When it comes to value-added software on Android phones, I'm typically first in line to call "gimmick!" But today, Sony announced a new service for Xperia phones that actually sounds genuinely useful - my Xperia. It's pretty simple, really. You get a web UI that allows you to track your phone on a map, cause it to emit a sound (it even overrides silent mode), lock it and display a message, or remotely wipe it.
There isn't a lot to say about the newest update to the Yelp app for Android, but that doesn't matter - the one notable change is a biggie. Yelp has finally integrated Google Maps API v2 released back in the beginning of December, which rids Yelpers of the terrible WebView Maps API. The new maps API is hardware accelerated and vector-based, drastically increasing performance and level of detail. You get pan, zoom, tilt, and rotate, along with 3D buildings, indoor building maps, landmark labels, and terrain shading.
This week, we saw a new kid among Android decompilers hit the street - JEB. JEB is a full featured, commercial dalvik decompiler aimed at security researchers and reverse engineers. Although many other decompilers exist, such as DED, Androguard, baksmali, dex2jar, undx, etc and most of them are free and work quite well, JEB comes with features not seen in most free tools:
- Easy to use UI
- Direct dalvik to java decompilation
- Easy on the eyes bytecode
- Easy cross referencing of items
- Easy renaming of items
The downside is mainly the price, weighing in at a hefty $1000.
When it comes to buying apps, I try to wait until a sale comes along. I usually end up buying things on a whim most of the time anyway, but I try to wait – especially for games and such that may be outside of who much I'm willing to spend on one app. If you're also the type who waits for a good sale to roll around, some pretty decent price drops just hit the Play Store sales floor.
Blockbuster, the former golden child of movie rentals, is feeling left out lately. No one is paying attention to its online offerings, no doubt partially because it's been broken into a thousand pieces. However, today the company launched a new, central service for renting movies online with just one app for all devices: Blockbuster On Demand.
When we say "rent", we do mean that. There is no subscription option that we see yet, and every movie costs a few bucks to check out for a 24-hour period.
While it's not a major Android version update, Sprint is rolling out a pretty good upgrade to Evo LTE customers. The over-the-air software will add the ability to stream audio/video to a television set or other display via an MHL cable. Neat!
The update will also bring a variety of improvements, including to WiFi, Bluetooth compatibility, and the proximity sensor while listening to voicemail. So hopefully you won't have to worry about your face pressing buttons now.
Last week, we reported on an OTA update for the T-Mobile Galaxy S II that brought a "Qualcomm fix," along with some general security enhancements and Vlingo S Voice improvements. It looks like that update was delayed shortly after it started rolling out, as Team Pink just updated its support docs with details of the update with a set rollout date of January 31st, which is today.
Thus, if you didn't get the update last week, then you should expect it to hit sometime over the next few days.
If you're looking for a 4G LTE handset on MetroPCS that packs a pretty decent punch, the just-announced LG Spirit may have your number. At $200 and no annual contract, don't expect the Spirit to be a game-changer, but at first blush it does look like a bang-for-your-buck investment:
- 4.5" display with Gorilla Glass
- 1.2Ghz dual-core processor
- 5MP rear shooter, 1.3MP front camera
- 2150mAh battery
- Android 4.0 with Optimus UI
The Spirit also features LG's QuickMemo feature, as well as MetroPCS' joyn service, which is essentially an all-in-one chat hub.
Though you may not have heard of them, Zeboyd Games is something of a darling in the world of indie gaming. After scoring hits with the quirky neo-retro RPGs Cthulhu Saves The World and Breath Of Death VII, the two-man studio made it big by landing a contract with webcomic giant Penny Arcade. The third game in the series, On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness III, abandoned the 3D style of the previous entries for a sprite-based, pixelated throwback to 16-bit gaming goodness.
There was a day when app developers who chose to work on the Android platform were looked down upon by their more lucrative iOS brethren. Well, those days are drawing to a close. The newest App Annie index of mobile application sales is out, and it's overflowing with interesting data. The takeaway message is that Google Play revenue doubled between the third and fourth quarter of 2012.
This is, in many ways, the same trope we've seen in other metrics in the past.