Headlines

3 years ago

Reminder: The Android Market is now the Play Store

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We've gotten more than a few e-mails today from folks wondering where the heck their Android Market app has gone and run off to. (Don't laugh, it's perfectly OK to take a day off from obsessing over Android news.)

If you missed the news yesterday, the Android Market is now the Google Play Store. Or, rather, everything that was in the Android Market is now a part of Google Play, and you get to it all through the Play Store. Or something like that. We're still trying to decide exactly how to phrase all this without having to take a second breath.

Anyhoo. Just look for the Play Store icon you see above. Same goes for Google Books, and Google Movies. And Google Music. And Play Books. And Play Movies. And Play Music. Just the same, only different.

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3 years ago

Gravilux [Android App Review]

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YouTube link for mobile viewing

One of my favorite parts of this app reviewing gig is coming across really obscure apps that can't fit into a specific genre. To me, Gravilux is just that. Its developers describe it as a "combination of painting, animation, art, science, and gaming," which is as confusing and uninformative as it sounds. Fortunately, it gives me license to create a new word in its honor, and I've settled on gamelication. (Appligametion just doesn't have the same ring to it).

Now that we've established Gravilux is an unwinnable game of beauty and finesse, what is it exactly you do? Simply put, you touch the screen. When you touch the screen, that incredible grid of dots begins to rapidly gravitate toward all of the inputs on your screen, creating a swirling mess of anarchy and motion. It's awesome.

One of the coolest parts of Gravilux is that it analyzes whatever hardware it's running on before it loads up a grid, so it knows exactly how many dots should be on screen for the best experience. By default, colors are set to black and white, but with a simple hop into the settings menu, you're able to pick up to three colors or randomize the whole bit.

The trade-off here is your performance; what once ran smoothly now might be choppy and laggy. The solution is another simple hop into the settings menu, and then change your grid density. With a couple thousand less points bouncing about on screen (using beautiful real-time physics), things will speed right back up to where they were before.

You can also toy with settings like gravity strength and turn on antigravity from said settings menu, and most importantly, you can change how the dots react to your touch. Normally, they'll be attracted to your input, but if you so desire, you can set them to be repelled.

The result is a lot of negative space on the screen and dots being pushed up against the edges of the screen, bouncing around and struggling against your fingery might. It's not quite as stimulating as the swirling mass, but it's still impressive to see.

My one major complaint with Gravilux is that it's completely devoid of sound. (I made my own sound effects in the video.) For something so visually creative and dynamic, a nice, Osmos HD-esque soundtrack would have really pushed Gravilux over the top. Still, even without it, it's a gamelication that everyone should try at least once (and if you're up for it, again and again).

Gravilux is $1.99 in the Google Play Store. We've got download links after the break.

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3 years ago

Sony PlayStation Suite SDK public beta coming April

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Sony has announced that the software development kit for its PlayStation Suite will launch in public beta form from this April. The public release follows the closed beta of the SDK, which began in November 2011, and was open to a select few developers in the United States, the UK and Japan.

The kit allows game developers to create titles optimized for PlayStation-certified phones and tablets, like the Xperia Play and Tablet S, as well as Sony's recently-launched PlayStation Vita gaming system (and we'd expect the Vita angle alone to attract a fair few devs).

The public beta will be open to anyone and everyone, free of charge. However, the full version will set devs back $99 annually when it lands later in the year.

We've got the full press release from Sony after the break.

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3 years ago

Bank of America introduces new tablet optimized app for Android

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If you're an Android tablet owner, you'll likely have noticed that most banking apps out there haven't really been optimized for tablet usage. Looking to change that is Bank Of America, which has introduced a tablet-optimized version of its mobile banking application.

Features:

  • Pay bills and transfer funds.
  • Review account balances.
  • Find ATM and banking center locations using GPS, with no address input required.

While the features are what you would expect from a mobile banking application, the layout is what really takes the cake here. The design of the app looks great and offers a way better viewing experience for those who are on the go but still need access to their financial info. Keep in mind, you will have to be subscribed to online banking in order for it all to work. You'll find the download beyond the break.

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3 years ago

Google Play Store now replacing Android Market over-the-air

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The new Google Play Store has started rolling out to Android phones, tablets and Google TV's over the air, following Google's announcement earlier today. The Play Store (or Play Shop in the UK) replaces the Android Market, and unites all of Google's content delivery platforms under one single brand. Essentially, you can buy music, apps, books and movies just you've always been able to do, only now the naming scheme is a little more coherent. The icon may be different, but the app works just the same.

If you want to speed up the update process, the usual trick involving force-closing Market, clearing data, uninstalling updates and then loading up the app again seems to work.

The arrival of Google Play brings to a close the era of the Android Market, which launched way back in October 2008, shortly after the original Android smartphone, the T-Mobile G1. Back then, this is what it looked like. We've come a long way.

So farewell, Android Market. If you've already noticed the Play Store on your device, be sure to shout out in the comments. We've got pics of the new Play Store on Google TV after the break.

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3 years ago

Are you an Android developer? Or a Google Play developer?

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Above are two sets of branding standards, one old, one new. It's pretty obvious to tell which is which. On top, the now-defunct "Available in Android Market" badge you might have seen on any number of Android app developers' websites. Beneath is the new Google Play branding, which either denotes an "Android app on Google play" or tells you to "Get it on Google Play."

For the moment, we'll forgive the fact that Google Play and the branding apparently have decided to diverge when it comes to proper capitalization. (We're going to stick with Google Play, not Google play.)

And we're not going to weigh in on the new triangle logo. Either you love it or you don't. And all the polls in the world won't change anything -- Google Play and the triangle logo will still be there in the morning.

But we are a little concerned about how this new branding takes Android out of play, at least visually. The Android green (#A4C639, if you didn't know) certainly is recognizable after all these years. Same goes for the Bugdroid logo. Now we've got the new triangle logo, none of the Android green, and no happy Bugdroid showing you the way.

Is this an insurmountable problem for developers and marketing firms? Probably not. It's doubtful you'll see the Bugdroid or Android green disappear from boxes or signage anytime soon. But it is an interesting move by Google. And it begs this question:

Where will we see the triangle logo next? 

More: Android brand guidelines

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3 years ago

OnLive Desktop [Android App Review]

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YouTube link for mobile viewing

If there's one company I've been incredibly impressed with as of late, it's got to be OnLive. First they bring their popular game streaming service to Android, give us a fully functional universal remote to use with it, and then, as if to top themselves off, bring something altogether unheard of: OnLive Desktop.

For those curious about how OnLive Desktop works, the premise is pretty simple: instead of streaming games to your Android tablet over a high-speed internet connection, you're streaming a fully functional Windows 7 installation, thereby allowing yourself to keep the laptop at home and do your Windows work on your tablet. It's a cool idea, and fortunately for OnLive, it works really well.

If you have an OnLive account (for games), you've already got a standard OnLive Desktop account. Simply login and you're taken to your Windows 7 desktop, complete with Microsoft Office programs, Adobe Reader, and your own personal Documents folder, ripe for hosting up to 2GB in OnLive's cloud. (If you want to be able to surf the internet using Internet Explorer or host more than 2GB of files, you'll have to pony up $4.99/month for OnLive's "Plus" service. Boo.)

As far as function goes, OnLive has really hit the nail on the head. Opening programs is snappier than on some older computers I've used, and pairing your tablet up with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse only enhances your experience and efficiency. If you're using your finger to navigate (as I suspect most of you might), you'll notice that no double-clicks are needed; all programs act almost like hyperlinks. With only a single tap, you can open anything your heart desires (as long as it's installed on OnLive's machines).

Overall, while I think OnLive has built a really great app that functions well, I'm not sure it's entirely practical, given the options you have to edit programs natively on Android. With apps like QuickOffice Pro (or HD, in the case of tablets) giving you rich document editing right in Android, services like Dropbox giving you excellent document syncing and cloud storage, and full Flash support built right into the standard browser (something you only get with OnLive's "Plus" plan), I'm left scratching my head about how many people will jump on OnLive's bandwagon and really need it.

Regardless, the app is phenomenal (and it's free!). If you're up for giving it a spin, we've got download links after the break.

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3 years ago

Pick up 25 top Android apps for 49 cents each on Google Play

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We could tell something was up when a bunch of leading applications suddenly appeared on the Android Market for just 49 cents. And now we know why -- Google is celebrating the launch of its new Google Play content portal by offering a 25 leading Android apps for 49 cents each (49p in the UK). There also seems to be a new daily "Play of the Day" promotion running, in which one app has its price slashed to just 25 cents -- or 20p if you're in the UK.

The first Play of the Day is Where's My Water, and the top 25, 49-cent apps include top-tier games and programs like World of Goo, Osmos HD, SoundHound, Dead Space and SwiftKey X. There's a lot of great stuff on there that usually sells for a much higher price, so if you're after a few new games or apps, hit the source link to browse through the top 25.

Source: Google Play

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3 years ago

Rebranded Google Play apps starting to push out already

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The ink is hardly dry on the new Google Play signage, and newly rebranded Google Play apps are already starting to drop into the Android Market Google Play Store Android apps section. (See, isn't that easier to say?)

Google's Music, Videos and Books apps will update and rebrand themselves to Play Music, Play Movies and Play Books, if you're running Android 2.2 and above, and if you've already got them in your country of residence. (Paid apps are available in these countries, music in the U.S. only, movies in the U.S., UK, Canada and Japan, and books in the U.S., UK, Canada and Australia.)

The Android Market will update itself to the Google Play Store at some point.

More: Google Play FAQ

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3 years ago

Google Play unveiled - the new place for Music, Apps, Books and Video

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Google's content portal for Android apps, music, books and video content has been consolidated under a new name -- Google Play. Google Play which is now live on the web at play.google.com, will replace the old Android Market, Google Music, Google Books and Videos service, giving users  a clear one-stop location for content.

The way you buy music, apps and other content from Google through the web, or your phone or tablet won't change, but the branding behind the places where you get your content will. Instead of heading several differently-named stores for each type of content, it'll all be available under the Google Play portal.

Android (2.2+) users with the old Android Market app installed will soon see it updated to Play Store, while Google's Music, Movies and Books apps for Android will be updated to incorporate the new Play branding.

So it's an important step for Google as a content provider, existing users shouldn't notice too many changes in the way app, music and video purchasing works. You can still rent a movie once and watch it on YouTube, your phone or your tablet. And you can still send apps to your phone from Play, just as you could with the Android Market.

We've got a brief introductory video after the break. Check back later for a more extensive walkthrough.

More: Google Play Q&A

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3 years ago

Temple Run for Android to be released on March 27

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Imangi Studios announced today that the much anticipated Android version of its wildly-popular Temple Run will be available on Tuesday, March 27 in the Android Market. 

"We are excited to finally share the Android release date with our fans who have been so enthusiastic and supportive of Temple Run,” said Keith Shepherd, co-founder of Imangi Studios. “By expanding to more mobile devices, we hope to provide the same addictive and fast-paced gameplay to an entirely new group of players."

For those unaware, Temple Run is a fast-paced game of reflexes in which your runner collects coins while avoiding danger and falling off of the path. Temple Run for iOS was released in August of 2011 and, according to the studio, has been downloaded by 6% of the total US population.

Source:  Imangi Studios 

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3 years ago

Bunch of Android apps on sale today for 49 cents

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Looks like the Android Market has another big sale under way, with apps like SwiftKey, HomeRun Battle 3D, SoundHound, Shadowgun, World of Goo, NFL Flick Quarterback, Osmos HD, Quell Reflect and other sgoing for just 49 cents.

There must be others. Sing out the the comments if you spot 'em.

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3 years ago

Amazon App Store hits v2.2.0 with new notification settings, improved app compatibility checks

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It's been a while since the last Amazon App Store update was pushed out and it seems Amazon has been working on some improvements in that time. The latest update pushes the Amazon App Store into v2.2.0 and brings some welcomed changes with it aside from the usual bug fixes and stability improvements:

  • New notifications settings: Enable or disable notifications for - Download and Installation, App updates, Status Bar.
  • Improved messaging regarding payment options.
  • Improved app compatibility checks.

Overall a decent update, especially to the notification system that more or less harassed you each and every second until you attended to them. Plus, app compatibility checks will hopefully help against wasting your time in downloading an app that simply won't work for your device. The update is live now, so go ahead and check for updates or hit the source link to head on over to Amazon and grab the download.

Source: Amazon

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3 years ago

Official TED app for Android now available with streaming video and audio

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Many people draw inspiration from a lot of different areas in the world. Looking to gather up those inspired thinkers is the TED Talks conferences that have been happening globally since 1984. Whether you're looking to hear Bill Gates talk about energy or Steve Jobs talk about how to live your life before you die or even how Jamie Oliver thinks you should teach every kid about food - there is something for everyone in the content available from TED.

That content has now been all wrapped up in an Android app available now in the Android Market. Sticking to basics with design, TED has rolled out their app all while keeping a pretty straightforward Ice Cream Sandwich layout within. While the app does look basic, it certainly does deliver on the content. You can stream audio and video as well as search for anything you may be interested in with ease or if you're not looking for any talks specifically, you can just check out what's popular and browse through the content that way.

TED is available as a free download, and will work on Android tablets as well as phones. If you're looking for some inspiration, jump on past the break and grab the download. Thanks, Derek!

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3 years ago

Adobe Flash Player for Android updated with security fixes

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When Adobe said they wouldn't be developing Flash Player for Android to work with any new versions, they also promised to keep the current version up-to-date with critical fixes and security patches. Once again, they show us that they really mean what they say, and there's another update for Flash in the Android Market. The fixes include events for handling a crash would could lead to code execution, which means potential is there for someone to hijack your system. Adobe is usually pretty good about patching these things before the get exploited, and there are no known instances in the wild of attackers using these methods to compromise Android devices. 

To learn more about what was fixed, have a look at the Adobe Security Bulletin dated March 5. You'll find the Market link after the break.

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