It's been a few weeks now since the 7" Kindle Fire HD went on sale. Beating Amazon's earlier announcement by a few days, the 8.9" version is now shipping, with the LTE model to follow next week. In case you've forgotten, the larger Kindle houses a 1920x1200 screen that's not quite the best display around, but definitely close enough.
If you're still not sold on this don't-call-it-an-Android tablet, here. Allow Amazon to try to convince you with a list of bullet points:
Kindle Fire HD 8.9” is the top-of-the-line Kindle Fire. Features include:
A vibrant 8.9”, 1920x1200 resolution display at 254 ppi.
ASUS hasn't forgotten Transformer Prime owners - after rolling out Jelly Bean back in September, the company is pushing a small bug fixer over the air with version 10.4.2.17. The update actually began yesterday, but we waited a bit for the official changelog to come through - after all, what's the point of playing the guessing game if we can't add anything of value, right?
As I mentioned, the changes are pretty specific and far from critical, but it's better to see them and know what ASUS didn't do than run all over TF201's dark corners looking for something that isn't there.
Earlier on Wednesday, there was a bit of a scare when CyanogenMod wrote a blog post instructing users to transition to cyanogenmod.org instead of the .com address the group has used up until now. As the story goes, a member of the team donated the domain back in the early days and had managed it ever since. Until recently when control of the domain was in question during a dispute with said user. According to the original post, this person was asking for a substantial fee for the address, as well as access to Google Apps accounts that managed a number of public-facing email accounts.
After months of basically no action at all, Google has finally updated the Blogger for Android app with a new UI, as well as some improved features and bug fixes.
The new UI takes a page from the book of Holo, as it is now much more in-line with Android 4.0+ functionality. On top of the new interface, the update also adds support for more languages, enhancements to scheduled posts, and auto-sign in when a blog is viewed on the web.
Aside from these additions, some of the Play Store comments indicate that it also fixes a number of annoyances, adding the option to load more than 20 posts, better publishing, and improved settings.
If you're into indie games, chances are you've heard of Waking Mars by now. If you haven't - check it out, this is one seriously awesome puzzle / platformer mashup with an epic story and amazing soundtrack. It actually just hit the Play Store, too, after being available on Android exclusively through the Humble Bundle that went live last week (still up now).
So, why buy it for $5 through the Play Store instead of the pay-what-you-want Humble Bundle? Well, I can't really think of a good reason aside from updates, or simply to support the developer (that's always a good reason).
Exactly one month ago today, the first alpha version of the popular Twitter client Echofon hit for Android. At the time, it felt a lot more like a beta than alpha, as the app was quite polished and very usable. Two weeks later however, the first beta dropped, adding even more functionality and features to the app.
Today, the Echofon for Android team has hit yet another milestone: Play Store availability. According to the listing, the app is still beta, but given the fact that the team was confident enough to put the app in the Store, we assume that it's pretty close to a final version.
Popular benchmark and performance test maker Futuremark today announced that their 3DMark product, "the world's most popular benchmark and PC test," will be getting an update that brings it to Windows, Windows, RT, Android, and iOS, allowing the tool to join the ranks of cross-platform benchmarkers like the popular GeekBench.
The new version of 3DMark, which is expected to hit "before the end of the year," will include three all-new tests designed to benchmark devices from smartphones all the way up to high-performance gaming PCs.
The trio of new tests, which increase in intensity, methods, and purpose, include Ice Storm (for mobile devices and "entry level hardware"), Cloud Gate (for Windows notebooks and typical PCs), and Fire Strike (for high-performance gaming hardware).
Google announced today on the official Gmail blog that advanced search in Gmail has been expanded. You can now scour your mail with more flexible date search options, by attachment size, exact query match, and more.
The new syntax works in any version of Gmail, including the Android app, allowing you to use flags like 'size:value' and 'older_than:value' in order to pare down results. For example, below we've used 'size:5m' and 'older_than:1y' to search for mail with attachments of 5MB and that are older than a year, respectively. You can find the full list of advanced search flags here, including the new ones.
There are still great swatches of the American wireless industry woefully lacking in LTE coverage (we're looking at you, T-Mobile) but bit by bit the various carriers have been hopping on the bandwagon. While budget carrier Cricket Wireless has actually had LTE coverage in Las Vegas and Tucson for the last few months, it'd been restricted to USB access dongles, WiFi hotspots and the like. Their first LTE smartphone, the LG Optimus Regard. Yup, that's the name they went with.
The Regard fits neatly into the low end, with a 3.5-inch screen running at 480x320. At least its' got Android 4.0, though it's also running LG's custom skin.
Apex launcher, following closely behind Nova Launcher, has updated to include support for the Android 4.2 update that's currently rolling out to various Nexus devices. If you like your launchers like you like your anterior corner of a butterfly's wings, you can download the update directly on your device. You'll also get a few new extras, including the option to close the app drawer after launching an app and better icon label handling. Here's the full changelog:
What's in this version:
* Added option to close drawer after launching apps * Added option to toggle home screen alpha effect (leave it off for smoother transitions) * Improved icon label handling (labels will not be cut off or hidden automatically) * Fixed FC under Android 4.2 * Various bugfixes * Updated translations