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2 years ago

Apps getting option to zoom in to fill larger Honeycomb tablet screens

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Here's an interesting addition coming to a future version of Android. Apps that don't properly scale up to Honeycomb tablets' greater resolution and larger screen sizes will be able to be zoomed in on to properly fill the screen. This is different than stretching the app to fill the screen, which is what happens now if the app doesn't properly target Android 3.x.

Instead, if you tell the app to "Zoom to fill screen," the app will be emulated at approximately HVGA resolution (that's 320x480) and then scaled up. The down side is that things will look pretty pixelated, but usability shouldn't be affected.

You won't see this on every app you run on Honeycomb -- many apps were designed to scale up on their own just fine, thank you very much, and so developers can remove the stretch/zoom option if they so choose.

And since we know you'll ask, Google's not yet saying what the next version of Honeycomb will be, though we've seen evidence that it could be Android 3.2.

Source: Google

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2 years ago

Android Quick App: DocumentsToGo Full

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DocumentsToGo is the stalwart champion of on-the-go file editing. It's been around for a number of years and on a number of handsets and operating systems, be it RIM's BlackBerry or Palm's Palm OS, and as of the inception of our operating system, Android.

DocumentsToGo has a very clean, metallic interface that's easy on the eyes. From the main menu, everything is clearly laid out in front of you. Want to view your starred files? Not a problem. Prefer to be synced with Google Docs? DocumentsToGo supports it.

The plus sign on the bottom left is your one-stop shop for creating a new file. A simple tap on the plus sign brings up a new menu with the options to create a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file. The gear on the bottom right brings up the settings menu, which is also accessible by hitting the menu button on your phone.

Editing a file is a breeze, requiring you only to select it and wait for it to load. I really appreciate how the file editors look in DocumentsToGo, as well. There's a definitely Windows 95 look going on, but it isn't bad at all. It's familiar, which is great. It's also great that when you open a file, it defaults to being zoomed out, so you're able to find what you want to edit it, then zoom in on it, instead of having to zoom out, find, and then zoom in again.

Starred files are a pretty cool, defining characteristic of DocumentsToGo as well, especially if you have a quagmire of files to sort through. If that is you, I'd recommend a laptop or a netbook (or maybe even a tablet!), but know that there's something to help you be better organized than having to sort through long lists of files or go into deeply structured folders on your microSD. This is definitely one of those features I wouldn't mind being ported to the other office products out there.

As mentioned previously, DocumentsToGo supports syncing up with Google Docs, but unfortunately, nothing else. There's no Dropbox integration, no SugarSync, no Box or MobileMe. What Dataviz does give you instead, though, is an actual desktop sync. While it's not as cool as giving you more cloud options (and actually kind of limiting, forcing you to sync with machines the client has been installed on), it's better than nothing. To enable it, you download a Dataviz.exe onto your desktop and set up syncing from there. If Dataviz set up their own cloud syncing between multiple devices, it wouldn't be so bad, but I think to really propel this app to new heights, they should at least add in Dropbox.

At $14.99, Dataviz is asking a bit of a premium for their app. But with its arguably better interface and a more experienced history with mobile editing, this might be the app for you. I do also think if you're going to charge more for a product, you should at least have the same cloud syncing options, but that's just me. As a whole, though, DocumentsToGo offers most (if not all) of the options some will need on the go.

Download links and more pictures are after the break.

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2 years ago

Android Quick App: Beautiful Widgets

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If you've watched any of our reviews, seen any of our screenshots, or just been mildly involved in Android since you got your device, you've probably heard about Beautiful Widgets.

Beautiful Widgets, by LevelUp Studio, started off as the first legitimate response to HTC's Sense UI, namely their big, gorgeous clock and weather widget. What Beautiful Widgets has become, however, is a fully customizable, feature-packed app that aims to replace most of the other, non-beautiful widgets on your device.

With Beautiful Widgets, you get an individual toggle switch for most of the basic functions on your phone, like brightness, Wifi, and Bluetooth, but also some more specialized toggles for things like 4G, lock screen pattern, and a timed silence. Pretty cool stuff.

Beautiful Widgets' main attraction, though, is it's series of clock and weather widgets. You can opt for something like the Superclock, which was a newer, higher resolution clock/weather widget for high resolution screens, to a four-day weather forecast, to a single day's forecast, to just showing today's date.

What helps set Beautiful Widgets apart are the variety of skins, all free, user-made skins for the battery, clock, and weather. There are nearly limitless customizations you can do with your homescreens just by changing some skins around.

At ~$2.86, it's definitely not free, but nothing great ever is. If you're into taking full aesthetic control of your device or you just like how some of the skins looks, I wouldn't hesitate to buy Beautiful Widgets. It's one of the staple apps of the Android community and it's updated often, so you'll definitely be getting your money's worth.

Download links and more pictures are after the break.

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2 years ago

Android Central Editors' app picks for July 9, 2011

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It's that time of the week again, the time everyone looks forward to, where we give you all the good apps to download on your device. Hit the break with us and take a look at some of our picks from this past week, and hopefully some of them will become your favorites as well.

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2 years ago

Android 101: What some of those scary application permissions mean

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We've all heard about bad apps that steal your valuable data and ship it off to the far east, and those discussions always end with one thing -- someone says you need to read an app's permissions before you install it.  Well that's fine, but there is a small problem -- what the heck do those permissions mean?  System tools -- automatically start at boot is easy enough to decipher and understand why it's needed, but what about Your personal information -- read contact data?  Hit the break, and we'll try to figure some of these out together.

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2 years ago

Managing downloaded application content

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So you just bought this great game from the Android Market, and notice it says you have to download another 600 jiggawatts of files to run it.  Don't be alarmed or surprised, if you haven't seen this yet, you will.  But what is all that stuff, where does it go, and how do you get rid of it?  I'm glad you asked!

What it is -- most times it's media files needed by the application itself.  In our example (Dungeon Defenders First Wave), in addition to the 8MB app you download from the Android Market, you have to download another 645MB of things like movies, sounds, and in-game textures.  Doing it this way solves two problems -- it keeps 658MB apps out of the Market, and keeps 658MB apps out of your app storage.

If all that data isn't installed with the app, where does it go then?  It goes to your SD card or internal storage.  It's up to the application developers exactly where on your SD card it goes, but a quick peek from your computer will easily find it.  In our example, all that DLC (downloaded content) goes into a folder named DunDef.  It sits there, just waiting for the time when the app needs any of it, not taking up valuable space for your installed apps. 

This brings up two very important points -- you can't play the game without the SD card inserted and mounted, and when you uninstall the app there's a lot of stuff left behind.  Both are easy to take care of.  Don't try to play Dungeon Defenders without the right SD card in place or while you have the SD card mounted to your computer, and remember to delete the folder if you uninstall the game and have no intentions of ever reinstalling it.  Deleting it is easy -- use a file manager or hook your phone up to your computer, find the right folder, and delete it.  Just make sure you pick the right folder! 

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2 years ago

IM+ for Android updated to v4.1.5 with a slew of additions

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Having lots of friends that use a variation of IM protocols sometimes makes it rather difficult to keep track of everyone. Often times it means installing numerous apps and switching between them which not exactly the best solution for everyone. For this problem, IM+ exists and helps gather all your instant messaging clients into one robust application. Most recently, they've update IM+ to v4.1.5 and as such have included a lot of bug fixes and new features:

  • VKontakte and Yandex IM networks added (Cheers to our users from Russia!)
  • New splendid emoticons
  • Integration with Android Address Book
  • New Compact Mode UI to fit smaller displays
  • Ability to disable notifications in status bar
  • DND status
  • Improved IM+ Toast alerts
  • Japanese localization
  • Fixed fast battery draining //IM+ free
  • Many bugfixes and performance optimizations

IM+ comes in two versions, a free ad-supported version and a pro version ($9.99). Both are available now in the Android Market. If you're in need of an app likes this, you'll find the download link after the break.

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2 years ago

Android Quick App: WidgetLocker Lockscreen

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WidgetLocker Lockscreen is a lockscreen replacement that gives you much more freedom over not only how your lockscreen looks, but how it functions. The premise is simple: Open up the lockscreen to having widgets and shortcuts of your choosing, and give you the ability to make any slider a shortcut to any app or process. The result is a pretty cool experience that really tightens up the efficiency factor of your device.

When you open WidgetLocker for the first time, you're greeted by a very informative walkthrough, showing you not only how to change your lockscreen up, but also how to access menus, activate Tool Mode, and remove sliders. There's also a tidbit about the 5-second rule that's worth knowing about.

Customizing your lockscreen is a fairly straightforward affair. Everything functions just as it would on a normal homescreen, so you can either long-press or do the menu > add route to pull up the applicable menu. From there, you're given the options to add another slider, applications, shortcuts, or widgets. It's all the same as doing anything on a homescreen, so you'll be treading in familiar territory.

Where things get really cool is the Custom Slider menu. TeslaCoil has packed the slider menu full of different themes, ranging from the stock Android slider to iOS's, MIUI to MotoBlur. Once you've picked your skin of choice, you slide the slider to configure what exactly you want it to do. This is rather limitless as well, giving you the requisite unlock option, in addition to WidgetLocker specialty actions, application shortcuts, or launcher-specific shortcuts.

WidgetLocker also boasts a highly variable and detailed settings menu. From here you can alter everything from which buttons unlock the screen to what WidgetLocker-specific widgets you want to use. You can also customize the look and feel of everything and a whole host of other things. If there's something you want to control, there's probably a menu option for it.

WidgetLocker is $1.99 in the Market, but with it's successful revamp as version 2.0 not too long ago, the price is well worth it. Especially if you're the type who wants things your way (and let's be honest, who isn't?), this is a must-have app.

Pictures and download links are after the break.

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2 years ago

NASA App now officially available on Android

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Just in time for the final space shuttle launch, NASA has released an official app. It features NASA twitter feeds from around the agency, live streaming of NASA TV, current NASA mission information, and a whole lot more. So, if you need to get your outer space fix while on the go, be sure to download this free application from the Android market today! Download links available after the break.

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2 years ago

Android Quick App: Float

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Float is one of those games you come across that has a deceptively boring idea behind it that you're willing to write it off, but once you try it, you realize it's a lot of fun. As it was put to me, Float is a game that "makes you feel happy." While I'll leave that up to each one of you, I will tell you it's a game about keeping balloons from getting popped.

Float's gameplay is relatively simple: tap the balloons to keep the from falling onto the spikes. If you lose three balloons, it's game over. You can tap them high on the screen to ensure you never lose a life, but the game entices you to take risks by providing you with a bonus line that multiples your points 10 times over if you wait for the balloon to drop beneath it.

Rounds last around 25 seconds, on average, and the timer loudly clicks down the last couple of seconds so you know the end is nigh. At the conclusion of a round, the balloons fly away, you're shown how long the new round is, and more balloons continue to rain down.

To keep gameplay from getting completely and utterly stale, Crawl Space Games have added in just a mad plethora of different game options. While the actual tapping the balloons is the same, there's some added mechanics, like lose one balloon and your game is over. Then there's the opposite of the standard game, called Up & Away. In this game mode, you tap the top of your balloon to keep it from floating off the top of your screen.

It's definitely a nice touch and keeps the replay value higher than if you were just slinging birds tapping balloons up the entire time. That being said, Float is very much a game in the same vein as Angry Birds, a time-killer/think-about-nothing kind of experience. It's definitely entertaining, just doesn't require much thought after a while.

There's a free version as well as a paid version in the Market for 99 cents, but based on their descriptions, they seem to be the same app. Perhaps if you feel like donating, that's what the paid app is for. For a bit of pointless fun, free isn't a bad price, though.

More pictures and download links are after the break.

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