If you're like us, you have an obsession with new apps. When you try every new app you come across though, you're bound for disappointment. After all, not every app can be a paragon of functionality, style, and convenience. With that in mind, we go through the long list of new apps submitted to the Play Store every couple of weeks and bring you the best. Even that, though, can be a little too much to digest for some users. For that reason, we've got monthly roundups featuring just a handful of the very very best apps and games from the previous month.
While Google's UK Maps service is far from incomplete, it's not easy to comprehensively cover a vast array of British towns and countryside without a bit of local knowledge. Hopefully, that's exactly what we'll get with the launch of Google Map Maker in the United Kingdom, including the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey.
The idea behind Map Maker is that local residents can contribute to Google's existing maps, and when any additions or edits have been approved, they will become available on Google Maps and Google Earth. The difference that this can make to local areas and attractions is clearly quite significant, as you can see on the before and after shot of Bletchley Park, in Milton Keynes.
If you don't keep an obsessive eye on video game development, you might not be aware of Unity. It's a 3D game engine that makes it easy to develop games for multiple platforms and multiple rendering engines, including Direct3D, OpenGL, and (on Android and iOS) OpenGL ES. It's not the most powerful or flexible thing around, but a lot of developers rely on the tool. Now they've got an easy way to estimate game performance on different Android hardware, via the Basemark X benchmark from Rightware.
Basemark X is also pretty impressive as a demonstration of the graphical power of Unity 4.
It's been about five months since the Nexus 10 came out. In what is frustratingly becoming true Play Store fashion, accessories did not come out alongside the device. Now, however, the covers have finally landed in two colors: grey and "scarlet" (here being defined as "safety vest orange," at least as it appears in pictures).
For those unfamiliar with how this case works, on the back of the Nexus 10 there is an ovoid plastic plate that snaps in place. This normally serves no purpose, but you can remove that plate and replace it with this cover that attaches directly to the tablet and folds over to protect the screen.
Kindle Fire owners and Amazon Appstore users, you've got two heavyweights added to your gaming catalog. Warner Bros Games has published Scribblenauts Remix and Batman: Arkham City Lockdown to the Appstore, both previously available only on iOS. Of the two, Scribblenauts is probably worth more attention, as the series has garnered critical acclaim on portable consoles, PC, and mobile.
Scribblenauts got its start on the Nintendo DS, where its mix of creative gameplay and quirky puzzles were a good match for the touchscreen-based controls. The object of the side-scroller is to modify the environment by adding objects. The player's capability to create new items based on common nouns is nearly unlimited, and the fun comes from seeing which items you can throw in the level to guide your character along.
Ma Bell is still markedly behind Verizon when it comes to total LTE coverage in the United States, but they're catching up quickly. Today AT&T 4G LTE service has been activated for Napa and Santa Rosa-Petaluma, California, Rocky Mount, North Carolina, Kalamazoo, Missouri, Orangeburg, South Carolina, and Jackson, Tennessee. The company has also announced expanded markets in New Haven County, Connecticut, Greensboro, North Carolina, Charleston and Walterboro, South Carolina, and the San Francisco Bay area, including parts of San Rafael, Pittsburg, Antioch, Livermore, Brentwood, and Novato.
AT&T has also announced plans to bring LTE service to a whopping 77 new markets this summer, across 33 states and the US Virgin Islands.
Well guys, after lots of wishing/hoping/praying, fullscreen is finally available on Chrome for Android. The phone-specific feature made its way into Chrome 27 – which currently just hit the beta channel – alongside a few other useful features:
The Chrome Team is happy to announce the promotion of Chrome 27 to the Beta channel for Android. Chrome 27.0.1453.49 contains a number of great new updates including:
- Fullscreen on phones - Scroll down the page and the toolbar will disappear.
- Simpler searching - Searching from the omnibox will keep your search query visible in the omnibox, making it easier to edit, and show more on your search result page.
At the moment, mobile platforms are vastly dominated by the ARM architecture, licensed to pretty much every major chip/phone maker out there. That isn't stopping Intel from pushing forward with its x86 mobile chips. The latest taker for the Atom line is Chinese manufacturer ZTE, with the oh-so-appropriately-named ZTE GEEK. The 5-inch smartphone was announced at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing.
The GEEK is built around the Atom Z2580 chip, a 2.0Ghz dual-core processor that uses Intel's 32 nanometer fabrication process. (It's even got the familiar "Intel Inside" badge on the back.) It's only the second commercial phone announced that uses the CloverTrail+ series of chips, behind the Lenovo K900.
I know what you're thinking: "Oh, no... not another social image sharing app!" And if this were anything like that, I'd share you sentiments. But it's not – it's actually quite refreshing, because this app focuses solely on sharing and not at all on social.
Here's the gist: you take a pic – called a Rando in this case – and send it anonymously to someone in a completely random place elsewhere in the world. In return, you also get a Rando. And you must send one to get one. All transfers are completely anonymous – you won't know who got your Rando, and likewise won't know who sent the one you got.