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3 years ago

Android Quick App: VGB

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YouTube link for mobile viewing

When I was a little kid, man, was I ever glued to my Game Boy Color. Two AA batteries and a copy of Pokémon kept me entertained for hours years on end, so when emulators came to Android, I was excited. Then those emulators got pulled and disappeared and I was sad for myself, but when I saw that new emulators were afoot, I had to pull the trigger and see how they stacked up.

VGB is your Game Boy/GBPocket/GBColor Renaissance man, and while it's not perfect, it mostly gets the job done. I tested three ROMs with VGB, and while two came out with no issues, it was the first (and my favorite!) that proved to me VGB has some explainin' to do.

As you'll notice in the video, Pokémon Blue loads fine. There doesn't seem to be any skipping, and the audio is all good. The first bit of stuttering comes in when Oak starts flappin' his yap about all the stuff people do with their Poké-friends, and then we really hit a wall when your character gets tiny-sized.

Simply, the colors are all out of whack. If you're watching, you know what I'm talking about. He's half-normal, half-white. In fact, all the people are. The first time I ran this ROM, everyone was totally black. Different issue, but still an issue. Couple that with the terrible stuttering of just walking around something as simple as your bedroom, and gameplay stops becoming fun pretty quickly.

What VGB seems to handle well, however, are actual Game Boy Color games. Both Pokémon Trading Card Game and whatever Dragonball Z title I picked play without issue. Colors are there, sounds are clear, and there are no performance issues.

Actual performance aside, VGB could work a bit on its interface. Instead of a true, on-screen virtual D-pad with buttons, you're treated to grid lines that make up rectangles that are supposed to be your buttons. Technically, it all functions correctly, it's just unsightly and not as natural as seeing a more accurate representation of Game Boy buttons.

You get the standard save state slots to save and restore to, as well as a nifty "More" menu that nets you a few more options than the average bear, like changing your hardware model, recording music, or cheating. The true settings menu isn't anything to write home about, except for maybe the "tilt joystick" function, which lets you tilt your phone to use as a joystick. I didn't see gamepad support anywhere, which is kind of disappointing.

Overall, VGB is kind of a so-so entry into the emulator market. Game Boy Color games play with ease, but having Game Boy games not quite stack up limits your playable library, and that's no good. For $1.99, if you're only looking to play Game Boy Color games, have at it. However, if you're looking to tap that beautiful, old-school Game Boy library, I'd suggest you look elsewhere.

Download links are after the break.

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3 years ago

Android Quick App: Yelp

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Chances are, most of you have heard of (and probably used) Yelp. Whether it's been their initial online presence, their myriad phone apps, or just a friend raving about it, Yelp is the top dog in finding delicious eateries on-the-go.

Opening up the Android app, you'll notice six large, friendly looking icons to choose from. Nearby, Check-Ins, About Me, Bookmarks, Monocle, and Deals. A few of those are pretty self-explanatory, and one of them you just need to see to believe.

Nearby is going to use your cell phone's location (rough or precise, up to you) to show you a list of everything around you. It doesn't discriminate by style or genre, so if you're just curious to see what's delish, this is definitely the way to go. Check-Ins is Yelp's version of Foursqaure/Gowalla/Places/Latitude. You can check-in to bars, restaurants and what-have-you, but I'm not sure why. Yes, you can become mayor or king or top dog or iron chef (not really, on the last one), but maybe there's coupons involved.

Speaking of coupons, Deals is just that. If you want to know where you can save a buck, get something for free, or see what other promotions are going on, click on Deals and know you'll be saving some greenbacks.

About Me and Bookmarks both require that you have a Yelp account, and if you do, they'll prompt you to log in. This allows you to check-in and leave reviews (and ensures you get credit to your Yelp account, for what it's worth) and also lets you view your list of Bookmarks if you've got a hankering for one of your favorite places that you've conveniently forgotten the address of.

The thing that really does it for me (although it's usefulness is debatable) is Monocle. Monocle pulls you into an augmented reality environment, where, as you move your camera around, restaurants and such pop up on your screen, along with their rating, distance, and cost. I couldn't get a good screenshot without some wicked tearing, so just check it out for yourself.

There's also the standard search bar at the top of the page, and you choose to search a name or style either based on current location, but also anything else, like a city or a zip code. It's the simplest way, but it's how things got started and it still works.

So, if you like both 1.) food and 2.) saving money, Yelp should definitely be installed on your device. It's free, it's quick, and it's easy, plus, it's proven.

More screenshots and download links are after the break.

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3 years ago

Swype featured in Museum of Modern Art exhibit

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We're big fans of Swype here at Android Central, and judging by its latest exhibit, so is the Museum of Modern Art. It's included the trace-based Android keyboard in a new interactive exhibit called "Talk to Me", which reflects on recent innovations in communications technology.

Congrats to the Swype team. Be sure to hit the source link to check out the online display for Swype.

Source: Swype at MoMA

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3 years ago

Trapster 3.0 released - Introduces New UI, widget and speed limit display

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It's been a while since we last a Trapster update but clearly they were hard at work while we waited. Today, they've gone ahead and released v3.0 to the masses and if you're a current Trapster user you should be pleased with the changes:

  • Speedomoter and Speed Limit Display - Trapster now displays your actual speed with the speed limit of the road you are currently traveling on. If you go 1 to 4 MPH over the speed limit, the “Your Speed” box will change to yellow. If you are driving 5+ MPH over the speed limit the “Your Speed” box changes to red, visually alerting you to slow down!
  • Trapster Widget - Now you can have Trapster on your home screen! This gives you the ability to quickly view and vote on traps, and also launch the Trapster application directly from the widget.
  • Terrain Maps - In addition to standard map and satellite view, you now have the ability to use Terrain maps, this will display elevation levels in much more detail.

You'll also find that Trapster has a new UI with a much cleaner look over previous versions, making it easier on the eyes and even easier to read when in use. The v3.0 update is available now, you'll find the download past the break.

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3 years ago

Android Central Editors' app picks for July 23, 2011

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If you love applications but have a hard time finding new applications to install, you won't want to miss this. We bring you yet again some more of our favorite applications for this past week, so let's hit the break and take a look at what we got.

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3 years ago

Vipre Mobile security app for Android now in public beta testing

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From the folks who brought you Vipre Antivirus for Windows, Vipre Mobile for Android is now available for a public beta testing.  Along with the standard functions you would expect from a security application, Vipre offers a bit of parental controls and some unique methods to block messages containing phrases or words deemed undesirable.  Here's how they describe the features in a weekly newsletter sent out to current users of their PC software:

Antivirus: VIPRE Mobile's powerful Antivirus protects your data and privacy
from malicious software that can affect your Android device's normal
operation - or worse, steal or destroy personal information.

Antispam: Spam is not only annoying, it may contain malicious links. Antispam
stops texting spam from hitting your phone, blocking by content or by
specific phone numbers.

AppControl: You may want to show off your phone or maybe a friend needs to
make a call. But there are some applications that you just don't want anyone
else to run like personal email, or online financial programs. With
AppControl, you can control what applications can be run on your Android
device with or without permission.

Remote Locate: Ever want to know where your children are. With VIPRE Mobile
you can track their Android phone or device on a map from the VIPRE Mobile
website. You can even follow its location, showing you where it's been over a
period of time.

Remote Wipe: If your device is ever lost or stolen, you can easily remotely
wipe its contents so that no one will be able to see your personal
information.

Remote Alarm: How many times have you asked "Where did I leave my phone?"
Just got to the VIPRE Mobile website and set the remote alarm and your device
will emit a very hearable and loud tone.

Backup: Maintain and protect your vital contacts, pictures, videos and other
personal items safe on our secure online servers. If your device is ever lost
(or you buy a new one and want to transfer your data), just click one button
to bring it all back. You can also backup your data to an SD card.

Monitoring: Parents can keep an eye on all your child's phone activities
including IM chats, websites visited, and call logs.

Anti-sexting: Block inappropriate texts of a sexual nature from being sent or
received. The online world is not always the safest place, keep your children
safe.

Anti-bullying: Cyberbullying has become epidemic and can cause potentially
painful emotional harassment to children. Our cyberbullying feature looks for
abusive bullying language in texts and blocks it.

Parental Controls: From the website you can easily enable or disable web
browsing, email, texting, phone calls or texting while driving, or simply set
time restrictions when it's appropriate to use these features.

I'm sure many parents out there will be interested in a bit more control over what their kids are doing with an Android smartphone, and it looks like Vipre is trying to fill that need.  As mentioned, the application is currently in an open beta, so like all other things beta there may be bugs.  If you're feeling brave and want to check it out, hit the source link for more details and a download (Android 2.2 or higher). 

Source: Vipre MobileThanks, Jimbo5000!

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3 years ago

GetGlue announces beta sign-ups for a new app

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I'm a big fan of GetGlue. It's the social media sharing site for couch potatoes! With apps for all kinds of devices, it's quickly become very popular, and is as easy to use as foursquare. Today GetGlue tweeted that they are working on a brand new app for Android, and that if you want in now, you've got to sign up for the beta. You can find the sign up page at the link below, or download the current version from the Android Market.

Sign up for the GetGlue beta; Source: GetGlue on Twitter

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3 years ago

Revive old software on your device with some emulators

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Youtube link for mobile viewing

Looking to kick it old school and play some Contra on your Android device? There's an emulator for that. Since the release of Android, emulator apps have come and gone -- some pulled by Google, some just simply no longer supported any more by their developers. However, if you're looking to replace some of those that have disappeared you can check out some of the ones available from Marat Fayzullin.

  • iNES - iNES emulates classic NES and Famicom videogame consoles from Nintendo. It plays NES, Famicom, DiskSystem, and VS System games in a desktop window or full screen. Save game at any time and restart from that point later. You can also use GameGenie cheat codes, make screenshots and save game music in MIDI format.
  • MasterGear - The MasterGear emulates several 8bit videogame consoles from SEGA. It plays Master System, GameGear, Mark 2, Mark 3, SG1000, SC3000, and SF7000 games in a desktop window or full screen. You can save game at any time and restart from that point if you get killed, make screenshots, and even save game music in MIDI format to play it later.
  • VGB - VGB emulates Nintendo GameBoy handhelds and their accessories. It plays GameBoy, GameBoy Pocket, GameBoy Color, and Super GameBoy games in a window or full screen. VGB also supports the Pocket Printer, GameGenie cheat codes, and more. Please notice that VGB will not play GameBoy Advance games: you will need VGBA for that.
  • VGBA - VGBA emulates the Nintendo GameBoy Advance handheld. It plays GameBoy Advance games in a desktop window or full screen. Please notice that VGBA will not play classic GameBoy games: you will need VGB for that.

Marat has quite a few others available for more obscure systems as well, if you're looking to check them out you can hit the source link for more details and download links to all listed.

Source: KomKon

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3 years ago

Android Quick App: Domino Run

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YouTube link for mobile viewing

We were all kids once (right?), and a staple of kid-dom was stacking up dominoes only to knock them down. Easy, dumb simple, clean fun. Now we're old and haggard, but there's an app out there that will not only keep your mind sharp, but also help you relive your younger days. For the kid in all of us, there is Domino Run.

Domino Run is pretty straightforward. You have dominoes you need to shuffle around to knock down a special blue domino, known as "the Finisher." Don't knock down the blue one, you lose. Oh, and did I mention you need to knock all of the other dominoes down before the Finisher falls? If you don't do that, you lose again.

Gameplay starts off simple, but gets progressively more difficult, adding mechanics like you dropping dominoes off of ledges to knock down other dominoes, or the introduction of the red domino, which I believe is called the Stopper. The challenges don't end there, as there's an entire list of uniquely powered dominoes that come in the later levels (that I didn't get to see in my time with the game).

Scoring is done medal-style, with gold, silver, and bronze medals being awarded to you based on moves spent and the time it took you to complete a level. The easiest way to game the system get gold medals on everything that I've found is to take your time plotting out a successful move, then immediately replay the level and use your plan as fast as you can. Instant gold medal!

Overall, Domino Run is a fun, calming, throwback-to-an-older-day kind of game, and I dig it. There's both free and paid version in the Market, and the free version lets you play a full 20 levels, so it's not a bad deal. If you feel like taking the plunge into 70 levels of domino madness, the full version only sets you back a buck.

Download links to Domino Fun Run are after the break.

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3 years ago

Android Quick App: Talk2All

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