StraightTalk has become a popular alternative for those who don't need all the bells and whistles of flagship smartphones, or don't want the sometimes ruinous cost of keeping them connected. But even budget carriers move with the times, and the Wal-Mart partner looks like it's finally ready to embrace LTE. The Samsung Galaxy S III is now available for purchase on StraightTalk's website, and should be at your nearest Wal-Mart soon.
|Jeremiah Rice||Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.|
This edition focuses only on new games. The app roundup is coming up soon.
Looking for the previous roundup editions?
It seems like every cable and satellite operator is in a hurry to provide a second screen app for tablets and phones. And they all seem to have something in common: either they don't offer live streaming, or they do, and the service is rather arbitrarily restricted to use on a home Internet connection. Time Warner Cable's TWC TV app for Android was just updated to get around this restriction... at least in some cases.
Multi-user support is one of the most interesting additions in Jelly Bean 4.2, but you can only get it if you're using a tablet. It makes sense - phones are rarely shared between more than one person, while tablets are naturally shareable. Even so, it would be nice if Google gave users the option. But thanks to modder extraordinaire Paul "Modaco" O'Brien, there's a relatively easy way to enable multi-user mode on smartphones.
BLU isn't yet a household name in the realm of smartphones, but the company has been quietly releasing hardware for the last few years, letting the remarkably low pricing do the talking. Today they've pulled the cover off of three new models, all aimed at the new "phablet" craze, or at least the lower end of it. The new Studio GSM smartphones start at 5 inches and just $149, and all three feature Android 4.1, the Google Play Store, and dual SIM slots.
For jetsetters and workaholics who require a little more than a legal pad to keep track of their billable expenses, Expensify has done solid if uninspiring duty as a mobile companion for some time. Yesterday the Android app got a brand new, Holo-compliant look, making form follow function right out of the land of Froyo buttons. While this update is the biggest change to come to the Android app in quite a while, the core functionality has not been affected that much, with only some new rule filters mentioned on the Play Store page.
Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got a hotly anticipated hardcore sci-fi spaceship simulator, an interesting take on the growing RPG-puzzle genre, a retro platform/puzzle game with a twist, and Namco's latest attempt at striking mobile gaming gold.
Sometimes you have to assume that there are entire teams at Google whose sole job is to think up fodder for nostalgic technology bloggers. Case in point: for the 37th anniversary of the classic arcade game Breakout, Google has thrown together another one of its elaborate Easter eggs. Do a Google Image Search for "atari breakout", and the results will turn into the smashable blocks, with your mouse working as a control for the paddle.
If you've spent as much time on the Google Play Store as I have, you begin to recognize a pattern: developers asking (and sometimes begging) users to email them directly with complaints or bugs, because they can't reply to that snarky review left in lieu of a bug report. After years and years of frustration for devs who just want to make their apps better, Google has finally rolled out a direct reply feature.
Earlier this year, Amazon announced that it was preparing a proprietary virtual currency specifically for its Appstore. Then the incorrigible Eric Ravenscraft spent a few thousand words explaining exactly why Amazon Coins, and any system that substitutes real money for meaningless points, is just a pretense for sucking money out of people's wallets. If you can't wait to pay Amazon's tax on those without common sense, you can now hand over your real dollars for fake ones to spend on apps and in-app purchases.