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2 years ago

Zookeeper DX Touch Edition [Android Game Review]

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YouTube link for mobile viewing

Imagine this with me, if you will: Blocks are raining from the sky. Strange hieroglyphs are scribbled upon them, and with each hieroglyph, a color. They continue to stack and higher and higher, until suddenly, an epiphany! If I move the same blocks together in groups of three, they vanish! With this new knowledge in hand, you get to work, saving the world from a block-ridden mess.

If that sounds even remotely familiar, it's because a number of games have that exact premise. In Zookeeper DX Touch Edition, the hieroglyphs are funny looking animal sprites, but the color-specific point is still dead-on. Still, just because this kind of game has been done before doesn't mean it's not fun, so let's take a look at exactly what makes Zookeeper DX Touch Edition worth your time (and money).

For starters, the graphics look great. Sure, you don't need to have stellar graphics for one of those block-swapping games, but Zookeeper DX still doesn't disappoint. Colors and contrast jump off of the screen at you, and there's almost so much visual stimulation taking place (especially on a tablet) that you won't even want to drag your finger across the screen. Then again, that might be the most evil ploy to keep you from focusing on the task at hand.

The music has a catchy, techno pop groove to it, and it definitely exemplifies the playfulness that Zookeeper DX is going for. An angry and tyrannical zoo owner sends his lowly zookeeper to save the day? It's as goofy as it sounds, and the music definitely sets that up.

I'd be remiss if I didn't actually talk about the sprites and gameplay, too. The sprites are hilarious. To advance from level-to-level, you've got to capture (or is it release?) a certain number of every animal, and if you're slacking on a particular type, they scowl at you. Why is an angry, stereotypical animal sprite so endearing? I have no idea, but it works. Make sure you don't forget that each set of blocks you remove gives you a bit of time back on your bar, too. It's just that​ much more incentive to actually meet the game's objectives! Brilliant.

Zookeeper DX Touch Edition is 99 cents in the Google Play Store. We've got download links after the break.

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2 years ago

Lookout releases 'Mobile Lost & Found' info-site with results of phone loss study

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Did you know that over $30 billion worth of phones will be lost in the U.S. alone this year? Yeah, that number shocked me a bit as well. But it came from Lookout's 15 million strong user base and was part of their Phone Loss study compiled of last years (2011) data. They didn't stop there, either. They've compiled lists full of factoids about when and where phones are getting lost, and just how much it's costing us. Granted, Lookout sells a product to help find lost phones, but it's still fun to have a look at the numbers. 

Using the Foursquare API to turn Longitude and Latitude into a venue, they expound the numbers a bit as well. Trivia like the fact that in Chicago it's common to lose a phone in a church (number three on the list), while in London it common to do so in the pub (number one) come from this sort of data. Unfortunately, another thing they noticed is that many of the top locations in the U.S. where people "lost" their phones also happen to be cities with high crime statistics. These are just examples of the things you can find out about lost phones, but they have some good news as well -- 9,000,000 smartphones (that's one every 3.5 seconds) were lost then located with Lookout last year. That's a great reason to use an app like Lookout, or one of the many others, to help you find your phone when (not if) you lose it.

There's a couple screenshots and the press release after the break, and you can check it out yourself by heading to Lookout's Mobile Lost & Found page.

More: Lookout

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2 years ago

Fruit Ninja updated, new multiplayer capabilities added

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The fruit-slashing favourite, Halfbricks' Fruit Ninja, has received an update today that brings with it some pretty nice new multiplayer features. 

The "pomegranate" update is now live in the Google Play Store. The multiplayer options are now available using both local and online multiplayer services. At first glance, it seems to work really well too. You can choose who you want to play against, or swipe over the quick match option to be taken to a random opponent. 

Beyond this, as with any good update we also get some bug fixes too. There is a compatibility update for a small number of devices that were experiencing a "minor audio bug." 

Download links are after the break. Note though that this update is only for the paid version of the application. 

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2 years ago

Angry Birds Space now available for Android

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If you've been patiently waiting for the next series in Rovio's blockbuster hit Angry Birds, then you'll be pleased to know that Angry Birds Space has now lifted off. Rovio has been teasing the new series for quite some time now with it being a whole new twist on the original series. For now, it's available in the Amazon App Store for $1 so if you have access to that, you can hit the link below to grab it. If you can't access the Amazon App Store or just would rather wait until it appears in the Google Play Store, you can grab the ad-based version past the break to hold you over. Now, excuse me -- I have to go defy some gravity.

Source: Amazon

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2 years ago

US Airways expanding Gogo Wifi to 90 percent of its aircraft

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Good news for your frequent fliers who hit the skies with US Airways, as it announced today that it's adding Gogo Wifi service to its Airbus A319, A320 and A321 aircraft, as well as its Embraer 190s. (US Airways Express Embraer 170 and 175s also will be upgraded.) The expansion will bring Internet service to 90 percent of the airlines fleet.

That means you'll be able to use the Gogo app to get your Android smartphone or tablet online while you're onboard, and that's a good thing.

The A320s will start getting Gogo in the fall, with the entire fleet retrofit by the end of 2013.

More: Press release

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2 years ago

SDK tools and ADT up to version 17, now available via the SDK manager

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We first looked at the new SDK tools and various resources coming with version 17 at the beginning of the month, and today they have become available for installation through the SDK manager program. The new download is chock full of goodies for developers, with things like more Lint rules, support for custom views and custom attributes in libraries, and much needed improvements to the emulator. And of course, hackers and coders alike will love the new DDMS views, including the detailed network traffic meter.

It's also worth mentioning that there's an x86 image you can download for the emulator, but for now it's stuck at Android version 2.3.3. We expect that to change soon enough, as Intel has shown they're serious about Android.

Getting the update is easy enough -- just fire up the SDK manager and install. Now get to work making some killer apps, and be sure to let us know about them so we can share them with the world.

Source: Android Developers

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2 years ago

Google reportedly 'rethinking' Google Wallet strategy

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Google is said to be considering a few changes in their Google Wallet strategy because of poor adoption rates. According to Bloomberg, Google is contemplating sharing revenue with the carriers to make the service more appealing and get them to embrace G Wallet like they have done with the ISIS competitor. Of course we have to take all this with that big grain of salt, as Bloomberg is unable to name their sources because of the sensitive nature of the discussions. But this seems completely plausible. 

Google is facing the same sort of opposition on all sides that they had when they tried to introduce the original Nexus phone -- what Google thinks is good for consumers isn't good for carriers and manufacturers. NFC payment systems in our phones depend on three things -- hardware, adoption, and participation. OEM's have to build phones with the correct NFC hardware, which they have been slow to do. Even upcoming phones like the HTC One S don't include the necessary hardware, and the fabled NFC-enabled battery and/or stickers have yet to show their face. Without the hardware, nobody has access and the interest is low. With low consumer interest, OEM's have no incentive to make the hardware. That's a tough nut to crack.

There are many of us who are interested, and would use Google Wallet if it became widely available. But many is subjective. It's readily apparent there isn't a high enough consumer interest in adoption to tackle the problem Google is having with carrier and financial participation. If we cry for it enough, the carriers, banks, and retailers will jump to give it to us, and we're not crying for it enough. Security issues, and a lack of a solid advertising campaign aren't helping much on this front. When the only press you get about your product is bad press, nobody will be lining up to use your services.

Finally, the participation of carriers, OEM's, banks, and retailers is what will really drive Google Wallet forward. We're not seeing that, and odds are it's because not enough dollars are being spread around. I'm no financial analyst, but I'm pretty sure the folks at ISIS aren't afraid to throw money at U.S. carriers to get them on-board. Once you have names like AT&T and Verizon behind your mobile service, getting banks and stores to jump on the bandwagon is much easier. 

We love the idea of having Google Wallet for everyone who may want to use it. We also realize that Google is going to have to grease many a palm to make that happen, and if these reports are right Google finally does, too.

Source: Bloomberg

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2 years ago

Weather Flow a beautiful (and simple) Android weather app

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See that there? That's the Weather Flow app. And that's pretty much all there is to it. Simple, easy-to-read data like date and time, temperature and forecast (daily or hourly).  Don't overthink it. The backgrounds (which pan ever so slowly) are gorgeous. 

There's a typographic theme (available in black or white) that you can switch to in the settings, and there are a couple 4x1 widgets available (we've got screen shots of both after the break), but really what you see above is where the money's at. It's extremely well done, and it's currently going for $1.99. We've got download links after the break.

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2 years ago

Cut the Rope sequel Experiments makes its way to Android

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Massively popular casual game Cut the Rope now has itself a sequel. The newest release from Zeptolab is titled Cut the Rope: Experiments, and has been available on iOS for a while.Now is our turn and it is available in the Google Play Store right now. 

The loveable Om-Nom returns from the first game, and this time is discovered by a mad scientist. Said scientist is determined to study Om-Nom's love of candy by conducting a series of experiments. 

Essentially what we get here though is more of the same -- cut rope, collect stars, deliver candy. But that's no bad thing. The original is so incredibly addictive that there would be little reason to change it up too much. There are new ways to interact and deliver the candy to our little green friend, which all fit within the experiments moniker the game carries. These include rope guns, suction cups, water and even rockets. After all what's a scientist without rockets? 

We're not short on gameplay either, with 125 new levels to play spread across 5 different categories. Experiments also comes with an element of social integration, with "hidden evidence" to be found for the Professor's photo album to share on Facebook

Cut the Rope: Experiments is available to download now from the Google Play Store and will set you back a very reasonable $0.99/£0.62. We've got the download links and the official trailer for you after the break.

Source: Google Play Store

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2 years ago

Reddit is Fun pulled from Google Play - here's why it probably happened

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The Android phone is for porn, but the Android Market Google Play store is not. Recently, the Reddit is Fun app was pulled from the Play store for inclusion of sexually explicit material, and the developer (rightfully) questioned things publicly. Of course, this started an outcry of epic proportions that in itself would be suitable for Reddit. Following suit, the rumblings of Google being unfair, and that they should pull every browser and other app that allowed access to the Internet began. That's how the Internet works -- it thrives on controversy and only works well when not all the facts are known. 

Turns out the developer talked to the appeals team for the Google Play store, and the Reddit is Fun app did violate some rules that apps like the default browser or a Twitter app did not. The default install of the app included direct recommended links to pornographic material on the main page of Reddit. You see, the filtering agent that decides what is shown on the home screen of the app had all the sub-categories enabled by default. Categories like "ass," "NSFW," "pornvids," "spaceporn," and all other sorts of unsavory material that many folks wouldn't want to see would show up as links. If Grandma picked up your phone, and had no idea the sort of things available on Reddit, all she would know is that it was "Fun" and click them.

Nobody wants Grandma to see MeatSpin. Nobody. (Ed. Note: Phil could have gone the rest of his life without seeing it, too. Seriously, search that NSFW little nugget at your own risk.)

The Reddit is Fun developer is aware how to correct the issue, and we'll likely see the app "back on the shelves" shortly. Of course that part of the story didn't get picked up with the same steam the original pulling of the app did, but that's the Internet for ya.

This time around, we understand why the app was pulled, and can't say we disagree with the act of pulling it. Google could have had a little better communication, but that's another story for another day. There is a big question left, though.

How does Google decide which apps get pulled?

There are several Reddit apps in the Play store, and they all link to the same material. There are apps for 4chan (if you don't know, you don't want to) that link to things far, far worse. Why did these apps not get pulled? We're not sure, but we imagine user reporting has a lot to do with it. We've reached out to Google for a better explanation how this all works, and if we get answers we'll be sure to pass them along. In the meantime, this controversy can be put to rest while we await the next one.

Source: Reddit

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