A new version of Google Maps landed late last night and brought with it an assortment of visual tweaks. You'll find an all new and improved look for your saved lists, plus some interesting tweaks to other small spots around the interface. There is also a pretty clear hint that we'll be able to send requests for other people to turn on location sharing so they don't have to take the initiative to share with us. There are a couple of smaller teardown topics as well. Read More
As some readers might recall, there were a couple of fairly unusual, and very time-consuming teardown posts last week. In the final dash to finish them up, a few app updates were sidelined until they could be checked more thoroughly. Most of them have turned out to be bug fixes or have only small changes that don't really call for attention. The update to Google's micro-community app Spaces isn't very significant either, but it does resolve one of the most common complaints in the app since its release: it's now possible to save images posted to a space. Read More
Photo editor app Prisma has been a surprising hit on Android ever since people got wind of the limited beta test and grabbed the leaked APK, then lamented the shut down of the servers when the developers decided the beta test was over, and up until its official release a day or two ago. Even now, the servers often continue to be overloaded with plenty of requests to apply filters on top of images from everyone wanting to give this artsy app a try. Actually, part of the reason Prisma is so good is that its filters aren't simple layers and adjustments, instead there's lots of processing going on to get the result, which is why the app relies on its servers and why it has been overloaded. Read More
Google's general intent with Google Play Games is simple. Google wants to provide a solid backend with common game features to developers who want to make more compelling games. Once developers integrate these features, Google's user base offers a cohesive score/competition experience.
Providing features like leaderboards and achievements, Google has managed to catch the interest of many game developers already, but we have reason to believe that Google will be peppering a few new features into Google Play Games some time soon, with an update to Google Play Services and the Google Play Games app.
Quests & Level Up Notifications
First, quests. Read More
After its update to 5.0 on iOS about a week ago, Pocket has been upgraded for Android as well. I'm a long-time user of Pocket, and while my use case is probably different from the typical user's (there are probably only about 10 items in my list at any given time), it's clear to me that Pocket is always trying to find new ways to make simple save-and-read functionality better and more convenient. To that end, Pocket's new update offers users a new "Highlights" selection, which will pull and organize the best stories from your list, placing them in categories like "quick reads," or sorting by source, trending status, or subject matter (like "#photography"). Read More
If you've spent any time gaming on Android, you probably remember OpenFeint. Nearly every major game integrated it in some way, usually allowing players to log in with a single username, collect achievements, and post scores to a global leaderboard. It was handy for what it did, but if you didn't care about competing, it felt a lot like obnoxious spamware. Unsurprisingly, it closed down in December of last year. Today, however, it's being sort of reborn as OpenKit, a project headed by one of the co-founders of the original service. Only this time, the idea is much cooler.
For starters, OpenKit will provide one of the most desperately needed features in mobile gaming: cloud backup of game state and save data. Read More
I was browsing the Android commit tree, as I like to do at 3:20am sometimes, and I just saw a new commit by Tor Norbye with the following description that made my heart skip a beat: "Add autoformatting of XML." This little update may not mean much to the regular folks, but to Android developers, like myself, this has been a long requested feature.
About a year ago, I wrote this article: Auto Formatting Android XML Files With Eclipse, which described how easy it is to achieve uniform, formatted XML files in Eclipse while doing Android development. Since XML files comprise a very large portion of an average Android project (the whole app layout is XML based), keeping XML files tidy becomes a very important, but mundane task. Read More
Remember the $0.01 Samsung Vibrant deal Amazon put up last week in response to T-Mobile's $99.99 sale? After running for a few days, the promotion ran out (the Vibrant is now $69.99), only to be replaced by another one, this time for AT&T customers.
That's right, the Samsung Captivate now costs a cool 1 penny for new accounts and comes with a free activation and 2-day shipping. This is the best deal on this phone to date, and it will probably last only a few days, judging by how long it took the Vibrant deal to vaporize.
Hit up the AT&T Samsung Captivate AmazonWireless page to feed Amazon that penny and pick one of these bad boys up. Read More
Earlier today, T-Mobile ran a "huge" promotion, lowering the price of the Samsung Vibrant to $99.99 in an exclusive online deal. Since Amazon.com, Wirefly.com, and others have had the $99.99 price tag for ages now, we didn't give T-Mobile's deal much coverage (well, any coverage really). Many other sites did, however.
Seeing this, Amazon.com had a quick huddle this afternoon and came back with an even better offer of just $0.01 for new activations. That's 1 penny short of being absolutely free.
Sadly, upgrades are still $149.99 but those of you looking for that extra kick in the butt to switch over to T-Mo may have just run into the right boot. Read More
What a day for EVO 4G ROMs! Hot on the heels of the release of Fresh ROM for EVO, another former HTC Hero ROM developer damageless, notorious for his DamageControl Hero ROM, announced his version for the EVO.
DamageControl v3.0 is damageless' and his partner TrevE's first crack at customizing the EVO and making it both faster and much more battery efficient. First, a little introduction:
I am proud to present the first DamageControl ROM for the HTC Evo!
The ROMs I release are always focused on stability, speed, and ease of use.
My partner, TrevE and I, continue to present ROMs that are easy to update through an application that is bundled with the ROM, DCUpdater (based upon cm-updater).