Android has, traditionally, been seen as a niche platform with limited apps, but in recent times, due to its open-source philosophy, it has become the most popular smartphone OS on the market. Android’s Market boasts over 290,000 applications, which, though less than Apple’s 500,000 or so, shows that Android is rapidly catching up. According to German research company research2guidance, Android will overtake Apple sometime in the next few months in having the most apps available.

The same applies to gaming. Android games used to be quite basic and limited; however, most developers now release both Android and iOS versions of their games, and the surge in popularity of games such as Angry Birds (especially on Android, owing to the fact that it is free) shows that the Android platform can satisfy an avid gamer’s needs.

Manufacturers of Android-based devices have recently been flexing their muscles and packing a bigger punch into their range of tablets and smartphones by using NVIDIA’s range of Tegra processors, designed to really emphasize the performance of the device. With this range of processors, they hope to push Android up in the gaming world to become a solid platform for mobile gaming. Read on to find out more.


Communication keeps our social life interesting; no matter whether you’re talking to an old high school friend or your boss, it’s a part of life. When you have your own family, a job, and hobbies, you must spend less time sitting at computer and chatting using Skype, Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, ICQ etc. Most of these social apps do not work on your lovely smartphone so you can’t log on your profile when you have a free minute, but this is where our alternative solutions come in handy.

I’m an ardent users of all these chat clients, so I dedicated a lot of time to find the best Android app for each one of them. I will share them with you, so you can stay in touch on the go — let’s get to it!


HowStuffWorks is a popular website specialising in explaining how day-to-day items and events work. Sometimes these are described in great detail; sometimes briefly. The aim is to provide interesting and educational information about why everything in our world functions the way it does.

The site’s tie-in app was released for Android about a month ago. I was expecting to have to be forgiving with this application, and allow for errors and undesired behaviour attributable to teething issues. But I didn’t find any, and was pleased by what this application offers!

Android media has come a long way in recent times, with more and more media apps being released for the platform. Just take a look at the sheer volume of alternative music apps that have been released for the platform, such as doubleTwist and Instinctiv. This demonstrates that the demand is there and people want new and intuitive ways to play their media on their Android device.

Now, however, the spotlight is on Plex. Think of it as AirPlay for Android. Plex is what every Android user has been dreaming about – a way to stream your music, videos and much more either over your local WiFi connection or, if you’re willing to play about with port forwarding, over any 3G connection. There are similar apps that offer this functionality with regards to music (such as doubleTwist, which does it better) but Plex allows you to stream all your media, no matter what it is.

Is Plex a solution for all our media needs? Read on to find out. (more…)

Commercial posters and messages were written on papyrus back in the days of Ancient Egypt, as were political campaigns in pre-eruption Pompeii. As the mobile world develops to a state where we all have a constant internet connection, advertisers have jumped on board the mobile bandwagon and brought new, interactive ways of advertising on these platforms.

Apple launched iAd last year – an initiative to make ads more featured and almost an app within an app – while Android has had its own fair share of new advertising methods. A recent, controversial approach was taking by Airpush, who placed ads inside the notifications bar of Android handsets. (more…)

I was pretty excited when Amazon launched their Appstore for Android. On top of a healthy bit of competition, they offer exclusive apps like Angry Birds Rio and, most recently, Plants vs. Zombies for Android, and they offer a free app download everyday. That means you check Amazon daily, and there’s a chance you’ll save at least 99 cents (USD).

Well, I’ve gotten into the habit of checking every day (though I could also follow them on Twitter at @amazonappstore), and even if I don’t install the app right away, more often than not I will “purchase” it, in case I want to try it later. Today I’m going to give you my favorite apps offered as part of Amazon’s Free App of the Day — if not for these offers, I might not have discovered them!

One Amazon fan has put together, a website which keeps you updated on the daily free MP3 and app downloads from Amazon through Facebook, RSS, and Twitter.


With the “smartphone era” came a great thing for musicians: the mobile tools for composing and playing music on a pocket size instrument with the practicality of touch interfaces. We hear so much about apps for iOS around music composition, notation, and live playing, made by the biggest and famous musical software and hardware companies — but what about Android? Though many of them didn’t look at us, some developers did, and have made powerful and useful weapons that every musician with an Android phone should have, covering everything from simple on-the-go notations to a full sequencer in your hands.

Join in me in this Roundup with the most awesome tools for musical notation, composition and learning, for Android.


RSS feed readers have long been a popular way to consume news and updates, whether it’s for it keeping up-to-date with the latest news, following up on our favorite blogs or stocking up on inspiration for web design, photography, and what have you. Sure, there’s Facebook and Twitter for recommendations from friends, and good old fashioned e-mail newsletters for targeted, critical updates. But nothing beats the flexibility of choosing precisely the websites you want to follow and keeping track of exactly what you have seen and what’s new.

Although there is no dearth of RSS readers on the web and desktop, I’ve struggled to find a good feed reading experience on the Android platform, especially for the phone. There are a couple of decent options, but FeedSquares feels too gimmicky and Pulse too cluttered for my small 3.2″ Optimus One screen. Of course, there’s the ubiquitous Google Reader, but its interface is rudimentary, to say the least. Feedly, a relatively new entrant to the arena, seems to have filled the gap in between very nicely. Let’s take a closer look.

I’ve had games on the brain this week. Connor Turnbull started the week off with a look at this spring’s developments in Android gaming — and then, of course, it was E3.

Some relevant highlights:

  • Sony talked about the PlayStation Suite, which will allow certain Android phones and tablets (including the Xperia Play) to run PlayStation games.
  • Sony also showed off their new upcoming handheld console, the PlayStation Vita. This has buttons, like the PSP, but also features a full touchscreen. In fact, the back of the device is touch-sensitive, too!
  • Nintendo announced the WiiU, whose new controller is like a tablet with extra buttons. As well as being able to display games on its own screen, it can also act as a secondary screen for games being played on a TV, showing extra data or a different view.

But why do two new consoles that don’t run Android make me more excited about Android gaming? Because they have plenty in common with our favourite mobile platform, and that means game developers are going to have to learn how to make games that are perfect for Android.

Check out this video of Uncharted: Golden Abyss running on the PS Vita; the game has been designed to be played with touchscreen controls, without resorting to an on-screen joystick. (Okay, okay, it helps that there’s an off-screen joystick, but you see my point.)

With the announcements from this year’s Google I/O about Google TV, Google At Home, and the APK, I have to believe that Android tablets will be technically capable of doing much of what WiiU can do.

I assume that Android game developers will take advantage of all this, and use the new gameplay mechanics that pop up on these new consoles to make Android games that truly fit the hardware. But will people want to play them? That’s what I hope to find out with this poll.

It used to be that when you wanted a comic, you saved up your pennies, raided the piggy bank, then went down to the local shop to get it. I remember the sheer excitement when I went down to my local newsagent every Saturday to buy that week’s copy of The Beano and I used to spend most of the afternoon reading it and doing all the puzzles.

Nowadays, things are obviously a little more high-tech; that’s the way the publishing market is going. Most newspapers are read online for free, Twitter has become the new way of keeping up to date with the world, and the surge in the popularity of e-books and devices such as the Kindle show that people are willing to ditch traditional methods for the fancier (and potentially more convenient) solution.

Graphicly aims to do just this with comic books. Instead of buying print copies, you can either buy or download them for free from their online store, making them available for immediate reading on whatever device you are using. The range is certainly pretty impressive, but the question is: will Graphicly replace that feeling of buying a printed comic from the shop? Read on for my thoughts. (more…)

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