E3 2013: Unu Aims To Take Over Your TV, Tablet Style

E3 2013: Unu Aims To Take Over Your TV, Tablet Style

Jun 11, 2013

We had a morning meeting with the folks behind Unu, the new 7-inch gaming tablet that turns your giant HDTV into a smart TV that plays Android games from the Google Play Store.

Drop this little tablet into a dock, or connect it via HDMI, and you’ll be able to use the “air-mouse” remote to navigate the interface and even play games (I got to fling Luke Skywalker Angry Birds). Add an Xbox-style gaming controller and you’re rocking the mid core gaming scene on your HDTV.

Unu Tablet

Pull the tablet away from your giant screen, and you can navigate via tough, still use the gaming controller, and play games on the go. Take it to a buddy’s house and plug directly in via HDMI. It’s the ultimate Android-powered mini tablet.

Check out this short Vine video of the Unu system in action.

Six New EA Games Come to Android

Six New EA Games Come to Android

Dec 23, 2011

EA is nothing if not dominating the mobile space, and to prove it once again, they’re launching six new gaming titles to the Android Marketplace. First up is Dead Space, named by Apple as iPad game of the year, and Real Racing 2, one of the best iOS Games of the year, according to Venture Beat. Real Racing 2 will be available for a free test drive, with an upgrade to the full version available for the first time on the marketplace. In addition, Plants Vs. Zombies, Peggleand Monopoly will also be on offer, so make sure you hit the Android Market in the coming days to fill up that sweet new device with EA gaming goodness.

EA Mobile is a leading mobile entertainment publisher witha ton of games like as Tetris, Bejeweled, The Sims, and Need For Speed, for starters. They also publish casual games based on the company’s alliance with Hasbro, Inc. including Monopoly, Yahtzee and Scrabble as well as sports games from the EA SPORTS brand, like Madden NFL Football and FIFA Soccer. EA Mobile develops games for multiple mobile platforms including feature phones, smartphones (Android & Windows Phone), the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. For more information about EA Mobile, head on over to www.eamobile.com.

10 Billion Download Promotion Starts Today

10 Billion Download Promotion Starts Today

Dec 6, 2011

Starting now in the Android Market is a promotion designed to call attention to the 10 billion downloads on the store. Each app on the featured list is being offered for $0.10. According to Slashgear, the promotion will see ten apps released each day for the next week and a half, and may in fact result in more credit cards attached to the Android Market, something that’s been an issue for Google for some time.

The apps on offer right now for the ten cent price include some fantastic games, like Minecraft Pocket Edition, Great Little War Game, and Fieldrunners HD, as well as the fantastic non-games SketchBook Mobile and Soundhound. Get on over to the sale now, and keep checking in each day as ten new ones arrive. Don’t forget to tell them that AndroidRundown sent ya.

Rundown: Nook Tablet Hands On Review

Rundown: Nook Tablet Hands On Review

Nov 28, 2011

I am a true-blue, dyed in the wool Apple iOS device supporter. I have had an iPhone since day one, and I own and work with iPads and Mac computers every day. But I have to tell you, right here: I am seriously, significantly impressed with Barnes and Noble’s new Android-based nook Tablet. Wow.

Opening the now-familiar nook-style packaging, I felt something I’ve only experienced with the Apple design-centric packaging before – a sense of familiarity and comfort. I’ve owned a nook since the very first eInk device they released in November of 2009, and have upgraded since then to a nook Simple Touch eInk reader. Each iteration of the nook device has been boxed in a similar solid feeling cardboard box. These boxes are easily opened, with the cord and power plug in a separate bottom section, the device itself snugly ensconced in the top. Lifting the lid on the nook Tablet was like coming home, and my inner geek squee-ed a bit.

The device itself is beautiful – looking almost exactly like last year’s nook Color (which I skipped since, well, I *have* an iPad) except the shade of grey of the frame. The screen is a long 8.1 inches by 5.0 inches, and the whole device feels solid yet intimately holdable, with a weight of 14.1 ounces and a thickness of just shy of a half an inch. At first, I thought using it in landscape orientation, especially while reading, would be awkward. After several days of comfortable before-bed reading, I can say that it excels as an e-reader in either orientation.

Speaking of reading, as a long time B&N account holder, I already have about 40 books that I’ve either purchased, sampled, or gotten for free through the in-store promotions over the last couple of years. It’s a joy to turn on the nook Tablet, log in to my B&N account, and have most of my preferences and books ready for download to this specific device. This is cloud-based heaven for book and content lovers. Even my social network preferences were filled in from the one account log in. Brilliant!

Reading books is as fantastic as ever. Tapping on words and passages brings up a host of options, including an onboard dictionary look up feature as well as an easy social network sharing ability. The LCD backlit display isn’t the way I want to read all my books all the time – I’ll save my nook Simple Touch eInk reader for that – but it’s very usable, allowing me to adjust brightness down in a dark room with a fairly low glare screen. Good stuff when I only have the one device.

But I didn’t pick this one up to be my eReader. The nook Tablet has a 1 GHz dual core processor with 1 GHz of RAM (twice that of the competing Amazon Fire). The onboard memory is 16 Gb (with an unfortunately under explained 1 Gb only reserved for user owned and ad hoc data – more on this in a tic) with an micro SD slot to expand that with up to an extra 32 Gb of storage space.

Barnes and Noble doesn’t talk up the walled memory approach it’s taking with the nook Tablet. Essentially, users have only 1G of onboard memory allowed for their own non-B&N content. The rest of the 16 G is reserved for B&N content, which will include some reported third party media partners soon, as well as their own movie rental service. Add that kind of data, as well as the larger sized magazine content already available, and that “only B&N content” section will likely fill up fast. I was initially disappointed that this was the approach, but so far have not had an issue with it, and don’t expect to.

The app store approach here is similar to Amazon’s – Barnes and Noble curates their own version of the Android app store to provide an easy of entry to neophyte potential customers. While I still plan on rooting the device at some point to make te entire Android experience available on my new tablet, I sincerely appreciate this approach when I consider my parents or other family members who might want to dip their toes into the water of downloading apps without having to manage the chaos that is the Android app marketplace. Even with my technical savvy, I have to say I enjoyed the hand-holding.

The app store on the tablet itself is well laid out. Pressing the ‘n’ button at the bottom of the device brings up the navigation buttons, which include home, library, shop, search, apps, web and settings. Tap apps and get the currently installed apps on the device. This can be laid out in two styles: a grid/bookshelf type view in either a general or alphabetized flavor and a list view with app icons to the left, descriptions to the right. At the top of any of these views, a SHOP NOW link is present. Tap it and go directly to the apps portion of the B&N online store, provided the nook is connected to the internet via WiFi. Categories are perhaps more fine grained than what I’m used to on the iTunes App Store, with each large category further refined with smaller subcategories. For example, the Education and Reference category has Children, Dictionaries, Special Education, Medical, Encyclopedias, and Legal subcats. Granted, many apps in each of the subcategories seem spurious (why is Amazing Zen Quotes in the Special Education category?), just having more specificity is truly wonderful. I look forward to more apps and better categorization in the near future.

Searching for apps is another matter, however. When searching for a specific app, I found that the results include books and magazines that match the search term as well. This is no way to run an app search. A search for ‘IM’ brought up IM+ (for $9.99 – ugh), but only after five books with the word “I’m” in the title. I’d like to see a separate search for apps that does not include books, even if the app offerings are currently slim.

Which, interestingly, does not seem to be the case. I’m tempted to say that the app store on the nook Tablet feels more populated than the Nintendo DSi online store felt when it was first launched, but I don’t have any hard numbers to back that up.

What doesn’t this tablet have? Well, a camera, 3G, GPS, or Bluetooth. That’s a lot of missing stuff to make this a full tablet experience. However, is this such a bad thing? This is a new tablet category, as can be seen with the competitor, Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which doesn’t have these things, either. No, what this new type of tablet brings to the party is a sweet little consumer level device at a great price point. What swayed me to the nook side of town was the extra & expandable storage, the fact that I am already a Barnes & Noble customer (my purchased books are now available on both my nooks and my computer), and the local presence of a B&N store in my city for warranty or other tech support. That being said, this is a fairly user friendly device – folks new to the tablet or the eReader scene will be able to use the nook Tablet right out of the box. To me, that’s a big mark in the nook Tablet’s favor.

Overall, the nook Tablet is a fine entry level device for media consumption, book reading, and basic internet functionality, like email and web surfing. It’s not an iPad killer, nor even much of a competitor. It’s in fair competition with Amazon’s Kindle Fire, and – I believe – is the better of the two devices on specs alone. Of course, not having a Fire to back that opinion up is something that I’m willing to change, if I end up with my hands on a Fire. For now, though, I’m glad for the purchase of the nook Tablet, and look forward to taking it with me to places that the iPad might be a bit of an overkill. Man, I love the future.

Disney Mobile Brings Hit Game Where’s My Water? to Android

We had the opportunity to speak with Bart Decrem, GM of Disney Mobile, about Where’s My Water?, a success on the iOS App Store, coming to the Android platform for the first time.

According to Decrem, Android has been part of the plan since the development of Where’s My Water? for the iPhone crowd. In fact, the game was originally developed with C++, to make it easier to port to Android. The challenge, he said, is making sure the game is the same high quality experience across the myriad devices represented by Google’s hip operating system. Disney Mobile promised that Where’s My Water? can be played on over 700 different Android devices, which basically amounts to all devices that have been released in the past two years, excluding budget devices.

What makes the game such a hit, says, Decrem, is not just the well-tuned puzzles, but the original character, Swampy the Alligator – a Disney style character that players get water for to help him take a bath.

Disney also announced that Swampy will make his debut online in a 12 episode web series called, Where’s My Water?, the Adventures of Swampy. The 3-4 minute weekly episodes are slated to launch on Disney Online in January. Whether this drives purchases of the game remains to be seen, though taking Angry Birds as an example, a transmedia approach can work well.

Where’s My Water? is available now in the Android Market for $0.99.

Looking for Writers At AndroidRundown!

Looking for Writers At AndroidRundown!

Sep 26, 2011

We’re looking for a few great writers with a strong passion for Android games and apps. People that love grabbing a new app, figuring out it’s strengths and weaknesses, and telling the world about the best of the apps they find. With so many apps in the app marketplace, we’ll never get to all of them. But, we do want to get to the best ones. That’s why we need you.

The ideal app reviewer will devour apps and games, writing 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 own posts and deliver them ready to publish. And, most importantly, good app reviewers should be able to do all this while keeping the review fun and interesting, using the common voice of the site.

All review writers should be able to jump back and forth amongst apps and games, but extra points if you have a passion for non-gaming apps and a nose for finding the best ones across the various Android markets.

Think you have the chops? Check out our requirements here:

– have an Android device, phone or tablet, and think it’s the best thing since sliced bread
– have a general knowledge of and interest in the Android community
– can write at a relatively high level, like what you might see in a magazine or newspaper
– have some familiarity with WordPress or similar CMS platform
– have the time to write and post at least three to five reviews a week

What do you get? Writing for AndroidRundown gets you exposure. We’re still one of the only app review-based Android sites out there, and part of a much larger network, the 148Apps Network. You also get some money, per post, at a competitive rate. That’s not bad, right? We do ask that you only apply if you can keep up a regular posting frequency. While this isn’t a full time job, it’s not a once-in-a-while hobby either.

If you think this is something you might be interested it, get familiar with our review style and send us three of your best clips. These are the best portfolio work of review writing you’ve done. The closer to an app review your clips are, the better chance we’ll have of understanding your style. Don’t have any written samples? Write us one! Pick your favorite app or two and write up a 300 – 500 word review, with proper spelling and grammar, and email it to helpwanted+android {at} 148apps {dot} com. We look forward to hearing from you, and we’ll get back to you soon.

Announcement: The App Hall Of Fame from 148Apps

Announcement: The App Hall Of Fame from 148Apps

Oct 1, 2010

originally posted on 148apps.com
App discoverability continues to be a real issue.  With the fast churn of apps in the App Store, an app has only a few weeks of promotional life in it before it’s largely forgotten.  There are a few things developers can do to fix that, but those things may not work for most apps.  That’s why we think it’s important to archive these great, best apps from even just a few months ago.  They may have been forgotten by most, but we want a way to remember them forever.

We’re proud to announce the launch of a new site, dedicated to archiving the very best in mobile apps, the App Hall of Fame!  We hope it will become the source for finding the very best of the best apps, long after their initial promotional buzz has died down.

With a voting process loosely modeled after the Baseball Hall of Fame, the App Hall of Fame will induct 12 new apps every month. The eligible apps are those that have been in the App Store for at least 6 months.  Initially we’ll be focusing on iPhone/iPod Touch apps, but we’ll open it up to iPad apps soon.  Next year? We expand further to cover other platforms.

Read the full announcement on 148Apps!

Samsung Announces Galaxy Tab

Samsung Announces Galaxy Tab

Sep 17, 2010

The folks over at Android Central are reporting on Samsung’s announcement yesterday about their Galaxy Tab, a new Android powered tablet device. It will run on all major US carriers: Sprint, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. Samsung is quoted as saying,

The Galaxy Tab features a brilliant 7-inch enhanced TFT display screen, 1GHz Hummingbird Application processor supporting 3D graphics and smooth Web browsing and front and rear-facing cameras for video chat while on-the-go. The Galaxy Tab is powered by Android 2.2™, including full support for Adobe® Flash® Player 10.1. Just like the Galaxy S smart phones, the Galaxy Tab includes Samsung’s Social Hub application and the new Media Hub content service, offering a robust collection of premium movies and TV episodes from some of the biggest entertainment companies.

According to Android Central, Samsung is planning to have these babies out by this holiday season, and that a wifi only version is in the works.

Obviously, this is a direct competitor to the gorilla in the room, the Apple iPad. Whether devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab will compete at the same level as Android devices have with the iPhone remains to be seen. Stay tuned right here as we keep you abreast of all the latest news in this arena.

Gamefly’s Gamecenter App Updated

Gamefly’s Gamecenter App Updated

Sep 17, 2010

This one is for all the GameFly users out there. GameCenter is a free mobile app put out by GameFly, the “netflix for gamers” subscription service for console games. GameCenter provides access to game info, news, articles and GameQ management in real time right on your mobile device.

What’s new in version 1.2? We’ll tell you:

  • Ability for GameFly members to manage their queue native to app
  • Optimized performance improvements
  • Hi-res device support

What’s the full set of features for GameCenter? Here you go:

  • Complete info on popular, new, and upcoming games
  • Up to the minute gaming news
  • Full GameQ management in the app
  • Thousands of images and trailers
  • Share content with Facebook and Twitter friends
  • Personalize games and news for favorite platforms

So, if you use GameFly and have an Android device, this is the app for you. All GameCenter apps can be downloaded from www.gamefly.com/mobile and GameCenter v1.2 for Android can be downloaded from the Android Market itself.


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