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5 Android apps you shouldn’t miss this week – Google Play Weekly

Posted by wicked August - 29 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off


Welcome back to Google Play Weekly! This week we talk about Rocket Player’s return to the Google Play Store. Google has cleaned up all of the Swing Copter clones which is a good thing. As it turns out, Amazon bought Twitch and not Google. A new study came out that shows that mobile usage trumps desktop usage but people aren’t using that many apps. T-Mobile’s Music Freedom promotion added a number of new streaming services, but still no Google Play Music. Finally, here are five Android apps you shouldn’t miss this week.


Locket Lock Screen Locket Lock Screen (beta)

[Price: Free]
First up this week is Locket Lock Screen. You may remember this as the app that let you click on ads to make money but they have since changed their tune. Their new app is a lock screen replacement app that shoots news directly to your lock screen. It’s pretty well designed and works well even though it’s in beta. It’s also free which is nice.
Get it on Google Play
locket lock screen android apps review


Google News and WeatherGoogle News & Weather

[Price: Free]
Google News and Weather was brought back from the dead this last week and with it came a huge update. First and foremost, it’s not available in the Google Play Store free of charge. It’s also received a huge UI update that brings the popular card UI into the mix. It’s rolling out right now so it may still read as incompatible for some. Otherwise, why not check it out?
Get it on Google Play
Google News and Weather


PushBullet Android appsPushBullet

[Price: Free]
PushBullet got an update this last week that seems pretty innocuous except for one big thing. With this update, you can now reply to text messages directly from your computer (using any app) instead of just seeing the notifications. This practically doubles the usefulness of PushBullet and the app is free to use so why not right?
Get it on Google Play


Lockable Android appsLockable

[Price: Free with in app purchases]
Lockable is an application that lets you put a lock screen on your Android Wear device. It’s a fairly simple premise and lets you do things like have a pin on your Wear device so that you can keep it secure. The app is free to use but to get the pin and pattern unlock, you’ll have to pay for it via in app purchases.
Get it on Google Play
Lockable Android apps


Nova Launcher Android appsNove Launcher

[Price: Free / $4.00]
Last up this week is an update to Nova Launcher. Along with the usual bug fixes and performance improvements you’ll also get several new app drawer transitions to let you customize your app drawer more. The transitions are circle, slide up, zoom, and fade which are pretty self-explanatory. If you’re a Nova user already, the update should be rolled out by now.
Get it on Google Play
Nova Launcher android apps

AnTuTu v5.0 available now on Play Store

Posted by wicked August - 28 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

Have you ever tried a benchmarking tool with your Android smartphone? AnTuTu is one of the most popular Android benchmarking tools, and has been used in all the smartphone reviews you have read. Today the company has pushed a major update to Google Play Store, which will update the previous v4.0 to v5.0 with new benchmarking details.

With the continuous improvement of smartphone processor capability, few of the graphics performance tests in the V4.0 reach its peak. According to AnTuTu, the v5.0 has added new test methods through a 2D game engine “Coscos2D” and real game engine “Havok Vision Engine”. The 3D testing scenario has been tweaked with more complex lights, shadows, normal mapping – up to 3x tougher in v5.0 compared to v4.0.

Instead of just testing the processor in its full power, AnTuTu v5.0 has introduced CPU performance testing with single-core, because you will probably be running one or two cores only in normal usage, even though your smartphone processor is quad core. AnTuTu is also ready for 64-bit Android L devices. Both 32-bit and 64-bit processors from ARM and Intel are supported now with new test algorithm.

antutu-benchmark-2

It might seems like benchmarking tools are useless to you. What else you can do with the AnTuTu other than running a boring test? The ranking tab in the app gives you a list of the top performing smartphones. That list can be used as a convenient reference if you are looking for current top performance models.

There is also a device info tab to let you better understand your smartphone hardware details, including Android version, IMEI number, root status, supported sensors and more. Though, if you want to use it to detect a counterfeit phone, you will have to also retrieve the hardware info with CPU-Z and Android Hardware Info

Try the AnTuTu v5.0 here on Google Play Store

Atlas Web Browser is a free privacy-inclined browser

Posted by wicked August - 25 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

Whomever invented the pop-up advertising must surely be one of the most cursed persons in history, and now the huge stream of pop-up ads is following us even to our handheld devices. Thankfully, there are still some developers out there with enough nous to give us browser alternatives, including Tod Liebeck, who developed the Atlas Web Browser as an answer to browsing privacy.

The Atlas Web Browser – now a free app download via the Google Play Store – was designed to overcome the common irritations and problems we have in Android web browsers. But more than that, it also aims to defeat the obnoxious advertising, excessive Javascript and even the annoying mobile “optimized” pages that we view on our smartphones and tablets.

Atlas-Web-Browser-contentfilter

One of the main benefits from this app is content filtering, which utilizes AdBlockPlus’s filters to turn off advertising and privacy tracking that some websites (ok, most websites) employ. You can also choose browsing modes (Hi-Fi, Lo-Fi, and Text) – with Hi-Fi showing all website details for normal browsing, Lo-Fi disabling all Javascript, and Text mode which is just that – a text-only version of the website you’re looking at.

Atlas-Web-Browser-DualView

A few extras are available when you avail of the paid add-on, namely, that you are able to open more than four tabs in one browsing session. The unlocked mode also gives you a dual, side-by-side mode of two websites – a feature most users are asking to be built in to Android itself. Also, the app is designed via Android L’s Material Design, and so you can expect the app to be even more awesome when the latest version of Android rolls out. Check the source link for the download. Alternatively, you can also check the official XDA forum for bugs and other info.

SOURCE: Google Play Store

(Update: it’s back) Google pulled popular music player Rocket Player off the Play Store

Posted by wicked August - 25 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

rocket music player

Update: Developer Justin Tipton of JRT Studios reached out over the weekend to let us know that Rocket Player has been reinstated. Here’s his statement:

I’m excited to let you know that Rocket Player is back in the Google Play store!  Our eleven-day hiatus from Google Play store is over. Our customers have been very understanding and have really powered us through this rough patch. We can’t wait to get back to business as usual and continue our quest to make the best music player we can.

 For now, there are two Rocket Player apps in the Play Store, which is confusing. We put in the new version as a stopgap until Google reinstated the original version. Customers should download https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jrtstudio.AnotherMusicPlayer until the stopgap instance is unpublished.

Original post from August 13:

Rocket Player, an app with more than 10 million downloads, has been removed from the Play Store by Google earlier this week.

Rocket Player, which we included in our top ten music players list from July, has been available in the store since January 2012, amassing 144,000 ratings with an average score of 4.3. Google pulled it on Monday; a cached version of the app page can still be viewed by searching for “Rocket Player”. The app can still be downloaded from developer JRTStudio’s website, as well as from the Amazon Appstore.

We’ve reached out to Justin Tipton, founder of JRTStudio, for details on precisely what happened. Tipton did not want to share the reasons why he believes Google pulled his app, but said he was only offered vague information about the issue by the company.

“This could end up being a major loss for myself, my employees and contractors. Each day we are not in the Play Store is critical. While we still have a great app in iSyncr, Rocket Player was just recently updated with a bunch of new UI components and ready to push further up the charts. Google has given us vague information about the issue, but not enough to share at this time.”

Tipton contacted Google and is hopeful that the app will be restored soon.

At this point, we can only speculate about the reasons that caused the suspension. Very likely, it’s an issue with copyright infringement – media apps often get into hot water for potential or actual copyright infringement.

Google has been criticized in the past (a recent example) for its opaque and inflexible way of handling app suspensions. The main issue is that Google’s support staff doesn’t always offer a clear reason why the app was flagged for removal, and even when it does, the appeal procedures are limited. That leaves well-meaning developers scrambling to identify issues and get in touch with Google managers.

Most smartphone users download this many apps per month: zero

Posted by wicked August - 23 - 2014 - Saturday Comments Off

In summer of 2008, Apple introduced another game-changer that would affect the way people used smartphones moving forward – the iPhone App Store. This has now contributed to the global consciousness about apps, and Google saw that this was the only way to go to peddle its apps as well through the Android Market, concluding in the current incarnation of the Google Play Store. But why does comScore’s new data point to a staggering truth – that most smartphone users average ZERO app downloads in a month?

According to the same study, 52 percent – a little over half the time people spend on digital media (Internet, smartphones, tablets) are on apps. Yet the numbers of the report say this – that 65.5% of all smartphone users in the country average zero app downloads in a month. Only one third – roughly 30% — download any apps at all, and that would be around 1 to 3 apps.

us-smartphone-users-number-of-app-downloads-per-month-of-smartphone-users_chartbuilder

What’s the deal? It’s not like these apps aren’t useful – the usage numbers say that more than half of US smartphone owners tapped and used apps on a daily basis (comScore). Are good apps too pricey? We all know that most apps are free, and even then, most paid apps average on from a few cents to a few dollars, and the market is such that it pushes prices down rather than up.

One suitable explanation maybe that over the years, the app saturation has gone on to very high levels that it pushes users to have an “app routine” – that is, get to know the apps that do the job for you, and stick to them like glue. Once a user falls into a routine, they will still have the same apps even if they upgrade devices – the Google Play Store has made this tremendously easy, and even I can say that I am glad for it.

apps2

Another explanation may be that the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store – but more Apple than Google, really – has made it very difficult to discover new apps. The Apple App Store ecosystem is notorious for relying heavily on “top lists” and also known for not improving its search functions over the years. This only makes “editor’s picks” and bigger companies get all the profit and pushes an app – however ingenious it is – to the bottom.

The numbers won’t lie, the app ecosystem has pushed people to a state of non-discovery. It falls a lot to Android journalists and writers to discover and recommend the cool apps that need to be unearthed out the pile. But it also points to Apple and Google having to improve their market ecosystems, or else it might die a slow and painful death.

VIA: QZ

PAC-MAN Friends brings classic to Android, adds tilt control

Posted by wicked August - 22 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

There are only so many things you can do to a classic gaming franchise like Pac-Man, before the attempts to bring them to modern times become trite and tired. Lo and behold, we have another official Pac-game release called “PAC-MAN Friends” aimed specifically at the Android platform. What will fans of the classic think about this?

The classic game of Pac-Man worked because of its simplicity, with your yellow (or 8-bit white, depending on the platform you played in) chomping dude going around the same maze being chased by ghosts that drink an ever-increasing quantity of energy drinks after every stage. People didn’t have to think so much, and the game just provided a simple proposition that was enough.

PAC-MAN Friends appeals to the classic nostalgia while adding on some very modern features to the game. You’ll find stuff to chomp, ghosts, mazes and the occasional fruit here, but a lot of it is new, like using tilt controls to move Pac-Man around your puzzle stages. The new game features 95 levels and 6 worlds, with 9 new Pac-friends to help you out.

pac1
pac2
pac3
pac4

There’s the inevitable social network connection, to tell your friends how well you’re doing, and in-app purchases. The game is downloadable via the Google Play Store for USD$4.99. Check out the source link for the details and the download.

SOURCE: Google Play Store

SNK games now available with KOF anniversary ‘discount’

Posted by wicked August - 22 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

SNK PLAYMORE has been porting all your nostalgia-ridden 90s arcade fighting games to Android for a time now, and we all love them for it. Now you get the chance to download them all for cheap via the Google Play Store as the 20th anniversary of the “King of Fighters” franchise comes around.

Who doesn’t remember King of Fighters? Most Gen X-ers would probably have memories of getting tired of playing Street Fighter and turning to KOF with its fresh new characters for something different. And then there are those really hardcore who only played KOF exclusively. We all grew up, but SNK PLAYMORE has been giving us a chance to re-live those days on the Android format, even if it is just during lunchtimes, in between corporate meetings, or the downtime going to bed.

king-of-fighters-97-820x420

The selection of KOF games on Android is impressive, actually. The 16-bit classic King of Fighters was the first to make it to the mobile platform, and then KOF ’97 soon followed a year after. Just recently, KOF ’98 also debuted on Android as well. Aside from KOF, SNK PLAYMORE has also brought the classic title of “Metal Slug” to Android.

snk-playmore

If you want to go ahead and binge on SNK titles, check their Play Store page here. All paid titles can now be yours for the low, low price of USD$0.99. Good nostalgia hits can be pretty hard to come by. KOF is definitely one of those titles we’ve grown to love over the years.

SOURCE: @SNKPofficial

Pushbullet updated with cross-device copy/paste

Posted by wicked August - 20 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

Platforms and electronics continue to merge as services become available across all our devices, but the separation between gadgets continues to be cumbersome. In the midst of this cloud revolution we get a little treat called Pushbullet, an app that allows us to share notifications (and now other things) between smartphones, tablets and computers.

The service continues to evolve with improved notifications and more support for cross-device data sharing. Today’s app update is unique in that it takes the service’s functionality past simple notifications – users can now copy/paste across different computing units.

This is especially awesome because we know some Android and Windows apps are not compatible with each other. Take Kik and WhatsApp as an example, a couple messaging apps that are mobile-exclusive, yet they are used by a wide audience. You can now copy text from a computer and paste in one of these apps using your smartphone or tablet.

This currently works with Android devices and Windows computers. Though that is a bit limited, these are the two most popular platforms in their respective markets. This feature should be available to most of you. Go ahead and download the apps from the Google Play Store and Pushbullet’s website. The service is free and very well worth your attention.


Source: Push Bullet;

Androignito: hide your personal files easily with one app

Posted by wicked August - 18 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

Truth be told, Android was never designed with security and privacy in mind. That is why when efforts at Android security like the Blackphone (recently rumored to have been rooted) come out, they are certainly notable. This app called Androignito, developed by XDA forum member “aritraroy” might just be another one to take note of when thinking about privacy on your device.

When we talk about security and privacy in Android, we talk about PIN codes and patterns, the patented KnockCode for premium LG phones, and even the rumored eye scanning being studied by Samsung. But once you get past those, the phone’s content is literally at the tip of the user’s fingers. The Androignito app adds another layer of protection at the file level so that your personal data – pictures, videos, documents – can be protected from casual snoopers.

androignito1

The new app is able to use 3 layers of encryption and is able to hide most popular file types like documents, images, apps, and the like from casual browsing by asking for a PIN. The app has a built-in Stealth Mode that asks users to log-in three times, and when the user fails to do so, the application blocks access to the files for 15 minutes.

androignito2

The caveat here is that the app does not give industry grade security and privacy. The developer did not discuss much about the encryption algorithms used by the app, so we assume that a dedicated hacker – one who really wants to get at your data – could break through the app’s wall given enough time. But for securing data so that they are not in plain view of those whom you casually allow to flip through your device, Androignito might just be the app for you. Check out the application thread at XDA and look for the Google Play Store download link within.

VIA: XDA

5 Android apps you shouldn’t miss this week! – Google Play Weekly

Posted by wicked August - 15 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off


This week Google updated a number of their apps including Google Search, YouTube, and Google Play Music. LibreOffice has announced a plan to port their hallmark office suite to Android which is good news if you’re a fan of open source. HTC is doing something a little different by releasing some of their HTC-exclusive apps for everyone. XBMC, we mean Kodi, has been spotted in the wild running on Android TV which is great news for fans of XBMC (we mean Kodi). Microsoft has announced that a new feature for Xbox SmartGlass will allow users to stream TV from their Xbox One to their Android device. Now here are five Android apps you shouldn’t miss this week!


YoWindow Android appsYoWindow Weather

[Price: Free / $0.99]
YoWindow Weather is a newer weather app that focuses more on design than on functionality. It does show the weather and you can view hour by hour forecasts using a very attractive slider feature. It looks nice and comes with a live wallpaper if you want it to look even nicer. It lacks some features, but it makes up for it with good looks.
Get it on Google Play


Android apps Google+Google+

[Price: Free]
Google+ got a couple of updates in the last week or so. Included in the update was a lightly tweaked UI that doesn’t look all that different but it’s one of those “you’ll know it when you see it” kind of things. Also included was Chromecast support so you can now cast your photos and videos directly to your TV through the app which is actually kind of cool.
Get it on Google Play
Android apps


Duet Android appsDuet

[Price: Free / $3.00]
Duet is a new minimal brain teaser game that is actually quite a bit of fun and those who tune in every week know that I don’t prefer minimal games very often. This one mixes an atmospheric soundtrack with simple graphics and a difficult to master game play premise where you must rotate two balls around objects. The core game is free and you can get extra stuff if you fork out $3.
Get it on Google Play


Device Unlock android appsDevice Unlock

[Price: Free]
T-Mobile has released an application that promises to unlock devices on their network so they can be used on other networks. Right now it only works on the Samsung Avant but we expect support for more devices to roll out eventually. Seriously, it only works for the Avant so giving it a 1-star rating because it doesn’t support all devices yet. Don’t be that guy. No one likes that guy.
Get it on Google Play
Device Unlock Android apps


TapPath icon android appsTapPath

[Price: $0.99]
TapPath is a new application from Chris Lacy, who brought us Link Bubble. With this application you can actually choose how links are opened. If you single click, it’ll open a web browser, but you can also set double clicks and triple clicks to do things like automatically add the link to Pocket or do other things with other applications. It’s pretty useful and can save people a ton of time. Check it out!
Get it on Google Play

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