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3 years ago

Android App Review: BaconReader

10

Not too long ago we mentioned a new Reddit app called BaconReader for Reddit. The screenshots looked so clean and slick I decided I had to try it out and give it the courtesy of a full-blown review. After having spent some time with it, I'm glad I did.

If any of you members of the Android Central nation are also Redditors, you know how hard it is to find a good Reddit app in the Market. Interfaces aren't intuitive, comment threads are a mess, and clicking links opens up your browser, which takes away time from more browsing.

BaconReader manages to remedy all of those things in a tight, beautiful package. The interface is incredibly minimalist, with white and grey being the dominant colors. The monochromatic look of it gives an almost metallic look, not overbearing on the eyes while also not being boring to look at. It's so efficiently tidy, it just works.

If you tap any thread, you'll be taken either to the link it links to or the text. If there's loads of comments on it, the comment thread is not only color-coded, but also optimized for your mobile screen. Long paragraphs are neatly arranged within the confines of your display, and that's a victory in and of itself.

You can also login to your Reddit account, and from there, post or change your preferred subreddits, all from the app. If you tap the "front page" button, you'll be given a dropdown menu of all the subreddits you're subscribed to, and if you tap the "what's hot" button, you can filter your results based on what's new, rising, top, etc.

Posting from BaconReader is also a breeze. Simply tap the top-right button (that looks suspiciously similar to a generic compose button), and you're taken to the submit screen. From here you can submit a link, type in text, or upload a picture, just like you would on Reddit's full site.

There's also the ability to both check your received messages and send messages, all from inside BaconReader. Add in a fully-featured settings menu that lets you define if thumbnails are loaded, if you open links from inside the app, or what domains are black or whitelisted (to name a few), and you've got what is probably the most powerful mobile Reddit experience available in the palm of your hand.

BaconReader for Reddit is by far the best Reddit app on Android right now, hands down. The clean interface, ease of use, and powerful rendering of Reddit all put this one ahead of the pack, and if you're even a light user of Reddit, I wouldn't go without it.

BaconReader for Reddit is free in the Android Market. We've got pictures and download links after the break.

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3 years ago

Star and Pocket Legends ring in the holiday with new content, level cap

0

For all of you mobile-MMOers out there, take notice: Spacetime Studios is spreading holiday cheer to their gaming base by unveiling a slew of new content for this time of year. Depending on which game you play will determine what content you see, and Spacetime says it best:

Star Legends

  • Biggest update yet
  • Level cap raise to 41
  • Solve the mystery of the missing Governor of Volaria
  • The Galactic Welfare Society is under attack from The Screwj. Can players save the holiday season for aliens and humans alike?
  • All new items, levels and adventures including a Bonus Capture-the-Flag map

Pocket Legends

  • Seasonal Quests and battle areas
  • New holiday-only loot
  • Brand new content and surprises for players

With this much new content, we might as well say Christmas came early this year.

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3 years ago

Sen. Al Franken gets answers from Carrier IQ, carriers -- 'still very troubled by what's going on'

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U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., didn't like what he'd heard about the whole Carrier IQ saga. And after receiving answers from the analytics company, he still doesn't like what he hears. On Thursday,  Franken, chairman of the Senate Subcommitte on Privacy, Technology and the Law, issued a statement on the reponses he received.

More analysis

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3 years ago

AT&T's use of Carrier IQ extends to its own analytics app, not just embedded on phone

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AT&T's responses to questions posed by U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., over the use of Carrier IQ analytics software are probably the most interesting we've seen thus far. 

AT&T has been using Carrier IQ only since March 2011, with the Motorola Bravo the first device to have it integrated. However, AT&T has had its own analytics tool in use since 2009. Called Mark the Spot, or MTS, it differs from Carrier IQ in that it's a traditional application, downloaded and installed by the consumer and not preloaded onto the device before purchase. The idea is that if you experience a network hiccup -- like a dropped call -- you'd fire up the app and let AT&T know. 

Mark the Spot was released for the iPhone in December 2009, and for Android in June 2011. In February 2011, AT&T began packaging Carrier IQ code with the MTS application, first for BlackBerry, and a month later for Android.

Android devices that have Carrier IQ software installed include the Pantech Pocket, LG Thrill 4G, ZTE Avail, Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, Motorola Atrix 2 and the aforementioned Motorola Bravo. 

AT&T says only about 900,000 devices -- or about 1 percent of the device on its network -- have Carrier IQ on board, either preloaded or with the MTS app. And of those devices, 575,000 report back to AT&T.

AT&T also says it does not share any of its CIQ data with "any other non-AT&T company." and that it has not shared data with any federal or state law enforcement. It does, however, comply with court orders, subponeas and other legal orders.

Data collected from AT&T devices is inaccessible after 60 days from being uploaded. AT&T says it has "three downstreem systems receiving personally identifiable CIQ data from the AT&T server." One of those servers stores data for just 45 days, another has data from September 2011, and the third data from May 2011.

Like Sprint, AT&T explained that it indeed collects phone numbers "in the ordinary cource of its business" and for "Voice Call Performance and Messaging Performance metrics." It does not collect contents of e-mails, URLs of websites visited, contents of search quereies, names or contact information from address books, and none of its CIQ profiles is set to collet the content of text messages.

More: AT&T's response (pdf)

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3 years ago

Google Music opens up to everyone ... if you're in the US

20

Google Music has gone and gotten itself an update in the Market, and that Beta tag has finally been lost. That's right folks, invitations are no longer required and Google Music is open to all. 

Open to all though still only applies if you're within the U.S., so for the rest of us, there's still no official way of setting up an account. 

The application update also brings with it a host of bug fixes, and the seamless integration with the Music store in the Android Market. All your purchases will now automatically appear within the app. 

If you're about to start using Google Music for the first time, you'll want to check out our complete guide to using the service.

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3 years ago

Dark Incursion comes to Android, brings steampunk with a dash of Metroid

4

If you're looking for yet another game to add to your tally, Big Blue Bubba has brought over Dark Incursion to Android. Their self-described "MetroidVania" styled title follows follows Anya as she looks to uncover a conspiracy in 1800s America during a world war.

Boasting pixel-based art and stereoscopic 3D (using the ol' red/blue glasses), steampunk art style, and the ability to tug at everyone's love of retro gaming, Dark Incursion looks like something worth checking out.

Video and download links are after the break.

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3 years ago

Adobe Flash Player updated, now supports Ice Cream Sandwich

5

With many of you now armed with a Samsung Galaxy Nexus the folks at Adobe felt it was time to go ahead and update their Adobe Flash Player 11 to include support for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The notes in the change log confirm there is still some issues that need to be worked out but for the most things should be working fine.  If you're looking for the full change log, you can hit up the source link -- otherwise, go grab v11.1.112.60 from the Android Market. Thanks, Adobe, for not making us all wait until the end of the year.

Source: Adobe; Thanks to all who sent this in!

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3 years ago

Facebook app updated, timeline comes to mobile

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We're really being spoiled of late with Facebook app updates, as today the second update in little over a week went live. The star attraction this time, the ability to access the timeline feature through the app if you already have a timeline. I don't, so hit us up in the comments with your impressions of it. 

It's not the only new feature to appear though. Notifications have been improved with faster push notifications, faster overall navigation throughout the app, and the ability to play your favourite games  and access your favourite apps.

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3 years ago

Android App Review: OnLive

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YouTube link for mobile viewing

A new era of gaming has finally been reached on Android. No, I'm not talking about the advent of Tegra-3 devices or console-quality games like Shadowgun. I'm talking about OnLive, and being able to stream any number of high-quality games straight to your phone or tablet (barring you have a strong internet connection).

For those who aren't aware, OnLive is a free service that lets you stream console games to your device, while all of the hosting is done on OnLive's side of things. It's cool because it removes the need to have a really powerful gaming rig setup, but the downside is you need to be connected to the internet to take advantage of things.

You buy games from OnLive (typically at their normal retail price), and then you're good to go. In my experience, you're given 30 minutes of free trial time per game, which is incredibly beneficial, as it lets you see how everything runs on your Android device and if there's issues that'll sully your gameplay experience.

So how does OnLive for Android work? Pretty well, actually. Create an account, sign in, and you're taken to the main screen of nine squares. Be aware that sometimes you won't be able to login (like when the servers are under extreme stress) and there's nothing you can do about it. The day the OnLive for Android app launched, I guess people were going to town, because I couldn't sign in until the next day.

On those nine squares, there's places to buy new games (Marketplace), edit your profile (Profile), check out recorded gameplay (Brag Clips), and even see which of your friends are playing (Friends), but what we're really interested is how things play.

There's two ways to control games in OnLive: with touch (either point-and-tap or virtual joysticks) or with a USB gamepad. OnLive makes and sells a gamepad themselves, but if you've got an old one laying around, it couldn't hurt to check. My Razer Onza controller didn't work, but I've read that other controllers have varying degrees of success, so your mileage may vary.

Because I could only check out touch-enabled games, I was a bit limited in what I could review, but for the most part, things were strong overall. Defense Grid Gold was the first game I tried out, and while there happened to be intermittent screen response issues on the menus (presumably because of lag), the gameplay didn't suffer the same fate. Towers were built as I commanded, tiny drones were exploded into bits of exploded robot dust, and the graphics chugged along as though I was playing something downloaded on my tablet.

LEGO Batman is a game that fully takes advantage of virtual joysticks and buttons, and while the graphics and gameplay are still pretty solid, there's still the ever-persistent issue of virtual joysticks not being quite as tight as something physical. Sometimes it's hard to judge depth and control your character appropriately, sometimes your thumb just moves too far into the bezel and your character stops moving. Add in a myriad of virtual buttons, and you'll either be stretching your hands out on a tablet or accidentally hitting buttons on a phone's smaller screen.

Still, even with those issues, OnLive has made a strong first move into the mobile market, and their app runs really well (as does streaming, for the most part). The biggest complaints I have are with the implementation of the virtual controls, and a fix for that could be a simple as making the buttons smaller when you're on a tablet.

Overall, OnLive hits most things really well. I only expect things to get better from here, and the ability to play the latest and greatest on your phone or tablet is just too cool.

The OnLive app is free in Android Market. We've got download links after the break.

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3 years ago

Netflix app gets an update for Ice Cream Sandwich

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Just a quick heads up that the Netflix Android app has been updated to support Ice Cream Sandwich devices, as well as get a few bugfixes. Go snag it now in the Android Market. We've got download links after the break.

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3 years ago

Time stones at the ready -- Sonic CD now available for Android

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SEGA has just released Sonic the Hedgehog CD on Android, as well as a few other platforms. The Android version is available for $1.99 on the US Market, or £1.29 in the UK. Sonic CD, which first appeared on the Mega CD (SEGA CD) back in 1993, is fondly remembered for its fast platform gameplay and over-the-top, J-Pop-inspired soundtrack.

A few words of warning, though -- some users are reporting slow playback on certain devices, including the Droid Bionic and the shiny new Samsung Galaxy Nexus. So you may want to hold off if you're planning on playing it on one of those devices.

The game worked flawlessly on the handful of Gingerbread devices we tried, however. SEGA has enabled widescreen support too, so you won't have to deal with any black bars. There's also the option to forego the English soundtrack in favor of the crazier Japanese original. Trust us, that's a good thing.

Why? The answer, along with the Market link and QR code, lies after the break...

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3 years ago

Day 10 of Google's 10-day, 10-cent, 10 billion app download celebration

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Here 'tis, folks. The final day of Google's 10-cent app promotion, celebrating (more than) 10 billion downloads from the Android Market. The final day sadly has a couple more repeat apps, but we're not about to turn down a 10-cent app. Here you go:

Also: Day 1 appsDay 2 appsDay 3 appsDay 4 apps,
Day 5 apps, Day 6 appsDay 7 appsDay 8 apps, Day 9 apps

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3 years ago

Grand Theft Auto III now available on Android

36

Sex, guns, drugs, violence -- and that's just in the splash screen. Yes, folks, Grand Theft Auto III is now available on Android as part of Rockstar Games' 10th anniverssary celebration of the game. It's been optimized for touchscreens. But if you've got an Android device that suppports USB controllers, you can rock one of them as well. (And Rockstar's promising support soon for the Galaxy Nexus.

It'll cost you $4.99 and a few hours of your life. We've got download links after the break.

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3 years ago

Toshiba Thrive 7 review

8

In the vast sea of Android tablets, it can take a bit to stand out. Toshiba managed to do so with the original Thrive tablet thanks to a bevy of full-size ports that no other tablet saw fit to include. On the other hand, a good many other Android tablets are thinner and lighter, too. But the Thrive bucked that trend and gained a decent following.

The Toshiba Thrive 7, as its name implies, scales things down a bit. Gone is the 10-inch display, trading it in for a 7-inch display. It's not terribly svelte, but neither is it horribly heavy, and Toshiba's seen fit to include a good number of ports and features unseen on other tablets. But it's also got a couple of quirks that have left us banging our heads against the tablet.

Head on past the break for our complete Toshiba Thrive 7 review.


We're loving the 7-inch size, and the screen and its 1280x800 resolution are excellent. Tegra 2 performs as well as ever.


A bit of a big bezel, a bit pricey when compared to the e-reader tablets, and the rear camera is pretty horrid.



As far as 7-inch tablets go, you could do worse, we suppose. It's fast, the display is great, and so long as you don't intend on taking many pictures, you could find yourself plenty happy with the Thrive 7

Inside this review

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3 years ago

Android Game Review: Ozzy's Odyssey

6


YouTube link for mobile viewing

Everyone, meet Ozzy. Ozzy, meet everyone. Ozzy is your typical robot (almost looks like a long lost cousin of Andy/Bugdroid), just floating around and doing his robot thing. Unfortunately for him, whoever built him left off that whole "ability to jump" thing. In its place, they gave him the power to suck things into his head using some robot technology, then dump it out at will. It is this that powers the engine that is Ozzy's Odyssey.

Ozzy's Odyssey is a physics-based platformer that puts you in control of the aforementioned Ozzy. Your goal in each level is to reach the exit while collecting as many batteries as you can. Batteries are what contribute to your score, so without them, you're just a jumpless robot bouncing from level to level.

The physics come into play namely when you've sucked something into that noggin of yours. The first one you come across is a barrel or a coin. (Something brown.) There's a switch somewhere you need to activate, but of course, you're either too tall to fit in the passage or you can't jump. Simply drop the item, push it, and sweet physics will send it careening into the switch, opening your path.

Like all games, the challenges and levels start off simple then become more and more difficult as advance through the levels. A few levels in you're presented with deadly spikes on the ground, but seeing as you can't jump, you've got to come up with a more innovative way to not get impaled.

If you do happen to lose a level, you're treated to a sad but goofy animation of Ozzy's head popping off, then you're free to restart the level. As far as I can tell there's no limit on how many lives you have, so you're free to try and fail as many times as you want before you inevitably succeed.

Ozzy's Odyssey looks great on phones and tablets both, and while you might feel silly holding a tablet while playing this, it really shines on the larger screen. The graphics are simple, but everything looks good, colors are nice, and it's really just a great gameplay experience. Plus, it's on sale.

Ozzy's Odyssey is 99 cents in the Android Market. We've got download links after the break.

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