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2 years ago

Google+ Hangouts now available for Android 2.3+, opens registration to all [update]

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Google+ Hangouts have become one of the most popular uses of the rapidly growing social network. Until now, they were relegated to the desktop, making users pine for mobile support. Today, Google announced that they have made Hangouts available for phones running 2.3+.  This is amazing news and will certainly make the feature more widely used now that they can be done anywhere and on-the-go.

To use the feature, once you see a Hangout in your Stream, just click Join and you should be all set.

The new version of the Google+ app will be rolling out today, so if you don't have it yet, sit tight. For those who don't have the app yet, see the links after the break. For those with friends and family on iOS, they promised Hangouts will arrive soon. Until then, you can tease them about Hanging out right from your Android phone.

Also of note: Google+ has opened registration to everyone -- no more invites needed. Hangouts also can be broadcast for all to see, plus Hangout APIs have been released, and Google's added better search functionality. Check it all out at the link below!

[update] Google announced a bunch new features for the Google+ Android app in addition to Hangouts:

  • US and India users can post, respond and receive notifications via SMS (you need to verify your phone number in settings)
  • Improved + mention support
  • Edit your Profile photo
  • Customize notifications
  • Support to move to SD card
  • Huddle is now Messenger
  • You can share photos via Messenger now (killing Pool Party makes sense now)

Source: Official Google Blog

Google Mobile Blog

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2 years ago

Caillou's World joins Android kids educational games

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Heads up, parents. Everybody's favorite bald-headed boy is now on Android. Caillou's World (for those of you without kids, Caillou is a popular kids show on PBS) is intended for children ages 2-5 and helps with reading, spelling and phonics. The child spots a highlighted item in a picture and taps it, and then has to choose which letter the item starts with, all while associating the picture with the sound of the word, and the spelling.

The app works well enough on a large smartphone, but it's even better on a tablet, with more screen real estate. Caillou's World is $2.99 in the Android Market. We've got download links after the break.

See more Android kids apps

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2 years ago

Android App Review: National Football Post

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If you’re a football fan who wants to stay up-to-date with news and analysis right from your mobile device, you may want to check out the National Football Post app for Android. This free app from aggregates National Football Post columns and provides them in an easy to read fashion. When the app opens, the homescreen features five menu options along with three tabs, which you may slide left or right to access. The main menu options include:

  • Hot News & Rumors: This option gives you the most up-to-date articles that include news and rumors from around the league.
  • NFP Features: The NFP Features tab contains the latest articles from NFP columnists such as: Andrew Brandt, Matt Bowen, Joe Fortenbaugh and Wes Bunting.
  • Scouting Dept: The Scouting Department option is for all those NFL draft experts out there who want to read up on prospects, view rankings and see who their favorite team may choose come April.
  • Fantasy: As you can probably guess, this option gives all the fantasy news you could want to make sure your team is ready.
  • Get Sharp: Get Sharp is the new NFP online television series. It features experts talking about the big football topics of the week. While the videos are not embedded in the app, you will get a summary to read to find out what they said.

The tab options along the top are: Home, Team News and Saved. For the Team News option to show up, you need to select a favorite team. That tab will then feature all current news relating to that team. The Saved tab is for articles you have marked to save, which works well if you wish to read some of them later.

The National Football Post Android app is one of the best ways to stay on top of your football news and analysis on-the-go, particularly if you’re a big NFP fan. As mentioned above, it is available for free from the Android Market. Please find app links and more screenshots after the break.

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2 years ago

Hanging with Friends now available for Android

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If you love Words with Friends, it's time to try Hanging with Friends. If it looks familiar, it should -- both apps are Zynga favorites. Hanging with Friends is a lot like Hangman, only without the whole swinging from a noose thing. You come up with a word (and get bonus points if it's a nice long one), and so does your opponent. Then the guessing starts. Get too many strikes, and you lose a balloon. Lose too many balloons and gravity takes over.

You can connect with and play against your Facebook friends, a random opponent, search for friends or choose people from your contact list. Or you can just hand your phone to someone and play that way.

Hanging with Friends is free, supported by ads. We've got download links after the break.

Looking for a HwF game? Find an opponent here!

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2 years ago

More creditors to join Google Wallet in future version

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Lest you read over it like, erm, some of us did, it's worth a mention that along with the official launch of Google Wallet in San Francisco and New York comes news that the service also has expanded to more creditors. American Express, Visa and Discover "have made available their NFC specifications that could enable their cards to be added to future versions of Google Wallet," according to Google's official blog post.

That means while you're still only currently able to use a Citi MasterCard (or pre-paid card), we should see more options in the future. Hopefully more locales will follow.

Source: Google

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2 years ago

The Pool Party's over: Google shuts down photo sharing app

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It's hardly a surprise, given the disbanding of the Slide contingent, that the Pool Party photo sharing service and app also has been put to bed. Pool Party was never much more than a beta endeavor (at least as far as end users go), and we're willing to bet a bit of the service is found in Google+ anyway.

Pool Party will remain up for a few more weeks, ending service on Oct. 14. Here's the official word:

Dear Phil,

Thank you so much for being a beta tester and early adopter of Pool Party. As you may have seen, Slide recently announced that most of its products will be discontinued over the course of the coming months, including Pool Party. Starting in a few days, Pool Party will no longer be accepting new photo uploads.

Pool Party will shut down completely on October 14th, 2011.

To download your photos, log in to www.poolpartyapp.com.  You can download any photos you've uploaded as well as all photos from any of your pools.  This functionality will be available until October 14th.

Thanks for all your feedback and support,
Pool Party Team

Fare thee well, Pool Party.

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2 years ago

Getting your apps ready for Ice Cream Sandwich [developers]

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With the release of Ice Cream Sandwich looming on the horizon, Android lead tech writer Scott Main has taken some time to talk to developers about how to get Honeycomb-only apps ready for the smaller screen.  When ICS is released, and going forward from that point, the Android code for phones and tablets will be the same, just displayed differently based on screen size.  Because of the different devices available, tools and methods were built into Android to handle how things are shown to the user.   Using fragments and the action bar, apps can be built that show information in one big view, or split into separate screens for devices with lower resolutions.

Scott goes over all the tecnical aspects well at the Android Developers blog (see the source link below), and gives developers a lot of ideason how to get started when the ICS SDK finally arrives.  What you can do right now if you've developed and app for SDK 11 or higher is make sure it's only available for large screen devices in the Android Market, at least until you can implement some of the new changes coming with ICS.  Now all that's missing is the update, which should be pretty soon we think.

Source: Android Developers

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2 years ago

Android Wallpaper Review: Mystic Halo Live Wallpaper

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YouTube link for mobile viewing

I'm not sure what this wallpaper reminds me of, but it's cool. Maybe Tron? Maybe the last boss fight in Deus Ex: Human Revolution? A plane engine? It's hard to nail down, but I know I've seen something like it before, and like then, it intrigues me.

That's the essence of Mystic Halo Live Wallpaper. Rotating rings, glowing, responding to your touch, etc. It's all pretty compelling visually, and fortunately, it doesn't drag your phone down.

Mystic Halo Live Wallpaper has a pretty full settings menu, too, assuming you buy the paid version. From here you can change the fade scheme (linear, heartbeat, or none), changing little things like the center staying lit or even glowing.

You can also set the rotation pattern (random, alternating, or sync), and enable or disable touch events. Touch events are kind of interesting; swipe a finger or something the the wheels will go crazy. Tap the screen and they'll return to their normal speed. Kind of irritating sometimes, also kind of cool.

Mystic Halo Live Wallpaper doesn't have unique color picking yet, but it does support seven colors. If cool blue isn't your thing, you can also choose from: antique pink, magenta, red, crisp green, tron blue, and MagBlue. MagBlue is the only two-toned color of the whole set, but I'm hoping that will complete color customization (coming in a later update), the ability to choose two colors is also included.

On the performance side, I didn't notice any lag on my EVO 3D. Screens swipe quickly. Not sure if it's the beefy phone or a well made wallpaper, or both. The developer says his wallpaper truly stays in the background and doesn't interfere, and if performance on my phone is any indication, he's telling the truth.

There are both paid and free versions of Mystic Halo Live Wallpaper, with the paid version only costing 99 cents. If you do opt to go all-in and pay the buck for it, you'll open up the touch events, multiple fade options, rotation control and other "special effects." If you can live without that, the free version'll do you fine, but this looks like a really quality wallpaper, and it goes easy on the battery.

We've got more pictures and download links after the break.

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2 years ago

Amazon Appstore looks to be rolling out internationally

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It looks like the Amazon Appstore for Android is finally rolling out across the world, following its US-only launch earlier in the year. Reports are appearing from a variety of sources in the UK, Australia, the Netherlands and India suggesting that customers in these countries can now directly download the Appstore and use it to install free or paid apps.

There's still no official link to the Amazon Appstore on any international Amazon sites, but we found that visiting by visiting www.amazon.com/app-email on our phones, we could download the app and sign in using Amazon UK login details. From there, we were able to grab the free Kindle app and the paid Angry Birds app, as you'll see in the shots above. It should be noted that prices are still charged in US dollars, so if you're oversees then your card provider may charge an additional fee to handle transactions in a foreign currency.

If you're anywhere that's not the United States, then be sure to try directly installing the app from the link in this post (you'll need to enable non-Market apps first), and let us know how you fare in the comments.

Source: The Digital Reader

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2 years ago

Android Game Review: Greedy Spiders

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YouTube link for mobile viewing

I don't like bugs but I do like puzzles. I'm not particularly fond of spiders, either (too many eyes and legs for my taste), so the idea of depriving them of their meal seemed like a good enough premise to give a whirl. The result is many an hour lost and homework neglected.

Greedy Spiders is a turn-based puzzle game where you (as some omnipotent, web-cutting force) are trying to outwit a spider (presumably a greedy one) and keep him from his meal of winged insect. This is done by touching a slice of web to cut it away and therefore keep the spider from getting from place to place.

Webs are set up in what I can best describe as a connect-the-dot format. There are points that webs connect to and it's at these points the spider can pivot around, change directions, and the like. You also take turns with the spider, with your move always going first. You snip some web, the spider walks, you snip again, so on and so forth.

If your bug gets eaten, you lose. If you manage to save your bug(s) from the spider, though, you win and advance to the next level. You're rewarded with stars for completing a level, Angry Birds-style, with one star being the utmost minimum and three stars for totally spaking some spider heiny.

The game also ramps up in difficulty, starting you off with only one bug to save and one spider trying to eat it. As you continue through the levels, you'll be tasked with saving more than one bug (I'm at four right now) from one spider. Once you're all buttered up and comfortable, however, you'll have to start contending with more than one spider trying to eat more than one bug. That's where it gets a bit stressful.

To ease your pain in the later levels, sometimes you're rewarded with some powerful options and abilities, but they're limited. You can sometimes wield fire to burn large sections of web away, put a dummy bug on the web to distract and fool a spider, or even "invoke a supernatural power" to teleport your bug off the web. The last one kind of escapes me, but hey, it's at your disposal.

Greedy Spiders is a pretty fun game. The graphics are well done, it's smooth, and there's a lot of content to explore. Just when you think you've begun to get the hang of things, another variable is introduced, and you're back to square one, fighting for your bug's survival.

There's both a free version and a paid version of Greedy Spiders, with the paid version running 99 cents. The free version only has 64 of the 128 levels, so if you don't mind starting over, you could play through the first 64 to make sure you enjoy it before spending a buck to get the rest of the game. In my opinion, it's another in the line of quality pseudo-puzzle games on Android and is totally worth checking out.

For those hankering to stick it to some spiders, we've got download links after the break.

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