Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

20
Feb
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WordLens is one of those borderline-magical apps that make me feel like I'm living in a scifi novel. The initial release was a little buggy, and the UI made it clear the app was a direct port from iOS. The 2.0 update just dropped, though, and it takes care of a lot of those issues.

2013-02-20 20.30.27 2013-02-20 20.29.53 2013-02-20 20.33.37

If you've never heard of WordLens, here's the deal: hold your phone up to a sign or some other thing with words on it, and WordLens uses your camera to translate those words to another language of your choosing in real time.

20
Feb
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HBO has been completely uncompromising in its approach to locking up content in pay-for-TV. If you want to watch what are arguably the best TV series currently running, you need to pay your cable provider. The HBO GO and MAX GO apps have provided a little more choice for existing subscribers by streaming to tablets and phones, but the new 2.0 update finally unlocks HDMI video output.

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Before this update, the ability to output video over HDMI was blocked for both these apps, so this is kind of a big deal.

19
Feb
gs

Little T-Mobile already has a reputation for being the carrier for budget-conscious consumers, but it's taking things even further with the new GoSmart service. The plans are cheap, and there are no annual contracts to worry about. Service starts at $30 per month and customers get access to the full T-Mobile network. It sounds like a solid deal if you can get past the contrived marketing lingo that would insult the intelligence of a third-grader.

19
Feb
orbtop 2

Google's Matias Duarte elicited some knowing chuckles when he revealed the existence of a wireless charging orb shortly before the Nexus 4 launched. Duarte came over to Google from Palm, which developed a similar accessory for the Pre called the Touchstone. The Nexus 4 Orb took its sweet time showing up in the Play Store, but it's finally on sale for $60.

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Is there any universe in which spending that kind of cash on a phone charger is reasonable?

18
Feb
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More DashClock extensions? Well, people are pretty excited about the functionality DashClock brings. So yes, more DashClock extensions. The AnyDash extension actually opens up a world of possibilities by piping notifications from any app into DashClock. There are a few caveats, but it looks like everyone's favorite clock widget just got much more useful.

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AnyDash has to be registered as an accessibility app before you can use it. This allows it to sweep up notifications from the Android system and display the appropriate icon in DashClock (nothing nefarious going on here).

18
Feb
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DashClock is definitely the flavor of the week. Developers are falling all over themselves to build extensions for this multi-talented clock widget, and here's an interesting one. Whether you use DashClock on your lock screen or home screen, the new DashClock Facebook Extension could save you all kinds of frustration.

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This app is simple – it displays your unread messages and notification count on the DashClock widget so you don't have to pop open the Facebook app as often.

18
Feb
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Gamers in the mid-90s might remember spending hour upon terrifying hour playing Hexen: Beyond Heretic. The technology might have changed, but now you can get reacquainted with the realm of Cronos in this port from the same developer that brought us the Doom and Heretic ports. However, this game only comes with demo files – you have to provide the genuine article.

Hexen GLS is still the game you remember, but it's been cleaned up a little around the edges.

15
Feb
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There are plenty of ways to read books, blog posts, and essays on a mobile device. Although, nothing has quite the same feel as a new app called Tapestry. This app offers a cool reading experience for exclusive short stores written by professionals and random people around the internet. Just tap to advance, but there is no going back if you miss something.

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Tapestry is whimsical from the start when it makes the tapping mechanic clear by having you tap on specific locations around the screen, only to reveal that you can actually tap anywhere you want.

14
Feb
mh

One of the more annoying things about the Android app ecosystem is that there are loads of apps and games that are needlessly restricted to one device or another. If you care to get down and dirty, you can edit the build.prop file on rooted devices to make your device appear to be something other than what it is. Market Helper gets you the same results, but it doesn't touch the build-prop and it's easy to revert to your original profile.

12
Feb
neatly

It's hard for a Twitter client to make a name for itself with the market so saturated with competitors, but maybe Neatly has a shot. This Twitter client isn't just delivering your Tweets; it lets you sort, filter, and highlight tweets in your timeline so you see more relevant information. This app has arrived on basically every other platform (even Symbian and BlackBerry 10), but the developers have now offered up a beta Android version for you to try in advance of the actual release.

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