Good news, bad news and a good news again: Google Body briefly made an appearance in the Android Market on the Motorola Xoom today. Bad news is that it's been pulled (though the market listing still lives here). Good news is that while you wait for it to show again, you can check out our hands-on video after the break. We'll be back when the app is. Thanks to everyone who sent this in.
Symantec has uncovered yet another trojan horse in a pirated Android app. This time around it's the "Android.Pjapps" trojan, and you can find it in modified versions of the Steamy Window app that have been cracked and placed on Android warez sites. The official version of Steamy Window that's on the Android Market is not infected. And it's a fun little time waster that you should probably have a look at.
What's happening from the trojan in the pirated app is a bit scary. Without your knowledge, it signs you up for premium text message services, sends off texts to them without your knowledge, and blocks incoming texts from the service so that you have no idea what is going on -- until your monthly bill from your service provider arrives. It's sneaky, and someone needs a good old-fashioned ass kicking for doing it. As we saw with other instances of malware hidden inside legitimate applications, this one originates in China, and is written by people probably a lot smarter than most of us. You're not going to be able to outwit them. Be smart -- only download apps from trustworthy sources, and read the permissions an app asks for when installing it. Or you can go a step further and install an anti-virus application.
Now that the news portion is done, I want to say that anyone stealing Android applications will eventually get what they deserve. These unofficial, unsanctioned, pirate websites hawking paid apps for free don't care about you. They just want the traffic to view their ads, or your "$10 per year for all apps for FREE ZOMG." If you visit them, and get a little more than you bargained for in the application you have stolen, make sure you only blame yourself. There are legitimate sources to download applications if you're unable to access the Android Market, and they help developers get paid what they are owed. Use them.
I'm a huge fan of games that I can hop into and hop right out of if my attention is needed elsewhere. A new game in the Android Market fits that criteria rather nicely for me. No, it doesn't have any insane graphics. No, you don't need a Tegra 2 equipped device to run it. But it's fun damnit -- and that's what games should be.
The Baviux are small the blue creatures that were removed from their planet and taken as slaves. You must help them escape by getting them to their spaceships. In other words, you control bursts of air that push them up where they need to go. You have to get them, and not the other bad dudes into the ships so that they may fly away to safety.
Baviux has 3 Worlds, and 30 levels that you can play in for free. The developer also notes that more are on the way, so we can expect some updates to the game eventually. With multi-touch and accelerometer use built in as well as support for older devices Baviux is worth taking a look at for some random fun or a throw back to the water games you used to play as a kid. Video of Baviux in action as well as the download link can be found after the break.
When it comes to getting Cut the Rope on Android, we only have one thing to say: Not soon enough! That's right, Cut the Rope has been rumored to be on its way for months, and now we've got an official teaser, straight from developer ZeptoLab.
Gameplay for Cut the Rope on Android looks to be exactly the same, which is a good thing. For those who haven't been indoctrinated, the idea is to get the shiny ball thingy into the mouth of the green monster guy. And it gets pretty darn tough.
Still no release actual date, but we're we're definitely getting closer to Cut the Rope. [via Facebook] Thanks, ilyaamex!
I fly a lot. And I have to work on the plane a lot. But one thing I don't do because it's a hassle is connect my phone to the in-flight Wifi. It's just not easy to do on a mobile browser. But it's going to get better. Gogo Inflight has just released apps for iOS and BlackBerry for "one-step sign-in on your mobile device" -- and and Android application is in the works.
Definitely going to look forward to this one, as I'd much rather just whip out my phone for a few quick e-mails than drag the ol' lappy out from under the seat. And soon it's going to be much easier to do so. [Gogo Inflight]
Now that we've got a couple of dual-core devices with those fast-and-mighty NVIDIA Tegra 2 chipsets, it's time to put them to good use -- with some apps. And to that end, NVIDIA this morning has launched Tegra Zone, a portal for finding the latest apps optimized for the new processors.
We've taken Tegra Zone for a spin over the past couple of days. Join us after the break for a full rundown.
Changes in the Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread source will allow applications to take screenshots without rooting your phone. We've always been able to take screenshots using the SDK and the ddms utility (which you can see above), and some third-party manufacturer skins have enabled it -- both accidentally and on purpose. But with Android 2.3.3 it appears that applications will be able to do it without rooting on stock Android. This is because of some changes in the way the SurfaceFlinger service handles what it captures from the framebuffer. For more info, have a look here. It's something that many users have been requesting, and security issues aside, something long available on most other smartphone platforms. (Wave to your screenshot-less Windows Phone friends, everybody!)
Of course we have to wait for 2.3.3 to filter down to everyone before we see apps take advantage of this for most phones. But if you've rooted and are already rocking Gingerbread, it shouldn't be long before your favorite developer integrates this and any other small tweaks that come with the latest version. Then again, you can use any of the methods on the Market to capture your screen if you're already rooted. So goes Android's circle of life, I guess. Hopefully, manufacturers get 2.3.3 pushed out soon and we all can enjoy.
For you Sprint customers out there who are signed up for the Total Equipment Protection service, you now have a new way to keep your stuff safe. Sprint's released the Total Equipment Protection App that brings a slew of features to help locate, lock, wipe and backup your Sprint Android smartphone's contents. Particularly,
Locate lost device by sounding an alarm on the smartphone even if in silent mode, doing a real time locate via GPS technology, or viewing the smartphone’s location history on a map via a Web Interface
Remotely lock their smartphone
Erase contacts in the address book on a lost smartphone
Backup, manage and restore contacts
The app is free if you're a subscriber of Sprint's $7-a-month TEP service. You can get the app at protection.sprint.com. Full presser's after the break.
If you are like me and have been putting off filing your taxes for any number of reasons, TurboTax SnapTax is an application you will definitely want to check out. Taking all the information from your W-2 and entering it online can become a pain, especially if you have more then one source of income, but TurboTax has gone above and beyond this year, and made it extremely easy to file. Simply snap a picture of your W-2, give the application a few minutes to pull the needed fields from the image and auto-populate them into your tax forms.
From here you simply go through the information that it pulled and verify that the information is correct. Once you verify the accuracy of the information, you can pay directly through the app and then file your taxes. Within minutes you can file your Federal and State returns, and then sit back and wait for the money to be deposited in your account. While the application itself is a free download from the Android Market, filing will cost $14.99. Hit the break for a video walk through of the application (and yes, we are sorry they chose to film it on an iPhone)
Whether you enjoy cruising the market, or struggle to find applications for your favorite Android device, suggestions of great applications are usually welcomed. We spend lots of time looking for fun new applications, and are always looking for the next great thing to load on our devices. Weekly we enjoy to share some of our favorite applications with you, so hit the jump and see what we got in store for you this week.
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!
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