If you've spent any time gaming on Android, you probably remember OpenFeint. Nearly every major game integrated it in some way, usually allowing players to log in with a single username, collect achievements, and post scores to a global leaderboard. It was handy for what it did, but if you didn't care about competing, it felt a lot like obnoxious spamware. Unsurprisingly, it closed down in December of last year. Today, however, it's being sort of reborn as OpenKit, a project headed by one of the co-founders of the original service.
Samsung's on stage today at CES announcing all the devices (TVs, cameras, smart fridges and microwaves... seriously). Among them is a shiny new LTE version of the Galaxy Note 10.1. No word on how much the unit is going to cost but it will be arriving on Verizon sometime this month.
There's also no word yet on how much the plans will cost, but we can likely expect it will launch with comparable prices to the myriad other LTE tablets with Share Everything plans.
AT&T has already launched its version of the Galaxy Camera, so now it's Verizon's turn. Arriving in both white and black options, the nation's largest carrier will be offering the high tech point and shoot for $550 without a contract. This is a little bit steeper than AT&T's $500, but to make up for it, the carrier is allowing customers to add this device to their existing shared data plans for $5/month.
Bad news for Verizon subscribers: Verizon isn't just raping you on your bill, they're really getting you up the pooper because they're making a few more dollars off of you by selling your personal data. Things like where you are, what you're doing on your phone, your gender, age, and personal details like whether you're a "sports enthusiast, frequent diner, or pet owner."
Meanwhile, the FTC is investigating Google for possibly "abusing its dominance of internet search in violation of antitrust laws" and - get this - "misusing patent protections to block rivals' smartphones from coming to market." What?
Those of us with rooted devices and a penchant for flashing ROMs know just how valuable a great backup tool can be. Titanium backup is undoubtedly one of the most popular (and most useful) backup tools around, and it just got an update to version 5.6.0.
The update, which had been floating around as a "test version" prior to official release, brings a few UI enhancements and fixes, an updated set of translations, and improved "Market Doctor" and "Force Attach" functions to repair broken links between apps and the Play Store.
Now here's a novel idea - a carrier actually helping you save money on your bill. That's exactly what US Cellular is providing with a new app that just landed in the Play Store.
Basically, the app sits idly in the background, watching for "partner" Wi-Fi hotspots. Once it locates one, it automatically connects, which ultimately saves you, the customer, money on your bill (or at least conserves some data). Pretty rad, no?
Republic Wireless, the wireless carrier that prefers WiFi for most of its connections, and utilizes Sprint 3G in the interim, has announced that it's ready to take on new customers. The company reported that "Wave A", which consists of an unspecified number of users, has been a resounding success and that they believe they've found a model on which a $19/month unlimited everything plan is sustainable.
Today marks an important milestone for republic wireless.
When we first discovered Slice, the app that scans your email for packages that you're waiting to be delivered, has updated to version 2.0 and brought a host of new features with it. For starters, if you use Hotmail, AOL, or iCloud as your primary email, you can now join in the fun. You can track outgoing packages by scanning tracking barcodes as well or entering the number manually, and filtering options have been improved.
Today's Google Earth announcement brought a couple of nice new features to the Google Maps suite. In addition to moving offline maps out of Labs, the company also pre-empted rumors of Apple-branded 3D map software with a demo of some stellar 3D maps that Google has been creating with high-tech camera planes. Yes, Google now has camera planes.
The company is using some sophisticated mapping software and planes outfitted with a bevy of camera sensors to create photo-realistic 3D maps of the entire terrain of a metropolitan area.
Open Garden is hands down one of the most impressive apps I've seen this year. The app, first introduced at TechCrunch Disrupt NYC 2012 as the startup that would go on to win the conference title of Most Innovative Startup, allows users to create an "open garden" of internet connectivity for multiple devices to share. The startup's official website explains it this way:
The operators sell us fancy handsets, but behave as if broken networks are a fact of life.