August 27, 2014

In Brief: 21 other Android-related things worth knowing (December 7)

in_brief_720

In Brief is a compilation of notifications, rumors, photos, videos, infographics, and Android-related news tidbits which, for whatever reason, did not end up with a post of its own on AndroidGuys.  These are things that we still feel are worth knowing, even if in a passing manner.  Consider it a grab-bag of Android goodies.  If you have something that you think is worth a mention on AndroidGuys, be sure to reach out to us via our contact page. 

This week features Jabra, RadioShack, Kik Messenger, iKnowU, iGlo LED, Rounds, Raiden, Gauli Live Wallpapers, SkyMotion, Qualcomm, DODOCase, and much, much more!

Chat app Kik Messenger recently hit the 30 million registered users mark and is signing 100,000 new users per day. Not only that, they have launched Kik Cards, web-based features which are device agnostic and go far beyond text-based communication.

Enter the gates to a whole new wonderland! Drawn into the dangerous world of Vanster, it’s time for Pina and her lovable dragon Purumi to save the day in their own adorable adventure! Featuring a cute narrative game play, Lumigon offers a brilliant story & survival mode with it’s own competitive charm!

Looking for a video chat alternative to Skype, Google+, or Qik? Check out Rounds, a newly ported app available for free in the Google Play Store. It connects to Facebook, lets you draw pictures, share, and all sorts of wonderful stuff. No wonder it has more than six million users.

What happens when you combine modern tower defense with canonical sci-fi real-time strategy games? You end up with Total Defense 3D, a gorgeous new game with more than 20 missions and 3 difficulties levels. Oh, and it’s free.

Sprint wants to make it easier on parents who are considering a smartphone for their children so they created Sprint Guardian. The free app should provide peace of mind for those who worry about what their children are doing and where they are going with a smartphone.

The Jabra Solemate, a Bluetooth speaker that we really loved, is available at Best Buy stores and at BestBuy.com for the reduced price of $159.99. Available in black or white, it’s the perfect way to spice up your holiday parties!

Android developers looking to write apps for set-top boxes might want to check out the guide over at XBMCAndroid. It’s a lengthy read to be sure, however it is incredibly detailed. Note that the tutorial is written specifically for the Pivos XIOS DS set top box, but from Step 29 on, it’s pretty much the same for any Android device. Learn how to use XBMC with hardware acceleration until it is officially released in a few months.

DotEmu recently released its latest retro game, Raiden Legacy on Android and iOS. Fans of the classic series will enjoy the $4.99 game as it is a compilation of all four titles in the arcade series: Raiden, Raiden Fighters, Raiden Fighters 2, and Raiden Fighters Jet.

Growing tired of the standard keyboard option with your Android device?  Want to shake things up a bit? Maybe you’ll like the app Tyype which promises to let users “fully control the cursor and write/edit texts faster, better and more precisely.” What is different about it? It adds a touchpad under your keyboard and recognizes gestures such as cut/copy/paste, skipping, highlighting text, and more. Free version lets you use it for five days and the paid version is only $1.58

The team over at Gauli have a new Christmas-based live wallpaper that we think you’ll really dig. It’s called Paris Winter and it’s a throwback to days gone by in the romantic city. Plenty of animations, sharp colors, and a hidden Santa make this one a must-have app.

Winter has come to Paris. The snow is falling on the roofs of the old town and the neon colors are playing with the lights  At the winter night you can choose the color of the sky. With the new touch and move feature you can grab and move items. But suddenly something happens: If you touch the roof of the hotel, it opens a door and you can see a figure that rises to the sky full of color. Merry Christmas dear travelers. Welcome to this miniature Paris. An animated background full of movement and imagination with traditional animations that have been hand drawn with great detail.

Veho has a new device which aims to help users create wonderful time lapse photos and videos with their Android smartphones. Called the MUVI X-Lapse, it enables up to 360 degree swiping time-lapse images and features both male and female standard 1/4 -20 UNC tripod screw threads. This way you can mount it on your existing tripod and/or screen in your digital camera.

Sky Motion Research Inc launched a weather widget in October that puts plenty of detailed information on the home screen of your Android phone or tablet. Touted as the ‘only widget of its kind’, SkyMotion advises when it will rain or snow up to two hours in advance, without having to run the actual application. Supporting automatic location detection, it displays weather precipitation forecasts for more than 16 million zones across North America (U.S. and Canada).

Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. this week announced a pair of new chipsets to the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 family of mobile processors. The MSM8226 and MSM8626 chipsets feature quad-core CPUs with premium multimedia and connectivity features on high-volume 3G handsets. Details include the Adreno 305 GPU, 1080p capture and playback, and up to a 13 megapixel cameras.  Look for these to arrive in handsets and tablets in UMTS, CDMA and TD-SCDMA markets from the second half of 2013, maybe sooner.

The team over at DODOCase have some carrying cases and sleeves for your Android tablets or ereaders. Treat yourself to either the DODOcase Durables (sewn Sleeve Collection available for the Google Nexus 7 and 10, as well as the Kindle Fire HD, Kindle Fire HD 8.9) or the DODOcase HARDcover (available for the Google Nexus 7 and 10, as well as the Kindle Fire HD, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9)

  • DODOcase Durables - Modern in functionality yet traditional in construction and materials.  With a sage waxed canvas exterior, mahogany leather accents, and soft interior felt lining, this Collection expands DODOcase’s support of crafts from bookbinding to now include sewing.
  • DODOcase HARDcover - Offers a slim, trayless, and book like case featuring an innovative and reusable adhesive that holds your device in place. Available in an assortment of solid exteriors, as well as the classic black exterior with a choice of four color linings, this multifunctional design allows you to use the HARDcover as a stand for typing or watching videos. The included no-slip-clip enables use of perch mode on slick surfaces and a camera hole is included as well.  Personalization options are available.

Tenqa, a company whose Bluetooth headphones (REMXD) we enjoyed earlier this year, has some new and affordable earbuds. Priced at only $19.99, these Tenqa Bullseyes are available in five color options and feature all-aluminum construction, a mic for phone calls, and controls for your audio.

The Papaya Mobile team passed along a fun, new infographic  which shares some mobile insights and trends from this past year. Developers and Android users alike may appreciate the James Bond-inspired look at how apps are monetizing, what people are buying, and more. Read more at the developer blog.

Here’s yet another keyboard alternative that might be your speed. It’s called iKnowU and it promises to know you better than the other options out there. The app predicts words and phrases, highlights the keys you will most likely hit next, and completes sentences as you type. The more you use it, the more it learns you. Available in free 30-day trial or $1.99 paid version, with the same options for tablets.

Starting Sunday, December 9, RadioShack is taking $50 off of the price of the DROID Incredible 4G LTE and DROID RAZR M on Verizon. New and upgrading customers can pick up the smartphones for $49.99 at their local RadioShack starting this weekend. The special promotion will last until 12/15 for the DROID RAZR M and 12/29 for the DROID Incredible 4G LTE.

The iGO team this week announced the launch of a new portable battery line for smartphones and tablets alike. Depending on your budget you can pick up some extended juice for your favorite Android device.  The new series ‘brilliantly embodies the company’s reinvigorated design philosophy” and ranges in price from $49.99 (1A USB output + 3000mAh Battery) up to $79.99. (1 x 2.1A and 1 x 1A USB Output + 6100mAh Battery).

The popular hack and slash iOS game, Spell Sword, has made its way to Android, thanks to Miniclip. Details include 60 missions and 9 endless arenas of retro graphics, spells, rings, amulets, and other RPG goodness.

Remember that iGlo LED light strip we reviewed a while back? Well, the team has a new Kickstarter project that needs your help. The goal is to get a more affordable 12-volt version of the light strip in the hands of developers and consumers. The current model (5-volt) is rather pricey and only produced in limited quantities. Get this thing backed and you’ll be able to buy the light strip for $99 and unleash your developer ideas all over it. Or, you can do like us and decorate the office with it.  We’re currently lighting things up like a giant candy cane with red and white stripes.