The new version of Android, KitKat, is very different from previous ones in that it requires less processing power to run. This means that cheaper devices or legacy Android phones will be able to update to a new, shiny OS for free. This might seem like a bold move by Google to protect their operating system’s market share, but in reality, it means so much more.
It means that “The Next Billion”, those who will become smartphone users in the years 2014/15, will stand a greater chance of owning an Android device. As these future droid fans are from the developing nations with different cultures and socio-economic background, their smartphone usage diverges vastly from consumers in western, developed nations.
Furthermore, their lives will be fundamentally changed by the incumbent smartphone ownership. Far more than being just a status symbol or the latest gadget, a $150 device could change a person’s path in life, increase their economic power and free them from oppression or poverty. Here’s how KitKat will kickstart this change.
As the baseball postseason kicks off, Thuuz presents a championship app for sports fans all over the world. With a new redesign, this game rating and statistics app is set to transform how we watch sports. By using algorithms and monitoring social media activity, Thuuz gauges the ‘excitement level’ of a game, in real time. Each game is rated from 1 to 100, allowing users to tune in when things heat up.
US sports such as baseball, ice hockey and football are covered. As are others such as soccer (both US and European), rugby, tennis and cricket. But is this enough to justify keeping an eye on your phone or tablet while watching your favourite team? Yes. Here’s why.
Digg had been stagnating over the past few years. The site’s previous owners weren’t investing the time or effort in updating the systems or design and users rapidly fled to Reddit and Twitter for their news fix. However, new Digg owners at Betaworks have launched a long waited for Digg app for Android.
The app, which brings the web’s news aggregator to smartphones goes head to head with several other RSS readers that promote popular news stories such as Feedly and Pulse. Initial impressions are good as the app mirrors the look and functionality of the Digg website. Set-up time is extremely fast as it pulls your preferences from your current Digg account. But has Digg done enough to entice users?
When Chromecast launched in July, it was all the Internet could talk about. The small, HDMI-enabled device allowed users to easily stream video content straight to their TVs. Gone were the days of hooking up your laptop or transferring films to a USB stick. Well, that is, if you were lucky enough to get a Chromecast. BestBuy sold out in a day with orders from Amazon severely backlogged. It hasn’t even launched in Europe and already there’s insatiable demand on eBay for second hand devices.
But you don’t have to wait for a Chromecast unit to try out the experience because an indie developer has made CheapCast available. It’s an Android app that turns any Android tablet or phone into a make-do Chromecast. But does it actually work?
As evidenced by our roundup earlier this year, there are a lot of apps and desktop software out there that allow the pairing of an Android smartphone to a Windows or a Mac computer. Most manufacturers (such as Samsung and HTC) even offer their own software, which ships with many of their devices or is downloadable from their website. But most of these are a bloated attempt at an all-in-one solution to syncing.
Certainly, none offer the finesse and reliability afforded by Chrome 28, Google’s newest version of the browser, along with a neat third-party App. Krome, developed by Damien Piwowarski allows all notifications to appear as a ‘rich notification’ in Chrome. But that’s not all. This beautiful app has a few more tricks up its sleeve.
Since Need for Speed: Underground revolutionized racing games a decade ago, many copycats have come into the market. I’m a big fan of the genre and have dozens of racing games on my tablet, however, to my detriment, it’s very easy to develop and publish on Android, so many of the games that I find are barely playable and most seem to sing from the same hymn sheet — zero innovation.
But now that devices are getting more powerful and the OS can handle more complex graphics and processes, things are certainly getting interesting. Games that would have been impossible just a couple of years ago are easily developed and supported on Android. CSR Racing is such a game. Judging by its appearance, this drag racer has very little to offer. But looks can be deceiving; let’s check it out.
People have wildly different opinions about torrenting. Some view it as the liberation of the creative industries and the defender of free speech, others a means for digital thievery. With faster mobile internet speed and the constant availability of WiFi, torrenting is becoming rapidly more popular on mobile devices. Some of the main torrent sites and desktop apps have brought out their own Android apps to cater to this market, and we also saw many third party offerings such as tTorrent.
Unfortunately, most apps are amateurish, rife with bugs and have many annoying features. That’s where BitTorrent comes in. The company is now going engaging directly with artists to promote their material, and have just released a series of new apps for Android. Their new storage abilities are even rumoured to be a “Dropbox killer” now. Let’s see if they hold that claim.
I’ve decided to move to London. I have no idea why — probably boredom. I just finished my end-of-year exams at college and have a whole summer to play with. The idea of moving country was fun until I decided to actually go ahead with it. Now it’s terrifying. Every morning I wake up, I remember I’m surrounded by 8 million people and that I know none of them. I have no family or friends in London. No job. Zero geographical knowledge. I’ve figured out the Oyster card though, so that’s good.
It’s dawned on me that my smartphone could be a good tool for getting around and avoiding awkward eye contact on the tube. So instead of researching bank accounts, national insurance numbers and other crucial information, I went on the Play store for apps to aid me in surviving my first few weeks in North London. Here they are.