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2 years ago

Samsung's new Touchwiz makes adding items to the home screen a breeze

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Youtube link for mobile viewing

A big complaint I've had about Android for some time now regards adding items to the home screen. The basic way of doing things is you scroll through a text list, pick something from that list and plop it onto whatever home screen you're currently on. That requires your brain to remember what's already on the home screen, and to know what the new item actually looks like. If it's an icon, that's easy enough. If it's a widget, well, you get what size it is (1x1, 2x2, etc.), but that's it.

Samsung's done us a solid in the latest version of Touchwiz, as seen on the Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch. It's basically taken the Honeycomb way of doing things and scalled it down for the smaller screen. You can see the full home screen (and even flip though them) as well as see the widget or shortcut you're looking to add.

It's a small but ingenious change. Kudos, Samsung.

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2 years ago

Getting your apps ready for Ice Cream Sandwich [developers]

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With the release of Ice Cream Sandwich looming on the horizon, Android lead tech writer Scott Main has taken some time to talk to developers about how to get Honeycomb-only apps ready for the smaller screen.  When ICS is released, and going forward from that point, the Android code for phones and tablets will be the same, just displayed differently based on screen size.  Because of the different devices available, tools and methods were built into Android to handle how things are shown to the user.   Using fragments and the action bar, apps can be built that show information in one big view, or split into separate screens for devices with lower resolutions.

Scott goes over all the tecnical aspects well at the Android Developers blog (see the source link below), and gives developers a lot of ideason how to get started when the ICS SDK finally arrives.  What you can do right now if you've developed and app for SDK 11 or higher is make sure it's only available for large screen devices in the Android Market, at least until you can implement some of the new changes coming with ICS.  Now all that's missing is the update, which should be pretty soon we think.

Source: Android Developers

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2 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S II Sprint Epic 4G Touch gets the full root treatment

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If you went out and picked up a Samsung Epic 4G Touch and have plans to hack at it, here's your starting point -- zedomax at XDA has worked out a root method for the new handset, and has full details and downloads to get you on your way.  You'll need to have Samsung Kies and Odin 3 installed and running (boo!), which means this is Windows only for now, but long-time users of Samsung's Android offerings should be used to those requirements.  There's also a note that things are still in the "experimental" stage, so caveat emptor and all that.

Warnings aside, early reports seem to be positive, so if you're ready to get things rolling head to the source link, read the directions and watch the videos, grab the files, and give it a go!

Source: XDA-Developers. Thanks everyone who sent this in!

More discussion in the Epic 4G Touch forums

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2 years ago

Android Wallpaper Review: Mystic Halo Live Wallpaper

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YouTube link for mobile viewing

I'm not sure what this wallpaper reminds me of, but it's cool. Maybe Tron? Maybe the last boss fight in Deus Ex: Human Revolution? A plane engine? It's hard to nail down, but I know I've seen something like it before, and like then, it intrigues me.

That's the essence of Mystic Halo Live Wallpaper. Rotating rings, glowing, responding to your touch, etc. It's all pretty compelling visually, and fortunately, it doesn't drag your phone down.

Mystic Halo Live Wallpaper has a pretty full settings menu, too, assuming you buy the paid version. From here you can change the fade scheme (linear, heartbeat, or none), changing little things like the center staying lit or even glowing.

You can also set the rotation pattern (random, alternating, or sync), and enable or disable touch events. Touch events are kind of interesting; swipe a finger or something the the wheels will go crazy. Tap the screen and they'll return to their normal speed. Kind of irritating sometimes, also kind of cool.

Mystic Halo Live Wallpaper doesn't have unique color picking yet, but it does support seven colors. If cool blue isn't your thing, you can also choose from: antique pink, magenta, red, crisp green, tron blue, and MagBlue. MagBlue is the only two-toned color of the whole set, but I'm hoping that will complete color customization (coming in a later update), the ability to choose two colors is also included.

On the performance side, I didn't notice any lag on my EVO 3D. Screens swipe quickly. Not sure if it's the beefy phone or a well made wallpaper, or both. The developer says his wallpaper truly stays in the background and doesn't interfere, and if performance on my phone is any indication, he's telling the truth.

There are both paid and free versions of Mystic Halo Live Wallpaper, with the paid version only costing 99 cents. If you do opt to go all-in and pay the buck for it, you'll open up the touch events, multiple fade options, rotation control and other "special effects." If you can live without that, the free version'll do you fine, but this looks like a really quality wallpaper, and it goes easy on the battery.

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

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2 years ago

Amazon Appstore looks to be rolling out internationally

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It looks like the Amazon Appstore for Android is finally rolling out across the world, following its US-only launch earlier in the year. Reports are appearing from a variety of sources in the UK, Australia, the Netherlands and India suggesting that customers in these countries can now directly download the Appstore and use it to install free or paid apps.

There's still no official link to the Amazon Appstore on any international Amazon sites, but we found that visiting by visiting www.amazon.com/app-email on our phones, we could download the app and sign in using Amazon UK login details. From there, we were able to grab the free Kindle app and the paid Angry Birds app, as you'll see in the shots above. It should be noted that prices are still charged in US dollars, so if you're oversees then your card provider may charge an additional fee to handle transactions in a foreign currency.

If you're anywhere that's not the United States, then be sure to try directly installing the app from the link in this post (you'll need to enable non-Market apps first), and let us know how you fare in the comments.

Source: The Digital Reader

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2 years ago

Early CyanogenMod 7 test build now available for LG Optimus 3D and Thrill 4G

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Owners of LG's Optimus 3D (and the AT&T variant, the Thrill 4G) wanting to try some new, exotic software will welcome today's release of an early version of popular custom firmware CyanogenMod by developer Ricardo Cerquiera.

The "self-KANG" build is based on CyanogenMod 7.1 and Android 2.3.5, giving Optimus 3D owners their first taste of Gingerbread. A word of warning though -- it's still a very early version, so bugs are to be expected, along with some missing functionality. Most notably, HDMI mirroring isn't working in this build, and there's a bug with wireless tethering which means you'll need to reboot the phone to turn it off. Also, 3D stills cannot be taken or viewed (although existing 3D videos work just fine), and we found the camera to be particularly prone to crashing.

Like we said, it's an early pre-beta build. We were impressed with the sheer speed that resulted from the combination of CM7 and the Optimus 3D's beastly OMAP4 CPU, though. And despite the aforementioned camera wonkiness, we haven't experienced any real stability issues in our first day of using this ROM.

Fearless testers can find download and installation instructions at the source link. Obviously, you'll need to a rooted Optimus 3D and a fair bit of technical know-how before you begin.

Source: RootzWiki

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2 years ago

Android Game Review: Greedy Spiders

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YouTube link for mobile viewing

I don't like bugs but I do like puzzles. I'm not particularly fond of spiders, either (too many eyes and legs for my taste), so the idea of depriving them of their meal seemed like a good enough premise to give a whirl. The result is many an hour lost and homework neglected.

Greedy Spiders is a turn-based puzzle game where you (as some omnipotent, web-cutting force) are trying to outwit a spider (presumably a greedy one) and keep him from his meal of winged insect. This is done by touching a slice of web to cut it away and therefore keep the spider from getting from place to place.

Webs are set up in what I can best describe as a connect-the-dot format. There are points that webs connect to and it's at these points the spider can pivot around, change directions, and the like. You also take turns with the spider, with your move always going first. You snip some web, the spider walks, you snip again, so on and so forth.

If your bug gets eaten, you lose. If you manage to save your bug(s) from the spider, though, you win and advance to the next level. You're rewarded with stars for completing a level, Angry Birds-style, with one star being the utmost minimum and three stars for totally spaking some spider heiny.

The game also ramps up in difficulty, starting you off with only one bug to save and one spider trying to eat it. As you continue through the levels, you'll be tasked with saving more than one bug (I'm at four right now) from one spider. Once you're all buttered up and comfortable, however, you'll have to start contending with more than one spider trying to eat more than one bug. That's where it gets a bit stressful.

To ease your pain in the later levels, sometimes you're rewarded with some powerful options and abilities, but they're limited. You can sometimes wield fire to burn large sections of web away, put a dummy bug on the web to distract and fool a spider, or even "invoke a supernatural power" to teleport your bug off the web. The last one kind of escapes me, but hey, it's at your disposal.

Greedy Spiders is a pretty fun game. The graphics are well done, it's smooth, and there's a lot of content to explore. Just when you think you've begun to get the hang of things, another variable is introduced, and you're back to square one, fighting for your bug's survival.

There's both a free version and a paid version of Greedy Spiders, with the paid version running 99 cents. The free version only has 64 of the 128 levels, so if you don't mind starting over, you could play through the first 64 to make sure you enjoy it before spending a buck to get the rest of the game. In my opinion, it's another in the line of quality pseudo-puzzle games on Android and is totally worth checking out.

For those hankering to stick it to some spiders, we've got download links after the break.

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2 years ago

Telus releases Gingerbread update for Samsung Galaxy S Fascinate 4G

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Here's a jumpstart for your Monday morning: Telus has released the official Android 2.3 update for the Samsung Galaxy S Fascinate 4G, which it says will bring all of the Gingerbread goodies we've come to love, plus some better battery life. The update is only available through Telus' website, so if you're checking your phone for an OTA, stop wasting your time. You'll need Samsung Kies, a Windows computer, and some patience, and Telus says that if you run into any problems you'll have to give Samsung Social Hub support a call. Hit the source link for instructions and all necessary files.

Source: Telus

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2 years ago

Pantech Breakout hits Verizon on Sept. 22

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Ladies and gentlemen, we've got a new horse in Verizon's 4G LTE stables. Welcome the Pantech Breakout (which we first told you about nearly a month ago) -- a 4-inch candybar smartphone that bosts Android 2.3, a 1GHz processor, 5MP camera (VGA front-facing camera), Wifi b/g/n, the aforementioned 4G LTE data -- and an affordable price tag. Available in stores and online starting Sept. 22, the Breakout is going for just $99.99 after two-year contract and $50 rebate. Voice and data plans start at $39.99 and $30 (for 2GB), respectively.

Source: Verizon

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2 years ago

Epic 4G Touch gets Touchstone mod

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Getting a Touchstone mod is a sort of smartphone rite of passage. If someone's going to take enough time and effort to hack Palm's inductive charger onto the phone, it's a sure sign it's a winner. We've previously seen it on the Epic 4G and EVO 4G, and such is the case with the Epic 4G Touch. Android Central Forums member darrenf has modded his E4GT to work with the Touchstone.

A couple of caveats, of course. This requires some fairly major surgey. And beacuse of the Epic 4G Touch's tight fit, the inductive coil is actually on the outside of the battery cover, so it'll need some cosmetic surgery as well. But, damn it, that looks pretty sweet.

Check out the excellent walkthrough and instructions at the link below.

Source: Epic 4G Touch Fourms

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