Headlines

2 years ago

X-Plane updated, has more planes, maps -- and aerial battles!

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Youtube link for mobile viewing

It's been a couple months since we first took a look at the full version of Laminar Research's X-Plane 9 -- and, my, how things have changed. Gameplay is pretty much the same -- you've got some pretty realistic controls and detailed maps -- but it's grown in functionality.

X-Plane has added in-app billing and now has 40 new airplanes from which to choose. Each is 99 cents, and you can fly such behemoths as an Airbus A380, or a Boeing 747, or an SR-71, B-52 or a Chinook helicopter -- among others. And there are 15 new regions you can choose to fly in -- Hawaii, Miami, among others.

But, wait, there's more. If you're flying one of the fighter aircraft -- the F-22, F-15, F-4, among others -- you'll quickly find yourself being shot at. And who doesn't like that!

And to top it all off, X-Plane 9 has dropped from the $9.99 price down to $4.99, giving you that much more change to spend on planes and maps. Download links are ready to go if you're ready to pull the trigger.

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2 years ago

Amazon Appstore pushing minor update, brings some fixes and improvements

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The Amazon Appstore is pushing a minor update tonight, bumping it up to release 1.11. It looks like nothing major, just some miscellaneous fixes and improvements, all listed in the screenshot above. Jump on the Appstore icon when it appears in your notification bar to install the update, and for those unsure whether or not they have the latest version, you can check the release number on the app's settings page.

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2 years ago

Android Quick App: Systerac Memory Cleaner

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We like easy around here.  Too much of what we do every day is far from easy, so when something comes along that does what it's supposed to do without a lot of futzing around, we're gonna share it with you guys.  Systerac Memory Cleaner fits the bill nicely.  What it does -- and all it does -- is clean up the cache from things like the browser with a single click.  That means it's a great way to free up some space on your phone when and if you need to.

The free version only cleans browser and search cache, and oddly enough that's what I like about it the most.  No settings to fool with and you can zap that browser cache away with a click.  The browser on Android, or any other mobile device (or even your computer) stores a lot of data that you may never need again.  That data can build up, and we all know there are times when we'd rather have 10 or 20 MB of space back instead of having application cache eating it up.  Systerac Memory Cleaner can clear it all out for you, no root needed, no digging in app settings.  The app is 84k in size, and can be moved to the SD card.  Sounds like a very fair trade.

Some of us might want something with a few more settings instead of just a simple click and clean.  The Pro (read paid) version cleans up just about everything that can be safely cleaned -- and again without needing root permissions.  Market cache, cache from any app, Maps, call logs, it does it all, and includes a simple widget for one click access.  Of course there are other apps out there that do the same thing, but the paid version is only €0.50, or about $0.72 US -- we like saving money almost as much as easy.  It works with any Android device running 1.6 or higher, and doesn't have any screwey permissions.  Give it a look -- the link to the free version and a couple screen shots are after the break.

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2 years ago

Android Quick App: TweetComb - Proper Twitter for Honeycomb

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Youtube link for mobile viewing

Believe it or not, we're several months into the life of Android 3.0, and we're just now seeing our first Honeycomb-optimized Twitter app. Brought to you by the developer of the Honeycomb-optimized Newsr RSS app (see our review here), TweetComb takes advantage of the "fragments" design feature in Honeycomb and actually makes use of the full tablet screen, unlike smartphone-based Twitter clients.

The gist: You've got three columns -- your timeline, mentions and direct messages. Scroll down to read through them. If you want to act on a tweet -- reply to the sender, retweet, mark as a favorite, etc. -- you tap and hold. You can refresh all the columns at once, or independently. Settings are tucked away in the Action Bar, just as they should be in Honeycomb. No extra menu button at the bottom for this app.

TweetComb is still very  Version 1.0. It doesn't yet have support for multiple accounts (a must for some of us), and the list of trending topics displayed neatly at the bottom doesn't actually do anything more than display the list of trending topics. But these are small niggles, and the developer's known for quickly pushing out updates.

Probably our biggest gripe right now is that TweetComb is $2.99 in the Android Market. There's no shortage of free Android Twitter apps, and you just know one of the major players -- TweetDeck, Seesmic, Twidroid, Plume, etc. -- will bring free versions of a Honeycomb-optimized Twitter app at some point. And if we were first out of the gate with a Honeycomb Twitter app, we'd give it away to bring in as many users as possible before the big boys show up. But for now, if you've gotta have some proper Twitter on a tablet, this is the way to go.

Download links are after the break, and there's more on TweetComb in the Android Central Forums.

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2 years ago

Android Central Editors' app picks for April 23, 2011

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Gaming on an Android device is always a great way to pass some time and to have countless hours of fun while on the go. If you are into gaming, and love your Android device, be sure to check out some of our favorite Android games below.

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2 years ago

Dog Wars Android app is ruffling some users' fur -- and rightfully so

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Judging from our inbox this morning, more than a few of you have discovered the Dog Wars app. We'd been hoping it would slink back into the depths from which it slithered, but such is not to be the case.

Dog Wars, which some sort of horrific canine RPG, is doing its best to stoke the fires, announcing itself as "A GAME THAT WILL NEVER BE IN THE IPHONE APP STORE!!!" And you know what? Apple's App Store is better off for it. The developer, Kage Games, also wants you to know that "if you have a bug up your butt about the game concept, remember:"

  1. It is just A VIDEO GAME
  2. Perhaps one day we will make gerbil wars or beta fish wars for people who can't understand fantasy role play games
  3. Just because something is illegal in real life in certain countries, does not mean it is illegal to make a song, movie, or video game about it (looking at you XDA Developer Forums... deleting our beta testing thread and banning our account?!)
  4. Just go slingshot some virtual birds to kill some virtual pigs.
  5. Go complain to someone who cares about Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Weed Farmer, Smoke a Bowl (these two are listed in the top 15 of casual games on Android Market) and maybe even Sierra's Leisure Suit Larry from 1987.
  6. This is listed as a HIGH MATURITY app, and does NOT violate the Terms of Use with the Google market in any way!!!

A few of the one-star comments left in the Market:

  • "This represents the truly revolting world of dog fighting, dogs are still stolen daily for fights. Remove it now!" - Alex
  • "Hope you people get prison time for making this app." - devon
  • "This is pretty awful... Downloaded this just to say how very wrong this is, both in real life and in fantasy." - nonfinite

And a couple of e-mails we've received:

  • "This is so sick I can't believe it! Have you people learned nothing from
    Michael Vick???? Way to encourage this disgusting violence against innocent animals.....studies indicate that most serial killers who hurt animals move on to people. This is SICK. WTF android????!!!!!" - Diane
  • "I cannot believe that you as a leader in this industry would promote dog
    fighting with an app!! Dog wars should be removed from the android market! This is very disappointing for me and many others to see that Android would do this!" - Dawn

We're not sure if the 50,000-250,000 download mark is because people downloaded the free beta just to leave 1-star comments (let's hope so), or if it's really that popular (let's hope not). But we do know this: If we were Google, we'd probably find some sort of term of use that Kage Games has broken -- or invent a new one -- and fast, and get this sort of thing out of the Market.

Download links are not after the break. Here, however, is the the developer's e-mail address: pitboss@kagegames.com. Let 'em know how you feel. And tell 'em we sent ya.

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2 years ago

Android Quick App: Better YouMail (beta)

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Everyone knows us Android users love the visual voicemail, but if YouMail Visual Voicemail leaves you wanting, then you're definitely going to want to check out Better YouMail.

Say the developers, Best IT Guys:

YouMail provides a public API for their service, so we decided to make our own app that used their service. You’ll notice that there is a heavy iPhone influence on the graphics, but there are also some features that other visual voicemail apps don’t have. We specifically designed the app to have the most streamlined layout, so that most of the common functions could be accessed with as few clicks as possible.

Let's examine some of these extra features after the break.

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2 years ago

How Stuff Works - The official app now available in the Android Market

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Like most folks around here, I like to know what makes things tick.  How they work, why they work and what stuff is needed to make them work. Luckily, there is now an official app for that from the folks over at How Stuff Works and Discovery that allows for on the go access to all their great content. The app itself is quite nice and overall feels rather polished -- meaning they took their time and did it right rather then just making some silly mobile link. Once the app is installed, you have the option to get push notifications for all the shows, videos and podcasts if you do so choose.

  • Stuff You Should Know: Josh and Chuck give fans permission to ponder.
  • Stuff You Missed in History Class: If you weren’t paying attention, Stuff You Missed in History Class has you covered.
  • BrainStuff: HowStuffWorks founder, Marshall Brain, shares quick nuggets of stuff that will make you smarter!
  • Stuff Mom Never Told You: SMNTY keeps listeners looped in on the stuff that mom forgot.
  • TechStuff: The perfect podcast for seasoned techies and novices alike, this show breaks it down in a way that comforts even the staunchest technophobe.
  • Stuff to Blow Your Mind: For the nerd in us all, this podcast will blow your mind.
  • CarStuff: HowStuffWorks.com goes behind the wheel and under the hood in this auto-enthusiasts favorite.

All the above content and more is featured within the app, so if you're a fan of How Stuff Works be sure to jump on past the break for the download and some more screenshots of it in action.

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2 years ago

Skyfire 4.0 released with new features, paid and free

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We mentioned last month that the folks at Skyfire were working on a big update that would bring a new set of features as well as a new pricing model, and today is the day it becomes available.  There was some talk about that pricing model, so let's get that cleared up right away.  All the features you currently use in Skyfire will remain free.  The pricing revolves around what they're calling CAAS (Compression As A Service).  It uses Google's new Android in-app purchasing to pay for "video cloud acceleration".  Pay a one time fee of $2.99 and Skyfire renders and compresses video content on their servers, which offers up a more mobile optimized experience and saves both data usage and battery life.  Now before you start grumbling, Skyfire also says the three million of you who currently use Skyfire are grandfathered in and there will be no charge.  In addition, users who download Skyfire 4.0 through the VCast apps section of the Market n your Verizon phones will also get the service free.  Now we can all grumble a little bit at content deals, but not too much.  $2.99 isn't a bad price at all if you need to watch your data usage.

Along with the improved cloud acceleration, some other changes come along, notably Groupon, Twitter and Google Reader support.  There's a few changes in the SkyBar as well -- check them out, along with some screencaps and the press release, after the break.

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3 years ago

Android Quick App: ESPN FLB

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It's baseball season, and for the many of us who play fantasy baseball, there has been an app missing from Android for quite some time that finally arrived recently: ESPN FLB (or Fantasy League Baseball). With this app, you can manage your ESPN fantasy baseball team on the go from any Android device.

This app is offered in two versions: a free and a premium. The free version will allow you to manage your rosters, including proposing and accepting trades and setting lineups while the premium offers additional content from ESPN. If you’re someone who just wants the app to manage your baseball roster, the free version will probably work just fine. If you want extra analysis and tips, you may want to spring for the premium version, which is $4.99. This article will mainly talk about the Premium version.

When you first open the app, you will see ESPN’s Fantasy Baseball homescreen. Once logged in, it will display your current matchup with up-to-date scoting to give you a quick glimpse as to how you’re doing. Underneath that box, recent headlines from around the baseball world are displayed. As you scroll down the page, there will be an array of options to choose from: Latest Headlines for a more indepth look at the news, MLB Scoreboard, which gives you scores from around the league, Video, which will display a clip of a major recent news story, Latest Tweets, which is essentially a list that compiles all of the baseball analysts’ Tweets at ESPN

Within the scoring box on top of the homepage, there are three options: League Home, myTeam and Scoreboard. Selecting League Home will bring you all of the latest news and transactions from around your specific league. myTeam will display your current roster, giving you the option to adjust your lineup accordingly and Scoreboard will show all the current scores in your league at the moment.

Other options within your League include: Manage DL, Standings, Players, Schedule, Message Board, League Settings and Waiver Order; all of which are pretty self explanatory. In the top right corner though is an button I really like. Once you click the button, you will be brought to your Activity Feed, where it will provide the most up-to-date news on players that currently reside on your roster in addition to players that are added or dropped in your league. It’s very handy and prevents you from having to go through each player’s news individually. You can narrow it down if you want to if you only want transactions or player updates displayed.

Overall, the app is very handy for managing your ESPN fantasy baseball team. It took a while, but there is finally a dedicated app from ESPN to help with your fantasy baseball season. Good luck!  More pics, and download links after the break.

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