Around the offices of Android Police, we go through a lot of apps. We're talking hundreds or even thousands every week, to bring you the best in our app and game roundups or (if they're good enough) individual posts. Before every major holiday, we are inundated with more themed applications than we know what to do with. And to be honest, most of them are terrible. But we've found four Valentine's apps that are bearable, even interesting.
|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.|
International trademark, patent, and copyright law is a bit of a legal minefield, and Apple has proven itself to be among the best in navigating it these last few years. But there is one exception to their otherwise impressive track record: the lucrative South American market of Brazil. While Apple iPhones have been sold in the country for years, Apple has never owned the trademark for the name. A regional phone manufacturer, Gradiente Eletronica, registered the trademark for "iphone" way back in 2000.
It's surprisingly hard to make a mobile game, or at least, a mobile game that's worth playing. Mobile developers are still in their infancy, at least compared with their console and PC counterparts. So when someone manages to release a fun, polished game that works well on smartphones and avoids some of the more glaring pitfalls of the platform, we sit up and take notice. Such is the case with Roller Rally: Snake Pass, an Android port of a popular iOS title from MilkyTea.
Last week we told you about Pebble Notifier, an app that allows Tasker to send updates to the Pebble smartwatch over Bluetooth. Developer Dattas Moonchaser has updated the plugin to a full, independent app: you no longer need Tasker to send updates to your watch. (You'll still need the official Pebble app.) As you probably know, while Tasker is an incredibly powerful piece of software, it's also very difficult to learn and master, so the update should make it useful for a larger percentage of Pebble owners.
The Android Open Kang Project ROM developers are taking longer and longer in between updates, but when they post one, it doesn't disappoint. The third official Jelly Bean 4.2 release includes support for the Acer Iconia Tab A510, the international Galaxy Note II LTE, and T-Mobile's Galaxy S II. (Owners of the international Galaxy S II and the Texas Instruments i9100G variant: check AOKP's website tomorrow for an updated version.) There's also a lot of new features in the build, most of them centered around the user interface.
Good news, basketball fans. Google has been gradually upgrading the Now service to include a wider range of sports teams, and today Division I NCAA basketball teams from all over the US can be manually added to your personal Now results. Go into the Google Now settings page, tap "Sports," and search for your favorite school. Only basketball is supported at the moment - here's hoping that football teams are added before the season starts.
Yes, we know - the Nexus 4 is still thin on the ground basically everywhere. (Americans, both the 8GB and 16GB versions are currently shown as "ships in 2-3 weeks" on the Play Store.) Even so, the LG flagship is the logical showpiece for Google Now, and it's doing some fine service in Google's latest mobile search ad. This one shows off Now's ability to automatically bring up contextual information for your time or location.
If you're headed to Houston next weekend for the NBA All-Star Game, do yourself a favor and download the official app. It functions as both an event guide and a nifty preview, for those NBA fans who can't make it to the game. What's surprising about the All-Star app is that it's really, really well-done: there's a ton of free content, the interface roughly follows Holo guidelines, and it's available to everyone.
If you haven't checked out SilverTree's previous Android titles, the Cordy series and Sleepy Jack, you're missing out on some fantastic mobile games. The graphics and music are excellent, controls are tight, and each one deserves its 4+ Play Store rating. Now you've got a chance to rectify your mistake with Cordy 2, the sequel to the original platformer. Anyone who has spent hours engrossed in a Mario or Rayman title will find something to love here.
Endless runners a la Temple Run are fast becoming the default genre for mobile games, and with good reason. Their one-touch play style is perfect for touchscreens, and the short levels work well for bite-sized sessions. That said, it's always nice to see a little innovation, and iOS pilgrim Roller Rally has that in spades. In addition to a competitive racer format, it's got great graphics and tight controls.
If you've ever played the console snowboarding game SSX, you'll be on familiar turf here.