If you've been reading AP for the last couple of years, then you've probably heard about Apps World and know what this post is all about. If you're a newcomer to our readership and are also a developer, listen up – we've got a pair of tickets to one of the best app developer conferences around to give away.
I guess we should start off by talking about what Apps World is before we get too far ahead of ourselves, eh?
Your phone is old and you need a new one. You'd be happy as a clam if you could upgrade only one part, but to get the RAM/storage/processor you want, you have to pay for everything. This is why people still build desktop PCs. A concept called Phonebloks takes that modular PC goodness and applies it to smartphones. It's an interesting idea that will probably never, ever come to fruition.
Here's the gist: you buy a phone base that includes the motherboard and enough connective hardware to string all the parts together on one side and mount the screen on the other.
Apparently there was some sort of iThing announced today. It does apps and stuff, which is nice. But you don't have that kind of mobile thing – you've got the other one. That doesn't mean you shouldn't have apps and stuff. We have some sales to help you out with that.
A few days ago Android watchers were abuzz after a new version of Verizon's Galaxy S4 appeared on Samsung's site. Listed as model number SCH-I545L, there was some speculation it could be a spec bump on the original GS4. Maybe even a version of the device with LTE-Advanced? The truth behind that extra "L" at the end of the model number is much more mundane. It's for rural carriers, according to Verizon.
We've seen Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat all turn to the Play Store to manage their beta programs, and while this is a great mechanism for handling unpolished software releases, most of us use our phones for more than making status updates, tweeting, and sending private pictures. There are other apps out there that it would be fun to have early access to, and web browsers rank high among them.
I love the Chromecast. I'd easily call it the best $35 I ever spent, ranking just above those tanks of gas that got me to job interviews on time and that one Thai restaurant I really like. All I need is the addition of Hulu Plus support, and then I would have little need to turn to anything else for projecting content onto my TV. But here's the thing, Google's neat little dongle sold out roughly as fast as tickets to a Green Bay Packers home game, and while the Google Play store has Chromecasts in stock now, many of you still haven't gotten your hands on one.
It's pretty easy to understand why typing isn't exactly an optimal experience on a smartphone. They are designed to fit in palms and come with virtual keys smaller than the fingertips used to press them. Tablets don't suffer from this problem, but they come with one of their own - a user can type speedily using the significantly larger keys, but resting their fingers on the screen for a mere second is all it takes to turn "superpower" to "sauerkraut," and suddenly that status update about whether America should get involved in Syria accumulates a different flood of Facebook comments than was expected.
Turn-based gaming is making a bit of a comeback these days, but such titles can easily end up painfully tedious or just not compelling. Breach and Clear is a top-down shooter that seems to aim for a middle ground. You have to carefully position units, leverage special tactics, and keep track of enemies. However, some of the busywork is taken out of your hands. This game has the potential to scratch a tactical itch in a big way.
Google Search is a really handy feature, but are you using its voice features to the fullest? Probably not, unless you're Jean-Louis Nguyen. This YouTube user posted a video last year showing off everything Google Voice Search was capable of, but that was early on. Google Search has evolved a lot in the past year, and Nguyen got in touch to let us know there's a new demo video. It's over 10 minutes of voice search queries, many of which you probably didn't know were possible.