3 years ago

Karma Wifi Hotspot review: Feel good about sharing your connection


High per-gigabyte pricing and weak coverage hurt an otherwise interesting model for mobile data.

Whether it's to get our Wifi-only tablets online, save battery on our phones or simply diversify to have connections from multiple carriers, many turn to a mobile hotspot for their data needs. Most hotspots follow a very similar billing model as a phone — pay every month for a certain amount of data, and at the start of the next month you have the same amount of data refreshed.

The Karma Wifi Hotspot is different, and for a specific set of people it may just be a great go-to device if you just need some extra data here and there. At the simplest level, Karma is a pay-as-you-go mobile hotspot. You purchase the device itself for $99 and refill data onto it at the rate of $14 per 1GB (or less if you buy in bulk). The data doesn't expire at the end of the month, though, it actually never expires.

But that isn't Karma's only trick. Your hotspot is open for any other Karma user to take advantage of — and if someone else logs into your hotspot, you'll both be rewarded with free data that gets added right onto your data balance. Read along and learn how Karma is hoping to be your next choice for pay-as-you-go data.

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3 years ago

What I'm playing this week: TA: Little Red Riding Hood


A twist on the classic tale, with beautiful graphics and excellent game mechanics

I can't stop playing this one. TA: Little Red Riding Hood (the TA stands for Twisted Adventures) is a great mix of platformer and runner style games, one where you hop from rotating sphere to rotating sphere, hitting the good things and avoiding the bad things.

There are no complicated commands or rules to memorize. You tap the screen to jump. As you jump from sphere to sphere, you'll want to collect the flowers and apples you see along the way. When you see a caged rabbit on a sphere's surface, touch it to free it. Shadow monsters, like wolves, hornets and birds, will kill you and send you back to the beginning of the level if you touch them. The levels get progressively harder, and some are maddeningly difficult to get a perfect score on — just the way we like them to be.

While the game physics and mechanics are really good — there's even a different gravity factor based on how fast or slow a sphere is turning — it's the graphics that send TA: Little Red Riding Hood over the top. Done up in the popular art-style you see from titles like Don't Starve or Badland, the graphics are beautiful, and gameplay is fluid. 

It's not the perfect game — there's no Google Play games integration, and the lone soundtrack is a little repetitive — but it's definitely one worth downloading if you're into casual games on your phone or tablet. It's also on sale for 99-cents for a limited time, so you've got even more incentive to give it a spin. 

The Google Play link is above, and you can watch the official gameplay trailer after the break.

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3 years ago

From the Editor's Desk: The Flappy Bird paradox


Flappy Bird haters aren't wrong — but we're also in the minority.​

Maybe I just don't get it. I'm all for mindless, time-wasting games. I think being able to shut down most of your brain for a few minutes and push some pixels around — then stop and pick right back up where you left off — is a good thing. I just didn't think Flappy Bird was a particularly good game. To each his own, I suppose. (I veg out with Jetpack Joyride and Plants vs. Zombies 2 all the time.)

And I wasn't alone. In every Flappy Bird story we ran, commenters were on my side. (At least that's how I saw it. This was personal.) Flappy Bird — insofar as mindless, free games go — was not good.

But here's the thing, and it's something we recognized fairly early (even if I took my sweet-ass time giving in to it): Flappy Bird was (and still is) a treasure trove of traffic. Make no mistake about it — folks were searching the web for ways to beat Flappy Bird. How to "win" at Flappy Bird. And, yes, how to cheat at Flappy Bird. It was downloaded tens of millions of times on iOS and Android. We'd be stupid to not write about it. (But that doesn't mean I had to like it.)

So it's not like nobody was playing Flappy Bird. Make no mistake, we haters are in the minority. We pass on bullshit stories all the time. Flappy Bird, for better or worse, became too big to ignore. But I won't be sorry to see it go.

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3 years ago

First look at Gubble Vacation Rush from Apps World


Back during the era of the original Playstation, an arcade-style game called Gubble migrated from PC and Mac to Playstation. It starred a little purple alien who hopped around in a pogo stick-like vehicle and solved puzzles with simple tools like hammer and screwdriver. Several years later, developer Actual Entertainment released the first Gubble on iOS (Android hadn’t caught on so strongly at that point).

At Apps World in San Francisco last week we met with Actual president Franz Lanzinger  to learn about Gubble’s upcoming trip to Android. The hammer-loving alien will soon star in Gubble Vacation Rush, a 3D endless running game. What has Gubble been up to all this time, and what will he bring to the (work)table in Vacation Rush? Find out in our hands-on video!

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3 years ago

Apps of the Week: Plane Finder, Boxed Wholesale, The Great Martian War and more!


Check out the apps we've been using on our devices this week

It's been another big week of news, so now it's time to sit down and talk about some apps. Each Saturday we take up a spot on the site to highlight an app that each of the writers here at Android Central have been using lately. Whether it's a popular (or not so popular) game, new utility or just something random that's been on our phones and tablets, we'll talk about it here.

Read along with us after the breaks and see another solid collection of apps from the team — you may just find a few apps to install for yourself.

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3 years ago

T-Mobile wins court case over Aio Wireless regarding use of magenta-like colors


Texas court rules AT&T has to choose a new color scheme for its budget prepaid brand

Following an extensive suit culminating in a three-day hearing, T-Mobile has won a court case finding that AT&T's prepaid brand Aio Wireless was using colors too similar to T-Mobile's in its branding. The lawsuit, which sparked up quickly after Aio Wireless launched, claimed that AT&T specifically used a color it calls "plum" that was very close to T-Mobile's trademark magenta color specifically to confuse customers.

A federal court in Texas has now ordered AT&T to stop using its current "plum" color scheme, specifically "magenta or similar colors," for the prepaid brand in marketing, advertising, stores, web sites and social media. It's not clear at this time what color scheme AT&T will choose to switch to, or if it will appeal the decision — the wording of the ruling doesn't ban complete use of the colors, but only specific shades in "large blocks."

T-Mobile states that "Wireless customers identify T-Mobile with magenta," and that this ruling reaffirms that position. This isn't the first time T-Mobile has had to defend its specific color use against other entities, but this can be a big speed bump and cost assessed to AT&T which is likely trying to run Aio Wireless on generally tight margins.

Source: T-Mobile

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3 years ago

Flappy Bird developer 'cannot take this anymore' and is taking down insanely popular game


Developer Dong Nguyen will keep making games, but Flappy Bird will be no more by the end of the weekend. 

The somewhat reclusive developer of inexplicable runaway hit Flappy Bird has announced that he "cannot take this anymore" and will be removing the game from app stores in 22 hours, as of 2:02 PM EST today. Dong Nguyen explained on his Twitter account that the takedown isn't due to any legal reasons, and that he won't be selling the rights to the game. 

Flappy Bird apparently is making $50k every day in ad revenue, which makes the take-down seem bizarre, but one can imagine that an indie developer that never sought the spotlight may be under a little too much pressure. He said earlier that the game has ruined his simple life, so he hates the game. Nguyen says he'll keep making games though, and with any luck, they'll experience at least a little bit of the success of Flappy Bird. 

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3 years ago

Apps World: Hands-on with the new and improved Zeebox TV app


Updated features expected to hit within the next few days

We travelled to this week’s App World event in San Francisco to learn about new and interesting apps coming to Android. One section of the show – TV Hackfest - specifically showcased apps relating to television and video viewing.

Inside of the TV Hackfest area, we met with Anthony Rose, Co-founder and CTO of Zeebox. Zeebox is a second-screen TV app that offers a customizable TV guide, news feeds for users’ favorite shows, discussion rooms for those shows, and more. The Android version of Zeebox is due for an update with exclusive features within the next few days. Check out our hands-on video to see how Zeebox can make watching the shows you like better and easier.

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3 years ago

Moto G, two months on


Motorola swept us off our feet with the affordable Moto G. But after two months and a software update, how has life fared for the little phone that could? 

Back in late November 2013, Alex Dobie and myself tooled up and headed to London to meet Motorola's latest Android smartphone. We already knew the name, but what we didn't know was just how much Motorola would blow us away that afternoon with the new Moto G. It's easy to pay lip service to budget devices and then forget all about them. But one thing was immediately clear; the Moto G was different. This was a phone we wanted to take notice of. 

Motorola has had something of a reduced presence in recent times outside of North America, with the last new UK release being the RAZR i about a year before. With the Moto G, it was back with a bang. Back with a product that was so well priced for what was on offer that folks would find it hard not to pick one up just to see it for themselves. 

In the two months or so since launch, I've used the Moto G regularly. It's easy to get swept up in the new high-end devices, but using the Moto G hasn't been the chore that using a budget phone once would have been.

Join us after the break for some long-term thoughts on the Moto G. 

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3 years ago

Flappy Bird: 5 tips, hints, cheats and tricks to tap your way up the leaderboards


Flappy Bird strategy guide: top 5 ways to score higher and stay saner at Flappy Bird, the game everyone loves to hate ... or hates to love!

Flappy Bird is the hottest game on the Play Store — at least for the moment — and topmost on every gamer's mind is how to get a higher score than their friends without smashing their phone to pieces in the process. Flapp Bird is a fantastically terrible game, its design is derivative, its mechanics maddening, and its popularity no doubt the result of incredible rage-of-mouth marketing. Yet despite all of that (or maybe because of it), we can't. Stop. Playing. So how can you get better at Flappy Bird faster? For some games it's simply a matter of finding the right tips, hints, and cheats. Flappy Bird, however, is so simple, that there are few to no ways to hack the system. But that doesn't mean you can't hack yourself...

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3 years ago

Droid Zap expands send and receive functionality to all, redesigns app in the process


New 'Zap Zones' still limited to Droid devices, unfortunately

Droid Zap, the curiously-named picture and video sharing app announced alongside Motorola's new Droid devices, is opening up to all phones running Android 4.0 and above today. The app makes it (relatively) simple to share pictures and videos between devices by opening the app and swiping on the screen with two fingers. While the app would actually install on any device before, functionality was limited to just receiving files — you needed to have a Droid to send.

The ability to send and receive is now open to every device that it will install on, and the app has also been redesigned to be decidedly less "Droid" looking. The premise is still the same, though — choose or take a photo or video, then swipe up on the screen with two fingers. Anyone nearby with Droid Zap installed can swipe down and receive the item. You can password protect the files, or leave it open to anyone if you choose. A new feature called Zap Zone is still limited to Droid devices, which seamlessly shares all available photos between devices with fewer swipes.

Motorola positions this as a useful tool for parties, but just as we noted when it first came out, we're not sure how many people will have Droid Zap installed and ready to go on their phones for your next get-together. If you're interested in giving it a try, head to the Play Store link above and download it — you'll be sending pictures to everyone around you wirelessly in no time.

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3 years ago

Tell us: how does your smartphone factor into your sex life?


Here at Mobile Nations we like to think of ourselves as being real tech for real people. And we know that in addition to owning smartphones, real people go on dates, send each other photos, have sex, and all sorts of other stuff. The smartphone is playing a greater and greater role in all of that, so we wanted to know just how you are using your smartphone to get it on.

We're not afraid to ask the prickly questions. Even that leads to us finding out you're into prickly things (to each their own).

Now, I know where your brain is going, and we're not suggesting that you engage in sexy times with your smartphone (that's weird and a potential trip to the ER), but we know that plenty of you use your smartphone to facilitate said sexy times. So we've put together this little survey that delves into how you use your smartphone in kinky and not so kinky ways

We want you to be fully honest with us, and to have some fun. After all, there's nothing at stake here. Except for maybe your dignity. So hit the link below and, uh, get it on.

Smartphones and sex — the survey

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3 years ago

How to cheat at Flappy Bird for Android


Victory is just a root away — and anyone can cheat at Flappy Bird.

God I hate this game. Flappy Bird is simple, and you can easily cheat at Flappy Bird. I just want it to be done so it can go away. Hats off to the developer who figured out how to make a few dollars from endless frustration and a couple hours of coding, but Flappy Bird needs to die.

It hit me this afternoon — the best way to stop playing a game is to cheat so hard you'll never be able to match the result by normal means. After that, you never want to play again and don't care when everyone else talks abut playing it.

Luckily, Flappy Bird is as easy to cheat at as it is to die flapping.

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3 years ago

ShopAndroid.com Sale: Love Your Phone this Valentine's Day!


Save 20% on all Android cases and accessories this Valentine's Day by using coupon code 'sweet20' at checkout!

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and while you're probably thinking flowers and chocolates for the significant other in your life, you don't want to forget to take care of the other sweetie in your life. You know the one we're talking about. The one that's in your hand all day long.

Your phone!

In honor of Valentine's Day, you can show your Android a little love and save 20 percent on all Android cases and accessories at ShopAndroid.com in our Valentine's Day Sale. To take advantage of the savings, all you need to do is enter in coupon code sweet20 during the checkout process. Free shipping is available on all orders over $50 (domestic U.S./Canada), and you have lots of payment methods beyond standard credit card including Amazon payments, Paypal and Bitcoin!

And for those of you have multiple-mobile loves in your life, don't forget the sweet20 coupon also works at ShopCrackBerry.comthe iMore Store and Windows Phone Store. Your shopping cart will follow you through all four stores, so you can buy from all four stores and checkout once. You gotta love that!

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3 years ago

Moto G coming to Aio Wireless Feb. 14th for $149


$79 ZTE Sonata 4G also available starting today

As the Moto G continues its march through seemingly every carrier and retailer, Aio Wireless has just announced that it will carry Motorola's inexpensive handset starting February 14th. The Moto G will set you back $149 without a contract, which is a $30 savings over the unlocked GSM model but currently a $50 bump over the carrier-specific CDMA versions on Verizon and U.S. Cellular.

Another even cheaper device, the ZTE Sonata 4G, also goes on sale from the prepaid carrier today. It's hard to expect much with this device, and you'll be getting a 4-inch 480x800 display, dual-core processor and a 5MP camera. But for $79 off-contract, that will probably be enough.

Aio Wireless operates on the AT&T network (and is actually owned by the carrier), and offers a pretty nice set of plans, which just got a bit sweeter with lower prices and increased data allotments last week. The lowest plan offers unlimited talk and text with 500MB of full-speed data (in Aio's case that's 8mbps) for $40, going up to $60 per month for 5GB of full-speed data.

You'll be able to pick up the ZTE Sonata 4G from Aio Wireless online starting today, with the Moto G hitting its store on February 14th.

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