Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got a hotly anticipated hardcore sci-fi spaceship simulator, an interesting take on the growing RPG-puzzle genre, a retro platform/puzzle game with a twist, and Namco's latest attempt at striking mobile gaming gold.
Google has finally integrated storage between its three most data-intensive consumer platforms: Gmail, Google Drive, and Google+. The result? 5 extra GB of total Gmail storage, and 15GB of shared space among the three. This means you're no longer limited to 5GB of Google+ / Drive space, but all three services will now share the same "bucket."
For hardcore Gmail addicts, this comes with an added bonus: all Google Drive storage tiers now apply to your Gmail storage cap. That means a 100GB plan now means 100GB of potential Gmail storage, whereas Gmail had previously been capped at 25GB total storage with the old plans (some legacy plans may have had more than 25GB of Gmail storage).
Unveiled in December of 2010, Notion Ink's original Adam was intended to be an innovative, disruptive Android tablet that could compete with the iPad. Its primary selling point - besides a relatively high-end (at the time) dual-core Tegra 250 processor and 1GB of RAM - was a UI overlay known as Eden, which promised to make underlying the Android 2.2 more tablet-friendly. Launched to much fanfare in January 2011, the Adam never quite caught on the way Notion Ink had hoped; shipping delays, software issues, and poor build quality led the company to sell fewer units than anticipated. Two years and several versions of Android later, Notion Ink's ready to give it another go with the Adam 2.
Readers probably don't need to be reminded that each month, we distill all of the Play Store's latest entries into a selection of the very best apps of the previous month, hand-picking a shortlist to save you both time and money in testing everything out. This month, though, there were just too many worthy apps to cut down to the usual five, so we've got a slightly-less-short list of the best six apps from April 2013. If you're looking for something to spice up your device, you can't go wrong with any of the below selections.
FL Studio Mobile
First up is FL Studio Mobile.
Watch out, Google Wallet, there's a new player in town. Actually, Google Wallet hasn't really done all that well; it's still being blocked by big carriers, and NFC point of sale systems aren't exactly ubiquitous yet. For those reasons, stopgap apps like Clutch - an e-commerce app that allows you to pay with barcodes generated by your credit, debit, loyalty or gift cards - probably have a better chance than Wallet of moving us towards frictionless mobile payments.
Users of Apple's Passbook app on iOS will feel right at home with Clutch's payment mechanism. With the aforementioned card-scanning capabilities, the app looks to make storage of plastic as simple as possible.
Checking in, Instagramming, Tweeting, and updating statuses are something most of us do on a regular basis. It's a way for us to share with our friends and family what's going on in our lives; where we're at physically, mentally, and/or emotionally; and an overall fun way to interact and kill time. We, as people, are more socially connected than we've ever been thanks to modern technology.
But there's a missed mark here. An introspective journey. Everyone else knows where we've been, what we're doing, even what we had for lunch. But do we remember, or is sharing just second nature?
To be perfectly honest, I'm not much of an e-mag guy. I tried Google Currents for a while, but never quite saw the utility of it, and so quickly transitioned back to my beloved Feedly and Google Reader. That's not to say I haven't realized the limitations of RSS many times, though, especially as certain websites I follow look to integrate more multimedia into articles. (Having to use Chrome to listen to audio or video in a weird custom player is really frustrating.) And concededly, apps like Currents look a thousand times better than feeds, which are traditionally text-heavy.
A major update to Flipboard, released today to Google Play, may just get me to reconsider magazine-style news apps.
Apex Launcher has bumped up to version 2.0, bringing in a host of new features to both the free and pro versions of the app. Free users who make the leap will find various improvements to the interface, updated translations, and the option to set the duration of vibrations. The pro version now allows users to place folders in the app drawer, but the star of the show is its integration with the new Apex Notifier.
Apex Notifier is not a standalone app, but an extension that works both with Apex Launcher and DashClock Widget. Apex Launcher Pro users who install Apex Notifier will see unread counts appear as badges atop various application icons, including:
- Missed Calls
- Unread SMS
- Calendar Appointments
- HTC Mail
- Samsung Email
- K-9 Mail
- Battery Level
- Stock Email
- Google Talk
- Google Voice
You are free to tweak the size and color of notifications, and you get to have a say in which apps badges will appear on.
Wow. So when Glass was first making the rounds, we heard a few rumblings about a ridiculously fast update cycle; something like monthly updates. Sure enough, it seems like Google is delivering on that sort-of rumored promise:
Today, less than a month after the Glass unit left Google HQ, there's a new update: Version XE5. There's no public change log, but Phandroid says they emailed Google and got back the following list:
New features in XE5:
- Change to sync policy: require power + wifi for background uploads
- Crash reporting
- Incoming G+ notifications (direct shares, comments, +mentions), including ability to comment and +1
- Incoming Hangout notifications
- Transcription of queries & messages is now wicked-fast
- Long-press to search from anywhere in the UI (no longer just from off)
- International number dialing + SMS
- Hop animation on disallowed swipes in the UI
- New On-Head Detection calibration flow
- Show device Serial Number on Device Info card
- More reliable estimation of battery charge remaining
- New recipient-list mosaic
Google+ integration sounds awesome;
the only problem is it doesn't actually work right now.
Get ready to start downloading, as the CyanogenMod team has started pushing out its first release candidate for 10.1. The CM team only uses the RC moniker to describe software that is believed to be stable and reliable enough for regular daily use. If you are looking for a rock solid version of Android 4.2 for your phone, this is probably the one to get.
The timing is no coincidence, as this lands exactly one week before a new version of Android is expected to be announced at Google I/O 2013 (probably v4.3). As with previous OS releases, the CyanogenMod team usually pushes a final RC or stable release shortly after the launch of a new version from Google, immediately before integrating the latest code base with their own modifications.