News apps and RSS readers are a dime a dozen. While the content and interface can vary from app to app, the basics are essentially the same. You choose your news sources and interesting topics, and let the app pull articles it thinks you'll like and display them in a phone-friendly format. It's a great way to get a list of articles that you'll (hopefully) be interested in each morning. But if we want to find out what articles our friends like, we have to go to Facebook, twitter, or go through our email for those rare "FWD" emails that don't include pictures of funny cat faces.
Ninua is a new Android application that hopes to make your daily news stream more social. While the app still has a few rough edges, it's now my go to news source on my phone. Full impressions after the break.
Swype has announced the latest beta (version 3.0 for those keeping score at home) and one of the big changes that come along with it is a special WXGA version designed for Honeycomb tablets, which features a movable and resizeable keyboard layout.
Other changes include the way word correction is handled when you stop swyping and revert to tapping out the letters -- you can now mix and match and still keep word autocorrect and prediction intact. The pop-up for word choice when multiple guesses are presented gets an improvement, too, now an easier to read horizontal bar is presented versus that annoying dialog that used to jump up. To top it all off, it looks like the predictive text engine itself has seen a big overhaul, and should work much better.
We know that Swype isn't for everyone, especially when it comes to using it on a tablet. That's fine -- different choices are one of the main strengths of the Android platform, and Swype certainly is a different choice. For the huge numbers of you who love Swype, keep an eye on the source link (currently down for maintenance) and give it a whirl. Also, check out a short demo video showing it in action, after the break.
Update: If you've been refreshing the beta download page at Swype, you've probably seen the latest update on the status of this. If not, here's the latest from Swype:
BETA DELAYED BECAUSE:
a) We forgot to buy vowels
b) Our beta build server crashed
c) Upper management kept accelerating the beta schedule
d) All of above !#@$!&
No word on when to expect it, we'll tell you as soon as we hear something.
Phantom Probes is a physics-based psuedo-puzzle game that's all about using various probes (get your mind out of the gutter, guys!) to determine what shape an invisible shape actually is. If that sounds kind of boggling or confusing, you'll quickly understand why I included a reference video.
Despite the confusing description, this is actually a really fun game to play. Every level gives you three probes to use as well as three shapes to choose from when you think you've nailed the phantom shape's shape. The probes vary from level to level, as does the complexity of the shape's you're trying to predict.
From my experience (see: Level 2 in the video), the shape also is randomly chosen every level, so you can't just hammer your way through, guessing the shapes through a process of elimination to try and get a high ranking before moving onto the next level. To me, that's rather genius, cause it keeps you working to try and advance.
The attention to detail in Phantom Probes is worth mentioning, too, as some of the probes are absolutely brilliant for discerning what you're looking for. The weird, brown, wrap-around thing from Level 2 and the sonar wave from Level 4 both come to mind. Bubbles rising up from the bottom of the screen or paper clips and bullets bouncing off in all directions, it's really creative and keeps the game fresh.
There's a free version of Phantom Probes in the Market that lets you play the first 10 levels, and for a mere 99 cents, you're granted access to the full 50 levels this bad boy offers. If you're into mind benders and logic games, I wouldn't hesitate to hop on the Phantom Probes bandwagon. As always, download links and QR code is after the break.
Chompy's Dodgeball is a delightful romp in the world of fast-paced digital dodgeball, where it's man vs. beast vs. ninja vs. yeti in an epic, winner-take-all reminiscent of the movie Dodgeball (except for the beats and yeti).
The premise is simple: pummel your opponent into submission with dodgeballs and win. That's not the only way to win, though. If you have the most hearts when the clock runs out, you win. Lastly, if all the balls are on your opponent's side of the line, you win. (This is my preferred method of victory.)
Tap left and right on the ground to move, tap on your opponent's side of the line to throw, and, in the event you get hit, tap the screen repeatedly to get up. It's a pretty simple control scheme, but man, does it get the job done.
The folks over at Quicksilver Labs have dosed Chompy's Dodgeball with an insane amount of detail, from the large roster, full of characters with different and unique stats, to the various types of gameplay, levels, and mini-games included. To top it all off, it's all OpenFeint supported.
There's also DLC to remove ads and unlock the two ninjas and the cat lady. I can only assume as time goes on, they'll further enhance the roster and add more levels, as well.
Overall, Chompy's Dodgeball is an addicting, really fun game. It's the kind of game I'd pull out to kill a few minutes here and there and then find myself in the same position, thirty minutes later, a la Angry Birds. There's a lite version in the Market, but for $1.99, you get rid of ads plus you unlock Soba, the black ninja, so if feudal Japan is your thing, that's the price to pay.
Productivity apps, fun apps, gaming apps, whatever you need apps, they all exist, the trouble is just finding the ones that are worth using. Each week we like to bring you some of our favorite choices, in hopes that they could become your favorites as well. Let's hit the break and take a look at some of the choices from this week.
PlayerPro is one of those great music apps that does a lot of the tedious and menial things involving your music for you. For example, it automatically finds album art, but in addition, also has images for genre and artist as well. The album art thing should definitely come standard, but the other enhancements really help round out the package.
PlayerPro also supports a number of skins (all free on the Market) that you can use to customize the look of your player to your own tastes. All the included screenshots are using the stock skin that comes when you install, but chances are you can find something more your style if stock doesn't do it for you.
Probably PlayerPro's strongest asset is it's equalizer. You can pick from a number of sound effects as well as adjust individual levels, the volume, and the bass. I can speak from personal experience that the bass dialer works well, as evidenced by my booming car when I started playing music for the first time.
It's a bit pricey at $4.99 for the full app, but there is a trial in the Market that lasts five days. If you're looking for another solid music player and have a few bucks to burn, PlayerPro might be the way to go.
More pictures, QR code, and download links are after the break.
Android users had to wait quite a while for the official BBC Android app to arrive, when it did -- it was only made available in UK respectively. Now, BBC has taken their offerings Global by making the application available to all Worldwide. We're not exactly sure, what stopped them from doing so previously -- licensing agreements we suppose but either way we're glad to see it finally available to all. If we could now get the BBC iPlayer that would be great but one step at a time. Head on past the break for the Android Market download.
It looks like you won't have to wait long for developers to get geared up for Samsung's latest beauties -- the Galaxy S 4G on T-Mobile and Galaxy Tab 10.1 (the I/O edition only for now) have both been given official support by ROM Manager. We all know that once you make it easy to flash custom zip files to a device, people will start building those flashable zip files. I was told to expect the retail version soon, along with a root method.
Of course, you do need to be rooted and aware of all the risks involved. Once you're comfortable, and when your version is ready, you can download ROM Manager from the Market. We've got the link after the break.
We know that many of you are going to be lined up bright and early come June 24, with one thing on your mind -- the EVO 3D. Can't say we blame you, it certainly looks to be one of this years best. We also know a lot of you guys will be retiring your EVO 4G to pick this bad boy up, and there will be questions about migrating all your "stuff" from EVO to EVO. That's where we come in.
There's a couple ways to go about transferring most everything over, some built in and some third party. The good news is, all of them are pretty easy. Hit the break and we'll sort them out.