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2 years ago

Android Game Review: Minecraft - Pocket Edition

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YouTube link for mobile viewing

When Minecraft: Pocket Edition was announced as an exclusive for the Xperia Play, block-builders the world round collectively wept. How long would it be before we could all run from Creepers, beat up sheep for their wool, or build giant structures to worship your favorite Android mascot?

It might have felt like forever, but Minecraft: Pocket Edition is finally available for all Android devices, and it's actually pretty cool (despite how feature-limited it is).

If you've ever played Minecraft on a PC (or even if you haven't), Minecraft: Pocket Edition will look pretty familiar. Everything is nice a blocky and retro-inspired, and it runs quite well. In lieu of actual physical controls, there's an onscreen directional pad with a jump button in the middle of it.

To place blocks, tap somewhere close to you. In the same vein, holding a block close to you will bring up a circle, and when the circle is filled, the block will be destroyed. Currently, there's no tools to destroy things, so everything is destroyed with your bare hands (Chuck Norris-style).

There's also no harvesting of items that you've destroyed. Instead, you have an inifinite amount of supplies, but only the supplies that the game gives you. Tapping the three circles on your item bar brings up the list of blocks (and other assorted goodies), and then you can pick three from there. I'm a bit disappointed TNT isn't included by default, and once crafting is (re)introduced, that'll be the first thing I make.

The controls are fairly tight, although the lack of precision on placing blocks when trying to balance a tablet can become a little frustrating. The camera is no different than the non-pocket edition, and the blocky, first-person interface is still top-notch.

Also missing from this early alpha are day/night cycles, and with that, bad guys. I really wanted to run and blow myself up next to a Creeper (cause hey, that never gets old), but there's none of them to be found. Zombies are suspiciously absent as well, along with all of the farm animals you beat up for their delicious meats, eggs, and wool.

You can still play with friends as long as you're all on the same wireless network, but otherwise, you're flying solo. Minecraft: Pocket Edition also sidesteps the normal Minecraft servers entirely, so you can have any name you want (for now).

Overall, Minecraft: Pocket Edition is a bit underwhelming, especially when there's so much on the desktop version that's missing from the mobile experience. I know it's an early alpha, but for $6.99, I was personally expecting more. That being said, it's still kind of a technical marvel, having such an open sandbox running on mobile devices.

If you just can't live without your Minecraft when you're not at home, we've got download links after the break.

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2 years ago

Are they phones? Are they tablets?

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Is it a phone or a tablet? It's becoming harder to tell these days.

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2 years ago

Pre-orders for the Samsung Galaxy S II now being accepted by T-Mobile

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If you are on T-Mobile and have been anxiously awaiting the day to arrive for you to be able to place your order for the Samsung Galaxy S II, you're in luck. The Samsung Galaxy S II is now available for your pre-ordering pleasure, and if you are on the fence be sure to check out this hands-on to help steer you in the right direction. For those with an upgrade, or signing a new two year deal the device will be $279 out the door and a $50 mail in rebate, or if you have to go the full retail route it will run you $529. 

Source: T-Mobile

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2 years ago

New Verizon LTE locales going live Nov. 17th

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Verizon is continuing their roll out of 4G LTE across the Nation having now announced even more cities that will be enabled by November 17th. The list is as follows:

  • Little Rock, Ark.
  • Savannah, Ga.
  • Cedar Rapids and Des Moines, Iowa
  • Lexington, Ky.
  • Kansas City and Springfield, Mo.
  • Lincoln, Neb.
  • Orange County, N.Y.
  • Greater Providence, R.I.
  • Rapid City, S.D.
  • Roanoke, Va.
  • Appleton, Wis.

In total, Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE network will be available in 178 cities on Nov. 17. You can jump on past the break for their full press release.

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2 years ago

Welcome back to Monday: Here's what you missed

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We're out on the West Coast this week, which means we're even more laid back than usual and a couple hours behind the rest of you in the U.S. But that's no excuse for missing out on some of the great stories we posted over the weekend. Here are a few you might have missed:

Three stories you surely don't want to to miss.

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2 years ago

Some Motorola Xoom LTE upgrades have a quick turnaround, bring a new OTA, and make things zoom-ier.

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Quite a few of you guys have sent your 3G Motorola Xoom's off to get the LTE upgrade, and we're hearing good things all around.  If you've sent yours off, expect to receive a small OTA update to HLK75D when it returns (packed full of performance-related improvements per the notification, just like the Wifi models) if you haven't already received it, and of course expect some fast-as-heck data speeds.  Turn around time seems to be good -- we're hearing it averages about a week -- and so far (knock on wood) we haven't heard a single horror story or tale of misfortune.

Motorola and Verizon may have taken longer than anyone would have liked -- and we are hearing the occasional story about delays for the retrofit -- but it looks like they are making good on their promises.  Hit the break for two more pictures that are sure to make any Xoom owner smile.

More: Motorola Xoom Forums; Thanks Chris and Jon for the pics!

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2 years ago

LG touts its new 'True HD IPS' screen tech

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LG's actually had one of the better screen technologies of the past year that most in the United States haven't gotten to experience. That'd be the "NOVA" display on the Optimus Black. In a word: Noyce. And now LG's bringing its first 720p display with "True HD IPS" on the LG Optimus LTE.

Impressive enough is the resolution -- 1280 x 720 with a 16:9 aspect ratio. The other bullet points LG is pimping:

  • More information at a glance with genuine 1280 x 720 HD resolution and 16:9 screen viewing without distortion, which are the same standards used in the television industry;
  • Sharper and crisper text thanks to 329 ppi real RGB resolution;
  • True natural colors that are the most comfortable to eyes;
  • Automatic color adjustments applied by LG’s exclusive Mobile HD Graphic Engine;
  • HD Movie Editor to create personalized HD videos quickly and easily.

We're going to have to withold judgment, of course, until we actually see the thing, which should be soon enough. But it looks like 720p is about to become the new high-end standard, and likely looking to throw LG right into the mix with the likes of Samsung and its Super AMOLED Plus displays.

Full preser's after the break.

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2 years ago

Motorola introduces the ET1 Enterprise tablet

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Motorola announced its ET1 tablet this morning, which its calling an Enterprise-class tablet "designed for a variety of vertical markets." The Gingerbread-powered ET1 is designed for durability and security with some pretty respectable guts under the hood:

  • Android 2.3.4 with enhanced Enterprise functionality
  • 7 inch, 1024 x 600 display at 350 NIT, with Gorilla Glass
  • OMAP4 Dual-core processor at 1 GHz
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 4 GB Flash memory with pre-installed 4 GB microSD card
  • 4620 mAH Smart Li-Ion battery
  • 8 MP rear camera with 720p video, front camera
  • 5.14 in. H x .98 in D x 8.82 in W
  • 1.4 pounds

It might not be the tablet-of-choice for the everyday consumer, but for businesses looking for a sturdy, Enterprise-ready tablet, the ET1 is looking pretty attractive. It'll be available in January 2012 through Motorola partners only, though no word yet on price. Full specs and a product tour from Motorola are at the source link.

Source: Motorola

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2 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Wi-Fi 5-inch now available in the UK

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Samsung has announced the availability of the 5-inch Galaxy Wi-Fi, a 5-inch personal media player based on its Galaxy S line of smartphones.  It's powered by a 1GHz single-core TI OMAP processor, and runs Samsung's TouchWiz UI on top of Android 2.3 Gingerbread. No pricing information is included in the press release, but a cursory glance at Google Shopping shows prices of around £200 (~$310).

The 5-inch Galaxy Wi-Fi is available now in the UK, while the smaller 3.6-inch variant is slated for a UK launch sometime in November.

If you're partial to the occasional press release, you'll find one waiting for you after the jump.

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2 years ago

Sleepy Jack arrives exclusively on Xperia Play for a limited time

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Another day, another Xperia Play exclusive. This time it's the popular iOS game Sleepy Jack that's coming to Sony Ericsson's PlayStation-certified device before any other Androids. Sleepy Jack is a 3D flying game where players must guide Jack through a series of dream worlds, collecting Zs as they go. We had a chance to try out a pre-release version of the game on Xperia Play last month and were really impressed with the level of polish and overall smoothness of the game.

Xperia Play owners can also get Sleepy Jack at a reduced price -- just £0.99 (~$1.55) -- for a "very limited" time. There's no word on how long it'll be before other Android devices are able to play Sleepy Jack, but in the meantime Xperia Play owners can find the Market link and QR code after the jump.

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