But is this yet another case of Chicken Little crying that the sky is falling?
The Wall Street Journal has come forward with a lengthy article about Android and iOS applications, and how they transmit your data to advertisement companies. They assembled a selection of 101 smartphone apps (50 Android apps, 50 iOS apps, and the WSJ's iPhone app -- they haven't seen fit to release an Android version just yet) and found that 56 of them transmit unique identifying data from your smartphone. More specifically -- apps are transmitting the unique device ID, age, location, gender, time spent using the app and other possibly personal identifying data. Yes, it's wallpaper-gate all over again. Let's dissect this a bit, after the break. [WSJ.com]
We know how sensitive some of you are regarding app size. It's OK. It's nothing to be ashamed of, and you're not alone. And the fine folks at Swype fully sympathize and are now offering a "micro" version of the Swype keyboard. It's fully functional, just with fewer languages supported, so you get a 2.5MB install instead of a 10MB install. To get the micro version, just open the Swype Installer on your phone and accept the update.
Also, Swype has (finally) offered some help to you Evo 4G users who had problems this week. See, the 3.70.651.1 OS update that dropped this week included the Swype keyboard. So if you already were running the beta, things quickly stopped working. As many of you figured out, you need to uninstall the beta, then reboot, and all should be well. [Swype forums]
E*TRADE has finally released its Android application to the masses. Having only previously been available on other platforms such as iOS and BlackBerry, E*TRADE mobile Pro now has a home in the Android Market. Although I'm not much of a stock trader myself I certainly could be given how easy the app is to use. Not so sure I'd be successful at it so it's best I just let you all know the features rather than test them out myself. Features included in the app:
Get free real-time quotes, news & charts.
Check the market and your device watch list.
Securely buy, sell, and place orders with just a few taps.
Check your holdings, balances, and buying power in real time.
If you have an E*TRADE account and have been waiting for this app, you'll find the download link after the break. PS: If you make some money using the app, I expect my cut. Thanks Steve!
Although it's a rather crippled build -- and it'll cost you GPS, Wi-Fi, voice, and camera functionality -- it's definitely a step in the right direction. Every good custom ROM starts with a buggy, near useless build -- these things don't happen overnight.
Check out a video of the Galaxy S running Gingerbread after the break.
For all you who have been waiting for the Nexus S to come out for you to pick one up, the wait is over and now you probably want to load it up with some great applications. The market can be a bit difficult to navigate depending how much time you have to spare, so let us give you some ideas of what to load up on that new shiny device.
For anyone who has tried the new Android Market client on their Nexus S and was disappointed at the odd visual glitches -- that and the fact that it reverted itself to the old market in just a few hours -- here's at least a partial fix. Jury is still out on whether this one will be a bit more permanent or not, but it looks (and more importantly works) great. None of that overlapping text and half images we were seeing with the last "new" Market version.
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]
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