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3 years ago

The Economist app updated to fix battery drain issues

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The Economist app hasn't been the most visually appealing out there, but it was always at least functional. One of the main usability gripes facing the app was a nasty bug (or two, or seven) that caused some serious battery drain if you didn't look out for it and force close or reboot. Now that's no way to code an app, and today its been updated specifically to fix the battery issues. Unfortunately, the app still uses the legacy menu button configuration, which really shouldn't be around in modern apps anymore. Plenty of other developers (big and small) have removed it, and we think The Economist could do the same.

The app is of course most useful if you've committed a bit of money towards a yearly subscription, but there are still some free portions available if you want to get a feel for the content. You can find the app at the Google Play Store link above.

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3 years ago

Google Play Magazines updated, now available in Australia

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The gradual worldwide spread of Google Play content wrote another chapter today. The Google Play Magazines application has received an update which brings with it availability in Australia. Magazines was one of the additions to the Google Play content portfolio following the launch of the Nexus 7, and while the tablet becomes available in more and more markets, sadly the content is slow in following. 

Additionally, users outside of Australia will benefit from todays update. We're promised a "significant performance improvement for all devices." in particular relating to page turning. Performance improvements are always welcome improvements. 

If you're a reader down under, why not hit up the comments below and let us know how you're finding the new service. 

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3 years ago

Microsoft Office for Android may be landing in March

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Microsoft Office has been flirting with Android for awhile now, but things may be getting a lot more serious now that MS Product Manager Petr Bobek said that the full productivity suite may be landing in March 2013 on mobile. The full desktop version of Office 2013 should be available for businesses in December 2013 and consumers in late February.

If you're really interested in checking it out, a customer preview was made available over the summer. Which mobile apps do you use to handle presentbations, documents, and spreadsheets? Are they good enough, or does Microsoft need to make something that ties in really tightly with the desktop counterparts? I could certainly see some solid Microsoft Office apps getting some use on tablets with keyboard docks, but do people do a lot of serious editing on smartphones?

Update: Microsoft corporate PR is saying that the information is bogus. Take that as you will. 

Via: The Verge

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3 years ago

Lookout for Android gets a redesign and dialer threat protection

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As mobile devices become smarter and more prolific, mobile security threats are continuing to diversify. And with more and more of us becoming more security conscious these days, mobile security apps like Lookout are becoming increasingly popular. 

The latest update to the popular security app, now available on Google Play, includes a fresh coat of paint, as well as new features. Most notable is the "safe dialer," which protects against that nasty USSD code exploit on certain Samsung phones.

  • Intuitive user-friendly design.
  • A new Activity Feed – an intelligent dashboard which allows you to see your mobile activity and how Lookout protects you in one glance.
  • Signal Flare – allows you to locate a missing device, even if the battery has died.
  • Safe Dialer – protects against a new mobile threat: dialer-based attacks. It scans every phone number you click to call from your mobile browser, alerting you to potential threats.

You can grab the latest version using the Google Play Store link above. Check past the break for the full presser.

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3 years ago

CoPilot Live announces compatibility with over 250 Android devices

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It was only last week that we got the news that TomTom was available for Android devices - well, some of them. TomTom was incompatible with many of high-profile handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy S3 and HTC One X, which excluded them from a large portion of the market.

In what's probably more than a coincidence, ALK Technologies has today announced that its CoPilot Live offline GPS navigation apps are now compatible with over 250 Google-certified Android phones and tablets. The company even hand picks some devices that don't play nice with TomTom  for mention in today's presser --

 “Our mission is simple – to make sure CoPilot runs brilliantly on as many Android devices as possible.” said David Quin, Head of Consumer Applications at ALK Technologies. “We have been developing GPS navigation apps for the Android platform since the launch of T Mobile G1 in 2008 and we’ve learned an incredible amount about handling differing screen sizes and resolutions. The latest additions to the Android family such as the Samsung Galaxy SIII and HTC One X are perfect for GPS navigation with their high resolution touch screens.”

So despite Google Maps navigation being bundled on all Google-certified handsets, it seems the GPS navigation market is still alive and well on the platform. We've got the rest of today's announcement after the break.

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3 years ago

Foursquare updated with usability enhancements, spam reporting options

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Foursquare for Android has seen plenty of revisions since it was initially released into the Google Play Store. This time around they're once again bringing some features back while continuing the tradition of adding some other goodies that improve upon the overall app experience. The update is live right now in the Google Play Store and here's what has changed:

  • Points back in for check-in detail pages
  • We're now bolding out those shout-outs and mentions of friends for check-ins
  • Report tips that are spam, offensive or no longer relevant via the Tip detail page
  • New categorization of venue photos, now we show you what's more relevant at the top, and no more duplicates!
  • Quick save capability from the activity stream

Although the changes aren't a huge overhaul from what we know, there is still quite a bit there to appreciate. The spam reporting tool on the detail pages should come in handy as there seems to be an increase of ridiculous ads posted hidden within tips.

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3 years ago

First cinematic trailer for Arcane Legends released

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Spacetime Studios is set to release another chapter in its "Legends" series of MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) games, this time called Arcane Legends. As a teaser for the upcoming game, the studio has released a full cinematic trailer.

The 30 second spot shows the highlights of the new game, including three new classes -- warrior, rogue and mage -- as well as the use of loyal battle pets. As is the case with these types of games, players will be able to level up and hone their skills over time, customizing their characters and abilities.

Source: SpaceTime Studio's on Youtube

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3 years ago

Gameloft teases Zombiewood, a run-and-gun game for Android

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Gameloft is preparing a zombie-themed run-and-gun game with a Hollywood twist called Zombiewood. A new teaser shows a stuntman wearing a variety of costumes and using a bunch of different weapons to eradicate vast swathes of undead. It looks like the same old in-app purchase model with premium currency is in place, though there's no word if it's going to be free up-front.  In any case, the graphics look solid, and the action, though straightforward, is bound to entice at least a few people. 

Gameloft hasn't made any big official announcement about the game yet since they're busy pimping our Real Soccer 2013 for iOS, so details on Zombiewood are scarce. Over the last week, Gameloft's twitter account has been teasing the game with funny warning posters from the Los Angelas Dept. of Zombie Management, which read like "Check before you shoot - sometimes they're just ugly people", and "Fire is not a toy - flaming zombies are a safety hazard". 

There's no mention of a release date, but with Hallowe'en right around the corner, it can't be too far off. Any takers, or are games that rely on IAPs a deal-breaker? Does the game look like fun, or has the zombie thing been done to, err, death? 

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3 years ago

Angry Birds updated with power-ups and Bad Piggies levels

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The inevitable cross-promotion between Rovio's classic Angry Birds title and their latest creation, Bad Piggies, has kicked off today. The original Angry Birds game has been updated with an extra 15 pig-themed levels, along with a new power-up mechanic, so players can get kitted out with the shiniest of slingshots to help them through tricky levels.

Power-ups include Super Seeds, the Almighty Sling King, the Sling Scope Laser Targeting System, the Birdquake. As you might expect, these are all wonderful new ways in which Rovio can nickel and dime you with in-app purchases. At least it's got a bit more interesting than the Mighty Eagle. 

As for the new levels, there's a full 15 dedicated to Bag Piggies, along with another 15 summer-themed Surf and Turf levels. Little seasonally late on that second one, but I think we can let it slide. It's also good to see the core game is still getting some support, even though Star Wars Angry Birds is right around the corner. What do you think of the new mechanic, Angry Birds fans? Are you tired of Rovio trying to sell you stuff yet? 

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3 years ago

Samsung 'hears' Exynos community documentation concerns

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There's been a little hubbub in the Android developer community surrounding the lack of proper documentation and source code for some of Samsung's Exynos 4 chips. The absence of documentation has lead to some high-profile CyanogenMod developers giving up on porting to some Samsung devices, including the international Galaxy S3. To cut a long story short, smartphone chips are incredibly complex, and trying to port open-source Android to them without the right code samples and documentation is extremely difficult. 

Today, following a short social media campaign, Samsung acknowledged the dev community's desire for full Exynos documentation, saying on its official Twitter account -- 

We hear your concerns about documentation & source code for Exynos-based devices. We're discussing it with our team and will update you soon.

Samsung has proven itself to be relatively developer-friendly in the past, allowing unlocked bootloaders on devices, and even putting out a special developer edition of the locked-down Verizon Galaxy S3. Hopefully Samsung's internal discussions will result in a positive outcome for devs. If so, it'll mean better custom ROMs for owners of Exynos devices.

Source: @SamsungExynos, XDA, Thanks @android_indian

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3 years ago

Android 4.1.2 pushing out to AOSP today

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Google's Jean-Baptiste Queru has announced today on the Android Building group mailing list that a small revision to Jelly Bean -- Android 4.1.2, build JZO54K -- is pushing out to AOSP (Android Open Source Project) right now. While the Android world is still spinning following a the leaking of a whole bunch of LG Nexus pictures showing 4.1.2 on-board, JBQ's only comments in terms of this 4.1.2 release are in reference to the Nexus 7. His warning to community builders of software for the Nexus 7 is that future variants of the device are coming with a different power management chip, one that is completely incompatible with the current 4.1.1 builds of the software.

Details are sparse at  the moment, but we'll keep you posted as we do some digging and find out what this means as far as changes and updates go. If there are changes or fixes relating to other Nexus devices, you can bet we'll see OTAs start to roll out in due course.

Source: Android Building

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3 years ago

Native Facebook for Android app nearly ready for release

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We know that Facebook's current app strategy has been more or less a failure on Android. Following an update to the app on iOS from mostly HTML5 to native code, it looks like a native Facebook for Android app is in the final stages of testing according to an anonymous source inside the company.

We'll hopefully be seeing an official statement and release from Facebook soon. The Google+ app has set the bar pretty high at this point, we'll see if Facebook can catch up.

Source: Engadget

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3 years ago

Google wants developers to start building quality tablet apps

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With the launch and relative success of the Nexus 7 -- and other popular large tablets -- it's apparent that Google is trying to take Android tablets seriously. One sticking point with Android on larger screens though was the conflict between having separate tablet apps, scaled-up phone apps or universal binaries that can handle all screen sizes. Today on the Android Developers Blog, Google is highlighting several points that Android developers should keep in mind when getting their apps ready for use on tablets.

As a follow-up to previous pushes for better design, these latest guidelines help developers manage making apps look better on large screens by recommending ways to make the app scale properly, make use of the extra screen real estate and improve graphics for tablets. In the post, popular tablet-optimized apps from Mint.com, TinyCo and Instapaper are highlighted as good examples of what developers should be trying to do with their app designs.

The idea of having a single app available in Google Play that scales and changes based on the device is a very compelling one, provided that developers do a good job of managing those different screen sizes. It's good to see that the Android team is doing what it can to help along the process.

Source: Android Developers Blog

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3 years ago

Wild Blood brings Arthurian hack-and-slash gameplay to Android

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Wild Blood, Gameloft's first Unreal-powered game, is now available in Google Play for $6.99. The action game loosely follows the mythology of King Arthur and in particular his knight Sir Lancelot. Arthur has lost his gourd and opened up a the very gates of hell, leaving Lancelot to beat back the evil with whatever steely or magical implements of destruction he can find. Meanwhile, Queen Guinevere got herself captured, which sucks for Lancelot since he's been seeing her on the DL. 

I got a bit of playtime in, and though the framerate is a bit choppy on the Nexus 7 and there are optional in-app purchases employed, the action is fast, and the monsters are absolutely awesome. Anyone else pick this up? Worth the seven bucks? How's performance on your device? Still a little tacky to push IAPs in premium-priced games, no?

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3 years ago

Google Play TV shows, movies, and music now on Google TV

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Google TV owners will now be able to access all of their movie, TV, and music purchases from Google Play on the big screen. Purchases can be made directly on the system, and include options for auto-updating subscription billing. This is a long time coming, though some models, like one of Sony's, have already been dabbling in Play movies. In any case, it's good that this trove of content is getting a widespread rollout. 

How many of y'all own a Google TV? Have you been hurting for access to Google Play content, or have you been getting your shows from elsewhere? Those of you that don't have a Google TV, does improved access to Play store content make it any more appealing? It seems weird that it has taken this long for Play shows to find their way to Google's set-top system, but I'm sure it's been an uphill battle against cable and satellite service providers and the agreements they have with various studios. 

Source: Google

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