Before today, the official Starbucks app was perfectly serviceable - in fact, I'd say it was better than most retail apps. You can store pre-paid Starbucks cards in the app and pay with them, see your rewards for being a loyal customer, and find coffee shops with the built-in map (in case you can't see one by turning your head from side to side). But today's sizeable update from version 2.4 to 2.7 adds some neat stuff, most notably the ability to tip your coffee minion.
Android users have yet another option for data-only calls and text messages today, as BitTorrent Inc. posted an alpha version of its Bleep communication client to the Play Store. Bleep is designed to be an alternative to conventional calling and texting systems like Skype or WhatsApp, and requires no central server or service. Bleep has been invite-only since July, but now it's ready to go public. Clients are also available for Windows and OS X computers.
In addition to a handful of new Chromecast-supported apps announced by Google, Sling Media is getting in on the action. According to this blog post, the Slingplayer app for Android smartphones now has Chromecasting capability. Though the latest update for the app itself was way back in July, Chromecast support is often enabled via a server-side switch, so it should be working now. Compatible Sling hardware includes the Slingbox M1, 350, 500, and SlingTV.
The original Beach Buggy Blitz was one of the first graphically-intensive games on Android, a frequent install for people who wanted to show off the power of their new phone or tablet. That being said, it was a bit simplistic: you "raced" along an endless beach, more or less playing catch up until you ran out of time. The sequel, Beach Buggy Racing, is much more of a conventional kart racer.
It looks like Republic Wireless is going for the Motorola hat trick: in addition to last year's flagship Moto X and mid-range Moto G, the American hybrid MVNO is now planning on selling the low-end Moto E to its customers. According to this post on the official Republic blog, the carrier's customized version of the Moto E will go on sale next month for $99, $30 cheaper than the retail GSM model.
Take it from a guy whose entire professional life is digital: backups are kind of important. Off-site backups are ideal, at least if you can get a decent connection and a reliable service, since it mitigates the risk of a local failure. Online storage and backup tends to get expensive once you go past 5 gigabytes or so, but today StackSocial is offering a terabyte of storage from the IDrive service, accessible for a year, for twenty bucks.
It seems like we've seen every possible iteration of the Guitar Hero style of musical game. But thanks to the creativity of developers, we're caught off guard on occasion. Case in point: R.G.B. It's a pretty simple rhythm game with only three lanes, making it technically much easier than the games that it imitates. But a deceptively slow pace and an addictive main mechanic mean it's more than the sum of its parts.
Getting the kernel source code for devices is something of a rite of passage for new Android phones. In the United States and other parts of the world with heavy smartphone penetration, the focus is on the big, flashy flagship models - the sooner the kernels are published, the sooner those ROM makers can get cracking on custom ROMs and kernels. But considering the immediate response that Google's Android One program has received, I think those phones may turn out to be some of the most popular ROM recipients around.
People seem to love gigantic screens on their phones - just ask Samsung (or Apple). And of course, plenty of customers want phones that are cheap, or at least cheaper than the flagships. And the one thing that everyone wants is longer battery life. ZTE and T-Mobile are going to try to please the intersection of these market segments with the ZMAX, a big phone with a big battery and (impressively) a small price tag.
Tactical strategy is an interesting hybrid game genre, combining the thinking and placement of a strategy title with the turn-based combat and slow burn improvements of an RPG. AntiSquad Tactics is the first original take on squad strategy we've seen in a while, and unlike games such as X-COM, it's designed for mobile first. But what might interest the purist gamers in the audience is that AntiSquad is available in both a free-to-play and a premium version.