I’m always impressed when I find a really great game on a smartphone that feels like it’s really been handcrafted for the platform. Most of the games I play on smartphones feel like they’re console game imitations, unaware of their own limitations or grossly ignoring them.
That’s what makes Finding Teddy such a joy for me. This is one of those rare Android games that’s not only excellent and tons of fun to play, but truly built from the ground up for a mobile platform. In every sense of the word, this is a smartphone experience. But that doesn’t mean it feels small — in fact, I’d argue the opposite.
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 was the last time you forgot your phone at home and spent the whole day thinking about all the text messages and missed calls you got while you were away? How about that evening when your workout drained your energy away and made you too lazy to stand up, walk all the way to your phone just to reply to that text you just received — Oops, it was just your bank promoting their newest credit card!
We have the right apps for these occurrences: the ones that let you read your text messages straight from your computer, wherever you — and your phone — are. Even better, you’ll be able to reply to messages, send new ones and even check your missed calls from your PC or tablet. Some apps offer even more advanced features, so it’s worth checking them out to find the perfect one for you!
In a fairly quiet week for Android news, we say hello to a new phone [variant] but goodbye to a beloved classic. This week has seen Google end sales of its own flagship Nexus 4 handset while developers can now get their hands on a special edition of the Moto X. Let’s jump in and take a look! (more…)
The idea of looking after yourself is no longer an activity restricted to a reliance on common sense. Where professional sport led, the rest of us followed, and today, personal well-being is a science. The volume of personal data that we can capture, and the depth in which we can analyze it, have provided new insights into how we should be eating, drinking, sleeping, living and exercising.
The mainstream cultural acceptance of fitness-related data logging can really only be attributed to the sporting world’s superbrands. Nike+ and Adidas’ miCoach, for some time, have dominated the market, and have been pushed by their respective parent companies at every opportunity. As the fitness app market has matured, however, numerous apps from infinitely smaller development teams have become some of the most popular offerings in the genre.
One iOS product which falls into this category is Moves. It’s an app which can best be described as a smart pedometer, and its simplicity and high quality design have won it a significant fan base over on the Apple-flavoured side of mobile computing. But now, Moves is making an entry into the Google Play store, and I got the chance to play with the pre-release version. Here’s how I got on…
Email is essential these days. Virtually anyone who owns a smartphone can be accused of being a Crackberry addict, regardless of the particular phone they own. And although it’s great to be able to get emails no matter where you may be, there’s a downside to this level of connectivity.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll receive a huge volume of email each day. If my phone was to audibly notify me of the arrival of each new message, I would go insane — so I’ve disabled sound notifications. This means that I have to keep looking at my phone to see when I have a new message. Sometimes every hour, sometimes every couple of minutes. It’s infuriating. It drives me mad … almost as mad as constant sounds would do. It’s Catch 22.
What does this have to do with Boomerang? Well, aside from the fact that this is an app that can be used to send and receive emails, not a lot! My point is that email is something we can’t do without. But for too long we have all been constrained by the way email works. Boomerang has been designed to wrestle control out of the hands of email clients and place it back under your command.
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?
For many people, the only thing holding Android back as a gaming platform is its lack of physical buttons. There’s a limited range of inputs possible with a touch screen, and even then accuracy tends to lag way behind a controller or a keyboard and mouse. That’s why MOGA exists. It’s a line of game controllers by PowerA specifically designed for Android.
As a companion piece to my review of the MOGA Pocket, I interviewed MOGA Game Content Test Lead Mike Sindona over email about the benefits of MOGA’s controllers for developers and gamers, the differences between products in the line (there are currently two models, with two more on the way), mobile gaming, and more.
Some games just suck when you play them with touch-screen controls. Your fingers and thumbs constantly block your view, and there’s nothing tangible for them to brush up against — so you’re never really sure that you’re pressing in the right place. Not all games suffer from this malady, of course — indeed, many excel with taps and gestures. But console-style experiences in particular never feel right without physical buttons and joysticks.
The folks at MOGA decided to fix this problem, creating a line of game controllers designed specifically for use with your Android device. They sent me a MOGA Pocket, the baby in the family, for testing, and after three weeks use I’m happy to say that it’s an excellent choice for Android gamers…but you might want to look higher up the line.
Until a couple of months ago, I had never cared about backing up any of my SMS messages before resetting my phone or flashing a new custom ROM. However, I recently started receiving important work-related messages on my phone and got worried about losing them. I spent a few hours looking for a background solution that would save my messages, let me search them, and that would be easy to set up after every reset. Another requirement was for the app to look a little bit more modern than if it were designed in the Android Froyo days. Unfortunately, such an app didn’t exist at the time and I gave up on the search, opting instead for using mysms with its Evernote backup option — which was very intrusive and less than ideal.
However, a few days ago, my good friend Ricky Cadden suggested SMS Backup+ and although I had dismissed the app before because it looked like it was stuck in the Eclair days, I decided to take another look and lo-and-behold, it was updated to fit right at home on any post-ICS device, and it supported Whatsapp backups as well! I have been using the app ever since and I’m quite satisfied with its performance and reliability.
In this how-to, I will explain how I set up SMS Backup+ to save all my communication to Gmail. It should help you use the app for the first few times until you are familiar with its different configurations.