The Angry Birds Go! Community launches

If you’re obsessed with Angry Birds Go! then our pals at Pocket Gamer have just the site for you: The Angry Birds Go! Community.

This dedicated space for fans of the game to gather, meet, and even improve how they play the game is jam-packed with detailed toy guides, character profiles, strategy guides, achievement listings, community screenshots, fan art, and much more besides.

Best of all, it’s a space that’s shaped by you, the fans, giving everyone the opportunity to help build the greatest Angry Birds Go! site ever made.

So stop stalling, and race on over to The Angry Birds Go! Community now to see what everyone’s talking about.


Samsung Developers Conference Keynote Recap

Samsung Developers Conference Keynote Recap

Oct 28, 2013

Samsung today held the opening keynote of their first Samsung Developer Conference. They keynote was squarely pointed at developers and getting them to support the latest SDKs and initiatives from Samsung. While no consumer-focused announcements were made, a lot can be gathered from what was and wasn’t said.

The big push at the keynote was around support for multiscreen applications with the Samsung Multiscreen SDK. Examples were given showing content pushed from phones to TVs in some interesting new ways. This got a lot of people talking about it and snapping quick pictures. The idea of watching a game while persistently showing what’s going on in another game is one that many have wanted, and with the proper devices and apps, the new Samsung Multiscreen SDK can make it happen.

Screenshot 2013-10-28 13.47.02

Also shown was the Samsung answer to microconsoles like the OUYA or GameStick, the Game Pad (seen above). This device acts as a Bluetooth controller allowing either attachment to a phone by clamping to the top, or use as a remote with the device connected directly to a TV. The device looks interesting, has a good selection of buttons, I look forward to trying it out.

One of the most talked about Samsung devices recently has been the smart watch launched recently, the Galaxy Gear. Lots of Samsung employees were sporting them off and flashing them whenever possible. But only one mention was made of the device at the keynote, and that was done via a video from partner Ebay (in the video clip below). Not to mention that there are no developer sessions in the two-day conference focused on the device. Clearly this was a hey, look at us, we can put out a smart watch faster than Apple. But it’s not a device they are ready to support.

You get a free Galaxy Note 8, And You, And YOU!

Samsung also, as has become traditional at Android developer conferences, gave all attendees a device. This time it was an odd choice, the Galaxy Note 8, what is one of the oldest devices in the line of Galaxy devices, and probably the least interesting to developers. The reason for that is it sells less than other devices in the line like the Galaxy S4 and Note III. While I am sure developers are happy for the free device, it feels a bit more like a clearance of excess inventory than an enticement for developers to support a new exciting device.

Premier League Kicks Off This Week; Watch Every Single Match Live Via NBC Sports Live Extra and Your Android

You’ll Never Walk Alone!

The English Premier League (EPL) is the single largest sports league in the entire world. Until this season, those of us in the USA that follow it had to search all over to try to find the live matches of our favorite teams. Well this year, things are different. Things are very different, at least in the USA.

2013-08-12 at 17-00-15

This year the EPL license for the US was bought by NBC and the US will get to see every single match. Matches will show on NBC, NBC Sports, streaming from the NBC site, and for the first time ever, live streaming in the NBC Sports Live Extra app. According to NBC, every single match will be live streamed in the app. That’s right, every single match of the entire EPL season. The US is the only country that gets that luxury, not even the home country of the UK gets to watch every single match. I’m a bit excited, can you tell?

2013-08-12 at 16-59-49

The best part of this new license is that to view the games is free as long as you have a cable subscription with NBC Sports channel. Most US cable providers should have that as a basic package station and you should be covered. You will need to validate your cable subscription in the app via your cable system login, something that has become common in video apps.

Get ready, the English Premier League starts this weekend! Grab the NBC Sports Live Extra app from Google Play.

Google I/O Keynote Announcements and Recap

Google I/O Keynote Announcements and Recap

May 15, 2013

The big event for Google is just about to kick off. We should see loads of new products and services launched. Google has condensed the three days of keynotes into one this year, so we can expect it to be loaded (and long). Will we see Sergey jump from an airplane again this year? Will we see lavish gifts for the developers in attendance? What will we see?

It’s about to kick off. We’ll summarize the announcements and our reaction to them as the keynote is going on from our offices in San Francisco. You can also follow along with the video below.

9:01am And here we go!

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 9.12.50 AM

9:10am 900 Million Android activations to date. No mention on the number of current users though. I can’t imagine that too many of the T-Mobile MyTouch users that activated are still using those devices. But even if 50% of this number are retired devices, it’s still showing staggering growth.

48 Billion Google Play app downloads is showing amazing growth with over 2.5 billion in the last month alone.

9:15am Google Services — sits on top of the Google Play store to provide extra services. Today Google will announce three new services.

Fused Location Provider – Enhanced Location Services that uses less than 1% of battery per hour to keep track of location. Also uses all of the sensors to enhance the accuracy.
Geofencing – location based API that allows triggers based on location changes and entering / leaving a defined area.
Activity Recognition – Uses the sensors to measure activity / exercise. Also low power requirements.

Single Sign-on – Now integrated with Chrome to allow Google+ Single Sign On integrated sites to push app installs to your device via pop-up app install notices.

Google Cloud Messaging – Enhanced services, upstream messages, and cross device notification acknowledgements.

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 9.23.40 AM

9:22am Google Play Game Services — Google’s answer to Apple Game Center — but taken to the next level. Includes Cloud Save to allow cross device game saves. APIs for achievements, leaderboards, and integrates Google+ circles to track scores. Launching on Android, iOS, and web.

Multiplayer Services – Google will provide a new services to help multiplayer in games. Details are a bit thin.

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 9.27.38 AM

Demo gods strike – unable to show the multiplayer as the network was unable to connect. With 6,000 people in a room, probably 12,000 wifi connections being attempted.

9:29am Android Studio announced — a new development environment for creating apps announced. Based on IntelliJ Idea.

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 9.40.18 AM

9:33am Google Play Developer Console updates announced. These are huge.

Optimization Tips – give you ideas on how to optimize your app for sales (not performance) – things like countries it sells in but perhaps it isn’t optimized for. Google now has a translation service that allows you to have strings translated.
Referral Tracking – Ad tracking – allows you to track what ads that drive your downloads are the most effective.
Usage Metrics – Engagement metrics from Google Analytics inside the Google Play admin.
Revenue Graphs – App revenue details over time.
Beta Testing & Staged Rollouts – Allow testing groups inside the Play admin. Google+ Circle / Community based. Managed rollouts. This will be helpful to developers testing their apps and app updates.

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 9.41.56 AM

9:40am Google Play Store changes (consumer facing) announcements.
Personalized Recommendations – based on likes and things Circles on Google+ have plussed.
Tablet Charts – Top charts showing what tablet designed apps are charting.
Web Edition – Play updates coming to the web as well.

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 9.47.28 AM

9:45am Google Music Service Announcement – New Music Service – All Access
A music service that is about music and the technology stays in the background. All Access is a uniquely Google music service.
Both expert curated recommendations, key albums, and algorithmic recommendations. You can also create a radio station based on a single song. See the upcoming songs and modify the list. “Radio without Rules”
Always search at the top. Can play an artist, album, or just a song.
You see your uploads from Google Locker as well. Can add new albums to your library.
Listen Now – Stuff Google thinks you will love — recent plays – auto created radio stations, hot music.
Works on tablet, web browser, phones, etc.
Price – $9.99/month in the US – launches today. $7.99/month if you start by June 30th. 30 Day free trial.

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 9.55.58 AM

9:53amDevices Time to announce the hardware! “This is not a device giveaway!”
Something new on the Galaxy SIV – a stock Android version of the Galaxy S IV shown. Available directly through Google Play – unlocked, T-Mobile and ATT LTE, boot loader unlocked, prompt system updates. Basically a Galaxy Nexus S IV – on sale June 26th – for $649.

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 9.57.24 AM

9:58am – The keynote switched to Google Chrome – with 750 million active users. Lots of announcements around Google Chrome enhancements. Since mobile is our focus, we’ll leave those to others to cover.

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 10.20.16 AM

10:19am After much excitement – the first device giveaway was announced — the $1299 Chrome Pixel has been given to all IO participants.

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 10.26.42 AM

Apps for Education – Great Google Apps for Education announcements. Including the ability to push Play Apps (education focused of course) directly to students mobile and tablet devices. Funded by educational grants and purchase orders. Official name – Google Play for Education. Also includes curated apps for education, based on subject and student age, curated by educators.

10:30am Google+ Enhancements — many great enhancements rolling out today — a new layout reminiscent of Pinboard, enhancements to Hangouts including a dedicated Hangouts app, enhancements to photos and announcements around the idea of Google Datacenters being your new Darkroom. The auto enhancements shown are pretty spectacular, if a little over-applied in some cases.

Auto Awesome – a new photos feature that grabs a bunch of images taken at once and automatically takes them and will create animations, group photos, panoramas, HDR, and mix. It does all of this automatically by just looking at your photos.

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 10.59.09 AM

10:57am The marathon keynote continues with a rather provocative statement “The end of search as we know it”

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 11.08.38 AM

Google Now updated with new cards like Reminders, Public Transit, albums, books, and video game suggestions.

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 11.16.39 AM

11:15am Google Maps updates that leaked earlier this week — time to announce them after a little history.

11:23am Update to Google Maps for Mobile coming. These include new ratings for businesses based on a 4 point scale. Oddly many of the changes to the Android version are already available in the iOS version. As a matter of fact it looks like the Android version has changed to look just like the iOS version.

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 11.32.56 AM

11:32am Something new and revolutionary teased. The New Google Maps — built just for you, immersive imagery, and the map is the UI.

A web based, full window version of maps, as we saw leaked earlier is shown. Better focus on the map and the data included. Integration with Google+ and your friends reviews, +1s, and such.

I think the presenters definition of amazing my be different than mine. Some great changes shown when taken as a group, but any single one is hardly amazing.

11:39am Two hours, 39 minutes in. Will this keynote ever end?

Google Maps Preview Invites open up — available here.

11:45am Larry Page, CEO comes on stage. Recently announced that he has suffered vocal cord damage, speaking, fairly softly, into a microphone, the room completely quiet. Hard to do for a group of 6,000 people. Very respectful.

Larry reminisces on technology, changes in life, and the roll of technology in our daily lives.

12:30pm A marathon of a keynote. Three and a half hours capped off by a bunch of questions answered by Larry Page. But what didn’t we hear about:

Google Nexus – no new Nexus 7, no new Nexus devices at all.

Android Update – No update to Android Jelly Bean announced.

Google Glass – no real mention of the new category of devices. No update, no progress, no comercial release announced.

Google TV – no mention, whatsoever. Look for Google TV to pivot in the coming months. It’s obviously not top of mind anymore.

Google Q – the sphere / music device announced and quickly killed after IO last year. Consider it dead and Google will likely want to forget it ever existed.

Facebook Home Announced – Available April 12th For Just A Few Android Phones

Facebook Home Announced – Available April 12th For Just A Few Android Phones

Apr 4, 2013

Facebook today announced Facebook Home, the first step in making the most personal computer in your life more personal.

During a special event today, Facebook announced a new initiative to make mobile phones more personal. The first step is to release Facebook Home, a launcher replacement for Android that puts Facebook content front and center on the device. From the lock screen, to the launcher, to even what Facebook is calling Chat Heads floating persistently above other apps.

The goal with Facebook Home is to change the way we use our most personal computer, the smartphone. The typical interface on a smartphone is not that much different from what it was 32 years ago when Windows 1.0 was released. A series of windows with icons. Home is the first step to try to flip how we think about our relationships and data and put the interactions first. It’s a good first step, but like most things will need a few revisions to be widely popular.

For one thing, at launch on April 12, only the latest of the latest phones will be able to access the app. The Galaxy S III is the oldest phone on the list, three of the devices on the compatible list aren’t even out yet. Here’s the list of compatible devices for launch: HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung GALAXY S III and Samsung GALAXY Note II. The upcoming devices that Home will work with include the GALAXY S IV, HTC One, and HTC First. The HTC First will be the first phone to come with Facebook Home as the default launcher, pre-installed.

There are three main parts to Facebook Home. The home/lock screen, the chat heads, and the launcher. The home/lock screen allows viewing of the latest of Facebook News Feed stories, at least the ones with large enough images to look good. Swiping left and right to view more stories, double touch to like, or hit the comment bubble to add thoughts to the post.

When in home screen mode your avatar will be shown at the bottom of the screen. This allows opening apps, going to Facebook Messenger, or quickly accessing the last app used.

Above, Facebook Home, Home Screen / Cover Feed In Action.

The Chat Heads feature is a system-wide persistent floating bubbles showing avatars of friends that have send Facebook Messages. The chat heads allow interaction with their message, replying, ignoring, etc.

Above, Chat Heads in Action

And finally, the launcher. This replaces the standard launcher in Android and allows both a full, alphabetized list of apps along with the default view, a grid of bookmarked apps. The launcher also has buttons to quickly post a status update, photo, or check-in.

In the short time I had with it, Facebook Home actually works surprisingly well. It has been specifically optimized to deliver the quick response that is expected of a system level app. Apparently a new physics engine was created to support the animations and keep everything smooth.

Facebook looks to open up Home to other applications in the future. This would allow access to notifications from other apps, viewing updates from other apps in the cover feed, and even interacting with other apps while the phone is locked. This is all coming and no specific details were announced.

Facebook also took a bit of time to announce the HTC First. The first device that will ship with Facebook Home as the default launcher. While this does give Home a few extra features, the phone itself is a wholly uninteresting mid-level device.

Facebook Home will be available for download on April 12 to users of the phones listed above. Others will be rolled out, hopefully quickly, in the coming months.

Android Rundown Joins the Steel Media Family of Sites

Android Rundown Joins the Steel Media Family of Sites

Oct 2, 2012

We are very excited to announce that 148Apps and our network of sites have been acquired by our friends at Steel Media! 148Apps joins the amazing network of app related sites such as Pocket Gamer, Pocket, AppSpy, Padvance, Quality Index, and more.

For more than four years 148Apps has covered the world of iOS apps and games. It started as a passion of mine and has now expanded to include the best writers this side of Mars. Now along with the Steel Media portfolio of sites, we have mobile apps and games covered from every angle.

Full details are available at the 148Apps post on the subject. We are so excited to get things going. Onward and upward!

Temple Run: Brave Set for Release One Week Before the Pixar Movie Brave

Temple Run: Brave Set for Release One Week Before the Pixar Movie Brave

Jun 4, 2012

Fans of Temple Run from Imangi will recognize the mobile game tie-in for the upcoming Pixar movie, Brave. It’s an enhanced version of Temple Run set in the Scottish lands represented in the movie. Instead of playing an Indiana Jones type character, you now play as Merida, the red-haired and firey tempered teenage heorine of the movie.

In addition to the character changes in Temple Run: Brave, you will also find a new gaming mechanic added. Archery has been added to increase the gameplay complexity and provide another way to earn bonuses. In testing it last week, the addition of archery does add complexity to the gameplay yet doesn’t distract from the fun of the original.

Pixar’s Brave hits theaters on June 21st. But you only have to wait a few more days for Temple Run: Brave. It hits Google Play on June 14th.

Stitcher Update Includes 2012 Election Focus Section

Stitcher Update Includes 2012 Election Focus Section

May 2, 2012

Stitcher today announced an update to their app that now includes a special section on the 2012 US Presidential election.

Stitcher has always been a great app to go to for audio content. They have now implemented a new feature that allows then to create focus sections on a particular category. The first of these sections to launch will the a 2012 Presidential election that includes audio endorsed by the candidates themselves.

“The majority of Stitcher users listen to news and political content, so creating the Election Center was a natural step for us,” said Noah Shanok, CEO of Stitcher. “There’s an avalanche of coverage during election season and it can be tough to get the best information when you need it. We’re rolling out trending topics on demand, a first in the industry. We see this as part of our mission to further the evolution of radio by making it more relevant and accessible than ever.”

The new Election Center allows you to follow news about your candidate or candidates of choice. It also allows you to focus on particular sources or topics. Using transcription, Stitcher will allow you to search in the transcribed text of the audio features to find mentions of the topics you are interested in.

Election Center is just the first step. Expect to see Stitcher roll out the focus areas to other topics in the near future. But for now, the updated Stitcher with Election Center should be available now. Grab it now at [Google Play].

Angry Birds Space Now Available: Pop Those Pigs… in… Space!!!

The day after we learned that Zynga has purchased OMGPOP, the developers of Draw Something, we are reminded what a real franchise in the mobile world is. Angry Birds with it’s 600+ million users is expanding.

Angry Birds Space is now available on just about everything with a screen. This of course includes Android. Angry Birds Space is available now on the Amazon App Store: Free, $0.99 (ad-free), $2.99 Kindle Fire HD version. It includes 60 levels in the initial release. For a quick round-up of Angry Birds Space, see the post from Carter on the game from yesterday.

Talking yesterday with Peter Vesterbacka, CMO of Rovio, we can expect to see regular updates to Angry Birds Space over the coming months — much as we have seen with the other Angry Birds games. We also learned from Peter today that we can expect four additional Angry Birds games this year. Rovio will also be launching a brand new franchise this year, separate from the Angry Birds brand. Something to look forward to!

We’ll be posting our review of Angry Birds Space in the morning. But we’re guessing if you are Angry Birds fans, you won’t wait for our word on the game. So grab it now!

Not the Angry Birds Space Preview

Announcing the Winners of the 2011 Best App Ever Awards

Announcing the Winners of the 2011 Best App Ever Awards

Jan 27, 2012

It was an amazing year. With over 1.5 million votes cast (over three times the number cast last year) and a record number of nominations, we now have the winners of the 2011 Best App Ever Awards. Thanks to all that voted, nominated, and made these fantastic apps!

All-in-all Android made a fantastic showing pulling in 46% of the overall votes. A great response considering this is the first year for Android to be included in our well established awards. But unfortunately it wasn’t enough to topple iOS from the top prize. Now, the winner of the Best App Ever!

Best App Ever Category

Winner: Jetpack Joyride by Halfbrick Studios


Halfbrick made iOS the winner of the Best App Ever by beating the top Android vote getter by nearly 10:1. Here are a few more interesting stats:

1,565,833 total votes cast
1.1 million unique voters
36,431 number of votes the top vote getter, Jetpack Joyride, got across all categories
1,692 unique apps in the awards
53.9% of the votes were for iOS apps
46.1% of the votes for Android apps
1 Best App Ever winner, Jetpack Joyride from Halfbrick Studios!

Thanks again for voting, we’ll be back again next year for our 5th Annual Best App Ever Awards!

Read on for the full list of Android winners or check out the Best App Ever Awards site for full details on all categories.

2011 Best App Ever Awards Nominees Announced!

2011 Best App Ever Awards Nominees Announced!

Jan 3, 2012

The final nominees for the 2011 Best App Ever Awards have just been announced. This year saw a huge increase in the number of nominations placed and the number of applications nominated. The big change this year was the introduction of Android applications to the awards, with each category (other than the Best App Ever category) having a winner from each platform.

The Best App Ever Awards are the most prestigious (if we do say so ourselves) and longest running mobile app awards. Last year saw nearly 500,000 votes cast in the awards, and this year the goal is over a million. Here are a few more stats on this year’s awards:

2011 Best App Ever Awards, By The Numbers:

  287,643 nominations placed by users at the site
  7,243 different applications submitted for nomination
  1,692 different application are final nominees
  1,336 different developers have apps nominated in the awards
  109 app / game categories in the 2011 awards
  76% of the nominations submitted were for iOS applications, 24% for Android applications
  42 Gameloft app nominations, Gameloft leads the pack with the most of any publisher
  20 nominations per category (10 for iOS, 10 for Android)
  1 Best App Ever category winner (it’s iOS vs. Android)

The overall winner, the Best App Ever will be chosen in a no-holds-barred cage match between the 10 top Android and 10 top iOS nominees. Only one supreme app will reign supreme as the single best app on its mobile platform. Which will reign supreme? The Android nominees are listed below:

Best App Ever

The overall best app of the year. Nominees are the apps that received the most nominations across all categories
» A Space Shooter For Free from Frima Studio Inc.
» Angry Birds from Rovio Mobile Ltd.
» Evernote from Evernote Corp.
» Google Maps from Google Inc.
» SHADOWGUN from MADFINGER Games, a.s.
» Stitcher Radio – News & Talk from Stitcher, Inc
» SugarSync from SugarSync, Inc.
» Talking Tom Cat 2 from Outfit7
» Taptu – DJ Your News from Taptu
» World of Goo from 2D BOY

Voting is open now through January 25th with the final winners to be announced at the 2011 Macworld / iWorld Expo in San Francisco, CA. Shortly after, they will be posted to the Best App Ever site, and we’ll point you to them there as well. Make sure you get your votes in early, and take advantage of the social sharing option on the site to rally support for your favorite apps.

Hit the jump (or see the Best App Ever site for the full list of Android apps nominated in the 2011 Best App Ever awards in the other 108 categories.

And let us know in the comments, who you think will win, Android or iOS for Best App Ever?

Writers Wanted Here at Android Rundown – Join the Fastest Growing Android Site

We’re looking for several App Reviewers and Bloggers to expand our coverage here on Android Rundown. The premise is very straight forward: a website focused on Android, with heavy emphasis on reviews of paid apps available in the Android Market.

Your past experience is not nearly as important as your ability to write proficiently, your passion for Android, and your drive. The ideal writer for our Android site should be able to devour apps and games and be able to write about them quickly and authoritatively. You should have a good critical eye and the ability to express yourself well. You should be able to self edit your posts and deliver them ready to publish. And most importantly, you should be able to do this while keeping your review fun and interesting like the common voice of our sites.

In addition to app and game review writers, we are also looking to add one or two news reporters. The ideal news reporter would be someone who knows when an app is going to be released before anyone else does. Someone who knows the industry and the people in the industry. Wakes up in the middle of the night to see what new apps have gone live. And is comfortable talking to developers, marketing people, and even press agencies. You must be able to respond to and write about events and industry changes quickly. And most importantly you should be able to filter through information for what is a good story and what is just PR fluff.

If you think either of these descriptions fit your skills, please keep reading. In exchange for your amazing writing skills, we will provide a brand new outlet for your talents. And of course there’s the money. We do ask that you only apply if you can keep up a regular posting frequency of at least 5 posts per week. While this isn’t a full time job, it is certainly not a once-in-a-while hobby either.

As this is a paid opportunity, please provide several samples of your work that is relevant. For those of you who don’t have relevant experience, please pick your 2 absolute favorite Android games and 2 favorite apps and provide a 300 word review of each of them along with your information.

If you have any questions, please contact us at the address below.

How to apply

If you think you have the writing skills, the drive, and the Android focus to help take our Android site to top, send us the following:

Your name
Where you live (city, state, country)
What Android device(s) you use
Why you want to write for us
3 writing samples
Past writing experiences

Email all that to helpwanted+android {at} 148apps {dot} com and we will be in touch.