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3 years ago

Five apps to take advantage of Daydream in Android 4.2

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Daydream was pretty quickly glanced over by most people when it was announced as part of the Android 4.2 release, but luckily some developers have started to make apps using the new feature. The latest revision of Jelly Bean just isn't available to that many people and the number and quality of daydream apps reflects that, but luckily there are some gems to be found if you go searching for them.

Read on past the break and see the top apps available right now to take advantage of the daydream functionality in Android 4.2.

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3 years ago

Apps of the Week: Gumtree, Amtrak, OpenSignal and more!

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We're in that slow transitional phase between CES and MWC, going through the motions of weird leaks and random product releases. Fear not, as the Apps of the Week posts will continue on regardless. You come here each Saturday to see what apps the Android Central staff are finding and using, so we do our best to find some great picks.

Hang around after the break and see how we did this week.

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3 years ago

Hidden full screen browsing mode in latest Chrome Beta discovered

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Full screen browsing is top of many an Android fans wish list for Google's mobile version of the Chrome browser. On smartphone screens in particular, display space is important. It seems it might not be all that far away, as a recent discovery has shown off a hidden full screen browsing mode. 

Shared by Reddit user smackel, there is a bit of light work to be done to bring it about. So, while there, our thinking is that this is something to be rolled out properly in future updates. It's also a little buggy, but doesn't take any genius level work to enable. Click on past the break and we'll walk you through it. 

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3 years ago

Amazon Cloud Drive Photos update brings automatic upload and in-app camera access

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An update to the Dropbox for Android application almost a year ago brought with it an extremely useful feature for the snap happy photographers among us -- auto upload of every photograph taken with the camera to your Dropbox account. Now, if Amazon's Cloud Drive is more your thing, you too can experience the same kind of auto uploading goodness with the latest update to the Cloud Drive Photos app. 

Another cool new feature for Android 4.x users is the ability to take photos using the camera from within the app. A great little time saver if you're snapping away and trying to organise at the same time. The rest of the changelog isn't quite as exciting, but still pretty useful nonetheless. We now get the ability to select multiple photos to action on, view the upload and download status, along with being able to pause, stop and resume them too. If you're an Amazon Cloud Drive user, grab yourselves a copy from the Google Play Store link above. Equally, if you're yet to try it out, Amazon will give new accounts 5GB of free storage right out of the box.

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3 years ago

A first look at Blitz Brigade - an upcoming multi-player shooter from Gameloft

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This one's not for the kids -- Blitz Brigade is set in WWII, and is a team-based multiplayer shooter (it reminds me of Battlefield Heros) with plenty of action, and plenty of graphic imagery. We don't know much more than that, only that it's coming to Android and iOS soon. 

From the trailer, it looks like it will offer plenty of fun and plenty of blood, which should make it a hit. We'll know more when Gameloft shares a little. Until then, check out the video and imagine this one on your Android tablet.

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3 years ago

WindowsAndroid is ICS running on your Windows box, we go mouse-on

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There are a few options available to those wanting to run Android apps on a Windows machine. The first, and oldest, is the official Android emulator; there's also Bluestacks, which has been around for a while. Today another contender emerges -- WindowsAndroid, from Chinese startup SocketeQ. Unlike the emulator, it runs Android natively on your Windows PC, and unlike Bluestacks it brings to life the full Android OS, not just individual apps. Essentially, it's full-blown open-source Android running natively, in a window, on Microsoft's desktop OS.

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3 years ago

SF Launcher Alpha brings a little piece of Google Now to the homescreen

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Back at Google I/O last year, our very own Phil Nickinson posed the question -- might Google Now become an Android home screen? Well, a new custom launcher in the Play Store brings a little taste of that to life. SF Launcher Alpha comes from the same developer who brought us the Fixed 4.2 Clock Widget, and integrates the now familiar Google Now images with a card style layout for apps and widgets. 

The top image is currently limited to that of San Francisco, London or the generic Google Now image, but will change with the time of day from dawn through day into dusk. Below it sits a widget 'card' and while only one widget is on show at any time, it scrolls so you can add as many as you like. Below that sits your favorite apps, the number displayed is customizable and you choose from scratch -- when you first start the launcher this card is empty. 

Scrolling in from the left brings up the settings menu where the theme can be chosen along with numerous different visual setting tweaks, as well as controlling the behavior of tapping on the clock and top image. This can be customized to launch search, the stock clock app, quick settings, among others. 

Scrolling in from the right brings up your full app drawer, all the while maintaining the top image and clock. It's a simple idea, and a simple launcher, but is definitely something different to other launchers we've seen. It's still in the early Alpha stages, but is available to download for free from the Google Play Store now. Click on past the break for a quick walkthrough video.

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3 years ago

Quento turns basic math into a fun time-waster

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Look, I'm not a math guy. Ask anybody. My wife. Any one of my grade-school teachers. My first-grade daughter. My 2-year-old daughter. They know I don't do math worth a damn. So what am I doing playing a game all morning that involves adding and subtracting? Moreover, why am I still playing it now?

Fresh off a successful launch of iOS, Quento has come to Android.

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3 years ago

Temple Run 2 - a notable update to a fantastic game

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Temple Run 2, a sequel to the vastly popular original, sticks with the same format and proven gameplay but makes notable improvements across the game. If you somehow avoided playing the original game, it's a pretty simple concept to get ahold of. You're running away from some scary beasts down a complex level of twists and turns, and you are trying to collect as many coins and perks as you can along the way. Swipe up to jump, down to slide, across to turn and lean the device left or right to stay out of trouble.

Temple Run 2 has the same set of controls as the original, but the levels are spiced up a bit, breaking free of the original combination of straight runs and 90-degree turns. There are rope zip lines to use, and more sweeping turns and curves to navigate through. All of the extra flare helps keep the game interesting, which is important for something that can usually become quite repetitive. The settings menu has a bit of a visual overhaul as well, with easier to use buttons and a better character selector. The store is still here to buy coins (via in-app purchase,) but the game is still free to play and the purchases aren't completely necessary if you want to keep things cheap.

This game is a worthy successor to the original, building on what seems like a classic platform less than a year after its Android release. I've been playing quite a bit on both a phone and tablet with absolutely no hiccups or issues, even at max graphical settings. The animations, sounds and gameplay are all top-notch and set a standard for what every game should feel like when you play it.

Stick around after the break for a video walkthrough and some gameplay of the new version.

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3 years ago

Latest Chrome Beta allows tinkering with experimental features

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The Google Chrome Beta for Android has once again been updated, this time with a singular but interesting change. The new version 25.0.1364.47 enables access to chrome://flags, a hidden menu page that allows all sorts of experimental, work-in-progress features to be switched on (at your own risk).

Among these, as Googler Brandon Jones points out on Google+, is support for WebGL, a JavaScript API for rendering accelerated graphics. Many of the features on the list aren't supported on the Android branch yet, but there are quite a few that may be of interest to web developers and the hacking/tweaking crowd.

If you're already running Chrome Beta, you can grab the latest version from the Play Store app. If not, you can find it at the Google Play link above.

Source: Google Chrome Releases

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3 years ago

Skype update adds portrait calling on tablets, rest of the app locked in landscape

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The latest update to Skype improved the UI and added a much asked for feature in portrait calling, but unfortunately the rest of the app is locked in landscape. The portrait calling seemed like a no-brainer fix, especially considering many smaller tablets -- like the Nexus 7 -- have camera setups meant for portrait orientation. The unfortunate bug (or at least we hope it's a bug) is that for now the rest of the UI is locked into landscape orientation. This means that browsing your contacts and initiating calls is all in landscape, then you have to rotate the tablet to hold the call.

Overall the new UI is great and pretty well mirrors the styling of the phone UI, but the perpetual landscape really puts a damper on things. Let's hope Skype pushes out a new update to add back in the portrait support, and in the meantime we can at least enjoy portrait video calls.

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3 years ago

T-Mobile Galaxy S2 receiving small OTA update, still ICS for now

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The T-Mobile version of the Galaxy SII (S2) is receiving an update today, either via OTA or Samsung Kies, that keeps the device on Android 4.0.4 but brings a few needed fixes. The update, which can bring you to baseband version T989UVLI1 or T989UVLH1, is just 11MB when downloaded OTA and has a few fixes on board. Apparently a Qualcomm fix is included, along with other security enhancements and Vlingo S Voice improvements.

When first seeing that an update was available for the Galaxy S2 we instantly jumped to conclusions, thinking that this may be the Jelly Bean update. The update started rolling out for the international S2 yesterday, but unfortunately T-Mobile's model is on ICS for just a while longer. Have you received the update via OTA or Kies? Head to the forums and chime in, as some users are already reporting seeing the update arrive on their devices.

Source: T-Mobile Support; More: T-Mobile Galaxy S2 Forums

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3 years ago

G Cloud Backup isn't made by Google, but does a pretty good job at backing up your Android device

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Don't let the name confuse you, this isn't another app from Google. Despite the tenuous naming link, G Cloud Backup is made by a developer known as Genie9, and sets out to backup all your personal particulars on your Android device. We're not just talking about files and folders, or simply being a cloud locker in which to dump things either. SMS messages, contacts, external SD cards, call logs, all in addition to such items as photos, videos and music. And, root access isn't required for anything, so this one's for everyone. The cloud part is Amazon's S3 cloud storage.

There's no shortage of options when it comes to backing up, or indeed cloud services, on Android. But the cliché still applies -- choice is a good thing. No doubt at first glance, some of the offered services Google already takes care of, but does G Cloud Backup have enough to make it worth a look? Stick around and we'll find out.

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3 years ago

Vine for Twitter, and what it means for you on Android

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There's no Vine app for Android just yet, but that doesn't mean you can escape its 6-second video onslaught

Twitter and Vine today announced that (1) Vine is now available for iOS devices and (2) has been purchased by Twitter. If you hadn't heard of Vine before today, we're not too surprised -- it's been in limited beta testing until now, and it's not available for Android. But, seeing as how all roads (eventually) lead to Android these days, we're taking a quick look at it here.

The oversimplified version is that Vine is to video what Instagram is to pictures. In actuality, it's a fairly simple app that lets you take up to 6 seconds of video that might well be mistaken for a really good animated gif. It doesn't have to be 6 consecutive seconds, though. You can do two 3-second clips strung together. Or three 2-second clips. Or, if you hate your friends, six 1-second clips.

You're going to start seeing a lot of these, even if there's no Android app.

Rene reviewed how Vine for iPhone works (or doesn't) over on iMore.  More of my thoughts, after the break.

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3 years ago

Big News - a simple and well-designed news widget

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There are plenty of news readers and widgets out there, but not many do their job as elegantly as Big News Pro. Since moving to a new design language with Ice Cream Sandwich, we've been looking to fill our homescreens and app drawers with as many properly-designed holo apps as possible. Big News fits right in with this design, and actually has a nice feature set hiding behind its simplistic exterior. 

Read on past the break and see what Big News has to offer as a news widget.

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