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2 years ago

Zen Bound 2 [Android Game Review]

7

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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2 years ago

Intel releases x86 system image for Android emulator

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Intel has released the long awaited x86 system image of Ice Cream Sandwich for the Android SDK and emulator. This will allow the Android emulator (long plagued with slow and buggy performance) to run at native speed on computers using the Intel x86 architecture.  Grabbing it is easy enough, just refresh the SDK Manager and grab it under the Android 4.0.3 tree. Of course, it seems like everyone else has the same idea so the download times are a bit high and you may want to wait an hour or so. We love seeing the developer tools get updated as much as we love seeing Android phones get updated. Better tools mean better apps, and everyone loves better apps. Don't forget us here at AC when you design the next great one!

via: +Xavier Ducrohet

 

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2 years ago

Google Shopper updated with refreshed UI and tighter Google Offers integration

1

Seems as though Google has been making plenty of little updates to their bevy of Google branded apps in the Google Play Store and now the latest to get some love is Google Shopper. Although it doesn't bring massive change, the latest update available for download brings a slightly refreshed UI and tighter integration with Google Offers to the mix. In addition to those changes, history and search suggestions will now appear in the app to help with speeding things up overall.

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2 years ago

PhotoBox! [Android App Review]

6

With all the hubbub around photo sharing services on Facebook, it only seems natural that someone would make an app that lets you not only snap pictures and add totally hipster effects to them, but also go through any album you can access, and edit those pictures directly from your phone (even if you didn't take them). That someone (or group of someones) would be Weaver Mobile, and their app, PhotoBox!

PhotoBox! is sort of an anomaly to me, simply because I'm not sure I understand the practical application. In short, you can go through anyone's pictures, choose one, and edit it. There's pretty standard options like crop and auto-color and such, and then there's some absolutely off-the-wall ones, like putting goofy borders around things, drawing with your finger (stylus style), and even adding typed text.

In my video review (below the break), I went pretty crazy with it, creating something so tacky and hideous, there's nary a chance it'll get a single 'Like' once it was posted, but that's not quite my issue with it, either. In short, I just don't understand why such an app exists.

Sure, it lets you edit photos. It does that pretty well, too. Definitely a strike against it for looking like a straight iPhone port, but hey, what can you do? (Well, I guess you could follow Android design guidelines.) But other than that? It feels like it takes all of Instagram's hipsterness, leaves out the social aspect completely, and says, "Ta-da! Behold, now you can sepia tone photos that you took before ​Instagram existed!"

Maybe it's just me. Instagram is lost on me, Pinterest is lost on me, maybe I'm just getting old. For this reviewer, though, while I can certainly say this app is functional, I must also tack on that I don't see a lot of real-world use for it.

Oh, and get off my lawn.

PhotoBox! is free in the Google Play Store. We've got video and download links after the break.

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2 years ago

eBay updates Android app, brings better notifications, list views, and social network sharing

4

The original online auction house and Internet giant eBay has revamped their Android application, improving a number of UI elements and views.

  • Best Offers and Best Offer notifications
  • Access to Wish and Custom lists in My eBay
  • List, relist and revise Parts & Accessories items (US)
  • List, relist and revise items in Canada, France and India
  • Share items on Facebook, Twitter and SMS
  • Improved Item View design
  • Lots of other new features and improvements throughout the app

Buying and selling from your smartphone is now easier than ever. The eBay for Android app is available in all countries supported by the Google Play Store. The eBay sites supported are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States. The download link is after the break.

Source: eBay Mobile

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2 years ago

Transformer Pad TF300 boot loader unlock tool now available from ASUS

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ASUS has made the boot loader unlocking utility for the Transformer Pad TF300 available from their website. The tool is an Android apk that you install like any other app, but when ran the boot loader of the device is unlocked -- allowing the installation of custom firmware. This comes at a price though, that being the potential loss of warranty. While I'm a firm believer that any warranty should be void if you want the ability to potentially ruin your hardware, there are many who see differently. But we all agree that you should have access to the hardware you've paid for, especially when it's not tied to a carrier's network. ASUS agrees as well, and that's why we love them.

Hit the source link, read and heed the warnings, and get to unlocking!

Source: ASUS

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2 years ago

ClockworkMod Tether [Android App Review]

42

Tethering your phone to a computer can be kind of a tricky thing. First, there's a definite questionable legality to it. (The whole "if it's my data, I'll use it how I want!" argument comes to mind.) Second, you've (usually) got to have some sort of techie knowledge to install the right drivers, get all the appropriate cables plugged in, and then you've still​ got to get the app to work! Add in the issue of usually needing root, and where is a non-rooted, Android-loving simpleton supposed to turn?

The answer would be ClockworkMod Tether (hereafter referred to as Tether) by our friendly neighborhood dev, ClockworkMod. (You might have heard of him. He did ROM Manager, among other things.)

What makes Tether so great? For starters, you don't need root to use it. Next, you can use it with Windows, Macs, and​ Linux. And perhaps most importantly, it's got the most simple, easy to use interface ever created.

Open up Tether and you'll see two buttons: a big power button and a little red button with a question mark in it. To get Tether running, you hit the power button. It'll turn blue and say, "Hey! Tether is running now!" The question mark has a few basic support options.

You can download the desktop client (so you can actually tether), get a link to the drivers for your computer, or get some basic troubleshooting advice in case Tether either doesn't connect or is running slowly. If push comes to shove, the app tells you to directly email Koush.

Installing drivers for your phone is pretty self-explanatory. Double-click the little executable file you download from ClockworkMod's website, get the drivers going, and then install the desktop client. Once Tether is installed on both your phone and​ your computer, you're finally ready to make magic happen.

Once your phone is all nice and plugged into your computer, open up the desktop Tether client, and either tap the digital power button on your phone or start the desktop client. You'll get a huge screen of text on the desktop client, and, if all goes well, it'll say you're connected. You can track your data sent and received on your phone's screen.

In my experience, Tether worked like a charm. My data speeds started off a bit slow (despite the fact I was on LTE), but after three or four speed tests, my speeds were more in line with what I would expect. Even if you're only on 3G, if you don't want to pay for say, an airport's WiFi and don't want to buy a dedicated USB modem, Tether is the way to go.

Unfortunately, Tether (in its free form), is only a 14-day trial. After your two weeks are up, you're limited to a mere 20MB a day. Upgrading to the full version will set you back $4.99, but that's still cheaper than the other no-root tether apps out there, and this also has the added benefit of being backed by a big name developer that everyone knows puts out quality.

We've got a few screenshots of my speed tests, video and download links after the break.

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2 years ago

Android A to Z: Bloatware

22

When you think of Android phones, you think of bloatware. We wish it weren't so, and not every phone comes with, but the majority of Android phones out there come from carriers and are chock full of bloatware. We've complained about it, and found ways to remove it, but what exactly is it?

Most folks consider any applications that your carrier (or the folks who built your phone) pre-installed to the system as bloatware. Usually, these applications are a front end to some service or content that you'll have to pay for, and usually it's something you would never download and use on your own. All the carriers, and all the manufacturers, are guilty of including it, and we tend to hate it all equally. When you open the app drawer on your new phone, and see City ID staring back at you, just waiting for you to click it, you can't help but hate it. 

But why is it there? It's one down side of Android's open nature. Google gives Android away to anyone and everyone, but realistically only a very few companies can afford to make cell phones. And they don't make them with you and me in mind as their customer. HTC, or Samsung, or LG (you get the picture) makes Android phones for the carriers. They work out deals to decide hardware and software  they want to include, and part of those deals are these "value-added applications" we lovingly call bloatware. Verizon and HTC love you, but they still want you to click the app and send in the money. Because Google isn't involved and doesn't make any rules about it, they can include any app they like in your new phone. Nobody likes it, but it is the side effect of being open.

Thankfully, Ice Cream Sandwich brings along the ability to disable (most of) these apps without rooting or tinkering with the system files on your Android device, and that provides the best solution we can think of. Certainly there are some people who found a use for City ID or VZ Navigator, and they should have the opportunity to use those apps if they like. And we can disable and hide them, and forget they exist.

Check out the complete Android Dictionary

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2 years ago

ooVoo update brings 12-way video calling, Facebook registration, user upload option

3

It's a big day to be an ooVoo fan (and probably an equally big day to become one), as they've announced a pretty massive update to not only their Android app, but also their service as a whole. Starting today, ooVoo users can participate in 12-way video chat from all ooVoo mobile applications, the desktop program, and even Facebook.

The interface for the Android application has been updated and also feature a simple, one-click Facebook registration option (for those who are new to ooVoo). Similarly neat is the ability to send an oovoo Call Link, so friends who don't have ooVoo can still be connected to you.

ooVoo also listened to user feedback and has added call record and upload functions right into your chat, giving you access to uploading to YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

What do y'all think of the update? Impressed? Let down? Neither? Be sure to sound off and let us know, and if you haven't yet, be sure to take the new ooVoo for a spin.

We've got the full presser and download links to the updated app after the break.

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