I had a brief hands-on with HTC's newest Android devices here at MobileCON in San Diego; specifically, the One X+ and One VX, both of which are tied down to AT&T here in the US. And the one you're probably interested in, the One X+, comes in any color you like - as long as it's black.
Now, my hands-on was indeed brief, but as a One X owner, I largely knew where to go and what to look at, and I have to say - this thing runs smooth. I've never found my Tegra 3 One X especially slow, but the speed difference with the newest T3 chip (presumably, the T33 found in the Transformer Pad Infinity) and Jelly Bean is definitely noticeable.
The worst kept secret in HTC's recent history, the One X+, was finally officially announced this morning by the Taiwanese manufacturer. Let's take a closer look at what has changed.
The updated One X variant features:
A beefier Cortex-A9 NVIDIA Tegra 3 AP37 processor running at 1.7GHz (up from 1.5GHz)
ULP GeForce NVIDIA GPU, running at 520MHz (up from 416MHz)
64GB of internal storage (up from 32GB)
2100mAh battery (up from 1800mAh), which HTC says may give you up to 6 hours of extra talk time
1.6MP front-facing camera (up from 1.3MP)
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
135g - slightly heavier but only by 5 grams (up from 130g)
The rest of the specs remain the same, including a 4.7" 1280x720 display, 1GB of RAM (a real bummer considering Samsung's and LG's latest offerings contain and really benefit from double that), Beats Audio, and an 8MP rear-facing camera.
Real innovation is suddenly becoming depressingly rare in the mobile space: look no further than the army of Temple Run clones that have come out in the last few months. Sure, most are fun, and some even eclipse the original (see Agent Dash), but they're all copying game mechanics pretty shamelessly. In this environment, it's so refreshing to see something like Fort Courage: a new game that adds compelling and exciting elements to an old formula. It comes from Human Head Studios, developers of the celebrated Prey and its upcoming sequel. That being said, there are a few places where it's clear this console and PC developer needs some more mobile experience - a tendency to rely on pre-built tools, like the GREE platform, and taking the in-app purchase model to extremes are two examples.
It's been a long time since Desktop Tower Defense - the genre needs a little shaking up. And with the Prey series of shooter games under their belts, Human Head Studios thinks they're the ones to do it. Their latest game is Fort Courage, and it fits broadly into the mobile-friendly category. The free game is available right now on the Google Play Store, but you'll need an NVIDIA Tegra-powered device to run it, and a Tegra 3 for the best results.
In Fort Courage, you take the role of a young boy and his stuffed tiger companion another young boy, defending their titular tree fort against waves of bad guys sprung from their imaginations.
Renaissance Blood THD, a game exclusive to the Tegra 3 platform that we covered at launch back in May, is now on sale in the Play Store for the extremely reasonable price of $0.99.
The sale (which slashes the game's price down from $3.99) is in celebration of RB's latest update, which adds a third stage of gameplay to the existing two.
For those unfamiliar with the game, Renaissance Blood THD is a rail shooter set in the Renaissance just after Leonardo Da Vinci's death, with your goal being to find and assemble a scattered blue print left behind by Da Vinci himself, all while killing off enemies sent your way by Bart, a crazed Renaissance priest who shares your goal to get a hold of Da Vinci's plans.
If you're not familiar with Vector Unit, you should be - they're responsible for such Android racing hits as Riptide GP and Shine Runner. Their latest title, Beach Buggy Blitz, has the player racing through a pristine tropical wonderland. You'll see white beaches, verdant forests and adorable local wildlife, all of which will be crushed under the tires of your 4-wheel-drive PETA-punisher of choice. Like Shine Runner, there are no opponents - just get the best time. Powerups augment multiple vehicles and racers for a surprisingly complete experience. Those of you who aren't fans of touchscreen controls will be glad to know that Beach Buggy Blitz supports tilt controls and external gamepads.
When Horn arrived on that other mobile platform a couple weeks ago, it was met with plenty of praise. Now Horn is available on Android, and it still stands out among all categories of games. Horn is built from the ground up with an awareness that it will be played on a touchscreen device, and it shows. From the impressive graphics to the unique story, Horn has a lot to show off. Let's dig in and see if it's a must-have.
You play as Horn, the blacksmith's apprentice who awakens one day to find everyone in the village has been transformed into mechanical monsters by a curse.
So, the long awaited title from Phosphor Games Horn is now available in the Play Store. It's an epic tale of a young boy who awakes to find himself in a Pylon-laden world. It's his job to destroy the beasts and turn them back into their former (human) selves. And it's awesome. Don't take my word for it though - check out our full review right here.
Horn has also been optimized for Tegra 3 devices, which really brings the environments and characters to life. But what if you don't have a silky-smooth T3 device to play on? Well, here's your chance to get one.
Lenovo, the company best known for making some pretty sweet laptops and violating the seventh commandment, has released the IdeaTab A2109 at Best Buy. This 9" slate packs a 1.2GHz Tegra 3 processor, a 1280x800 display, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. At $300, this tablet is just barely more expensive than the comparable 16GB Nexus 7. For your extra $50 you not only get a bigger screen, but a rear facing camera and HDMI output. Not bad.
The A2109 ships with Ice Cream Sandwich on board. No word yet on if a Jelly Bean update is in the works.
When we first heard about Ouya, we were excited. We were also hesitant. While a dedicated console for $99 with its own controller, a Tegra 3 processor, and Android games optimized for the big screen (not to mention free versions or demos of all available games) sounded brilliant, there was the question of longevity. How could this thing continue to hold up once Tegra 3 processors weren't the norm? Well, here's one answer to that question: OnLive support is now going to be built in. If I could whistle via text, I would do so presently.
What this means for gaming is that, even when that Tegra 3 processor gets old and dusty, you'll still be able to use your Ouya console to stream HD games from OnLive's cloud servers directly to your console.