Wikipedia Adds Redesigned Feed and Voice-Integrated Search

Wikipedia Adds Redesigned Feed and Voice-Integrated Search

Jul 31, 2016

When it comes to information, Wikipedia changed the game. It’s become the mobile argument decider, and is perfect for that moment you find that you’re the only one at the lunch table that has no clue as to what a “Poké Ball” is.

The Android port is getting an update; this one brings a new feed look; the current iteration looks to be dynamic and personalized.

Additionally, the search bar is front and center, with a telltale microphone that underscores the incorporated voice search.

The complete changelog (per Google Play):

WHAT’S NEW

– Introducing the Explore feed: a complete redesign to the app’s home screen. The feed offers personalized, dynamic Wikipedia content for you to dive into, including current events, trending articles, reading suggestions, and more.
– Voice-integrated search in the app.
– Miscellaneous bug and compatibility fixes.

Wikipedia remains free on Google Play.

P.S. Don’t be that guy: Pokemon GO.

wikipedia screenshot

[via Google Play]

Attention Pokemon Trainers: Pokémon GO Gets New Tweaks via Update

Attention Pokemon Trainers: Pokémon GO Gets New Tweaks via Update

Jul 30, 2016

If you’re one of the masses that is captivated by Pokémon GO — weird sleeping patterns, a new-ish propensity to walk around with a phone to your face, knowledge of what a “vulpix” is, etc — then this news is for you.

Nintendo and Niantic’s hit augmented reality game just received an update; version 0.31.0 adds a number of enhancements, like the ability to make adjustments to your avatar from the profile screen, updated screens and refined gym animations — and a bit more.

More specifically, per Google Play:

WHAT’S NEW

Trainers, Pokémon GO has been updated to version 0.31.0:
– Avatars can now be re-customized from the Trainer profile screen
– Adjusted battle move damage values for some Pokémon
– Refined certain Gym animations
– Improved memory issues
– Removed footprints of nearby Pokémon
– Modified battle damage calculation
– Various bug fixes during wild Pokémon encounter
– Updated Pokémon details screen
– Updated achievement medal images
– Fixed issues with displaying certain map features
– Minor text fixes

Pokémon GO remains free (with in-app purchases) on the Play Store

TeamSnap Gets an Update

TeamSnap Gets an Update

Jul 30, 2016

Fall sports season is ramping up, and team management utility TeamSnap is right in step with a timely update.

Per Google Play:

WHAT’S NEW

* EVERYTHING IS NEW! We’ve completely rewritten TeamSnap from the ground up to be faster, shinier and easier to use.
* Tabbed navigation: No more heartbreaking agony of the Back button.
* Speed: Fasterer. Much fasterer.
* Design: Feels like slipping on a comfy pair of socks (assuming your feet are an Android device).
* And so very much more.
* As this release is ALL NEW, we’d love your feedback at [email protected] Let us know what you love and what we can make even better.
Thank you!

The app remains free on Google Play.

NBA Live Mobile Review

NBA Live Mobile Review

Jul 28, 2016

NBA Live Mobile. From Electronic Arts.

Yes, we’re on board.

This one is brightly done, with sharp colors and fine animations. Menus are visually descriptive, and the players generally conform to real life sizes and facial appearances. EA has a reputation in design, and mostly lives up to it here.

Off the bat, it’s important to note that this isn’t one’s usual basketball simulation; it doesn’t have current-ish NBA rosters in place for players to select a familiar and/or favorite team from. It isn’t really a management strategy game either, as there isn’t a traditional salary cap to contend with.

Instead, it’s more like a multi-mode sports RPG with NBA players in the mix, remixing teams from the start. After selecting a franchise, one gets a bunch of players divvied up into a few “lineups” with unique abilities.
Adding in Zach Lavine for the dunking lesson is savvy, as is tossing in Steph Curry for the special abilities tutorial.

nlm3

One can get into game challenges, or look to go against other folks, or engage in a seriously abbreviated season; mostly, he goal is to win resources and unlock players. Then, with some savvy trading and acquisitions, one can build a super team of sorts.

The action segment is fairly well done; it goes 5v5 with current players in one’s lineup, and onscreen virtual buttons control the movements and actions of the players. There are a set of defensive actions, and when possessions change, one gets

Ah, but just when one gets into it, one has to deal with the energy requirement. Be if far from us to complain about monetization, but this one sorta creeps on one, what with the use energy buckets to get things rolling, redoing a challenge can be costly. There are ways to get refills, and one can use real money to supplement.

The game does a feel a bit busy in sections, and the aforementioned energy requirement might deter one from simply playing. The play rules are fairly loose, so basketball purists might balk at some elements as well.

As noted, for a folks looking for a realistic sim akin to the console titles, this one probably won’t cut the mustard. If one is able to see it for what it is meant to be — a management/building game with familiar names as the pieces — it isn’t too bad of an experience.

Jabra Halo Smart Bluetooth Headphones Hardware Review

Jabra Halo Smart Bluetooth Headphones Hardware Review

Jul 28, 2016

Jabra is a well-known entity when it comes to slick, effective Bluetooth accessories, and it is also a company that is seemingly unwilling to rest on its laurels. That combination usually leads to interesting products at set intervals, and we don’t pretend to not be eager to check out its current offerings.

In the Halo Smart Wireless Headphones, Jabra has a consumer-grade product that looks to enhance one’s usage of mobile peripherals via Bluetooth technology. It looks to be durable, technologically savvy and maby even indispensable.

The review package that Jabra sent us reflects the product in its retail manifestation: the headphones, charging cable and extra ear bud pieces. The headphones themselves are in neckband form, with mostly black hard plastic for the exterior. The earbuds are connected to each end of the curved neckband via rubberized cable, and can be held in place by magnets on the neckband. The main piece houses volume and power/pairing button on the one side, and a discrete microphone assembly on the other. The band also stashes a covered micro-USB charging port and a full-fledged rechargeable battery inside.

The neckband is interestingly crafted: quite flexible, but fairly durable at the same time. The whole unit is exceptionally light — officially, the set comes in at 1.34 oz — and the neckband itself is reasonably svelte 5.6 x 5.6 x 1.4 inches.

halo2

The unit promises 17 hours talk time time and an astounding 22 days of standby time. Toss in the advertised water and wind resistance, and we were ready to get going.

Pairing is easy; using the incorporated Bluetooth 4.1, the unit pairs with most receptive electronics easily. As a pair of headphones, they work faithfully, and we didn’t discern any problems across walls inside of the advertised 10 feet, and even a little beyond. As a telephony accessory, they work well too; when connected to an Android device, one can invoke Google Now by tapping the microphone button.

The optional Jabra Assist app (which works with several other Jabra pieces) is the perfect cherry on top, adding some functionality such as battery monitoring, device location, information readouts and more. At $79.99, they are a bit of an investment.

All in all, another compelling device from an industry leader.

The Hunt for Red Panda Review

The Hunt for Red Panda Review

Jul 28, 2016

The Hunt for Red Panda starts out searing.

The game starts with an eye-catching flourish: comic-like stills with a minimum of color, and then transitions to fuller color to denote timelines. It’s a simple concept that works well, and somewhat highlights the core artistic aspect of the game. This is a game that should appeal greatly to anyone with even a modicum of artistic appreciation, especially when one considers the main element.

The backstory is interesting. An unkind evaluation, a burned down museum and a mysterious vandal that defiles precious artwork. The player takes on the job of a restorer that is tasked with identifying the alterations and fixing them appropriately.

This main idea pleasantly cloaks the gameplay concept: find the hidden object in a painting, sort of in a “one of things doesn’t belong” manner. A keen eye is helpful, because that laptop that is nestled in the 18th century art blends in very, very well. Some items are very subtly placed, and almost “natural” in appearance. The developer doesn’t rely only on era tricks, as one needs to look for other weirdness going on.

panda3

Basically, one has a limited amount of time to find all the variances, and then figure out how to fix them. “Reagent” is the tool that is used to identify something to be fixed, but one has to be careful, as applying reagent to the wrong spot catastrophically speeds up the clock. There are a limited amount of hints, and then one earns stars and cash based on performance… then, assuming one has all the clues needed, on to the next painting puzzle.

Puzzles are spaced out with the help of mini-games. these usually have an artsy feel to them, but are still interestingly varied.

The Hunt for Red Panda is a heady affair, what with the art lessons and breadth of content. It has a serious creative angle, if a bit short, but for premium title, it is easy to love.

Google Play Adds Family Sharing Feature

Google Play Adds Family Sharing Feature

Jul 27, 2016

Google Play has expanded greatly beyond being simply an application repository; it is a full-fledged entertainment and content hub that rivals the best from competing platforms.

Now, it is becoming even better with a timely update that allows folks to share specific content with other family members.

Dubbed the “Family Library,” the new feature allows folks to select what purchased content can be shared with up to six relatives. As the presser sates, one can now “share what one loves with the people one loves.”

Some pertinent points (quoted from the announcement blog post):

Share across your family’s devices
Today’s families have a lot of devices, and it should be easy to share content no matter where we are or what we’re doing. Everyone in my family loves the Star Wars movies and we all want to be able to watch them, on our phones, tablets, laptops, or TV. All purchases added to Family Library are available across Android devices, and movies, TV shows, and books can be enjoyed on iOS devices and the web.

Easily manage sharing and family purchases
As with most family matters, flexibility and choice is important. With Family Library, you can choose which items you want to share and which to keep to yourself—for example, I’ll probably keep my collection of comic books in my personal library. Flexibility is also built into your purchasing options. When you sign up, you’ll select a credit card to share as your family payment method, but your family members will always have the option of buying stuff with their personal credit cards or gift cards. And for your younger family members, you’ll have the option to approve each of their purchases.

Share a Music subscription with your family
Finally, if your family loves music, you can also subscribe to the Google Play Music family plan. On this plan, up to six family members can stream millions of songs on demand for $14.99 a month. We launched the family plan late last year, and today we’re expanding it to Ireland, Italy, Mexico, and New Zealand. And you can now sign up on the web, in addition to your Android device.

The new service begins it’s roll-out to select countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, UK and the US) today.

GoogleFamily-Library

[via Official Android Blog]

Twitter for Android Gets Night Mode via Update

Twitter for Android Gets Night Mode via Update

Jul 27, 2016

Look, we know all y’all have been tweeting late into the night. C’mon.

Now, Twitter for Android looks to help folks get jiggy wit it late at night with Night Mode.

Per Google Play:

​See your Tweets when the lights go out. Night Mode in Modern Android delivers a dark color palette that’s made for reading in the dark.

The new build is available now; Twitter remains free.

Humble Mobile Bundle 19 Brings Premium Games for $1+

Humble Mobile Bundle 19 Brings Premium Games for $1+

Jul 27, 2016

Well, it’s about time…

Humble Mobile Bundle is back — in its 19th iteration, no less. The famed “pay what you want” alternative app distribution model is no stranger to putting out popular premium applications, and its current offering continue the trend. One can get great games for a good price AND support some worthy charities… all in one fell swoop.

So… what’s up for grabs this time?

For a dollar ($1), one can get:

  • Chameleon Run
  • Ys Chronicles II
  • Hitman GO

Pay more than the current average ($4.95 at the time of writing), one also gets:

  • Punch Club
  • Super Stickman Golf 3
  • …plus more games that will be added further into the promotion.

Ah… but what if one wants to go even bigger? Well, $6 unlocks all of the above, PLUS:

  • Dropsy
  • The Banner Saga

That is up to $33 worth of games for $6… or more. One can choose one of two provided charities, or pick one’s own to give to.

But alas! Great things don’t last forever. HMB 19 is on now, and runs on through August 8th.

hmb13

[via Humble Mumble]
[Our Chameleon Run review]
[Our Super Stickman Golf 3 Review]

Zagrava’s ‘The Hunt for Red Panda’ Launches Today

Zagrava’s ‘The Hunt for Red Panda’ Launches Today

Jul 25, 2016

Zagrava Games has just dropped a new hidden object caper called The Hunt for Red Panda on Google Play.

Details (per the Play Store):
A devious vandal known as “Red Panda” has damaged the world’s most famous masterpieces — and only you, the Art Detective, can restore these renowned works to their original state! In this object-hunting adventure, visit museums around the world, follow Red Panda’s trail, and help the police capture this notorious criminal.

KEY FEATURES
* Restore artistic masterpieces using 5 clever tools
* Visit 7 magnificent museums
* Search for unique hidden objects
* Learn about the world’s most famous works of art
* Enjoy more than 8 hours of gameplay

The game is available for $2.99 on Google Play; the trailer is below:

Upcoming Game ‘Scatterfly’ Gets Firm Release Date

Upcoming Game ‘Scatterfly’ Gets Firm Release Date

Jul 25, 2016

We’ve been keeping an eye out on Scatterfly, the upcoming game from Levitating Frog; we hear the open beta is going well, and the game is set for an August 1st launch.

Yep, that means we should be able to get our hands on the game next week!

Game features:

Features:
– 4 worlds with unique graphic styles
– 3 modes: for kids, standard and survival
– 20 standard levels and 12 endless survival levels
– 152 items to collect
– leaderboards and achievements

Impatient? The open beta is still available here: https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.levitatingfrog.scatterfly

Of course we have a trailer:

Remember, August 1st is the day.

[via Scatterfly press page]

‘Brightstone Mysteries: Paranormal Hotel’ is Free for Limited Time

‘Brightstone Mysteries: Paranormal Hotel’ is Free for Limited Time

Jul 25, 2016

G5’s Brightstone Mysteries: Paranormal Hotel is free — on Google Play and Amazon Appstore — for a limited time.

In Brightstone Mysteries: Paranormal Hotel, New York City Detective Bridget “Biggi” Brightstone has come to France to crack the case of a missing necklace in a haunted castle-turned-hotel.

But her investigation is about to turn up much more than she bargained for! When the victim of the robbery suddenly dies, she must track the killer using clues left by ghosts. Join Biggi as she explores the eerie castle and unexpectedly encounters the legendary King Arthur and the Templars, Queen Cleopatra and Mark Antony, plus an immortal Egyptian cult.

Search the castle’s dangerous shadow lands and help Biggi stop the evil that’s trying to rise from the grave with the help of a mighty artifact!

Per the Google Play info sheet:

● 50 arduous levels to conquer
● Five intriguing chapters to navigate
● 15 puzzling mini-games to master
● 16 rewarding achievements to earn
● 13 unforgettable characters to meet
● Three difficulty modes: casual, adventure, challenging

The special free giveaway runs from now through July 31st. Check out the trailer below: