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3 years ago

Android App Review: Minimal Reader Pro

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As we wait for the impending update to the Google Reader app, I took to looking for other cool ways to consume everything on my Reader feed. Through my journey in the Market, I discovered not an app, but a widget called Minimal Reader Pro.

Minimal Reader Pro is awesome because not only does it save you the hassle of opening an app (precious seconds are lost when opening apps!), it looks absolutely incredible while doing it.

Setting Minimal Reader Pro up is easy as π. Do your long-press, choose Minimal Reader Pro, and you'll be prompted to attach a Google Reader account. If you don't feel like syncing a Reader account, you can still use a custom feed URL, but it's suggested you go the Reader route.

Once you've got an account linked and synced, you can pick which particular feeds you want to view. If you want to see everything, you can do that. If not, you can cherry pick your most entertaining feeds from the Manage menu.

The Settings menu gives you some nifty options, like setting an age filter (when to stop showing something because it's too old), the ability to filter read news, turning off image loading, and setting your refresh rate, total entries on the widget, and maximum items per label. If it sounds like a lot, it's not overwhelming in the slightest and is pretty damn easy to work through, really.

The last panel (Display) is where you really get to make Minimal Reader Pro your own. There's three themes to pick from (Classic White, Dark Glass, and Ice Cream Sandwich), each with their own look. You can also turn the background on and off (a great option depending on the kind of wallpaper you have), turn on square corners, or mark items read while reading them.

You can also set the text size and alignment (nothing groundbreaking here), but it's nice that the developer thought to include it.

Now that your settings are all set up and your widget is on the screen, you can scroll up and down like in any menu, and tapping on a story opens it up to read. Unread stories are bolded, while storeis you've read are displayed with a regular font. You can mark all stories read by tapping the check mark on the far right, and if you touch the heart icon, you'll be shown a list of only your favorite articles.

The settings gear and refresh icon are obvious in their function, as is the "____ new" reading in the center of the widget.

All in all, Minimal Reader Pro is a really gorgeous way to consume any RSS feeds on your device. If you're keen on using widgets, are an avid Reader or RSS user, and want to use something that both looks great and gets the job done, look no farther than Minimal Reader Pro.

Minimal Reader Pro is $1.09 in the Android Market.

We've got download links and more pictures after the break.

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3 years ago

Fuugo is here to aggregate your video and cure your boredom

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Fuugo is a new app to the Android Market and brings along with it some pretty cool features for digging out the best video on the web from various sources such as Youtube, Break, TEDTalks and more. You can save searches, make playlists and even download some videos when enabled for offline viewing.  As the developers describe it:

Fuugo Video is the ultimate video convergence application for tablets and smart phones. Fuugo aggregates various video content sources into one app. You’ll get news, music, nature, science, epic fails, whatever…You’ll get video recommendations from your friends and you’ll get great video recommendations from Fuugo!

You can Tweet your friends about your favorite clips and you’ll have a free video search and you’ll have a great related search! In addition, Fuugo allows you to generate your own playlists and you can download video content to go too.

Support for tablets is in place and the app overall does look great on device. Rather then having to go out and search in various places for a video -- Fuugo does manage to do what it implies, it can find the content you're looking for and when looking to waste a few mins it's great to have. You'll find some more screenshots past the break as well as the download link for it.

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3 years ago

Best Buy's Black Friday sale has Samsung Stratosphere in white (and others), free with contract

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Black Friday looks to be full of free Android phones at Best Buy, including the Samsung Stratosphere in white.  While a store offering "free" phones after you sign a two-year contract is nothing new, this years selection at Best Buy looks like some great hardware if you're not the kind who has to have the latest new and shiny Android phone.  Sprint customers can get a EVO Shift 4G free with their contract, Verizon customers can choose from a Droid Incredible 2 or a Samsung Stratosphere (both in white or black), and AT&T subscribers can choose from a Thrill 4G, an Atrix 2, or (if your a masochist) the BlackBerry Torch 9810.

Of course free is never really free, and if you're signing up for a new two year agreement you're certainly spending quite the chunk of cash.  But phones like these might prove to be a better choice that some of the entry-level Android handsets, and that white Stratosphere looks hawt.

Thanks, Shawheim!

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3 years ago

Google Maps 5.12.0 now available - Adds live events for New York, San Francisco, Paris, Zurich, and London

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The latest Google Maps update is now available in the Android Market for download. Pushing the app to v5.12.0 there is one addition and one removal of a 'feature'. The additon comes by way of live events being added to the Places pages for New York, San Francisco, Paris, Zurich, and London, while the "Post to Twitter" has been removed from Places pages. The update is available now and you'll find the link past the break for you all.

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3 years ago

Notre Dame Sprint ID pack now available

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The Univerisity of Notre Dame Sprint ID pack is now available for download on a handful of the carrier's Android devices. Sprint ID packs are customized themes for your smartphone that feature widgets and customized social media links and can be downloaded through the Sprint ID link on your enabled device. The Notre Dame ID pack comes preloaded with university web cams, dining hall menus, a lab locator, news, calendars, and of course sports updates. Hit the source link for Sprint's presser.

Source: Sprint

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3 years ago

Droid RAZR rooted, but do so with care

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If you've picked up a shiny new Motorola Droid RAZR today -- be sure to read our full review -- and can't wait to get it rooted, well, you don't have to wait to get it rooted. Wicked over at Droidforums has dropped in a handy tool to do the deed. It's Windows-only for now, and we've yet to see a custom recovery or SBF file. So if you bork things up, there's no way back just yet.

Source: DroidForums; thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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3 years ago

iFixit cracks open the Droid RAZR, finds Droid RAZR parts inside

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And here we have the Motorola Droid RAZR splayed across a table for all to see, courtesy of those crazy cracker-openers, iFixit. No real surprises inside -- it's got smartphone parts. But you get a great look at the uber-thin non-removable battery -- complete with a "remove battery" tab. Go figure.

Source: iFixit

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3 years ago

Logitech has a Come to Jesus meeting, says Google TV 'cost us dearly'

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Kinda no way to sugar coat this: Logitech views the Revue and Google TV as a big fat failure, with CEO Guerrino De Luca telling investors and analysts this week that it "cost us dearly" -- to the tune of some $100 million in profits.

In a long and winding statement, De Luca tells of the pain of being an early adopter along with the rest of us. He sums it up nicely with this quote:

To make the long story short, we thought we had invented slice bread and we just made them. We’ve made commitment we just build a lot because we expected everybody to line up for Christmas and buy these boxes $300 that was a big mistake. I would do it again, I would definitely want to have Google establish Google TV, but with a significantly smaller and more prudent approach. It’s always the case people will tend to overestimate the short-term and underestimate the long-term.

Google TV or a child of Google TV or the grandchild of Google TV will happen. The integration of television in Internet is inevitable. But the idea that it would happen overnight in Christmas 2010 was very misguided and that also [cost] us dearly. As you know, we dramatically reduced the price of the box to what we thought the consumers valued it and actually doing fine.

While Logitech didn't quite give Google TV the middle finger, it's certainly taking its ball and going home (or, more accurately, focusing on its other products for now). It's unclear what other partners might step up for Google TV. Sony's been less than enthusiastic, and the lone Samsung TV we saw nearly a year ago remains just that -- a lone Samsung TV we saw nearly a year ago.

Source: Logitech, Seeking Alpha transcript (1, 2); via The Verge

Update: The $100 million referenced was for costs beyond the scope of just Google TV and the Revue. We've changed the headline and struck through the text to reflect.

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3 years ago

Android App Review: Adaptxt Beta

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Keyboards are a big deal on Android. Some let you swipe, other peck, but regardless of the method, they all have one thing in common: they're how you say anything on your phone. So imagine my excitement when I'm introduced to a new keyboard, promising more bacon never-before-seen levels of text prediction, all in a nice, shiny, new beta package.

I just had to try it out, and it is, in a word, meh. That's not to say it's terrible, but if you're perfectly content with your keyboard (be it Swype, SwiftKey X, SlideIT, or any of the other myriad of keyboards out there), you probably won't be switching over anytime soon.

First thing you've got to do after you've installed Adaptxt Beta is download a language pack. Not a huge deal, and it's not out of the ordinary. The language packs are called add-ons in Adaptxt, but nothing really prompts you to that. It's fairly self-evident because most of your options are greyed out, so go into the Add-on Manager and pick a language.

From there, there's not much to do. The settings menu is pretty barebones. You can enable or disable error correction, auto correction, and define the auto correction mode (which is set to medium by default). There's also an option for an extended character bubble and the interaction feedback settings.

So what's my beef with Adaptxt Beta? For one, I don't think it looks very good. The keys are smaller than on most of the other popular keyboards, the color scheme is unappealing, and the text prediction didn't blow my mind.

In fact, sometimes it feels like Adaptxt is less accurate at predicting than even the stock Android keyboard. Where other keyboards look like they try to make sense of what you're saying (for example, not tossing out seemingly random combinations of letters), Adaptxt Beta does just that. I get that it's trying to make sense of your current keystrokes. Still, it just muddies up the waters. Qua? Eva? Really?

On the upside, maybe we can chalk it up to the fact that it's in beta. Everyone gave Google a pass on their beta stuff, so I'll give KeyPoint Technologies the benefit of the doubt that they'll iron these little niggles out and continue to improve upon their product. At least it's free, right?

We've got download links and more pictures after the break.

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3 years ago

Amazon says Kindle Fire also will have Hulu Plus and ESPN

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The back-and-forth between the Amazon Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet continues, with the former this morning announcing that it will have Hulu Plus and ESPN ScoreCenter when it launches next week. That means the Kindle Fire will have the three major video content services -- Amazon, Netflix and now Hulu Plus -- which certainly is quite the selling point.

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3 years ago

The last version of Adobe Flash you'll download for mobile (until the next bugfix that is)

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Here it is, folks, the last version of Adobe Flash Player for mobile. Final. Kaput. Only, not really. While Adobe has halted work on future versions, we're still likely -- very likely -- to see the odd bugfix here and there. So head on over to the Android Market and snag version 11.1.102.59, which has some security enhancements and bugfixes, including video streaming on the Samsung Galaxy S II and enabling 1080p video on upcoming Tegra 3 devices.

Source: Adobe

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3 years ago

Android Central Podcast Ep. 78

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Audio-only stream below

We sift through our Motorola Droid RAZR review, the Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet, ASUS Transformer Prime and Tegra 3, the eventual end of Adobe Flash on Mobile, and still find time to sneak in a few of your e-mails and voicemails.

Welcome to the Greatest Android Podcast in the World!

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3 years ago

Motorola Droid RAZR now available from Verizon Wireless

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It's time. You no doubt already know Motorola has brought back the RAZR brand, this time as the Motorola Droid RAZR and chances are you read our complete review if you were in any way interested in this device and if not -- you really should.

Now though, is the time to get your own. The Motorola Droid RAZR is now available on the Verizon Wireless website and ready to be shipped to you. You can pick up a Droid RAZR for $300 on a new 2-year contract or $650 with no contract at all. If you're not really feeling that price, Amazon Wireless will gladly help you out with the costs assiciated by offering it for $111.11 to new Verizon Wireless customers. Getting one? Let us know in the Android Central forums.

Source: Verizon; Amazon

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3 years ago

Firefox for Android getting an overhaul to use native Java widgets and UI, will bring better performance

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before                                                          after

Mozilla has decided to change the tools used to build the Firefox for Android client front end, and changes are in store.  In it's current iteration, Firefox uses XUL (a cross-platform toolkit used to design widgets and user interface elements), but will be switching to native Android elements written in Java.  This will bring more than just changes to the look and feel -- expect much faster load times and better performance, at the cost of some of the more complicated menus and options that are currently offered.  As you can see in the pictures above (ignore the custom font on the rooted device used by Mozilla for testing -- go root!), this will bring a UI that looks more like we're used to on Android apps, and will fit in much better once Ice Cream Sandwich rolls along.  Of coruse, the performance improvements are the big bonus, as well as (hopefully) a smaller file size.  All in all, it looks like the right way to go here from the user perspective.  Too many options can be a bad thing, and performance improvements are always welcome.  With Flash getting killed off, the Gecko rendering engine will start to look like a great option in the near future.

They will begin open Alpha testing tomorrow, we'll be sure to have a look.

Source: Dknite's blog

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3 years ago

Homerun Battle 3D, root access, and poor communication leads to knee-jerk reactions

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image credit umpire.org

Com2Us are the distributors and developers on a semi-popular game in the Android Market -- Homerun Battle 3D.  Recently, in order to try to kill the rampant cheating that goes on in the multi-player online games, they made a huge mistake.  Com2Us sent out an update that blocked anyone who had rooted their phone from playing.  As you can imagine, the uproar from people who had already spent $5 to buy the game (it's pretty well done, and this issue notwithstanding, probably worth the 5 bucks) and no longer could was instant, and loud.  We started getting reports about the issue, and started poking around to see what was up.

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