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3 years ago

Amazon's suite of apps on Verizon phones isn't a bad thing

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Once upon a time there was a leaked memo regarding Verizon beginning to load "a suite of Amazon apps preloaded on one dedicated home screen for all newly launched Android devices." Wit the launch of the HTC Droid DNA, we now now exactly what that entails. And the results are not nearly as scary as some had feared.

First off, the sentence in and of itself should have made things pretty clear. Apps. On one home screen. Nothing about replacing Google Play. Nothing about going solely with the Amazon Appstore. But we can't blame folks' ears from perking up a little bit. Verizon, after all, is the carrier that once swapped out Google's maps and search for Microsoft's Bing. That ended poorly.

More: Read our complete Droid DNA review

Fact of the matter here is that there's a nicely designed widget on one of the home screens that pushes to Amazon storefront, as well as apps such as Amazon MP3 and Kindle. No surprise there, and it's not like those apps had never been preloaded on any other devices before.

The really interesting thing is how it handles the suite of apps. Instead of pushing links to the Amazon Appstore, you're directed to Google Play. We're willing to put good money on that being a requirement from Google in order to pass compatibility testing -- and there's no reason why you can't install the Amazon Appstore later, if you so desire.

We've got a little video of the whole thing after the break.

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3 years ago

Creatorverse brings physics sandbox to Android

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Linden Lab, the folks behind the Second Life virtual world, have released their first creation for Android. Creatorverse isn't so much a game as it is a toy. Though there are simple, intuitive controls for placing virtual objects into a space, resizing, connecting, and coloring them, the breadth of mechanics that can be applied to them are truly boggling. Virtual magnetic fields, alterations in gravity and friction, levers, pivots, triggers, and many more tools are likely to keep tinkerers busy for a long time. Best of all, any creations, be they cute pieces of interactive art, explorations in physics, or even simple games, can all be shared online to other creators on all platforms. They can then download, experience, and tweak creations as they see fit. 

As Android fans, I think we all have a bit of a tinkerer's mindset. That said, an open, creative sandbox like this is well-suited to us. I can definitely see the use of Creatorverse for getting kids interested in engineering; the rules and interface are accessible, but deep and potentially inspiring. I've only been playing around with Creatorverse for a little while, but I can already tell that it's going to be keeping a permanent spot on my Android device. 

What do you guys think? Any Little Big Planet fans in the house? How about Second Life? 

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3 years ago

ForeverMap 2 brings offline-ready OpenStreetMaps to Google Play

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After hanging out on the Barnes & Noble Nook since the summer, Skobbler's ForeverMap 2 has found its way to the Google Play store. Like a few other non-Google solutions ForeverMap 2 taps into OpenStreetMap for its data, which is created thanks to the collective contributions of users. The core app costs $0.99, and you can download locally-stored maps for individual cities for $0.99, single states for $1.99, whole countries for $2.99, continents for $5.99 each, or a full global map for $9.99. Though that sounds like a fair bit to ask, users get one country for free out of the box. All of the usual services are there, including turn-by-turn directions, points of interest search, and address lookup. 

Skobbler is pushing ForeverMap 2 as a Google Maps alternative, which is a pretty hard sell considering the high quality of Android's built-in navigation and local search apps. Offline access is always handy, especially if you're visiting someplace outside your data coverage, but it that alone enough? What would it take for you to switch to something other than Google Maps? Does ForeverMap 2 look like it could fit the bill, or are there other third-party maps applications that you're already comfortable with? 

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3 years ago

Android 4.2 OTA update and factory image live for 'yakju' Galaxy Nexus

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Good news for those of you waiting patiently on Android 4.2 for the 'yakju' variant international GSM Galaxy Nexus. We're seeing reports from Android Central Forums members that the OTA update has begun pushing out to those devices. Should you not wish to wait though, or just want a fresh start, the factory 4.2 image for the device has also been posted. 

This only applies to 'yakju' Galaxy Nexus owners at this time, which means people in places like Hong Kong and the UK should be seeing OTA notifications very soon. 'Takju' Galaxy Nexus owners had their updates push last week, and at this time there's still no sign of an update for the Verizon or Sprint versions of the Galaxy Nexus. 

And, because we're so good to you, we've got your download links below for both the factory images and the update package. For a run through of how to update your Galaxy Nexus to Android 4.2 manually be sure to check out our guide linked below. 

How to manually update your Nexus to the latest Android Version

Download: Android 4.2 update, Factory Image

More: Samsung Galaxy Nexus Forums

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3 years ago

OpenFeint gaming service closing its doors on December 14

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OpenFeint -- the service that used to ask you if you didn't like fun if you ignored it -- is closing its doors and discontinuing service as of December 14. The cross-platform game platform that allows you to chart scores on leaderboards, achievements and compete against friends is being shut down by owners Gree. At the same time, Gree is hoping that developers who utilized OpenFeint will transfer over to their own platform instead. 

As of shutdown "all OpenFeint network calls will be non-functional." In simple terms, it will cease to work. The actual end date may end up being later than December 14 but developers are urged to prepare for this date. All game information stored will be lost, and should developers wish to retain it migration to the Gree platform ahead of December 14 is advised. 

Source: OpenFeint via Joystiq

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3 years ago

Highlight brings its location-based matchmaking to Android

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A new location-based social network has hit Android today called Highlight. Users set up profiles, list their tastes, post pictures, and send messages to other users. There's an obvious dating angle here, though it can be used for more innocent social networking too. Highlight pulls in data from Facebook to populate your profile, plus you can plug in LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. Profiles of unihighlighted contacts show shared connections, and for when you don't have the time to manually check in on the app, it can push notifications when someone you know or might know is in the neighborhood. 

Highlight has been steadily growing its userbase on iOS for about a year now, though the Android app has been nicely adapted for the Holo theme. I've played around with Highlight for a little bit, and even though Ottawa isn't exactly a bustling area for this kind of stuff, I've already found someone a few blocks away that has a common friend and is into phones. Any takers? How much luck have you had with location-based social networking? How about location-based dating? How well does Google Latitude handle keeping track of friends? 

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3 years ago

Skype brings new layout, improved audio to Android tablets

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Skype today announced a fairly major update for Android tablets. In addition to the updated layout, there's no an option to sign in and merge your Skype account with your Microsoft account (an offshoot of the Windows-maker buying Skype), improved audio quality, and a number of bugfixes in Skype 3.0.

The audio improvements are brought about by Skype's wideband audio codec, SILK, the company wrote in its official blog.

SILK was designed to capture the richness of human speech. It copes well with the often varying speeds of Internet connections, ensuring that the audio quality is always the best it can be. 

There's a demo of SILK after the break.

Source: Skype

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3 years ago

TuneIn Radio turns on Premier League games

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TuneIn Radio has long been one of our favorite Internet radio apps, and it just got a even better with the addition of live Barclays Premier League Games. What's more, they'll be available in English, Spanish and Mandarin.

For those who prefer football to futbol, more college football bowl games are being added this year, including the national title game. 

Hit the link above to get your download on. There's also a pro version available.

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3 years ago

Runkeeper's got a new Holo look and get's friendly with some new features

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The folks at FitnessKeeper, Inc. have pushed out a big update to the popular RunKeeper app, bringing a holo-like interface and a slew of new social features to help make staying healthy more fun. The biggest of these is the new Friends tab, which ranks buddies gathered from your contacts and Facebook by the number of activities completed. You can find these buddies without leaving the app, and even give them a gentle poke if they seem to be slacking using Android's in-app messaging service.

the rest of the changes are pretty darn good as well. The new holo look with tabs and action bar navigation is a welcome sight, there's a new activities page to help keep track of what you've done and what's coming up, and there's now a bit more flexibility when you sign up for a new training plan. 

To take advantage of these new features, you'll need to connect RunKeeper to your Facebook account. Since that often can be a security nightmare, there's plenty of information on how to do it safely at the source link. You can grab RunKeeper from the Google Play link above, and catch a few screenshots of the app after the break.

Source: RunKeeper blog

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3 years ago

Sony launches PlayStation Mobile Developer Program

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After a few months in beta, Sony's PlayStation Mobile Developer Program is today ready for prime-time. The program allows game developers to build titles for PlayStation-certified Android phones and tablets -- such as the Xperia T and HTC One X+ -- as well as the company's PS Vita device, for an annual fee of  7,980 Japanese yen (around $99).

Today's launch covers Japan, United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, with Hong Kong and Taiwan to follow in the near future.

PlayStation Mobile Developer Program membership gives devs the rights to create and publish as many titles as they wish, meaning the yearly fee doesn't stack for multiple games.

The full, finalized PlayStation Mobile SDK is available to download from the link below, after payment of the annual entry fee. You'll find today's full press release after the break.

More: PlayStation Mobile Developer Registration

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3 years ago

Amazon Appstore update pushing out, fixes Android 4.2 login issue

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Since Android 4.2 started getting into peoples hands, whichever device it may be on, the Amazon Appstore has been experiencing an extremely irritating bug. Whatever happens, the Appstore application would log you out of its own accord forcing a re-login to use. Worse still, according to several Android Central Forums users, each login would add another authorized device to your overall list. 

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3 years ago

HBO Go app updated for Android 4.2 and Nexus 10

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Home Box Office has updated their Android app to support Android 4.2 and the Nexus 10 this evening, allowing plenty of folks (including yours truly) to go into couch potato mode. Besides these two big changes, there's also some "performance enhancements and bug fixes" that are always appreciated.

If you've updated your Nexus device to 4.2 and have been missing this one, it's time to hit Google Play and update or re-install. if you picked up a Nexus 10, I think it's high time to put the screen to use. Now bring on season three of Game of Thrones!

Thanks, Kevin!

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3 years ago

Team Boid will cease future development of its Twitter client

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Graham Macphee, one of the members of Team Boid, announced today on his personal blog that the group would cease future development of its popular Twitter client, Boid. When the group set out to create Boid, the intention was to show the development world how well Twitter clients could look and work. They wanted to be the "Tweetbot for Android," and they surely made a splash. Well regarded as an example of Google's new "holo" design guidelines, Boid was extremely popular.

Unfortunately, now without ever exiting "beta," Boid will no longer be developed by the group. Macphee explains that the Boid app wasn't meant to be an achievement for the team, but rather a tool that helped in the achievement of their true goals. They believe that what they accomplished while working on Boid is a positive result for them. The overall result, as they see it, was that other apps followed their lead and started to use design in ways that helped the overall user experience.

Macphee reiterated via Twitter after the post went up that this is not an official announcement -- and there was no mention of the moves Twitter's making that's driving other clients out of business -- but that this is what they intend to make official very soon. If there was any silver lining in this, it's that their intention going forward is to make Boid open-sourced for anyone to continue to work with it in the future. We'll be excited to see how Boid does as the community takes on the development effort.

Source: Graham Macphee; @gmph

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3 years ago

CyanogenMod music app Apollo now available in the Play Store

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If you've spent any time using CyanogenMod 9 or CyanogenMod 10, you may have come across the built-in music player called Apollo. Rather than keeping it tied into CyanogenMod though, Apollo is now available for download in the Google Play Store in both free and paid versions. The player itself is quite visually appealing but its feature set is what throws it over the top.

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3 years ago

Firefox expands to support more devices, improve accessibility

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Firefox has been working hard to expand the number of devices it supports, but has always been "limited" to devices running Android 2.2 or higher, with moderately good specs -- an ARMv7 chip or above, to be exact. Today Mozilla is announcing that it is expanding its support down to lower-end devices, ones that are as far down the line as an ARMv6-based 800MHz processor and 512MB of RAM. Mozilla lists a few devices, such as the HTC Status, HTC ChaCha, Samsung Galaxy Ace, Motorola Fire XT and LG Optimus Q, that will benefit from these looser spec restrictions.

As part of its announcement, Mozilla also points out that Firefox is receiving improvements in accessibility features. Firefox now integrates seamlessly with TalkBack and Android's screen reader functionality, making the browser immensely easier to use for those who are visually impaired.

While we like to focus on the latest whiz-bang top of the heap devices, a vast majority of Android devices sold around the world aren't that high-end. And just because someone doesn't have a high-end device doesn't mean they don't deserve to have more choices in browsers. The wide range of prices and specs that Android can offer is a huge selling point for the platform, and we'd like to see it stay that way.

Source: The Mozilla Blog

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