Earlier today, a tip about a new augmented reality game called HoopsAR hit our inbox. Since augmented reality is a relatively new and kind of cool subject, I decided to take a deeper look and go hands-on. Before I could play the game, I needed to print out a basketball "ticket" which serves as the game board. The phone's camera then scans it and overlays the court on top of it in 3D.
Ever since its unveiling at MWC, the Samsung Galaxy S II has generated plenty of hype. But with no release date in sight, there's no telling how long it will be before we can get our hands on the device. Fortunately, Ukrainian site gagadget managed to get a preliminary version of the phone, and while it isn't clear how much is finalized, it does give us a good idea of what to expect from Samsung's next flagship handset.
One of my most favorite Android games and by far the best tower defense game I've tried is Tower Raiders. Once you try Tower Raiders, you simply can't go back to Robo Defense and other clones (I honestly don't understand why Robo Defense is so popular). Last year, I was traveling to France, and Tower Raiders proved to be hours of incredible fun, making 2-hour lines to museums and long metro rides more than bearable.
Whether you liked the idea or not, INQ's Facebook-based phone, called the Cloud Touch, is alive and kicking - and has now been officially previewed in a video on TechCrunch. Running a custom skin, it has a number of different tweaks that integrate Facebook into the core experience, including:
- Automatic Facebook contact integration
- Friends' Birthdays and Facebook Events synced to Google Calendar
- People, Events, Notifications, and Places buttons line the top of the homescreen
- Quick access to your "top friends"
It also has the unrelated addition of Spotify as the main music app.
Back in June of 2010, Qualcomm issued a developer challenge to geniuses all over the world to create the best next-generation augmented reality applications using their Augmented Reality SDK for Android. With an impressive $200,000 total prize value, it's no surprise that developers have jumped into challenge head-first.
Qualcomm is planning on announcing the winners and showcasing their apps on February 15th at MWC (Mobile World Congress) in Barcelona, but in the meantime provided a sneak peak at some of the submissions, which, I guarantee you, will get you excited.
Honeycomb is one of the biggest updates in Android history, so naturally, I jumped at the chance to try it out via the newly released Android 3.0 "preview SDK." What I found certainly wasn't disappointing - though it's important to remember that this is just a preview, meaning that not everything is in working order (for example, the emulator is so slow it made me want to tear my hair out at times, not to mention the frequent force close messages).
The Honeycomb SDK preview, allowing everyone to take a peek and play around with Honeycomb using the Android emulator, was launched yesterday, but after we got past the initial excitement, we found that the emulator itself was dog slow and pretty much unusable. In fact, it was so frustrating to use it that I wanted to punch walls and rip out my hair after 5 minutes with it. And I'm not even going to talk about orientation problems - how the Android team managed to ship the SDK with orientation broken by default (there is a fix for it in the Settings > Display) is beyond me and beyond the scope of this article.
Engadget was lucky enough to get its hands on a prototype of Sony's much-anticipated PlayStation Phone (believed to launch as the Xperia Play), and while not everything on the unit they got was finalized (Wi-Fi was completely broken), it does give us a pretty good idea of what to expect when the phone officially launches.
First, we have some of the most important specs:
- 4.0" 854 x 480 LCD display
- Single-core 1 GHz processor (believed to be Qualcomm) with Adreno 205 GPU
- 512 MB RAM
- Android 2.3 with Timescape UI
- 5 megapixel camera
That single-core processor might seem disappointing with all the excitement surrounding Tegra 2 phones, but the Xperia Play still manages to get high marks in a number of benchmark tests (including a Quadrant score of 1,689).
After weeks of frantic coding, SwiftKey, my favorite smart aftermarket Android keyboard, just released a private beta to all registered VIP forum members. While the beta itself (v220.127.116.11) is private and we can't provide you with a download link, what we can do is list all of the improvements and tease you with some screenshots.
I've been roaming the booths of CES for 3 days now, and I think I've seen almost everything even remotely related to Android that was worth seeing. One company, Recon Instruments, has been on my mind since the beginning, however, and I'm really glad I finally made it to their booth today.
Their current product, called Transcend, is a full snow goggles solution incorporating a little color LCD screen in the bottom right corner.