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3 years ago

Shiprack Package Tracker [Android App Review]

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If you're used to getting loads of mail and you like to keep track of where it is as it's being delivered, Shiprack is definitely worthy of your consideration and time. Hot on the heels of Phil's review of Slice (okay, not really on the heels of), it's time to see if Shiprack is the less invasive alternative to Slice. (Hint: it is.)

Setting up Shiprack is an absolute breeze. Once you've got it all nice and installed, you have to set up what e-mail account Shiprack will be looking for emails from. Shiprack operates very similarly to Tripit; whenever you receive an email with a tracking number in it, you forward the email off to Shiprack, and they'll automatically start tracking it for you.

This is great (to me), because you can only track purchases that you want​ tracked. Shiprack doesn't automatically search your entire inbox, so if there's anything that isn't really pressing, you can simply omit it. Shiprack also doesn't tally your total expenses on things, so there's that small element of ignorance that can keep your shopping and package-tracking guilt free!

Once you've got a package tracked, you'll be able to see all kinds of cool information, namely your item's tracking number and when it's estimated to be delivered. Shiprack seems to update in near-real time, so you'll have a detailed log of whenever your package hit a new checkpoint.

If you're interested, you can also see a map (on Google Maps, of course), detailing your item's journey, with colorful lines and goofy looking thumb tacks showing each new leg of its journey.

In the settings menu, you can add email aliases that you'd also like to forward tracking information from, so if you get lots of tracking numbers across lots of accounts, Shiprack has you covered. You can also mess with the typical fare like notification tones and vibration options, but something unique to Shiprack is the ability to set quiet times. It's not life-changing, but it's cool to see it there.

Finally, you can pick and choose what updates you'd like Shiprack to notify you of. I'm pretty crazy when it comes to my goods, so I want to see everything, but you've got full control over knowing if your stuff is ready to ship, in transit, or delayed, to name a few.

In the world of package trackers, I think Shiprack really nailed it. What it lacks in visual polish, it more than makes up for in functionality, plus, you've got the freedom to choose what gets tracked. That might not seem like a big deal to some, but in a world where our information is becoming increasingly public, every little bit I can keep my hands on, I like to do just that.

Shiprack is free and ad-supported, but if you'd like to simultaneously support the developer and​ remove the ads, there's an in-app purchase of 99 cents. We've got download links after the break.

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3 years ago

Cogs [Android Game Review]

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Oh, Cogs. If ever I've had my noodle baked more from an Android game, I cannot say. In terms of sheer mind-bendingness, complexity, and demanding that the player stretch their imagination in many multiple directions, you take the cake. This is all aided, of course, by your incredible 3D models, which are some of the most gorgeous I've seen in any Android game. But enough fawning; let's get into the meat of what makes Cogs great.

For starters, lets just talk about the graphics. Not only does Cogs feature some insanely beautiful 3D designs, it does so without sacrificing performance. Animations chug along, buttery smooth, and with all the turning gears and cogs and steampunk goodness floating around, that's quite a feat to see.

So what's the point of Cogs, anyway? Well, there's one cog that spins all by its lonesome. It's your job to move tiles with other cogs on them in such a fashion that you make a cog on the other side (or sides) turn as well. It kind of makes you feel like a watchmaker, and watching the chain of cogs either come to life or grind to a halt based on your moves is strangely enchanting.

You're ranked on three things: moves used, time, and completion. (The last one seems a bit silly, honestly. You get a medal just for finishing?) Whenever you start a new puzzle, you're shown the optimal time and moves to finish in. Once the level starts, the timer starts counting down, and as you dwell, the color will shift from gold to silver to bronze.

The move counter acts much in the same manner, but consider this: you don't need to move single tiles at a time. If you want to move a whole row, tap the farthest tile and it'll shift everything in the row over one space, but it'll still only count as one move! You've earn yourself many a-more precious medal that way, trust me.

The levels get increasingly more difficult (duh), but as soon as the second or third level you're tasked with not only making a golden cog spin, but you've got to cross to planes to do it. To get around the potential issues with turning a 3D model, Cogs introduces the two-finger swipe. Place two fingers, swipe around, and you can see any side of the box-with-a-propeller on it. It's a cool mechanic that is implemented rather well and keeps Cogs both challenging and feeling fresh the whole time.

And that, in a nutshell, is Cogs. It's a beautiful exercise in excellent game design, a mind-bending puzzler, and overall, an excellent game on Android. If you're the puzzle-loving type, Cogs should be in your library, no doubt.

Cogs is $2.99 in the Google Play Store. We've got download links after the break.

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3 years ago

Android Central Editors' App Picks for April 14, 2012

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Tired of spending hours searching the market, only to end up closing it and having not installed anything new? Hit the break with us and let's check out some of our favorites from this past week together!

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3 years ago

Late-night poll: Do you use, or want to use, the FM radio feature?

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Tonight's poll comes thanks to our lovable forums Admin Cory Streater, who brought up a great question on episode 93 of the Android Central podcast -- I wonder how many people really use the FM radio? None of us were any help (we can't ever agree on anything) but you guys sure can be. 

I get why people use it. It's subscription free, doesn't use data, and has a bigger selection of music that you could ever hope to have in your personal cloud or on the phone itself. Maybe the best reason I've ever heard is that it's great for listening to the news while on the treadmill at the gym. The other side of the coin -- wired headphones suck, radio stations suck, commercial music sucks, etc. People have just as many reasons why they don't use it as those who do use it.

I'm somewhere in the middle. I don't use it, but I do see the appeal. And not everything on the radio sucks. But asking you guys is a much better idea, so tell us all in the poll, and fire away in the comments to let us know why you voted the way you did.

 

Do you use the FM Radio app on your phone?

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3 years ago

Google Wallet updated with improvements and enhancements across the board

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Google Wallet has seen another update, and this time Google has made all sorts of improvements and enhancements to the app. Per the change log in the Google Play store:

  • Prepaid Card top up forms more flexible
  • Citi Mastercard management improvements
  • UI improvements
  • Privacy enhancements
  • Bug fixes
  • Updated Terms of Service

The most interesting, on the surface anyway, would be the UI improvements. They must be very subtle, because we're not really seeing any. It's the same fluid and simple UI that has been there for a while, and while we're not complaining, we just don't see any improvements. We're pretty sure that some of this change log is just leftover from the last update. It's OK, Google. We all slip.

We can certainly get on board with improvements, though. Bug fixes are always welcome, as are privacy enhancements. Anything to keep our money safer is a good thing. You'll also be faced with the new terms when you update, and we suggest you read them carefully. There's nothing there you wouldn't expect, but it's always wise to stay informed. 

All the ballyhoo aside, we expect the biggest thing behind this update are new privacy enhancements and bug fixes, and we're glad to see them. You'll find your update in the market, or you can hit the link after the break.

Thanks, Beezy!

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3 years ago

Dolphin Browser HD updated with UI enhancements and improved performance

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For some folks, using the stock Android browser just isn't something they do. One alternative browser out there is Dolphin Browser HD and its had a fair amount of success on the Google Play Store and they've just rolled out the latest update bumping it to version 8.0 that adds some noteworthy enhances.

  • Re-designed Dolphin Sonar and Gesture: New interface, design, and easier access to help menu
  • Menu bar: New design that gives easier access to most commands without having to leave the home screen
  • Add-on Sidebar: New design that displays both Add-on icons and names
  • New context menu and long press menu for more efficient browsing

All of that plus the usual stability and bug fix improvements have been included with this release. The addition of visual aids in the sidebar has been a long time coming and is certainly appreciated. You'll find some screenshots and the download past the break if you want to get a better look.

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3 years ago

Watch Coachella's livestream this weekend on your Android-powered Google TV, tablet or smartphone!

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We can't all be at Coachella this weekend, which sucks. Hard. But that doesn't mean we're going to miss out on all the incredible music. Youtube again will be streaming more than 60 acts, and that's where Android comes in. Probably the best way to watch is going to be from Google TV on a big screen. But because we're talking Youtube, we'll also be able to watch on our smartphones. Or on our Android tablets. Or, we suppose, on a laptop. 

It all starts this afternoon at 3:50 p.m. PDT (that's 6:50 p.m. on the east cost). Steer yourself over to the Coachella Youtube Channel for all the music. You're not going to want to miss this. Check out the trailer video after the break.

More: Youtube blog

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3 years ago

Prepare for The Avengers movie with the Iron Man Mark VII interactive comic

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The Avengers will assemble on May 4th in theaters and is sure to be a hit given Marvel's past record with some of their box office entries. To celebrate celebrate and offer fans something to hold them over until the movie is released, Marvel has teamed up with Loud Crow comics to offer Iron Man Mark VII in the Google Play Store. It features music from the soundtrack, 15 pages of interactive slides that react to different touches and offers a read to me mode. No doubt, it's a promo app but it's a really cool promo app and worth a look if you're a Marvel Comics fan.

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3 years ago

Latest Legends installment, Dark Legends, released on Android and Google Chrome

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First there was Pocket Legends, then came Star Legends. Today sees the latest MMORPG effort from Spacetime Studios, Dark Legends, released into the Google Play Store. It also stakes the claim to be the first game of its kind to launch simultaneously mobile and desktop versions. It is also available in the Google Chrome store, on Mac, PC and Linux. 

The Legends series has become a huge smash hit worldwide, with over 7 million downloads of the first two games. If you've played either Pocket or Star Legends -- and there's a good chance you have -- then you'll feel right at home. New players can sign in with email, or via Facebook, and existing Spacetime account holders can just sign right in and play. 

First impressions are good, with the familiar gameplay taken in a new direction with the undead twist. It'll run you for a grand total of free in the Google Play Store, and you'll find download links along with the full presser after the break.

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3 years ago

Angry Birds updated with 15 new tropical levels

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It might only be April, but the Angry Birds are already preparing for summer, with the launch of a new update to the original app for Android. Version 2.1 of Angry Birds introduces an additional 15 tropical-style levels and a new beach theme, if you prefer something a little more down to earth after the birds' interstellar adventures.

As for the gameplay itself, it's probably safe to assume you'll still be smashing pigs and taking eggs. We've got the usual Google Play Store linkage after the break.

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3 years ago

From the Android Forums: Spam in my EVO 4G

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jair asks in the Android Central forums:

Hello guys,

Today, April 12th around 1 p.m. CDT, I started getting this strange plus green symbol on my EVO 4G notifications bar (I will be attaching two pictures here) Has anyone perhaps mention anything about this? Notice the green + sign in the notification bar.

Here is when I open it: there is a spam about dating and girls site or something. Please help what should I do to get rid of this and protect from happening again, also this will help others to prevent get the same spam.

Thank you!

Ugh. It looks you ran into what's commonly called an "airpush" ad. They come from certain advertisement SDKs that put that notification bar spam there, hanging all out and trying to get you to click it. They are inherently evil, like Reagan in the Exorcist kind of evil. Good thing finding which app is doing it is fairly easy.

Grab Lookout Ad Network Detector from the Google Play store. It's free, and will scan all your apps to see what they can, and can't do. One of the apps that gets listed as able to place ads in the notification bar is the culprit. Uninstall it, and never look back.

It's worth noting that just because an app can put ads in the notification bar doesn't mean they are doing it. Different capabilities come from different ad SDKs, and some folks may have the ability and aren't using it. We call them the good guys.

Have a question you need answered? (Preferably about Android, but we're flexible.) Hit up our Contact Page to get in touch!

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3 years ago

Google+ Android app gets web snippets and better hashtag support

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One of our biggest gripes about the Android Google+ app was that it didn't include a sexy web snippet when sharing a URL. With today's update, that has been addressed, and sharing web links through the Android intent system (that's the "share" option in your menu) now presents the same sort of pretty magic as it does from the desktop. 

This is enough of an update for many of us to be happy, but wait -- there's more! You'll also get support for #hashtags, and the obligatory bug fixes and performance enhancements. All for the low, low price of free -- the download link is after the break.

via: +Anish Acharya

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3 years ago

Two new titles hit the Tegra Zone; Demolition Inc. and Jett Tailfin Racers

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There are two new games worth checking out in the Tegra Zone -- Demolition Inc. and Jett Tailfin Racers. Both look to offer hours of fun, with 3D graphics and effects you just won't see on any other mobile platform thanks to NVIDIA and their Tegra chips. 

Jett Tailfin Racers is an undersea racing game (we'll say it -- MarioKart style) where you race through courses filled with things like octopi and sharks who would love nothing more than to end your days, as well as power-ups and boosts. If you're rocking that Tegra 3, you'll also get the bonus of full 1080p graphics and textures, as well as extra animation effects. Jett Tailfin Racers has two huge points going for it, namely USB controller support and multi-player. Using controls that don't suck while playing with your friends across the LAN makes it pure win. 

Demolition Inc. is at the other end of the spectrum, and instead of cute racing fishies you take the role of Demolition worker Mike, who happens to be an alien. Fly above six different cities and cause as much mayhem and destruction as you can, using weapons tools like a tractor beam, anti-gravity ramps, and a giant wrecking ball to obliterate houses and other buildings. The THD version (specific for Tegra devices) includes controller support, weather effects, and three exclusive levels. The good news is that the standard version, playable by non-Tegra devices, is coming April 26.

You can get Jett Tailfin Racers for $2.99 in the Google Play store (NVIDIA Tegra devices running Android 2.2 or higher) and Demolition Inc. is $3.99 in the Play store (NVIDIA Tegra devices running Android 2.3 and higher) or grab either through the Tegra Zone app. Be sure to hit the break and checkout the gameplay trailers!

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3 years ago

'Flashify' lends a hand when Chrome hits an Adobe Flash roadblock

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Update: The name of the app is changing from "Another Browser" to "Flashify."

Here's one that's going to make life a little easier for you folks who want to use Chrome for Android  as your default browser but still need to visit the occasional site with Flash code. See, Chrome and Flash don't mix, since Flash mobile is going the way of the dinosaurs. But copying a current URL and switching over to a Flash-friendly browser does a hell of a job on a nerd's workflow. David Shellabarger (aka @GodsMoon) has rigged up a little app that makes things much easier. 

Flashify works thusly: Say you're visiting a site in Chrome but need some Flash content. Just hit the menu button, then choose Share, then choose it. You'll now get the dialog box you see above, from which you can choose another browser to open that same page in. Yeah, it's three steps. But it's also easier on the brain than any other method we've tried so far.

So props to David for banging this one out, and we've got your download link after the break.

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3 years ago

Sonic CD [Android Game Review]

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Oh, Sonic. How far you've come. Once upon a time you were Sega's champion, vying to be the most popular flagship character in history. Now you're reliving your best days, running around nimby-bimbly, on the most popular smartphone OS around. Good for you, Blue Blur.

There's not much to say about this one, except that it rocks. The gameplay is the same frantic zooming, running, jumping, and boss battling classic Sonic games taught us to love, and Sonic CD certainly delivers.

The controls are pretty tight, giving you only a virtual d-pad and jump button to work with, and I'm pleased to report that the d-pad is large enough on a tablet you shouldn't find your thumb wandering off very often. The jump button also serves as your spin dash button (for when you're stationary and pressing down on the d-pad), and, to borrow a phrase, it just works.

Lots of comments on the video have been more than vocal about how disappointing it is that the original music has been changed, but once you get over it, the background music is still pretty groovin', especially for a video game hero who is pushing 21 years old. (Speaking of the soundtrack, on the main menu, you can switch between Japanese and American soundtracks for Sonic CD.)

If you worry about getting bored with the main game, Sonic CD also has a Time Attack game, accessible from the first time you open the app up. Well, it's accessible in the sense that you can open it up and see the levels, but the levels are locked until you've cleared them in the main game. Pretty tricky on Sega's part!

There's also a super special extras menu, but even yours truly is curious as to what secrets it holds. Everything is initially locked, but you can see two of them: D.A. Garden and Visual Mode. What could these extras be? It's hard to say for sure, but I do​ know you'll have to play to find out!

What more can be said? If you're part of the generation that grew up playing Sonic, this is nostalgia reinvented for the mobile generation, and boy, is it good. Sure, at $4.99, Sonic CD might be a bit pricey, but compare that to what those old cartridges used to cost and you're saving a ton!

If you want to save the world as your favorite chili dog-eating, azure-colored spiny mammal, we've got download links after the break.

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