Android Analyse Thu, 28 Mar 2013 21:21:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.1 Google Translate now supports offline mode on Android /google-translate-now-supports-offline-mode-on-android/ /google-translate-now-supports-offline-mode-on-android/#comments Thu, 28 Mar 2013 15:35:35 +0000 Rodney /?p=4412 One of the coolest apps for travelers has got to be Google Translate, allowing you to translate phrases, images and even have a conversation in a language you don’t understand – well now Google offers the ability for Android users to get translations even without an internet connection. You can now select any language packs you want...]]>

One of the coolest apps for travelers has got to be Google Translate, allowing you to translate phrases, images and even have a conversation in a language you don’t understand – well now Google offers the ability for Android users to get translations even without an internet connection.

You can now select any language packs you want for offline mode, however be warned that each download is quite large and probably shouldn’t be attempted on a small or limited 3/4G data plan.

Additionally, Google advises that online translations will always be more accurate as they’ll have the benefit of far more processing power and information. Even still, it’s sure to prove very useful for holiday makers and business travelers, alike because let’s face it, when you’re traveling, it’s one of the most likely times you’re going to find yourself offline.

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Blackberry Q1 sales figures are out… and they’re not great /blackberry-q1-sales-figures-are-out-and-theyre-not-great/ /blackberry-q1-sales-figures-are-out-and-theyre-not-great/#comments Thu, 28 Mar 2013 15:08:18 +0000 Rodney /?p=4402 So… remember how a little while ago we reported that Blackberry sold about a million units to a single, mysterious buyer? Well their Q1 sales figures are starting to come out now out (via a shareholder conference call with CEO Thorstein Heins) and Blackberry is proud to announce they’ve sold… about a million units of their new...]]>

So… remember how a little while ago we reported that Blackberry sold about a million units to a single, mysterious buyer? Well their Q1 sales figures are starting to come out now out (via a shareholder conference call with CEO Thorstein Heins) and Blackberry is proud to announce they’ve sold… about a million units of their new BB10 series.

Now, let’s be 100% clear about this – these are not the final sales figures for the period, however they’re pretty close to what we can expect to see and if they had any rabbits in their hat, then this call would have been the time to pull them out: so don’t expect any forthcoming great news for Blackberry shareholders. Essentially, whichever way you slice it, once you take out that single and secretive sale, Blackberry’s sales for the period look positively disastrous.

In something of an additional blow for the latest challenger in the mobile platform market, Blackberry actually sold five times as many of their older phones in the same period as they did BB10 devices, with about 5 million Blackberry 7 devices shipping in the same quarter.

Compounding matters, Blackberry saw their user base drop by almost 4%, from about 79 million to 76 million, so, thus far at least, Blackberry 10 has failed to stem the bleeding. Worse still, during the call it was announced that Vice Chair of the company and co-founder, Mike Lazaridis, will completely resign from the organisation, with his last day being May the 1st, 2013

It’s not all doom and gloom for Blackberry, however, as they’re finally now running at a profit ($94 million profit on $2.7 billion in revenue). The downside to this, however is that it’s effectively due to one off, massive spending cuts and restructuring and not additional revenue.

WIth results like these, Blackberry is going to need to turn things around soon or they’re going to run out of time. As it stands, Blackberry is now losing 33,000 users every single day.

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A great argument for why you need root /a-great-argument-for-why-you-need-root/ /a-great-argument-for-why-you-need-root/#comments Thu, 28 Mar 2013 11:12:58 +0000 Mike O /?p=4397 While many Android users already experience the benefits if a rooted device every day, some still don’t see the need or understand the benefits. XDA Developer TV Producer Azrienoch has a great video for that, where he goes on to explain both the well known and lesser known reasons for root that you may not...]]>

While many Android users already experience the benefits if a rooted device every day, some still don’t see the need or understand the benefits.

XDA Developer TV Producer Azrienoch has a great video for that, where he goes on to explain both the well known and lesser known reasons for root that you may not have even considered.

His basic argument is that rooting is worth the effort. Definitely worth a watch.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czTkHe7-lXw

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Nearly 20% of Blackberry apps are really Android apps /nearly-20-of-blackberry-apps-are-really-android-apps/ /nearly-20-of-blackberry-apps-are-really-android-apps/#comments Wed, 27 Mar 2013 11:06:34 +0000 Mike O /?p=4375 When you’re pimping a platform that virtually none of the big name developers are ready to commit to because the audience just isn’t there, and your audience won’t commit to your device because of the lack of big name apps, well then you have to seek creative measures. And in this instance it turns out...]]>

When you’re pimping a platform that virtually none of the big name developers are ready to commit to because the audience just isn’t there, and your audience won’t commit to your device because of the lack of big name apps, well then you have to seek creative measures.

And in this instance it turns out that nearly 1 in 5 apps on the new Blackberry platform are actually Andorid apps running in an emulator. According to BlackBerry’s vice president for global alliances and business development this equates to nearly 20,000 of the 100,000 apps currently offered on the platform.

While the average user might not even know the app they are running on the Blackberry is really en emulated Android app (though I’m sure to the rest of us there are easily recognisable give-aways), it’s better than the alternative, which is crossing your fingers and hoping that Instagram and others have a change of heart.

To be fair that number does seem quite low, as we’d have expected that a higher percentage of developers would have erred on the side of caution before committing to the new untested Blackberry market. So you could look at this as a positive indicator for the company struggling to be number three in the smartphone game.

But until the big name devs commit to Blackberry and attract more users, Android apps running in emulators will still be in high numbers. Time will tell.

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Google Chairman Eric Schmidt Doesn’t Use Android: Does Use Blackberry /google-chairman-eric-schmidt-doesnt-use-android-uses-blackberry/ /google-chairman-eric-schmidt-doesnt-use-android-uses-blackberry/#comments Sat, 23 Mar 2013 09:23:25 +0000 Mike O /?p=4367 This is…wow. As the Chairman of the company responsible for the biggest mobile operating system on the planet, an argument could be made that you have an obligation to actually use the company product. Imagine Tim Cook using Windows Phone, or Steve Balmer using Android. It’s not a good look, is it? On the other...]]>

This is…wow. As the Chairman of the company responsible for the biggest mobile operating system on the planet, an argument could be made that you have an obligation to actually use the company product. Imagine Tim Cook using Windows Phone, or Steve Balmer using Android. It’s not a good look, is it?

On the other hand, and I’ve debated this with many before, I always say use what ever hardware or software combination makes you the most productive regardless. Schmidt, despite no doubt having had (at least a little) hands on experience with many Android devices over the years still won’t give up his Blackberry.

His excuse reason? He likes a physical keyboard. I hear you, Eric. I too miss the tactile feedback of a physical keyboard (Motorola Droid series), but sadly the choices are limited to a few in the Android ecosystem these days. There’s the respectable LG MACH which runs on Android 4.0, or the older Motorola Droids 3 and 4 while admittedly running older versions of Android would still be leaps and bounds ahead of the old Blackberry.

That being said, the lure of a physical qwerty on older software and hardware surely isn’t strong enough to forgo all the benefits that come with partaking in the modern Android software ecosystem, and perhaps Schmidt will change his mind one day when his Blackberry OS becomes too deprecated, though I suspect it is already.

At least he’s got a Google sticker on that thing.

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A handful of Galaxy phones allegedly short-listed for Android 5 /a-handful-of-galaxy-phones-allegedly-short-listed-for-android-5/ /a-handful-of-galaxy-phones-allegedly-short-listed-for-android-5/#comments Sat, 23 Mar 2013 00:32:08 +0000 Mike O /?p=4363 A list obtained by SamMobile suggests that the upcoming Galaxy S4 is in line to ship with Android 5, or Key Lime Pie as it’s otherwise known. Other devices joining the Galaxy S4 for KLP include the Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy Note 10, and the Galaxy Note 8. The full list to get Android 5.0 includes:...]]>

A list obtained by SamMobile suggests that the upcoming Galaxy S4 is in line to ship with Android 5, or Key Lime Pie as it’s otherwise known.

Other devices joining the Galaxy S4 for KLP include the Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy Note 10, and the Galaxy Note 8. The full list to get Android 5.0 includes:

  • GT-I9300 – Galaxy S III
  • GT-I9305 – Galaxy S III LTE
  • GT-I9500 – Galaxy S 4
  • GT-I9505 – Galaxy S 4 LTE
  • GT-N5100 – Galaxy Note 8.0
  • GT-N5105 – Galaxy Note 8.0 LTE
  • GT-N5110 – Galaxy Note 8.0 Wi-Fi
  • GT-N7100 – Galaxy Note II
  • GT-N7105 – Galaxy Note II LTE
  • GT-N8000 – Galaxy Note 10.1
  • GT-N8005 – Galaxy Note 10.1 LTE
  • GT-N8010 – Galaxy Note 10.1 Wi-Fi

But the list also notes that some devices may not see updates beyond 4.2.2, such as the Galaxy S2 and original Galaxy Note. These include:

  • GT-I9080 – Galaxy Grand
  • GT-I9082 – Galaxy Grand DUOS
  • GT-I8160 – Galaxy Ace 2
  • GT-I8190 – Galaxy S III mini
  • GT-I8350 – Galaxy Beam
  • GT-I8730 – Galaxy Express
  • GT-I9070 – Galaxy S Advance
  • GT-I9100 – Galaxy S II
  • GT-I9105 – Galaxy S II Plus
  • GT-I9260 – Galaxy Premier
  • GT-N7000 – Galaxy Note
  • GT-S6310 – Galaxy Young
  • GT-S6312 – Galaxy Young DUOS
  • GT-S6810 – Galaxy Fame
  • GT-S7710 – Galaxy X Cover 2

SamMobile notes that this is a pre-list confirmed by their inside person and not by Samsung. Anything could change between now and later, so don’t take this information as solid just yet.

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Samsung Galaxy S4 To Be Quad-Core in UK, Not Octo-Core /samsung-galaxy-s4-to-be-quad-core-in-uk-not-octo-core/ /samsung-galaxy-s4-to-be-quad-core-in-uk-not-octo-core/#comments Thu, 21 Mar 2013 12:33:38 +0000 Sam Johnson /?p=4355 Samsung have marketed the Galaxy S4 primarily based on it’s software features, like ‘Smart Scroll’, but in terms of hardware, there has been quite a lot of hype surrounding Octo-Core Exynos 5 processor. As it turns out, only a select few countries will receive the eight core device, with everywhere else having to make do...]]>

Samsung have marketed the Galaxy S4 primarily based on it’s software features, like ‘Smart Scroll’, but in terms of hardware, there has been quite a lot of hype surrounding Octo-Core Exynos 5 processor. As it turns out, only a select few countries will receive the eight core device, with everywhere else having to make do with four.

That might be quite disappointing for some, but you should still keep in mind that a quad-core processor is still extremely advanced, especially as it is a Snapdragon, the same as in the lightning fast HTC One. You might not even be able to tell the difference, but it does mean that you won’t be able to brag to your friends about having an eight core processor in your phone.

It’s still unclear as to which countries will be supplied with which device, but Samsung have confirmed that the UK will be getting the quad-core version.

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Google Keep Wants to Be Your Second Brain /google-keep-wants-to-be-your-second-brain/ /google-keep-wants-to-be-your-second-brain/#comments Thu, 21 Mar 2013 06:29:11 +0000 Yousuf Haque /?p=4338 Google just released it’s note taking app: Google Keep. Most people immediately tried to compare it to Evernote (and noticed that it pales in comparison as a note taking only app) but they don’t realize that it’s not meant to take on Evernote. Google Keep wants to glue all of your Google Apps together. Many...]]>

Google just released it’s note taking app: Google Keep. Most people immediately tried to compare it to Evernote (and noticed that it pales in comparison as a note taking only app) but they don’t realize that it’s not meant to take on Evernote. Google Keep wants to glue all of your Google Apps together.

Many people use Google apps such as Drive or Calendar however to use these products together isn’t as easy as you’d think it is. Google is trying to unify the app ecosystem by using a seemingly irrelevant note taking app.

Keep’s power may not be readily apparent, but it lies in what might be future syncing capabilities with the rest of Google’s Apps. If Google implements across the board syncing (which I think they definitely will) Keep could sync with Calendar, Drive, Shopping, Wallet, Tasks, Gmail, Picasa and more.

Making a list in Keep could automatically place it in your tasks, or writing notes during your meeting can automatically place them in your Drive folders accordingly. Google Now’s assistant like features can further be enhanced by Keep’s repository of things that you want to keep track of. Everything would be done automatically if you simply just write a note of it. Keep will take care of everything.

With Keep, Google is providing a way to use all of your Google apps in unison with each other creating a seamless workflow between your phone, tablet, and computer all without third party applications. Android is known for it’s flexibility through third party applications, but the growing number (and interoperability) of native Google Apps will greatly increase the appeal of Android for people who may not want to sit down and tinker with their phone to make everything work perfectly.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbvkHEDvw-o

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Real Racing 3 Review: Running on Fumes /real-racing-3-review-running-on-fumes/ /real-racing-3-review-running-on-fumes/#comments Wed, 20 Mar 2013 21:51:31 +0000 Allan Curtis /?p=3827 Change can be an ugly thing. When everything its moving to a new neighbourhood or simply switching to  a new brand of coffee, change haunts us with its unknowns and its misgivings. Real Racing 3 from the now EA owned Firemonkeys studio is a perfect example of this. This  well-known series, considered by many to...]]>

Change can be an ugly thing. When everything its moving to a new neighbourhood or simply switching to  a new brand of coffee, change haunts us with its unknowns and its misgivings.

Real Racing 3 from the now EA owned Firemonkeys studio is a perfect example of this. This  well-known series, considered by many to be the greatest mobile racing game available on any platform attracted a lot of flak with its (obviously money motivated) decision to go from premium to a  freemium product. Visions of terrifying timers and premium currency only cars destroyed the game for many people before they even played it, myself included.

Real Racing, as you probably already know is the Gran Turismo of mobile gaming. It features dozens of real cars and eye popping graphics. While the racing isn’t really as realistic as you’ll find on a console, it is far more involved than you average mobile racer, as things like racing lines, weight shifting and apex turning are important.

RR3’s collection of cars isn’t bad. There are muscle cars like the Challenger and Viper, more refined racing cars like the Focus and out and out crazy race cars like the Veyron. Unfortunately it takes far too long to save up for most of them.

The game has a lot of different classes of racing events. From the basically ruleless pro/am circuits you’ll progress to pro events, taking part on a good variety of race types along the way.

There are the standard, fastest wins type races sure, but there are also elimination races where whoever is in last is eliminated every 20 seconds until only the leader remains and speed runs where the highest top speed on the course wins, to name a few. These different events go a long way to making the game more interesting.

As for the actual racing mechanics, RR3 can be as forgiving as you make it. By default the game accelerates and brakes for you, all you need to do is tilt your device to steer. All the driving assists and safeguards make this game suitable even for the total racing newbie who just wants to drive some nice cars.

More advanced drivers can turn all these niceties off, making it far more realistic and easier to spin and crash if you botch a turn badly enough.

RR3 features a decent sense of speed and racing in a fast car is exciting and satisfying

All this goodness is however mostly undone by completely boring opponents. RR3 uses a mechanic called TSM or Time Shifted Multiplayer where every race you play is filled in with ghosts from other players from a around  the world who have played that circuit. If you have Facebook friends who also play the track you’ll see them as well, along with the line they supposedly took when they last played it.

This effectively means that every car on the track is racing a disconnected race from everyone else. As far as the AI is concerned it’s just following a racing line and other racers don’t actually exist. This makes races feel extremely dry, with little to no reaction if you bump into opponents, as they follow their ‘on rails’ race you’ll just be pushed aside, shoved into walls or otherwise come off second best from any sort of bumping you might attempt. While race drivers aren’t known to nudge other racers in real life, it sure doesn’t make for compelling game play. The way the game has the racer’s picture and name floating over their car is more than little distracting as well.

The biggest change to RR3 from the earlier games is its reliance on IAPs, a much hated mechanic of modern gaming. RR3 tries its hardest to screw you in many ways with its IAP.

RR3 includes damage. This isn’t the fun, tense kind of damage that involves you trying to prod a busted car across the line after some nudging, this is the “Let’s see how badly we can screw over the player so they don’t advance too quickly” kind of damage.

You can sustain damage to parts of your car like your headlights, windshield, bumper and tyres along other things. Some damage directly affects your car’s performance. Bumper damage for example reduces your cars ability to grip the road, windscreen and rear window damage inexplicably reduces your maximum speed. This damage rarely really makes sense. A minor collision with the back of another car usually causes windscreen damage for unknown reasons, sometime without even damaging your bonnet noticeably. Why would windshield, headlight or mirror damage reduce my top speed? Why does it cost money to unblock an air filter? The cars hardly deform at all, so you never get actual interesting damage like fallen bumpers, lost tyres or general race ending smashes. It’s always just annoying, performance costing crap made only to siphon your money away for no real benefit.

You also need to maintain other parts of your car, so even if you somehow race flawlessly you still need to regularly replace your oil, tyres, brakes, suspension and engine. All of these take quite a bit of real time to change, for example your tyres or oil take 5 minutes, while engine service costs the better part of a thousand bucks and takes 15 minutes. This isn’t so much of a bother since you only need to worry about these parts once every ten races or so, but it’s a meaningless, annoying stopgap that, while somewhat realistic adds nothing to the game. After about the third tier of races you really need another car to compete as well and the endless money sink of maintaining your car really makes it difficult to afford anything

The game also incessantly bothers you to upgrade your car whenever you have enough money to do so. Upgrades generally do make quite a difference and are pretty much required to stay competitive with the same car. You can upgrade your engine, drivetrain, brakes and tyres. While the majority of upgrades cost simple money that you gain from winning races, the top tier upgrade in every area for every car requires premium currency and nothing but. That’s right; your car is forever crippled unless you pony up some of your insanely limited currency. Needless to say this unbalances the game a great deal. This is made all the more annoying by constant, invasive messages to upgrade your car if you do poorly at a race. Imagine this repeated a few dozen times as you buy new cars and try to upgrade them to compete in single model races and you might be close to how obnoxious this can be.

There really is no excuse for limiting something as important and fun as upgrading your car’s parts in this way and it is flat out unacceptable.

The graphics are very nice indeed. Cars look great and just like their real life counterparts. Tracks look decent enough and there’s a good sense of variety. The game feels rather dry however as there are never any crowds and the game really lacks a feeling of life or flair.

Soundwise the game is pretty darn terrible. Flat, whining engines add absolutely no sense of power or speed and pack about as much grunt as your dad mowing the lawn. I could urinate more intimidatingly. You never hear other racer’s engines and all the cars sound the same. Gob smackingly awful elevator music accompanies everything you do. It feels more like I’m about to walk down the fresh produce isle at a supermarket than tweak my immensely powerful machine to better humiliate my opponents. Everything about the sound just screams cheap and it really needs improving.

At the end of the day Real Racing 3 really tries hard to make you dislike it. It’s not at all what a lot of fans were expecting and it will likely leave a bad taste in the mouth of whoever plays it. If the annoying TSM AI drivers don’t bug you the IAP will. Since its free you won’t lose much by downloading it and it can be  fun for racing now and then, but its only good for a few hours, at best.

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The Galaxy S4 features wrapped up in one neat video /the-galaxy-s4-features-wrapped-up-in-one-neat-video/ /the-galaxy-s4-features-wrapped-up-in-one-neat-video/#comments Wed, 20 Mar 2013 13:24:19 +0000 Mike O /?p=4319 Spec sheets are good and all, but sometimes you just want to watch a video to get all the information you need – and to see the device “in action” of course. Samsung have released this informative video showing the new hardware and software features of the Galaxy S4, and for many it probably goes...]]>

Spec sheets are good and all, but sometimes you just want to watch a video to get all the information you need – and to see the device “in action” of course.

Samsung have released this informative video showing the new hardware and software features of the Galaxy S4, and for many it probably goes a long way to explain some of the said features without the tech lingo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LHv1FPd1Ec

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