When Microsoft Translator was released a few months ago, I went through an extensive comparison between it and Google Translate and came out impressed by Microsoft's efforts, but not completely swayed. At the time, Translator had a major advantage in its Android Wear support (a gap that Google has since closed) but lacked many other features like offline functionality, camera view, and most importantly the live conversation mode. Well, Translator has now jumped that last hurdle and added natural conversation support in its app.
The mode works for a few select languages already: Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), English, French, German, Italian and Spanish, with more promised to be added in the future.
Zeptolab's gaming portfolio looks a little one-dimensional. After Cut the Rope, Cut the Rope HD, Cut the Rope 2, Cut the Rope: Experiments, and Cut the Rope: Time Travel, the developer only has two games in its Android portfolio that don't feature that tiny green monster. In the latest update, said monster gets considerably less green. Cut the Rope: Magic is now available in the Play Store for Android devices running 4.0 or later, and it has the now-standard $.99-99.99 in-app purchases.
The biggest trend in the toy world at the moment is the blend of "real" toys and action figures with digital games. LEGO's already dipped its toes into the same pool as Disney Infinity and Skylanders with LEGO Dimensions, but that's not the only combination that the mega-company is working on. An original franchise, Nexo Knights, lets kids build playsets based on the techno-fantasy theme and then upload the various characters' shield codes into the accompanying game, Merlok 2.0.
I can't honestly claim to be an old-school fan of Shadowgate, because when it was first published for the Macintosh in 1987, I was -2 months old. The original game was one of the first dungeon crawlers, advancing the player from room to room in a text-driven role-playing game that focuses on puzzles over combat, ruthlessly killing the player if he or she makes a misstep or doesn't keep enough torches around. It was kind of like Dark Souls, but with a greyscale color palette. Shadowgate is simple by modern PC and console standards, but its intricate worldbuilding and devious puzzles have made it a minor classic in the genre.
Part of the appeal of smartwatches is using them in place of a dedicated activity tracker. Pebble watches have had a number of third-party options available, but now Pebble is making a full effort of its own. The company has rolled out Pebble Health, watch software that tracks your steps and monitors your sleeping.
Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android applications, games, and live wallpapers that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous 2 weeks or so.
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Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.
Today's roundup is presented by DigiCal Calendar & Widgets from Digibites. DigiCal is a complete calendar solution that integrates with Google Calendar, matching it feature-for-feature and then some. A wide selection of calendar views (agenda, day, week, month, text month, list) and great tablet compatibility means that your calendar will look great and be easy to use no matter what device you're using.
Now that Android Studio is faring quite well for its core necessities, the tools team is tackling some of the bigger challenges. A couple of weeks ago, they featured a new ability to deploy a limited set of changes to apps without fully restarting them. This week they're shooting to take on one of the longest and most requested items on the list: a faster and more useful emulator.
The biggest boost to speed can be seen while running Android 6.0 on the new emulator. This comes from newly added support for Symmetric Multi-Processing (SMP), which allows the emulator to take full advantage of multiple processor cores on a computer.
Welcome back to another week of the Android Police Podcast. To catch us live on Hangouts On Air every Thursday at 5:30PM PST (subject to change as per the calendar widget below), just head over to androidpolice.com/podcast. For the unedited video show, click here (warning: this video is uncut). As always, we'll take your questions at 530-HELLO-AP and also at our email address: podcast at androidpolice dot com.
On this week's episode: A look at early Pixel C reviews, Google Play Music's new family plan, expanded Chromecast and Chromecast Audio features, our Blu Life One X review, and your questions!
In the tech press, it's easy for us to regurgitate the advertising material that all of the major carriers and companies want potential customers to hear. It's more challenging to hear the voices of the people who find themselves taken advantage of by corporate practices. This work generally falls to unions and advocacy groups that do the research and speak out on their behalf.
Unlike some of my colleagues in the tech media, I don't have any particular beef with Walmart. Yes, they sell cheap imported crap, and yes, they under-pay their employees, stiffing both the people who make stuff and the people who sell stuff. But if you object to that strongly enough to actually change your buying habits, you'll soon run out of places to buy things. I do, however, object to the idea of a mobile payment system that works at exactly one store. That's taking the biggest problem with mobile payments as a whole, the lack of inter-operability, and turning it into a selling point.