Evernote Update Adds Messaging Functionality

Evernote Update Adds Messaging Functionality

Oct 31, 2014

Evernote, the popular cross-platform note-taking app, is getting better collaboration tools with its latest update.

The latest feature is Work Chat; it is billed as giving users the ability “to send messages to share notes and discuss things ” being worked on without having to leave the app.

Now, when users open the app, there is a new chat icon that shows up towards the top right (in the screenshot, it is the third app from the right). Tapping on that leads the user to the chat menu; one can invite others to collaborate on data via email, name or phone number. The app interfaces with the onboard phonebook, and then it opens up a chat window, right there within the app.

For the recipient of the chat request, an email comes from a no-reply address; logically, the app needs to be installed on the collaborator’s device for the chat to continue.

Also in this update is the requisite batch of bug fixes.

Evernote remains free (with optional in-app purchases) on the Play Store.

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Trigger Happy Review

Trigger Happy Review

Oct 31, 2014

Lunagames launched a Halloween-themed shooter for Android, but is it worth you time? Well, that depends: do you like murdering zombies?

Trigger Happy from Lunagames is a straightforward action packed shooter. In it, you need to shoot every zombie or other Halloween themed monstrosity that’s coming right for you. You can do that with just your handgun, including unlimited ammo – the way I prefer to play my Halloween/horror games. But that won’t do the job in Trigger Happy.

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So luckily, when you play the game, you can earn all sorts of bonuses. One of them is earning coins by shooting at them when they lay down on the ground, right after they popped out of the zombie you just killed. With those coins, you can upgrade your current weapon or buy new ones – and if you want the special weapons, you can always throw some real money at the screen. But that is optional, as I did not get the feeling the game forced me to do so.

But before you can start upgrading your stuff, you need to get a lot of points to raise you level. Because at higher levels, you can get better weapons. It is as simple as that. For a free game, it actually has been balanced out – putting fun at the first place. And that is something I can really enjoy in a free-to-play video game.

The only thing I didn’t like about Trigger Happy from Lunagames is that I stood still on one point. There wasn’t a moment where I could move – either automatic or normal – and I thought that was a shame. The action feels kind of static now and therefore the game can be repetitive at a faster rate than normal. Which is a shame. Because if you’re looking for a fun little Halloween game, which doesn’t charge you for every move and let’s you have fun with every fired bullet, you can give this game a chance.

Monkey Racing Set to Arrive on Android in November

Monkey Racing Set to Arrive on Android in November

Oct 30, 2014

Monkey Racing, a game from the same crew that brought us the cross-platform multiplayer hit Monkey Boxing, is set to drop on the Play Store shortly.

It looks to be a no-holds-barred, winner-takes-all kart racing affair, with arcade touches like customizable vehicles and bosses to boot.

Per the press release, features include:

– 80 tracks
– Unlock-able customizable vehicles in more than 40 million combinations
– 18 bosses to beat
– Supported languages: English, Italian, French
– Single and Multiplayer modes (add me on Game
– 89 rewarding achievements to unlock
– Improve your vehicle stats and make it faster
– Use any means to win: including missiles, shockwaves and shields
– no IAP

The game should cost $2.99, and as noted, will have no in-app purchasing.

The game is due out on November 6th; the trailer is below.

Amazon Appstore Offers App Treats for Halloween

Amazon Appstore Offers App Treats for Halloween

Oct 30, 2014

Amazon is all about treats this spooky season, and is giving away several premium games and utilities for free. The total package amounts to $115 worth of free stuff.

The games included in the promotion are:

• Alpha Wave ($1.25)

• Blocky Roads ($1.99)

• Braveland ($2.99)

• Can You Escape – Adventure ($0.99)

• Devil’s Attorney ($1.99)

• Eufloria HD ($4.99)

• Eve of the Genesis ($7.99)

• Fruit Ninja ($0.99)

• Gods VS Humans – Protect your Kingdom ($0.99)

• Hidden Object – Haunted House 2 ($1.99)

• Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage ($.0.99)

• Knock Knock ($4.99)

• Plants vs. Zombies ($0.99)

• Plants vs. Zombies WiFi Download Only ($0.99)

• Sonic Hedgehog 4 Episode I ($2.99)

• To Fu Fury ($1.99)

• Unpossible ($1.99)

• V for Vampire ($1.99)

• Web of Deceit: Black Widow Collector’s Edition (Full) ($2.99)

• World of Goo ($4.99)

The free utilities are:

• Ai.type keyboard plus ($3.99)

• Boxer Pro ($9.99)

• CarbsControl ($2.99)

• Easy Voice Recorder Pro ($3.99)

• Endomondo Sports Tracker PRO ($4.99)

• Human Anatomy Atlas ($29.99)

• Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English 5 ($29.99)

• MoneyWiz – Personal Finance ($4.99)

• Plex ($4.99)

• ScreenDim Full ($0.99)

• Timers4Me & Stopwatch Pro ($1.99)

There are also several Photography/Reading apps:

• BeFunky Photo Editor Pro ($1.99)

• Lapse It ($1.99)

• Repix ($1.99)

• Weird Park: Scary Tales ($2.99)

• Xninstant Camera Pro ($1.19)

The promotion runs from October 30th through November 1st, so hurry!

Flipboard Gets Big Update

Flipboard Gets Big Update

Oct 30, 2014

Flipboard, the popular personal magazine app for Android users, has just received a big update.

The third generation of Flipboard brings a refreshed look, and a bunch of refined features, especially for folks who use the app on their phones.

Excerpts from the explanatory blogpost detailing the changes:

1) With over 30,000 topics now available, your Flipboard can be as unique as you are. Topics range from “action hero” to “zoology” (and everything in-between), and you can find them via search or by tapping on the new topic tags on articles. Press “follow” every time you want to add something (or someone) to your Flipboard and watch as your experience becomes tailored to your life.

Topics are fueled by Zite’s technology but they’re also powered by people: Flipboard’s magazine makers, to be precise. Our “MagMakers” have curated over 10 million magazines around subjects they’re passionate about, often flipping in insightful articles, stunning photos and powerful videos and music. Our community’s hand-picked selections, indexed by our algorithms, yield a potent new mix of topical content you won’t find anywhere else. Take a look:

2) Want to catch up on the news in a fast, definitive way? Meet The Daily Edition, a carefully curated roundup of top headlines in news, business, tech, sports and culture, along with some fun elements, like a daily track and a Parting GIF to send you off on your day with a smile. Curated by the Flipboard team, The Daily Edition is currently available in editions for the U.S., UK, Latin America, U.S. Latino, Brazil and India, and is ready every day by 7:00 a.m. local time. You can find it among your tiles.

3) We’re rolling out an all-new design for the phone, where Flipboard has been re-imagined to be more magazine-like and elegant. Open Flipboard, and you’ll be immediately immersed in a highly-visual and up-to-the-minute stream of articles, photos and more based on your areas of interest. There are airy full-screen covers, fresh typography and a new navigational bar that lets you quickly access your home feed, your tiles, search, notifications and your profile.

4) The MagMakers among you will be excited to learn that there’s an updated look for profiles and a new Web tool called My Analytics, which offers an overview of how your curation is performing on Flipboard. And because we admire the work of our MagMakers, we’re launching a new series today called “My Magazine,” videos that spotlight inspiring people, their personal journeys and magazine expressions. Be sure to check out the clips and share your story with us using the #MyMagazine hashtag.

Flipboard is an app we truly love here at Android Rundown; we said as much when we reviewed it way back when. It remains completely free on the Play Store.

[Source: Flipboard Blog]

AR Health Series: Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor Hardware Review

AR Health Series: Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor Hardware Review

Oct 30, 2014

I had the misfortune of having some serious health issues a short while ago, and, without getting overly conversational about it, it changed me. It made me take health more seriously, and one fringe benefit is that it allowed me to take a longer, more appreciative look at the burgeoning area of connected health devices.

“Burgeoning” is somewhat of an understatement; the category is exploding. As part of my personal fitness odyssey, I’ve had the privilege of trying out interesting connected gear. The Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor is one of them.

Personal blood pressure monitors are not new; I have had a generic one for quite some time. While convenient, the one drawback is the collation tool is not self-contained. I used my smartphone to collect the data via my all-round app HanDBase, and while the solution worked, I’d like a more homogeneous fix.

The Withings Wireless BP Monitor isn’t new either, but it’s a product that has continued to improve and is still defining the product category years after its inception.

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The review piece Withings sent us shows the hardware in its retail glory; it’s in the familiar white and green (with chrome-ish accents) finish that Withings is familiar for. It has a prominent pre-formed cuff capable of fitting arms ranging from 9″ – 17″ and has a velcroed end that helps corral the extra strap that is part of the monitor. There is also a prominent bar that runs the vertical length of the unit that houses the batteries and presumably the bluetooth module that the unit uses to connect to devices; on this bar is an on/pairing button with LED. The unit comes with batteries already installed; the box also continues documentation.

Using the device as one getting acquainted with the companion Withings Health Mate app. When connected to the device (via Bluetooth/Bluetooth LE), the device preps to take a reading for a user registered to the device (or, a guest), and tapping “Start” does it. The cuff automatically tightens, and the cuff takes a reading; it promises accuracy within 3 mmHG on either side of a measurement, and also notes WHO systolic grades.

The companion app also serves as a health hub, allowing users to connect other Withings devices to it (like the Withings scale, and consequently allowing for a better health portrait to be created.

One thing I think the monitor could do better is be more like the Scale in its ability to gather seamless readings; as it is, it can only be initiated from within the app, unlike the scale, which can take readings with auto-detect capabilities that can be confirmed later. Also, the connection can be stubborn at times. I also would appreciate the ability to share batches of data via the app rather than single readings.

All in all, it is still a relevant piece of hardware. It isn’t the cheapest investment ($129 on Amazon), but does have the benefit of being relatively well thought out.

Boulder Dash – 30th Anniversary Comes to Android

Boulder Dash – 30th Anniversary Comes to Android

Oct 30, 2014

Boulder Dash – 30th Anniversary is now on Android.

From the Google Play page:

Boulder Dash-30th Anniversaryâ„¢ is the first collaboration by Peter Liepa & Chris Gray, the two original creators of the multi-million unit selling Boulder Dash, since the first game in the series was released in 1984 by First Star Software, Inc.

Cave Explorers, Dig This! Boulder Dash-30th Anniversary finds our hero, Rockfordâ„¢, facing a slew of new, exciting challenges in this legendary action puzzler. Dig through spectacular caves with 3D elements; avoid falling boulders; collect valuable gems and avoid nefarious enemies along the way as you search for the exit before time runs out. Discover treasure chests with rare collectibles and potent power-ups. With 200+ exciting levels, 10+ new, gorgeous and unique worlds, and 9 playable characters, Boulder Dash-30th Anniversary is the best game in its 30 year history. Start exploring today!

While remaining true to the classic gameplay and including all of your favorite, classic creatures and features, Boulder Dash-30th Anniversary introduces exciting new elements such as diagonal movement, using ramps, which opens up new and intriguing puzzles while creating a very different and organic look for the caves.

Features Include:
• 200+ all-new levels and more advanced physics
• Never-before-seen worlds and new creatures with 3D elements and animations
• New multicolored gem combos, treasure chests, rare collectibles and spectacular power-ups!
• All power-ups and cave packs featuring all worlds, additional creatures and features available as unlockables; or, as In-App-Purchases
• Play as Rockford or unlock/purchase 8 other playable male and female characters including Crystal
• First Boulder Dash game ever to include diagonal walls and movement

The game is available for free (with in-app purchase options) on the Play Store.

Droidcon London 2014 is Nigh

Droidcon London 2014 is Nigh

Oct 29, 2014

Droidcon London is just about here!

The large Android developer gathering has rolled round again, and will be running from October 30th through October 31st, 2014. This year, the conference will look to showcase interesting products and present a roster of influential speakers.

Per the official press release, Android technology that will be shown include:

– The largest Android Multitouch Table created by GLIP
– Sony’s SmartEyeglass – binocular, see-through eyewear with camera, GPS & sensors
– Epson’s Moverio smart glasses
– MyAppConverter’s cloud based, instant and automatic mobile code conversion service that enables native-to-native code conversion.

Speakers include:

– Chet Haase, lead of the Android UI Toolkit team at Google and stand-up comedian
– Juhani Lehtimaki, author of ‘Smashing Android UI’
– Eric Lafortune, Proguard author
– Lisa Neigut, Etsy developer
– Engineers from Soundcloud, Gradleware, CyanogenMod, Mozilla, Sony and Spotify.

Products from the Innovation Frontier will be shown, and there will be a Gaming Zone.

The conference will cost £475.

droidcon

Phantom Rift Review

Phantom Rift Review

Oct 29, 2014

Phantom Rift is an unusual little game with a world just as weird as its gameplay. We play as a mage who gets thrown into a limbo dimension for an unspecified reason. The only thing that the main character remembers is that (s)he was a powerful mage in the real world. A wisp that happened to be nearby explains that the rift has all sorts of entities, most of them malicious, so the mage will have to use his rich spellbook if he is to proceed through the endless levels of the rift.

Phantom Rift gameplay has two parts that seamlessly transition into each other. The character walks around a map that is literally building around him as he goes. The map contains various treasures that give precious loot, and portals that can transfer the hero to different parts of the rift, and every once in a while, a random encounter happens. Then, the game switches to the battle mode. The map shrinks into a small area, divided into two zones, three rows by three columns each. The enemies move around their half of the field, mostly at random, between the squares, and attack the hero in various ways. The hero needs to evade these attacks and try to kill the enemies, using his basic weapon and a range of spells. The spells are the most interesting part of the game, so I’ll focus on them.

There can be thirty “active” spells that the hero can use during the battle. Many more can be found and bought during the game, but from them, and their copies, the hero can only Phantom Rift 3equip thirty to use in battle. When the battle starts, the hero is presented with five random spells from the ones he equipped. Using each spell costs mana, so some of them have to be destroyed in order to generate more of it. The ones the player chose can then be cast at any time during the battle. The hero can repeat the spell cycle every several seconds. The system is very unusual, but it works great and there’s plenty of spells to choose from. At times, it almost feels like a trading card game, since the spells should compliment each other, and different spells should be used against different kinds of opponents.

Overall, Phantom Rift is pretty captivating, even though the gameplay is always the same, and the random encounters sometimes feel like grinding. It has great world and battles that are resolved by tactics as well as luck, and a loot-hoarding element, so it’s an incredible time-waster. I recommend it both to Diablo players who want something more tactical, and turn-based action players who want something more exciting.

AR Health Series: Ssmart Dynamo Activity Tracker Review

AR Health Series: Ssmart Dynamo Activity Tracker Review

Oct 29, 2014

As part of our ongoing health series, we explore connected health accessories with an Android connection. For an introduction to Android Rundown’s mobile health series, check out our editorial.

Health bands and smartwatches are all the rage now; there are several out in the wild, and, thankfully, several corresponding price points. Being healthy is becoming easier to incorporate in one’s lifestyle — in theory, at least. For a lot of folks, having a connected health tracker just makes sense… especially when it can be paired to a ubiquitous always-on device such as a smartphone.

Oregon Scientific is a tech company with good pedigree, and has made a name for itself in the area of personal and home electronics; it’s not too much of a stretch to see why it would throw its hat into the fitness tracker ring. the Ssmart Dynamo Activity Tracker is the fruit of this endeavor.

The Ssmart Dynamo isn’t exactly new, but the review unit shows that, at first glance, it still looks pretty relevant. Outside the box, it’s fairly sedate; the black unit is mostly constructed of hardy rubber, and looks somewhat like a faceless watch, with a logo-ed strap. The stated stats are 3.4 x 5.25 x 3.4 inches, and it weighs 0.8 ounces. It packs a built in battery, a bluetooth module and familiar sports clasp mechanism for securing it to one’s wrist. It has colored LEDs that are hidden when not in use, and there is also a button near the “top” of the device. It has a clean, deliberate feel to it, and almost begs to be put on. The review package also contains a nifty charging cable and documentation.

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Prior to rocking it, the unit has to be charged. I liked the included USB cable; it does use a proprietary charging system, and its suggested that unit be charged for an hour. Then, the companion OS Dynamo App can be downloaded and paired to the unit via long-pressing the Dynamo until the requisite blue light appears. The app serves as the portal to view the collected data, and the way to track data is to do things.

The unit acts like a basic pedometer, and also measures other activities, including sleep. Measurements garnered seem a bit off, and I think this where specific modes (outside sleep) could be useful. The collated data has an on-device shelf-life of a fortnight. It’s comfortable when worn, oo.

The system works as a decent guide, but I think the sync mechanism could be more seamless. To sync data, one has to press the button for a few seconds each time. The app could be a bit more user-friendly, too. The share functionality is useful, and I like the sleep measurements, even though it must be turned on prior to falling asleep.

All in all, the Dynamo might be a tenured product, but it still works in a crowded field. For the health conscious, it can be, at the very least, a great motivator.

TYLT Announces Two New Accessories

TYLT Announces Two New Accessories

Oct 28, 2014

TYLT is back. With more.

The smartdevice accessory maker that looks to continually merge high style with real world functionality, has just announced two new accessories.

First, we get to see the VU Wireless Charging Car Mount.

Simply place your smartphone on the VU Wireless Charging Car Mount to initiate charging – no need to plug in your phone. The three overlaid charging coils ensure your phone will connect and charge regardless of its size or orientation, and its spring loaded arms securely grip phones with up to 5.7″ displays. Mount the device to your dashboard or windshield with the extra strong Micro-Gel suction cup, and position your phone in horizontal or landscape view with the 180-degree rotating mount.

This unit works with Qi-enabled devices, can be used with the biggest smartphones on the market, and has an adjustable base.

It will be priced at $79.99

Also making its debut is the VU SOLO.

The perfect traveling companion or desktop accessory, the VU SOLO makes wireless charging easier than ever with its patent-pending alignment ledge, a physical marker that shows you exactly where to place your device in order to align it with the single Qi coil and initiate charging. Any micro-USB cable will power this charging pad, which provides a 1 Amp charge and 5 watts of power to your device once connected. The SOLO features an anti-slip silicone surface, 5 foot charging cable, built-in ventilation, and a micro-gel suction base.

The SOLO will carry a $39.99 price tag.

Both pieces will be available by the end of the year.

[Source: TYLT Press Release]

High School Students Launch Anti-Bullying Game

High School Students Launch Anti-Bullying Game

Oct 28, 2014

Just in time for Anti-bullying Month, we get to see unique app designed by young people — for everybody.

Two 11-yr-old students from North Ireland (in conjunction with North Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and Outsider Games) launched a new game aimed at raising awareness of bullying behavior called Break the Bully. Grace McDermott and Mollie Massie entered the app concept into a contest hosted by DCAL. Five winners were selected, and given the opportunity to have their concepts further developed into working prototypes.

Mollie and Grace partnered with Outsider Games a Northern Ireland games studio to create their game, which combines arcade-style fun with a thought-provoking anti-bullying quiz and is now available for FREE on the App Store and Google Play.

As part of the Northern Ireland Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure’s (DCAL’s) Creative Market Place programme earlier this year, young people from post-primary schools across Northern Ireland were invited to apply for the Schools Creative App Challenge to develop ideas for new mobile apps. The competition attracted 160 entries from over 500 young people and the objective of the challenge was to highlight the entrepreneurial potential of young people in the creative industries sector. In February this year five winning entries were selected by a dragons den style panel worked with local app developers to transform their idea into a working prototype.

Outsider Games worked with Grace and Mollie to bring the app to completion, and took this opportunity to launch Outsider Junior, an all-ages publishing imprint of Outsider games. Commenting on this exciting launch Stephen Downey of Outsider Games said “Grace and Molly have designed a really fun and innovative game that was an inspiration to work on. The App Challenge has provided a really great platform to showcase their creativity on an international scale.”

As noted, Break the Bully is available on the Play Store, and is completely free.

Hats off to Grace and Mollie!!!

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