When Android first came out, there were a lot of concerns about an open source OS. One of the biggest ones was, what if a company takes Android, strips everything Google out of it, and builds an entirely new platform on top of it? Well, Amazon seems dead set on making sure we know what that's like. The company has already built its own Appstore, content delivery services, and closed hardware on top of Google's baby.
If you're looking for something new in the stagnating world of tower defense, this is it. City Conquest turns the genre on its head, by forcing players to defend their own territory and attack others simultaneously, with a combination of real-time and turn-based gameplay. It's a bit hard to wrap your head around, but trust me, the experience is well worth the effort. City Conquest is a free download in the Play Store (ad-supported, no in-app purchases) for devices running Android 4.0 or later with a resolution of at least 960x720.
Just a few days ago, we saw a hint that Google might be ready to expand its gift card program to the UK. Today, our suspicions are confirmed as the cards have started showing up at the distinctly British Tesco grocery stores. So far the only denominations confirmed are £10 and £25, though the support pages indicate that there are some £50 vouchers running around out there somewhere.
So far, Google has only seen fit to launch gift cards in the US and the UK.
The Galaxy Note 10.1, old as it may be, is still the de facto standard if you're looking for an Android tablet with a built-in stylus and at least some custom software to support it. Now, it's cheaper than ever to get your hands on it with Woot offering the 32GB model with a bonus leather pouch for $409. The slate has also received some updates in some regions since it first came out, so there's never been a better time to give it a second look.
We know that at least a few of you have been eagerly waiting for Samsung to release its stylus-packing Galaxy Note 10.1 in a more wireless flavor here in the States. Starting on Thursday, March 7th, you'll get your surprisingly specific wish: Verizon will start selling the tablet online and in stores for $599.99. For six Benjamins, you'll get the pleasure of the Note's S-pen function and related TouchWiz apps, plus the honor of promoting Big Red through what is quite possibly the most gaudy, ostentatious carrier branding in the history of mobile electronics.
It's been a long, long time coming, but the official Android 4.2 update for the Verizon Galaxy Nexus is here. The black sheep of the Nexus family has waited for four months to get updated to the latest release, and while Verizon is currently testing the software for a probable release later this week or month, you don't have to wait that long. Long-time Android tipster WinDroidGuy got his hot hands on the update ZIP package, and eager users can download it right now.
Get those fingers ready, Opera fans: the biggest thing to happen to your favorite mobile browser in years has arrived. Opera Software announced a new and retooled version of their browser in February, and demonstrated it during Mobile World Congress. The Opera browser beta (no Mini or Mobile here, it's the "full" version a la Chrome) is live in the Play Store. It's a free download for just about any Android device, so get to it.
Everyone's favorite mesh networking startup Open Garden today announced its 2.0 refresh at LAUNCH festival, having allegedly already served 2.1 million installs since version 1.
Readers would be forgiven for not remembering exactly what Open Garden is, or why it's interesting – we last covered the app in its beta stage.
Basically, the idea behind Open Garden is to create ubiquitous internet access by linking various smart devices together and sharing a common internet connection in a mesh network.
When we first covered Adobe's "new" Photoshop Touch for smartphones, we were skeptical - after all, the tablet version wasn't cheap, a and an extra five bucks for what was essentially the same app seemed like a bit of a rip-off. (Adobe isn't exactly known for their reasonable pricing in any case.) But after using it extensively, I can say that not only is it worth every penny, it's worth it even if you already own the tablet version.
It's a widely-known fact that Google's unofficial motto when it comes to potential monopolies, privacy violations, and other slightly gray areas of technological ethics is "don't be evil." Lately it seems like Twitter is taking the opposite approach. The latest victim of their incredibly frustrating corporate policy is TweetDeck, the once-loved power app for Twitter that was acquired by the service itself in 2011. In a rambling post on the official TweetDeck website, the developers mentioned that they are ending support for the Android version (as well as the iPhone and Adobe Air versions, and Facebook integration) in May.