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Amazon Appstore Hosts “Spooktacular” Sale via Halloween Shop

Posted by on Oct 24, 2014

Amazon Appstore has Spooktacular sale.

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Games

République Review

Posted by on Oct 24, 2014

Stealth. Totalitarianism. Survival. République brings it all.

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Productivity

e-CAL Calendar Review

Posted by on Oct 22, 2014

A look at Android calendar replacement application.

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App Rundown

République Review

Posted by on Oct 24, 2014

Stealth. Totalitarianism. Survival. République brings it all.

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Recent Posts

My App Addiction: Slickdeals

My App Addiction: Slickdeals

Oct 20, 2014

I love technology, but even more than technology, I love a good deal. I don’t mind paying top dollar for something that I really need, but I admit I get a rush when I find something worth getting at full cost slashed to a lower price point.

In other words, Slickdeals and I were meant to be.

The well-known deals website is a veritable source of awesome . Making it to the “front page” is no easy feat, but getting the fiery “hot deal” icon is a true honor that befits one who has just set off a run on products that online stores can’t keep up with… the so-called “Slickdeals Effect.”

Being five minutes late can cost you. That’s why the official app is such a crucial tool in the arsenal of the savvy web connected shopper.

Using Android’s push notification system, the app allows SDers to pick and choose what they want to be notified about. Reminders — the ability to get a reminder about a deal that can’t be acted upon immediately while sitting in that budget meeting — are easily set, and the interface is clean and intuitive. I especially like the way frontpage and hot deals are visually presented; the notification system simply works, and it is possible to share deals by services installed on the app, which can be useful for folks who like to notify friends and family of deals… after they have already procured one of said item for themselves, of course. Forums can be accessed, and deal alerts can be set up.

Unlike the full website, the official app requires an account to be used, which might be somewhat of a bummer, but is somewhat understandable.

For the deal-conscious, the mobility quotient alone is worth it. I gotta go… Amazon is giving away free coins for Android app purchases.

Slickdeals told me so.

The Science of Voice Recognition: Video of the Day

The Science of Voice Recognition: Video of the Day

Oct 18, 2014

I believe in the concept of anchor apps: apps that make the prospect of switching platforms unpalatable. These apps are the apps mobile OS makers count on to help propagate their respective OSes. Get some good anchor apps to get new folks hooked on your ecosystem, and sky’s the limit.

In fact, I theorize that having a few mobile anchor apps like Maps, Gmail and Search is what gave fledgling Android OS a fighting chance while it gained users and the developers needed to create the vibrant app ecosystem needed to keep those users satisfied… and encourage friends and families to do the same.

On Android, I do have a few anchor apps. One that stands out is Google Now. The voice assistant is an excellence tool I rely on heavily (with the help of Tasker and treated plugins). I’d be loathe to do without the cards, information and tie-in with other Google services.

In the video below, we get see a Google-created documentary about the science behind voice technology.

[Source: Google Youtube via Engadget]

Google Opinion Rewards Gets Update that Adds History

Google Opinion Rewards Gets Update that Adds History

Oct 17, 2014

Google Opinion Rewards, the app that pays Android users for the privilege of answering surveys, is getting an update.

The update brings a long-requested feature: the ability to view the history of answered surveys. With the new update, beneath the dollar value of credits earned, one will find a listing of survey transactions, dates taken and amount earned.

This is especially useful for folks who have been using the app in the last year or so since it has been around; credits expire after a year of being earned, so unless one is formally keeping dates, it’s easy to forget and lose credits down the line.

Google Opinion Rewards continues to be an app that rewards users with the occasional credits for taking the random questionnaires. The credits can be used on anything carried on the Play Store, with one important caveat: payments cannot be split, so if a purchase is made using garnered credits, only the credits can be used. if there are not enough credits to purchase the item, one must use another form of payment entirely.

The app is available for free on the Play Store.

Source: Google Play]

Amazon Appstore Offers 14 Apps for Free for Limited Time

Amazon Appstore Offers 14 Apps for Free for Limited Time

Oct 17, 2014

Amazon seems to be looking to eliminate any reasons people might have to not view its Appstore as a veritable end-to-end Android app solution, and its latest promotion seems to underscore this.

For a limited time, Amazon Appstore is offering 14 “family friendly” apps and games for free on October 17th and October 18th only.

The games and applications are as follows:

· Yo Gabba Gabba! Party in My Tummy ($1.99)
· Motivated Moms – 2014($3.99)
· Fionna Fights – Adventure Time ($0.99)
· Fast Food Nutrition , Calories , Carbs plus Calculator ($5.99)
· Owl and Pals Preschool Lessons ($0.99)
· Healthy Habit Tracker ($2.99)
· House Cleaning List ($0.99)
· Reward Charts ($0.99)
· Grocery Shopping List ($0.99)
· Words and Riddles: Crossword Puzzle ($0.99)
· Kids Measurement Science ($1.99)
· Kids Reading Comprehension Level 2 (Kindle Tablet Edition) ($0.99)
· Mathemagica ($0.99)
· Gro Flowers ($0.99)

The app are available on the promotions page.

The Sandbox Receives Big Update

The Sandbox Receives Big Update

Oct 17, 2014

Award-winning world-building game The Sandbox: Craft Play Share is getting a pretty big update that should be of interest to players.

Version 1.995 brings new campaigns, elements, buildings, blueprints, jobs and more.

From the press release:

The Humans are back and ready to leave the city behind. Enjoy the nature with the Country Life update!

Choose between 2 new roles: Farmer or Fisherman and start crafting the best farm ever with the 20 new elements proposed in this update.

Discover also our new concept: the Sandmix Vol.1 & 2 campaigns, featuring 18 exclusive levels of mixed types: gaming, pixel art, music, action, puzzle and more. Use your skills and your brain to solve them all!

The new update is available now; The Sandbox: Craft Play Share is available for free (with in-app purchasing) on the Play Store.

NBA 2K15 Available on Android Exclusively On Amazon Appstore

NBA 2K15 Available on Android Exclusively On Amazon Appstore

Oct 16, 2014

Check…

The popular basketball simulation NBA 2K15 is now out — as an exclusive for Amazon Fire devices, just in time for the upcoming NBA season.

The latest iteration promises improved graphics, new controller support and more. According to the NBA 2K twitter feed, Pharrell Williams is curating the soundtrack, which can only be a good thing.

The game should make it way to the play Store, but for now, Fire device-owning folks can rub it in. We look forward to reviewing it soon.

The game will be available for $7.99.

Drone: Shadow Strike Arrives on Android

Drone: Shadow Strike Arrives on Android

Oct 16, 2014

Commanding drones is the name of the game in Drone: Shadow Strike, and Reliance Games has just released this new game for Android users.

Per the official press release:

Command the battlefield from the skies with Reliance Games’ new covert aerial combat simulation and warfare game, Drone: Shadow Strike, arriving today on Google Play.

Drone: Shadow Strike transforms Android devices into pilot stations for the world’s most advanced unmanned vehicles of military superiority with simple and supremely precise touchscreen controls. Take command of the battlefield from high above the fray with an audacious arsenal of guns, missiles, rockets and bombs, each upgradeable for distinct effects in unique circumstances, as well as autoloaders, airstrikes, nukes and more.

Combining the tense action of a war game with the immersion, strategy and attention to detail of a simulator, Drone: Shadow Strike delivers a fully explored drone operator experience. Your FLIR (Forward looking Infrared) camera gives you an unparalleled view of everything below, which you’ll need to take on over 20 assault, defend and escort special ops assignments across four historically inspired campaigns. Climb the ranks from airman to general, tackling over 270 challenges with 50 achievements, and compete with friends around the world via Facebook and online leaderboards to bring the end to enemy combatants.

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

Source: Reliance Games Press Release]

Entwined Challenge Review

Entwined Challenge Review

Oct 16, 2014

Twitch games are an addiction of mine now, so checking out Entwined Challenge was destined to be.

The visuals rely on simulated distance perspective; to start, the two flying beings are colored red and blue. In the distance is a circle with colored segments; the colors of the segments are generally red, blue and green. the flying beings can be controlled by thumb gestures on either side to move along the axis of the circle, so that each flying being is guided through a matching color segment.

As progress is made, the game adjusts too; for example, where the color segments were stationary, they begin to move, forcing the player to make adjustments and quicker decisions on the fly. While the concept remains simple, the developer does a good job of delicately layering levels of difficulty upon the easy-to-understand premise, and it flows well, with no major deviations to distract from the chase of excellence.entwined3

Success in matching yields points and more playing time, and there is only a set number of misses allowed before the run ends, so accuracy is key. Dexterity is also an asset, as is the ability to react quickly. There are combos that can be attained, and high scores are recorded; the high score mechanism making it easy for folks to find an excuse to beat the previous score.

The game is split into five levels, with the threshold of a preceding one needing to be met for the next to be unlocked. The graphics of each level have subtle characteristics that highlight the Asian elements the developer based them upon.

I liked the way the game flows; the console roots show, and that is a good thing. While I think the controls can be tweaked a little to account for shifts in gameplay, I like that the sensitivity of said controls can be tweaked for sensitivity. Big ups for the upfront payment model.

It’s the perfect time waster, and is easy to get into. What more can we ask for while we test our reflexes?

Antec LifeBar 10 Portable Charger Hardware Review

Antec LifeBar 10 Portable Charger Hardware Review

Oct 16, 2014

Yes, batteries in mobile devices have gotten better, but in the spirit of being prepared, it just makes sense to have a backup plan. Way back when, getting a couple extra OEM batteries was sufficient. Now, sealed batteries are more commonplace, and having multiple devices at any given time is not unheard of; in any case, all those extra batteries start to add up.

Nah, it makes sense to have a portable battery, and when it comes to mobile power solutions, few are as capable of Antec; hence, checking out the new LifeBar 10 Portable Charger is far from a chore.

It’s a slick-looking unit, with subtly angled corners gently pulling out octagon-ish shapings from “regular” cuboid. At one end, there is a 5V DC micro-USB port that is itself bordered by two USB output ports.There are LED lights and a reset button. The polished exterior is nice to hold, and size-wise, it is quite pocketable at 5.39 x 2.81 x 0.51 inches and 9 ounces. Visually, it feels like it manages to be be stoic and relaxed at the same time.lb2 The review package (retail) also contained a white USB cable and documentation.

It’s advertised as a 10,000 mAh charger, so expectations are high. The LifeBar 10 came with half a charge, so I was able to get it going immediately. I tried it with several devices: S5, M8 and several devices. The charging rate is equitable, even when used to charge other charging units. With two devices being charged simultaneously, I wasn’t able to discern any loss of rate. Little things like the LED flashlight also make it a bit more useful in a crunch.

Also, the standby time is fairly remarkable; It held charge over several days.

Antec, with this piece, shows it is possible to have a decent product that, well, isn’t ashamed of looking good. It is fine accessory, and if we should be so lucky, its manufacturer won’t tire of bringing similar style to the marketplace.

Google Announces Nexus 6 — and More

Google Announces Nexus 6 — and More

Oct 15, 2014

It’s official: The Nexus 6 is here.

It will be one of the first devices to rock Android 5.0 (yes, it is Lollipop), and will be the biggest Nexus smartphone to date, with a 5.96″ screen that nestles a Quad HD resolution. It looks like the device will continue the Nexus tradition of forgoing external storage, but will have 32GB and 64GB options, and will also come in two colors: white and blue. It’s built by Motorola, so physical similarities to the Moto X (as described by Androidcentral) shouldn’t be too surprising. It’ll reportedly have 3GB RAM, and a quad-core Snapdragon chip. It also packs a massive 3220 mAh battery.

We also hear it will be on all of the major cellular networks, allowing for pre-order towards the end of this month and availability in November. It will be $649 off contract.

The long-rumored HTC-derived Nexus 9 tablet is also set to be released; it has an 8.9″ screen and comes in 16GB and 32GB flavors. Also on deck is the cast-ready Nexus Player Entertainment console.

[Google Press Release and Android Central]

New Board Game-Based Soqquadro Comes To Android

New Board Game-Based Soqquadro Comes To Android

Oct 15, 2014

Cranio Creations and MakeItApp are collaborating to bring new game Soqquadro to Android devices.

Excerpts from the Google Play app page:

Short description of the game:

- The App will show a card on your smartphone or tablet, with some characteristics
(so you will no longer lose the paper cards as soon as you open the box the first time!)
- You will go around the house to look for an object that satisfies those characteristics
(just like pirates looking for treasures!)
- Every player has an avatar on the app that keeps the scores of all the objects found
(cheating is impossible avoiding a lot of children fights!)
- During the game the app will call for various “Challenges”
(to trigger even more the children’s creativity!)
- The final winner is proclaimed by the app and then confirmed or denied by all the players, that will check all the treasures found by everyone!

For this week, Soqquardo is available for the special price of $2.27 on Google Play; Go grab it!

Soqquadro1

[Source: MakeitApp Press Release]

AR Health Series: Withings Smart Body Analyzer Review

AR Health Series: Withings Smart Body Analyzer Review

Oct 15, 2014

Health tools with a mobile component are especially compelling, and as such, we jumped at an opportunity to check out the Withings Smart Body Connected Scale.

The black (white is an option) review unit Withings sent us is pretty much ready to go. At first glance, the first thing that comes to mind is that somehow, the product pictures do not do it justice. It looks like a chiseled dark colored slab. frankly, it look dashing, managing to be modern without being Jetson-silly. The full dark look is accented, and the silver center piece highlights the whole package. The expected display is digital in nature, and still manages to effect art. The battery compartment is at the bottom of the unit, and there is a tab preventing the batteries from cycling; beneath that are two buttons for syncing and selecting units. It looks like a “traditional” scale, but clearly wants people to know it has an extra trick or two up its sleeve. Officially, it comes in at 12.8 x 12.8 x 0.90 inches and 4.62 lbs

The review (retail) box also contained four optional carpet feet which help prop the unit off the floor/ground, and it comes with the four AAA batteries needed to power the unit, and documentation.

with5

This thing begs to be used. Removing the tab allows the unit to get power, and this is confirmed by the welcome display. Getting on it gets it going, and it immediately starts measurements, but a big part of the health solution is the Withings Health Mate companion app; the app connects bluetooth-enabled Android devices seamlessly to compatible Withings products, and the Smart Body Analyzer is foremost on the list. Pairing (via Bluetooth) is done via the sync button on the bottom of the unit. The app prompts for readings and recordings; based off of profile information with1(like height and age), it measures weight and heart rate, computes BMI, gauges air quality, and otherwise tracks these metrics over time.

The app is the window to these results, and presents them in easy to understand formats, most notably graphs. Overall, the app is bright, with a nice design feel, allowing color to rebound off the white background. The app allows interface with other programs, like RunKeepr, BodyMedia and MyFitnessPal; it imports the stats from these apps. The app also collates data from other connected Withings products, and can be used for multiple people, and even can collect data in guest mode. Data can also be shared from the app, and with a Withings account, one can access data on the web.

I especially like the automatic user recognition, and the advertised four sensors are fantastic in practice.

It gets streaky fast, and that is almost to be expected with such a glossy finish. Data can only be sent singly; I would love the ability to send stuff in batches or ranges.

When it comes to accessories that enhance living, it’s hard to find better stuff on the market than this one. It works well, really partners with one health-wise and looks good doing it.

Simple.TV 2 HDTV Tuner Hardware Review

Simple.TV 2 HDTV Tuner Hardware Review

Oct 15, 2014

One of the biggest aspects of mobile technology is the ability to be entertained on the go. As streaming options become more ubiquitous, we are beginning to see more and more options for making our smartdevices even better media hubs.

So what happens when we toss together a media tuner with DVR sensibilities, a connected device, a usable companion app and the enviable drive to cut the cable cord? One might get an interesting device called Simple.TV 2.

This unit has several elements, and to completely test it out, Simple.TV sent us a monster review package that contained the Simple.TV and other pieces that are NOT usually sold with its own unit: an external hard drive and an HDTV antenna. These, along with a Simple.TV account and the companion Simple.TV Android app, are slated to work wonders.

The setup is fairly intuitive, even if a bit hectic in parts; the antenna goes up, and it (along with the hard drive are connected to the tuner itself. The tuner also needs to be connected physically to an internet-ready modem. The final pieces are to register the Simple.TV unit and find stations online via the scan utility. Now, I did find this part to be temperamental, but when it worked, I was blown away by the quality of the stream. It looked good, and sounded good. Individual series can be recorded, and live TV is also available. The “Guide” utility allows one to manage shows and to check available stations, and it is possible to search shows as well.

simple4

My biggest gripes are the number of extra elements needed to make the stream happen, and the wired aspect of said elements. As noted, one needs an antenna, hard drive, and wired ethernet connection, in addition to power; the wired ethernet limits placement somewhat. I think a built-in hard drive would be an advantage; I think even the potential increase in sticker price would be worth get rid of one more accessory’s accessory. To be fair, the other elements can be used in other endeavors.

The channel scan can be a bit finicky as well, and there can be discrepancies in what is found on this and other similar peripherals. I would have also liked more control from within the application.

Is it it worth it? With soaring cable costs and the ability to use this setup with TVs and mobile devices, it’s definitely worth a look.

Botanicula is Now Available on Android

Botanicula is Now Available on Android

Oct 14, 2014

Mark this one in the “splendid news” category…

Botanicula is now available for users of Android devices.

The game promises to be a video and audio feast, and the screenshots seem to confirm at least on of these premises. It focuses on the humorous adventures of five tree creaures who are trying to save their home tree from being overrun by enemy parasites. The game works via point-and-click gameplay, and incorporates a lot of different environments, bonuses and music by Dva.

The game has received plenty of praise, and was formerly exclusive to iOS. The developer goes as far as to suggest playing on phablets and tablets (as well as larger phones) with headphones usage to get the best experience.

The game looks interesting, and we look forward to reviewing it.

For folks who cannot wait for our review (understandable), the game is currently available for the upfront price of $4.99 on the Play Store.

Amazon Offers 500 Free Coins For First Streaming on Android Phone

Amazon Offers 500 Free Coins For First Streaming on Android Phone

Oct 14, 2014

Amazon Appstore is offering users of its streaming service 500 free coins for streaming a movie or TV show for the first time.

To get the coins (which represent a $5 value), one must download and use the Prime Instant Video Player for Android devices.

Full details and promotion regulations can be found on the Promotion Page. The promotion ends on October 16th.

Amazon coins can be used to procure apps and in-app content via the Amazon Appstore.

[Source: Androidcentral]

Loot Dungeon – Pixel Roguelike Review

Loot Dungeon – Pixel Roguelike Review

Oct 14, 2014

Foreword: Loot Dungeon is basically a mod of Pixel Dungeon, an open-source rogue-like that I already played a while ago, but completely forgot about, while writing this review. Oops. Anyway, consider this review to also fit Pixel Dungeon.

There’s been a great number of rogue-like games that were somewhat okay, but finding the classic rogue-like experience is still a treat. Loot Dungeon offers just that, with just a couple of tweaks here and there.

There are four classes in the game, each one having subclasses, all of them quite varied and differ in a lot more than just starting stats and equipment. The game has a standard dungeon-crawling pattern. The player needs to storm through several levels and fight a final boss, finding loot, killing countless enemies, getting levels, and ultimately being killed by a man-eating plant or giant enemy crab or other murderous flora/fauna/furniture/ambiance. There are potions, scrolls, and equipment, all of which have to be identified, Loot Dungeon 2unless the player is willing to risk drinking what could be a potion of liquid death, or putting on a cursed set of armor.

The dungeon floors are not only filled with enemies, but contain various traps as well. These traps can burn, paralyze, poison, or make a number of different effects. The hero can also place some traps in the form of mutant vines, found along the level. Going through corpses or graves can also spawn driad-like spirits of vengeance that can take the unfortunate hero apart in a couple of turns. Basically, in Loot Dungeon, everything can, and certainly will, murder you, if you’re not attentive, strong, or simply lucky enough. And I wouldn’t take it any other way. And no, although it would take a while for new players to acquaint themselves with it, Loot Dungeon isn’t in any way more difficult or unfair to the players, than popular rogue-likes, so it’s still as interesting to create a new character on the twentieth run, as it is on the second.

The graphics and sounds are rather simple and cheap, but they are present, so it’s already a lot prettier than the classic rogue-likes. I didn’t have any difficulty with its controls or interface, and only have minuscule critique I don’t even want to mention. Overall, it’s a great, free, solid rogue-like experience for those who crave some old-school dungeon crawling.