Hear the words "Need for Speed," and two things come to mind: The classic line from "Top Gun," and a bad-ass racing game. And the latter has come to Android in the form of Need for Speed: Shift, from EA.
The premise is simple: Go fast. Turn left. Or right. Hit the brakes if you have to, but I'm gonna call you a wuss if you do.
We've spent a few minutes with the game, now in the Android Market for $4.99. Download the app and fire it up, and you're prompted to download the rest of the game data. That took just a couple minutes over Wifi.
You'll be introduced to a tutorial track first, where you're alone on the road. That's nice for getting a feel for the steering, and it took just a couple of laps to get the hang of things. You turn by tilting the phone left or right, and brake by pressing anywhere on the screen. (Again, you're a wuss.) You can change the difficulty and enable manual transmission, disable driving assist and braking, if you want.
You start out with two cars from which to choose -- a Volkswagen Golf GTI and Mazda RX-8. As is the norm with games like this, you can purchase other cars and upgrades for existing cars as you win races and earn cash.
The graphics are top-notch, as you'd expect from EA, and the soundtrack is as well. Depending on the device, you might well blow an eardrum. This one's well worth the $5 even if you're only a casual fan of racing games. We've got video of it in action, as well as download links, after the break.
We're all loving the new version of Google Maps and its vector based graphics, and Google has spent the time to explain exactly what makes them better. There some great detail about vector graphics, and how using them improves things like drawing roads or place labels as well as enabling the things like 3D tilt view, and explanation of how things used to work with the tiled graphics (360 billion tiles were needed to cover the earth!), and most importantly, explanation of how offline caching works -- places you frequent will have a lot of detail, while places you don't venture to as often won't have as much, all done using about 100 times less data.
I know a lot of us were expecting an offline version of Google Maps, and it looks like that isn't here just yet. But Google did say they are continuing to work on the algorithms used to display the data, and we'll see even more improvements over time. Check it out at the source link. [Google Mobile Blog]
Rut ro! Twitter apparently is making popular Twitter client Touiter change names, seeing as how it's sort of a misspelling of Twitter. (Yeah. OK.) The good news is that you can help developer LevelUp Studio choose the new name! Right now "Plume" and "CuiCui" are in the lead, but we bet you guys can do even better than that. Just head on over to the voting page and let 'em know what you'd like to see.
Blu-rays these days are becoming more and more prevalent. People love watching movies in HD. Heck, even grandma is playing movies in 1080p these days. Not only do these viewers love their high definition media, they enjoy all the cool things they can do while accessing the movie's online content via BD Live. The pocket BLU app, created by Deluxe Digital Studios, is an app that allows owners of new Universal (the movie studio) Blu-ray discs, to access most of the disc's extra movie content on the go. It also makes for a decent Blu-ray player remote control. Not bad for a free app, right? Make the jump to see the app in video form.
LinkedIn has always served as a means of connecting business professionals to each other and finally, they have put out an Android version of their mobile application. Although only in beta for the time being, it is an open beta in which any LinkedIn user can get themselves into. The process is simple, just login to your LinkedIn account and apply for the LinkedIn for Android group. However, it does have a few caveats:
Your phone must be running Android 2.1 or higher to install the application
Your phone must support installing applications from sources other than the marketplace. [Ed. note: You AT&T folks can head to the Sideload Wonder Machine for help with that]
The UI is nice and simple and the app itself while basic still, provides you with most functions. You can view updates, check your connections and invitations and search through users. If you sign up, be sure to offer some feedback so the app can be improved upon. Thanks Obi! [WebProNews]
I've always been a fan of classic jewel swapping games. Yes, before Angry Birds I was addicted to Bejeweled and every other "bejeweled like" game. Over time though, you want more out of the simple jewel swapping games and want something added to them. This is where Concrete Software comes in. They've just announced that their popular Aces Jewel Hunt series is now available for Android devices in both paid and free versions.
Rather than just giving you the basics, Aces Jewel Hunt brings some cool extras like optional in-game tutorials, multiple difficulty levels, and three different game types - classic, timed, and quick challenge. As well, adds online leaderboards and advanced stats tracking. If you enjoy games like this, be sure to check them out. Download link can be found after the break.
We're no strangers to the many uses of Vlingo around here and we love it when they email us lettings us know about all the new stuff they been working on. As described from within their press release, they've introduced a new feature with their latest release called Actionbar:
Vlingo will introduce a new feature called the “ActionBar,” that enables Android users to type or speak commands to do all of the things they would normally do with Vlingo. Vlingo brings the same adaptation and predictive intelligence used for voice recognition to typed commands with the ActionBar, allowing users to initiate actions when it’s not as convenient speak to their phones – like on a noisy bus or quiet conference room. In this release, Vlingo also has integrated with several consumer companies that will allow them to find available hotels, buy movie tickets and make dinner reservations - quickly, easily and safely.
Those companies referred to are KAYAK, Fandango and Open Table to be precise. The latest Vlingo Assistant is now available in the Android Market for devices 2.0 and above. Download and a video of the new offers is after the break.
For some of us, the days of actually heading on down to the comic store and grabbing the latest edition of Spider-Man are long over. But, that doesn't really mean you have to stop reading comics by any means. Luckily for those of you out there who still enjoy reading comics, they've kept pace with the technology of today. A new app to the Android Market makes it easier then ever to get your comics on the go and read them whenever you do so wish.
Comics by comiXology has been available for quite some time on other platforms but, this is the first time its been made available on Android. The online store offers a wide variety of comic vendors to purchase from including Archie Comics, Marvel, Dark Horse, DC. So yes, Spiderman, Transformers, Star Wars and more are all covered. Also, any comics you purchase through the app are available for online reading as well. Be sure to check the app out if you're a comic fan. Download link can be found after the break. [comiXology]
Google Maps 5.0 -- that awesome version Andy Rubin showed off a week or so ago -- has been released to the Android Market. With the latest version of Google Maps, you get that very cool 3D tilt feature, plus vector graphics for less tiling (there's still some lag, but it's definitely better), compass mode, improved caching and offline navigation rerouting so that you can still find your way even if you lose your connection.
We'll have to check this out on as many phones as possible. There was talk about the 3D feature not working on the Nexus One, but it seems to be OK for us. (Update: More on that after the break.) Sound out in the comments if you see otherwise. Thanks to everyone who sent this in! [Google Lat-Long Blog]
It seems every day a new video chat app is popping up, and now another has arrived. This one, put out by ooVoo (they're no spring chicken), lays claim to having the ability to handle six-way video calling. Although I'm skeptical of how well that will work, the download is available now on their website. At the moment, the application is locked down to just HTC Evo 4G and Samsung Epic 4G phones (spot the similarity!), but it also allows for free ooVoo-to-ooVoo calls and touts text chat and contact list integration as well.
For now, the application is free but the desktop versions do charge for anything more than a two-way call, ooVoo uses that as their premium service offerings so the possibility of future charges for the mobile version is indeed there. If you're wanting to give it a go, you can head on over to the ooVoo mobile site to download. [ooVoo via Mashable]
Fans of the Trillian IM client should know that it looks like the beta period has ended (you can no longer download the app from Trillian's website), and it's now up in the Android Market. It'll run you $4.99. But is that too high a price to stay in constant contact with your friends be they on Astra, AIM, Yahoo, ICQ, Windows Live, MySpaceIM, Google Talk or Jabber? Depends on the friends, we suppose.
Anyhoo, download links are after the break. Enjoy! Thanks, Jason!
Although blogging with Posterous already IS as easy as sending off an e-mail, having more options to make use of is something we'll never complain about. Posterous users can now rejoice as Posterous has just released their mobile blogging application for Android devices. The application falls in line with the whole "feel" of Posterous in the fact that it is dead simple setup and use. It really is just open, tap and post. The only drawback at this time is that you need to have a supported device. Although, I'm sure it will work on some not listed.
Samsung Galaxy Spica
Google Nexus One
You'll find the download available after the break, and many thanks to everyone who sent this into us. [Posterous]
We previously got a look at the new Dolphin mini browser in its preview stages, and the application is now fully available in the Android Market as an open beta. The Dolphin teams main goal with this browser was to make it as fast as possible for end users. It's nice and lightweight and while it lacks many features of the Dolphin HD browser that's kind of the point. A slimmed down, super fast version of the Dolphin browser you already love.
Speed through the web
Browse with ease
New fresh UI
Speed Dial Homepage
Infinite tabs browsing
Innovative Menu design
Powerful tool box
If you're looking for a faster browsing experience on your device, you might want to check out Dolphin Mini. Keep in mind of course it is beta, so that said if you run into any issues; be a good sport and report them to the Dolphin team. They can't fix what they are not fully aware of. Download link can be found after the break. [Dolphin Blog]
If there's one thing that rubs me the right way, it's game publishers releasing holiday updates. First Rovio gave us the increasingly frustrating Angry Birds Seasons, and today Spacetime Studios delivers the High Winter Festival update for Pocket Legends.
In addition to the ability wield dual weapons, Pocket Legends players can expect to see:
High Winter Festival
New combat area
Special holiday-only loot (permanent)
New story-line. Defend Father Frost from evil Toy Master and save the High Winter Festival.
18 new quests
New loot with new appearances including moonshine hat, frogwang, banjo, blunderbuss, and lizard spear
Four new combat areas dealing with the feuding McCrocs and Scalefields
Portions of this page are modifications based on work created and shared by the Android Open Source Project
and used according to terms described in the Creative Commons 2.5 Attribution License. AndroidCentral is an independent site
that is not affiliated with or endorsed by Google.