When Microsoft Translator was released a few months ago, I went through an extensive comparison between it and Google Translate and came out impressed by Microsoft's efforts, but not completely swayed. At the time, Translator had a major advantage in its Android Wear support (a gap that Google has since closed) but lacked many other features like offline functionality, camera view, and most importantly the live conversation mode. Well, Translator has now jumped that last hurdle and added natural conversation support in its app.
The mode works for a few select languages already: Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), English, French, German, Italian and Spanish, with more promised to be added in the future.
Zeptolab's gaming portfolio looks a little one-dimensional. After Cut the Rope, Cut the Rope HD, Cut the Rope 2, Cut the Rope: Experiments, and Cut the Rope: Time Travel, the developer only has two games in its Android portfolio that don't feature that tiny green monster. In the latest update, said monster gets considerably less green. Cut the Rope: Magic is now available in the Play Store for Android devices running 4.0 or later, and it has the now-standard $.99-99.99 in-app purchases.
The biggest trend in the toy world at the moment is the blend of "real" toys and action figures with digital games. LEGO's already dipped its toes into the same pool as Disney Infinity and Skylanders with LEGO Dimensions, but that's not the only combination that the mega-company is working on. An original franchise, Nexo Knights, lets kids build playsets based on the techno-fantasy theme and then upload the various characters' shield codes into the accompanying game, Merlok 2.0.
Telecom operators in Brazil have been working for months to undermine the legality of WhatsApp, and now a judge in Sao Paulo has apparently agreed with the arguments. Starting at 9PM ET this evening, WhatsApp was blocked in Brazil, and will continue to be blocked for 48 hours. Mobile operators have said they will enforce the block (probably while high fiving each other). What will happen in 48 hours is unclear, but you can bet Facebook has multiple planeloads of lawyers on their way to Brazil. WhatsApp founder Jan Koum is certainly not amused.
The ugly Christmas sweater phenomenon seems to be yet another case of public trends where the fundamentally undesirable is somehow turned into a nouveau fashion statement, like Uggs or Hummers. While an intense examination of the psychology behind their resurgence would be an interesting application of our time, I'm not paid to write about wooly jumpers. If all you want for Christmas is an Android avatar with a tasteless sweater, then check your Androidify app for the latest update.
Do you feel like you hate yourself to a sufficient degree? If not, Dotgears has just the thing—Swing Copters 2. It's the sequel to the original Swing Copters. That game was supposed to make you forget all about Flappy Bird, which the developer pulled after it became a cultural phenomenon. Swing Copters got a few million downloads, and now there's a second one
Out with the old and in with the new. That's just about the best way to describe the latest update to the Google app for Android TV. Version 2.0 doesn't seem to bring much in the way of features, but what it lacks in functional changes is more than made up for with visuals. Basically everything having to do with a search interface looks at least a little different, if not completely. If you're eager to try it out for yourself, there's an APK Mirror link at the bottom. Otherwise, take a gander at a few screenshots below.
New microphone – Left: old version, Right: new version.
The issues with Hangouts on Android are becoming legendary at this point. It's an app that has suffered from a multitude of bugs, sluggishness issues, and incomplete features over the years. Now, a rumor posted by Phandroid says that Google is going to pull one of the more problematic (and important) features from Hangouts in a future update—SMS and MMS.