Google gets a lot of abuse for not making various parts of its Play Store available in most countries. It's not necessarily their fault, especially when it comes to books, movies, and music - international content contracts are like trying to trade horses on a quantum level. But a major part of the globe gets more access tonight, as Play Store Books become available to India's population of 1.2 billion. Get your literature on, folks.
Update: After reaching out to HTC, we've confirmed that the statement on Facebook does in fact mean that the mentioned devices - the HTC One X, X+, S, and Butterfly - will be receiving Sense 5 in a future software update. Some features of Sense 5, though, will not be included, as they depend on specific hardware found in the HTC One.
There's good news out of Facebook tonight, at least if you don't intend to upgrade to HTC's latest and greatest hardware.
Everyone's favorite game studio, Electronic Arts, has released the third incarnation of its "hyper-realistic" racing series. Real Racing 3 is in the Play Store, but appears to be available only in certain countries right now. The North American listing isn't working for us, but the international version appears to be functional for at least some folks. Although, considering the bizarre new in-app purchase upsell, maybe you're not missing much.
The Real Racing series makes its name by licensing dozens of authentic cars.
The ongoing saga of Falcon Pro and the great Twitter token shortage of 2013 has taken yet another turn. No, Twitter hasn't stopped being a jerk-face. Developer Joaquim Vergès has reset all the tokens for Falcon Pro in an effort to free up unused ones. This should (temporarily) solve the problem of new users being locked out.
This means that when users download the new update, they're going to be forced to log back in to Twitter.
AccuWeather is one of the leading apps for getting more information than you could ever possibly need about the position of the sun, clouds, and the statistical likelihood that precipitation will fall from the sky. It has not, however, been the leader in Holo interfaces among weather apps (the Weather Channel beat it to the punch last week). Today, it catches up, though, with a brand spanking new UI.
It's not just menu bars and Roboto that are being added for this interface overhaul.
Machinarium was one of my personal favorite games from 2012, and I've wanted to replay it for months now. Unfortunately, the Nexus 7 is my primary gaming device, and Machinarium hasn't been available for it since its release. Finally, after months of waiting (and numerous attempts to contact Hothead Games), Machinarium is officially available on the Nexus 7 thanks to an update today.
That may not be the only new device added to the fold, though – Hothead didn't update the changelog, so it's hard to say what else the update brings along with it.
Manufacturers are sticking Bluetooth into everything these days: washers, dryers, ovens, cars... even a basketball. Thanks to a company called 94Fifty, the smart basketball of the future is a thing that you'll actually be able to buy fairly soon.
The ball features internal sensors that monitor everything from your dribble strength, backspin, shot arc and speed, consistency, and how long you hold the ball with one hand while dribbling. It then sends all this info back to your Bluetooth-connected smartphone with the 94Fifty app, so you can see the results.
There are a lot of security apps for Android that go a little ways into overkill territory. Whether you're talking about superfluous task managers or "virus scanners" that may provide some minimal protection while generating more fear than is warranted, Android has a persistent problem with companies applying a Windows-era mentality on a completely different OS. Secunia PSI, however, takes the cake for being one of the least effective apps on the Play Store.
Google's Chrome browser for Android got itself a nice little update today that brings a couple of new features, as well as an improved overall experience:
If you're the kind of fan that absolutely must have a Star Wars version of everything in your life, then grab your officially licensed Ahsoka Tano phone case and head for the Play Store. Zen Studios, makers of the well-received Zen Pinball HD, have released their Star Wars-themed pinball app, creatively titled Star Wars Pinball. It's a reasonable $1.99, but unfortunately restricted to Android 4.0 devices and above, and thus tragically off-limits to the Special Edition R2-DROID2.