Headlines

3 years ago

Google Reader updated with tablet usability fixes

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If you use Google Reader and an Android tablet, chances are you'll want to pick up the latest update for Google's RSS app, which contains some tablet-specific usability fixes. And that's it -- we haven't noticed any other changes in this version, and even on Honeycomb tablets the app seems pretty much the same.

In any case it's good to stay up to date, and the new version 1.1.5 of Google Reader is available to download now from Google Play. Existing users can fire up the Store app and head to "My Apps" to grab the update, or if you're new, we've included a download link below.

Download: Google Play Store

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3 years ago

Flipboard for Android now available to the masses!

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After running a short beta and having Samsung Galaxy S III exclusivity, the developers of Flipboard have gone ahead and opened the doors to the masses. The beta testing phase allowed for testing on numerous devices so you'll now be able to download Flipboard for Android not only from the Google Play Store but the Amazon App Store, Nook Store and right from within Samsung Apps.

We've given the "Magazine-style" reader a run through already but the official release does bring some new additions such as 14 localized editions—for Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Spain, Taiwan, U.S. and U.K. Plus, it also now includes the freshly announced Google+ integration as well as YouTube integration allowing you to view any of your subscribed videos right within the app.

If you're looking for the download, the Google Play Store is the best bet right now as some of the options are still populating.

Download: Flipboard for Android

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3 years ago

Nike+ Android app finally released!

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Hey, all you runners out there who have been tirelessly hoofing it, waiting for the Android version of the Nike+ app. It's here. Finally.

Nike tonight announced the Nike+ Running App for Android, which, as you'd expect, connects you to nikeplus.com, making exercise social. But chances are you already knew that. Get your download on at the link below, and get back out there. Because there is no finish line.

Download: Nike+ for Android

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3 years ago

LevelUp Studio introduces Peti, a free puzzle game for Android

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Most folks will know the name of LevelUp Studio from their Plume and Beautiful Widgets apps but they've gone ahead and ventured into a new area with their latest release. Yup, gaming is now on the developers list and as such they've now unveiled a pretty fun and free puzzle game called Peti.

Peti (People for Ethical Treatment of Invaders) will place you in a new world wherein you must save aliens that fall to Earth and send them back to their mother, all in an effort to keep her happy so that she doesn't destroy all of humanity.

Overall, the game will feel familiar you to you as it takes on a retro style much like Tetris or Dr. Mario but given that it adds plenty of new twists, achievements and special powers to make it more than a "drop and place" puzzle game, it's certainly one to check out.

The graphics and characters are fun, the game itself is challenging plus, it's free. For a first run at gaming, I'd say LevelUp Studio did quite well. Grab the download, check out the game trailer below and let us know what you all think of Peti in the comments.

Download Peti

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3 years ago

Sonic The Hedgehog is having a birthday: Game sale time!

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In honor of Sonic The Hedgehog's birthday the nice people at Sega are applying some hefty discounts to the Sonic games available in the Google Play store.

  • Sonic CD is down from $4.99 to $2.99 (£2.99 - £1.99)
  • Sonic The Hedgehog: Episode 1 is down from $3.99 to $0.99 (£2.49 - £0.69)
  • Sonic The Hedgehog episode 2 is down from $6.99 to $4.99 (£4.99 - £2.99)

BARGAINS!

The offer finishes on June 22, so go grab them soon. I'm not seeing the discounts here in the UK on the web so excuse the lack of links you can click. Just head on over to the Google Play store on your phone and take advantage of Sonic's birthday bash.

Download: Sonic the Hedgehog

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3 years ago

RIM outlines how Android developers can monetize on PlayBook OS 2.1 with in-app purchases

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We're definitely in the middle of developer season right now across the Mobile Nations. While Google I/O might not kick off for another week, Android's competitors in the mobile space have all now shown off their latest wares and developer tools. One which Android developers may have so far overlooked, is the improved Android Runtime coming to BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1, of which the developer beta was recently released

Having learned all about the Android functionality back at Devcon Europe in Amsterdam, the potential extra revenue stream for Android developers was pretty impressive. After all, when is extra revenue not going to be impressive? But, that said, functionality in the current Android Runtime offering is quite limited. There is no access to the camera for example, and no ability to offer an in-app purchase model. Both of those are addressed in PlayBook OS 2.1, and RIM has taken to their developer blog to offer up the lowdown on how to make your in-app purchase models work with BlackBerry App World. 

Especially with BlackBerry 10 on the horizon, the door for Android developers over there appears to be opening ever further. RIM boasts great things about how much moolah their registered developers can make. There are some amazing Android developers out there who deserve every opportunity to be financially rewarded for their work. RIM just gave them another. 

If you're an Android Developer and this sounds like an opportunity for you, head on over to the source link below for the full rundown. There's a whole week to kill until I/O after all.

Source: Inside BlackBerry; More: Crackberry

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3 years ago

Google gives app developers a way to respond to reviews in Google Play Store

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Google Play review trolls beware! Developers no longer have to remain silent when faced with flaming on their app listings.

Google today announced (along with a major redesign to its developer site) the ability for devs to respond to customer reviews on their apps in Google Play. This has been a long-requested feature, for the obvious reason. App reviews and star ratings mean life and death for an app. And while many customer reviews are helpful, you'll also see a number of reviews that don't make sense, or ding an app for something the developer has no control over. 

Ever seen the Stupid Market Comments account on Google+? This is what we're talking about.

"One star. Annoyed. Can't pass Level 17. Can anyone help me?"

Now, the developer can respond. 

OK, so flamers and trolls are the negative side of this. On a more positive note, developers will be able to actively address issues and answer questions. (Until now, that's been next to impossible.) And that's a definite bonus, said developer Saleh Esmaeili, who's bringing the popular Carbon Twitter client to Android.

"Many users leave feedback meant for app developers as app reviews, and some even report bugs while reviewing apps," Esmaeili told Android Central. "It will be a great opportunity to overcome the limitation and answer back right where it is asked."

And that's exactly what he'll be able to do. Developer responses will be posted publicly, on the app listings, right alongside the existing reviews. And if you leave a review on an app and the developer responds, you'll get an e-mail letting you know your comment was answered. You'll then be able to contact the developer directly if you have further questions. 

One catch: Google's initially rolling out the feature to developers who have a "Top Developer Badge," but that should cover a good many of the most popular apps out there.

All in all, it's an excellent addition to the selection and purchasing experience on Google Play.

More: Google Mobile Blog

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3 years ago

Dolphin Engine beta released, touted as highest performing HTML5 mobile browser

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Dolphin Browser HD has long been a favorite on Android with its speed and huge feature list, and it's about to get even better. With the release in beta of the new Dolphin Engine comes the claims that it is the highest performing HTML5 mobile browser out there. Indeed, Dolphin Engine scores higher than both Chrome Beta, and the stock ICS browser as well as Firefox. Impressive. 

So where does all this performance come from? Dolphin Engine is an improved webkit version with extensive canvas enhancement and some pretty serious behind the scenes nuts and bolts that gives it that added boost.  We could nerd out on technology all we want, but for most of us, numbers will tell enough of the story. 

Dolphin Engine's HTML5 rendering is 5 - 10x faster than the stock Android browser, and at times 100% faster than Chrome Beta. Double impressive. With HTML5 the future of the web, Dolphin is certainly shaping up to be a formidable foe in the mobile browser stakes.

For the full rundown on the new Dolphin Engine beta, and to download for yourselves hit the source link below. The usual caveats apply though, it is still in beta, so expect some bugs along the way. 

Source: Dolphin Browser

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3 years ago

Google Translate updated with tablet and copying improvements

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Having an app like Google Translate on your phone can be indispensable when you're traveling, and the latest update to Google's multilingual app adds a few improvements that should make it easier to use. The latest version 2.4.2 includes quick navigation between conversation, history and favorites modes on tablets (phones have had this feature for a while), in addition to easier copying of translations (there's now a button for that).

Other additions include text-to-speech options for your original text, and handwriting recognition options for more languages, though no word on which languages specifically.

If you've already got Google Translate installed, be sure to head by the Play Store to grab the latest update. Alternatively, you can install via the web interface.

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3 years ago

SwiftKey updated to version 3 and packed full of features; developers also announce SwiftKey Healthcare

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The folks at TouchType have made SwiftKey 3 official, and available today in Google Play. Many of us have been keeping an eye on the beta version, so we know just how well this Android keyboard works and the great features it has. If you're not part of the beta testing group, here's what to expect --

  • Smart Space –  adding to SwiftKey's already cutting edge correction, Smart Space detects mistyped or omitted spaces across strings of poorly typed words in real-time.
  • Two new themes – a new theme, 'Cobalt', to match SwiftKey's new look and feel, and an Ice Cream Sandwich-styled 'Holo' theme, as voted for by SwiftKey's VIP community.
  • An enhanced UI – a much larger space bar and smart punctuation key help improve accuracy and make it quick and easy to access common punctuation.
  • Additional languages – SwiftKey 3 now offers support for an additional seven languages, bringing the total up to 42. The new languages are Korean, Estonian, Farsi, Icelandic, Latvian, Lithuanian and Serbian.
  • A dedicated comma key, and the <123> key in the bottom-left corner.
  • Refined Smart Punctuation pop-up for better, more consistent behaviour.
  • Improved Smart Space functionality for easier email addresses and URL entry.
  • Reduced lag on some devices for a more responsive experience.
  • Reintroduction of the long-press duration setting by popular request.
  • Further improved prediction algorithms for even more accurate next word suggestions.
  • Updated gestures for easier shortcuts.
  • Several bug fixes.

That's quite the impressive change log! SwiftKey has always been a favorite (they won one of our 2011 Editor's Choice awards), and it's amazing prediction engine really does make typing easier. Rich downloadable language dictionaries, combined with personalization through social media and your e-mail make it accurate -- so accurate it's scary sometimes. As a special, the app will be on sale for a limited time for just $1.99. Well worth the two bucks in our opinion.

Speaking of personalization, TouchType has also announced SwiftKey Healthcare, which uses the prediction technology to take faster and more accurate notes on tablet devices. TouchType's initial trials indicate that healthcare professionals will save up to half the amount of time they currently spend typing, and it's a great step into the enterprise space for the SwiftKey team. Hit the break for a short product video and a smattering of screenshots from the new build.

Android apps by TouchType LTD. on Google Play; More info: SwiftKey

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3 years ago

Amazon expanding its Android appstore to Europe, developer portal updated and accepting apps now

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Amazon has announced that they will be opening their appstore to the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Spain this summer, with a "global" expansion planned to follow. There's no firm date as of yet, but they have changed the developer agreement and are already accepting submissions for apps to be distributed in the listed countries, so it can't be too far off. 

This is a pretty big deal, both for customers and developers. End users get access to more content for their devices, and the folks who write the apps have a broader customer base to solicit. It's good for business, and for many, Android apps are their business.

Hopefully Amazon will start offering more of their services on both sides of the pond, and other companies (hello, Google!) can work out the issues and follow suit.

Source: Amazon

 

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3 years ago

Stitcher Radio for Android updated with new features, bug fixes

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Stitcher Radio has been serving up podcasts and internet radio for quite some time now on Android but it's been a while since the app was last updated with a new subset of features. Apparently, it was all for good reason as there is a new update available right now that shows off some new features and a slightly redesigned user interface:

  • Smart Station – Never be in the dark about which shows and programs you should be listening to. An industry first for talk radio, the Stitcher Smart Station makes recommendations based on your listening activity. By culling your listening history, favorite shows and thumbs up, the Smart Station recommends shows you’re most likely to enjoy.
  • Lock Screen Album Art – Make your listening experience more visual. See the currently playing show on your phone’s lock screen while you’re listening to Stitcher.
  • Sleep Timer – Set Stitcher to automatically stop playing after you nod off. With Stitcher’s most requested feature, you can set specific sleep settings to have your shows automatically stop. Whether you’re setting it for sleep or for your regular morning commute, your Stitcher app is more in-tune with your listening habits.
  • Easier Sharing on Twitter – Keep the sharing alive. With pre-populated show descriptions and sources, Stitcher is now making it easier and ever to share your favorite shows.

The Smart Station feature is certainly my favorite addition to the app. I find that if I go looking for podcasts on my own, I never end up listening to any. Instead, just look around until I give up. With Smart Station, it shows me stuff I may be interested in based on what I am listening to so there is more likelihood that once I'm done listening to the Android Central podcast on Stitcher I can then move onto something else closely related and just as interesting.

Download Stitcher

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3 years ago

Light Flow LED Control v3.0 brings new user interface and notification volume controls

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Looking to gain better control of your LED notifications? If so, Rage Consulting has now released the latest update to their popular Light Flow LED control app. We reviewed it not all that long ago but v3.0 brings some welcomed changes to the mix including a new user interface because honestly, the old one was rather bland. In addition to the new UI, you can now also adjust notification volumes individually so you'll no longer have to deal with all notifications set at the same volume. Those are just two of the changes within. The full change log is rather lengthy and contains plenty of bug fixes, app additions and more:

  • Volume controls - each notification can be set with its own volume (either fixed or relative to the standard notification volume)
  • Notifications can be configured to play a sound even when the phone is in silent mode (for those very important notifications)
  • ICS devices can have a different notification volume set to the ringtone volume.
  • Widgets - 2 styles of basic widget for viewing and resetting notifications.
  • New custom color picker with HEX input available
  • New camera flash method selector with additional support for some Motorola phones
  • New Labs section: currently with Instant Alert to vibrate the phone when picked up for important messages
  • Added Chinese language
  • Control sleep time via near field communications - toggle by tapping a NFC tag

There are two versions of Light Flow available, lite and full. The lite version is available as a free download but only offers limited features while the full version costing $1.99 opens up the full functionality. Important to note, Light Flow will not work on all devices so best to give the lite version a go first to ensure compatibility.

Download Light Flow

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3 years ago

Otter Text and Drive solution now free in the Google Play Store

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Texting and driving is still on the rise, despite numerous laws now being put in place. There are quite a few solutions available in the Google Play Store and one that has received some attention recently is Otter. With Otter you can use automatic text message replies coupled with GPS to let folks know you're driving, working or otherwise preoccupied. In addition to that feature, you can also set text messaging black out periods so there are no interruptions at all.

Previously a premium app that sold for $3.99, the developers have removed all fees associated with Otter and are offering it as a free download. The full press release from Otter can be found below or you can hit the download link to check it out for yourself.

Download Otter from Google Play

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3 years ago

Microsoft rolls its own Wallet solution for Windows Phone, does Google Wallet one better

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One digital wallet to rule them all? Not so much, apparently. Microsoft today at its Windows Phone Summit in San Francisco announced Windows Phone Wallet, which appears to take the best of Google Wallet and Apple's new Passbook and roll it into a single app. 

Oh, and it throws in PayPal for good measure.  Wowzers.

Just like Google Wallet, Windows Phone Wallet uses NFC for the transaction. But Microsoft's solution appears to dive deeper than just a basic way of linking your credit card to your phone. It'll also serve as a direct link for in-app purchasing and store personal information, all on the phone. Again, the best of both worlds.

We've said it before and we'll say it again: Google's got to get rid of this Sprint exclusivity for Google Wallet, pronto.

More: WPCentral at the Windows Phone Summit

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