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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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2 years ago

Gameloft will optimize select titles for the upcoming LG Optimus 3D MAX

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Gameloft announced today that it has partnered with LG to optimize a number of its titles for the Korean manufacturer's upcoming Optimus 3D MAX smartphone. The following games will take advantage of the MAX's glasses-free 3D technology and will be available through LG Smart World upon the device's release:

  • Assassin’s Creed 3D
  • Dungeon Hunter 2 3D
  • James Cameron’s Avatar 3D
  • N.O.V.A. 2 – Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance 3D
  • Shrek Kart 3D
  • BackStab 3D 
  • Fishing Kings 3D 
  • Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus 3D
  • Shadow Guardian 3D 
  • Spider-Man: Total Mayhem 3D, Order & Chaos
  • Splinter Cell 3D

We got our hands on the Optimus 3D MAX back at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and while LG hasn't done much in terms of bumping the specs of its original Optimus 3D, it has added the ability to turn your plain old 2D apps into 3D ones. The titles above aren't so much simply converted as they are "optimized", so we're looking forward to seeing what Gameloft has done in terms of turning its titles into full-blown 3D experiences. Gameloft's announcement can be found after the break.

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2 years ago

Looking to try a new keyboard? MessageEase may be worth a look

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YouTube Mobile Link

With a multitude of keyboards available for Android, there is a clear consensus that not everyone likes the same type of keyboards. Some prefer stock, some prefer something a little different. If you fall in the crowd who likes something a little different then MessageEase may be what you're looking for.

MessageEase has a rather unique layout, consisting of only nine keys. The concept behind it is that it helps minimize finger reach and maximizes efficiency when typing single-handed or with a single finger. The layout itself is user customizable by shape, size, color so you can adjust it for whatever works best for you.

MessageEase is available in the Google Play Store now for free. If the video above isn't enough info, you can jump past the break for the full press release announcement and download link.

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2 years ago

Draw Something [Android Game Review]

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YouTube link for mobile viewing

Drawing is a really funny thing. Most people fall into one of two categories: excellent or incredibly terrible. What better way to expose people and complicate the matters further than by forcing you to use your chubby fingers to draw crude, cave painting-like images with a friend, and then try to guess what the other person drew? Well, that seems to be the thinking at OMGPOP, because they made a little game called Draw Something that does just that, and it's all the rage these days.

The premise is ridiculously simple: pick a word from a list of three, try and draw it using different colors and brushes, then send it along to your friend and see if they can guess the correct word. Guessing is aided by the fact that your letter selection isn't infinite; on the contrary, you're only given a small handful of letters that aren't​ in your word, so as long as you can discern what you need, you'll be fine.

The three words you're given to choose from get increasingly more difficult, but the reward is also increased if your partner correctly guesses the word, too. There's a built-in incentive for trying to accumulate coins as fast as you can; coins can buy you precious bombs that eliminate letters not used in your word, or can buy you new colors to add to your palette.

You've got two options to create an account: login with your Facebook account or create a username. If you opt for the former, you can invite any of your friends from your friends list that is playing and start up a game. If you opt for the latter, you've got to add people by their username. In the sad event you don't have any friends to play with, you can also be matched with a random opponent, too, so you can still get your draw on. Either way, you can play against your friends on Android, or on iOS. Nice.

For a game with so simple a concept, Draw Something really strikes a chord with me (and everyone else, apparently). It's probably the social aspect, but there's something oddly rewarding about guessing correctly even though the drawing looked like something a pre-schooler would do. At any rate, it's fun as can be, so you might as well give it a shot. Missing, however, are notifications for when it's your turn. Booo.

Draw Something is 99 cents in the Google Play Store. We've got download links after the break.

Looking to play against other Android Central members? Share your username here!

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2 years ago

Tripit gets significant redesign for Android tablets, phone version tweaked, too

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Tripit easily is our favorite app for frequent travelers, and it's just gotten an pretty significant update for tablets as well as phones.

On the larger screens, there's a new layout that includes interactive maps and multiscreen views. Trips and points accounts all share space on the main screen. There also are larger (and scrollable!) widgets available if you're running Android 3.0 and up.

On the phone side, the points accounts section has been redesigned -- your account details, status and activity all have their own collapsible sections -- and the app refreshes faster while using less data.

All in all, a good update to an indispensable application for frequent travelers. We've got download links after the break if you need 'em.

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2 years ago

L.A. Noire for tablets now available through OnLive

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Rockstar has announced the availability of L.A. Noire: Touch Edition built specifically for tablet play via OnLive Desktop. If you're not familiar, have a look at our hands-on with OnLive, and see how it streams programs installed in a Windows 7 desktop environment to your tablet or smartphone. L.A. Noire is no exception, and what you'll be playing on your tablet is a natively installed Windows game, with controls optimized for the touch interface. 

Rockstar has optimized the award winning game to make controls and menus designed for tablet use, and it appears they have done a very nice job. It's the first time a game of this scope and complexity has been re-built this way, and it a good indicator of things to come. If you already have L.A. Noire, or L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition through OnLive, your game has already been updated with touch support. If you haven't tried it yet, you can rent or buy it through the OnLive Game System for as little as $5.99 /£3.99.

Of course you'll need the Android OnLive client, which is completely free and runs on any Android device with Gingerbread or higher installed. You can find the download link after the break.

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2 years ago

Winnipeg Jets release official app just as the playoff race heats up

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Official apps from NHL teams are being released on a staggered schedule. Last month, four more teams received apps, however, many fans were still left in the cold. The Winnipeg Jets have recently released their official app, which has to make fans up north incredibly happy. The franchise that was gone in Atlanta for so long has now returned, and the passionate fans up there can follow their team on-the-go with the The Winnipeg Jets App.

The features of the app include:

  • Jets interactive schedule and results
  • Up to date scores, stats and standings
  • News and Videos
  • Player cards, bios and stats
  • Game photos

The playoff races are heating up in the NHL, so the timing is good for the fans up in Winnipeg. Please find links to the free app after the break.

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