If you're the gaming type, you probably didn't get much done this January. The month saw the release of plenty of addictive, time-wasting games that demanded players keep coming back to unlock one more achievement, or pick up a few more coins, or destroy just a few more blobs. If you weren't able to keep up with all of the Play Store's new entries last month, don't worry – we've once again rounded up a short list of last month's very best new games. The list covers everything from basic rhythmic games to chaotic bullet hell, to clever, beautiful physics puzzles, and should suit even the most discerning mobile gamer.
Bringing a much-needed update to the wildly popular Temple Run, Imangi Studios introduced Temple Run 2 to the Play Store earlier this evening. The game, which brings updated graphics, new obstacles, and player-specific powers, is essentially a refresh of the original, bringing it up to par with recent endless-runner entries like Activision's Pitfall!.
Temple Run 2, like its predecessor, provides players with a vague pretext surrounding a sacred idol. All you really need to know is that you're running from a big, scary, demon monkey, avoiding obstacles, and collecting as many coins as possible along the way. While the overall gameplay dynamic remains the same, players will enjoy sizable enhancements - for one thing, alternate characters are no longer just custom meshes - each character has its own special power.
Of course it wouldn't be a new month without a roundup of last month's very best games. December, like most months, saw the launch of plenty of great titles. Checking out every last game that debuted in a month can take a long time, though (besides racking up a pretty hefty total). To that end, we have – as always – compiled a short list comprised of six of December's best offerings. No matter what kind of gamer you are, there's something on this list that'll suit your taste.
Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery
Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery is, in a word, awesome.
Making its second entry to the Play Store (after Dark Nebula), Free Lunch Design brought Icy Tower 2 to Android today. Today's debut marks the first appearance of the Icy Tower title in the Play Store, meaning Android users can finally enjoy the extremely popular jumper on their mobile devices.
Some readers may question the noteworthiness of a jumping game – after all, the genre is a crowded one. What sets Icy Tower apart, though, is the fact that its gameplay manages to remain significantly more dynamic, action packed, and generally more fun than most other jumpers. Evidently, players of the original agree – the game's page on Facebook (where it also lives as an app) has reached about 2.5 million likes.
We've seen a lot of news surrounding Samsung's Galaxy Note II in the past 24 hours, from T-Mobile's official launch all the way down to Lebron James' custom Note II cover. We've got one more piece of news before the day's done though – pre-orders for the Note II's AT&T and Verizon variants have just gone live.
Those looking to grab the AT&T-connected Note II will need to shell out an unsurprising $299.99 with 2-year activation, and can expect their devices to ship out on November 6th, just in time for the network's November 9th launch date. It's worth noting though that (at least for now) AT&T is only offering up the "Titanium Gray" Note II.
One of the highlights of Samsung's Galaxy Note II announcement at IFA yesterday was the increased functionality carried by the device's hallmark S Pen stylus. The Note II's version of the Pen, besides being "ergonomically designed for the perfect grip," allows users to quickly clip, crop, and edit screen content, adding further illustration and handwritten keyword recognition. The Pen now also features a unique "hover" functionality, whereby an app can recognize that the Pen is near the screen and react accordingly with contextual menus or other activities.
Looking to put the power of the S Pen to use in more than just Sammy's own apps, the manufacturer has posted the updated S Pen SDK version 2.2 with all of the Pen's new features.
In a press release on behalf of Boost Mobile and Samsung Mobile today, it was announced that Boost's lineup is soon to be enhanced by the addition of the Galaxy SII 4G. The SII 4G, which initially debuted back in 2011, is just what you'd expect from a Galaxy SII variant: a 4.5" Super AMOLED Plus display, dual-core 1.2 GHz processor, 8MP camera (with a 2MP front-shooter), and 16GB internal storage. Unlike its older counterpart, however, Boost's SII 4G will be shipping with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
While a bit dated, the SII 4G is still a powerful device, and its addition to Boost Mobile's lineup will be great for Boost customers who want a capable device "without the stress of a contract." From the PR:
The phone with the name everyone loves to hate – Sprint's Samsung Galaxy SII Epic 4G Touch – began receiving a minor (and I mean minor) software update over the air today.
The OTA, which carries software build D710.10S.FH13 (for reference compare to the E4GT's Ice Cream Sandwich build D710.10.S.FF18), brings just one thing to the table: battery life enhancement.
Just how enhanced users should expect their battery life to be is unclear as yet, but being able to squeeze just a bit more life out of your handset is never a bad thing.
If an update prompt hasn't already hit your device, you can always check for the OTA manually by paying a quick visit to your phone's Settings menu and hitting About Phone followed by Software Update.
Chinese company Xiaomi (known for their popular ROM MIUI) has just announced a new phone, and this one looks to be every bit as impressive today as the original was when it was announced a year ago. The specs on the cleverly named Xiaomi Phone 2 stand out even in the world of quad-core superphones, and the company has managed to do so while maintaining a price point of just $310 USD.
- 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064 CPU (Adreno 320 GPU, 28nm)
- 2GB RAM
- 16GB memory
- Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
- 4.3" 720p IPS display
- 2,000mAh battery
- 8MP rear camera, 2MP front
- 10.2mm thick
- MIUI ROM
- $310 USD
- Launching in China in October
The company claims some ultra-impressive benchmark results (above left), and we're inclined to believe them.
As most of our readers are surely aware, the Apple vs Samsung case is still boiling, and over the course of nearly two weeks since the trial's beginning, document after document has revealed juicy details from both sides regarding previously unreleased designs, plans, and even sales figures. While so far we've avoided piecemeal coverage of the case's twists and turns, a new development (reported earlier this evening by The Verge) reveals something particularly interesting.
We've known for some time that Apple attempted to sell Samsung on patent licensing back in 2010, but according to a document released today (and the testimony of Apple Exec Boris Teksler), Apple had proposed specific dollar figures per license – up to $30 per Phone and $40 per tablet, to which (according to Apple's slide deck) "Samsung should respond favorably." According to the proposal, Samsung would be responsible for a base rate of $30 per touchscreen phone (including phones running Android, Windows, Symbian, and Bada) and $40 per tablet (which would decrease to just $30 over two years).