The latest addition to the Google Android application circle has been launched today, as the Google Catalogs app becomes available for download for tablets.
Put simply, the app pulls together 400 digital catalog issues from such brands as Nike, Sephora and Nordstrom for you to browse at your leisure. Interactivity is the name of the game with images and videos sewn throughout the pages and pages of shopping treats. Another neat time saving touch is the unified search box, which allows you to search across all the catalogs for a specific item. Purchasing is as easy as one tap to find the product nearby or at a retailers website, kind of similar to the Google Shopper app.
This is sadly for those of us in the rest of the world, another U.S.-only application for the time being. But if you're Stateside and fancy a helping hand with your Christmas shopping, check out the promo video after the break, and hit up the download link below.
If there's one game I loved playing as I was growing up, it'd have to be Hydro Thunder. Piloting souped-up speed boats with ridiculous turbo jets tacked onto their backs was one of the highlights of any trip to the arcade, and I could burn endless amounts of quarters playing again and again and again.
While Ground Effect Pro XHD isn't Hydro Thunder in name, it's pleasantly similar in design and gameplay. You pilot an incredibly fast hovercraft over all sorts of different terrain, taking corners at ludicrous speed, all while racing against computer-controlled opponents for the top spot.
When you open the game up, there's three game modes to choose from: Race, Ghost Race, and Just Cruise. Race is the main game, and where most of the action is at. You pick your favorite hovercraft (they're all the same, spec-wise), pick your race track (there are 14 of them), and hit the ground water running.
To ensure you follow the course fairly, there's checkpoints every so often you have to pass through. if you miss a set, you've got to turn around to go through it, which usually loses you a lot of time. Try to avoid obstacles, too. If you happen to go careening off into a mountainside or something, your craft will explode and you'll be reset close to a checkpoint.
Ghost Race is a sort of practice run, where you're racing a single computer opponent, fighting for first place. It's a bit less hectic than the normal eight-man racefests the normal mode has, and is awesome for learning a particular track.
Just Cruise is exactly what is sounds like: you, by yourself, just cruising around a track of your choosing. This is the ultimate practice, because there's no competition, no stress, and you can really enjoy the digital scenery (and secretly wish you had a boat of your own).
You control the hovercraft by turning your device like a steering wheel. The controls are fairly tight, so if you're like me and have a tendency to overcompensate turns, you'll definitely see the effects of that on screen.
Aside from that, there's two solitary pedals on the bottom-right corner of the screen. The left pedal is your air brake and the right one is your Hydro Thunder-esque super boost. Both abilities are limited (the brake is the green bar, the boost is yellow), but they replenish fairly quickly.
Oh, and did I mention you've got to place in the top three in a race to unlock the next track? That's the game's brilliant way of making sure you're not in over your head.
Ground Effect Pro XHD's other big feature (aside from tight gameplay) is that it not only supports stereoscopic 3D on devices that support it (I'm looking at you, EVO 3D), it also supports regular 3D using those tinted-lens glasses that were all the rage back in the day.
From the settings menu, you can choose either red/cyan, yellow/blue, or green/magenta glasses, and the game will adjust itself appropriately for your extra-dimensional gaming pleasure.
If there was a race you just absolutely killed it on, you can watch a replay of the entire thing from the Hi-Score/Replay menu. Very cool stuff.
Ground Effect Pro XHD is awesome. It's long (14 levels!), it's tricky, it's got a kickin' soundtrack, and it supports 3D (if you're into that sorta thing). If you like racing games (or have a soft spot for Hydro Thunder), give this one a look.
Ground Effect Pro XHD is $5.99 in the Android Market. We've got download links after the break.
Consumer Cellular announced today that its My Consumer Cellular Android app is now available for download on its sole Android offering, the Motorola Bravo. Consumer Cellular is a no-contract provider that caters to an older audience (it's the exclusive wireless provider for AARP members) and with its new app, users can track usage, shop for plans, and view and pay bills. And if you're an AARP member, the app includes a scan-ready AARP card to replace your wallet's hard copy. Hit the break to grab the free app from the Android Market.
2D Boy's popular title World of Goo is now available in the Android Market for a cool 40% off sale price of $2.99 through December 5. Previously available on PC, Mac, Wii, and iOS, World of Goo is an physics-based puzzle adventure through the world of goo balls, which sounds slightly sillier than reality: the game won IGN's Wii Game of the Year along with MetaCritic's iPad Game of the Year, accolades which don't go unnoticed in the gaming world. There's also a demo version available in the Android Market for the remaining skeptics. Hit the break for the download link.
There's more than one way to write Android apps, and if you're working on something intense, you know using the NDK and native code is the way to go. If you're a part-time developer or anyone not part of a big mobile development house, you also know that some of the native development and debugging tools aren't cheap. ARM has you covered by releasing the "Community Edition" of their DS-5 tool suite, and the great price of free. It's distributed as an Eclipse plug-in, and an easy install will give you access to a C, C++, and Assembly graphical debugger, a software performance profiler and system analyzer, and more tools to help your development of native ARM code.
For those of us who aren't programmers, using native ARM code has some serious advantages. It's up to 400 percent faster than code ran through the Dalvik virtual machine, makes for truly portable code (even between platforms), and because most Android phones and tablets run ARM processors developers can take advantage of platform specific instructions for apps that run better and use less resources (like battery power!). ARM's new development suite offers app devs tools for native development built right into the same IDE they use for Java based code -- Eclipse. Not having to learn new software while also debugging insanely complicated source code means the devs can better focus on their work. All around it's a good thing.
Whether you're a developer with a need, or just a curious bystander who wants to learn more, hit the source links to find out all about it.
Your weekly fix, a day late. Let's hit the break together and take a look at some of our favorite applications from this week, and be sure to sound off in the comments and let us know some of your favorites!
If you recall a couple weeks back we mentioned that Mozilla was switching the Firefox for Android application to use native Android UI elements instead of XUL. This was done to create a unified look and feel and improve performance, and now anyone can give it a run. The fellows at Mozilla have now started pushing nightlies that include the changes. The newer builds are faster, but of course like any nightly builds there will be bugs. If you want to have a look, or if you're feeling like bug-hunting and helping out the Firefox team, grab the nightly here and install it. You'll see that Firefox has come a long way, and they are slowly building a mobile browser that can rival a true desktop version.
Halfbrick Studios today announced that Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots will be avilable as Amazon's free app of the day on Nov. 28. (It'll be 99 cents after the promotion.) It's largely the same Fruit Ninja we've come to know and love, but it's got the furball from the last couple of Shreck movies incorporated. Your kids are gonna love it.
We've got more screen shots and promo video after the break.
Well, that was quick. Carrier IQ just sent out a press statement saying it's withdrawn its cease-and desist letter to Trevor Eckhart, who recently detailed how the company's action worked. Said Carrier IQ:
"Our action was misguided and we are deeply sorry for any concern or trouble that our letter may have caused Mr. Eckhart. We sincerely appreciate and respect EFF’s work on his behalf, and share their commitment to protecting free speech in a rapidly changing technological world."
Looks like the Electronic Frontier Foundation's backing of Eckhart paid off, the lawyers have done their thing, and the security and privacy advocate known as TrevE won't be pursued for thousands of dollars of fines after all.
That doesn't change the fact that the Carrier IQ software remains on a number of phones, and many of you aren't crazy about having a hidden background app report how you use your phone back to the manufacturer -- even if you do agree to it up front -- and that's certainly an argument that needs to continue.
If a game of touch football isn't your normal tradition for after the Thanksgiving meal, here's an idea: popular EA title Madden NFL '12 is now optimized for the Sony EricssonXperia PLAY, and can be downloaded from the Android Market for $4.99. If you've played Madden on a touchscreen, you're probably aware that physical controls, while not completely necessary, are certainly the better option. The Xperia PLAY is now available on both AT&T and Verizon for $49.99 on contract. Hit the break for the download link.
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