows what the issues are, and is doing everything they can to keep you safe. If you are a developer, you need to watch this session. We've got the video (about an hour) and a gallery of some highlights after the break. 

Read more and comment

 
2 years ago

Drag Racing - Bike Edition [Android App Review]

4

If you ever got into web games, odds are that you have heard of and likely spent many hours or days already having played the Drag Racing series. For those unfamiliar with the game the idea was simple, you bought a virtual car, then raced it to win money and points to get upgrades, and you tried to have the best and fastest car possible. These games have since evolved, and been brought to the mobile space, and they have made a spin off, Drag Racing - Bike Edition. As you could imagine from the title this game is very similar, except with the use of motorcycles instead of cars. Let's hit the break and see exactly what the game is all about!

Read more and comment

 
2 years ago

Google Wallet updated, still doesn't work on the EVO 4G LTE

25

Here's one of those good news/bad news stories. Google Wallet has gotten itself an update today for "Support for new device form factors," "prepaid top-up improvements" and "security enhancements." Sweet.

The bad news is that it still doesn't work on the Sprint HTC EVO 4G LTE, and that's still no good. The EVO is one of the top two phones in Sprint's lineup right now, and Google Wallet's one of the major features touted. And it still doesn't work.

Anyhoo, if you're using Google Wallet, be sure to get your update on ASAP. 

Download: Google Wallet for Android; more: EVO 4G LTE forums

Read more and comment

 
2 years ago

Amazing Alex from Rovio arriving on Android in July

10

Rovio's next eagerly awaited title, Amazing Alex, will be with us on Android sometime in July. The above trailer has been created by Rovio confirming such, that we'll be seeing it this month. Sadly, what the trailer doesn't give us, is any sign of gameplay footage. 

Amazing Alex will of course be a follow up title from the developers of the smash hit, Angry Birds franchise. It will  be a physics based puzzle game, with over 100 levels to tackle. Additionally players can design their own levels using 35 different interactive objects. And, in true Rovio style, we're promised regular, free updates. We're looking forward to getting our hands on this one.

Source: Amazing Alex (Rovio)

Read more and comment

 
2 years ago

Final Fantasy III finally breaks free of Japanese exclusivity, comes with a price tag

37

The 3D remake of the 90's classic, Final Fantasy III. has been available on Android since March, should you live in Japan. If you're looking for something to occupy, post Google I/O, the title has now become available to the rest of the world as well. 

Priced at a whopping $15.99/£10.99, FInal Fantasy III isn't much of an impulse buy. But, if anyone knows how to make a great game, it's Square Enix. Additionally, the Android version comes with improved 3D visuals, and story sequences that are exclusive to Android. The download also weighs in at 172MB, so worth making sure you've got the space, but it will work on Android 2.2 and above. Time to get your quest on. 

Download: Final Fantasy III

Read more and comment

 
2 years ago

Android Central Editors' app picks for June 30, 2012

29

​With Google I/O only just barely behind us, the excitement is probably still running through you. Whether you just flashed some Jellybean love for yourself, or you are just overly excited about any of the announcements, odds are you want a new application to check out on your device. Let's hit the break and check out some of our favorites from this week!

Read more and comment

 
2 years ago

Google Currents to be part of Jelly Bean OTA for Nexus devices

14

As you'll know if you've been following our Google I/O coverage, Google Currents will ship on the Nexus 7 tablet when it launches next month. But now it's been revealed that Google's digital magazine app will also be part of the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OTA that'll be sent to ICS-running Nexus devices around the same time. An email sent to currents partners today indicate that Currents' user base is set to increase significantly as it goes from an optional app on the Play Store to a part of the core collection of Google apps. As such, we'd also expect to see Currents shipping out on future Google-certified Jelly Bean devices, as it becomes a more established member of the Google apps family.

If you're using Currents, be sure to add Android Central to your library today.

Read more and comment

 
2 years ago

Face Unlock in Jelly Bean gets a 'Liveness check'

18

One of the more frivolous features introduced into Android with Ice Cream Sandwich, was the Face Unlock. While it's always been something cool to show off against your iPhone toting friends, it's never really been overly useful, or secure. It's not the most reliable feature in the world,  and it can be duped by a photograph, and generally makes unlocking your phone longer. 

Enter Jelly Bean, and an improvement to Face Unlock. Pointed out in the Android Central Forums, by member ​Jays2Kings​, within the security settings menu in Jelly Bean is a new option -- Liveness check.

So, this is supposed to get round the potential picture duping issue, by making it so Face Unlock will check for the person in front of it blinking. In other words, making sure you're alive. While it's good to see solutions for potential security risks, ​Jays2Kings ​also points out that it doesn't really pick up normal blinking too well. Seems that it works best when you have your eyes open really wide, and all it seems to do is to further slow down the process of unlocking your phone with Face Unlock

How about you guys? Anyone who's running one of the Jelly Bean ROM's already out there, and tried this out, shout out in the comments and let us know how it works for you. 

​thanks Jays2Kings!

Read more and comment

 
2 years ago

Google announces 'Save to Wallet' for offers and payment cards

10

Google I/O has been jam packed full of new, and exciting Google software and technology. While the headline acts are no doubt the arrival of the Nexus 7 and Jelly Bean, there has been some pretty interesting stuff going on in the developer sessions. One such session, dedicated to Google Wallet, unveiled a new feature, called Save to Wallet. Initially for offers and payment cards, it is seen as the first step in opening up Google Wallet to a wider audience. 

So, what's it all about. Taking offers first, the Save to Wallet API will allow consumers to save offers from a stores website, directly to their Google Wallet. Wallet will then remind you to take advantage of it before the coupon expires. The offers can then be applied in the store, either by showing the offer code in your Wallet, or by using the NFC capabilities on your smartphone. Pretty slick. 

Adding the Save to Wallet button to an existing website requires little more than a piece of Javascript code. The benefits to retailers pretty much speak for themselves, but the consumer benefits are really nice too. By managing your offer coupons for you, Wallet will give you the notifications, to remind you to use them. After all, we all want to save some money, right? 

The Save to Wallet API also applies to payment cards as well. It works pretty similarly to offers, and allows payment card providers the ability to provide the same button on their website, and offer a seamless way to enter your card into your Google Wallet. 

Naturally, since we're dealing with potentially sensitive data here, the API isn't just opened up to anyone who wants it. It will be opened up to a limited number of users initially, in a closed beta. Anyone interested can register, but Google will only be releasing the API to approved partners. This applies to offers, as well as payment cards. 

And, what about the future? As the slide here shows, Google are promising more, coming soon. It's a smart move, if they can make a go of it. Apple's Passbook is likely the beginnings of their own Wallet solution, and Windows Phone 8 has theirs on the way. Google's taking a good first step here into expanding the functionality of Wallet. What we need now, is greater adoption -- we'd like to use our phones to pay for stuff in Europe too, Google. 

For your viewing convenience, we've embedded the Google Wallet session after the break. 

Read more and comment

 
2 years ago

The Amazing Spider-Man now available from Google Play

15

Roll up, roll up. Get your daily super hero fix here. Well, sort of. If you are a Spider-Man fan or just a gamer on your Android device you will be pleased to hear that The Amazing Spider-Man is waiting for you to download it from Google Play.

It does come with a hefty price tag of £4.99 which isn't cheap but it sure looks fun. With 25 action packed levels will you be the one to save Manhattan from the evil Lizard?

FREE NEW YORK CITY
• Explore the city through its five distinctive districts (Central Park, Business, Downtown, Pier and Residential)
• An exciting and enjoyable fighting system with melee, ranged, combo attacks and much more
• A wide selection of upgrades to customize your style, attacks and skills

It looks like Gameloft have given us another cracker. Sweet.

Download here

Read more and comment

 
Show More Headlines

Pages