Headlines

3 years ago

YouTube Android Player API finally bringing proper YouTube content to Android apps

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Quick question -- how many of you used the I/O 12 Android application to stream the live developer sessions from Google I/O? If you did, as it turns out, you were taking advantage of a brand new, as yet un-released YouTube Android Player API. The API was 'pre-announced' during one of the YouTube developer sessions, with a full announcement and release in the coming months.

At present, viewing YouTube content on your Android device -- outside of the YouTube app anyway -- isn't a particularly seamless and enjoyable process. There are three ways in which such content can be presented. The first, a browser plugin/flash based embed, but this isn't a true mobile experience, there is no access to the YouTube player API, and suffers when there's no flash of course.

The second -- which we use to embed videos here on AC -- is the iFrame based embed. This does offer access to the player API's, but has to be embedded into a webview, and is un-supported on older versions of Android.

The third way, is to throw in an instruction to open up the content in the YouTube app itself. All well and good, but it's an extra step for consumers, and for developers, it means that those consumers are having to leave your application to view the content.

And that, is where the new YouTube Android Player API will come in. In simple terms, it will allow for a full, native YouTube video experience, right within an application with full player controls to boot.

This sort of integration has been a long time coming, but with the sheer volume of content shared through YouTube today, it's a very necessary step too. No-one likes having to leave an application just to watch a YouTube video.

The API will be optimized for all the form factors that Android supports, mobile, tablet and Google TV, and will support OS versions right back to Froyo. For developers, integration will be made as easy as possible, with the basic code requirement sitting at just three lines. It will provide automatic support for fullscreen and orientation change, and will adjust the quality of the stream based upon the strength of the network connection.

Importantly too, for content providers, the release of this API will allow support for monetized content. Everyone has to earn a few bucks, after all.

The session itself goes into all the nuts and bolts, and you'll find it ready to watch after the break. It's something we know a lot of you will be excited about, just as we are. The ability to play YouTube videos, in line, within the Google+ app -- yes please.

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3 years ago

Ready Steady Bang brings pixelly western shootouts to Android [App Review]

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Ready Steady Bang has made the leap from iOS today, and thankfully left the pricetag behind. 

Ready Steady Bang is a positively charming one-touch western game made by a London design firm called Chambers Judd. The game is a dead-simple test of speed, pitting you in a series of old-timey shootouts with AI-controlled enemies, or against a friend in local multiplayer. 

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3 years ago

Cthulhu has a change of heart, tries to saves the world [App Review]

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The Great Old Ones spend a lot of time trying to devour souls, but in Cthulhu Saves the World for Android, one is trying to do something nice - even heroic - for a change. 

Of course, it's just to regain the terrible powers that have been stripped from him, but that's besides the point. Cthulhu Saves the World originally launched on PC through Steam and Xbox Live Arcade, and quickly followed-up with a mobile port for iOS and Android. 

The gameplay will be more than familiar to anyone that has put any time into old-school RPGs on the original Nintendo. You guide Cthulhu and a party of adventurers through a linear series of quests that usually end up in wacky hyjinx. You'll get 6 - 10 hours of gameplay, with some additional unlockable game modes (including Highlander Mode, which quadruples your XP, but only allows one hero to fight in each encounter) and vanity collectibles. 

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3 years ago

Google Play update rolling out to non-Jelly Bean devices

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If you fire up your Google Play app this morning and things look a little more awesome, don't be alarmed. It's just that you're now rocking the same version as the folks running Jelly Bean ROMs. And that means, along with a spruced-up layout, you also should have access to Magazines (if you didn't already).

You don't have to do anything to get the update -- it'll push out to your phone in due time. So sit back, relax and marvel at how far we've come since the old days of the Android Market.

More: Android Forums; thanks, @armaniblake!

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3 years ago

iFixit's bible of repair available in one handy, and open-source, Android application

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If you really want to see what lies inside many of the popular Android devices -- without of course hacking your own to pieces -- there are few better places than iFixit. The popular, home repair manual is now available in a new Android application, which also boasts support for Jelly Bean. Oh, and did we mention that it's open-source?

The code has been posted over at Github, and users are encouraged to "improve or fork it." But, as it stands in its released condition, it's a pretty nice app. The ability to have the knowledge provided by iFixit, but in your pocket is really handy -- I, for one, never like having to sit next to the PC to follow instructions while I'm 'repairing.' 

It isn't a watered down for mobile version either. Contained within is the full instructions for a variety of devices complete with all the necessary images. The app is designed for Android 4.x, but works all the way back to devices running Froyo. It's simplicity is one of its most endearing factors. Finding the guides you want is incredibly easy, and the text, and images, is clear and well laid out. 

Sounds good right? Hit the links below to either download a copy of the app from Google Play, or to head to the the iFixit Github page if dabbling with the code is more your thing. 

Download: iFixit; More: iFixit Github

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3 years ago

Want early access to the new Google Play developer console? Sign up to request early access now

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During the first day of Google I/O, one of the post-keynote developer sessions was dedicated to Android Apps in Google Play. While the buzz was all about the newly announced Jelly Bean update, and the Nexus 7 tablet, the real meat of Google I/O was going on in the developer sessions. 

Google Play is an ever increasingly important part of the Android ecosystem, but still remains the best way to distribute, and consume Android applications. After all, before Google Play, it all started with just apps in the Android Market. 

One of the new developer features announced at the conference, is a new Google Play developer console. The emphasis is on being faster, and easier to use. It isn't ready for general use just yet, but, if you're a developer that fancies taking it for a "test drive," Google is accepting registrations for early access now. Just hit the source link below, and head on over and enter your details. 

For a more in depth look though, you'll find the entire I/O session embedded after the break. 

Source: Google Play

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3 years ago

Sky Go for Android gets fresh on-demand content, ICS support inbound

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British broadcaster Sky has announced some major updates to its Sky Go streaming application for Android. The update adds on-demand streaming of Sky Movies content, and "popular entertainment channels" including Sky 1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Living and Sky Arts 1. The new channel listing brings the Sky Go Android app up to par with its iOS cousin. There are also additional account controls built into the new app, which allow customers to view their Sky package and monthly bills.

Compatibility is still an issue, as Sky's been slow to test and certify new devices (likely due to licensing restrictions rather than the broadcaster's own intransigence.) Right now official support is only available for the HTC Desire, Desire S, Desire HD, Incredible, Sensation, Sensation XE, as well as Samsung's Galaxy S and Galaxy S II. And they're only supported on Android 2.2 and 2.3, so you're SOL once you get that long-awaited ICS update.

In any case, Sky says a future update, due by the end of July, will add support for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, as well as the Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy Note. There's no word on Jelly Bean support, though right now the app refuses to install on our Nexus 7 and I/O edition Galaxy Nexus. The Galaxy Note, it seems, is currently supported, according to the Google Play Store listing.

If you're a Sky subscriber, hit the comments and let us know how you're getting on with the new version. We've got Sky's press release after the break.

Download: Sky Go

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3 years ago

AirDroid gives your Android device its very own webtop [App Review]

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After poking through some of Josh and Jerry's favorite apps of last year, one that kept coming up in the comments when talking about file management over PC was AirDroid. After playing around with it for awhile, I can see why readers were eager to suggest this handy little remote access app.

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3 years ago

Google Now ported to Android 4.0 devices running an AOSP ROM

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Back during Google I/O 2012, we saw the unveiling of Google Now for Jelly Bean devices. Sadly, Google never released it as a stand-alone app so any device running Ice Cream Sandwich now essentially needs to be upgraded to Jelly Bean in order to make use of it. I say essentially because the fine folks in the Android community have now found a way to make it work on any Android 4.0 device running an AOSP ROM though there is one lingering issue with it. You can't use voice. Sure, the no voice thing is a bit of a bummer but for those who are interested in loading it up, you can do so with only a few steps required:

  • Rename the APK to GoogleQuickSearchBox.apk
  • Go to System/App and rename the original GoogleQuickSearchBox.apk to 3, something else (Or delete it)
  • Copy in the GoogleQuickSearchBox.apk the one you renamed from (Velvet-theos0o.apk)
  • Set the permissions, to the /System/App/GoogleQuickSearchBox.apk to RW-R--R--
  • Reboot and it should work

As you can tell by looking at the instructions, it's not going to be for everyone. However, if you're willing to give it a shot you can find the download over at XDA Developers to get started. Just remember, you must be on an AOSP ROM in order for it to work.

Source: XDA

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3 years ago

Samsung launches official UK Top 40 chart app on Galaxy Ace II

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Samsung has teamed up with music app-maker MusicQubed to launch an official UK Top 40 chart app across its range of smartphones. The app will debut on the Galaxy Ace II, which Sammy says is launching today in the UK.  Presumably it'll later start begin roll out across the Galaxy line through the Google Play Store. Unfortunately we're not able to use it on our Galaxy S III due to our being on an "unsupported network" (go figure), and our Jelly Bean'd Galaxy Nexus was deemed incompatible, too.

For those with both a a compatible handset and supported carrier, the MusicQubed chart app, Samsung says, gives users unlimited plays of the current UK top 40. It apparently works by caching these tracks overnight, meaning there's no need to stream out of your precious cellular data allowance. The app also delivers "daily celebrity news updates," if you're into that sort of thing. There's also social integration via both  Twitters and the Facebook. Galaxy phone owners will get free access to the app for two months, after which it'll cost £1 per week.

Check past the break for the full presser.

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3 years ago

Dead Trigger now on Google Play - all the zombies you can kill for just a buck

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Madfinger Games has brought their latest highly anticipated FPS to Google Play, and Dead Trigger is now available for just $0.99. The same folks who brought us Samurai II:Vengance and Shadowgun now deliver a fast-paced FPS that's chock full of zombies and blood. It's an alternate reality apocalyptic style game placed in today's times with today's modern weapons, and your job is to survive. Sounds like a winner already, doesn't it?

It gets better. Unlike some games where zombies are just brain-dead shambles that will happily hurt you if you bump into them, Dead Trigger has programmed an aggressive AI into these particular undead and they're more than happy to hunt you down and have a healthy brain snack. Add in a story line to progress along, a shop full of weapons and power-ups, spectacular Unity-engine graphics and a catchy soundtrack and you've got a real winner on your hands. 

Dead Trigger is available for most Android devices (there looks to be some issues with Sony phones and tablets) but it really shines with a Tegra 3 powered phone or tablet. The great graphics get even better with specular effects, normal tiled maps, highly improved ragdoll physics, and lifelike water and fog. On top of that, Tegra devices have game controller support baked into the app to really bring things to the next level. 

It might have taken a couple extra days (I've been counting them down!) but it sure was worth the wait. This is my new battery waster of choice. We'll give it a thorough look and revisit, but I just had to let you guys know it was ready for your killing pleasure. Grab it from the link below, and check out the trailer after the break!

Download Dead Trigger from Google Play

More info at the TegraZone

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3 years ago

Huawei's Emotion UI site goes live, not yet available outside of China

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We first heard about Emotion UI -- Huawei's new, custom interface -- back in May, ahead of it's supposed, planned release in June. The Chinese OEM now seems to be about ready to push it out though as of today, as the official site has gone live. Download links are present, but at the moment, only Chinese consumers can get the software. 

Emotion UI is compatible with Huawei devices running Android 4.0, and at this time only the Honor, Ascend P1 and Ascend P1E are showing as being supported. The P1 also still shows as "coming soon." 

Notably missing from that list, is the as yet un-released, Ascend D-Quad. It's highly likely that Emotion UI will be coming to the upcoming Huawei flagship too. 

Emotion UI promises to bring a (Chinese only) Voice Assistant, cloud services, an "intelligent contact finder," and unique homescreens, customizations and animations. From the images we've seen so far, it looks like it might not be too bad, it's a shame that for now at least, we don't get to play around with it. 

Source: Huawei (translated) via Unwired View

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3 years ago

Google Maps go indoors in the UK

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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!

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3 years ago

Crank your volume to 11 with Volume+

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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+

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3 years ago

Let your Android device teach you how to tie your tie

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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

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