Plants have needs. While we could argue all day long if talking to your plants yields actual results, there's no controversy surrounding the fact that plants need water. Forget to bathe them for a few days too many and watch how quickly those lively green leaves turn brown with neglect. So if you're prone to ignoring the potted inhabitants of your household, Waterbot is a free app that can help you give them the care and attention they need.
When it comes to Android gadgets, I have sort of a "the more, the merrier" mindset. But that poses a huge problem (aside from my wife's constant anger at money being spent on "another device I don't need"): charging them all is an absolute pain in the posterior. There are generally two choices: cords everywhere! or making my devices take turns charging. If you only have two or three devices, the latter option may be somewhat acceptable; anything more, however, and that's just not practical.
Back at IFA, I got my hands on Sony's QX10 lens camera, one of two such devices the electronics manufacturer announced in Berlin. I wasn't sure what I thought about it then, having only played with it for about a day, but I've spent some quality time with the device since, and I'm ready to lay down my full impression.
For those not quite up to speed, the QX10 (and its higher-end counterpart, the QX100) is a camera in a lens.
Kickstarter has allowed a lot of folks with reasonably good ideas to make them a reality – or at least try. Shadowrun Returns was more than a reasonably good idea, though. This game promised a classic turn-based RPG experience in a much-loved gaming universe. After raising nearly $2 million last year, it launched on PC a few months ago and on mobile last week.
I have a soft spot for this genre, so I was excited to dig into Shadowrun Returns on Android.
Watches. A lot people used to wear them, because a watch had two great functional purposes: giving you the current time instantly, and providing a quick, easy, and almost universally recognized way to socially cue that you're becoming impatient / need to go / it's getting late. A lot of people actually still wear watches, but by and large, the reason has changed - it's mostly about fashion. For some people, maybe it was always about looks, but now more than ever the watch is, in any functional sense, obsolete.
As a millennial raised on video games, I've developed more of an interest in physical board games the older I get. They're inherently social, and at a time when most multiplayer console and mobile games are pushing people to play online, I want ways to entertain people face-to-face. So when I first caught wind of Dice+, I was intrigued. Here was a product that promised to turn my tablet from a solitary gaming platform into something that could bring people together.
Fuhu is a company that kind of appeared out of nowhere and blew me away with the nabi 2. Its two subsequent tablets – the nabi Jr. and nabi XD – cover age groups on either side of the nabi 2, so the whole family can get in on the fun. While I've already reviewed the 2 and Jr., I've been waiting to cover the XD for one reason: the Play Store.
You've been warned: the Galaxy Note II was probably my favorite smartphone of 2012, and it looks like its successor, the Note 3, is stealing my heart all over again. With big hardware improvements across the board, as well as substantial additions to software, the Note 3 feels like a true next-generation sort of phone. Samsung has rather effectively ruined every other large-screen device for me, and frankly, probably every other phone released this year.
Back in early July, I reviewed what has since been my favorite portable Bluetooth speaker: the Ultimate Ears BOOM. It really lives up to its name, delivering top-notch sound quality that's nearly impossible to find in most speakers twice its size. Of course, that kind of quality comes at a price – a $200 price, to be exact. And if you wish to utilize the Double Up feature that lets you use two BOOMs at the same time, that price doubles.
Last year's Note 10.1 was a first for Samsung. It was the first 10-inch tablet to carry the Note name, and the first consumer tablet that made good use of a stylus. It brought about many innovative, though not perfectly executed, features that changed the way Android worked. Multiple apps on the same screen, handwriting input and palm rejection, and the like were all relative newcomers to the tablet scene. And for the most part, they were all well received by those who bought the tablet.