Two thinks I hate to have happen when I'm at the convenience store -- One is they run out of Funyuns. The other is I get to the Redbox movie rental kiosk and find the manly action movie I wanted to watch sensitive chick flick the wife demanded has already been rented.
Redbox has released its official app that will let you find the nearest kiosk (maps are included, natch) and reserve a movie so it'll be there when you are. You can search by genere as well and get basic info about the movie. Pretty slick, actually. Market link's after the break.
Now if only it could do something about that Funyun supply. Thanks, Jese!
Let's not mince words here: If you're in the market for some basic -- and extremely easy to use -- webcam monitoring, you need to check out Dropcam. It's been available for some time now for the iPhone (and on a desktop web browser), and now it's come for Android.
The Dropcam folks sent us one of their Dropcam Echo cameras to test out. How did it fare? We'll discuss after the break.
If you love food as much as I do you'll know that finding great restaurants is often times a tough task. For that we have plenty of Android apps out there to help filter out the good from the bad. One of the most respected names in that area is Zagat and just in time for Valentines day they have made some changes to their Zagat to go app for Android. Aside from the complete UI overhaul, Zagat has added quite a few new features as well:
Restaurant reviews and our signature 30 point ratings for Food, Decor, Service and actual down-to-the-dollar estimates for dinner costs
GPS - Find nearby restaurants automatically
Advanced Search - Mix and Match by any criteria including ratings, cuisines and attributes like Child-Friendly, Business Dining, Romantic and dozens more!
Top Rated Lists - Zagat has picked the “Best of” in your city like Best Burgers, Best Italian, Most Romantic and more
Meal Suggestions – Get tips from the Foursquare community on what to order when you get there!
Write Reviews – Publish reviews to Zagat.com from your phone instantly, wherever you are. No drafting, no waiting!
Visual Menu – Browse thousands of photos of dishes from Foodspotting
Restaurant Widget – Feeling lucky? Get nearby restaurant recommendations automatically. Long press on your home screen and select Zagat to get started.
If you're looking to tap into your inner food connoisseur, Zagat will cost you $9.99 for a year subscription. The update release is available now in the Android Market. Download and press release can be found after the break.
The Angry Birds secret code from the Rio trailer ad during the Super Bowl has been found, tested, and decoded. And none of it was done by me. Credit goes out to @AndroidThrasher for the screencap, and scarbzscope on YouTube for the details. Spoiler alert -- the code itself, and a video of the code broken and used is after the break. Thanks fellas!
More than a few of us (and us) noticed that when you got the latest update to Angry Birds, the app stated that it needed permissions to your SMS messages. At the time, Rovio told us it likely was a mistake, and that they'd look at it on Monday. However, it turns out it has a purpose and is part of an in-app payment system, called Big Bad Piggy Bank, which can be used to purchase the Mighty Eagle and other content. From Rovio's blog:
Bad Piggy Bank purchases will be paid through operator billing. No credit card is required, you simply select the content you want to purchase in the game, and select the Bad Piggy Bank icon. You confirm your purchase, the payment is made via SMS, and you will be charged in your phone bill.
The Android version of Angry Birds asks for SMS permission because this mobile payment capability has been added in version 1.5.1.
Angry Birds does not use the SMS functionality of the device for any other purpose than Bad Piggy Bank payments.
If the Bad Piggy Bank is not available for your operator, no purchases can be made, and you cannot be charged for anything.
All that said, it's only available in Finland at the moment. And note that this is separate from the in-app billing that Google just announced with Honeycomb.
So the good news is that there's nothing malicious (not that we ever thought there was) in the update. The bad news is it gives the app a permission that so far a very large number of users can't actually use. [Rovio] Thanks, Justin!
Finally, market.android.com has gone live, and man is it pretty sweet. If you have been spending hours poking around and looking for something new, you may have found some great apps, but many of you may still be struggling to find something new. If that is you, and you are interested in finding some new applications for your device, be sure to hit the jump with us and see what some of our favorites from this week were.
There are only a handful of things I like to be awakened by on a Saturday morning. One is the wife and kids. Another is a giant pile of pancakes. And a third is a massive update to Angry Birds, one that brings 30 new levels to the uber popular game. And such was the case this morning, as we now have "Ham 'Em High" to keep us occupied.
Go ahead and get your update on, or hit up the download link after the break if you've yet to play. And now, to go find those pancakes ...
Update: You might well have noticed that the app now says it needs/has permission to access your SMS messages. The developer, Rovio Mobile, tells us on Twitter that it "Must be a mistake in some permission file. Will get it sorted on Monday."
NetQin, China's market leader in mobile security, has brought their anti-virus application to Android. NetQin anti-virus offers real-time monitoring, instant scanning, contacts backup and restoration, and phone theft and loss protection. NetQin anti-virus uses what they call Cloud Scan:
"cloud and client twin-engine scanning, which is faster and more accurate at identifying and resolving threats from viruses and malicious programs. Key benefits include fast response to the latest security threats and comprehensive protection from Trojans, malware, and virus-infected plug-ins."
As new threats are found, the cloud scan engine is updated to deal with them. In real-world usage, the app seems to use little resources, and there is no noticeable slowdown with it running in the background.
Maybe you'll never have need for an Android malware scanner, but threats do exists in the wild. It's a by-product of being "open" to the installation of unapproved software. Applications like NetQin anti-virus fill that need, and it looks like this one will do very nicely. If you want to give it a try, it's free in the Market, and is available in a version for Android 1.5 and Android 1.6, as well as a version for Android 2.x. The full press release is after the jump.
While there are quite a few torrent clients and torrent remote control apps in the Android Market, Bittorrent has never directly released an application to interface with your µTorrent installation. That is, until now. The official µTorrent remote app has just been released to the Android Market and is available for download. Keeping in mind, it's not a full blown client but rather a remote for your already existing installed client on your computer it does have some nice features built into it.
Check the status of a download directly from your Android smartphone
Add, pause or remove µTorrent downloads on your computer
µTorrent remote registers as a .torrent handler so you can browse and add torrents just as if you were on your PC at home.
Start, pause or remove µTorrent downloads in progress on your computer
Update and add torrents from RSS subscriptions
Transfer, save and play any completed file from your PC right to your device.
Bittorrent does have a full blown client in the works but for now they are asking users to report any feedback they may have regarding just the remote application. You can find the download link right after the break. [Bittorrent]
Have a small business and have been looking longingly at the iPhone and iPad's mobile commerce solutions? Things are about to change, thanks to Intuit with Go Payment -- and, of course, Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablets.
The premise is the same as on other platforms -- There's a small accessory that plugs into the tablet's 3.5mm headphone jack. You slide the card through it, and the payment's made. Quick and simple. Check it out in the video above.
With all that Sports Illustrated and CNN have done right with their Android tablet applications, The Economist ... well, it went a different direction. That's not to say it is completely devoid of merit -- the magazine's covers are nicely displayed, and stories are well categorized. But individual story pages lack any sort of design flare, and you likely won't enjoy reading stories at their full width in landscape mode. Let's just call it Version 1.0 and move on.
When Sports Illustrated showed off its plans for an HTML5-based tablet-type app last year at Google IO, we lauded it as a shining example of how print publications should move into the digital world. And while the iPad got its version first, the upcoming Android Honeycomb version is just as good (and pretty darn similar).
If someone asks how a magazine should present itself in the mobile space, this is the app you should show them. Videos and photo galleries are dynamic and played well on the story pages. SI's web-only content is a special treat.
About the only other thing we could hope for is to see it on a higher-resolution screen, but that's not the app's fault, and we'll see that happen in due time.
Say what you want about CNN -- and between the new "HLN" and Nancy Grace, I could say plenty -- you have to hand it to whomever designed its new Honeycomb tablet app. It's a model for how to deftly handle an overflow of news without completely overwhelming the senses.
That's not to say I don't continue to chuckle at the main screen, which can display thumbnails of some 300-odd stories and as nicknamed the "broadsheet" -- an old print term. But for the most part, it's a very well done news app. You have nice thumbnails of stories, which take you to nicely designed story pages. There's plenty of rich content to go around, including video and photo galleries.
For you budding "iReporters" -- don't get me started on that one, either -- you can record and upload "iReports" (sign) straight from the tablet, as it should be.
So while the quality of the news ain't exactly Daniel Schorr anymore, the quality of the CNN tablet app does more than enough to prop it up.
Typing on a tablet can be a bit of a challenge. It's not as finger-friendly as a smaller smartphone, and it's not as tactile as a traditional physical keyboard. Swiftkey has long been one of our favorite keyboards, in no small part due to its excellent text prediction.
Swiftkey's tablet keyboard does something new in that it splits the keyboard in half, with half the letters at the far left, the other half at the far right, and a numerical keypad in the center. It takes a little getting used to, to be sure.
But the text prediction remains top-notch, and dual space bars make things that much faster. We'll give this keyboard the what-for when Android tablets are officially released (and the app, which is still in development, is ready). For now, check out the video.
Let's talk about the weather. Or, more specifically, let's talk about WeatherBug, which has been redesigned for Android Honeycomb tablets. It's a pretty striking change, thanks to the new framework in Android 3.0.
The new app spends a good deal of energy on flipping through the weather of various cities. It looks pretty cool, but how often do you really need to do that?
Where it gets much more useful is with the radar mapping, which looks pretty spectacular on a 10-inch screen. Check it all out above.
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