In Brief: 19 other Android-related things worth knowing (February 1)
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 app-enabled batteries, a pink Droid Razr M, G5 games on sale, news from Ouya, SugarSync, the XOLO X500, and much, much more!
Jumio announced the release of Netswipe Mobile for Android, a great new app that may replace smartphone credit card adapters someday. Netswipe Mobile uses the phone’s camera to accurately read the information on a credit card, without the need for a user to type in their information. Jumio hopes that businesses will adopt Netswipe Mobile, with the following claim:
[pullquote1 align="center" textColor="#0e16f0"]“Companies can see a lift in conversions up to 20 percent, due to the speed and convenience Netswipe brings to users, reducing fraud and eliminating errors in key entry.”[/pullquote1]
In other news, Motorola quietly announced a pink version of their edge-to-edge Droid Razr M. There aren’t any differences other than the color, but a pink Android device might make a good Valentine’s Day present for that tech-savvy special someone!
Speaking of hearts and February, T-Mobile is teaming with The Hope Heart Institute to help raise awareness about heart disease. Throughout the month, T-Mobile will be selling accessories under their “Red Hot Accessories” promotion. For every accessory sold, T-Mobile will donate $1 to the Hope Heart Institute. This isn’t the first time that the nation’s value carrier has teamed up with HHI, and it’s nice to see them supporting such an important cause again.
Have you ever wanted to turn on a lamp across the room without getting up? A new concept called Tethercell aims to change the way people interact with battery-operated devices. The basic concept involves a Tethercell adapter and standard batteries. Take one AA battery out of a device (like a baby monitor, for example), place a AAA battery into the adapter, and insert the adapter in the place of the normal AA battery. After that, you can fire up the Tethercell app and turn the baby monitor off and on via Bluetooth. Users can even use multiple Tethercells at once, and give each one a label within the Tethercell app. It’s an incredibly simple concept, and it’s currently making the rounds on IndieGoGo, with about half of its needed goal reached. Co-founder Kellan O’Connor is very optimistic about its future.
[pullquote1 align="center" textColor="#0008fa"]“Tethercell, in its current form, is a test-bed for future embeddable technologies that could reshape the world of batteries.”[/pullquote1]
For those of you who didn’t know, Droid World in San Francisco is coming up! Hosted by Barnes & Noble, this Android developer conference actually spans two days of Apps World, and it specific to Android development. Day one will feature commentary from James Steele, who wrote The Android Developer’s Cookbook, and Tom Chavez, a top NOOK developer for Barnes & Noble. The second day will be headlined by the author of Android Tablet Application Development for Dummies, Donm Felker, as well as representatives from Facebook, VisionMobile, and Microsoft. It’s free to attend, so if you’re a budding developer in the San Fran area, you might want to wander into the Moscone Center on February 7th.
Clean Widgets bring a simplistic set of settings and information widgets to Android for only $1.99. Made by LionFish Apps, these resizable widgets should spruce up your home screen quite nicely. And at such a low price, where can you go wrong?
XOLO, an almost unknown company until recently, announced the XOLO X500, an Intel-powered, dual-SIM Ice Cream Sandwich device. The X500 is rocking a 1.2GHz Intel Atom Lexington processor, a less-than-impressive 3.5-inch display at 480 x 320 pixels, and a 5MP rear camera. And with only 4GB of internal memory and a 1500 mAh battery, XOLO certainly isn’t going to blow anyone away with the X500. Nevertheless, it’s available now for around $170.
OUYA news always gets us excited, and their announcement of the CREATE game jam is no exception. Having already shipped developer consoles, OUYA must now turn to building out their game portfolio. Enter CREATE game jam. This 10-day contest was actually held a few weeks ago, and the 166 submissions have been announced. OUYA is encouraging everyone to pick and share their favorites, which will in turn help the developers get some recognition and love. A panel has been put together by OUYA to select the winners of the game jam, and we’re expecting that announcement in just a few weeks.
Touch Base for Smartphones is a simple new product that gets down to the roots of phone stands. Touch Base is essentially a round acrylic wedge for resting a smartphone on. We’ve seen simplistic before, but this takes it to a new level. We haven’t had a chance to use one for ourselves, but Touch base looks very elegant and clean, which may be one of its best assets.
SugarSync jumped into the spotlight (for a brief moment) when it announced an upgraded SugarSync for Business plan. SugarSync is hoping to appeal to more businesses that need a proper file-sharing service. Features of the upgraded plan include unlimited storage, flexible sync, collaboration, mobile access, unlimited users, and more for $550/year (around $55/month).
If you’re looking for a few fun games at low prices, G5 is having a sale on 15 of their titles. You can grab Supermarket Mania, Supermarket Mania 2, Build-A-Lot 3, Pilot Borthers, and more at discounted prices.
For developers that want another place to showcase their apps, App Galleries now gives developers the ability to have their own app store that can be linked to their website. Registration seems simple enough, and App Galleries will design the store for you. If you’re looking to monetize your apps beyond Google Play, there’s always this.
Words ‘N’ Blox is a fun twist on traditional word games, with 250 levels composed of 3-7 letter words. Intuitive gameplay makes it fun and easy to pick up. Words ‘N’ Blox is free on the Play Store, and is open to all ages.
eWeather HD just got a nice little update with some minor new features. The update brings weather for multiple days on the 4×2 widget, improvements to the four-day forecast in the notification area, as well as sound alerts in the event of an earthquake.
Samsung announced a fun new game called Sea Battle: Confrontation. It’s available exclusively for Galaxy devices, and it actually looks fairly interesting. The game was developed by Enterra, a Russian IT company, in conjunction with Sammy. Sea Battle falls somewhere in the category of Battleship meets scribbled notes in high school, which should make for some interesting gameplay. It can be downloaded through the Samsung Apps store on nearly any Galaxy device.
Carbonite launched the beta of its new file syncing app called Currents, and it looks pretty impressive. Currents automatically syncs files you’ve recently created or edited across all your devices. This is a nice shift from other file syncing apps that require users to manually move files and upload them. Carbonite also added a social aspect to the file syncing game, giving users the ability to add others to their Currents, which makes file sharing even more simple as hassle-free.
Math QuizUp just launched, and it’s a fun little app to help improve your math skills, as well as keep your brain as sharp as possible. It tests the speed of your brain in solving simple and complex math problems in short amounts of time. If challenging mind games are your forte, this one might be worth a look.
Kingdom Conquest II has finally come to Android, and it’s free on Google Play! KC II is a great online multiplayer game set in medieval times of war and chaos. Players can choose who joins them in their quest (whatever it may be), and domination begins.
Not to be outdone, Concrete Software announced the release of PBA Bowling Challenge for Android. The official game of the PBA has finally arrived on our favorite mobile OS. Bowling fans rejoice! PBA Bowling challenge looks dynamic and entertaining, so fans of realistic sports games should enjoy it.