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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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3 years ago

Pebble smart watch app for Android now available

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For those of you who have one on the way, Kickstarter-funded smart watch maker Pebble has released its Android app onto Google Play today. The app allows the Pebble smart watch to connect to your Android phone over Bluetooth, showing information like weather, email alerts, incoming calls and messages. In addition, it acts as a "dashboard" for the watch, notifying you of software updates, allowing you to install new watchfaces and assisting with troubleshooting.

The watch itself is now shipping to Kickstarter backers on a first come, first served basis. If you've got one coming, be sure to shout out in the comments.

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3 years ago

Third Carbon backup beta drops with Google Play release imminent

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A third (and probably final) beta release of Koush's Carbon backup app was let loose this morning, adding support for the Box cloud service, notifications, a cancel option and other features and fixes. Also new is a accompanying Windows desktop app that will let you backup and restore an unrooted device.

Koush, in his Google+ post, says the beta should stop working on Jan. 30, by which time we should see the app in Google Play, with free and premium versions.

Source: +Koushik Dutta

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3 years ago

Temple Run 2 for Android now available in Google Play

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Temple Run 2, the highly anticipated sequel to one of the biggest games ever, is now available in Google Play. It has all the twists and turns (and monkeys) of the original, but it's been completely redone with great new graphics, new environments, and even bigger monkeys! It's free to download (of course you can spend money via in-app purchases if that's your thing) and you can grab it at the link to the left.

I've not sat down and really played it yet, so holler if there's something we should take a look at. Of course, we'll spend some quality time sliding and jumping, then give this one a proper look. Hit the break for the official trailer.

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3 years ago

Jelly Bean OTA out now for HTC One X devices on Telus

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Canadian carrier Rogers started its OTA rollout for the One X earlier this month, and now Telus has started pushing it as well. Stated on the official HTC Canada twitter account, the update should start coming OTA (Over The Air) to users as of last night. It will be pushed automatically, but eager users can always check in manually and should have the update waiting at that point as well. These big updates tend to roll out in groups or phases, but usually don't take long to hit everyone.

One user in our forums, guyfrombc, has the update downloading on their device, so we know it's out there in the wild at least in some capacity. Are you seeing it on your own Telus One X yet? Head to the forums and let others know what your experience is.

Source: @HTCCanada; More: HTC One X Forums

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3 years ago

For better or worse, Google owns the mobile app space

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Google has captured five of the top six spots in the mobile app space, and it isn't likely that they will be slowing down any time soon. That chart you see above is the number of unique (as in you only get counted once) users of the top 10 mobile apps on Android and iOS for the month of December 2012, and as you can see Google is just tearing it up. In fact, according to Comscore Google would have also grabbed the number one spot were it not for the maps fiasco in iOS 6.

That my friends, is a whole lot of eyeballs.

We created Android in response to our own experiences launching mobile apps. We wanted to make sure that there would always be an open platform available for carriers, OEMs, and developers to use to make their innovative ideas a reality. We wanted to make sure that there was no central point of failure, where one industry player could restrict or control the innovations of any other. The solution we chose was an open and open-source platform. -- Google

Google has consistently stated that one of Android's primary goals was to put the Internet, and their apps, into as many hands as possible. With upwards of 75-percent market share alone, and close to 95-percent when combined with the Google-friendly iOS, I think they've succeeded in a very big way.

But while you're cheering and bumping bro-fists over Google's triumph,  I'm thinking of all the great alternatives we'll never get to see because they can't gain a foothold against these kinds of numbers. I'm not talking about Bing, or other apps like it that we already know and find pretty useless, but I think we all can agree that somebody out there has an idea for a way to do things that's better than what we have now. I'm not necessarily knocking Google. I use all of their services and appreciate the hard work and innovation that brought them to me. I just don't want to miss something better. I hope they can find a way to show it to us in this one-sided landscape.

Source: Comscore

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3 years ago

Zombies to invade Plague Inc. in coming update

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Ndemic has shown off a bit of the cool update we talked about late last year for everyone's favorite apocalyptic game Plague, Inc. The Necroa Virus update, tentatively slated for February brings a new style of play to the game, where you can branch out and reanimate the dead as a zombie like horde. 

The Necroa Virus is unclassified and unlike any other virus known to man. Early analysis shows that it has extreme regenerative abilities combined with aggressive metabolic demands but the majority of its genetic structure is a mystery

The update will cost $1.99, but you get what looks like a lot of bang for your buck(s). Along with the new name and zombie minions comes new gameplay where humanity fights back, and new abilities that can target specific countries and areas. Of course there is more, and the update also brings new events and achievements, more languages (French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish), some UI changes and the ubiquitous performance tweaks. 

We can't wait to see what Ndemic brings to the table. Hit the break for a few screenshots, and grab Plague, Inc from the link above if you haven't tried it yet.

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3 years ago

GroupMe v4.0 exits beta with new design and tablet support

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Group messaging service GroupMe has had an invite-only beta program going for its latest update -- v4.0 -- since early November, and has now finally released it to the Play Store. This latest update brings a complete redesign to the app, with new fonts, colors and layout. It's now easier to send direct messages and access your chats from anywhere in the app with a new slide-out drawer on the left.

Version 4.0 also adds proper tablet support with a distinct UI, which should make many users happy, and GroupMe says that the overall app performance for every type of device should be improved with the latest update. If you're interested in checking out the latest version, head to the Play Store link above.

More: GroupMe Blog

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3 years ago

Finger Army 1942: A whack-a-mole game worth your 99 cents

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We're all familiar with the arcade classic "whack-a-mole" type games, but how does that translate into an Android app? Pretty darn well in Finger Army 1942. Sometimes the most simple games are also the most fun, and it's a recipe that works well here. You basically have a whack-a-mole clone set to the theme of a 1942 battle field, but the second twist is that soldiers are... fingers. Right. Trust us though, it works and is extremely fun.

You progress through levels with increasing difficulty, tapping on the finger soldiers to gain points. As the levels get tougher, more variety of military units are deployed, adding to the variety and fun of the game. Hit the soldiers with metal helmets twice to knock them down, but don't touch the medics or white flag wavers! It only takes a few minutes before you're frantically mashing your fingers on the screen. The game doesn't have any settings or menu really to speak of, lending credence to the idea that this is a true casual screen-masher. Finger Army 1942 brings a bit to the table for all ages, with easy gameplay from the start for younger users and harder advanced levels later on for the more serious player. 

The graphics, sound track and gameplay are all high quality, which just add to the overall game experience. You're not distracted by messy animations or slow performance anywhere in the game. You can tell that the developers (Tin Planet) put a good bit of work into every aspect here. Although it is certainly compatible -- and runs just as great -- with phones we find it the most fun on a tablet (it ran great on a Nexus 7) because you have more screen real estate to work with.

Stick around after the break to see an official gameplay trailer of Finger Army 1942, and if you're interested in the game it can be found for $0.99 in the Play Store at the link above.

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3 years ago

New LagFix application promises to fix mystery lag on some devices

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LagFix is an app (rooted phones only) with an unimaginative name that uses a standard Linux tool to help fix "lag" on Android devices. Lag is a term that gets thrown around pretty liberally, without any real definition attached to it. In this case, I'm familiar with the tool being used so I know what this app attempts to address -- times when your system is stopped, waiting on the memory controller to be told which storage blocks are free and which are in use, so it knows where it can write data to the device storage. While this is happening, the system is halted until the memory controller gets the answer it needs. This is a standard process in every operating system, and in reality is a lot more complicated than I've explained here. For our purposes today, this covers the important things to know.

This can be done on the fly (and this is how stock Android does things) or it can be done using a Linux utility called Fstrim. When a stock Android system does it on the fly while data is being written, sometimes some folks (this is important, and we'll talk more about it later) see their device slow down while the memory controller is waiting to know which storage blocks are in use, and which are free. People call this a form of lag, and lag is universally hated. 

A solution, one often used on Linux desktops, is to use the Fstrim utility. It goes through the storage and tells the memory controller which blocks are really free, and which are in use. The memory controller doesn't have to ask, because it has just been told. Eventually, this all changes and the memory controller needs told again. On the desktop, people set up Fstrim to run at a specific interval to keep things in sync. 

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3 years ago

Deer Reader walks the line of appealing to casual and power RSS users

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Deer Reader, a Google Reader client for Android, has a great design and set of features that has the ability to appeal to a wide range of users. News reading apps usually fall into either the "casual user" (think Flipboard, Google Currents) or "power user" (GReader, Press) category, and Deer Reader is taking a shot right down the middle with its client. Integrating with Google Reader instantly pushes you towards a more involved setup, as most "normal" users aren't keeping curated news and podcast RSS feeds, but what Deer Reader does with the presentation of these RSS feeds is what makes it more user-friendly.

Stick around after the break for a video walkthrough of the UI on both phones and tablets, and to see if Deer Reader is a good choice for you. 

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3 years ago

More Sense 5 screenshots spotted on a Droid DNA

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Following today's leak of an unreleased version of Sense 5 running on the Droid DNA, we're now seeing more screenshots from users claiming to have their hands on the software as well. Member mdeejay at XDA has just put up several screenshots of what is said to be a stable build of Android 4.1.2 with Sense 5 running on the Verizon phone, as ported from -- wait for it -- a Sprint version of the rumored M7.

We're not sure if that answers more questions than it creates, but it certainly gives us a lot to think about. This probably isn't the last leak (or purported leak) we'll see in the coming weeks, as HTC is likely set to show off a number of new devices at MWC in February. You can take a gander at several more screenshots at the source link below.

Source: XDA

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3 years ago

1Weather adds tablet, lockscreen support

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Popular Android weather app 1Weather slipped in a pretty major update over the weekend, adding a new user interface along with proper support for tablets. The radar section has been "optimized," you also get better notifications, and there's a new lockscreen widget for those of us running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.

Hit the link above to get your update on, or download it for the first time for free.

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3 years ago

Captain Clumsy is a fun and free time-waster game

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Anyone with time to kill or a public transit daily commute can always find use for a quality one-handed casual game, and Captain Clumsy fits the bill. The premise of this game is basic -- and purposefully so -- as a "falling" style game with simple controls. You're a clumsy pirate (you would be too with 2 hook hands) trying to steal his booty back from the angry gulls that are holding it captive. Your character barrels down through pirate-themed levels, collecting coins and avoiding the bad gulls along the way. The controls are simple -- tap on the left of the screen to go left, right to go right -- and that's it! It's easy to pick up and play casually, but if you want to do well you have to put some time and effort into it. The game keeps you entertained regardless, with a fun soundtrack and gameplay sound effects.

The game follows the "free to play" with in-app purchases model (or "freemium," if you prefer,) which many games are going nowadays. You can play through the whole game without spending any money, but if you get stuck on a certain level or want to progress quickly, you can pay for power-ups in the store. Purchases of "coins" range from $0.99 to $14.99 for general purchases, and there are some specific perks you can buy too. There are still ads in the game -- both banner ads at the bottom of the screen and post-level full page ads for other games -- but once you make a single purchase in the store they go away. It still would be nice to have an up-front paid version of the game to not have ads from the start, but we understand this goes against the free-to-play nature of it.

If you need a fun time-waster that appeals to a whole range of ages and skill levels, Captain Clumsy is definitely worth your time to check out. And as a free to play title, you can't go wrong with trying it out. Stick around after the break to see the developer's trailer for the game, and head to the link at the top of this post to grab it from the Play Store.

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3 years ago

The best alarm clock apps for Android

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The days of the standalone bedside alarm clock are numbered, with the simple inclusion of a “clock” app on every smartphone taking over. But there are so many options out there, why settle for the app pre-loaded on your phone? Your alarm doesn't just have to be a bland beeping sound that makes you want to throw your phone across the room. Read on after the break and see the best alarm clock apps available for your device.

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