Headlines

2 years ago

BBM will not be heading to Android, still need to buy a BlackBerry for it

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For a long old time now, we've heard various tales of the jewel in the BlackBerry crown, BlackBerry Messenger, breaking free and heading over to Android. We've seen "screenshots", just as we've seen the rumors get dismissed. It seems now though that we can finally lay the whole thing to bed. BBM will not be coming to Android. 

The final installment reads a little like this. A new report from the WSJ claims that RIM was indeed testing BBM on other platforms, cunningly disguised as "SMS 2.0." Then enters new CEO Thorsten Heins, who apparently has taken the option completely off the table. Sources familiar with the matter told the WSJ "it was not up for discussion." 

So there we have it. Anyone disappointed? Maybe not. The world remains as it always was -- if you really want BBM, you sure as gosh darn it don't buy an Android phone. 

Source: WSJ via Crackberry

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2 years ago

BlueStacks beta-1 [Android App Review]

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BlueStacks has been around for a while. We first saw it in an early alpha, that while usable, wasn't ready for prime time. After lots of toiling and hard work (I assume), we finally saw BlueStacks enter beta, and boy, was this ever a different program.

So what exactly does BlueStacks let you do? It lets you run Android applications right on your PC, just as though you were using an Android phone or tablet. It manages to pull this off using some sort of black voodoo neckbeard magic​ "Layercake" technology the guys have developed, and man oh man, do I like it.

Getting BlueStacks going is simply a breeze. Once you've got it all installed, you simply open it up and there's a list of preinstalled apps. You have access to a couple of different app stores to download other apps you might want, and to top it all off, you can install apk's directly into BlueStacks, right off of your computer's hard drive.

(There's also an app syncing tool that lets you sync apps from your phone to your computer's client, which skirts the whole apk issue, but just know that it's there if you need it.)

When you've finally got an app loaded up in BlueStacks, there's always a bit of experimenting to see what button or mouse click controls what. For something like Angry Birds Space, it's all pretty straightforward; use your mouse like you'd use your finger.

For something more complex (and visually demanding) like Shadowgun, you've just got to mess around. For the most part, mouse clicks transfer pretty well, and more often than not, arrow keys will move your character. The few times I ran Shadowgun, it was either kind of stuttery or buttery smooth, so your mileage can definitely vary.

Overall, BlueStacks is pretty darn cool, especially if you've ever wanted to get the Android experience on your computer. Its uses might seem a bit novel right now, but as prices for games in the mobile space continue to come in lower than their desktop counterparts, BlueStacks looks like it could offer some market disruption.

You can download the BlueStacks Windows component from the BlueStacks website at no cost. We've got video after the break.

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2 years ago

Bump update easily moves photos from your phone to your computer

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Bump has been hard at work updating their application to bring a new functionality to users. Today, they've unveiled what exactly they've been up to and to put it plainly -- it's pretty awesome. The concept is simple really. You have photos on your device and the desire to transfer them to your computer. Now you can with just a bump. No wires, cables or fuss. How does it work?

Starting today, everyone who uses Bump can go to http://bu.mp on their computer web browser, select photos in the Bump app on their phone, and gently bump the spacebar on their computer. Voila! Photos instantly appear on the computer. From there, people have the option of saving to their hard drive or getting a short link to share with friends on Facebook, Twitter, email or IM. There’s no software to install or registration required – it’s how technology should work.

Sure, there is a few other apps out there that will transfer photos to your computer from your phone. Dropbox being one choice that works but if you're not already invested into those other solutions, Bump might be just exactly what you are looking for. I tested it out quite a few times on different devices and worked each and every time. Give it a go and let us know what you think.

Source: Bump

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2 years ago

Late-night poll: Are you liking the Google+ update?

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If you're a Google+ user and reading this site, you probably checked out the big update to the Android app earlier this afternoon. We'd been waiting a couple weeks since a similar update went to iOS users, and many were less than impressed with today's changes. It is a big of a mess, especially when everyone was posting screen shots of how messy it was, and the text can be pretty difficult to read depending on any picture attached. It's a big change.

It has it's pluses (see what I did there) as well, the fly out menu is a nice touch, and when it's not being messy it's a beautiful look for picture sharing. I think it's a really good start, but still needs some attention. What about you guys? Liking it? Hating it? Let us know in tonight's poll.

How do you feel about the new Google+ update?

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2 years ago

TripAdvisor expands City Guides, releases apps for 30 new cities

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Traveling to new areas can be both fun and exciting but it also has the potential to be rather frustrating at times. If you're not familiar with the area you are going to you may not know the best places to stay, the best places to eat and the attractions around that you will want to take in. For such cases, TripAdvisor has released quite a few city guides in the past to help those in need find all those things when traveling and now, they've gone ahead and added 30 new cities to the mix bringing the grand total of cities offered to 50. In addition to the new city offerings, they've added some new features to the apps as well:

  • Transit – Users can now view metro or subway stations on a map. Unique to City Guides, the “Nearby Station” feature helps travelers find the closest station to their current location, or to a particular restaurant, hotel, or attraction.
  • TripIdeas - TripIdeas are customized itinerary recommendations based on popular travel themes, such as traveling with family, foodie destinations, and places off the beaten path. Each itinerary includes beautiful large photos for inspiration. Users can keep track of their favorite TripIdeas in their “Saves” list.
  • Offline Map Update – Users can now fully customize their own maps. This feature displays saved destinations, metro stations, and any restaurants, hotels, and attractions of interest, to help travelers plan and have their perfect trip.

If you're looking to be planning a trip in the near future or have one already in the works, maybe TripAdvisor can help make that trip better. The full list of added cities can be found past the break and if you're looking for the full list of all TripAdvisor City Guides available, just hit the source link below to be taken to the Google Play Store listings.

Source: TripAdvisor, Google Play Store

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2 years ago

Rockstar Games puts Grand Theft Auto III on sale this weekend

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If you've been avoiding picking up Grand Theft Auto III due to the cost of the game, now might be a good time to head on over to the Google Play Store and pick it up. Rockstar has lowered the price of Grand Theft Auto III to only $.99 in celebration of the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. Come Monday though the sale will be done with and it will return to the regular pricing of $4.99. If you're looking for the link, you'll find it below. Just be sure you have some space available as the download of additional content can reach up to 1GB.

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2 years ago

Google Play launches in-app subscriptions

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Google Play continues to expand upon the business models available to developers and app-buyers, with today's launch of in-app subscription on its Android app store. Following on from last year's in-app purchases launch, Google Play's in-app subscriptions service provides the ability for apps to charge a monthly or yearly fee for in-app content. As you'd expect, the payment amount and renewal period is set by the developer, and users are able to manage these recurring payments through the Google Play Store. And unwanted subscriptions can be canceled via the new "Subscriptions" tab under "My Apps."

In its announcement blog post, Google highlights in-app subscriptions as being particularly useful for "premium dynamic content," such as newspapers and magazines. And if you're also an iOS user, you'll be aware that this is a service that Apple's offered since this time last year, with the specific aim of attracting this kind of content to its app store.

The first Android app to ship with in-app subscriptions is Glu Mobile's Frontline Commando, and Google says more devs will announce subscription-funded versions of their apps in the days ahead. Other devs can pick up sample code over at the source link. If you're looking to manage your own subscriptions, you'll need version 3.5 or higher of the Google Play Store app, which Google says has already been rolled out to most Android devices around the world.

Source: Android Developers blog

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2 years ago

'Because We May' sale brings discounted prices to 57 Android games

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If you're looking for an excuse to pick up some top-notch Android games over the next week, you'll want to check out the "Because We May" sale, which has kicked off today. The sale, crated by a band of leading mobile game developers, brings heavy discounts to favorites of ours, including World of Goo, Osmos, EDGE and Fieldrunners HD. Many are on sale for under £2, while some are even 99 cents or less.

What's the big idea behind Because We May? The devs point to a celebration of the freedom offered by modern digital distribution channels like Google Play and the iOS App Store --

We believe that developers should have the freedom to price their games how they like, without interference from the online stores that sell the games. Why? Because it allows us to promote our games more freely, as we are doing here! We rely on the ability to promote our games for our livelihood and control over pricing is an important tool for this purpose.

The sale runs for the next week, so you've got until next Friday, June 1, to get your fill of some of the best Android games around. And if you're a multi-platform type, the "Because We May" sale also has discounts on iOS, Mac and Steam titles.

Hit the source link for the full list of discounted games on Google Play.

Source: Because We May

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2 years ago

Zen Bound 2 [Android Game Review]

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We could probably all use a little more Zen in our lives. With the stress of work, bills, family, etc., it can be hard to take a moment, relax, and just be calm. Like Osmos HD and Gravilux before it, Zen Bound 2 looks to continue the proud tradition of Android games that both bake your noodle and calm your nerves.

The premise of Zen Bound 2 is simple: wrap a rope around a wooden figurine. Everywhere the rope touches, the wood is painted. Your goal is to paint as much of the wood as you can while using the least amount of string. When you're all done painting, you then​ have to maneuver the rope around a nail sticking out of the figurine and tie a knot. Once the knot is tied, the level is over.

For each level you play, there's minimum conditions for winning, based on what percent of the figurine you paint. Paint more of the figurine, you get more flowers. Paint less, receive less. (Flowers are the reward/currency for unlocking more levels.)

This mechanic forces you to go a replay levels you tried to burn through, as you'll soon realize that the levels you want to be at are more expensive than the flowers you've got. It's actually pretty brilliant in that regard, because playing levels over again is great practice and keeps you coming back.

Zen Bound 2 also lives right up to its name. The background music is soft and ambient, with the occasional tinkle of wind chimes and other wooden instruments. It's all very subdued and under the surface, contributing to the calming vibe. Make sure you dim the lights and put your feet up before loading this game up.

Zen Bound 2 is $2.99 in the Google Play Store. We've got video and download links after the break.

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2 years ago

Beautifully redesigned Google+ experience is here!

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Our iOS-loving pals got this one a couple weeks ago, but now it's our turn. The redesigned Google+ app is now available for Android. And quite an update it is. In addition to the visual refresh, you'll get the following:

  • Initiate a Hangout from the main menu
  • Support for ringing hangout notification
  • Support for post editing
  • Messenger suggestions for people you may know
  • Download photos from posts or Messenger conversations

The ability to edit posts is a godsend, as well as being able to download photos from posts. Hit the link below to snag it directly. And don't forget to circle Android Central as well!

Download: Google+; More: Google

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