Welcome to the Android Police Podcast, Episode 56.
Don't forget - the Android Police Podcast's live broadcast is every Thursday at 5PM PST (www.androidpolice.com/podcast). The unedited video version of the podcast can be found here - and will likely include various verbal expletives, technical snafus, tangents, and probably a good 5-10 minutes of pre-podcast banter as we prepare. Watch at your own risk!
The old F-Zero and Wipeout series were some of the fastest, prettiest games of their respective times, so it's no surprise that the niche of "hovercraft racer" has made such a disproportionate impact on the racing genre. PixelBite is no stranger to racing themselves, having developed the Reckless series for Android and iOS. Their latest and most ambitious game is Repulze, a hovercraft racer that pushes the boundaries of both speed and graphics on Android.
The on-track weapons, speed boosts, and other power-ups give the game a feel that's closer to kart racers than a pure sim, but the breakneck speed and hairpin turns should keep fans of similar games happy.
As the launch of the Galaxy S IV fast approaches, the prices on last year's model (which is still less than a year old) is bound to drop. In fact, it's already begun with this deal on the unlocked international model currently going for $379 on eBay Daily Deals. This model packs 16GB of internal storage, which makes it only $20 more expensive than the comparable Nexus 4.
This deal is only available in limited quantities, so we can't say how long it will last, especially at this price. If you want to get it, sooner would be better than later.
There are surprisingly few options out there for tracking details about your battery via live wallpaper (and those that are out there are quite ugly), but Battery Core seems to fill the niche quite nicely. The live wallpaper consists of a large, Tron-ish rotating disc, the speed of which varies by your remaining charge. Slow rotation means a low battery, whereas higher velocity means higher capacity. You also get text readouts of the level, charging / not charging status, voltage, and battery temperature. A sliding bar at the bottom indicates your current amount of charge, as well.
The app works on both phones and tablets, and the amount of customization you're able to perform is significant.
Want to show off the fancy spherical photography prowess of your Nexus 4, but can't find buddy rocking Android 4.2? SphereShare is here to solve your shutterbug problem so that you can post those omnidirectional masterpieces somewhere other than Google+. The app is dedicated to the PhotoSphere feature, allowing users to upload their own photos for quick and easy sharing, or post them to a public gallery for all the world to see. It's like a very narrow Picasa, minus the editing features.
The app can share your PhotoSpheres to all the standard social networks, in individual or gallery form.
Looks like it's time for another set of app sales to lead you into the weekend. This one's a pretty short list (for now), but that doesn't mean it's not a good one – we've got a unique Twitter client, a throwback game, an unlikely hero, an interesting puzzler, and a new way to watch videos. Here's how to order.
When it comes to getting various notifications while your device's display is off, a built-in LED is useful. However, it's far from perfect. Sure, you can customize each notification with something like Light Flow, but that doesn't let you know the message contents at a glance. And, of course, there are also devices that don't have an LED at all, like the Nexus 7 for example. If you're looking for more out of your notification experience, Knock²+ may be the answer.
Update: Apparently the app isn't compatible with the Nexus 7 right now, but the dev is working out the kinks and should update the app "soon."
Like others before it, Knock²+ essentially provides a lockscreen popup when a notification is received, so you need only glance at your device to see what the ping was about.
If you like corny puns and tower defense, NAMCO is ready to harvest your money and time with Corn Quest. This tower defense game puts you in charge of an army of vegetable minions. You're the kernel—get it? GET IT?!—and it's up to you to save your stalks from the evil aliens. You do this with guns. Because vegetables have guns.
The game play functions just about like any other tower defense game. There's a steady stream of baddies, you add soldiers to shoot them, gain currency to buy more, and play to survive. Standard fare. The most entertaining part of the game, though, is how it handles in-app purchases:
Right in the main menu, there's a big red button that says "Buy Stuff." Dear developers: I don't really like in-app purchases for upgrades or power-ups.
Samsung has slowly been updating the majority of its ICS-running Galaxy devices to Jelly Bean (4.1.2) over the last several weeks, and U.S Cellular's Galaxy Axiom is the next in line. Announced just this morning, the update should be available directly from U.S. Cellular via OTA, as well as through Samsung's Kies Software.
This bump in Android version should be a nice one for Axiom owners, as it brings the much discussed Google Now, along with expandable notifications, and several noticeable performance enhancements over Ice Cream Sandwich. If you're the tinkerin' type, Samsung has also released the kernel source code for your tweaking needs.
Do you have an extra $649 burning a hole in your pocket? Do you have a hankering for a carrier and bootloader-unlocked HTC One? If so, we've got some news for you. HTC just opened up pre-sales for the HTC One Developer Edition to US customers.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor
2 GB RAM
64 GB of storage
Front-facing stereo speakers
Two dual-membrane microphones for recording
Multiple frequency compatibility:
HSPA/WCDMA: 850/1900/2100 MHz
GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
LTE: 700/850/AWS/1900 MHz (US)
Back in March, HTC announced plans to sell a limited quantity of the unlocked HTC One. While this isn't the cheapest way to get the flagship device, Developer Editions are completely contract free and won't bother you with those pesky carrier-imposed lockdowns.