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3 years ago

Android Central Editors' app picks for July 2, 2011

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We just got past Canada Day, and now it's the Fourth of July weekend, and you will be busy outside with the barbecue and having some fun with the family, but who can really pass up the opportunity to find some new applications? Let's hit the break and check out some of our favorite picks for this week.

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3 years ago

Windows 8 UI looks pretty cool on Android tablets [video]

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Youtube link for mobile viewing

Over the past little while we've seen plenty of portions of the Windows Phone 7 UI land on Android devices. The music player, contacts, app launcher and more have all made their move but now we're getting a look at the Windows 8 live tiles up and running on a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 courtesy of the folks over at WP7Android. It's a preview of their upcoming app, WP7Lock with the rest being completed by ADW EX and a lot of time spent in Desktop Visualizer. In any event, it looks pretty cool if you ask us but what do you all think? Sound off in the comments.

Source: WP7Android; via WPCentral

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3 years ago

Google prepping Google Videos for Phones?

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Way back at GoogleIO, Google showed off their upcoming movie rental service, releasing the service to the Motorola Xoom, promising that other devices would be added in "a few weeks."  It's taken awhile, but it seems like Google is finally preparing to push the app out to a wider audience.

Several members tipped us about seeing the application in the market briefly yesterday evening, and while the app itself doesn't work on phone's yet, I was able to download it before it disappeared again.  No word on when the application will be officially available, but hopefully this is a sign that it's almost ready.  Anyone with a non-rooted device looking forward to having this on their phone?

After the break is a brief video shot by one of our readers (loukkra) showing off the app running on his Nexus S.

Thanks Small_law and loukkra! 

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3 years ago

Into the deep end: We dive head-first into Android's Pool Party photo sharing app

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Thanks to a generous reader, we've found ourselves taking a couple of laps through the Pool Party, the photo sharing application developed within Google by its "Slide" team. Whether Pool Party's an active part of the new Google+ social network on Google or just an internal project whose innards will be (or have been) adopted by services such as Google+ remains to be seen.

So what is Pool Party? Plain and simple, it's photo sharing. You log in, create "Pools," and share photos. You can invite individual users to a Pool, and in the process grant them access to view, comment on, save, share and "like" photos within that pool. You can have multiple pools (no idea if there's a maximum), with different people in each pool.

And that's about it. Photo sharing, plain and simple.

The app itself -- which is still in private beta as of this writing -- is simple, straightforward, and plenty fast. It's pretty spartan, with little in the way of user interface or settings. You can change your first and last name, profile photo, gender, and whether you want to receive live updates.

As for the Pools themselves, you can change the Pool name; view, add and remove members; receive e-mail updates on pool activity (including each time a photo or comment is posted); and whether or not to receive push notifications.

There's also a web component (at poolpartyapp.com), which is pretty much the same thing, just in browser.

So will we see a Pool Party in Google+? Or will the services be folded in? That remains to be seen. But let's certainly hope so, as the Pool Party app (there's also one available for iOS, which our pals at TiPb have given the what-for) is clean, easy photo sharing, and that's a must-have for a social network looking to break the Facebook hold on the world.

We've got a plethora of screen shots after the break.

Thanks, Dr_Mcq!
More coverage: TechCrunch

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3 years ago

Waste your afternoon playing Nexus Contraptions (we are!)

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Sometimes, Google does something just because it's fun.  Nexus Contraptions, a browser-based game in the style of Apparatus is one of those things.  Move objects around so they get in the path of a "g" branded ball, and bounce it into the funnel.  Sounds easy, but it isn't.  Sounds fun, and it is!  You're timed, so if you're feeling competitive you have that, too. 

Fun aside, is this the first step to Google integrating web gaming?  If so, I like where it's going based on this one.  Now quit listening to me and go waste some time!

Nexus Contraptions via @googlenexus

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3 years ago

Android Quick App: Thunderstorm Live Wallpaper

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I know that Android usually makes us all think about little green puppies and robotic rainbows, but sometimes, things can't always be so bright and sunny. Maybe your girlfriend just dumped you. Maybe you lost the chess tournament. Shoot, maybe you live in the South (like me!) and just wish it would rain once in a while!

If you find yourself in similar circumstances or just enjoy the doom and gloom a good thunderstorm brings, you've got to check out Thunderstorm Live Wallpaper.

Thunderstorm Live Wallpaper is an incredibly slick, detailed, and fairly realistic depiction of Mother Nature at her finest, and it runs really well, to boot.

Fortunately, you're not stuck with a one-trick pony, as Thunderstorm Live Wallpaper boasts a pretty full settings menu. From there, you can set cloud count, bolt frequency, wind speed, camera speed, and bolt color. They're all little things, but they're the kind of little thing that helps you make your wallpaper experience both unique and totally your own.

I mean, shoot, red lightning? That's too cool.

Thunderstorm Live Wallpaper is free in the Market, but there's also a donate version for 99 cents, if you're so inclined to show the developer some love. If you like lightning, storms, or are just looking for a new wallpaper to use, I'd definitely check out Thunderstorm Live Wallpaper.

A few more pictures as well as download links are after the break.

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3 years ago

One way in which Google+ is beating Facebook

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Youtube link for mobile viewing

It actually works. What's up with Facebook rolling out updates that break things? This isn't the first time, either.

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3 years ago

Cut the Rope now available ad-free in the Android Market (Update: And, Amazon, too)

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Ready for a new addiction? Cut the Rope has hit the Android market holding a price tag of just a mere 99 cents, and is sure to bring hours and hours of entertainment to your life. Last week Cut the Rope was available for Android devices via GetJar, and was an ad-supported version, but today a paid version has hit the Android market without any ads. So, without any further delay, hit the break for download links, and get to playing!

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

Update: And Amazon, too.

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3 years ago

Flight Track's Honeycomb tablet update now available in the Android Market

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We got our first look at Flight Track's Honeycomb tablet update back at Google IO in May. Today, that update's available in the Android Market, and one of our favorite Android travel apps get even better. You've got the same look and feel in the $4.99 app, which has expanded for larger screens, making the mapping features that much better. Tripit support is still there, too, with a $4.99 upgrade. Check out our video and find download links after the break.

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3 years ago

Android Quick App: GasBuddy - Find Cheap Gas

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Gasbuddy is one of many gas station price trackers on the Market, but consistently has the best prices of all the apps I check.

GasBuddy works like most of the other price-finding apps out there. Either enter a zip code of where you want to find gas or choose "Find Gas Near Me." From there, GasBuddy will give you a list of gas stations and their associated gas prices. By default, the stations are listed closest to furthest, but you can also sort them by price.

From the tabs at the top of the page, you can cycle through the prices for regular, mid-grade, premium, and diesel. You can also move off of the list view and switch to map view, which puts the logos of the stations on a Google Map with the price of gas below the logo.

GasBuddy manages to always have the most up-to-date gas prices by giving away points to registered members for updating gas prices when they're at the station. For every 1000 points you earn, you can enter yourself in a drawing for a $250 gas card. As a result, most of your results won't be more than a few hours hold when you check the stations around you.

The settings menu is rather bare, because there's not much in ways of customizing GasBuddy. On the settings menu you've got options to choose your default fuel grade, distance (miles or kilometers), showing all stations or just those with updated prices, and setting the default screen the app opens up to (home or stations near me).

If you're into saving money (and who isn't?), GasBuddy is an essential app for your phone. Even if you rarely use it, you'll be glad to have it when the tank is nearing the dreaded E. GasBuddy is a free app that seems to occasionally pop up an ad, but honestly, I haven't seen an ad until I decided to review the app right now. Even then, I'll take a rarely seen (and easily avoidable) ad if it means saving at the pump.

More pictures and download links are after the break.

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3 years ago

Android Quick App: GateGuru

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GateGuru has made its way onto Android, bringing with it a sort of mashup of Foursquare and travel apps such as Tripit and FlightTrack.

When you first launch GateGuru, you'll get a long list of airports, with their three-letter abbreviation. You can flick through the list, or type to drill down through it. The list is long, but not complete. Your airport might not be listed. The GateGuru folks say they're adding airports all the time.

Airports that are on the list have pretty comprehensive guides, however. For example: Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has five concourses. And GateGuru's got a map of the entire complex, checkpoint wait times, and breakdowns of the shops, restaurants and services that are available there -- plus photos.

For the social aspect, you can check in at various airport locations, leave tips and reviews, and ear points for doing so.

GateGuru also serves as a decent travel planner, too. It can tie into your Tripit account and import itineraries. It's not quite as in-depth as we'd like to see (in-flight information and other flight info would be a worthwhile addition).

So is it the perfect travel app? Not just yet. But GateGuru is an interesting mix between being an all business travel app and more of a social check-in app. And that it's free makes it painless to try out. Check out our hands-on video and find download links after the break.

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3 years ago

Android Quick App: OfficeSuite Pro

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If you're not one for aesthetics or Apple-like gloss but still find yourself needing to edit documents from your Android device, OfficeSuite Pro might be the app for you.

OfficeSuite Pro tries to stand against the stalwarts of mobile document editing, Quickoffice Pro and DocumentsToGo, and while it offers the same basic abilities of editing and creating files, it otherwise borders on being so basic, you'll wonder why you settled on this instead of the aforementioned Goliaths of the Market.

As I've already mentioned, there are no bells and whistles on this baby. What you see is what you get, and that picture up top is your main menu. When I opened the app I thought, "Surely this isn't all of it?" Oh, but it is. It's plain, which might strike some folk's fancy, but a little bit cleaner UI wouldn't do any harm.

By default, you're presented with all the places you can pull files from. Internal storage, your SD card, or your Google Docs account are your three options. I know that it says "Add remote account" with a cute little cloud icon next to it, but your only option on that screen is to add a Google account, so if you're looking for SugarSync, Dropbox, Box.net, MobileMe, or any of the other options that might be out there, I suggest you look elsewhere.

Actually finding and opening files isn't terrible, but OfficeSuite Pro doesn't even organize your files by type, so when I went into my Google Docs list, it's got Word files bumping up against Excel files. For me, not having too many files, that's not a problem. If you're someone who does a fair bit of editing from your phone, though, you're probably going to want to keep your files separated, something this app does not.

Actually editing a file is fairly in line with it's competitors. Move your cursor to where you want to type in a Word file, choose your cell on an Excel file, type, profit. Fortunately, OfficeSuite Pro contains the requisite formatting options that we've come to expect across the board, so you won't be without those if you choose this as your editing route.

Honestly though, if you're looking to create or edit documents on your Android device, I'd go with either Quickoffice Pro or DocumentsToGo. For the same price ($14.99), DocsToGo at least gives you a more usable UI coupled with Dataviz's desktop syncing option. For five dollars less, you can get an equally stunning UI with Quickoffice Pro as well as Quickoffice's multiple cloud syncing options. If you like what you see, by all means, go the OfficeSuite Pro route, but for your money, I think there's better options available.

More pictures and download links are after the break.

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3 years ago

Opera Mobile 11.1 brings better text support, faster page rendering, Flash on Honeycomb

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Opera has released Opera Mobile 11.1. The big strokes are that Google text and autocomplete are improved, the rendering engine should be faster, and there's now experimental support for Adobe Flash on Honeycomb tablets. Here's the full breakdown:

Improvements include:

  • Added support for Google AutoComplete
  • Added ability to search directly from the address bar
  • Added intelligent domain suggest which suggests your most used domain endings
  • Added support for country domain auto-complete such as .ru or .id
  • Added user agent setting
  • Improved CSS, HTML5 standards support
  • Improved text selection
  • A dded support for Google voice search
  • Added exit button option
  • Added support for external keyboard in Honeycomb
  • Added experimental support for Flash in Honeycomb
  • Added support for downloading multimedia files
  • Cache is now stored in Android cache directory
  • Web Search intent support
  • Fix for LTE network speed limit
  • Fix for force close related to volume keys
  • Fix for Opera locking in landscape mode
  • Fix so that 7" 800x480 tablets will get tablet UI
  • Fix for problems with colors on ZT-180 devices
  • Fix for several crash bugs (including crash at startup)
  • Permissions: See bit.ly/opera_permissions
  • General bug fixes and improvements

Check out Opera's video walkthrough after the break.

More: Opera; Thanks, Stephenn!

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3 years ago

Android App Review: Impel

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If any of you out there are anything like me, there might be, from time to time, an occasion where you could just make your phone do things all automatic-like. If you don't feel like shelling out $10 for Locale or getting a programming degree to work Tasker, where are you to turn?

It pleases me to no end to introduce you to Impel, a relative newcomer to the event manager scene that aims to do what you want, plus a little more. Impel wants to do one thing and one thing only: automate nearly anything you could think of your phone doing. And it does it well.

Join me after the break for the lowdown on how Impel works, why it's great, and why it's the app for everyone.

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3 years ago

Skype brings UI update for all, video calling for a few

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Fire up Skype today, and you'll be greeted with a nicely redesigned user interface, as well as the ability to use SMS from Skype. But that's not the big feature the internet calling giant is really pimping. Video calling is finally officially here -- but only for a select few phones. Yeah, there's that leaked build that's been out for months. But if you've got any of the following phones (and this is going to hurt for most of us here in the U.S.), you can now officially make video calls. The support phones are:

  • HTC Desire S
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro
  • Google Nexus S

Not exactly a comprehensive list, but things have to start somewhere, we suppose. Quick video and download links are after the break.

More: Skype

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