I recall with fondness many weeks spent in front of my spinning, clicking Dreamcast, working away at the only game I had for Sega's console at the time: Hydro Thunder. While the graphics were amazing (for 2000, anyway), the big jumps and odd physics were what kept me coming back to the boat racing game. Pixel Boat Rush doesn't look or play anything like the minor Dreamcast classic, but I think it's managed to capture a glint of Hydro Thunder's spirit.
Gift cards are a little impersonal, aren't they? Digital gift cards even more so. Amazon's new Surprise! app can at least make them somewhat thoughtful with some nifty digital cards and customizations. This is not a substitute for love, though.
Sometimes you just want to kick back and play a nice dual-stick shooter. Oh, there are plenty of them out there, but Inferno from Radiangames has been one of the finest examples available. Now the predictably named sequel, Inferno 2 has arrived on Android. Get your thumbs ready.
HTC's Power to Give app, the philanthropic software created by HTC to devote idle processing power to scientific research, has been updated with a refreshed interface and a single sign-on feature to help streamline the process of signing into various projects.
So you got that fancy Sonos speaker (or several ones) and you're annoyed that it only streams music via Wi-Fi from your Android device through the Sonos or Google Play Music apps? Cheaper (much cheaper actually) Bluetooth speakers would allow you to play any audio from any app on them, and Macronos unlocks that same functionality on the Sonos.
The app, which has been available for a while, but only came to our attention recently, serves mostly as a Sonos macro creator — something like a shortcut to play this playlist on this speaker at this volume, while lowering that speaker to that volume.
The YouTube update on Friday brought a generally well-received redesign, incorporating the Material theme and a whole lot of red. The app didn't just receive a visual refresh, it also gained much needed functionality in the form of search filters. These changes are certainly enough to justify a major version bump, but those weren't the only noteworthy things to turn up in this version. Here's a hint: we can look forward to much more music on our YouTube videos in the future.
Samsung rebranded its AllShare Play service to Link about a year ago, but that wasn't the end of that transition. A new Samsung Link Platform app has been released on the Play Store to complement the new experience — the previous Samsung Link app is still there too, but it carries an older design language and seems to suffer from update and sign-in issues.
Link allows you to bridge the gap between your various electronics, be it Samsung phones or tablets, computers, and TV sets.
Avid readers on Android have some exciting new toys to look forward to in the latest version of Amazon Kindle. Update 4.8 adds some significant features to an already-packed app, specifically linked to in-book search. "X-Ray" is a proprietary system that downloads a pre-configured, collated file that includes information about the book itself, the characters, the setting, and the context of basically everything. For complex fiction, non-fiction, or textbooks, it's an amazing system previously reserved for the Kindle e-readers and tablets.
There's an elite club among Android apps: those chosen few that have been consumed by enough people to surpass the 1 billion installs mark. Most of the names found on this list come from Mountain View. Gmail was the first to cross the threshold (discounting Google Play services, which comes pre-installed on every Android device with access to the Play Store), followed by Maps and YouTube. Facebook has also passed the milestone, though I'm not sure how many of our readers are particularly happy about that one.