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2 years ago

Android Game Review: Dead Space

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YouTube link for mobile viewing

Ed. note: The game was sideloaded on a Toshiba Thrive, as it doesn't natively install from the Android Market.

Oh, boy, here we go again. One man stranded on a spaceship? Been there. Hordes of Necromorphs? Done that. On Android? Well now, slow down there, Ace. Now we're talking.

Yes, it's finally happened. Electronics Arts has brought its shock-filled, gore-laden, space epic to Android, and man oh man, was it worth the wait. Dead Space has all the markings of a AAA title, and if it weren't for the slightly dumbed down graphics, you wouldn't know you were playing on a mobile device.

For fans of the Dead Space story, you'll be pleased to know that Dead Space (for Android) is part of the canon and takes place three years after the first official game but before the events of the second.

You play the aptly-named Vandal, a voice-distorted, identity-protected agent of the Church, who is "perfect" for sabotaging power supplies and causing havoc on his ship. Well, until all Hell breaks loose. Necromorphs start pouring out from every hole and crevice, gallivanting about all nimbly bimbly, all with the intent to gobble you up.

But this is Dead Space. You expected that.

For a mobile game, Dead Space plays well. Incredibly well, actually. EA has finally come up with a control scheme that doesn't use a restricting virtual joystick but still is as tight and (fairly) precise as a physical one. Instead of limiting your movement within an imaginary circle, EA simply says, "Move your fingers on top of Vandal as though you were using a virtual joystick and he'll respond appropriately."

It's effective, it feels good, and you never run the risk of stretching your hands too far out and running into the bezel, thereby stopping your movement completely. It works, and I hope to see other enterprising game developers shamelessly copy this control method for their own games. It'll make everyone's experience better.

Shooting is equally intuitive, with a simple tap bringing up your targeting reticule, and another tap popping off a shot. For those mining weapons that can shoot either horizontally or vertically, EA employed a quick screen tilt to change firing modes. No buttons to push, no combos to remember, just a quick tilt and the accelerometer will handle the rest. Just like with the non-existant joystick, it just works.

Graphically, the game looks great. Yeah, they're not quite PC or console graphics (that's especially evident on the Necromorphs close up), but by and large, everything looks amazing. Vandal looks like an absolute boss, and the glowing column along his spine (along with the rest of his getup) is incredibly detailed.

The opening sequence of the game also realy shows off the masterpiece EA has put together for us. Ship environments look realistic. Planets look impressive and rocky. With six different environments to fight (and survive) through, you'll constantly be finding something new to look at (and admire). Weapons look not only futurisitc and worthy of your nerd love, but functional, too. And did I mention the whole thing is voice acted?

There's also the requisite amounts of over-the-top gore, seen as you dismember Necromorphs, find brutalized corpses, and discover messages written in the final moments of someone's life. It all adds up to the heart-pounding experience EA is trying to pull you into. (I mean, they do recommend playing the game with headphones on.)

Overall, Dead Space is one of the strongest entries we've had into serious Android gaming yet, and it has earned a special spot in the upper echelons of the Market, reserved only for those games that truly push the boundry of what we're seeing. Other notables that come to mind are Shadowgun and Emissary of War, so Dead Space finds itself in elite company, and rightfully so.

If you can handle the gore, the thrills, and the heart-pounding "gotcha" moments, Dead Space is most definitely for you. Dead Space is $7.43 in the Android Market.

We've got download links after the break.

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2 years ago

Samsung reportedly re-evaluating getting Ice Cream Sandwich onto the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab

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Word on the streeets of Korea today is that Samsung is taking another look at possibly getting an Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update to the original Galaxy S smartphone and 7-inch Galaxy Tab tablet, after previously saying it wasn't going to happen. Hey, that'd be great. Sure would make a lot of people happy.

Only, does anyone really think Samsung doesn't already know if it's technically feasible to put Ice Cream Sandwich on the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab? Is it really possible Samsung explained why they won't get it without actually trying first?

Nah. If in fact Samsung's taking another look at things, it's because someone's finally starting to put a dollar value on the backlash received worldwide after it announced that its wildly popular 2010 flagship devices were being left behind. Never mind that year-old tech is still year-old tech (even if it is good year-old tech).

And keep in mind we're still talking about things on a global scale here. Even if Samsung changes its mind and figures out how to get ICS on the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab in a timely and economical manner, we have zero idea of what the U.S. carriers -- not really known for update expediency -- will do to their aging lines. After all, some phones didn't start getting Gingerbread until the last quarter of this year.

Sources: ajnews.co.kr; MSN Korea; via The Verge

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2 years ago

Sony Ericsson reminds us its sync service is shutting down, use Google's instead

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Sony Ericsson today is sending out e-mails reminding folks (or chaps, since the e-mail we received was sent to our UK operation) that it's shutting down its Sony Ericcson Sync service on Dec. 29. The good news, of course, is that you can (and really should) sync all the same stuff with your Google account, including your contacts and calendars, along with, well, every thing else Android does extremely well.

So, you've got a couple days left to get it down. SE's worked up some instructions to ease the transition. Give 'em a look.

Source: Sony Ericsson

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2 years ago

Contest Winners: Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Rebtel credits, Body Glove Icon case

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If you're a registered member here at Android Central then you know our forums always have a contest happening. And if you're not registered, well -- now is as good a time as any. This week's winners are as posted after the break, and if you were chosen watch your email as we'll be following up shortly. Stay tuned for more upcoming contests folks. Congrats to this week's winners!

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2 years ago

Now this is how you raise a kid to grow up right

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It's not often that I'm at a loss for words. But this is just so awesome I'm going to let it stand on its own merits. Congrats to Android Forums member scoty024 for being quite the artiste, and to his wife for being so ... forgiving. Even I couldn't get away with doing this. Pretty sure you just signed up for the first 1,000 diaper changes, dude. (The good news: That's only a two-week sentence.)

Dive on into the forums at the link below and give scoty024 a major high five for pulling this off.

More: My unborn son is an Android fan

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2 years ago

PowerAMP 2.0 released, and they have a Twitter contest to go along with it

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Youtube link for mobile viewing

The folks at Max MP have released version 2.0 of PowerAmp, their excellent music player for Android.  We've loved PowerAmp in it's previous versions, and 2.0 looks to be a great update with improved media scanning,  Samsung Galaxy Nexus support, and SD card mounting fixes.  Add this to their list of great features, like tag editing, theme support, scrobbling, and that amazing graphical EQ and you have one of the best music players for mobile on any platform.  You can download the 15-day trial version of PowerAmp after the break, and the full version costs $4.99.  PowerAmp requires Android 2.1 or higher.

To help celebrate they also have a new Twitter account and a contest to give away 32GB microSD cards to store some music on.  The contest starts Friday Dec. 30 at noon Central time, and ends Jan.1 at midnight Central.  Follow @PowerAmp2 for the full details.

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2 years ago

RAZR HD Dock, Obtain IP address [From the Forums]

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While things have slowed down a bit over the holidays, there is still plenty happening in the Android Central forums. With a lot of folks getting new toys to play with whether you're looking for help or looking to help others, the Android Central forums is the spot to be.

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

Get an Android for Christmas? Need help with your Android? Here's where to start!

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So you found a new Android phone under your tree this year did you?  Welcome to the family, we're glad you're here, and you picked the right place to visit.  We understand all the options and choices can be a bit overwhelming if you're new to smartphones in general, or switching from another platform.  We have you covered, and here's a great set of resources to get you started.

  • Android forums: Most times the answers you want and need come from people just like you -- Android users.  You'll find out forums full of helpful and friendly people, who also know their stuff when it comes to Android devices. 
  • Help and Tips: When your new phone or tablet can do so much, sometimes it's hard to figure out the how and where.  These handy tips will get you pointed in the right direction so you can begin to make things you own.
  • Accessories: Looking for a case to protect your new phone?  Or maybe you want a spare battery or a new data cable?  We have you covered at the Android Central store. 
  • Applications: Android has about half a million apps, and sorting through them all is impossible.  We can help -- we look at more than a few and let you know about the ones we're particularly fond of.  Check it out!
  • And finally, our own forums adviser milominderbinder has the ultimate resource for any Android user in his Getting Started With Android post.  It's legendary, and we're darn lucky to have him around.  Be sure to have a read -- I promise you'll learn something. 
  • The Android Dictionary:  You're going to see a lot of terminology you may not understand, and we've got a great reference here for you.  Bookmark this one.

You're in for a treat with your new Android powered device, and you can always count on us to steer you right.  Settle in, and enjoy yourselves!

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2 years ago

Weather Underground for Android

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Weather Underground has long been a go-to source for weather information online. And now, finally, we have a proper Weather Underground Android app.

The main view is a nicely laid out three-panel screen.  The top section shows the current temperature, "feels like" temp, wind speed and direction, humidity and a thumbnail image of what it's like outside. Tap it and you'll get the current dewpoint, visibility, pressure (in inches), wind gusts, GPS coordinates, and when the conditions were last updated. Tap it a third time and you'll get a brief forecast for the rest of the week.

The second section, in the middle of the screen, shows three days at a glance, with high/low temperatures and chance of precipitation. You can swipe to get the next three days. Tap a day to get the hourly forecast.

And the bottom section of the main view, taking up a little less than half of the entire screen, is a Google map with nearby personal weather stations reporting the current temperature. Tap the map, and it goes to a full-screen version with radar laid on top. You can adjust the overlays of the "WunderMap," toggling storm tracks, satellite, visible satellite, temperatures, cameras and animation. 

Other options include making locations as favorites, seeing sever weather alerts for a location, and signing into your Weather Underground account.

All in all, the Weather Underground app continues Wunderground's penchant for excellent weather information, and it works well enough on Android smartphones and tablets. But the app's animations are fairly laggy, and it doesn't yet have a home screen widget. And while we're just starting the winter season, we'd hope to see a dedicated tropical weather section (if not an entire app from Wunderground) by the start of hurricane season June 1. But, hey, the app's free, and it's quickly found a place on our phones.

We've got download links, hands-on video and more screen shots after the break.

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2 years ago

Carphone Warehouse offering up Nexus S for £199.95

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The UK sale wagon continues to roll, with the Samsung Nexus S being offered up by Carphone Warehouse for a few pence under £200 SIM free. 

If you're anxious to get some pure Ice Cream Sandwich goodness but can't stretch to a Galaxy Nexus, at this price point the Nexus S is a bonafide bargain. Hit the source link for more information.

Source: Carphone Warehouse

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