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Fresh Meat: 10 new Android apps worth checking out

By Steve Raycraft

Moto Display

New apps need lovin’ too, right? Every day there are thousands of additions to the Google Play Store, but many go unnoticed and never receive the attention they deserve. We’ve shown in the past that this community can discover great apps and propel them to new heights. Our weekly Fresh Meat column highlights new apps with fewer than 100,000 installs. Browse our new Android app picks below and let us know which ones you enjoy.

Moto Display

Description: Moto Display gives you what you need to know, when you need to know it—without waking your phone. Information discreetly appears on the screen, so you don’t have to turn the screen on to look at the time or see notifications.

Noyze Volume Panel

Noyze Volume Panel

Description: noyze is a free app that gives you complete control over your device’s volume buttons. It is the only volume panel that does not require root access, a custom ROM, the Xposed framework, or an unlocked boot loader! Just activate noyze in Settings > Accessibility and enjoy! It comes preloaded with tons of settings, including master volume (sync all volumes), long press actions (next/ previous track or launch a shortcut), themes, and much more.

Ultralingua Dictionaries

Ultralingua

Description: Download Ultralingua, the amazing bestseller that gives you instant offline access to 35+ dictionaries from leading sources like Collins, Le Robert, and Vox (via in-app purchase). Instant smart search, automatic verb conjugation, and number translation make it easier to express yourself anywhere you go.

Adobe EchoSign

Adobe EchoSign

Description: Adobe EchoSign lets you e-sign documents, send documents to others for signature, track your documents, and get e-signatures instantly with in-person signing. EchoSign is your mobile companion for Android, and is optimized for tablet devices.

Castround with Twitter

Castround

Description: Castround gives you a bird’s eye view of a community in real time by utilising Twitter. See what people are talking about right now. Find out about gossip, celebrity spotting, breaking news, events and a whole lot more.

Moto Actions

Moto Actions

Description: Moto Actions responds to simple gestures without you having to touch the phone. Simply wave your hand above the phone to silence calls or snooze alarms. Or, open the camera with just two quick twists of your wrist.

My KODAK Moments

My KODAK Moments

Description: It’s fast and easy to make prints, photo books, greeting cards and more anytime, anywhere right from your smartphone with the My KODAK MOMENTS app! And the new Tell My Story feature lets you create and share short, three-picture videos with your voice-over.

Moto Voice

Moto Voice

Description: Moto Voice is always ready. Say “Do I need an umbrella?” and it gives you the weather. Tell it you’re going home, and Moto Voice will get you there. Say “Find your phone” for your phone to make it ring so you can track it down.

OneNote for Android Wear

OneNote Wear

Description: We are adding a new way for you to interact with OneNote on Android devices: your watch. Simply say “Take a note” and start dictating; we’ll transcribe everything you say and save it into your Quick Notes.

Horizon

Horizon

Description: Horizon lets you record horizontal videos no matter how you hold your device. Hold it upright, sideways or even keep rotating it while capturing, your captured moment will always stay horizontal! You can add filters, shoot with the back or front camera and share your creations!

…read more

Source:: androidandme

    

What makes the Sony Xperia Z3 screen special?

By Edgar Cervantes

sony xperia z3 aa 1

The Sony Xperia Z3 is special for many reasons. It has great specs, an awesome build quality and impressive resistance to the elements. There is one department where this device excels and goes unnoticed, though. It happens to have a magnificent screen, even if a 5.2-inch 1080p IPS panel sounds as average as it gets.

Much like megapixels don’t necessarily translate to better photos, the Sony Xperia Z3 doesn’t need 2K definition to make a good display. Sony is very careful with its screen technology. They offer vibrant colors and superior brightness, but what makes these panels special is that Sony manages to offer this vivid image without wasting battery.

How do they do that? Sony engineer Takao Yagi takes it to the Sony Mobile blog to explain to us how this is accomplished. They manage to save battery while offering optimal brightness by taking 3 steps:

  • A new “local adaptive contrast” algorithm has been introduced to the Xperia Z3. It analyzes every single pixel and optimizes its contrast individually. This increases the dynamic range without having to raise the back light.
  • Sony also uses a technique in which they “shift phosphor material instead of cutting light by color filters”. This allows Sony to use “colder” whites (leaning towards the blue spectrum), which tend to look brighter.
  • More light-efficient LEDs are also used, which would be more of a hardware upgrade. Sadly, Sony doesn’t go too deep into this section.

There are many reasons why having higher brightness can improve your experience. Sony states that memories and experiences create a bigger impression in us when perceived in brighter light. Not to mention, screens tend to look much nicer when bright, and outdoor reading is substantially improved.

The Sony Xperia Z3 definitely doesn’t skimp out in this department, something you can clearly see in our hands-on post. We sure wish we could have a higher-definition screen in it, but do we really need it? The Xperia Z3 display is already great and it’s better to be safe than sorry.


Source: Sony; …read more

Source:: android authority

    

Beach Buggy Racing is here to rock your racing socks once again!

By Edgar Cervantes

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 2.46.53 PM

Beach Buggy Blitz was one of the best Android games in 2012 and it continues to be among our favorite racing titles this year. It’s one hell of a fun game, which made it no surprise that it has reached 10-50 million downloads. Now developer Vector Unit is ready to release a successor – Beach Buggy Racing.

The sequel follows the same gaming language we saw in Beach Buggy Blitz. You get to race around beachy, island settings where there is plenty of obstacles and fun tracks to rush through. You get 12 race tracks, racing teams and even multiplayer (split screen) action.

If that wasn’t enough, customizability has become even funner, with customizable cars and characters that will allow you to stand out in any crowd. I don’t know if it’s just me, but those graphics seem to come with a substantial upgrade, too.

Got some free time? Go download it, as it literally costs you nothing. The game is completely free and available straight form the Google Play Store. Also remember it is one of the first games to be optimized for Tegra K1. If you are rocking a device with said processor, you definitely want to check this one out.


Source: Google Play Store; …read more

Source:: android authority

    

OnePlus One decides to kill StyleSwap cover production as a result of technical issues

By Alex Wagner

The OnePlus One has had a bit of a rocky life. After leaking out several times before its official debut, OnePlus has been responsible for some questionable promotions, and many folks that want to buy a unit haven’t been able to because of the invitation-based buying system. Unfortunately for OnePlus, that rockiness continues today.

OnePlus has revealed that it’s stopping production of the StyleSwap covers that it announced in July. The company explains that it’s had some “technical difficulties” during production of the covers that’s resulted in a low yield of acceptable parts. Additionally, a poor cover removal process makes swapping covers difficult and could damage either the phone or battery.

Not all hope is lost for StyleSwap covers, as OnePlus says that it’s “looking into the possibility” of offering limited edition denim and Kevlar-backed OnePlus One units. For now, OnePlus does have a limited number of acceptable bamboo StyleSwap covers that it plans to sell. The company has previously said that the bamboo StyleSwap cover would be priced at $49.

OnePlus says that it’s learned from this process and that it knows how to avoid this problem with the “OnePlus 2.” For now, though, it looks like you’ll be stuck with a white or black-backed OnePlus One unless you’re lucky enough to snag a one of the “small number” of bamboo backs that’ll be sold.

…read more

Source:: androidandme

    

OnePlus cancels its SwapStyle covers due to production and installation issues

By Andrew Grush

oneplus one wood bamboo styleswap (6)

Probably one of the coolest features announced with the OnePlus One was the ability to change out the covers for new materials. These special covers where called SwapStyle covers and were said to come in denim, bamboo, kevlar and a variety of other materials.

If you’ve been holding out for a SwapStyle cover (or hoped to get one if you ever get your hands on the OnePlus One), we have some bad news for you. Taking to its forums, OnePlus has announced that it is canceling its SwapStyle line due to production issues and the fact that they “could have designed the removal process of the back covers better; it’s tricky and makes frequent switches difficult. The swap can also leave the back cover slightly creaky or loose, and it risks damage to the battery which is exposed for a short time.”

On the upside, OnePlus notes that they have a limited stock of Bamboo covers that did make it out of production successfully, and will eventually sell them alongside detailed instructions “on how to replace your cover without damaging the cover, phone or battery.” As for the denim and kevlar materials? They may never arrive in SwapStyle form for the OnePlus One, but the company is considering special edition phones that will utilize these materials.

At the end of the post, OnePlus mentions that while they are disappointed that they are canceling, they have learned from there mistakes and are “much more knowledgeable and know what steps to take to ensure this won’t be a problem for the OnePlus 2, we will make sure the battery is properly protected and the the StyleSwap covers are easy safe to replace.”

Angry to see this canceled, or understandable? Additionally, how do you feel about OnePlus and the OnePlus One in general?


Source: OnePlus; …read more

Source:: android authority

    

New Moto X gets 4 exclusive apps in Google Play Store

By Edgar Cervantes

new moto x first look aa (14 of 21)

Motorola has just launched a quartet of apps in the Google Play Store. Don’t jump off your seats and go download them just yet, though. These happen to be exclusive to the new Moto X (2nd generation) and allow you to manage all the awesome features the new phone has to offer, while keeping you educated on these capabilities.

This is part of Motorola’s now habitual system app releases. Instead of installing these as system apps, the manufacturer has decided to upload crucial apps to the Google Play Store. This allows the them to improve important software applications and features without having to deliver a full OTA update (these often take long to reach our devices).

Today we are taking a look at Moto Actions, Moto Display, Motorola Sensor Services and Moto. None of these seem to work for the past generation Moto X, which makes us believe Motorola has decided to keep their apps separate. Without further ado, let’s take a look at these apps and what they do.

Moto Actions

Moto Actions makes gestures and touchless controls possible. The app is constantly on the lookout and detects when you wave your hand above the phone to silence a call or alarm, or when you twist your wrist to activate the camera.

Moto Display

Moto Display is pretty much a renamed version of the Active Display feature. It allows the Moto X to showcase information and notifications, displaying them directly in the screen when you interact with the touchscreen.

Motorola Sensor Services

We are not sure exactly what this one is for, but Moto says “Motorola Sensor Services allows you to keep your Sensor firmware updated to allow for the best phone experience.”

Moto

The new Moto X is unlike your usual devices. It has features we very rarely see in the market and Motorola wants to make sure you know how to take full advantage of your new smartphone. This is why they have released Moto, which is much like a help app.

The app teaches you what you can do with your new Moto X, as well as how to do it.

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Unofficial ‘hack’ lets you sideload Android APKs onto your Chromebook

By Andrew Grush

Last week Google introduced the first four Android apps for Chromebooks, promising more apps would be on their way in the near future. While four apps is a start, what if you could take just about any Android app and install it on your Chrome OS device? That’s exactly what developer Vladikoff’s ‘hack’ lets you do.

The new hack uses a small Javascript script, which basically lets you take any Android APK and package it up for side-loading (for lack of a better term) onto the Chromebook. The hack is detailed in full over at GitHub, though its developer warns that it is a ‘proof of concept’ and not appropriate for the technically challenged. It’s also important to note that there’s no guarantees the apps you install will be fully working or stable for that matter. You can also only run one Android app at a time through this method.

As for what apps have been proven to work? We don’t have much of a list of confirmed apps just yet, though reportedly Twitter (mobile and tab versions) and Flipboard work great. On the other hand, apps like Google Chrome for Android, Spotify, SoundCloud and Swing Copters install but end up crashing. In other words, the experience will probably result in more misses than hits.

Still, if you like tinkering, this could be a fun way to potentially extend the usefulness of your Chromebook using the power of Android apps. Have you tested this out yet, if so, what app(s) did you manage to get working? Let us know in the comments!


Source: OMG Chrome; …read more

Source:: android authority

    

Verizon Wi-Fi calling expected to arrive in mid-2015

By Alex Wagner

Hot on the heels of T-Mobile’s Wi-Fi Unleashed event, at which it announced that all of its future devices will include Wi-Fi Calling functionality, Verizon has revealed when it plans to offer the feature itself.

Speaking at an investor conference, Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo said that Verizon Wireless will offer Wi-Fi calling sometime in mid-2015. Shammo explained that the feature’s not a “top priority” for Verizon because it’s put so much effort into voice calling on its cellular network that customers don’t need to go use Wi-Fi to conduct quality calls. The exec also said that it’s harder for Verizon to ensure quality calls over Wi-Fi than it is on its own network.

Verizon prides itself on its network quality, so it’s no surprise to hear that Wi-Fi calling isn’t a priority for it. Some may consider such a feature could as an admission of poor network quality, and that’s one of the last things Big Red wants. Still, it’s nice to hear that the feature is coming to Verizon at some point, because even Verizon can have spotty network coverage in some areas.

Is Wi-Fi calling an important feature for you to have?

…read more

Source:: androidandme

    

New FTC rules force online retailers to ship stuff on time, or refund you

By Andrew Grush

fedex

Okay, so the news we are about to relay technically has nothing to do with Android, but considering how many of us buy things (including new mobile devices) using our mobile devices — it’s still relevant enough that we thought we should report on it. With that out of the way, the FTC has announced new rules that will require online retailers and shipment companies to set reasonable shipping estimates and to ship within 30 days if no date is set.

While that might not sound like a big deal, there’s more: if a shipping target will be missed due to a delay, a customer must be informed of the delay and consent to it. If the buyer doesn’t consent (or respond) then the seller is required to issue a refund. A cosenting consumer can also cancel at any time after receiving word of the delay, as long as the item still hasn’t shipped. The rule will become official by December 8th, right in time for the holidays, and applies to just about everything shipped with the exception of magazine subscriptions, plans and ‘services’.

While some online retailers don’t actually charge until you make a purchase, there are quite a few that do, and so it’s nice to have a bit more protection so you never have to face a scenario where you are waiting for months to receive an item that should have shipped to you long ago. For more details on the new changes, you’ll want to head over to the FTC’s website.


Source: The Verge; …read more

Source:: android authority

    

12 best Android action games

By Joe Hindy

Get it on Google Play

We could all use a little more action in our lives. Unfortunately we can’t all go find it because we all have jobs to do. Thankfully there are a wide selection of Android action games available that’ll keep us swiping and tapping the screen all day long. Here are some of the best ones.


age of zombies android action gamesAge of Zombies

[Price: $0.99]
First up is a Contra-style shooter called Age of Zombies. In this game you play as a guy who is simply trying to survive a zombie apocalypse. This is done by shooting a metric ton of zombies with a variety of weapons. There is enough shooting in this game to tide you over for a long time. It includes a story, lots of challenges, and you can ride a T-Rex. What’s not to love?


blood and glory android action gamesBLOOD & GLORY (both of them)

[Price: Free with in app purchases]
BLOOD & GLORY is a hack and slash fighting game where you compete as a gladiator. There are two versions of the first game. The no-blood version and the blood version. Then there is the sequel called BLOOD & GLORY: LEGENDS which you can pick up using the button below. If you want plenty of fighting, plenty of weapons, very impressive graphics, and plenty of action and blood then this is the title you want to try. It’s also free to play which is nice.
Get it on Google Play


Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Android action gamesGrand Theft Auto (all of them)

[Price: Varies]
Rockstar has done a pretty good job porting their Grand Theft Auto line up to Android. If you’re looking action then these are great games to play. There are dozens of missions in each game that will have you driving, shooting, and doing all sorts of other tasks. People who get bored with the story can create their own action and do pretty much whatever they want. These games were amazing on console and they’re equally awesome on Android.
Get it on Google Play


Guardians of the Galaxy TUW Android action gamesGuardians of the Galaxy

[Price: $2.99]
Guardians of the Galaxy is a newer title that puts you in control of your favorite characters from Marvel’s smash hit movie. You’ll be collecting teammates, killing bad guys, and collecting the various pieces of the Universal Weapon before it falls into the wrong hands. It’s not as fast paced as some games but you’ll be swiping around killing bad guys before you know it. It also has the advantage of looking really good and it’s only $2.99 with no in app purchases.
Get it on Google Play


injustice gods among us android action gamesInjustice: Gods Among Us

[Price: Free with in app purchases]
If you’re more into DC Comics then we have an option for you as well. In Injustice: Gods Among Us you’ll be fighting superheroes as your favorite superhero. There is also online multiplayer mode, leaderboards, and the graphics are pretty decent. It also has some RPG elements that let you level up, increase your move sets, and more. It’s pretty popular and a great fighting game to fill your afternoon. It’s also free to play which is nice.
Get it on Google Play


jetpack joyride android action gamesJetpack Joyride

[Price: Free with in app purchases]
Jetpack Joyride is a well-known and popular title. It’s a 2D side-scrolling action arcade game where you must fly, collect coins, and avoid bad guys. It’s free to play which is nice and it’s a ton of fun if you like infinite runner-style games like Temple Run or Smash Hit. It’s very fast paced and packed full of fun stuff to do.
Get it on Google Play


Sonic the Hedgehog 2 android action gamesSonic the Hedgehog

[Price: Varies]
The old saying goes that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Sonic the Hedgehog has been a popular and renown action adventure game for most of my life and chance are, most of yours too. Sega has done a marvelous job porting Sonic the Hedgehog 1 and 2 to Android and they even have a few mobile-only Sonic games that are worth checking out. If it’s been a while since you’ve cleared levels, saved little furry critters, and fought Dr. Robotnik then maybe it’s time to revisit the good old days.
Get it on Google Play


android action games spiderman unlimitedSpider-man Unlimited

[Price: Free with in app purchases]
Superhero games really do make for great action games don’t they? Spider-man Unlimited is a game out of Gameloft where you play as Spider-man as you swing around the city, fight bad guys, and take on notorious villains. There is a ton of action packed in this game. Gameloft is infamous for their in app purchase strategies but if you can get passed them then this is a great game.
Get it on Google Play


ultimate stick fight android action gamesUltimate Stick Fight

[Price: $1.98]
Ultimate Stick Fight is a 2D side-scrolling hack and slash game where you play as a stick figure and you wail on other stick figures. There are 40 levels, a number of moves to …read more

Source:: android authority