Featured Play Store Newbie: MacroDroid [Tools]

There are a few automation apps in the Google Play Store, but MacroDroid is a fairly new one that looks to make things a little simpler. In speaking with the developer, he sees it as having the power of Tasker, but it’s simple enough for your Mom to use. I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty good to me.

Apps like MacroDroid are useful to every Android user because they can automate tasks. It makes you more productive, and in many cases can prolong your battery. For example, you can easily program your phone to turn off your Bluetooth or Wifi depending on your location or even if you launch a particular app. You can also make things easier like for example, you can set your phone to upload the last photo to Facebook just by shaking your device or even respond to an incoming text message by sending your current location. Not only that, if your phone has NFC, you can utilize NFC tags to trigger certain actions.

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App2Zip Brings New Meaning To Backing Up Apps

As awesome as it is slapping on that custom ROM to your device, the process of having to backup and restore your applications, while simultaneously getting your settings just right is simply put, a pain. But wait a minute, what if it were possible to flash your apps in recovery right after the ROM? Well friends, App2Zip allows users to save precious time and do just that. Developed by SCDevs, App2Zip takes users’ current applications and places them into a custom recovery-flashable update.zip file. Users can then flash the ROM update.zip and then simply flash their applications in the same recovery session. All users need to do is fire up the app, give it root permissions, and it will create an update.zip. Sounds simple enough, right?

While it does seem simple enough for all users, the app is not confirmed to work with all Android devices. In fact, SCDevs gives out the following disclaimer:

“App2zip is in very early stage, does NOT work on some devices, so please first of all make a test to see if it works for you (e.g. backup an app you don’t care much, uninstall it and restore back via CWM recovery). Use at your own risk”!

Naturally, you’ll want to test App2Zip on your device just to confirm if it will indeed work or not. If you’re feeling a little lucky and want to grab the app for yourself, hit the break to see the Play Store link and QR code.
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Rovio Mobile’s Amazing Alex is now available in the Google Play Store

After some teaser videos and such, Rovio Mobile’s new game, Amazing Alex, is finally available in the Google Play Store.  It’s a physics puzzle game, and since it’s the same people who brought you Angry Birds, it will probably be worth a look. Amazing Alex is all about, you guessed it, a whiz kid named Alex. Supposedly he has a “boundless imagination” and a “houseful of fun toys” for turning anything mundane into an adventure. So simply put, he has some challenges for you and he wants your solutions to be a creative as possible.

There are three versions of the game. For starters, the free version has a limited number of levels. There are also two paid versions. The .99cent one has 100 levels and the HD version is $2.99. It also has the same 100 levels, but it’s made for higher resolution screens. Hit the break for download links and let us know what you think of Rovio’s newest creation.

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Google Maps adds indoor maps and walking directions for 22 U.S. museums

Indoor mapping should see a huge boom over the next year and Google Maps will most likely lead the way. They just added indoor maps and walking directions for 22 popular U.S. museums. You can now plan your route from exhibit to exhibit, including floors. All you have to do is open Google Maps on your Android phone or tablet and search for the museum that interests you. Of course, if you’re already there you can use the My location feature and get indoor walking directions.

As of right now, Google’s collection of indoor maps totals over 10,000. They only launched this program last November so that’s pretty amazing. Hit the break for the full list of museums added.

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SugarSync to ship with the Galaxy S III and other AllShare Play-Enabled mobile devices

Samsung just announced the expansion of their partnership with SugarSync. If you aren’t familiar with SugarSync, it’s a free service that lets you access, sync, and share all of your files and folders across all your computers and mobile devices. SugarSync has already been available on all Samsung AllShare Play-enabled Smart TV’s, but now it will be on the Galaxy S III and all Samsung mobile devices that feature the AllShare Play service.

From within AllShare Play, users can easily create a SugarSync account and they will get 5GB of free storage.  From there, users will be able to access files, photos, music, and movies from their compatible Samsung devices. They can save files such as photos and videos from their Samsung mobile devices to the SugarSync Cloud and they will be able to view them at any time from other Samsung phones, tablets, and Smart TV’s.

Full press release after the break:

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Marvell and OnLive partner to bring cloud gaming to Google TV platform

Marvell announced today that their ARMADA 1500 HD Media SoC is being used by OnLive  in their app to provide high-end video games to Google TVs and Google TV devices. By using the app, users can avoid the use of a game console. The ARMADA 1500 chip is a dual-core CPU able to run at more than 6000 Dhrystone MIPS with integrated Qdeo video processing technology, support for 3DTV, and full HD video running on a fan-less, small form factor.

According to Steve Perlman, OnLive Founder and CEO, “OnLive’s focus is to make the highest quality gaming accessible to everyone,anywhere, and anytime they want it.” OnLive is able to deliver video games on-demand to PCs, Macs, TVs and tablets.  With this latest move, their games will now be available on Google TVs.

OnLive and Marvell do not indicate specific Google TV devices that will include the ARMADA 1500 chip. Full press release after the break.
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Amazing Alex Launches In Play Store Tomorrow, July 12th!

Rovio’s Amazing Alex is all set to launch tomorrow, July 12th. After teasing us with a short primer, this physics-based puzzle game will include will feature 100 levels and also 35 additional objects for all of you aspiring developers to use to create and share even more levels. I mean sure the gameplay may appear somewhat childish, but hey— Angry Birds has a childish appearance too and well, we know how successful it’s been.

You can check out the official game trailer once you hit past the break. Hopefully that will tide you all over until it lands in the Play Store tomorrow.

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Upgraded Jelly Bean keyboard now available for ICS devices in Google Play store

If you have had a chance to try out a Jelly Bean powered device or paid close attention to hands on reviews, you may have noticed an upgraded keyboard is part of the experience. Beansoft, developers of the Thumb Keyboard, have created an alpha version app to install the Jelly Bean keyboard on any device running Android 4.0.3 or higher. The app includes the predictive text engine found in Jelly Bean. You can grab the keyboard app via download link after the break.
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Songza app adds “expert-curated” playlists to feature set

Are you challenged by the process of putting together a “just right” playlist for your music listening mood? If so, you may want to check out the Songza app. The streaming music service has released an upgrade to their app to include their Concierge feature, previously only available on iOS and the Web. The Concierge promises to provide you with the right playlist at the right time.  A download link is available after the break.
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Featured Play Store Newbie: Atom Launcher [Personalization]

Ah yes custom launchers— they offer a quick and easy way for Android owners to immediately personalize and jazz up the look of their homescreens. Ice Cream Sandwich welcomed a refreshing and exciting change to the overall look of the Android OS. But as sexy as the appearance of Android 4.0 is, there are plenty of Android users (myself included) who may get bored of something like the stock ICS UI very quickly and may see the appearance of the look of ICS as dare I say, boring. Well those of you who are looking to get some pizazz on an otherwise bland UI need to look no further and check out Atom Launcher for ICS 4.0.2 devices and above.

The launcher comes fully loaded with features too. For starters, users of the launchers have the option of selecting from a variety of types of launchers such as choosing a “light and easy launcher” or a full assortment of backgrounds, icons and even themes. In addition, there is complete support for widgets and menu, the option for Changing Display Settings on Hidden Dock: Emotional Filter Effect, Various Screen Switching, Opacity Adjustment as well as Setting Point Color Changes— like changing the color for the widgets, icons, menus or guides.

The launcher is free and currently at version 0.5.2 and is a small 5.6MB in size— though it needs 10MB of total space if you want to save theme resources. If you have an ICS device, there’s no reason to give it a shot today— it won’t hurt to add some simple creativity and uniqueness to your device. You can find the Play Store link and QR code once you hit past the break.

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