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Updated: SwiftKey Releases New Beta With Skins, New Prediction Engine, Bug Fixes, And Other Improvements [Hands-On]

After weeks of frantic coding, SwiftKey, my favorite smart aftermarket Android keyboard, just released a private beta to all registered VIP forum members. While the beta itself (v1.98.1.172) is private and we can't provide you with a download link, what we can do is list all of the improvements and tease you with some screenshots.

Update: While we can't promise anything, our friendly contact at SwiftKey who I just spoke to indicated that technically if you did apply for the VIP program (i.e.
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[Review] Thumb Keyboard Makes Two-Handed Typing A Breeze

If there's one thing an Android power user really appreciates, it's options. I personally enjoy having a myriad of different apps to choose from for a single task so that I can find the one that best suits my needs, one of which is typing.

By now, we all know that there is no shortage of keyboard alternatives for Android users to choose from, but truly great and innovative keyboards can be somewhat hard to come by.

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T-Mobile CLIQ 2 Now Available For $99 On Contract

If you are in the market for an affordable Android phone, you'll be happy to hear that the new Motorola CLIQ 2 just became available on T-Mobile's site. The device costs just $99.99 on contract and has a $399.99 unsubsidized price tag. Unfortunately, the instant rebate is only going to cover $200, so the other $100 discount will be issued in the form of a prepaid rebate card.

The phone itself is nothing groundbreaking, but it should satisfy the needs of the typical user with its 1GHz processor and unique honeycomb-style keyboard.

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ShootMe Adds Video Screencast Support, Revamps Interface [Hands-On]

Out of all the apps that require root privileges, I probably use ShootMe the most. Before today's update, it was the best and easiest way to take a screenshot anywhere in Android without hooking it up to a computer - just turn the program on, go to the screen you want to take a snapshot of, shake the device, and ShootMe snaps the picture. After today's update, however, ShootMe is no longer just a screenshot app - it's also a screencasting app.

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[Hands-On] Zoom Widget Designer, An App By The Developer Of Tasker, Goes Into The Public Testing Phase

Introduction

Love using widgets? How about creating them? Zoom Widget Designer allows you to do just that, and it has something else going for it: it was made by the developer behind the excellent Tasker application - Crafty Apps. Better yet, Zoom will be fully integrated with Tasker in the future, so you will be able to make your custom Zoom widgets do just about anything your phone is capable of.

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Updated: Kongregate Arcade Launches On Android With 300+ Flash-Based Games

Kongregate.com, snatched up by GameStop last year, is one of the most popular time-killing websites in the world, with hundreds of original Flash games to entertain visitors for hours. It was only a matter of time for the company to bring the most mobile friendly of those games directly to Android in a single easy-to-consume package, called Kongregate Arcade.

Update #1: As many of you noticed, the app has been pulled from the Market.
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Froyo Coming Soon To The LG Ally

Remember LG and Verizon's keyboard-wielding, mid-range Android phone, the Ally? Well, it's about to join the ranks of the over 50% of Android devices that are running Froyo, as Verizon is planning to push out the long-awaited Android 2.2 update soon. A date hasn't been set yet, but it's always good to know that your phone is still being supported, even if it isn't the hottest handset on the market.

Lg ally

Source: Android Central

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Sprint's "Premium Data" Charge To Affect All Smartphones After January 30

Although Sprint's data plans are significantly cheaper than their competition, there was still some outcry when Sprint decided to charge a $10 monthly add-on charge to phones with 4G connectivity, even if your area isn't actually covered by their WiMax network. Now, however, all smartphones activated after January 30 will be subject to the same charge.

Sprint's reasoning - that “building, maintaining and expanding wireless data networks isn’t free" - is sound, and you can't argue that they still beat every other carrier when it comes to the price of their data plans.

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Intel Sandy Bridge Quad-Core Processor Coming Soon To Acer Android Tablets

There's no doubt about it: tablets are getting more and more powerful. How powerful? If you ask Acer, they will soon have enough horsepower to gradually "phase out" netbooks.

The computer manufacturer told Computerworld that in the first half of 2011, it will begin selling two or three new Android tablets in the 7- to 10-inch range. While Acer didn't specify the price or Android version, the company did say something that's sure to get your Android-loving heart racing: the tablets will be "faster than laptops with Windows operating systems," and will use a quad-core Intel Sandy Bridge processor.

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13 Best New Android Apps And Games From Last Week (1/13/11 - 1/17/11)

Welcome to the weekly roundup of the best new Android applications and games that went live in the Market or were spotted by us in the previous week or so. The list is pretty short, mostly because last week's roundup was a couple of days late, thus eating into this week, and January in general seems like a slow month for the Market.

Please wait for this page to load in full in order to see the AppBrain widgets, which include ratings and pricing info.
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