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3 years ago

Apps of the Week - The Economist, Babel Rising 3D, Wormworld Saga, and more

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Oh my! You look like you haven't had a good app in a whole week!  Come in, come in, relax, we have more than enough to go around. Go see Chris. He has a wonderful story to share.  Or Andrew, our new guy. Doesn't he look intelligent reading The Economist? You might want to catch Alex and Richard before they head out the door - it looks like they're planning their transit routes. Here, sit down, kick up your feet, and open Google Play. Isn't that better? 

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3 years ago

Jelly Bean factory images released for (some) Nexus models

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The Jelly Bean 4.1.1 images for selected Nexus models have been released by Google, allowing you to roll back to a safe, factory state no matter how bad you've f&%^#d up your Nexus. The particular models are  --

This is good news for all of us who hack and modify our Nexus devices, as having an easy and safe way to return to a booting device is the first rule of Android hacking. You can grab the images at the source link, and be sure to hit the forums for more information about how this all works if you have any questions.

Source: Android Developers; via Android Central forums

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3 years ago

Out of Milk review - now you have no excuse for forgetting groceries

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Out of Milk has been providing a clean, feature-rich task management app for some time, and earlier this month they started offering list sharing and syncing for free, along with having a major UI overhaul. We decided to take a look because hey, who doesn't have trouble keeping track of all the stuff they have to do?

The core functions of Out of Milk are just about what you would expect: make shopping lists, and mark them as done. There are dedicated interfaces for the pantry and more generic task lists, but groceries are really the main thing. If you're willing to pay $1.99 through an awkward separate app download, you can get even more, such as additional themes, fonts, home screen widgets, coupon tracking, and customizing tap and long-press actions.

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3 years ago

Google Maps debuts higher resolution imagery around the world

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While Google Earth recently impressed us with its 3D antics at Google I/O, its 2D counterpart, Google Maps is just as important. Today Maps sees its 2D imagery significantly upgraded in a number of countries, with higher resolution satellite pictures, aerial imagery and 45-degree shots.

Google says it's rolled out high-resolution aerial and satellite-based images for 25 cities and 25 "regions/countries." And new 45-degree perspective shots are now available in a total of 28 cities, 21 in the U.S. and 7 overseas. While perspective shots have yet to be rolled out to mobile, Android users can get access to the high-resolution top-down images right away by enabling the "Satellite" layer from within the Google Maps app.

We've got list of all the new cities and countries covered by the new high-res imagery after the break.

Source: Google Lat Long Blog

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3 years ago

Original Final Fantasy now available in Google Play

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Black mages, it's time to put on your robe and wizard hat. The original Final Fantasy is now on sale in Google Play, offering the same turn-based combat and high fantasy as the classic with fresh graphics. 

Final Fantasy isn't quite as aggressive as Final Fantasy III was with pricing, but $6.99 may still be more than you're used to paying. Of course, when it comes to nostalgia, sometimes money is no object. Any old-school gamers excited to get back into the first Final Fantasy?

Download: Final Fantasy ($6.99)

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3 years ago

Samsung launches Olympic prediction app for Android

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As the hours and minutes count down towards the opening ceremony in London, Samsung is once again getting in the Olympic spirit with a brand new social prediction app for the 2012 games. The Samsung London 2012 Predictor hooks into your Facebook account and allows you to play along against your friends, predicting who'll win gold, silver and bronze in certain events. There's also an Olympic scheduler built in to help you follow any events you're interested in live.

The Samsung London 2012 Predictor app is available now for most devices -- not just Samsung phones -- running Android 2.2 or above. If you're looking for more Android apps to help you follow the London Olympics, you can check out  our complete guide to the best Olympic apps.

Download: Google Play

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3 years ago

OnLive cloud gaming announces Ouya console support

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Cloud gaming service provider OnLive has just announced that they will plug into the upcoming Ouya Android gaming console. This means OnLive customers will be able to access traditional console games through Ouya, as well as a vast library of free, TV-optimized Android titles. Of course, Ouya's set-up stipulates that every developer has to offer something for free, so OnLive will give 30 minutes of play time for  each game for free, and if players like it, they can pay up and buy the game directly or sign up for their subscription. 

Ouya quickly met its Kickstarter funding goal after their launch announcement earlier this month, and promises to do great things for Android gamers looking for a more in-depth experience. Usually we hear about OnLive as a way of accessing AAA games on Android phones and tablets, but they also have their own dedicated set-top box that could have just as easily been a competitor to Ouya as a partner. Luckily, OnLive is more interested in being available on as many screens as possible, and partners up regularly - including Vizio, for their apparently popular Co-Star Google TV box

Ouya is still going through funding on Kickstarter if you're interested in preordering one of the consoles. Any OnLive subscribers in the house care to comment on the service? Would OnLive support get you to pick up an Ouya, or would you be willing to give OnLive a shot if you were getting an Ouya anyway?

Source: OnLive

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4 years ago

Samsung's ChatON app updated with Olympic buddy

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Samsung's instant messaging client, ChatON, was just updated with a few new features, including an Olympic buddy that can keep you up to date with daily schedules, medal tables, and breaking news. Here's the full changelog. 

  • Olympic buddy (Daily Schedules, Medal Tables, Breaking News)
  • Walkie-talkie
  • Skin/Bubble download
  • Typing status
  • Edit buddy's name
  • New ChatON logo
  • Image zoom-in/out
  • Minor bugs fixed

As always, ChatON provide cross-platform instant messaging, group chat, file transfers, and lots of profile personalization options. If you're looking for more ways to follow the Olympics, be sure to check out our app roundup.  

Do any of you guys actually use ChatON? What's your favorite instant messaging client on Android these days?

Download: ChatON (Free)

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4 years ago

Samsung restores local search on international Galaxy S3 with new OTA

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After local search was mistakenly stripped out in the most recent software update for the international Samsung Galaxy S III (Galaxy S3), the manufacturer has this morning issued another update to restore the feature. The update weighs in at just 5MB, and also purports to offer "stability improvements." Delving into the "About device" page, we can see a new software version, XXBLG8, along with a new baseband, XXLG8, plus a new Linux kernel built just yesterday morning. The software's still based upon Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich.

The feature has been the subject of an ongoing legal dispute in the U.S., where Apple has been granted a patent broadly covering searching from multiple databases on a mobile device and displaying the results in a certain way. Apple's patent complaints recently resulted in the Galaxy Nexus being briefly withdrawn from sale.

Samsung first pulled local search on the international Galaxy S3 on Wednesday, giving the impression that it, like the U.S. versions, were having functionality stripped out so as to avoid further litigation from Apple. Yesterday the company released a statement indicating that the move had been made "inadvertently," and that it'd be restored within in a few days. Just 24 hours later and it's back on our unlocked UK Galaxy S3, so kudos to Samsung for the quick turn-around.

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4 years ago

Plume Update Brings UI Changes, Bug Fixes

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One of our favorite Twitter clients, Plume, was just updated with a couple of subtle but useful UI changes, features and the always nondescript "bug fixes". If you've used Plume before, you know it's hardly short on features and options to begin with. Even so, they managed to add a couple more. The "timeline" and "profile" sections have been redesigned with font color and a couple layout changes. User names are now displayed in a color that can only be described as "Twitter blue", and user's handles are kept in grey off to the right of the name. Additionally, links in the timeline display in the same way as they do on the Twitter website, colors and formatting in tact. The graphical changes aren't drastic, but they give Plume a bit more polish.

This update also brings volume button scrolling, a polarizing feature you either don't care about, or can't live without. Several other apps have implemented this, and just like most everything else in Plume, it's the user's choice to toggle on. If you haven't tried out Plume, then there's no better time than now -- trust us, it looks really nice on a big Galaxy Nexus screen. It's free in the Google Play Store at the source link below. If you like what this developer is doing, and want to support an app that's following holo guidelines, be sure to give the "Premium" version a look for $4.99.

Source: Google Play Store

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4 years ago

Mark Zuckerberg claims there will be no Facebook phone, wants to improve mobile experience

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Earnings call season continued in full flow today with a new addition to the usual crowd. Facebook made their first post-IPO earnings call, and while the numbers don't really interest us greatly -- it's Facebook, and it made lots of money -- Mark Zuckerberg threw in a few mobile specific tidbits that caught our ear. 

Only yesterday, we heard the latest in a seemingly never-ending series of rumors claiming the future arrival of the mythical Facebook phone. Push forwards 24 hours, and the big chief himself seemed to quash those rumors completely. Instead, it seems Facebook is more interested in improving their users mobile experience. Lord knows, it needs some improving. The strategy now is to try and work closely with existing operating systems, instead of building a phone which he said "wouldn't really make sense for us here."

Zuck does at least acknowledge the pretty un-impressive state of Facebook mobile affairs:

I think we’re really much closer to the beginning than the end. If you use the apps today I think they’re relatively basic compared to what anybody would want from a Facebook experience on the phone.

Facebook isn't for everyone, but with the ever shifting landscape heading more towards mobile every day, the social behemoth's mobile apps really should be a focus. And, don't forget about their acquisition of Instagram too. While we haven't seen any integration between the two social platforms as yet, this is set to change in the future. The acquisition isn't yet complete, and so explains why we haven't seen anything to date. 

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4 years ago

Instagram announces 80 million users, updates app and loses a Twitter API all in one day

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Today is certainly seeing plenty of news coming out of the Instagram camp. Some good, some not so good. We'll start on a positive note though. Instagram now has a pretty impressive 80 million users worldwide, due in no small part to the expansion of the platform to Android. The total number of photos shared via the service has also reached a milestone, topping 4 billion now. The takeover by Facebook thankfully doesn't seem to have adversely affected users perceptions. Although, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook's first ever earnings call, the acquisition hasn't yet closed, which is why we've seen no integration of the two. Anything on that front will be delivered in an update when the time comes. In any case, it gives us a good feeling that Android has been such a positive part of the platforms growth. 

The Android app itself has also seen an update today, which while small brings a pretty important fix for some users. It seems some devices were seeing a black screen on the filters page, but all that should now be gone with todays update. You can grab it for yourselves using the download link below. 

Which then brings us to the not so good news. It looks like the Twitter API crackdown is definitely underway, and Instagram has just become a high-profile casualty. Trying to find your Twitter friends on Instagram now brings up the message you see here. The pre-update app still allowed you to find friends in this way, and indeed re-installing that version sees the feature return. Oddly, Twitter friends remains in the "find friends" menu instead of just having been removed completely. Making a point perhaps? You can still share your photos directly to Twitter on upload, at least for now, but finding friends is out of the equation if you update. If this is a valuable feature to you guys, it's probably worth holding out on this one. 

Source: Instagram Blog, Download: Instagram

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4 years ago

The best Android apps for following the London 2012 Olympics

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The 2012 Olympics kick off in London tomorrow, and we have a collection of the best apps for staying on top of all of the action. Whether you want to watch the games as they happen, catch up on the latest results, or just feel like a world-class athlete from the comfort of your phone, we've got a little something for everybody.

London 2012 Results

Your first stop for keeping tabs on the Olympic games should be the official London 2012 Results app. It includes schedules, results, live updates, sport details, medal tables, athlete profiles, and lots more. Users can follow specific countries so they can root for the home team. 

Download: London 2012 Results App (Free)

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4 years ago

Angry Birds Space updated with more utopia to ruin

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  The latest iteration of the Angry Birds franchise has just had a significant content update, including lots of new levels on which to obliterate greedy green pigs on. There are a few other goodies tucked away in the changelog. 
  • The epic adventure continues with the second half of Utopia! Defeat the space pigs in their delectable food world with two amazing new characters, including the never-before-seen space egg!
  • Crunch through 20 delicious new levels!
  • The Orange Bird gets an amazing superhero makeover!
  • Check out the brand new, never-before-seen space egg!
  • Three-star levels to unlock 10 new bonus levels!
  • Test your skills with a GIGANTIC new boss fight!

Angry Birds space takes the usual slingshotting destruction of the classic physics game and throws a wrench in it by introducing gravitational pull of planets and other interstellar bodies. This makes for some particularly challenging levels where you have to slingshot various birds around planets to nail pigs and their shelters on the other side. It's a great twist, even if you've spent tons of time on any of the other games in the series.

There's a free version with just a handful of levels as well as a full version for $0.99 available. 

Download: Angry Birds Space (Free/$0.99)

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4 years ago

Asphalt 7: Heat skids into Android

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Asphalt 7: Heat is now available in Google Play for $0.99, offering high-octane arcade racing to Android fans. Drive around the world in a number of different championships, earn in-game cash to tweak your ride, and go head-to-head with your friends online. 

I've poured a fair bit of time into the iOS version, and it really is a lot of fun. Sure, not as hard-bitten and realistic as some other titles out there, but the speed, soundtrack and graphics are great. IAPs are enabled, just like just about every Gameloft title, but they're generally pretty unobtrusive.  The cars are all done really nicely; you'll find recognizable brands like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Marton, and plenty more. 

Any racing fans out there? What's your favorite racing game for Android these days? 

Download: Asphalt 7: Heat ($0.99)

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