If you are an avid user of the Barnes and Noble Nook for Android application, you will be pleased to know that they have released a rather nice update. In version 2.5 they have listened to their users, and brought some of the most popular features to the application, sadly not all of them will be available to users of 10-inch tablets yet.
For anyone using an Android powered smartphone, or seven inch tablet, the update includes a download progress meter, a wish list feature, as well as a new library grid view, for easy viewing access. For those of you who picked up the Xoom this week, your update is destined to arrive some time this spring, so they have not forgotten about you.
A new twist on the "find my phone" genera of apps comes out today from Lookout Labs called Plan B. If the name didn't give it away, it's an application that tracks your phone that is installed remotely via the Android Market websiteafter you've lost it. Using it is simple:
Realize that your phone isn't where it should be, and a quick look under the car seats or in the couch cushions doesn't find it
Once installed, Plan B will start sending text messages via email to the address of your Google account, with handy Google Maps links to your phone's location. This works even if GPS isn't enabled. Then it's a matter of seeing where it is, and deciding how to retrieve it. Pretty slick if you ask me, and it seemed to work perfectly on my Nexus S. To give it a test or keep the link handy, follow the break for the download.
One of the chief complaints about Firefox for Android has been its speed and size. But with every new release, it's gotten faster. And with every new release, it's gotten smaller. And Mozilla's Mark Finkle gives us a good look at just how much faster it's become with a series of benchmarks.
Although I'm not really much of a fun of the game, I do know a lot of people love wasting some time playing Mafia Wars. Be it on Facebook or the many other various platforms it is available for. Finally, Zynga has brought Mafia Wars to the Android Market. While early reviews show it needs some work, the fact that Zynga has created a base for Mafia Wars gives them room to play around with and user feedback will help them improve it in the long run. They are quite capable of building great games.
At the moment, some elements of the original game are missing and you can only access one city but I'm sure more will become available over time. If you're into playing Mafia Wars it's certainly worth a look. If you're looking for more feedback based on user reviews head on past the break for the Android Market download link. Just remember, it uses your Facebook account for stats and such so if you don't have a Facebook account you really just login and play. If you're not into Mafia Wars then try out Words with Friends. Fah-get about it!
A minor update to Android's Gmail app has hit the Market that fixes custom labels and improves copy/paste in Gingerbread. If you have custom labels in Gmail with custom colors, they wouldn't properly sync. With this update, that should be fixed. Also updated is the ability to long-press to copy text with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread).
Here is the full update log:
Enable long press to copy text on Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) devices
Sync custom label colors
The Market link for the Gmail app is available after the break.
Verizon has released a new update to its V CAST Music app that finally brings MP3s, ringtones, and ringback tones under the same roof. Notably the MP3s will come without DRM and in high-quality. Other new features added include a wish list for storing songs for later purchase and the ability to send a song recommendation to friends, which will open the song's purchase page in the app. Verizon notes that some of their Android offerings come with the app pre-installed while others can simply go to the Verizon section of the Android Market and find the app there.
While the MP3s are competitively priced at either $.99 or $1.29, ringback tones will set you back $1.99, and ringtones are an astounding $2.99. So, while you could pay about $4 for a single MP3 and its ringtone, you could decide to save a little money and make a ringtone or notification sound yourself from any MP3 right on your phone. We will leave the choice up to you. Full press release after the break.
If pinball was a part of your childhood, and Android is a part of your current life, Pinball Deluxe is a game you will not want to delay downloading. Pinball Deluxe is an extremely realistic, addictive game for the Android platform that will run on any device with Android 2.1 or above. With three different tables, and tons of different options to unlock during the game play this is sure to offer hours and hours of endless entertainment. If you are a fan of games, and enjoy pinball, be sure to head to the market and give this game a download, it is free, after all. Download information after the jump. [Pinball Deluxe]
Having sold millions of copies worldwide on those other (lesser) platforms, Flight Control for Android has landed in the Android Market, courtesy of the folks at Namco. If you're unfamiliar with Flight Control, it's a pretty fun game to play if you're looking to get in on some android gaming.
The basis of the game is to guide your planes to their same-colored runways without crossing the paths of other planes that you are also guiding in for landing. You simply trace out with your finger where you want the planes to go and should they crash -- well, game over for you.
Flight Control is available for $4.99 and includes stat tracking, high score counts and up to 10 different planes on multiple playing fields. Jump on past the break for the download if you want to give it a shot. Having played it myself for quite some time, I can say it is one of those games that will keep you coming back for more until you beat it.
We've already seen Android tablet apps for Sports Illustrated and a few other magazines. And another shining example of how print can and should publish in the digital mobile space is Wired magazine.
It's dynamic, it's colorful, it's animated (but not overly so) -- and it's the future of what periodicals can and should look like. We caught up with publisher Conde Nast at the Android Booth at Mobile World Congress. Check it out.
You gotta love a nice live wallpaper on Android, and developer Kittehface Software has quite a handful. From holiday themes to patriotism to fish, there are myriad options available. We caught up with Kittehface at Android's booth at Mobile World Congress to take a look. Enjoy.
The folks over at Lookout have released information about another Android trojan application -- named HongTouTou. As we saw with the Geinimi trojan, this one has only been spotted in re-packaged (yes, we mean cracked) apps on a few Chinese language websites. Specifically mentioned was the popular game RoboDefense, which has been cracked and pirated all over the web. The Market version, both free and paid, of RoboDefense is unaffected -- only apk files that have been tampered with are affected.
What this one does is send data containing your device ID to a remote host, which returns a string of search engine URL data. Then it emulates background keyword searches, generating clicks on specific results. It's clearly designed to use your phone to increase click-through counts and generate a bit of income for the people who wrote it. The HongTouTou trojan also has the ability to download an .apk that monitors your SMS messages and inserts keywords into the conversation. Researchers at Lookout say they have not seen the trojan attempt to install the apk, but they have been able to disassemble it.
Lookout also says that users of their Android security suite (free or premium) have received an OTA update that protects them from HongTouTou.
Here's the breakdown -- just like on your computer, if you go looking to pirate apps you just might end up with more than you bargained for. That's your call, but if and when this happens, you can only blame yourself. As of today, there has not been a case of true malware found in an app downloaded from the Android Market, and we haven't heard of any from other reputable third party marketplaces. If you want to be safe, download and install a security app, and stay away from pirated applications. [Lookout Blog]
I've raved about Mobiata's FlightTrack app before, and for good reasons -- it's just about the best at helping me keep track of where in the world I'm going. And it's just gotten better in a couple of big ways.
First is with the addition of a live wallpaper that shows flights in progress. If you're a travel nerd, airplane buff or just like shiny things, you'll want to check it out.
Then there's the recently released FlightBoard. Previously available for iOS, it does what the name suggests -- it's a slick way to see what flights are coming up when.
We caught up with Mobiata for a quick demo at the Android booth at Mobile World Congress. Check it out.
Google does a lot of really cool things, but some times they just get it right the first time. Take Androidify for example. Making yourself, loved ones, bitter rivals, or co-workers into Androids is fun. Using Androidify, it's simple. When simple and fun get together, you just can't beat it.
I know we have a lot of creative readers, and Android Central forums member jjcasillas15 (that tall drink of water you see above is his!) started up a great thread to share what ya got. It's bound to get interesting, so jump right in and share. Androidify yourself!! Share your Androidify avatars .
Didn't install Androidify yet? That's an easy fix. Hit the break for the download link. [Android Central forums]
With well over 50,000 downloads in just a few hours, Words with Friends for Android is already a huge success. Yes, there's a few kinks to work out, but we totally expect Zynga to get everything sorted in short order. They're Zynga -- games is what they do. Like you guys, we've been waiting for this one to hit Android and now that it's here we've set aside a small fenced in area in the forums just for it. In the Words with Friends Lounge you can forget all about the carrier discussion, debate about who makes the best Android phone, and even the endless hacking some of us like to discuss after we've broken things customized our phones.
Jump in and find someone to play against, discuss strategy, do a little friendly trash-talk, and anything else WWF related. And if you have friends with an iOS phone/pod/pad/thingy, invite them over -- we love everyone in the lounge. If you haven't already, you can grab Words with Friends for Android after the break. [Android Central forums]
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