Google’s Nexus program has been absolutely vital to the Android ecosystem over the years. In fact, most of the Nexus devices came along right when they were needed, acting as a guide for the Android OEMs. A couple months ago, the Android ecosystem was completely shocked when Hugo Berra took the stage at Google I/O. While many were expecting a new Nexus 7 to follow in last year’s pattern, Hugo dropped something different entirely. He showcased a Samsung Galaxy S4 with stock Android.
The excitement and speculation this generated only increased when Sundar Pichai announced a similar take on the HTC One at The Wall Street Journal’s D11 conference. People were of course very pleased to have two popular flagships running stock Android, but they were also concerned about the future of the Nexus program. There were rumors going around that some companies were losing interest in Nexus phones which only fuelled the speculation that the program might be finished. This, obviously, is not the case as the Android ecosystem needs a Nexus device now more than ever.
Despite how much I am involved with Android now, and my ever-growing addiction to the platform over the past couple of years, I was surprised to reckon a few weeks ago that I have never experienced Android like it was created and meant to be — ie. on a Nexus device. I have owned and used an HTC Desire Z, an Iconia A100 tablet, a Samsung Galaxy S3 and an LG Optimus 4X HD, but never a Nexus device. That’s because I live in Lebanon, where Nexus devices are a black market rarity and Samsung is everywhere.
However, I eventually managed to convince the local LG team to lend me a Nexus 4 for review. And *insert expletives* I’m blown away.
Google Maps has never been totally pointless on a tablet, but it was always a little sad that the app wasn’t optimized for tablets before. After all — and there’s no need to debate this or go into great detail — Google has had the strongest mapping data available for quite some time now. I’ve tried other mapping systems and just don’t get the same ease of use with them.
But the app itself needed to change. Until this week, Google Maps on a tablet was more or less the same experience you’d have with your Android phone. With the recent update, Google has finally made Maps look great on tablets and added some much-needed new functionality — as well as giving some old features the boot. Read on for a detailed analysis of this emperor’s new clothes.
We all seek the opinion of others, me especially, I’m constantly posting on forums and communicating with others on the internet. However, the disadvantage with forums is that responses are often slow. You will normally have to wait a few hours, if not days, until you get a reply for your question.
In the past few years, a different approach to forums has arisen and these come in the form of crowdsourcing apps where you can post a quick question and get even quicker responses. Of course, these are more trivial than forums, but their simplicity and immediacy attract a huge audience.
Two of the biggest apps to crack this market are Formspring and Thumb. Both are brilliant in their own right, but today on Android.Appstorm I am going to compare the two on key features to find out which is the best. Read on to find out!
Ending is one of those rare and wonderful games that manages to be both simple and complex, building its depth out of elegant rulesets and engaging you from the very first instant. It’s easy to learn — requiring no tutorial — but hard to master, and often throws surprises your way.
It’s one of the best Android games around, balancing distinct, attractive visuals with challenging level design and pick-up-and-play mechanics.
In the third of a series on Android.Appstorm, I look in turn at each of the Android manufacturers and the changes they make to Android’s start up, interface and basic functionality. In each case, does the end result justify the huge investment in programming time and the resulting delays for end users in seeing each new version and update for the Android OS?
Having surprised myself by proclaiming both Samsung’s TouchWiz and HTC’s Sense to deliver more advantages than disadvantages, and given that Sony’s Xperia UI is arguably slightly closer to stock Android than the other two, you might probably guess at the same outcome here too, but for this ‘skin’, I’m definitely swinging the other way.
I’m always looking for quick fun games that, hopefully, don’t cost me too much money. I have friends with kids — and a new niece. Since I’m not a parent yet, I have no qualms with passing somebody else’s kids an electronic device in the hopes that they’ll amuse themselves.
With that in mind, Busy Beaver caught my eye when I saw it on the Play Store. It was free and looked like a more colourful version of Tetris. Plus, it featured a beaver! There probably wasn’t a single better way to let Canadian children pass the time. I just didn’t realize I’d like it too.
It used to be the case that PC users had the choice of installing Windows or, if they were feeling adventurous, a version of Linux. This is still true, but it is now also possible to install OS X without owning a Mac and virtualization means that you can do all of this alongside your main operating system in a virtual computer.
This being Android.AppStorm, you may well wonder what virtualization has to do with your phone or tablet. Well, how would you feel about the chance of installing and running Android on your PC? Using a free copy of VirtualBox and the information in this guide, you can run a fully functioning – and legal – version of Jelly Bean on your computer.
We can spend hours debating Twitter, including the different ways you can use the social network, how to leverage it for business or personal benefit, and the best Twitter clients available for Android. However, one thing remains constant no matter who you talk to: Twitter is expanding and it is getting harder and harder to manage.
However, thankfully, there is a resurgence in tools and services that help you stay on top of Twitter, whether by managing your followers and friends, finding interesting tweets you might have missed in your timeline, archiving and searching tweets, scheduling your output to avoid overwhelming your followers, and more. Below, I have picked 10 of my favorite Android apps that sit beside my Twitter client and help me stay in control of my social networking.
Good news: it’s time to say goodbye to those sleepless nights wondering whether Apple and Amazon’s clash of the app stores will ever end, although Google Latitude’s going to be on the way out. Let’s take a look at this very software-themed week in the world of Android! (more…)