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 amzndeal.com, a website which keeps you updated on the daily free MP3 and app downloads from Amazon through Facebook, RSS, and Twitter.

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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.

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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.
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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…)

Good news! We have randomly selected the six winners. Check the list of names below to see if you won. If you are one of our lucky winners, you’ll be receiving an email shortly with details on how to claim your prize. Thanks for all your suggestions, and be sure to check back soon for more awesome giveaways!

  • Jody, who wants to watch The Quiet Man
  • Caroline, who wants to watch Flight of the Conchords
  • Hans, who wants to watch The Dark Knight
  • ATRoscoe, who wants to watch Men in Black
  • Hamjive, who wants to watch The Blues Brothers
  • Bullchicken, who wants to watch Arrested Development

Everyone else, don’t feel bad: You can get 30% off iSkysoft Studio’s higher level of media converter, Video Converter Ultimate Win, by following this link.

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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!

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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…)

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