Google I/O 2011 is all wrapped up, and boy was it eventful. In case you missed them the first go-round, we provided a handy-dandy list (with videos embedded) of the keynotes and Android sessions from both the first and second day. The first keynote, especially, was really quite fascinating and provided a good review of where Android is headed. But at 55 minutes, it's probably a bit much to ask people to watch something quite that long (alternatively, you can read my on-the-fly notes).
As promised, Playbox today brought the console racing experience to Tegra 2 devices with the release of Bang Bang Racing THD. This top-down racer, previously available on XBOX 360 and Playstation 3, is one of the soon to be numerous games optimized for multicore phones and tablets. With the added device power comes a level of physics that is yet unknown in mobile gaming.
Let's just hope all that new hotness is worth the relatively high cost. At $7.99 for an introductory price (i.e. the price is going even higher soon) this isn't the cheapest game on the Market, but judging from the gameplay videos it may just earn the price tag.
Tower defense (TD) games seem to be plentiful on mobile platforms: their control scheme fits well with a touch surface, they don't require much user input from the player, and don't tend to be graphically intensive. If you're an Android user, you've probably at least tried a TD game before; GRave Defense HD looks to be the one that conquers them all.
No, that was not a typo in the title: GRave Defense is really spelled like that. I'm not sure why, to be honest, as there are no drug-addled teenagers waving glowsticks around, nor does pulsing techno music drive the soundtrack.
While roaming around Google I/O and looking for answers to numerous questions you guys posed, I ran into Wei Huang, the tech lead on Google Talk for Android. Yup, the same guy who announced video chat two weeks ago on the Google Mobile blog. Here are some questions I had for Wei, echoing many of you guys:
If you've beaten all 456930 levels of all 3 flavors of Angry Birds and can't wait for 30 more that Rovio teased us with, take a deep breath and go in for the kill - the update to Rio just went live in the Amazon Market.
Beach Volley, the 3rd Rio stage, following the Smugglers' Den and Jungle Escape, brings 30 more levels full of birds (including Blu and Jewel tied at the feet), monkeys, and you guessed it - beach balls. Did I mention monkeys?
Unsurprisingly, you will need to have passed the previous stages before you can proceed to Beach Volley, as evident from this screenshot of my Samsung Tab (I have an excuse, OK?
When he covered the official release of the Netflix app earlier today, Cameron said, "If your device didn’t make the cut, though, I wouldn’t sweat it too hard – you know how resourceful the Android community can be." Well, the app hasn't even been out for a day yet, and already there's a way to get it running on non-supported devices. The only caveat is that you must be rooted. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to work on the Thunderbolt.
So how's it done? Well, the instructions are actually fairly straightforward, and come courtesy of tipster/redditor natemckn:
A new update for Adobe Flash is now available in the Android Marketplace, bringing the version up to 10.3.
The update brings a number of features and fixes to Flash on Android, including fixing some issues with the Samsung Galaxy S, where certain video resolutions wouldn't show up. It also fixes crashing issues with the HTC EVO, along with optimization for OMAP 4 Cortex-A9 processors. The rest of the fixes can be found in the official changelog quoted below.
One thing I remember about flipping through Nintendo Power magazine in my childhood is the Shadowrun SNES game. Based off a popular pen-and-paper RPG, Shadowrun is set in a dystopian future where humans can splice themselves with technology to gain new powers. The player wades through a maze of lies, deceit and all-around scummy people to meet their goals, whatever that may be.
The reason I bring Shadowrun up in a review about Cyberlords is that the atmosphere feels stunningly similar. In Cyberlords, you're an amnesiac who wakes up in a clinic after an operation gone wrong. While escaping, you link up with two other members of an underground resistance in a typical "fight the power" storyline.
I know that a lot of people have been waiting on this day to come, but I have to admit - it's slightly melancholy. Even though the Netflix app is finally here, there are only a handful of devices that it officially runs on. If your device didn't make the cut, though, I wouldn't sweat it too hard - you know how resourceful the Android community can be.
Oh, the short list of devices? Here you go:
- HTC DROID Incredible with Android 2.2
- HTC Nexus One with Android 2.2/2.3
- HTC EVO 4G with Android 2.2
- HTC G2 with Android 2.2
- Samsung Nexus S with Android 2.3
With that said, we are already getting reports that the app is running perfectly on devices that deviate from the exact required specs, like the EVO 4G running CM7, for example.
If you've ventured away from the stock browser on your Android phone at least once, there's a good chance that you've used (or at least heard of) Dolphin Browser HD. Recently, the Dolphin team started working on the fifth incarnation of its HD browser, which is now part of a private beta. Oh, did I say private? I'm sorry, I meant here-it-is-for-everyone-to-download beta, courtesy of XDA Forum member scaredsoul.
This update brings a few changes to the table, like an improved, more minimal interface and bookmark access from the sidebar. The performance has also been improved, so everything should run a lot smoother.