The Play Store has often been compared to the wild west; which may be good or bad, depending on your perspective. Unlike Apple's App Store and the Amazon AppStore, developers have long been free to publish their apps without going through a lengthy curation stage, and only those that contained malware or used restricted APIs were blocked. However, it appears Google may have quietly instigated a more involved review process that impacts every app and update.
Back in April, an Android Developers blog post mentioned that Google would be taking more time to examine apps from devs that hadn't established a track record with the Play Store. Read More
What if there was an app that got you half-off food at some of the best restaurants in town, and all you had to do was place an order earlier in the day, and pick it up a bit later than usual? Well, there is, and it's called Food for All. Even better, the grub you grab was destined for the trash can, so you get to feel good about helping decrease food waste too. Read More
Music is definitely everywhere. From our own personal libraries and streaming stations to advertisements and entertainment, it is a fundamental part of who we are as individuals and as a culture (for better or for worse). Since music is just noise (how's that for a scientific breakthrough), I have always found it neat to see the visual representation of the soundwaves in line with the song that is playing. Back when Windows Media Player was a thing, I always turned on the visualizer, finding it much more entertaining than staring at the album art — or worse, the placeholder image when no art was available. Read More
Coming across a genuinely new launcher interface and paradigm on Android is rare. Most third-party clients try to emulate the default Android launcher and add some customizations and improvements here and there. Not to undermine the power of something like Nova Launcher, but there's only so many times you can swipe left and right between homescreens or tap to open and close an app drawer before you wonder what that new launcher you installed does differently. If you seek the novelty of a new welcoming interface each time you unlock your phone, choices are somewhat more limited especially if you want a reliable and simple app, not one that has been built for the sake of difference more than usability. Read More
Dash is one in a slowly growing number of Android options that lets you track where your car is, where you've traveled, and how much gas you've burned up. To make things simple, it combines everything into a basic scoring mechanism - though this is only part of the app's appeal. Those of you with older cars can see why your check engine light came on without having to go to a mechanic, and the enthusiasts among you can turn to the app as an extension of your dashboard that provides more information than your vehicle manufacturer deemed necessary.
Not too long ago I took a look at Automatic, a $99 onboard diagnostics tool that plugs into your car and, working with a similar app, can help you save gas and better keep up with maintenance. Unsurprisingly, this drew immediate comparisons to Dash, considering it beat Automatic to the punch with more features and a drastically lower price tag (free, assuming you have Bluetooth-enabled OBD2 dongle lying around) earlier this year. Read More
Why would you want to watch TV shows on a TV? That’s so 2005. The options for live streaming your favorite TV shows on various devices abound. But until now, the options for live streaming on Android were hard to come by. None of the popular apps (Hulu, Netflix, Crackle, etc.) have this feature. This is why Aereo is different. It has been available for a while on iOS, although curiously not through an app, but via the browser. Now it’s available for Android in the Google Play store. This is great news for cord cutters. You no longer need to walk around with your fingers in your ears to avoid those Glee spoilers, while awaiting its availability on Hulu. Read More
When we first covered Adobe's "new" Photoshop Touch for smartphones, we were skeptical - after all, the tablet version wasn't cheap, a and an extra five bucks for what was essentially the same app seemed like a bit of a rip-off. (Adobe isn't exactly known for their reasonable pricing in any case.) But after using it extensively, I can say that not only is it worth every penny, it's worth it even if you already own the tablet version.
I don't say that lightly - in a former life I was a graphic designer, and I've paid entirely too much money to this particular company over the years. Read More
My fondest memories of the original Star Wars films were the starfighter dogfights. The first time you see the assault run on the Death Star, or the ill-fated attack on the second before it was finished, it's really cool to watch a bunch of fighter craft flying around, blowing the heck out of each other. Every once in a while, you can get the same sense of scale and calamity in a game - usually of the real-time strategy variety.
Eufloria is a game that manages to capture this sense of chaos, allowing you to zoom out to see the entire asteroid belt you're capable of conquering, or to zoom in completely to see each individual ship firing lasers at targets. Read More
It's safe to say that while point-and-click adventure games have a very niche market, there's a select few mediums where they work well. Touch devices and PCs have always been prime candidates, as their interfaces lend themselves to a control scheme that isn't overly complicated: click to move, click to interact, click to do everything.
Especially with this year's The Walking Dead games garnering so much praise, the genre could be in for a little bit of a renaissance. With the recent release of Broken Sword II - The Smoking Mirror: Remastered, Android gamers will get an updated look at a game that many have touted as one of the best adventures in the genre. Read More
It's hard out there for a photo app these days. After the runaway success of Instagram, a lot of imitators popped up thinking that if they offered the same "snap, filter and share" features, users would flock to them, as well.
Sadly, this means that we have legions of piss-poor imitations without any clear alternatives; as the filter features became more ubiquitous, they almost provoke a roll of the eyes when announced. Unless an app fixes glaring problems with the market leader or offers some other kind of of advantage, users will find themselves wondering "What's the point?"
I was interested when it was announced that Google would be acquiring the Snapseed because it seemed almost in reaction to Facebook's purchase of Instagram. Read More