With contributions from my colleague James Cull

Yesterday I followed the Apple WorldWide Developers Conference. Like so many other thousands of people I was interested in seeing the new software and hardware Apple is so famous for. Though there was no new hardware, there was new software by the bucketload.

Besides OSX Lion and iCloud the anticipated iOS 5.0 was announced and I was expecting some fantastic new features to be rolled out. While many of these features are new and distinctive to Apple, some of them were very familiar to us Android users — and we took these for granted on our phones without paying them the slightest bit of attention. (more…)

Mobile gaming has really taken off ever since the advent of apps, and it keeps progressing each year thanks to hardware and software developments on the handsets. At E3 this week, we’re bound so see some new and exciting developments in the mobile gaming landscape, but the past few months have produced some interesting news in themselves.

Thanks to the fast paced development of mobile hardware, we’re beginning to see phones that can run even more powerful games, and output them to HDTVs. (more…)

Anyone who knows me knows I like to gamble from time to time; nothing major, just a few trips a year to a casino for some blackjack or poker. I also like to hold small poker games at my house (don’t worry, the house doesn’t take any money). Naturally, when looking for games on Android to pass the time, I look for casino games – easy to play, you can stop and start them whenever, and just maybe they’d help improve my blackjack and hold ‘em skills. Here is what I was able to find!


Android started life with a fairly geeky image. It was billed as an ‘open-source mobile operating system by Google’, a phrase full of terms that geeks can never get enough of. And yet it was cool because it was new, different, and had potential. Once the phone manufacturers saw this potential and Android became mainstream, a lot of the geek-appeal faded away.

This roundup contains 17 applications which appeal to me, as a geek. Just because Android is no longer reserved exclusively for us doesn’t mean there are no great applications built with us in mind. (more…)

On May 27, HTC announced via their Facebook page that they would no longer be locking the bootloaders on its range of devices. Developers all over the Android community were relieved when they heard this, and the announcement, which came about after a huge number of requests from the Android modding community, really emphasized Android’s role as an open-source platform.

HTC Facebook Announcement

The announcement by HTC on their Facebook page

HTC is one of the largest manufacturers of smartphones on the market with an annual revenue of just shy of $10 billion, and is the brains behind some of the most popular smartphones, including the Desire and Sensation. But were they right in unlocking their bootloader policy? Why did they do it? Read on for my thoughts. (more…)

It seems like eons ago that I would start my work day with a cup of coffee and a newspaper to get my daily news fix. I still do it but with a slight difference: my Android phone has replaced the newspaper. So I thought, why not write about my experience in exploring all the amazing news Apps in the Android Market? I have compiled a list of news reader apps that have both minimal and elegant user interfaces, to share my views with you and some useful suggestions with App developers.


Let’s be honest with each other: we all love Android, but most of us love what we can make out of it, not how it comes out of the box. Take for example the default Gallery viewer that ships on stock Android devices. It is — for lack of a better word — mediocre. The interface is nice, you can view and delete images with it, but, well… that’s it.

I probably wouldn’t have found a fault in it if I didn’t have the pleasure of using HTC’s Sense Gallery for a couple of months. The difference was like night and day: it was faster for one thing, and it allowed me to hide folders that I didn’t want to see while browsing for photos. When I came back to the stock Gallery, I was thoroughly disappointed and started searching for a better alternative. Eventually, I found QuickPic. (more…)

I’ve been searching for a quality Android app that lets me manage my Xbox Live profile on the go — and at last I’ve found one.

Spark 360 is a fully featured Xbox Live management client for Android users on firmware 1.5  and up. Although it is a paid application (costing $1.50) it obliterates the competition. While writing this review I also took the time to give some other similar apps a try, including XBOX Live Statistics and 360 Live; these apps will run you $1.49 and $1.99 respectively. Simply put, the developer, Akop Karapetyan, has created a cleaner, faster, and easier to use tool for catching up on everything I need to know when I’m away from my Xbox 360. Check out the nitty gritty after the break…

We’ve collected the top four reviews, roundups and how-to articles from across the AppStorm network in May. Whether you’re interested in Mac, iPhone, iPad, Web, or Android apps, there’s bound to be something you didn’t spot over the course of the month. Now would be a good time to explore a part of the AppStorm Network you’ve never seen before!

Thanks for reading AppStorm, and I hope you enjoy looking over some of our favourite posts from last month!


In the past week, James Cull talked about his unlimited-but-not-really phone contract, while Connor Turnbull has expressed confusion over why people are so keen on BlackBerry Messenger when phone contracts usually provide more free SMSes then you’ll ever use.

Do you think you’re getting decent value for money with your current phone contract?

I pay £25/month for mine on a two-year contract, and I get 2,000 minutes of voice calls to any network, 5,000 minutes of voice calls to people on the same network, 5,000 texts (to any network), and 2400MB of data (though I think that’s actually increased recently). I also got my handset, an HTC Desire, for free — and this was back in early 2010, in the first month it was available in the UK.

So that’s costing me £600 in total over the length of the contract; considering that the handset alone cost over £400 at the time I got it (and is roughly £300 now), I feel that this is good value. I can think of it as paying about £10/month for the calls, texts, and data, which is roughly what a mobile broadband dongle would cost.

However, before that, I was paying £40/month to the same carrier for less goodies: 1,000 minutes, 3,000 texts, 1GB data. I’d got lazy and not bothered to call and switch to a new price plan after my old contract expired, and of course they weren’t going to call and ask if I wanted to pay less! Even so, this was a great price when I signed up for it about four years ago.

Thanks to services like Skype and Google Voice, we’re getting closer to the point where we can ditch voice calls and texts and use all the features of a phone with just a data plan, but I don’t think we’re there yet. I’m happy to keep paying the current prices for now; are you?

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