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4 years ago

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit [Android Game Review]

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Before anyone can say anything, I know, I'm bad at racing games. I was bad at the ones you sat in at the arcades with an actual steering wheel, bad at ones on consoles with funny button configurations and control schemes, and I'm bad at ones that use accelerometer support to simulate a steering wheel, too.

Thing is, it was on sale I love you guys and gals, so I decided to bite the bullet, make a fool out of myself on video, and see what these newfangled touch racing games are all about. And that's exactly what I did.

Let's get the talk about the awesome graphics out of the way now. They're awesome (some of the best on Android, of course), but when your game is made by a huge studio that's used to producing AAA games, I'd expect nothing less. Still, racing (and subsequently crashing into everything in front of me) was still a visual treat, and that's to be commended.

Gameplay-wise, it's racing. Be default, automatic transmission is enabled, but you can switch to manual if you're feeling particularly skilled. The game starts you off with a little tutorial that teaches you how to do 180-degree turns easily and stuff, and let me say, had that not been there, I would have been even worse come recording time.

There's a couple of different options once you get out of the tutorial, like quick racing or playing through the career mode. Quick race is just what you'd think: you select some options based off of what you've got unlocked (what role you're playing, your vehicle, the time of day, etc.), and then you're off.

Career mode pits you against a computer-played adversary, whichever role you don't choose. You can pick between the cop and the street racer, and depending on which you choose, that tailors your mission objectives. More often than not, the cop is trying to catch the racer and the racer is trying to avoid being caught. Pretty straightforward stuff.

As you continue to race, you'll earn bounty (even if you lose), and after you collect so much bounty, you'll "level up" and unlock another, better car to use. Keep earning bounty and leveling up, and eventually you'll have the sweetest car in the game.

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit also has a bevy of in-game achievements, like drifting for 25 seconds or getting five roadblock hits. Each achievement seems to unlock another, better tier of the achievement (like drifting for 50 seconds), so there's plenty to work on while you race around the world unlocking cars and earning cash.

Sure, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit might not be the newest game out on Android, but that doesn't detract at all from how solid a game it is. Awesome graphics, tight controls, lots of missions and careers to play, and achievements all make it worthy of your time and money.

We've got download links after the break.

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4 years ago

Tapatalk v2.0 out of beta, ready for updating

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Tapatalk, the app that makes browsing vBulletin forums a breeze from a smartphone, has come out of its Version 2.0 beta and is now available for downloading. The biggest feature is an improved UI with multiple theme support, improved moderation tools, a nicer conversation style, and cloud-based account sync.

The official Tapatalk app runs $2.99 in Google Play. And, yes, we'll be updating our own Tapatalk-based Android Central Forums app in short order.

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4 years ago

Toshiba unveils 7.7-, 10.1- and 13.3-inch Excite tablets

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Toshiba this morning announced a trio of new tablets, ranging from 7.7 inches to 10.1 inches to a whopping 13.3 inches, all bearing the "Excite" name. (What you see in the picture above is the Excite 7.7, which we took for a beta test drive at Mobile World Congress back in February.) The three tablets have a lot in common, most notably that they're powered by NVIDIA's Tegra 3 processor.  Each has a 5-megapixel rear camera and 2-megapixel front-facing camera, runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and is covered in Gorilla Glass.

So it's the physical attributes (and pricing) that really differentiates them. Here's the breakdown:

  • Excite 7.7: Has a 7.7-inch AMOLED display at 1280x800 resolution (196 ppi). Is 0.3 inches thick and weighs 13.4 ounces. Available in June for $499.99 for 16GB, $579 for 32GB.
  • Excite 10: Has a 10.1-inch LED display at 1280x800 resolution (149 ppi). Is 0.35 inches thick and weighs 1.32 pounds. Available in May for $449 for 16GB, $529 for 32GB.
  • Excite 13: Has a 13.3-inch AutoBrite LED display at 1600x900 resolution (138 ppi). Is 0.4 inches thick and weighs 2.2 pounds. Available in June for $649 for 32GB, $749 for 64GB.

One noticeable (but not really surprising) trend is that pixel density goes down as screen size goes up. That's prone to happen, and we shutter to think where the Excite 13 pricing might have ended up if it tried to compete with the iPad's 264 pixels per inch. Regardless, Toshiba's been putting out some some sleek hardware after the relatively uninspiring Thrive line. Will the new Excites compete on any sort of scale? We'll see. But they've at least got a chance. We've got the full presser and pics after the break.

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4 years ago

Contest Winners: ShopAndroid Daily winners, Speck cases, and Android Central swag!

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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 during the week. Stay tuned for more upcoming contests folks. Congrats to the winners!

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4 years ago

Google Play Music introduces labs features: Desktop notifications, HTML5 audio and 5-Star ratings

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Google has long since been known as a company that enjoys placing some not quite complete features on a few of their products out there to mix things up. Those items usually fall under a beta or "labs" moniker and that's exactly what they've done with Google Play Music now. While most of use are making use of Google Play Music through the Android app Google offers, there are a number of folks who also like to use it on the desktop as well and for those folks Google has introduced:

  • Desktop Notifications - Find out what's playing without having to switch back to your Google Music tab. A notification will appear at the start of each song with the song title, artist name, album title, and album cover. This lab only works in the Chrome browser.
  • HTML5 Audio - Listen to your music without the need for Flash. Works in all browsers that support MP3 playback with HTML5 audio: Chrome, Safari 3.1+, and IE 9+.
  • 5-Star Ratings - Rate songs on a 5-star scale rather than thumbs-up or thumbs-down.

With Google making changes to Google Play Music for desktop users, we kind of have to wonder if they're also going to working on labs for their mobile version as well. Can you all think of any features you'd like to see added that would be of use? Sound off in the comments.

Source: Engadget

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4 years ago

DroidDoodle: Project Glass tests are going just fine, thank you

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4 years ago

Grab an unlocked Tegra 3 model HTC One X from Daily Steals

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We usually don't worry too awful much about the various people importing and hawking unlocked phones on the Internet, but sometimes things just need passed along. The deals site Daily Steals has the unlocked, Tegra 3 version of the HTC One X up for sale, and if you want to part with $630, you can get your hands on the world version. We're not going to get in the middle of the debate over which version is best, and chances are the average user would see zero difference between the two, just know that it's very possible the only way to get the quad-core version is to import one.

Note that this won't have 3G/4G (or 11G) of any sort on T-Mobile (it lacks the 1700MHz band) unless you live in one of those freakish areas where T-Mo also transmits on AT&T's frequencies. And it also lacks network optimizations for AT&T, but for the most part it will work just fine. If seeing how smitten Phil and Alex are with theirs makes you want one of your own, here's your chance.

Source: Daily Steals

Thanks everyone who sent this in!

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4 years ago

Disabling HTC apps on Sense 4.0 probably isn't a very good idea

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One of the things folks really (really) like about Android 4.0 is the way you can disable system applications from the settings menu. It doesn't delete them, but it does keep them quiet and out of the way while perusing the app drawer. Anything that gives more control to the user is a good thing, and we're just as glad to see it as you guys are. Adios, City ID!

But for some apps, it makes very little Sense (pun intended, tip your waitress, try the veal) to try to zap them away -- especially core components of the operating system. HTC Sense 4.0, at least the software versions floating around of the One X and One S review units, has a couple listings that make you just want to try it. There's an entry called "phone" and an entry called "dialer". There's also two separate contacts apps listed, one is a measly 8k and the other is a measly 28k. Don't disable any of these unless you're sure about what you're doing. If you disable one of the contacts apps, your dialer and phone app stop working. If you disable the other, the whole phone UI resets. If you disable either the phone or dialer apk, let's just say that the debugger goes hawg wild (as opposed to normal hog wild) and things get a little wonky.

We're sure there's a rhyme and reason to what's going on with duplicate apps, and we have our guesses. But until devices ship with final software to folks who can take the time to look at them and play a bit, we're going to go on record and say don't disable the core Sense apps. Android hackers will soon build a list of what's safe to disable or delete, and what isn't. For now, if you've lain your hands on one of these beauties, enjoy it as-is. We are!

Discuss in the Android Central forums

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4 years ago

Ice Cream Sandwich factory images now available for the Sprint Nexus S 4G

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A few days back, Sprint announced the update to Ice Cream Sandwich was ready to go, and today Jean-Baptiste Queru (the AOSP guru at Google) has announced that the sojus factory images are available as well, bringing the Nexus S 4G up-to-date with the GSM versions.

These aren't files to update your phone. On the contrary, they are there to restore your phone back to stock if you've knocked it out of whack whilst fooling with it. As JBQ recommends, if you're running a stock version of Gingerbread on your NS4G, just wait for the OTA -- it's coming. But if you're the adventurous type, you could use these images to get your NS4G to the exact state it would be if all OTA updates were applied -- ICS IMM76D. It takes a bit of keyboard wizardry while in Fastboot, and it will wipe everything. Know this going in.

No matter which way you're going to roll with it, you'll find all the help a person could ever want in the Nexus S 4G forums. High-tail it in there and join in the frenzy.

Source: +Jean-Baptiste Queru; Google

Nexus S 4G forums

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4 years ago

Internal calendar, big green arrow point to T-Mobile's HTC One S launching April 25

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It looks like T-Mobile's gonna roll out its HTC One S on April 25 -- at least according to this leaked internal screen shot and big green arrow. The timing's as good as anything, we suppose, and trust us when we say you TMo fans are going to want this in your hands sooner rather than later. It's a little slice of sexy.

But T-Mobile employees aren't the only ones getting their learn on. We're running our own HTC One S clinic in our aptly named HTC One S forums. Come on in, sit down, and ask away.

Source: TMo News

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4 years ago

Tumblr for Android gets overhauled with a new UI, better photo browsing and more

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Use Tumblr for your blogging services? If so, you'll want to fire up the Google Play Store and grab the latest update available. This release brings a whole new UI to the app as well many other improvements that have sorely been needed:

  • More responsive, faster-loading dashboard and blogs
  • Better photo browsing
  • Notifications for multiple blogs live in one place
  • Tumblr Radar

Sadly, Tumblr left tablet optimization out of the mix so you'll still have to find other ways to make use of it on any of those devices -- we're sure you all will figure it out though. Either way, it's a worthy update. You can jump past the break for some more screenshots and the download link.

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4 years ago

Battery life on 4.0.4, Removable Batteries [From the Forums]

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For some it's still a holiday today but that hasn't stopped the new from flowing. If you missed out on anything, get yourself caught up here on the blogs and in the Android Central forums.

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

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4 years ago

Wind Mobile Nexus S getting its ICS update OTA (Edit: Videotron, too!)

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Wind customers with a Samsung Nexus S should get ready for the big OTA to Ice Cream Sandwich, as it appears to be rolling out now. AC reader Vic Singh tweeted in to let us know that his Nexus S was updating, and we knew that you guys would want to know. You'll need to be stock, with the stock recovery to accept the update (unlocked boot loaders are OK), and make sure your battery is charged up -- it takes a lot of the precious juice.

We still aren't seeing OTA updates en masse for the AT&T or Sprint versions, but they are in the wild, so keep a look out. When you get it, be sure to holler out so we can pass the good news along!

Edit: jcaplette points out in the comments that Videotron has its OTA rolling out as well.  Appears that all AWS Nexus S phones in North America are getting the update. Sweet!

Source: @vicjsingh

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4 years ago

Android Central weekly photo contest: Vices

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We all have bad habits. I drink entirely too much coffee, and every time I try to cut back (because I know how bad it is for me), I end up back at it again within a week. It's one of my personal vices, and I hate it. But it's also delicious and I love it. As my wife, and my doctor, say -- I'll quit one way or the other.

Enough about my bad habits, this week we want to see yours. No need to be shy, let's see a visual representation of the things you do, that you wish you didn't. It's a great way to have fun, and there's a cool prize in it for a lucky winner -- a Motorola P970 portable charger. It's perfect for those phones with non-removable batteries, and so easy you may just end up using it instead of swapping batteries around. The rules have changed a little bit, so pay attention to this part.

  • Use an Android device to take a picture. Any Android device
  • Submit the picture in the forum thread we have set up for this week, so everyone can see your handiwork. E-mail was swamping us, and not everyone got to see all the entries. This way, we get to see them all. We like seeing it all.
  • Only submit one. We're going to check, and we'll know if you try to game the system.
  • Be sure to tell what device you used, and any effects or filters used on the photo. We can learn from these as well as have fun.
  • Get your picture in by Friday midnight (your local time). We'll pick the winner and the runners-up and throw them on the blog Sunday afternoon.
  • Pictures of vice-grips or bench vices aren't going to win. I'm an Interweb troller from way back. 

Protip: The Android Central forums app is a super-easy way to upload pictures right from your device. Grab it and see for yourself.

Good luck, and get to snapping!

Enter the weekly photo contest

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4 years ago

From the mail bag: Did HTC just out an edge-to-edge device?

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Thunder350 writes,

A beautiful unannounced almost bezel free HTC device has been spotted on HTC's new HTC Sense web page! Is it a future device? Or just HTC teasing us with a beautiful phone we wish we had?

Boy, oh boy, that picture there on HTC's website is gorgeous. It's reminiscent of the old Windows Mobile HD2 (which as you should know was also hacked to run Android pretty well), or maybe even that way early Google phone concept

But, alas, it's not real. HTC (probably chuckling, we imagine), tells us:

While the idea is intriguing, I can assure you that image is intended just to show off the Sense software UI without any device hardware. Sorry, it's not an indication of any future device. :)

Not yet it's not, anyway. :p

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