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2 years ago

Sonic 4 Episode 1 now available in the Android Market

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Sega has been working hard to bring Sonic The Hedgehog games to Android and their latest release is now available in the Android Market. Sonic 4 Episode 1 picks up where the Sonic CD series left off and even includes some exclusive content:

  • 2 Exclusive Levels - Two exclusive levels build specifically for smartphones using the accelerometer.
  • New Moves - All of Sonic's classic moves are available, including the newer Homing Attack which will add a new level of control and excitement.
  • Classic Sonic Stages - Race through 4 unique zones containing 4 acts each as well as 7 special stages.
  • Special Stages Return - A staple of the Genesis-era games, the special stages return allowing fans to collect the 7 Chaos Emeralds and unlock Super Sonic.
  • Revamped Classic Boss Battles - Dr. Eggman returns with new and improved mechas and will go berserk when he accumulates damage.

The previous release Sonic CD, was a great port for Android users and from the looks of it - Sonic 4 Episode 1 will fit that bill as well. It's available right now in the Android Market for $4 -- download link can be found past the break for you all. Once you play through it, you can take satisfaction in knowing Episode 2 isn't that far off.

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2 years ago

Google Maps, Listen and Goggles get updates

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Google Maps, Google Listen and Google Goggles have each received updates today in the Android Market. Here's what's new:

Google Maps Navigation now has a cool feature that will switch the app to "night mode" when you're going through a tunnel. Not sure how much navigating you'll need to do while you're actually in the tunnel, but it looks cool. 

Google Listen is getting its second update this month! So much for being shipped off to the land of forgotten apps. New today is a bug fix that "fixes an issue in which Listen while in the background would improperly take audio focus from other apps."

And finally, there's Google Goggles, which is getting a few bugfixes in version 1.7.1. Fixed are the following: 

  • Don't store inaccurate locations for queries in search history
  • Show the description field for user-submitted results
  • Don't crash when loading large bitmaps
  • Performance enhancements in continuous mode

Worthy updates, all. Head on into the Android Market or use the links below to get your updates.

Download: Google Maps; Google Listen; Google Goggles

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2 years ago

Anomaly Warzone Earth HD finally brings "tower offense" to Android

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Youtube link for mobile viewing

Wildly popular "tower offense" game Anomaly Warzone Earth HD is now available for a cool $4 in the Android Market. A long-time iOS staple, the title picked up quite a bit of industry buzz, including a nomination for best Mobile Strategy Game from IGN and a Platinum Award from PocketGamer, among other accolades. Unlike other tower defense games, Anomaly Warzone Earth HD takes a different approach: you are on the offense rather than the defense, and it's up to you to break down what other similar titles would have you build-- tower defense.

If you're the type to balk at a $4 pricetag, the immersive Story Campaign mode along with the top-notch graphics and sound will likely be enough of a justification. You'll need to be running at least Android 2.2 to play, and you'll likely be better off with a higher-spec'd phone that can handle the game's rather intensive graphics (the title can also be found on Xbox Live and PCs, an indication for just how rich the gameplay can get). As it just hit the Android Market yesterday we'll take a few more days to see what's what and get a proper review posted. Until then, you can hit the link below to grab a copy for yourself. 

Source: Anomalythegame.com

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2 years ago

ESPN ScoreCenter gets an update, now includes scoring and breaking news notifications

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The popular sports app ESPN ScoreCenter has received a sizeable update which includes one the most requested features, notifications. Yes, it's been a long time coming, but now you can receive scoring and breaking news notifications to your Android device.

Once you open the app, click the red tab at the bottom to bring up the menu, then select preferences. From there, you can manage which teams you follow and which alerts you will receive.

Here is the full changelog from the update:

  • Scoring and breaking news notifications now available!! Get game start, scoring plays, end of period/qtr/half and final score notifications, or follow your favorite sports with breaking news alerts - all delivered to your device’s home screen.
  • Fixed widgets and other display issues on certain devices
  • Fixed a number of UI issues occurring on Android 4.0+ (Ice Cream Sandwich) devices
  • Additional UI fixes for tablets
  • Additional bug fixes

The app is available for free in the Android Market, so to get the update or to download the app, please find the links after the break.

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2 years ago

Shadowgun: The Leftover update hitting this week, free for owners of Shadowgun

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Shadowgun fans rejoice; once iOS exclusive add-on pack "The Leftover" will be hitting the Android Market this week. Best of all, current Shadowgun players will recieve it as a free of charge update. 

It features four new levels, and a storyline that follows on directly after the events of the original game. These are just two among many other new features, so fans will be well catered for while waiting for the next Shadowgun title. 

No exact date has been provided, but an administrator on the official Madfinger Games forums dropped the news that "The Leftover" will be landing this week. 

via Droid Gamers

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2 years ago

Evernote for Android - Now with auto-titles, improved layout, save and continue

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Evernote is in the process of rolling out the latest iteration of their popular Android app. Today's update will push Evernote into v3.5, and it brings along plenty of changes as well. So what's new? We'll tell you as it was told to us:

  • Auto titles - There are times when you need to remember something on the go — a fast snapshot or a quick voice memo. Evernote is great for that. The problem was, how to find those notes later? In this update, we’ve come up with a great solution: auto-titles for untitled notes. Now, Evernote will create a title based on the content of the note and time that the note was created, making it much easier to find it later.
  • Improved image layout in notes - We’ve also made some improvements to how snapshots appear inside your notes. There is now padding around images, so if a note contains several images, they show up nicely spaced and easier to view. As always, if you tap on an image, you can view it in full-screen view. A long tap lets you annotate it in Skitch.
  • Save anytime - If you compose lengthy notes on your phone or tablet, then you’ll like our new Save feature. Tap the Save button in the note and a version will be saved to your device’s memory. No need to exit the note. When you’re finished, tap Done and the note will Sync.

Those are some pretty nice changes and personally, I'm glad to see the auto titles option added. I have countless notes in Evernote already named "Untitled" but better late then never to have implemented it. Also, remember -- Evernote integrates amazingly well with Skitch so be sure to grab that as well if you haven't already.

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2 years ago

Review: Klipsch S4A earbuds and companion Android app

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Klipsch S4As sound great, don't break the bank and have an Android app for tweaking settings

One of the first things you should do -- nay, the first thing you should do -- when buying just about any new smartphone is to ditch the cheap earbuds that come with it. We've been testing the Klipsch S4A earbuds for a couple weeks now -- as well as the Android companion app that serves along side them.

Let's not beat around the bush here: These are some excellent $99 earbuds. For me, that's the sweet spot for pricing. Any more than that, and I'm going to be worried about losing them. Any less, and I won't think I've spent enough for quality. (That can be a red herring, I know. But that's what my brain thinks, and so I'm going with it.)

The earbuds fit my ears easily enough, snug, but not too snug thank to the oval rubber tips, and they're pretty comfortable over long periods. They're also surprisingly good at passive noise isolation. I really didn't expect them do be able to drown out the new Lamb of God blaring from my desk speakers, but the S4As managed it, and with a surprising amount of bass, too.  The tips are replaceable, too (for a mere $13.99 each) and come in four sizes. 

The S4As also serve as a microphone for hands-free(ish) calls. The mic is about six inches down the left-ear cable, and that's also where you'll find the push button, which really is what the S4As are all about. While they work fine out of the box, there's also a companion Android application that adds a great deal of funcationality for that button. You've got the usual single-press options -- play/pause, mute/answer, that sort of thing. Double clicking by default takes you to the next track. Triple click takes you back. A long press controls the volume. And most of these actions are customizable. 

The app itself is a no-brainer to use. Klipsch did a really nice job of designing it so that it's as simple as can be. Just plug in, check your settings, and go. One thing we will recommend you do before purchasing, though, is to check the app listing the Android Market, as there are a few smartphones that have had compatibility issues. But Klipsch says it's working on this.

We've got more pictures and screen shots after the break.

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2 years ago

Lookout launches Mobile Threat Tracker, visually represents malware around the globe

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Lookout has released a neat new application this morning -- Mobile Threat Tracker.  What it does is tell you where and when users running Lookout have came across malware in their mobile devices. How it does it is the cool part -- the results are updated hourly, and when you start the app you get an animated timeline where individual malware "hits" are represented as tiny shafts of light zooming to the reported location on a globe.  If you've ever played a global thermo-nuclear war simulation on an old PC, it looks pretty much like that -- which means it's cool as heck.

Interesting visuals aside, the app answers some questions many of us have about Lookout and mobile security in general.  At a glance you can see how many mobile threats there really are and where they are concentrated.  The information button shows you the top three current threats, and tapping on their entries tells you a bit about what they are doing and why Lookout marks them as malware.  

If you're a security researcher, or anyone who has to keep track of mobile security issues, or just curious, head past the break where we've got some screenshots and a download link.

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2 years ago

MIT and Google open-source App Inventor code, public release of MIT's version on track for April

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You guys probably know this by now, but I was a fan of App Inventor.  Watching my wife use it to create her own application just sucked me in, and I loved the whole idea of a way for anyone to make an Android app.  When we heard that Google was shutting it down, I was sad, but the news that MIT was going to pick up the pieces and run with it lifted my spirits again.  Recent news makes me even happier -- MIT and Google have released the full source-code for the service, and folks at MIT's Center for Mobile Learning have said that the public release of the re-vamped service is on track for an April release:

So far (knock on wood) our development effort is on track for releasing the MIT Public App Inventor Service in the first quarter of this year. While unexpected issues can always arise, we're guardedly optimistic that people who plan to run App Inventor courses or workshops can anticipate being able to use the MIT service by mid-April.

With the release of the source and the JAR files you have the choice of running your own local copy, or jumping in and using MIT's version once it goes live.  See the links below for more information, and remember us if you give it a try and come up with your own app -- we'd love to check it out!

Source: MIT's App Inventor Developer's blog

App Inventor source code

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2 years ago

Evi is a Siri 'competitor' for Android -- if you like slow, non-answers

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We've talked before about what it takes for an app to truly be a competitor to Apple's Siri. 

  1. It needs to be easily accessible, and launch quickly. Very quickly.
  2. It needs to actually understand what you're saying.
  3. It needs to return results quickly.

We're going to add one more reqiurement to that list: It needs to actually be on iOS. Otherwise, it's not a Siri competitor. It's just an alternative. On another platform.

Anyhoo. That brings us to Evi, the latest app to attempt Siri-like functionality on Android. That is, you ask it a question or give it a command, and it responds with audio and text. Maybe.

Evi's user interface isn't too shabby. Clean lines and all that, and you've got a nice, prominent microphone button, so you know what to hit. You don't get the same home button metaphor that you do with Siri on the iPhone, but then again most Android smartphones don't have dedicated home buttons. That's not a big ding, just noticeable. Evi uses Google's voice-to-whatever UI and is powered by Nuance, so that looks familiar, and it's quick enough in listening to what you're saying.

But that's when things pretty much go off the rails. In even just our handful of tests, Siri was much quicker at returning results. It's pretty obvious for some things, Siri already knows the answer -- it's looking them up in the background. Evi needs a minute, though typing your question may speed things up a tad -- but that kind of defeates the purpose here.

And once again we see diametric differences in the presentation of results. Siri is simple, both in audio and visual answers. Evi's voice is decidedly robotic, and the answers are too long -- almost engineerish. Oh, and telling me to go look up the weather myself? That's really not acceptable. On the other hand, you get to give each answer a thumbs up or thumbs down. Guess which one I've been using more. 

Does Evi have Siri-like functionality? Sure. Is it a Siri "competitor?" No. It's just not as good -- and it's not on the iPhone, therefore it can't directly compete. (Update: Ah, it's on iOS, too.)

Check out our video walkthrough after the break. And note that we're not dinging Evi too badly for having server problems. When you're a new app that gets a bunch of attention in a short amount of time, this can happen, we suppose. But that doesn't mean we're willing to put up with it for very long. After all -- if your app doesn't work, it doesn't work.

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