As I sit here in a hip Los Angeles coffee shop across from the seemingly never-ending whooshes and rumbles of LA traffic on a busy boulevard just outside the door, I wonder if $4 is a reasonable price for the latte now sitting in front of me. It does have one of those latte art fern-shaped things on it. Or, at least it looks like a fern to me.
While not a tiny amount of money, it doesn't seem totally unreasonable. (And trust me: $4 for a latte is a respectable price in Los Angeles.) After all, I am availing myself the use of said business's counter, its rather lovely interior inspired by the owner's Taiwanese heritage (well, supposedly), a nice ceramic cup for my beverage, and the generally relaxed atmosphere the place provides.
We featured the DraStic Nintendo DS emulator way back when it launched and came away impressed. Version 2.2 of the app is probably the biggest update yet, adding a host of forward-looking features that should improve both performance and overall gaming satisfaction. Android 4.4 users in particular will be happy to hear that DraStic now supports Android Runtime (ART).
Those of you with a MOGA controller can now use it natively with DraStic, no root or workaround required. It will also work with the tablet-centric iCade controller, which is popular with emulators but not much else on Android. That should be a boon for button-heavy games, and you can always revert to the touch screen for titles that rely on the functionality.
Android emulator fans, meet you new best friend. Yesterday the DraStic Nintendo DS emulator was published to the Play Store, for the admittedly high price of $7.99. It's not the first DS emulator for Android, but it's far and away the best - the combination of smooth performance (on sufficient hardware) and a stupefying amount of options to adapt the DS ergonomics makes it an easy recommendation.
Most of the existing DS emulators are based on code for Windows programs, making them unbearably slow on Android. This one is designed from the ground up to run on ARM, and requires at least a Cortex-A8 processor (with a few exceptions) and 256MB of RAM to run.
Most of you are probably familiar with NVIDIA's Tegra line of system-on-a-chip boards - Tegra 2 was behind most of the first wave of Honeycomb tablets, Tegra 3 powered the Transformer Prime and Nexus 7, and there's this little thing called SHIELD with Tegra 4 coming next week. But their latest promotional efforts take the spotlight off of a fully integrated solution to focus on NVIDIA's bread and butter: the GPU.
PC gamers and designers know about Kepler, NVIDIA's line of 28 nanometer GPUs. In gaming terms, it covers most of the GeForce GTX 600 and 700 graphics cards. Today they're demonstrating a mobile version of Kepler, set to debut with their next generation of silicon under the Project Logan code name (continuing with NVIDIA's general superhero theme for mobile products).
Sprinkle attracted quite the following when it debuted in 2011, using its realistic water physics to show people what Tegra 2-equipped tablets were capable of. Players controlled a wooden water cannon mounted on a crane and fought fires across a diverse assortment of stages, with water pushing rocks and giant blocks of ice around in order to save houses in hard to reach places. The fire itself was as pretty to watch as it was a pain in the rear, spreading from house to house as gamers discovered that maybe, just maybe, they weren't cut out to be firemen. Now Sprinkle Islands is available in the Play Store, a sequel packed with 48 new levels spread across four tropical islands.
If you're reading this on a later GSM-only Samsung device, pay attention. After clarifying their continuing support for Tegra 2 devices earlier this week, the CyanogenMod ROM team wants to let you know about their position vis-à-vis Samsung's Exynos 4 series of chipsets. In a nutshell: devices based on the Exynos 4 will be getting CyanogenMod 10.1 (Android 4.2) nightly builds, and not much else. These phones and tablets will not be getting stable releases of the latest CyanogenMod builds for the time being.
Here's a quick list of the affected devices, running the Exynos 4210 and 4412 chipsets:
Galaxy S II (AT&T and International GSM)
Galaxy S III (International GSM)
Galaxy Note (International GSM)
Galaxy Note II (AT&T, T-Mobile, International GSM and International LTE)
Galaxy Note 10.1 (WiFi and International GSM)
The CyanogenMod team's reason for the lowered level of support includes "various issues surfacing from the binaries and sources we have to work with." According to this Google+ post, they've been having issues since Ice Cream Sandwich, and no longer feel they can meet their own high standards for stable builds.
The CyanogenMod team has announced the release candidate phase of CM 10.1 is over – the final version is going to drop later today. If your device has been getting the RC builds, you can expect a final version of this popular ROM to be waiting for you in the morning.
Devices that haven't been updated to release candidate builds up to now won't be part of this first push. That includes Tegra 2 phones and tablets, as well as some Samsung Exynos devices. The CM team will provide a status report on these devices later in the week.
Back in early 2012, if you would've said the name "Fuhu" to me, I would've paid no mind to your gibberish and went on about my business. Then in June I got my hands on the nabi 2 – a tablet designed specifically for children – and it put Fuhu on the map in a big way (for me, at least). For $200, the nabi 2 was (and still is) a seriously fantastic piece of hardware for the child in your life. And we're not talking about some Playskool garbage, either – it's the real deal. A full Android-powered tablet featuring an NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor.
It's no secret that I'm a big fan of the Nabi 2 tablet for kids. As a father, I was extremely impressed with its vast suite of educational software, ease of use, and overall solid build quality when I reviewed it. The one major drawback of the Nabi 2 is that it's not really meant for pre-school-age children. Sure, it could help give your little little one a headstart, but $200 is a bit much to shell out when they may not even start using the device until the ripe-old age of five. Enter the answer to your quandary: the Nabi Jr.
A review of Exor Studio's Zombie Driver is somewhat redundant, since it's been available on PCs via Steam for almost three years. But as any dedicated mobile gamer knows, translating a console or PC gaming experience to a handheld is rarely as straightforward as developers or publishers think, and the $7 asking price is a respectable chunk of change, even for a proven game. So, does the NVIDIA-published THD version of Zombie Driver live up to its undead-slaying progenitor?
For the most part, yes. Zombie Driver THD keeps up the fast and surprisingly varied gameplay of the original, making only a few sacrifices to mobile controls (which, thankfully, are entirely optional).