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CNBC TV Everywhere App Now Available on Android

Posted by on Mar 28, 2015

CNBC is bringing its app to Android users. Access the power of CNBC on your smartphone. Get fast, accurate and actionable business news, financial information, and market data from...

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Games

Game of Thrones Review

Posted by on Mar 27, 2015

Westeros has never been so graphic

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Productivity

Google Messenger Review

Posted by on Mar 24, 2015

The Googlefied standalone text messaging utility.

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App Rundown

Game of Thrones Review

Posted by on Mar 27, 2015

Westeros has never been so graphic

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Recent Posts

Google Messenger Review

Google Messenger Review

Mar 24, 2015

As Android continues to mature, one of the cooler aspects is the way Google has seen fit to not only build its version of mobile utilities, but to also serve a lot of its apps à la carte. Keep, Calendar, Keyboard, etc are great parts of the OS, but pay of their charm is that they are optional pieces.

When it comes to messaging, most observers would probably agree that Android is very, uh… well… an area of opportunity. Definitely not from a lack of options. Oh no. Between Voice, Hangouts and the deprecated Talk, there are quite a few communication tools. And now, the relatively new Messenger throws its hat into the muddled ring.mes2

Messenger is Google’s homogeneous answer to Android device SMS and MMS communication. It’s a slim offering that acts as a replacement for OEM/carrier messaging apps.

Off the bat, it possesses that streamlined, familiar look that Google is clearly looking for with Material Design. There is a lot of white space and blue accents, with the chatted-with contacts appearing as icon circles towards the top left; for each one, there is a text to the right highlighting the last sent/received communication. To the top right, one gets a search button and the three-dot menu, and at the bottom right, there is a circled “+” button for starting new conversations.

When a contact is selected from the main screen (or a new one initiated), the same mostly white motif shows up. Each sequence is denoted by defined chat bubbles, with the user postings aligning right and the person being chatted with gets their words slanted to the left. From the individual contact settings, one can personalize the colors somewhat, such that the text bubble of the contact can be shaded. Calls can also be initiated directly from the individual “pages.”

The main menu doesn’t provide a whole lot more diversity, but one can set up notifications and set up delivery report.

In practice, it works well, as instant as the built in apps (which isn’t shocking).

It would be nice if there was automatic functionality with Goggle Voice, but it’s hard to knock the clean simplicity. It’s a no-frills presentation that mostly works. Yes, i would have appreciated more customization options, but hey.

Is it good enough to replace built-in options? Yes. It’s not necessarily breathtaking, but merely good enough, and that it an intimidating starting point.

Getting Error Code 944 When Using Google Play? You’re Not Alone

Getting Error Code 944 When Using Google Play? You’re Not Alone

Mar 23, 2015

One of the highlights of my day is finding that I have an update to an app. There’s just something awesome about getting a refresh, be it for a visual change or the addition of new features. Yes!

Tonight, though, I hit an Error 34 while trying to download an update to YouTube; I wasn’t able to update that or other apps. A quick check online hints that the “Error 944″ issue might be more widespread.

We don’t know know much about it, but check back for an update as we find out.

UPDATE: the issue seems to be fixed.

Toodledo Gets Streamlining via Update

Toodledo Gets Streamlining via Update

Mar 23, 2015

Toodledo’s Android port is getting an update.

Per Google Play, the new build brings:


•Disabling priority field now hides colored priority indicator in the task list
•Adding or removing fields in settings now updates the drawer bar
•Location based notifications now take filters into account
•Allows app to now be installed on devices without location/GPS support
•Detects when offline and doesn’t sync
•Quick dates for editing due and start dates are now consistent
•Fixes some issues with app while offline
•Date picker offers calendar view again

Toodledo remains free on the Play Store.

[Source: Google Play]

Google Maps Gets Zagat Search Functionality and More in Update

Google Maps Gets Zagat Search Functionality and More in Update

Mar 23, 2015

Google Maps is getting yet another update.

What’s New
• Filter search results for Zagat-rated restaurants (where available)
• See transit line colors on the map when you get transit directions
• Bug Fixes

Google Maps remains free.

Award-Winning Card Game You’ve Been Sentenced Graces Android OS

Award-Winning Card Game You’ve Been Sentenced Graces Android OS

Mar 23, 2015

You’ve Been Sentenced! is a popular game that has a new Android iteration styled You’ve Been Sentenced. Even cooler is the fact that it is an app with a cause.

This sentence-building game uses unique five-sided cards with multiple conjugations of a base word. With a hand of 10 cards, players try to score the most points per round by constructing the longest, grammatically correct, and sensible sentence. Any player can object to another players sentence, on either grammatical grounds, or the fact that the sentence just doesn’t make sense. The defending player and the objecting player get to argue their points to the rest of the players, who form a jury. Half the fun is trying to defend, explain, and justify a completely ridiculous sentence to the other players. First player to reach 200 points wins.
Every time you play the You’ve been Sentenced! word game, you are helping to provide free books to children, adults and seniors nationwide!
Since 2005, McNeill Designs has donated a portion of the sales of the award-winning You’ve Been Sentenced! word game to Success Won’t Wait, in order to help provide much-needed free books to organizations, schools and programs nationwide.
Now, a portion of the proceeds from the You’ve been Sentenced! mobile app will also fund this 501c3 non-profit literacy organization. So, play on!

You’ve been Sentenced is available for free (with in-app purchasing) on the Play Store.

New Game 3D Easter Treasure Hunt Drops on Google Play and Amazon Appstore

New Game 3D Easter Treasure Hunt Drops on Google Play and Amazon Appstore

Mar 23, 2015

New Game 3D Easter Treasure Hunt is a new game from Romale that is available for Android users.

3D Easter Treasure Hunt is a 3d runner egg hunting game where your main objective is to run around and find Easter eggs that are hidden around. Your time is limited to hurry up. If you like to go on a treasure hunt, then this is the right game for you. To unlock next level you have to find all eggs before counter reaches zero.
There are 3 different terrains. On first 9 levels you play in the city. In next 9 levels you will travel with soldiers around the battlefield and in the last 9 levels you will hunt for eggs in space surrounded by aliens.
How to Play:
To control your character you have 2 joysticks. Left one will help you move and the right one will help you look around the place. Your time is limited, so try to find all eggs as soon as possible.
Features:
– 27 levels(city, battlefield and space)
– Easter theme
– simple to play
– Piano background music in menu
– Relaxing nature background music in game
– Addicting gameplay
– Since this game contains no violence, it is suitable also for kids

It is available on Google Play and the Amazon Appstore for free.

Sony Xperia Z3v Review

Sony Xperia Z3v Review

Mar 23, 2015

For Android smartphone aficionados, every OEM has something about it. We do associate things to different OEMs — some good, some bad. Personally, I love being able to see unbranded hardware and more or less guess who makes it based on some design cues. Since Android is blessed wit device makers that have backgrounds in varied consumer electronics ventures, it’s interesting to see how their Android smartphones extend the brand.

Sony definitely has a rep in consumer electronics, and its Xperia line is the embodiment of that reputation in te personal computing space. Specifically with the Sony Xperia Z3v, one of its latest devices, Sony shows us how even the sleek can get, well, even sleeker.

The review unit Sony sent to us helps one conceptualize the design. Physically, it is clearly a Z3 variant, and it unashamedly hearkens to the Z2. We style is deliberate, with regal cuts, glass front and back with plastic exo-core coming in at 5.85 x 2.89 x 0.35 inches; it packs a 5.2″ Full HD 1920 x1080 pixel screen that is actually fun to look at. At first glance, one might be forgiven if they wonder where the ports are; te device is seemingly devoid of them except for the 3.55 mm audio port — the rest covered by plastic tabs, such that one needs to pull said tabs up and out to do stuff like charge the device or use the sd card port.

sony3

The wake/on button and volume rocker are placed on the side, which does help with single-handed use. We also get 20.7 MP camera in the back and a 2.2 MP snapper in the front.

Under the hood, Sony does pack a lot of goodness… 3 GB RAM 32 GB memory (tested version), Snapdragon chip, and just about every connectivity option one can think of, including MHL and Miracast support. When it’s all said and done the Z3v is a connectivity powerhouse.

The included software suit isn’t bad, with mainstays like PS Remote Play tucked in for Playstation folks. Sony’s cover skin is thin, but I did find the Amazon integration interesting: the included suite of Amazon apps can’t be completely uninstalled. If this is truly the last time we see the music app labeled as Walkman, it could be said it went out repping the brand quite well.

Of note is the SmartWear compatibility; we had an opportunity to try it out with the Smartwatch 3, and they worked quite well together. Of course, all Google apps are included, with the backing of the Google Play Store.

The whole package is smooth, even at a non-contract price of $599 (on Amazon). The software and hardware come together quite nicely, and it is definitely a testament to Sony being able to make (and improve upon) nice hardware.

Goats on a Bridge Review

Goats on a Bridge Review

Mar 23, 2015

So what happened to the billy goats after the fable? That’s the story Goats on a Bridge tries to tell.

Goats on a Bridge is a new game that re-imagines Three Billy Goats Gruff in the essence of a platform puzzle and race game.

The idea is fairly easy, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t start off by mentioning how it looks. It packs a vivid visual punch, with bright colors that are seemingly made to underscore the gameplay. The animations are not too complex, and invoke a playful air.

The gameplay comes in two main modes: Dash and Puzzle. In Puzzle, one gets to see the game in somewhat of a standard form… a raised platform above water being the main environmental pieces. Our protagonist is a jolly, lovable goat, and the goal is to get said goat from point A to point B as fast as possible. Of course, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill walk in the park; what type of platform game would this be if it didn’t have some obstacles?

gob2

The first obstacle, in a manner of speaking, is mastering the controls, which consist of abbreviated gestures and virtual buttons. More specifically to the gameplay, there are gaps in the platform that have to be navigated by jumping. Jumping, however, is a precise process in that being too far from the take off point causes the leap to be short, making the goat take a run ending plunge into the water below. Being too aggressive in getting to the end of plank can be just as dangerous. In any case, the jumps can be hazardous, despite the collctible gold coins that line the travelways. Gold can be used for in-app uogrades (along with real money.

Then there are other obstacles, like boxes, and the surfaces of the platforms change, with multiple goats (which invites multiple person play) becoming part of the gameplay.

Some of the same elements can be found in Dash, but in this, we have something more akin to an endless runner, but with collapsing ground, spikes, gaps and more making appearances. There are achievements and other arcade elements as well.

All in all, it’s an interesting game that invites extended gameplay.

Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders Review

Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders Review

Mar 23, 2015

Like dogfights? A WWII fan? Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders might be just what you’re looking for.

If the aim of the developer is to suck people in with Grade A graphics, I believe that mission is mostly successful. Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders looks slick, with nice-looking graphics that transition well enough to allow the game maintain a decently realistic feel. From the shimmer of the sea to the ghostly plumes of airborne artillery, most of the artwork is well done, and fits in with the game especially well. Same goes for the in-game sounds. The battle sounds reflect just what I’d expect a major air battle to sound like.

The game starts out with a set of tutorials that are interactive in nature, and quite useful for getting into the swing of tings. It helps show basics like controlling airspeed, maneuvering, take-off and landing, and, of course, how to use one’s weapons. Again, because of how the learning tools are designed, they almost serve as a section of gameplay in and of themselves.

sg2

Actual gameplay is varied, with several different modes to choose from. In singleplayer, one can pick a host of playing options: capture the flag, free for all, defend the base, and more. The “campaign” singleplayer subset is based upon actual WWII combat, and is split up into missions that generally consist of enemy craft coming in to initiate a war of attrition. There are some precise elements employed by the developer to make the whole piece feel authentic, like the ability to close rank with one’s squadron and such. Enemy gunfire is especially hair-raising, and the ability to switch views is a fantastic touch. The gauges and virtual buttons manage to be ever-present without blocking the screen, and the aircraft is quite responsive to the touch. Altogether, the gameplay comes together quite nicely.

There are other planes and knickknacks that can be purchased with real cash, too.

And the whole game does as well. I would have preferred a more refined sighing system, and I do feel bigger screens highlight the elements of the gameplay better, but it’s a wild ride that keeps on giving.

Crescent Moon and SpaceNoize Launch New Game Space Chicks on Google Play

Crescent Moon and SpaceNoize Launch New Game Space Chicks on Google Play

Mar 22, 2015

SpaceNoize and Crescent Moon are bringing a new action game to Android: Space Chicks.

The game is an endless runner with a space motif and avian beings in distress.

Space Chicks is a gorgeous endless platformer with simple one touch controls, amazing Space physics, beautiful effects, and heaps of fun.

Kill bad guys, save chicks, drive spaceships, compete with your friends online or play two player on the same device, complete all of the missions to receive rewards and be the Hero the Chicks need you to be!

Fun powerups, such as the Space Car, or the Chick Hammer, will help you get through even the most dangerous of planetary situations.

Space Chicks is awesome and that’s pretty much a fact! Try it yourself!
Music composed by John Hoge.

Space Chicks is available for free (with in-app purchases) on the Play Store.

The Battle Cats Gets New Elements in Update

The Battle Cats Gets New Elements in Update

Mar 21, 2015

PONOS is giving its game The Battle Cats some upgrade love and the changes are major.

Per Google Play, the changes are listed below:

What’s New
– Added User Rank system (Appears after clearing Chapter 2)
The total unit upgrade value will be displayed as your User Rank
When reaching a set rank, you will receive a special reward!
– Added a True Form for Special-grade characters
You can evolve to this True Form after completing certain objectives.
– New characters added to the Rare Capsule Machine!
– New Event Stages
– New Legend Stages
– Revised Save Data Transfer process
– Minor bug fixes

The Battle Cats is available for free (with in-app purchases) on the Play Store.

Puzzle House: Mystery Rising Makes its Way to Google Play and Amazon Appstore

Puzzle House: Mystery Rising Makes its Way to Google Play and Amazon Appstore

Mar 21, 2015

PugaPuma has just launched a new game Puzzle House: Mystery Rising on Android.

Puzzle House: Mystery Rising takes place in an expansive 3D world, emphasizing beautiful scenes and sweeping outdoor vistas. Players smoothly move from place to place, freely explore objects from all angles, and find hidden nooks and crannies. Puzzle House: Mystery Rising was built from the ground up to have room to play, and immerses the player in an engaging adventure story that is family-appropriate for players of all ages.

The puzzles, of course, are what make the game. Puzzle House: Mystery Rising doubled-down on both the variety and uniqueness. Find secret keys inside hidden compartments inside a buried monument. Hack your way past high-tech keypads. Decipher a cryptic journal that came from a surprising source. Assemble ever-more complex objects that are out-of-this-world. Crank cranks, slide sliders, leverage levers, and escape reality with this sci-fi story-based adventure puzzle game. Use clues from an interactive journal to decipher the mystery of grandma’s disappearance as you find your way steadily closer to the mysterious, secluded Puzzle House.

Of interest is that team behind PugaPuma is a team with actual experience building experimental bomb-detecting and disposal robots prior to getting into mobile development.

The game is available for $2.99 on both Google Play and the Amazon Appstore right now.

Real Steel Champions Comes to Android

Real Steel Champions Comes to Android

Mar 21, 2015

Real Steel Champions, a game based on the Real Steel franchise, is now available on Android.

Reliance Games today announced Real Steel Champions is now available for Android. Based on the popular movie title franchise and the latest in a series of hit Real Steel games from Reliance and DreamWorks SKG, Real Steel Champions features the most comprehensive and customizable Build-a-Robot mode in the series’ history.

The Real Steel franchise has amassed over 50 million passionate robot battling fans across Android and iOS. Real Steel Champions continues the winning tradition with a host of headlining features: 10 new arenas, a nearly unlimited combination of robots to choose from, a new Tournament mode which includes 20 fights with four ruthless bosses, each prepped to go the distance. Players can perfect their jabs, crosses, feints and haymakers across 30 challenges, 90 Time Attack fights and practice their glove game in the unlimited Free Sparing mode.

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

Bolla 7 Review

Bolla 7 Review

Mar 20, 2015

Bolla 7 is the type of game that should play perfectly on mobile devices. It’s easy for any type of gamer to play, fast-paced, and intense. However, the game fails in execution because it lacks one fundamental element of video games — the ability to win.

Immediately after booting up the game, Bolla 7 conjures up memories of classic PC games of yesteryear. Dots scattered across the game board will take older players back to the days of passing the time in Minesweeper, and the color-matching gameplay is about as classic a concept as gaming itself.

Players must touch on colored circles and move them around the game board’s tiles. The object is to match these dots by color in order to eliminate them and clear the board before time runs out. But this is easier said than done. Players are inevitably forced to move dots around when there are no matches, and that wasted move will unleash a scattering of more new dots on the board.

This can be incredibly frustrating as users attempt to strategize moves and set themselves up for success when more than a single move is needed. After moving a non-matching dot to set up a second move, a new dot will often appear on a tile between the two matching dots to spoil gamers’ plans. The clock winding down adds an additional layer of frustration as players scramble to find matches before time is up. Games can be played with a time limit of one or five minutes, or with no limit at all.

Bolla 7

However, regardless of whether you play with a time limit or not, the game is impossible to actually beat, and that is the downfall of Bolla 7. The simple, yet punishing gameplay system works for a mobile game, but the inability to actually win removes the sense of satisfaction that keeps players coming back.

The game is not divided into levels, and the difficulty will be at its maximum at the moment players install it. This means it’s difficult to master, but players will quickly be turned off by the fact they don’t feel they can master it at all. Clearing the board is impossible, as players will assuredly run into multiple instances of having no matches. Instead, users fight to best their high score, but there is little acknowledgement even when they do. With no levels, challenges or achievements, Bolla 7 quickly leaves its players in the cold.

Another disappointing aspect of Bolla 7 is its sound, or lack thereof. Players will hear the satisfying sound effect when they move matching dots together, but it feels like something is missing. Soothing background music that speeds up as players near their time limit would fit perfectly into the game, but instead there is no music at all.

The concept of Bolla 7 is not groundbreaking, but it should be the type of game that finds success on the Google Play Store. Instead, it feels like an unfinished products. With little incentive to continue playing, users will find themselves uninstalling Bolla 7 from their collection not long after installing it in the first place.

Next Amazon FireTV Update Will Reportedly Bring USB Storage and Expanded Bluetooth Connectivity

Next Amazon FireTV Update Will Reportedly Bring USB Storage and Expanded Bluetooth Connectivity

Mar 20, 2015

When we reviewed the Amazon Fire TV box a while back, we noted that even though it was a fantastic tool that surpassed our expectations, the biggest mark of imperfection is probably the relatively small onboard space. When one checks out the size of some of the games — NBA 2K15, hello? — it becomes more jarring.

The fact that the unit has a USB port that cannot be used is a painful reminder, but its presence allowed folks to hope.

Well, according AFTV News, we might not have to wait too much longer. According to the site, an upcoming update might unlock the USB port for use with expandable memory

Additionally, word is is that expanded Bluetooh functionality is on the way, which just might be able to give folks the ability to use more than just wireless controls and input units with the peripheral.

No word on when the update will drop, but we’ll be waiting!

[Source: AFTV News]

Swiss Luxury Watchmaker TAG Heuer Announces Android Wear Collaboration with Google and Intel

Swiss Luxury Watchmaker TAG Heuer Announces Android Wear Collaboration with Google and Intel

Mar 19, 2015

In an interesting amalgamation of technology heavyweights, renown timepiece maker TAG Heuer is partnering with Intel and Google to create a smartwatch that will be powered by Intel technology and Google’s wearable initiative Android Wear.

According to a press conference that was held on March 19th at watch and jewelry confab Baselworld, the partnership looks to “create a product that is both luxurious and seamlessly connected to its wearer’s daily life — a culmination of innovation, creativity and design from Silicon Valley in California and the Watch Valley in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.”

Beyond the raw heft of the announcement itself, this is interesting in several ways. For one, getting TAG Heuer on board with the idea of making a smartwatch is pretty major. It definitely gives Android Wear much needed legitimacy in a budding wearables sub-sector. Also, it creates a potential cascade as other luxury watchmakers potentially try to add functionality to their pieces.

We can’t wait to see how this turns out.

Below is the official video of the announcement.

[Source: Intel via BBC]