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3 years ago

Kik releases mobile SDK as a drop in solution for real time sharing

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Attention, developers!  Are you looking for a way to add user-to-user sharing in your mobile application, using an already established cross-platform messenger service?  If so, the people at Kik have something you'll be interested in.  With the release of their Kik mobile SDK you now have a drop in solution with a huge pool of existing users, ready for your project.  The SDK looks to be pretty straightforward, and will give your app the ability to send text, attachments, and a preview pane directly to another device using Kik messenger, ready to open in your own app on that users phone.  Kik also assures us that the data is secure, with only a users first name being shared.

To top it all off, Kik is sponsoring a contest with three cash prizes of $5,000 to give away for the best mobile apps using their SDK, so you'll want to get in on that.  The entry deadline is Aug. 8, 2011, and you'll find all that particulars, as well as the SDK download and API FAQ at the source link.  And don't forget to let us know about your apps!

Source: Kik

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3 years ago

Android Quick App: WipEout for Xperia Play

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If you owned a PlayStation (of the original, gray variety) back in the late nineties, then the WipEout series should need no introduction. WipEout was one of the first titles to bring futuristic "kart" style racing into 3D, and was massively successful when it launched in 1995, alongside the original Sony PlayStation.

Now Sony has brought the original WipEout to Android, in the form of an official port for the PlayStation-certified Xperia Play. And like many of the PlayStation classics currently offered by Sony on the Android Market, WipEout looks and plays just as it did on the PS1 sixteen years ago. You can steer your ship using either the Xperia Play's D-pad or analog controls, and air-breaking is taken care of by the left and right trigger buttons.

The aim, of course, is to work your way to the front of the pack by using speed pads, weapons and other power-ups to get the best of your opponents. Just like the PlayStation original, WipEout can be pretty brutal at times. There's a near-vertical learning curve and AI which will punish you when you're caught up in the middle of the pack, and rubber-band its way back to you if you take first place. Once you hit your stride, though, WipEout is a highly enjoyable racer, though not as newbie-friendly as more casual titles on the Market.

If you decide to pick the game up, you'll get a fair amount of content for your £3.99. There are six tracks to play across championship, single race and time trial modes, and an unlockable seventh track if you beat the game. Unfortunately, the exceptional licensed soundtrack of the original PlayStation version isn't included, but in its place you'll find the alternate Sega Saturn soundtrack by Tim "Cold Storage" Wright.

If you're unfamiliar with the WipEout series, then you'll probably find more accessible and enjoyable casual racers elsewhere. However, if you're a PlayStation veteran and fancy a trip down memory lane, then asking price is more than reasonable in our opinion. WipEout is currently available on the Android Market (Europe only for the moment) for £3.99. Join us after the jump for Market links and QR codes.

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3 years ago

News360 for phones now available

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Last May we saw the release of News360 for Honeycomb devices, and today they have released the version for the smaller screen.  In a nutshell, News360 is a news aggregator app with over 4,000 global sources (find us in the Android section!) and it's visually stunning.  The features are there, too -- the social integration with Facebook, Twitter, ReadItLater, Instapaper, and TripIt, the ability to favorite articles and and content to create your own customized newsfeed, and "automatically identifying and linking more than 700,000 companies, people, brands and locations with stories, and creating encyclopedic, wiki-style dossiers accessible with a single tap, without ever leaving the article."  That means when you open an article, keywords are highlighted and a tap takes you to page inside the app full of pertinent information and other news links.  Another very intriguing feature is set to come out this summer:

News360 will introduce a new cross-platform content personalization mechanism based on interests and reading preferences gathered from integrations with Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader and Evernote, among others. Automatically generated profiles will enable users to instantly discover the content that is relevant to them with one click of the News360 icon.

But the highlight here is easily the application design.  It's smooth, with a fluid transition between pages, rich high resolution images, and quality inline video.  It's also uniquely Android; versions are available for multiple platforms, each having the same overall look and feel yet keeping the controls and layout in the stye associated with each individual platform.  The iPhone version, for example, has a familiar icon bar across the bottom, with the settings and favorites where you would expect them, and the Android version has those same controls in the upper right corner.  It's the little touches like this that separate it from the pack.  News360 is free from the Android Market for phones running Android 2.2 and higher, and you'll find the download link, some images showing off the interface, and the official press release after the break.

More: News360

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3 years ago

Star Legends: The Blackstar Chronicles beta launches, we have 50 keys to give away!

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Spacetime Studios has released the beta of Star Legends: The Blackstar Chronicles, the new sci-fi MMO and Android Central has 50 beta keys to give away.  You might recognize the name Spacetime Studios, as they're the folks behind Pocket Legends -- another great MMO for Android.  This time around you'll play as a hero in the 41st century, against other players and the alien race known as the Vular.  You can choose from three different character classes, each with different strengths and weaknesses, for loads of exciting gaming.

If you're a Verizon subscriber, you can find Star Legends via VCast.  If you're not a Verizon user (or if the first thing you do is yank VCast off your phone), you'll either have to wait until the beta period is over (that's July 20) or win one of the 50 keys we're giving away.  If you're selected, you'll get the beta key and download link so you can install and play while the rest of us are waiting.  Have a look at some of the gameplay screens, the press release, and the official trailer after the break, and visit this link in the Android Central forums for a chance to win

More info: Star Legends site

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3 years ago

LG Optimus 3D gets a gaming boost from Gameloft

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Read our LG Optimus 3D review

What's a 3D phone without 3D apps, right? And the LG Optimus 3D just got a nice boost from Gameloft, which now has 17 titles ready for the first mainstream glasses-free 3D smartphone.

Included with the Optimus 3D are Asphalt 6: Adrenaline, N.O.V.A. and Let's Golf! 2. Rounding out the available downloads are:

  • Assassin’s Creed: Altaïr’s Chronicles
  • James Cameron’s Avatar
  • Ultimate Spider Man: Total Mayhem
  • GT Racing: Motor Academy
  • Shrek Kart
  • Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus
  • Real Football 2011
  • Star Battalion
  • N.O.V.A. 2 -- Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance
  • Dungeon Hunter 2
  • Fishing Kings
  • BackStab
  • Eternal Legacy
  • Shadow Guardian

Can't say there's not a sable of content waiting for the Optimus 3D, can ya? Be sure and check out of full review of the Optimus 3D, and check out the press release after the break.

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3 years ago

Fieldrunners HD now available in the Amazon Appstore

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There she be, folks -- Fieldrunners HD. It's tower defense done like never before, with excellent graphics and sounds. It's got more than 400 levels and four battlefields, seven towers and three difficulty levels, plus two additional modes once you beat the Classic game.

Fieldrunners HD is a pretty big download at 36MB, and it's available on Android smartphones (not tablets yet) running Android 2.2 and up. Download it from the Amazon Appstore for free today at the link below.

Download: Fieldrunners HD

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3 years ago

Amazon throws in unlimited music storage if you buy a $20 Cloud Drive plan

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Remember when we all wondered why, exactly, I shelled out $100 for 100GB of storage space for Amazon's Cloud Music Player? I'm really regretting that decision now, as Amazon just announced that if you pony up a mere $20 for a $20GB Amazon Cloud Drive plan, you'll be bumped up to unlimited Cloud Player storage. As in, no limit at all. Upload all you want.

Hey, that's great. Glad to see Amazon throwing a bone to new customers. And for us early adopters who wanted a little more space, well, we're just out of luck.

Source: Amazon

Update: Were you like your intrepid editor and paid more for extra storage? Amazon's refunding the difference! Here's the e-mail I just got.

Because your current plan now includes unlimited space for music, we're refunding the difference between the cost of your original Cloud Drive plan of 100 GB and the cost of a current 20 GB plan ($20), which is the least-expensive Cloud Drive plan that includes unlimited space for music. A refund of $80 will be issued to the card originally used for your Amazon Cloud Drive storage plan. Refunds are typically completed within 10 business days and will appear as a credit on your credit card statement.

Good on ya, Amazon! (And a tip of the hat to @dcornejo)

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3 years ago

Android Quick App: FuelLog

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In case you can't tell, I really, really like saving money on gas. I've talked about GasBuddy on more than one occasion, and the almost natural complement to that would be FuelLog. FuelLog is a thorough, straightforward app that tracks your average gas mileage as well as cost over time.

At it's core, FuelLog is all about tracking your fill-ups and giving you feedback on your miles-per-gallon, as well as keeping you informed about your cost during each fill-up and how many days have transpired between fill-ups. It's graphically plain, but it doesn't need to be popping, just functional. And functional it is.

You get yourself started by "Add Fill-up" button. From there, you're taken to a screen with all the essential information: odometer reading, how much fuel you bought, and the cost-per-gallon. From there, FuelLog does all the appropriate math and you get your first reading. There's also an option to add a note, say, that you just towed a trailer cross-country, so that's why your gas mileage is probably in the dumps.

The more fill-ups you add, the better FuelLog gets. With more information, FuelLog can tell you your best gas mileage, your worst, and your average. This is denoted by the green, red, and yellow mileages on the list screen, but really stands out when you move to the Stats tab.

The Costs tab is for any incidentals (like repairs) that you might have to pay for your vehicle. It's got a pretty expansive list of options, ranging from a one-time cost to monthly and even quarterly. There's still the standard fields for odometer and costs, but you can also title the expense (like "Ran into a tree") and add a note.

The Stats tab is one of the more impressive features of FuelLog, giving you two choices: Graphs or Values. Values is a series of tables, showing you things like fuel consumption, accumulated costs, total fill-ups and fuel amounts bought, total costs, and a long table of averages. It's fairly comprehensive, and if there's anything you needed to know about your spending or driving habits, it's here.

When you flip over to the graphs, you're presented with a single line graph, but you can change what you're viewing. This is one of the features that illustrates how powerful FuelLog can be as it continues to accumulate more data about you. Don't think you're limited to just one graph, either. While you can only view a single graph at a time, there's plenty to pick from, like fuel consumption, trips, total odometer, and fuel price. For the visual learners among us, this is pretty key.

The last tab is a calculator to help you estimate how many gallons you'll burn if you drive a certain number of miles or the opposite, how many miles you're likely to be able to drive based on a certain number of gallons in your tank.

Overall, I think FuelLog is essential for any cost-minded people, especially if you care about improving your driving habits. Fortunately, FuelLog is free, but not without its limitations. The free version only remembers a max of 10 points on your graphs, so if you want to track things long-term, I'd suggest ponying up the ~$2.72 for the license key. The full version also gets rid of ads as well as letting you import or export a file into FuelLog, so you can keep a spreadsheet on your computer without much hassle.

Download links and more pictures are after the break.

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3 years ago

How to download maps data on Google Maps

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One of the more interesting (if less publicized) additions to Google Maps 5.7 is the ability to download map data locally to your phone. That's a godsend if you're traveling somewhere that has a spotty connection, or if you're overseas and trying to avoid roaming charges.

To enable downloading map data, you'll need to go into the Labs section of Google Maps. Hit the menu button, then More, then Labs, and tap on the Download Map Area section, like you see above.

You'll be able to download a 10-mile radius from any point. Hold your finger down on the map or choose a saved location, then tap Download Map Area. It's simple.

Need more? We've got video after the break. Bon appetit.

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3 years ago

Spotify finally coming to the United States

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Yes, we know -- you've heard this before and things never really panned out but this time around it might be a little bit different. Streaming music service Spotify, which has had great success in Europe has now updated their website and are asking that users submit their email addresses for an invite to the US version of Spotify. No other info was given but just to be on the safe side if you're interested in free, streaming music anytime, anywhere -- best to get your email added to the list.

Source: Spotify

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3 years ago

Google Maps 5.7 brings public transit navigation, better search, improved Places

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Google Maps just got a sizable update, with a slew of new features that those of you in major metro areas are going to want to check out. First and foremost is the addition of Transit Navigation. It's in beta (of course), but gives you directions via public transit in more than 400 cities worldwide, tying it all into turn-by-turn directions.

And speaking of directions, you're getting easier access to the nav button (anyone who's ever used it will be thankful for this). Also, Google Places are easier to get to, and they're better integrated into the search results. Also, photos are now integrated into Places results.

Here are the bullet points you'll see after updating:

  • Get GPS stop-by-stop public transit directions in Navigation (beta)
  • Receive search suggestions based on previous direction destinations and visited Place pages
  • Get directions in fewer clicks with the updated directions experience
  • Improved battery power management for Navigation (beta)
  • Browser photos of Place pages in a gallery view
  • Use the Download Map Area lap to save map areas for offline viewing

Google's demo video and Market links are after the break. Get to updating, everybody!

Source: Google Maps Blog

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3 years ago

Android Quick App: Earth Live Wallpaper

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As long as I'm on a kick with live wallpapers, I figured I should show you guys one of the biggest and best, Earth Live Wallpaper. And trust me, I know what you're thinking. "Live wallpaper, again?" Trust me, you'll like it.

Earth Live Wallpaper is a pretty stock live wallpaper. You've got our beautiful blue home planet set against a backdrop of stars, and there's even the moon orbiting, to boot. Water is blue, clouds are white, and all is well with the wallpaper.

Then you open up the settings menu and realize this is an incredibly full-featured wallpaper that has absolutely no intention of limiting you to just Earth, and also simultaneously proves the developer has a great sense of humor.

Diving into the settings menu, you're presented with a few sub-menus. You've got things like globe aspect (for changing aspect and position), globe behavior (how you interact with said globe), maps, background, starfield, and foreground. The aspect and behavior menus are fairly straightforward. Want to move the position of the globe? That's the way to do it.

The part of this wallpaper that really won me over was the maps section. I was thinking, "Maps? Of what, highways and things?" Oh no, if you think like me, prepare to be pleasantly surprised.

Maps aren't different map overlays of our fine planet, but actually different skins for the otherwise generic globe to don and show off. You've got the standards, like a few for Earth, the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and the like, but the developer really stepped things up a notch with their incredibly long and otherwise creative list of nonexistent planets and/or heavenly bodies.

In my perusing of the list, there's such greats as the Death Star (both versions), the Earth from Futurama, Krypton, Cybertron, and even their own take on Hades. There's a slew of Star Wars planets to pick from along with some Star Trek ones alongside, so there's something for everyone.

In terms of performance, I didn't notice any hiccups regardless of skin I'd chosen, so if you want to get your geek on live wallpaper-style, I'd seriously suggest this as one way to do it. Earth Live Wallpaper is free, so nothing lost if you change your mind, but it's still fun, even for a little while.

Download links and more pictures are after the break.

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3 years ago

Words with Friends back on Honeycomb, looking better than ever

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Admittedly, it's been a few weeks since I last let my wife beat me had my butt kicked at Words with Friends. And in that time, it's disappeared from the Android Market for Honeycomb devices, and reappeared, more stable (hopefully) and better looking than ever.

One thing the update won't do: Keep your younger brother from cheating, or your spouse from beating you the old fashioned way. Regardless, download links are after the break.

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3 years ago

Google+ for Android walkthrough

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 Google's latest app is a slick one, but will it be a home run? 

 

Google+ (pronounced "Google Plus") is still pretty fresh on the scene. It's barely a week old as of this writing, actually, and still in a relatively closed beta process. But it's definitely been a trial by fire. We've read about it, we've talked about it, and shoot, the app has even gotten it's first second update in the Market, so now it's time for a thorough rundown of Google's latest baby, mobile-style.

Join me after the break  to see what the hype's all about, how Google is doing things right, and why you should still lust for an invite (but without spamming your email!).

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3 years ago

Android Quick App: Juice Defender Ultimate

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We've all been there: You played Angry Birds for too long or manually refreshed your Gmail inbox incessantly. Before you knew it, your battery was in the red. Unfortunately, this app won't help that, but for everyone else who uses their phone in moderate-to-heavy amounts without needing to always be on it, I'd suggest Juice Defender Ultimate.

Juice Defender Ultimate is actually a paid upgrade to Latedroid's free add-on, Juice Defender - battery saver. If you want the highest degree of control over your battery, though, you'll want to upgrade to the Ultimate (over 9000?) version.

Upgrading to Juice Defender Ultimate nets you a whole slew of new options, namely in the "customize" and "advanced" menus. It also comes with three fairly comprehensive presets, if you don't want to fiddle with all sorts of choices but still want your battery life to last all day.

I myself used mostly the balanced customizable profiles, and saw great dividends from both. The best part about any of the presets is that they're click-and-go. Regardless if you want balanced or aggressive, take your pick and the app handles the rest.

If you feel like getting a little bit wild, customizing your own plan is relatively simple as well. You gain another menu to poke around on, as well as some neat options for controlling various data networks. You can either grant or deny Juice Defender Ultimate permission to auto-disable 3G and Wifi, as well as enable a feature called "Location," where Juice Defender Ultimate learns where the networks are that you connect to, and enables Wifi whenever you're in range.

Perhaps my favorite feature, though, is the scheduling feature. With this choice, you can let the app periodically enable data connectivity so everything still has an opportunity so sync. The intervals range from five minutes to two hours, and even using the five minute one (which I used exclusively), I saw my battery life increase exponentially.

To anyone whose battery life leaves a bit to be desired, I'd recommend Juice Defender Ultimate wholeheartedly. It's a one-time fee of $7.13, but it definitely works. And hey, think about how much you're saving compared to an extended battery!

Pictures of my average battery use, more app screenshots, and download links are all after the break.

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