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2 years ago

Android Central Editors' app picks for Dec 3, 2011

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Don't worry loyal Android Central readers, we are back with only our favorite applications again this week. So, join us past the break and let's take a look at some of our favorites!

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2 years ago

Apple's attempt to block sales of popular Samsung devices in the US is denied by the courts [updated]

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U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh has denied Apple's request for a preliminary injunction against Samsung late Friday afternoon, one that would have halted sales of three Galaxy phones and the Galaxy Tab 10.1.  Judge Koh found that any action halting the sales of these devices in the United States would not be necessary to keep Apple from being irreparably harmed, and denied the sales ban.  This doesn't mean things are over between Samsung and Apple, who currently are involved in more than 20 legal battles in 10 different countries, as the case is still to be heard.  This ruling was concerning the halting of sales only.

Of course both sides involved had little of value to say -- this is a legal drama and tight lips are a wise choice.  Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet referred to previous statements about the case, saying that Samsung's "blatant copying is wrong" and Samsung spokesman Jason Kim said "This ruling confirms our long-held view that Apple's arguments lack merit".  Whether the arguments truly lack merit is something the courts will have to decide later, but for now the products in question will remain on the shelves for the Holiday buying season.

Update:  Reuters has updated their original story with more information from judge Koh's ruling, stating that "Apple has established a likelihood of success on the merits at trial" regarding some of the smartphone patents, and that "Apple would likely prove Samsung infringed one of its tablet patents. However, Apple had not shown that it was likely to overcome Samsung's challenges to the patent's validity."  General consensus is that the suit will end with monetary damages more likely than any injunction.  Whatever the outcome, it would be nice to see all these legal issues slow down at least a little.

Source: ReutersThanks everyone who sent this in, and thanks Droid800 for the update!

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2 years ago

Motorola Droid Bionic gets an alpha Ice Cream Sandwich ROM

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Fear not Motorola Droid Bionic owners, you are no longer left behind and can join the cool kid party with a taste of some Ice Cream Sandwich. Developer dhacker29 of the TH3ORY ROM team has released a mostly functional ICS build for Bionic users to play around with, and while not everything is working reports are pretty positive so far. While still working on getting data & wifi working along with getting the SD card to mount the developer feels they are getting closer to getting this functional. Looking for something new to play around with this weekend on your Bionic? Be sure to hit the source for full details.

Source: Rootzwiki

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2 years ago

Android Game Review: Apparatus

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YouTube link for mobile viewing

Sometimes I come across a game that makes me feel really dumb really challenges the ol' noggin of mine, and I know I just have to share it with you all, the Android faithful (because Android users are inherently smart). Apparatus is one such game, and by the time you're done with it, you'll deserve either a pat on the back or a tasty cold one (or both).

If the name didn't completely give it away, Apparatus is about just that: building apparatuses. To do what, you may ask? To make sure a dark blue ball makes it's way safely into a sky blue box. That's it.

Now if you're wondering what makes Apparatus so difficult, it's because the game uses physics and all, so if any of your parts aren't stable and attached to something, they'll fall away into the nothingness pit that makes up the bottom of the screen.

Fortunately there's no penalty for completely botching the job (sometimes it's the only way to learn what's going on), and a simple tap of the pause button will get all of your objects reset on the screen.

For the first couple of levels there are hints that'll show you the ropes on apparatus-building (like how batteries work, how to tell which way your plank of wood will spin, and how to attach pieces of material together), so you're not totally out in the cold, but once you've been taught the basics, it's up to your own ingenuity to get the job done.

Perhaps even more amazing than the levels the game has you work through are the community-designed levels and the sandbox. From within the sandbox, you can build either an apparatus or a building challenge. When you're done designing your masterpiece, you can upload it to the community levels to people can try and beat it or just watch it unfold.

It's absolutely amazing to see someone construct a rudimentary gun using only these simple tools, or an impressive fireworks show with the only trigger being a wheel rolling over them, and more than makes this app worth its price.

Apparatus feel like one of those "must have" games on Android. It's cheap, forces you to be creative, and is filled with levels. Even if you never touch the main game, the sandbox and community sections can easily take hours out of your otherwise productive day, as you build and see what others have built. In a word, it's stellar.

Apparatus is $2.45 in the Android Market. We've got download links after the break.

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2 years ago

Volume boosting, Vibration Intensity [From the Forums]

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As we close out another week here at Android Central, we've got plenty of content to keep you all busy. If you happened to miss out on anything, make sure you jump back a few pages and get caught up -- especially if you missed out on the Android Central podcast. Don't forget to hit up the forums as well:

If you're not already a member of the Android Central forums, you can register your account today.

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2 years ago

BaconReader - A Reddit reader even vegetarians can enjoy!

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Everyone likes bacon right? Of course you do, and now you can take bacon with you around everywhere. Ok it's BaconReader for Reddit, not actually bacon you can carry around. But it's a pretty awesome Reddit reader that has a ton of features built in:

  • Full user profile support
  • Color coded comment threads
  • Easy to use, full featured inbox
  • Rageface and look of disapproval support
  • One-tap access to your favorite subreddits
  • Search for new subreddits based on name or keyword and subscribe to them

If you're looking for a new way to dig into Reddit content, then make sure you take BaconReader for a spin. If you're really hardcore, you can upgrade to remove within the app for $1.99 to remove ads. You can hit the break for the download link and some more screenshots.

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2 years ago

Older phones running custom Android firmware from Moto, HTC, and Samsung have major security issues, say N.C. State researchers

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Researchers at N.C. State University have performed a study of eight Android phones (HTC's Legend, EVO 4G, and Wildfire S; Motorola's Droid and Droid X; Samsung's Epic 4G; and the Nexus One and Nexus S from Google) and found more potentially disturbing information.  While the Nexus phones and OG Droid (phones that run stock Android) had one minor security issue, namely a code bug in the pico app that would allow another app to delete the pico installer app, the rest of the bunch didn't fare so well.  All the phones with customized versions of Android had serious security issues

In particular, by exploiting these leaked capabilities, an untrusted app on these affected phones can manage to wipe out the user data on the phones, send out SMS messages (e.g., to premium numbers), record user conversation, or obtain user geo-locations – all without asking for any permission.

Apparently because the system applications built by vendors such as HTC, Moto, and Samsung are all signed with the same digital signing key, they are able to inter-communicate and access each other's data.  While this is a serious security flaw, it's also possible that it was done by design so that applications like Friendstream or Social Hub can easily parse social networking app data and aggregate it, and these researchers just found a new method to exploit that system.

While the implications for Android are new, the idea of exploit attacks on popular computing platforms is not.  As Android grows in popularity, more people will be focused on finding (and reporting) exploits against the OS.  Researchers have dutifully reported the issue to Google and all the OEM's, although they express difficulty dealing with HTC and Samsung who (as of this writing) the researchers say have been "very slow in responding, if not ignoring our reports/inquires". 

Should you be worried?  Not any more than you were yesterday.  Malware exists because a whole hell of a lot of people use Android, and users are not restricted to installing only approved applications.  If these types of reports bother you -- and that's a pretty valid response -- you still have the option of installing only trusted applications by well-known developers, or other options to not run the affected firmware on your phone.  And while nobody wants to hear me say it again (but I'm about to anyway), Nexus devices running Android as it was written are once again immune from these serious issues, so are always the better choice if you value your security. 

Source: NC State University CSC (.pdf)

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2 years ago

Duck Duck Moose brings a slightly trippy 'Itsy Bitsy Spider' to Android

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The developer of one of our favorite Android kids apps is backing, bringing its version of the "Itsy Bitsy Spider" to Android smartphones and tablets. Like its previous title, Wheels on the Bus, your kid taps its way through the app, with plenty of creatures and characters to interact with while learning the song.

In this case, the Itsy Bitsy Spider's working his way up the drain, in the rain, back down the spout again, and all that jazz. But it's got some friends along for the ride, and things get a little ... interesting when the snail turns into a banana, and a Nyan Cat sort-of-looking thing slides down the rainbow.

For just $1.99, it's good for the kid, and weird enough to keep the parents amused. Hit the break for download links.

See more Android Kids Apps

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2 years ago

Amazon forced to cancel some ASUS Transformer Prime preorders

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Read our Transformer Prime Review!

Here's one of those good news/bad news things: It looks like the ASUS Transformer Prime and its new quad-core Tegra 3 internals is proving to be quite popular. Too popular. So popular, in fact, that Amazon's canceling some preorders, citing a lack of availability. Here's the e-mail that's going 'round:

Due to a lack of availability from our suppliers, we will not be able to
obtain the following item(s) from your order:

"ASUS TF201-B1-GR Eee Pad Transformer Prime 10.1-Inch 32GB Tablet
(Amethyst Gray)"

We've canceled the item(s) and apologize for the inconvenience. If you see a
charge for the canceled item, we will refund you within 1-2 business days.

Disappointing, to say the least. But we're willing to bet ASUS is doing it can to get the Prime into as many hands as it can, as quickly as it can. We'll update with any word from ASUS.

Thanks, Pete, and everyone else who sent this in!

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2 years ago

Paper Zombie slice and dices its way into the Android Market

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Looking for something new to get addicted to? Yeah, we figured as much, and today the folks at Wildbit Studios have launched a new free game into the Android Market called Paper Zombie. Combining a first person shooter style, with an action filled adventure this game is sure to draw your interest, and create hours of entertainment. Check out the video above for a quick overview, and then be sure to hit the break for download links!

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