This week, Google revealed its most serious attempt at social networking yet, Google+. Despite being released just a few days ago, it's easy to see that it's a much more accessible, polished attempt than Google's previous attempts, namely Google Wave and Google Buzz. It brings a familiar interface, but clearly bears the Google mark: clean, minimal, but with some well thought-out improvements.
This is part 2 of the roundup, which features applications and live wallpapers. For games (including a WTF game), see 30 Best New (And 1 WTF) Android Games From The Last 2 Weeks (6/17/11 - 7/1/11).
It's always nice to see popular, formerly iOS-exclusive games make their way to Android, a platform which, despite recent improvements, still needs all the help it can get where games are concerned. Therefore, we were delighted when Big Blue Bubble, a critically acclaimed iPhone developer, released its first Android game: Burn the Rope.
Update 7/2/11: Big Blue Bubble released Burn The Rope+, which is an ad-free version of the game for those who don't like the extra permissions in the original game that are required for in-app purchases.
For every Windows Phone 7-inspired app, launcher, or theme we've written about, a half-dozen more, often clones, go unmentioned. But every now and then we find something we haven't seen before, and this is one of those times. It's called WP7Contacts, and as you would surmise, it's a contact manager inspired by Windows Phone 7.
To help aspiring Android developers get off the ground and develop our next dream app, and after having massive success with our O'Reilly partnership, Android Police has partnered with informIT to give away a multitude of Android books to our readers. Each week or so, we're going to be giving away a different informIT Android book, asking for nothing but a minute of your time in return.
Android Wireless Application Development, 2nd Edition
To start things off, we're giving away Android Wireless Application Development, 2nd Edition, which was written by Shane Conder and Lauren Darcey and published by Addison-Wesley Professional in December 2010.
Skype, one of the most popular audio/video calling applications on the desktop and now property of Microsoft, has been long criticized for lacking any video support on Android and being generally unstable and prone to crashing. In an effort to rectify the situation and raise that 3.6-star Market average, the company released a major version update minutes ago from 184.108.40.2063 to 220.127.116.11.
The update finally brings video calling, albeit to only a small subset of devices:
- Google Nexus S
- HTC Desire S
- Sony Ericsson Xperia neo
- Sony Ericsson Xperia pro
If you've ever done a Market search for the term "dictionary," then you probably know that there is only one good choice. Fortunately, the folks behind the Merriam-Webster Dictionary have swooped in to save us from our word-defining woes by delivering their own app into the Android Market.
Touting itself as "America's most useful and respected dictionary," the Merriam-Webster Dictionary brings some nice features to your mobile device. Have you ever wondered what a word means, but had no clue how to spell it?
Users participating in the private beta of Google+ have probably noticed the direct connection between G+ and Picasa for photo and video storage. Considering this, Google revamped the storage plans for Picasa, allowing G+ users to have unlimited storage space. Well, almost unlimited, that is. Up until recently, Picasa Web Albums had a 1GB per-user data cap, but now, G+ users can upload any photo smaller than 2048x2048 or video shorter than 15 minutes without it counting towards to the 1GB cap.
We just stumbled across a new game by Google to promote the Nexus S called Nexus Contraptions - on YouTube of all places. In this game, it's your job to navigate bouncing balls of Google Apps around various obstacles and into a funnel that ultimately leads into a Nexus S.
Hmmm, I wonder what you win if you get the fastest time?
I'll admit, I only played around with it for a few minutes, so I didn't get very far - but I can already tell that the levels actually get quite difficult and require some planning to successfully complete!