All the buzz about Siri has got me thinking about Google Voice Actions. Remember those? Hold Search for a couple of seconds, and a dialog box will appear; you can then say something like “send text to Joe Bloggs: running late, meet you outside”, or “listen to: the Beatles”, or “note to self: pick up milk”. Here’s an article and video explaining how to Voice Actions, from August 2010.

Sam Cater talked about Iris – a proof-of-concept Android clone of Siri knocked together in a few hours – in this morning’s Opinion post. Iris is more proof (if proof were needed) that voice control is not a holy grail of technology, or even particularly hard to achieve these days. ViaVoice and Dragon NaturallySpeaking, two pieces of desktop software that allow speech transcription and voice-activated computer interaction, were first released in 1997.

It seems that this is a recurring fad; every now and then, pundits get super-excited about the potential future of this type of interface… and then all excitement fades away for another year or so. But is this because voice control is an idea that sounds better in theory than it is in practice, or have developers just not managed to do it right yet? (In which case, perhaps Siri will be the first to meet that potential.) Vote in the poll, and let us know in the comments why you do or don’t use Google Voice Actions. (Personally, I find it simpler to tap, swipe and type. Well, also, the phone has difficulties understanding my British accent.)

Earlier this month, Apple unveiled Siri for the iPhone 4S. While the technology behind it isn’t particularly revolutionary, from what I understand it works well and is fun to use.

Not soon after it was announced, a copycat attempt of Siri for Android was created: Iris (“Siri” backwards). Though it is nice to see developers attempt to bring some of iOS’s finer points to Android, there is definitely some way to go yet.

Read on for my opinions on both Iris, and application cloning between smartphone platforms.
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A few months ago, I wrote a round-up article detailing several utilities to help you make the most out of Dropbox on your Android. At the time the article was written, the only synchronization application I mentioned was Titanium Media Sync, which allowed continuous sync from the device to Dropbox folders, but unfortunately was limited to one-shot sync in the opposite direction. All similar utilities were limited by the same pitfall.

Today, things are different. Enter Dropsync, a client that finally brings a decent solution to this problem. (more…)

You can’t talk about automating your Android without mentioning Tasker, which basically allows you to fully automate your Android device based on your every whim.

Once Tasker is mentioned in conversation, there is usually discussion about how utterly powerful and flexible it is. Shortly after this, there is further discussion about how all this power resides in an app that is not all that user-friendly. There is some truth to this.

Tasker is insanely useful and configurable, but it can get overwhelming. However, I believe that anyone can understand and use Tasker without getting a second degree. We’ve previously covered the basic concepts and features of Tasker, so this post will go into detail on how to make Tasker work for you. (more…)

When I wrote my roundup of Android Twitter clients, there was a clear trend in the comments that I had neglected twicca, by Japanese developer Tetsuya Aoyama. I wasn’t really aware of twicca beforehand – I had seen it pop up on the Market from time to time but I had never really taken the time to download it and have a look at it for myself.

Since then, I’ve downloaded twicca and given it a good try – and I have to say, the results were pretty impressive, especially for an independent Twitter client. Let’s have a good look at twicca in a bit more detail. (more…)

Accepting credit card payments in your small business can be a huge hassle. However, with the average customer becoming less and less likely to have enough cash or a check handy, it is a necessary addition to any business. Square makes it easy, by allowing you to take credit card payments directly through your phone. And want to know the best part? The card reader and the app are both free!

Learn how Square will help expand your business, and allow you to reach a wider spectrum of customers, either in your store or on the go. (more…)

Over the last few years, mobile phones have very quickly moved from being a low-end casual gaming platform to challenging the console markets and threatening to overtake the top handheld gaming devices like the Sony PSP and the Nintendo DS. From the most basic of puzzle games like Sudoku and tic-tac-toe, to high-end action games like N.O.V.A 2 HD, the Android Market is full of options that cater to everyone’s tastes.

One style of games that spans pretty much every genre in the market is physics-based games. These are games where the environment and elements interact in a simulated real-life manner with mass, density and gravity all impacting the outcome of the gamer’s actions. The inherent touch-based interface of most new mobile games and the built-in accelerometers – which are pretty much a necessity in most phones these days – add to the overall experience in these games.

Let’s take a look at some of the best physics-based games on the Android Market. These belong to various genres and I’ve tried to bring about as much variety in these as possible while focusing on gameplay, ratings and popularity. (more…)

The Worms game series, with its turn-based 2D gameplay and hyper-destructive warfare, is amongst the most famous and popular ever created on PC or console; most people have played it at some point in their lives. But how well does the sixteen-year-old series adapt to small screens and touch controls? Read on for the full review!
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Hey folks! I’m Jordan McNamara, the Community Manager for Envato and I wanted to share some exciting news with you about the Envato Marketplaces.

The 12th of September was an exciting day for me as a member of our thriving Marketplace community. I along with everyone here at Envato HQ watched eagerly as the global Marketplace member count steadily grew higher and higher and higher… We were close, very close to the 1,000,000 member milestone. With every page refresh the count grew higher and I began to reflect on just how staggering having 1,000,000 members really is and on just what a fantastic community everyone has helped to build here.

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Google does a lot of great things. But they aren’t good at paying attention to detail, at least when it comes to Android. That’s totally opposite to what Apple does, focusing and polishing the little things. Android Market and iOS App Store are great examples of this conundrum. Google’s shortcomings with the Android Market and the exponential increase in Android adoption has attracted some key players to launch their own app stores. Now, it’s the turn of the crowd favorite GetJar.

GetJar is the world’s largest free app store with over two billion downloads to date. The company distributes more than 150,000 mobile applications across a variety of operating systems including Blackberry, Java, Symbian, Mobile Web and now, Android. Interested to know how great the new app store actually is?
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