Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got a space-based tower defense game, and interesting take on the strategy RPG, a drag racer with an uncommon Z-axis, and a Risk clone with Axis powers.
If you've already updated to Android 4.3, whether via an OTA or by flashing it manually, and rooted it, you're more than likely using Chainfire's SuperSU, which carefully works around the new restrictions Google put in place. Cody has a good write-up about why they did it and what's going on, so go read that if you're interested in the details.
Chainfire created the Android 4.3-compatible root method and the updated SuperSU back when the first leaks showed up for the Galaxy S4 but hasn't updated it for a few weeks.
You may have noticed that Google's shiny new Chromecast streaming gadget has suddenly become a bit popular. The combination of easy streaming and a cheap $35 price sticker has made the dongle a hot ticket, already backed up by three or four weeks on the Play Store, periodically sold out at Amazon and Best Buy, and selling for insane markups on eBay. Google has noticed too: according to a report by the LA Times, they've decided to end the Netflix promotional giveaway, which bundled three months of streaming video service (a $24 value) with the device.
In the realm of nerdy Easter Eggs, the Konami Code is a long-time favorite. It shows up in various games and websites, offering a bit of nostalgia each time. Leave it to Google to have a little fun with the Konami Code on Android. Just a few swipes, and you've unlocked a secret achievement in the new Google Play Games app.
In the Google Play Games app, simply swipe the following directions: up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right.
YouTube is not the only source of online streaming video. In fact, there are certain vids you simply won't see on Google's streaming video site. For times like that, there's LiveLeak. The website doesn't work very well on a mobile device, but now there's an app. It's unattractive, and works in a somewhat bizarre way, but it's still an improvement.
The LiveLeak interface is just a long list of videos in various categories.
Google Maps product manager Evan Rapoport revealed another Android 4.3 change on Google+ this morning - better photo spheres. Photo spheres were introduced in Android 4.2, and I truly believe they're one of the biggest things to happen to personal photography in years. They're limited to Nexus devices for the time being - and viewing outside of Maps / Google+ is still hard - but it's encouraging to see that Google is still going strong developing the feature.
It's no surprise that Google's latest update to our favorite operating system is in instant demand amongst power users and enthusiasts. Without fail, the people eagerly installing 4.3 are frequently the same ones who consider root privileges a necessity for a good Android experience. Unfortunately, it seems a wrench has been thrown into the works when it comes to exposing ultimate access, and people are experiencing more than a few hiccups because of it.
Wall Street Journal reporter Amir Efrati has let it slip that none other than Chrome/Android head Sundar Pichai has divulged the existence of a next-generation Samsung-made Nexus 10 tablet. If Pichai related more details to Efrati, he's keeping them under his hat. Still, Samsung is more or less confirmed as the OEM for Google's next 10-inch slate.
Expect to see new 10-inch Nexus 10 Android tablet (made by @Samsung) in the near future, Google's @sundarpichai tells me
While we aren't going to claim benchmarks are any kind of end-all measurement for real-world performance, there's little denying many people take a lot of stock in such utilities when purchasing a new device. The new Nexus 7, which is now packing basically the same chip as the Nexus 4, should provide a major performance boost over its Tegra 3 predecessor. But just how much of a boost? Google quantified it as 1.8x CPU performance, and 4x GPU performance.
Do you have a spare 64 minutes and a burning desire to analyze every second of Google's latest press event? Alternately, did you miss the livestream and Sundar Pichai's dulcet tones because a faulty alternator stranded you at a truck stop for two hours? Then you're in luck, and so am I! The full version of Google's July 24th event has been posted to YouTube for your viewing pleasure.