I've long been an advocate for the usefulness of Android tablets, but even I've been questioning my own words over the past year or so. After switching to a Chromebook Flip as my main laptop and tablet, I rarely even use my Android tablets for anything more than reading in bed or playing a quick game.
But deep down I guess I'm a dreamer—I keep hoping Google will step up and make Android tablets not only relevant for more than the "I want a cheap tablet" market, but for power users. People who want to get things done and don't always want to break out a laptop to do it.
There's no denying that the increased performance:power consumption ratio of CPUs has been benefiting laptops and tablets alike of late. Microsoft's Surface Pro series, Apple's new iPad Pro (a product I would also call pretty misguided, to be honest), the new MacBook, and a slew of Chromebooks are all doing things that would have been nigh-unthinkable five years ago in their respective form factors or price points. Also, tablet sales are down and the traditional tablet model doesn't seem to be working so well anymore. So, Google is apparently hip to this now and wants Android to get in on the action with its own mobile-feeling but laptop-grade-ish ultra-portable device.
Yesterday, we broke news of the Pixel C, an upcoming premium tablet from Google that would run Android and carry the company's high-end Pixel name. Today, the company has made that device official. Meet the Pixel C.
Up to this point, the only Pixel products we've seen have been running Chrome OS, so the move to Android is a slight transition, but it's not one that doesn't make sense. In fact, this a great way to expand the Pixel line into something more than just Chromebooks and turn it into a premium name that runs parallel to the Nexus program.
Along with a fancy new hardware-focused Google Store, there's a shiny new version of the super-premium Chromebook. Google just threw the Chromebook Pixel 2015 up on its page in two models: one with an Intel Core i5 2.2Ghz processor for $999 (considerably less than the original) and one with a 2.4Ghz Core i7 for $1299. Sales appear to be limited to the United States at the moment.
The i5 model is ostensibly the low-end version, but even that is fairly super-powered compared to other Chromebooks. It comes with a 32GB SSD drive for storage and a generous 8GB of RAM - double the original Pixel and twice as much as any current Chromebook on the market.
Google and Verizon Wireless seem to be in a perpetual state of "it's complicated." The protracted issues with the Nexus 7 LTE, the infamously terrible launch and support of the Verizon Galaxy Nexus, and a few other spats come to mind. Now JR Raphael of ComputerWorld is reporting that Verizon has unceremoniously dumped the 100MB per month of free packaged wireless data that came with the LTE model of the Chromebook Pixel that went on sale last year. And here's the kicker: they don't really give a shit.
Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got an impressively atmospheric survival horror game, a game that mixes Peggle and Angry Birds, and a game that's way too indie for you, man. Without further ado:
Survival horror games are a bit under-represented on Android, but Dark Project seems to hit all the high points of the genre.
Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got an interesting online turn-based RPG, another pixelated adventure from Nostalgic, and a game that brings both the wub-wub and the unse-unse. Without further ado:
Runes Of War
Sometimes I wish Kairosoft would break their city builder/RPG titles out of the pixelated niche, and if they did, that game might look like Runes of War.
You know that moment you have when you're playing an endless runner and you're ten seconds from beating your record, then you smash into an easily-avoided obstacle by the width of about two pixels? The colorful Time Surfer has found a way around that: you can rewind time to cover up your mistakes. The Prince of Persia's ears must be turning red right about now.
Time Surfer got its start on the Humble Mobile Bundle, but now it's available from the Play Store for a reasonable $.99. In most respects it's a typical endless runner, albeit with a neon-soaked, pixelated I-love-the-80s theme.
It wouldn't be a new month without a roundup of the previous month's best Play Store offerings. Of course, we've already taken a look at the best new apps from February 2013, but games – as usual – were also well-represented by new entries last month.
Typically, we try to narrow down our list of the top new apps and games to five entries each month. This month, however, saw the debut of plenty of new games that are definitely worth taking a look at, and have included seven of the very best games no Android gamer should miss. Without further ado, here are the top games from February 2013.
As promised, Pixowl has launched their iOS hit The Sandbox on the Play Store. It's a free download for anything running Android 2.3 or later. Not to be confused with the open world sandbox genre (Grand Theft Auto and the like), this game is an almost literal sandbox. You're an apprentice deity, with the goal of combining elements into different pixelated constructions. Then go Old Testament and blow it up. Anyone who's ever built a domino tower just to knock it down will understand the appeal here.
While the construction and combination elements are fun, there's also reason to temper your excitement.