Streaming movies from Google Play is rather nice. I sort of scoffed at the feature at first, wondering why I'd want to spend that much money to rent a movie when I could wait and buy a physical copy later. But hey, $3 to $5 really isn't that much compared to watching a film in theaters, and it lets you see a movie much sooner than waiting for the DVD version to drop in price.
The thing is, Play Movies isn't available all over the world.
It's been a good week for real-time strategy fans on Android. Yesterday a new game from the Anomaly developers was released, SPACECOM, and today gamers without access to NVIDIA-branded hardware can play Z: Steel Soldiers. If you don't recall, this Android port came out back in August of last year - about thirteen years after the original was released on the PC. It's a conventional real-time strategy game about robots killin' robots.
Z: Steel Soldiers can now be installed on any Android device running 2.3.3 or higher (or at least any of them that I've owned), so long as you've got $7 to put in the developers' jar.
Here's an idea. Let's take that video chatting thing that people do all the time using Skype, Hangouts, or FaceTime, and remove the sound. Huh, Yahoo is already doing that?
Yup, and the service is called Livetext. Yahoo has been testing it in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Ireland. Now the tech company is bringing its intriguing communications platform to five additional countries. There's Canada and the US in North America. France, Germany, and the rest of the UK have joined Ireland in Europe.
In Yahoo's video of Livetext in action, you can see how each sentence you type appears at the bottom of a video feed of whomever you're chatting with.
Music creation apps on Android have lagged far behind iOS, but things are slowly catching up with improved latency in newer versions of Android. A music creation app just hit the Play Store that music aficionados might want to check out. It's called Stagelight (no, not Stagefright—bad timing) and you can try it for free.
Hangouts 4.0. We want you. And that desire has only grown after Phandroid's latest leak. It looks like users will be able to initiate Hangouts conversations using Android Wear once the latest update comes around.
As some readers have pointed out, this feature does not appear to require Hangouts 4. People are having success initiating Hangouts messages from Android Wear using the version currently available in the Play Store.
The original Angry Birds took flight on Android way, way back in 2010. It was followed by a number of spin-offs and expansions, but now the true sequel has arrived. You can tell by the name—Angry Birds 2. Rovio (and the market for mobile games in general) has changed dramatically in the years since the first game was released, so you can probably guess what that means. Yes, lots of in-app purchases. Sorry, guys.
In A Day in the Woods, you help to protect Little Red Riding Hood, who apparently lacks the sense to avoid woods infested with wolves and bears while she wanders haphazardly from cottage to cottage. Well, Red doesn't actually move at all - she stays stationary on her hexagonal puzzle tile, and you move her and the adjacent tiles to get her to the house on each level. You're given a limited amount of moves per stage to hit par, and you'll also have to grab the flowers that grow before clearing the stage.
It's more complicated than it looks. Certain tiles like rocks and trees can't be moved, and you'll have to keep Red at least two tiles away from a bear or wolf to avoid mauling - there are no handy lumberjacks to take them out.
Xbox Music is now Groove. This is news that Microsoft detailed weeks ago, but it's only now—coinciding with the release of Windows 10—that we're seeing the name change on Android.
In the latest version, the rebranding has taken place. Microsoft highlights the ability to upload your music to OneDrive, stream music with a Music Pass subscription ($9.99 a month or $99 a year), and save files for offline use.
Real-time strategy seems to be all about hundreds of actions per minute these days, if you can even find a strategy game that's not a clone of Clash of Clans or League of Legends or Army of Alliteration. SPACECOM takes a different approach: it's a minimal sci-fi game where your captured star systems are just solar diagrams, your ships and fleets are a series of triangles, and there's a definite lack of guns or explosions.
If you've ever played Wing Commander: Armada, SPACECOM plays out like a real-time version of the strategy portions of that game (minus the full 3D space battles, of course).
Arrrrrrrrrre you ready for a new pirate game? No, not pirated. Pirate. We don't advocate stealing on this site. Well, unless you're a pirate—the sailing kind. Captain Sabertooth will let your family members have fun pirating in the good sort of way.