Currently Browsing

Weekly Poll

I admit, the purpose of this poll isn’t to guilt everyone into remembering their missed New Year resolutions. After all, I wouldn’t be here to judge, I let my own resolution slide away as I fell miserably sick twice since the beginning of the year. However, now that I’m doing better, I went through some of our recent fitness posts on Android.Appstorm and checked the slew of great apps and tools that I could use.

There’s Brendan’s great roundup of 35 health and fitness apps, and Dean’s review of Zombies, Run! which, of all things, uses the threat of zombies to encourage you to run longer and faster. Zombies! Ha! Have we, as a human race, gotten lazy to a point where we need the threat of the living dead chewing at us to move off the couch? Oh, but I digress.

I’m personally a swimmer more than a runner, but when I do run, I do it indoors on a treadmill. In both instances, it’s hard to find good apps to track my progress and help me stay motivated. I’ve used Cardiotrainer‘s pedometer along with a heart rate monitor in the past for my treadmill jogs, as well as Workout Trainer for a little bit of indoor exercise, but I have yet to find a good tool for my swimming.

How about you? Do you think that apps help you stay on track more? Is there a certain satisfaction to seeing your progress charted out to you? And do you find that the social aspect of some of these tools encourages you to keep going, even when you want to quit?

For the past few weeks, we have been running a new column on the site entitled “This Week In Android” where we recount the most interesting news tidbits from the week in terms of software updates, new device announcements, and app updates. It was designed as a light recap of general news, to keep you up-to-date on the latest Android happenings, since we usually don’t cover these in our regular posts.

However, we know that you, as an Android.Appstorm reader, come to us mostly — and almost exclusively — for our app and game reviews and roundups. That’s why, after a few weeks of foraying into “This Week In Android”, we’d like to know your opinion about the new column. Did it pique your interest, or were you skipping it as you prefer to get your Android news from other more timely and elaborate sources? Would you be more interested in a change of format that skips the device and software news to focus solely on app and game updates and releases?

Please take the time to vote and share your opinions in the comments below.

Earlier today, we published our CES news round-up. Amongst the most impressive new devices, Sony’s Xperia Z and ZL marked the arrival of 1080p screens and 13MP cameras in mainstream high-end phones, whereas NVIDIA’s Project Shield heralded Android’s imminent expansion in the portable gaming consoles.

However, I have learned in the past couple of years to set low expectations for this Las Vegas-based electronics show. It seems as though most companies treat it like a stepping stone for the year to come. A few will try to make a splash with a new product, but most will take their time to perfect it for a later announcement, at Mobile World Congress or even a private event.

What did you think of CES? Did you feel charmed by Project Shield? Does the new Xperia Z lineup make you want to open your wallet immediately? How about the other announcements, did they measure up to your excitement and expectations?

We don’t usually like to indulge in rumors on Android.Appstorm, especially the “very out-there” kind, but this particular rumor has been spreading lately and it got everyone a little intrigued to say the least.

SamMobile, a notable source of everything Samsung, has shared a tip that the next flagship device from the Korean manufacturer will have the GT-I9500 product code. Given that previous information had Samsung’s first Tizen device as the GT-I9500, everyone went in a frenzy deducing that the Galaxy S4 would run Tizen, the open-source MeeGo successor OS that Samsung is developing with Intel.

Now, to be honest with you, I’m rather amused by wild predictions like that making the rounds of every tech and phone website. First, no matter how much we speculate, there’s really no way to know for sure. Second, and most importantly, do you believe Samsung would cut off Android on its flagship for an untested and unsupported OS, jeopardizing its current standing as lead smartphone manufacturer? I don’t think so. Well, to be honest, I’m only 99% certain.

Everyone knows that Samsung plans to detach itself from Google’s reign over Android, and start a more independent venture with Tizen and Intel. It’s even confirmed that Samsung Tizen devices are coming in 2013. However, given the lack of apps — it’s all about app store numbers now, isn’t it? — for this new OS, it’d be rather silly to bet a flagship’s success over it. The S5 or S6 may run Tizen, but the S4 is a long, long shot. Just imagine the debacle if people bought it assuming they’d get all their apps, then ended up with no Whatsapp, no Instagram and no Angry Birds or Cut The Rope. There would be blood shed.

However, the rumor mill being what it is, this will continue spreading until we get an official word from Samsung or until the S4’s actual announcement. And it got us interested here. Suppose there’s an alternate universe where Samsung would seriously consider Tizen to be ready for the Galaxy S4, would you actually buy it? Or in other words, are you more interested in the Galaxy S brand than the OS, or is it all about Android for you?

This Holiday season, Android and iOS device activations were quite impressive. Over 17 million devices were apparently gifted and opened on Christmas day for both operating systems, making for record numbers and surpassing 2011 by a few leaps and bounds.

Personally, my family and friends aren’t the most tech-aware people so they can’t be trusted with gadget gifting — don’t tell them I said that! That’s why I usually prefer to get some money to buy the gadgets that I actually need. Having a Galaxy S3, Optimus 4X and 7″ Iconia A100, I knew I shouldn’t indulge in new phones or tablets this Christmas. But being a big Android geek, there was another category of Android devices that I really wanted to add to my arsenal — TV sticks or boxes!

After much research on similarly cheap and featured products, I eventually landed on the iMito MX1, a 4.1 Jelly Bean unit, with 1.6GHz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM and 8GB internal storage, WiFi and Bluetooth. The iMito MX1 offers direct HDMI output, a microSD card slot, a full USB port and some more connectivity options. I’ve been using it for a couple of days and, as my Twitter followers would testify, I have been very satisfied with the purchase. A very Merry Christmas indeed.

As we approach the Holiday season even more, one question has been recurring on my mind more frequently – should I get my Kodak camera out of its hiding place in my drawer and charge it up for the next few weeks, or do I simply keep taking photos with my phones like I have been for the past year?

See, my dilemma stems from the fact that I carry on a daily basis two really good cameraphones, a Samsung Galaxy SIII and an Optimus 4x HD, both with 8MP cameras, longer battery life and simple microUSB charging, HDR mode, always on availability, plenty of options, bigger screen, and most importantly easy bluetooth transfers, editing and internet uploads. The only two advantages my Kodak camera has are the Xenon flash for better pictures indoors at night, and optical zoom.

And I shouldn’t be alone in my dilemma. Cameraphones have gotten so much better over the last few years that we no longer question using them in everyday situations. But holidays and family gatherings remain a special event, and would normally demand better memory-keeping equipment. The question though is whether cameraphones have gotten to a point where they can replace a standalone camera even in the important moments of life.

The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced I’ll stick with my phones. For one, I can’t be bothered with another gadget to carry and charge, and for two the phones offer a lot more convenience. What about you?

We know this time of the year can get a bit stressful with trips, family gatherings, gifts, many to-dos before the year ends, kids to cheer up and meals to cook, and so on. That’s why, during this week, we used our love of Android to help you simplify all of that from the comfort of your phone or tablet.

Our Holiday-themed posts were aimed to help you buy a last-minute gift, manage everything you need to get done, dress your phone up for the Holidays, host and cook, keep the kids entertained and send your greetings all over the world. Here is a list of our reviews and round-ups.

Now is your turn to let us know whether you’ll be using your Android device to help you get through the next few weeks or whether you like to keep the traditional ways of sending cards, browsing stores for gifts and flipping through recipes in the family cookbook.

Earlier this week, we shared with you a collection of more than 30 beautiful and Holo-designed apps. Had Connor set out to write this round-up a year ago, or even six months ago, he would have had trouble coming up with decent apps. Yet nowadays, most developers seem to have adopted — and adapted — the Google design language in their apps.

This, in turn, has been superb for us users. Apps that are still plagued with the Froyo/Gingerbread dark grey tabs on top are becoming rare and irrelevant in the face of fierce competition from newcomers that not only value functionality but also esthetics.

Looking at my own usage, I know that I was a lot more forgiving a year ago. I placed features above design, and picked my apps based on that. However, I have the privilege of using an ecosystem that offers choice and variety. Whatever functionality I need, there are probably more than five apps in the Play Store that offer it, if not ten or more.

So now I simply can’t forgive an app developer who’s stuck a few years behind their times. I want apps that I can enjoy looking at as well as using. As a matter of fact, the only relic I have on my phone is SafeWallet, a password and personal data vault that I have invested in and that works with my other phones and computers.

What about you? Is design becoming more and more important in your app decision process? Or are you still OK with yesteryear looks as long as the app does what you need it to?

Tablet-optimized apps on Android are akin to some rare pearls. Everyone assumes they exist but don’t know where, not many are persistent enough to go look for them, and if you do decide to search, you have to brace yourself for a lot disappointment. The Play Store, which could solve this discoverability problem, lacks a tablet-dedicated section and Google seems stubborn on keeping it this way which remains unsettling for new and old tablet owners alike.

After all, why do they need a tablet section when all Android apps scale usually very well between different sizes of screens on phones and tablets? And why risk the ridicule of a small number of apps if they ever create such a section and only few developers submit apps to it?

I do understand those points, but personally, I think the goal of a tablet is to provide more screen estate and more options to get things done faster. If I just see 2 more rows in an app on my 7″ tablet compared to my 4.8″ phone, and if I have to keep clicking Back and Options, then there’s no point in me having a tablet, is there?

That’s why, over the past year, I’ve made it my personal goal to mine and find as many tablet-optimized apps as I could. We’ve started covering these more frequently on Android.Appstorm with this handly link for the best apps for your Nexus 7, 10 and other Android tablet, and I personally maintain several Playboard channels with all of my recommendations for tablet apps in different categories.

What about you? Are you as focused on getting the best for your tablet as I am, or do you use whatever app does the job well, whether it’s optimized or not for the additional screen estate?

The new brigade of Nexus devices were made available this week over the Play Store in several countries, including the United States, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia and more.

However, the debacle ensued with the order process where many people weren’t able to checkout, and the devices went out of stock quite quickly. It seems that many of you liked these new Nexuses and created such a rush on the Store that the servers weren’t able to handle it!

Putting aside what Google could or could not have done to prevent this whole mess, we’d like to know whether the new lineup was interesting enough for you to consider placing an order. After all, this is the first time we have a simultaneous launch of 3 different categories of official Nexus devices. Not to mention that they’re all starting at a reasonable price and with quite a few advantages over their direct competition —aside from their stock experience and priority software update status.

Page 1 of 12