If you don't use any language with a non-Latin alphabet, you've probably seen at least one of Google's alternative language keyboards and promptly dismissed it. But for a huge portion of Android's userbase, those things are essential tools for daily interaction. Today almost every one of Google's customized input/keyboard apps has been given a major update: Google Hindi Input, Google Japanese Input, Google Korean Input, Google Pinyin Input, and Google Zhuyin Input.
Text-to-speech is one of those little pieces of an operating system that not many people use, but which is indispensable for those who do. Now if your first language is Japanese, you've got the option to play out text on your phone with Google's first-party Text-To-Speech (TTS) engine. The relevant app is on the Play Store and was updated today, so you might not have immediate access to it thanks to Google's rollout system.
If you're a frequent online shopper, Slice is the ultimate tool you can install on your Android (and iOS) device. By crawling through your email inbox, Slice grabs all the details of your purchases, tracks shipments and your spendings, organizes everything into categories, deduces your shopper profile, and even monitors items for later rebates and recalls. The app has been available for over two years and has made enough of a splash that it just got acquired by Japanese online retailer Rakuten for an undisclosed amount.
The SwiftKey developers are getting ready to introduce a version of their popular third-party keyboard with Japanese input support. Prominent features should transition over just fine, with the keyboard still able to make personalized predictions and suggest emoji that it thinks may be appropriate. It will be able to switch back and forth between Japanese and English, making it useful for native Japanese speakers and friends of Japanese speakers alike.
The app is currently in beta, but it's open for anyone to download and try.
Love is fun everywhere. This is the audacious claim that Bandai is peddling with its new app "Tamagotchi L.i.f.e." And yes, that iswhat the acronym actually stands for. If you're of the opinion that love might only be fun in certain places, then I challenge you to download this virtual pet to your phone. This thorough recreation of the pocketable pals of the late 90s will teach you how to love again as you lovingly scoop its loving poop and let it win games, lest it gets lovingly mad at you.
Under the hood of Google Now, powering all those beautiful cards that pop up when you search for certain things, is Google's Knowledge Graph. In what might be the company's most ambitious project ever, Google aims to categorize and classify all information so that when you search for, say, Jeff Goldbum, the search engine knows you might also be interested in information about Chaos Theory or survival tips for raptor attacks.
Amazon, in an effort to continue expanding its services globally, announced today that its Android app distribution service, the Amazon Appstore, is heading for Japan.
The shopping and media giant is now inviting developers to submit their apps and games for distribution in Japan, giving them the chance to participate in a new market with Amazon and "expand their business." Jim Adkins, VP of the Appstore, explained:
Opening our portal to app and game developers looking to reach Japanese customers is an important milestone as we strive to serve consumers and developers globally.
Games on Android continue to get bigger and more elaborate. One of the top developers leading the way in less-than-casual gaming on the mobile platform is Idea Factory (together with Hyperbox Studio). Previously, the company released Spectral Souls, a 1GB RPG for $15 that promised hundreds of hours of gameplay (as any decent RPG would). Today, the similarly priced, and even larger 1.2GB sequel lands on the Play Store: Blazing Souls Accelate.
Quick. Name the top three most time-consuming video games you can. Did you say RPGs, sims and "anything that even remotely looks like Farmville"? Well, one, Farmville already is kind of a sim so that doesn't really count and two, yes! Now, what happens if you mix all of these together into one big, colorful Japanese game? You get Kairobotica.
Part of the game takes place in a sim space colony where you build shops, tech, and bolster your forces for missions.
The developers at int13.net introduced Shogun Rise of the Renegades to the Android Market today, bringing "bullet hell" gameplay reminiscent of Japanese arcade games from the 1990s to the palm of your hand.
For those not in the know, the Japanese sometimes call "bullet hell" style games "danmaku," referring to insane shooters in which players can generally expect most of the screen to be filled with flying bullets.
Shogun definitely delivers on this reputation, providing a continuous stream of chaotic scrolling shooter action.