For anyone who chases news for a living, it's important to get information in front of you as quickly as possible. The advent of RSS feeds and homescreen widgets has made that easier than ever with Android, but SlideScreen is just out of control.
We could try to explain what it is you see here, but we go cross-eyed every time we try to do so. After the break, our hands-on video with SlideScreen.
Twitter clients seemingly are a dime a dozen these days, but that doesn't mean there's no room for new contenders. Enter Handmark's TweetCaster, which has been in a closed beta for a little while now and isn't yet available to the general public (but it should be soon). We've put it through its paces on the Motorola Droid. Will it be able to stand up to heavyweights like Seesmic and Twidroid Pro? Find out after the break.
Update: Our pal Matt Miller at ZDNet gives TweetCaster the what-for in a video review. Check it out.
While at CES we had the privilege to present a number of companies at the Mobile Apps Showdown, a live (and online) competition to find the top apps on any of the major platforms. I was paired with Geodelic (formerly Sherpa), a location-based search program with a little trick up its sleeve. Find out what, after the break.
Then came word from Lifehacker today that WaveSecure Beta (one of the Android Developer Challenge 2 winners) is offering free lifetime registration through January, so I've given it a spin. In addition to backing up and restoring your contacts, texts, photos and call logs, you can remotely wipe your phone, lock it down or (from a Web interface), track where the stolen phone has been taken. (You'll have to take my word for it on that one -- not going to show you the map, lol.)
You can get in on the free registration in the Android Market, or at WaveSecure.com.
So, that's one option. Undoubtedly there are more. Tell us your favorite backup and security program, and we'll give the top ones a spin.
For you folks who are big into Photobucket, there's now a free Android app for you. With it you can search PB's library, get easy access to image URLs from your phone, and you can upload multiple files in the background. The app's now available in the Android Market. [Photobucket via AndroidOS.in]
You knew this was eventually going to happen. An official version of Tetris, from EA Mobile, was just released and it takes full advantage of the Motorola Droid's gorgeous screen.
With smooth animations along with some pretty decent music and sound effects, you have yourself a version of Tetris that competes with the best of them. Sadly, there is no multiplayer mode, but you do get three challenging single player modes -- Marathon mode, Ultra, and Forty Line.
This is a very polished version of Tetris, although I noticed the controls at times seemed a little clumsy, especially at higher levels. Hopefully an update will fix this. The other negative is that you can not use the Droids directional pad. Now perhaps I am being a bit harsh, because at the end of the day it is Tetris, and it's addicting.
Yelp's Android application has been available for just a couple weeks, but already we're seeing some promised features start to roll in. An update to Version 1.2 just hit our phones. And with it comes the following:
Log-ins: The ability to log-in to your Yelp profile via Android.
Upload photos: Take and upload photos with your handset to Yelp.com - which has already proved very popular with the iPhone.
Share business information: You'll be able to share business information with friends via SMS, email, Facebook, and any other features on your phone that are capable of receiving and sending that information.
Good updates indeed! And Yelp is promising more in the weeks to come. We'll stay tuned. [via Yelp blog]
Maybe you are one of the many who does not have Google Navigation, or perhaps you simply want an alternative. SygicMobile Maps may be just what you are looking for. It is a polished turn-by-turn GPS application that has some nice features.
Text-to-speech – voice guidance announcing the name of the next street or road.
Choose addresses straight from your contacts.
Music playback fades out smoothly so you can better hear the voice instructions.
Improved GPS lock.
Smooth position display as you follow your route.
Increased font size of street names and information bars for improved readability.
Voice guided gps navigation software and maps.
Easy installation process.
This is an application you need to install on your SD card, and it must be purchased directly from Sygic's website. The biggest negative is its price -- a hefty $90.
If you can get past that, you'll have yourself a pretty decent turn-by-turn GPS application for your Android device.
Coming from an iPhone 3GS, I've been looking to find some quality Android games. And since the Motorola Droid was introduced, it's taken developers some time to make the proper adjustments to that 960x854 screen (and the only new resolution since Android launched). Developer Mobile Stream has done a nice job with its BrickBreaker-style game with Meteor Deluxe.
Meteor Deluxe for the Motorola Droid is currently available in the Market for $3.99 and offers all of the ex-BlackBerry users an excellent alternative to BrickBreaker. Your objective is simple -- destroy moving blocks and static destructible bricks and the occasional enemy ship and hostile robot. Also keep your eyes open for some weapon power-ups such as an rocket enhancer, plasma ball, fire ball along with various types of defensive goodies.
120 stunning space-themed levels
3 difficulty levels: Easy, Medium, Hard
Trackball and touch controls: you can launch a ball or shoot by touching anywhere higher than the rocket or by pressing the trackball key
Supports various Android devices with QVGA, HVGA or WVGA screen resolution, including the popular Motorola DROID
Meteor Deluxe for Motorola Droid is available directly from the market or the links below. (Download links from device browser.)
Whoever said newspapers are stodgy, old and dying apparently didn't get the message to USA Today. The flagship of Gannett Co. just released an app for Android, bringing national headlines, scores, stocks, photos, weather and everything else USAT provides.
The app is free and available in the Android Market, and you can learn more at USAToday.com/adroid.
I just got finished getting a full demo of Docs To Go and RoadSync for Google Android on the G1. Short version: very very impressive. Docs To Go, with support for editing Word Documents and Spreadsheets, is currently targeted for sometime in March -- unless the Google's framework for Paid apps gets in the way. Pricing isn't quite set yet.
We also got a look at RoadSync, which is a crazy good app that allows you to get Exchange email and contacts pushed out to Android. It does it via 2 separate applications -- one that sits in the background and is an ActiveSync client to allow your email to be pushed out, the other is a full-featured email client for your Exchange emails. If you have both Docs To Go and RoadSync installed, RoadSync will also give you full support for attached documents. The timeline for RoadSync's release is a little less unclear, but if the demo that I saw today is any indication, DataViz doesn't have all that much more work to do on it. As with Docs To Go, pricing isn't yet determined.
That's the global overview. Impressions and a few more photos after the break.
Both Word To Go and Sheet To Go are full-featured editing applications. Word To Go supports inline images, full formatting of text, outlines, and the like. Both work in landscape and portrait modes. The apps really sing on the G1 and look great. DataViz said that Android is a joy to develop for -- in part because the way apps work on Android is some Java on top of Linux and DataViz was able to use much of what they've learned developing their Java-based BlackBerry version.
Sheet To Go is especially impressive. You can set your zoom level, navigate by touch or the trackball (naturally), and formulas work with no problem and are completely live. In other words, if you have an autosum set up and change a value, the autosum changes your total automatically, just like a spreadsheet app should. As you can see from the image at the top of the post, it's all very readable and usable and feels very much like a desktop app.
RoadSync is also impressive. As I said, it's a full ActiveSync client -- it nicely sits in your notification's bar and window shade so you know it's active. You can turn it on and off and set up your server settings -- that's about all there is to it. The real action comes from their email client -- rather than try to hack into the default email or Gmail clients (which would have caused a lot of pain, likely), DataViz simply created their own separate email client that looks and feels pretty similar to Android's non-Gmail email client. This was a good decision on their part because it allows them to plug in full support for their Docs To Go suite, meaning you can download attachments for editing in Docs To Go.
Full document editing on Android has been a long time coming. Given DataViz's history of developing excellent office apps on pretty much every other mobile platform out there (including the iPhone, by the way) hopefully means we'll see the same rich feature set coming to Android at launch.
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