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3 years ago

Android Central Editors' app picks for May 28, 2011

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Apps on apps on apps on apps. Just can't ever seem to get enough of great applications on your device can you? Well us either, and that is why we love to share with you, our favorite readers, some of our very own favorite applications. Hit the break and let's take a look at what we've got this week.

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3 years ago

Amazon Appstore receives minor update -- compatibility fixes, two step purchasing

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The Amazon Appstore is pushing out a minor update this evening, brining it to version 1.14.  Besides a few compatibility fixes and the ever-present "stability improvements," they have implemented a new system to help prevent accidental app buying.  Now to purchase an application users will have to verify their choice, instead of the application purchase and download happening immediately after a mis-click.  This should cut down the number of accidental purchases -- all those $0.99 apps really do add up.  I've done this myself, so I welcome the change.

If you don't get the push notification about the update, you can manually initiate it by pressing the menu button, then opening the Amazon Appstore settings, where you're given the option to manually check.  It's clicktastic!

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3 years ago

EA kicks off their Memorial Day sale today at 4 PT

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EA has announced it will be having a sale on iOS and Android titles, starting ... now!  The list of games and prices (with Android Market weblinks):

EA makes some outstanding games, and getting them on sale is a great way to have some fun with your Android phone.  I'll be grabbing Worms in a few hours, what games are you guys looking forward to trying?  Sound off!

Thanks, Rene!

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3 years ago

Swiftkey X is here, making text prediction even more personal

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TouchType this morning announced Swiftkey X, the latest iteration of its on-screen keyboard which is now in public beta status. Long known for its word-prediction capability, Swiftkey's got a new look, and new features.

First and foremost is the setup process. Swiftkey's new guide will walk you through downloading a language pack, installing and enabling the keyboard, and then the option of tying into your Facebook, Gmail or Twitter accounts.

Wait. What? Yes, you can choose to give Swiftkey access to Facebook, Gmail or Twitter. Why on Earth would you want to do that? Swiftkey can now use API calls to analyze your sent messages to determine your typing pattern, frequently used words, etc. Remember that you are the one who gives access to this. If you don't want to use it, you don't have to, and you have to give Swiftkey specific permission to do so. (TouchType's privacy policy can be found here.)

Swiftkey has also seen improvements to its "fluency" engine, specifically with the addition of "Personal Input Modeling," which adjusts the touch-sensitive regions of the keyboard depending on how accurately you type.

Pretty cool, eh?

Now the important part: Swiftkey X is available on any smartphone running Android 2.x or above. It's a free upgrade for current paid users, and it's downloadable in the Android Market. We've got video with the Swiftkey folks as well as the full press release after the break.

Download: Swiftkey X

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3 years ago

Netflix adds support for three more phones

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Netflix just got itself a little update in the Android Market. First and foremost, new phones are officially supported, with the LG Revolution, Motorola Droid and Casio G'zOne Commando getting access. That brings the total number of supported devices eight, including the Droid Incredible, Nexus One, EVO 4G, T-Mobile G2 and Samsung Nexus S.

There also are a few bugfixes, including:

  • Fixed application failure on startup when phone's embedded storage space is almost full.
  • Removed check that prevented attempt to playback on unsupported devices.

And we've noticed that the volume's not as low as it used to be, so that's nice, too. If you've got one of the supported phones, get your download on in the Android Market. We've got links after the break.

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3 years ago

Google Wallet a reality: Brings real purchasing power to your phone

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Google today officially announced Google Wallet and Google offers: The search giant's foray into mobile payments. Teaming up with MasterCard, Sprint and Citi -- and using MasterCard's PayPass system -- Google Wallet is being put into beta mode starting in San Francisco and is scheduled for full launch later this summer.

The concept is pretty much how it sounds -- turning your NFC-enabled smartphone into your wallet. Credit cards use several layers of encryption, and you'll basically tap to pay using MasterCard's PayPass system.

Google debuted its Wallet services on the Sprint Nexus S 4G (the Nexus S is still the only smartphone in the United States with NFC). Launch the app, and it asks to connect to your account. Then you'll have to enter a PIN. You'll then enter your card information, again, a Citi MasterCard, for now. Note that this is different than merely storing your credit card information on the phone -- it's provisioned through a third party.

Don't have a Citi MasterCard? And don't want one? Google's also including a prepaid card that will let you add funds from other credit cards. But that's not to say you won't be adding other companies' cards in the future -- Google Wallet is an open platform.

More on security: If the phone's screen is turned off, NFC is turned off. And NFC also is inactive until the Google Wallet App is launched. It's got a tamper sensor as well, and will withstand laser attacks. Really. Google said so.

Google also announced Google offers -- deals done through Google, naturally.

Source: Google
More: Google.com/wallet

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3 years ago

Android Quick App: WSJ

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The Wall Street Journal Android app is heavy on news
— as long as you're a member of the club

Fans of the Wall Street Journal -- WSJ is what the kids call it these days -- take note: an Android app is finally here. And with it you can get all of the stories, video, photos, podcasts and stocks info you've come to rely on in more traditional (ie: old) formats like computers and that ancient newspaper thing.

And the WSJ app is a pretty darn good one. It's easy to navigate, with the sections clearly labeled. Stories are easy to read, though we'd prefer to see some spacing between paragraphs. (Yeah, we're picky about our formatting.) And photos are vibrant, with easy-to-read captions.

One catch: If you're not a WSJ subscriber, you might as well go elsewhere. You're basically dead in the water if you're not logged in, and even then there's a mountain of content you still can't access without some higher-level subscription -- and possibly a secret handshake.

So that's that. A nice news app from a great news organization -- just make sure you're a subscriber. The app itself is free; download links are after the break.

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3 years ago

Sprint Navigation now available for the Nexus S 4G

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We all love the fact that the Nexus S 4G came free of carrier bloatware and foolery, but there are a great many of you who prefer Sprint's branded version of Telenav to Google's navigation.  And you're in luck -- Telenav and Sprint have released Sprint Navigation for the Nexus S 4G, and dropped it in the Android Market to make it easy to install.  Just hit the "Sprint" tab in the Market app on your phone, and you'll see it in the list.  We wish there was a place where all carrier apps were done this way, but even Sprint Navigation can't find one.

Thanks, Richard1864!

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3 years ago

Android Quick App: GRave Defense HD

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Maybe I should be productive in some way on my Android tablet.  I could take notes about upcoming phones, or use the browser to pay the bills, but I don't.  Games are way too fun on these things for all that jive.  And since I'm a sucker for all things undead, GRave Defense HD is right up my alley!  It's a tower defense game, but a damn good one.  The graphics are amazing, and instead of fighting off endless strings of enemy vehicles or balloons, you must protect yourself from the hordes of zombies and assorted nasties using weapons ranging from machine guns, to lasers.

There's also a storyline if you're in to a more immersive experience -- you work your way through the ranks of the "Brotherhood of Steel" and you can follow and share your progress through Scoreloop.  Killing zombies is fun, and apparently is social, too.

The most stunning part are the visuals.  The levels are diverse, with things like a rainforest scene, the Bermuda triangle, even outer space -- you're not stuck in the same graveyard for the 20 levels of gameplay.  Of course, all this comes at a cost.  You will need a fairly high-end device to display this content.  The developers recommend a device with over 384 MB of free RAM, and a minimum display of 800x480.  Most phones sold this year will be just fine, but some of the more mid-range offerings just won't handle this one.  All things said, GRave Defense HD rocks on any Honeycomb tablet

You can find GRave Defense HD, currently on sale for €0.70 (about $1.00), in the Android Market.  It's for phones and tablets running Android 2.1 and higher.  We've got more pics, a video, and the download link after the break.

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3 years ago

Microsoft's Bing Vision UI -- Google Goggles needs to step up its game

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One of the coolest looking things in the new Windows Phone 7 "Mango" release (see all the coverage you can handle at WPCentral) is Microsoft's Bing Vision.  It's essentially a Google Goggles clone (great artists copy/borrow/steal and all that), but the UI is really cool.  Your search categories are visible while the camera is running, looking fancy and nice as a semi-transparent overlay while you're capturing the content you want to scan.  Of course, WP7's Metro UI and its typographic look is in full force here as well.

As for functionality, Bing Vision doesn't look like it does anything out of the ordinary.  No solving Sudoku puzzles, no translation built in, and the jury is still out about how it handles business cards.  But that's not what people will think when they see it.  I'm one of those "function trumps form" kind of guys, but the mobile market is growing like wildfire, and maybe it's time for Google to step up and revamp the UI and visual style of some of their apps so they look as good as they perform. 

I use Google Goggles a lot, mostly because I'm a geek who loves to play with cutting edge tech, and I've went "all-in" with Googles apps and services.  It works great, but visual appeal is lacking compared to the competition.  See for yourself -- there's a video after the break.

Source: WPCentral

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3 years ago

News360 now available for Honeycomb tablets

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News360, the popular cross-platform news aggregator, is now available for Android tablets running Honeycomb.  News360 takes a bit of a different approach, combining 1,500 global sources (yes, Android Central is in there, so no worries) and a beautiful visual style.  If you're not familiar, the "360" view is a special treat, with article images floating in a spherical feeling cloud, hence the 360.  The application makes great use of the new API's with the action bar and fragments, both in the search view as well as the article view.  The developers have taken the time to really make a great example of a quality Android app, and we appreciate (and enjoy) that. 

Besides the normal use of searching for tags, users can customize their own "feeds," and the developers say that future versions will analyze a your Facebook, Twitter, TripIt, and Evernote accounts to offer automatic personalization.  That sounds like quite the feat, and I for one am very interested to see the result.  In its current state, the application connects with your social accounts (Facebook, Twitter, ReadItLater, Instapaper, and TripIt) to share articles, and can filter results based on your location.  Things are well on the way to a personal news channel.

And the best part of it all -- News360 is free.  This makes it available for everyone with a Honeycomb tablet, and makes for a very easy way to download and evaluate the app for yourself.  We've got the full press release, a series of pictures, and the download link after the break.

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3 years ago

Android Quick App: File Manager HD

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File Manager is one of the first Honeycomb-optimized file managers for Android.  It's one of those utilities you have to have on your Android 3.0 tablet, no questions asked.  With Android, you're not forced to use a separate program on your computer to add or move files around, so a file browser of some sort is awful handy.  You can use it to keep track of and sort all your pictures, videos, documents, and anything else you can think of that you're keeping around in your tablet's storage space. 

With File Manager HD, you really don't need to ever hook up the cable to your computer.  It has a built-in LAN browser, so any shared files or folders from your computer (Windows, Mac and Linux) are available right from the comfort of your easy chair.  It's full of other great features, too:

  • High definition (1280x800) support
  • 3 sets of commercial icons for 60+ different file types, toolbar and menu items
  • Cut, copy, paste and cancel progress dialogs
  • List and grid view for file browsing
  • Compress and decompress support
  • Search and share files
  • Multiple selection and sorting support
  • Thumbnail for photo, pictures and apk files
  • Built-in text editor and swf player

The developers have fully tested File Manager HD on the Motorola Xoom, and I've been using it on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 for over a week with zero issues.  The best part?  It's absolutely free.

You can find File Manager HD in the Android Market, for devices running Android 3.0 and higher.  We've got a couple pictures and the download link after the break.

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3 years ago

Changing your Launcher by clearing app defaults

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3 years ago

Ghosttown music discovery app hits the Android Market

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There's no shortage of music apps out there these days but a new one called Ghosttown has just hit the Android Market and is looking for a new audience. Having tested it out a bit before writing this up, it's looking pretty promising for the most part. Use of Ghosttown is free, with ad support but in case you don't fancy ads it's just $0.99 for the full version without ads.

The concept behind Ghosttown is a simple one. Fire it up and search for music you wish to hear. Be it by song, artist or album. It'll go out and scour the web for you to bring you the best results possible and present them to you. From the music it finds, you can create playlists as well mark songs as favorites so that they are always easily found and ready for your listening pleasure.

Not all is perfect in Ghosttown though, since it uses the interwebs to track down music, I did find that once or twice it simply just found samples of songs I was looking for rather then full versions. No big deal but worth noting for those of you who may be looking to give it a go. Jump on past the break for some more screenshots and the download link.

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3 years ago

Android Central Editors' app picks for May 21, 2011

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Apps, apps and more apps! It's an appapalooza! And appstravaganza! It's appstronomical! OK. We'll quit while we're behind. But we're back with another week's worth of app picks, so slide on past the break and see what we've chosen this week.

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