Look around the web and it seems like whenever anyone has a "how can I make my <Android device> do ______," the answer is invariably "root it." And to anyone involved in the Android community, you get the impression that most Android users are rooted. Unfortunately, what people tend to forget is that while a few million Android users may be rooted, there are hundreds of millions of active Android devices out there - meaning rooted users represent a small minority of owners.
Jetpack Joyride, a game that's already seen huge success on iOS, finally came to Android today. The game – which ranks with Temple Run in terms of interest and demand from Android users – comes to us from Halfbrick Studios, the minds behind the insanely popular Fruit Ninja, and delivers the same action-packed, stylistically awesome experience as its iOS counterpart.
The game invites players to "take to the skies on a one-way trip to adventure," following the story of Barry Steakfries, who breaks into a secret lab to free experimental jetpacks from evil scientists, causing plenty of mayhem in the process.
Google is currently pushing out a quick follow-up update (v3.8.17) to the new Play Store (v3.8.15) that rolled out a couple of days ago. 3.8.15 brought significant under-the-hood changes, such as support for gift card redemption and wishlists, but 3.8.17 seems to be just a minor bug fixer. I have absolutely no clue right now what problems it resolves, and decoding the apk to compare with the previous version didn't really shine a light in any helpful way. A cursory run through the usual wishlist (no, not that wishlist) suspects produced no results.
Regardless, it doesn't hurt to be running the latest and greatest version of something as important as the Play Store, so hit up the download mirrors below (we verified them as legitimate and signed by Google).
This edition focuses only on new games. The app roundup is coming up soon.
Birds On A Wire
Today's game roundup is sponsored by Birds On A Wire, the action puzzle game from the pros at Herocraft.
There seems to be quite a lot of movement happening behind the scenes at the Play Store - yesterday we discovered that Google Play Store gift cards and wishlist are getting prepped for launch, and today Google seems to have enabled those smart app updates that we've been salivating about since Google I/O.
Normally, when an update to an application comes out, the Play Store downloads it in full, which with large apps and slow connections can get quite painful (think 50MB+ sizes). Smart app updates, announced at an I/O session in June, was the solution. When enabled, only the incremental difference (a.k.a.
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.
A new Google Play Store v3.8.15 apk started rolling out to Android devices today, but upon running through its UI, I was unable to uncover anything different from the versions before that. Yet the apk size gained a few
pounds kilobytes, and not knowing what the 300KB of code and resources added was killing me. Not to worry, a few minutes later, I decoded both 3.7.15 and 3.8.15 and compared their contents.
Play Store Gift Cards
What I found inarguably points to Google gearing up to finally release redeemable Play Store gift cards - something we've been anxiously waiting for since the Android Market started supporting paid apps.
And a few earlier ones:
A new Google Play Store update v3.8.15 has just started rolling out to Android devices. The new version updates 3.7.15 from the end of July, and so far outside of a minor cosmetic change, I wasn't able to pin down just what exactly is new.
EA just announced at a GamesCon press conference that it will be bringing the popular Origin game store to Android (along with Facebook, Mac, and Smart TVs). For the unaware, Origin is basically EA's answer to Steam as a go-to place to purchase and download games.
At this point there are no other details, but it's worth noting the Mac version has a tentative release timeframe of February 2013. Perhaps we'll see the Android version around that time, too (but I wouldn't count on it).
This announcement also puts another question on the table: will EA continue to sell its games through the Play Store, or offer all of its titles exclusively through Origin?
Just three short months ago, China approved Google's purchase of Motorola Mobility, effectively finalizing the deal. Apparently, neither company is looking to waste any time, as Motorola's new Google-driven leadership has already revealed the basics of the big turnaround plan. The first step: lay off 20% of its employees (including about 1,330 in the US) and close 94 offices around the globe. Given that Moto's phone unit has only made a profit in 6 months of the last 4 years, that's not so surprising.
What is perhaps more interesting is that Googorola will cut the number of devices made to "just a few," including dropping low-end devices from the portfolio entirely.