Netflix UK – Is it worth £5.99 per month of your hard earned cash?

by Chris Stewart on
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I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous of my stateside friends and their ability to access a seemingly endless list of film and television on demand. Being late to the party is an affliction that we British Android lovers often have to suffer (where are you Google Music!), and it’s fair to say that it was met with a great deal of excitement when Netflix UK was announced at CES in January. As an early adopter of Spotify Premium, and a long time user of Picasa web albums, I have been enjoying the ability to access my music and photos over the web and had been longing for a worthy solution for movies.

Lovefilm (part of the Amazon group) launched their instant video streaming service late in 2011 and I jumped right on board for the free trial. Unfortunately I found the whole experience underwhelming – The native android app only allows you to order DVD’s by post, there’s no facility to view content on your phone or tablet. The Xbox app was clean and simple with a pleasant UI, but there was no HD content and the SD picture quality was average at best. These 2 points are deal-breakers for me and I decided to cancel the service after the free trial. I should point out that Lovefilm’s DVD/Blu-ray delivery service is excellent, they certainly get pass marks in this area, however the last time I purchased a DVD the iPhone was still waiting for 3G and MMS.

I’m currently 2 weeks into my 1 month free Netflix trial and the early signs are positive. In order to summarize my findings, I’ve broken my review into 4 key points: » Read the rest

The Psychology of Fanboyism

by Ed Caggiani on
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Hypocrisy is one of the only things we absolutely despise in other people yet staunchly defend in ourselves. That’s the very definition of the word. Of course we can rationalize our own hypocritical behavior because we understand why we’re behaving a certain way.

What does this have to do with fanboyism? Let me tell you about how I became an Android enthusiast (ok, fanboy) and you’ll understand.

Tinkerability
Ever since I chose to use IBM compatible PC’s as a youngster, I’ve had an almost irrational feeling of negativity toward Apple as a company. Even back then I understood that the more open PC architecture was more in line with my way of thinking. I wanted to be able to open up my own computer and tinker with it, and the PC platform allowed for that. Apple, on the other hand, owned everything from the hardware to the software to the level of “tinkerability” with its more closed, proprietary system.

This closed system allowed Apple to develop a more highly polished end product since they didn’t have to worry about being compatible with anything other than themselves. From this walled garden arose a symbol of solid usability, security, and style. For many, that’s more than enough. For me, it was too rigid and limited. Tinkerability factor close to zero.

» Read the rest

Talk Android decompiles ICS FaceLock.apk – Majel are you in there?

by Jim Farmer on
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So if you haven’t realized from my posts by now, I like to experiment with Android from time to time and today was one of those more special days. While poking around FaceLock.apk, which I decompiled with apktool, I opened this. The screenshot above portrays a file “arrays.xml,” which contains what looks like phrases to be presented on the lock screen when a user’s face is not recognized. As those of you fortunate enough to run ICS know, currently an unrecognized face only returns “Sorry, don’t recognize you” or in some cases “Couldn’t find a face.”  Aside from a different spelling of “recognize,” the list above also offers a substantially more varied output. So what is the meaning of this? I supposed it could be simply leftovers, never scrapped before release, or, letting my optimistic imagination run just a little bit, perhaps this is some preliminary work towards a future update; Majel maybe? It’s a stretch, but the varied and pretty casual responses seem more AI like to me. In any case, an interesting little something indeed.

 

Real Steel HD Hits Android, Awesome Robot Boxing For Those On The Go (Video)

by Joe Sirianni on
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While flying back from CES a few weeks ago I was able to catch a flick on the flight back to my home state of PA.  I was about to doze off on the plane when I opened one eye quick to check out the in-flight entertainment.  It was Real Steel with Hugh Jackman and Dakota Goyo.  The movie takes place in the near distant future where human boxing has been completely replaced with the more popular robot boxing.  A pretty cool high tech remote controlled boxing robot was at the command and disposal of Wolverine himself.  Awesome if you ask me.  I’m a dork for movies like that, what can I say?  So when I saw Jump Games made it available for my favorite operating system in the whole world, I jumped right on it and had to write a post about it to share with the rest of our Android fans.

Gizmodo says, “game looks fun as hell.”
iPhoneappreview says, “Real Steel is a solid winner.”

The future, robots, fighting and more!  What else is there to say?  So go download it already!  Just kidding, here’s a little premise on the game itself first.  Real Steel for Android allows you to enter the underworld of fighting high-tech machines weighing in at 2,000 lbs and battling it to the death all on your smartphone or tablet.  It’s a new age Street Fighter in your pocket!  The game offers two different play modes, “Tournament” and “Free Sparring”.  Tournament mode allows you challenge a whole roster of bots while Free Sparring Mode gives you quick fights against the bot of your choice.  Your goal is to unlock all the cool robots you can by putting a beat down and whoopin on Midas.  The game will run you a buck but it’s well worth the game play.  Ready for the challenge?  Hit the break to check out a few screen shots of the game in action and then hit up the quick demo video from the Android Market.  Feel free to let us know what you think in the comments below.  QR code and download links after the break.   » Read the rest

Does RIM Have What It Takes To Catch Up To Android, iOS and Windows Phone?

by Joe Sirianni on
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As many know by now, the mighty duo of CEO’s at RIM, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis have stepped down only to promote one from within.  Taking over as single and only CEO of Research in Motion is Thorsten Heins, a four year COO who worked closely under Jim and Mike.  In recent news, he’s been given the cold stare thanks to making such statements as “I don’t think there is some drastic change needed,” and  “We are evolving. We’re evolving our strategy, we’re evolving our tactics, our processes.”  As one standing from the outside looking in, I’d argue in favor of a drastic change, personally.  But hey, RIM’s the competition so I’m not pressing the issue.  However, the question does arise, should Google’s Android be afraid?  As much as I would love to shout from the roof top “hell no!“, I”ll try to keep it professional here.   » Read the rest

SpaceCat 3D For Android, A Perfect Ratio Of Cats And Flying Saucers (Video)

by Joe Sirianni on
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What do you get when you combine 3D graphics, flying saucers and cats?  One heck of a ride for Android with SpaceCat 3D.  The glasses free 3D game allows you to enjoy a rich graphics quality platform landing game on your Android smartphone.  The challenge is to dodge both moving and stationary walls, lasers and tight spots all while snatching up all of the floating space mice you can find. On your quest, be sure to take out all of the annoying SpaceRats you can for the crew of humans you’re loyal to.  You can even share your score with the rest of the world via ScoreLoop.

In the year 3122, man has conquered space and has taken his favorite pets with him: Cats.

Did you know which are the favorite toys of cats on space? Flying saucers! Even better, chasing mice while flying around! They are the only ones that can go into the narrow spaces and capture the SpaceRats, an evolved species that keeps annoying the crew of the spaceships.

You’ll have the option to choose from 10 different cats for game-play and several spaceships to match them up with.  Each ship has different characteristics and themes that you can choose from as well.  Ready to give the game a go?  Hit the break for some screen shots of the game and check out the quick video demo of the app in action.  Feel free to drop a comment or two below as well of what you think.  
» Read the rest

Thumb App Allows You To Ask Questions & Be Opinionated, Anonymously Of Course

by Roy Alugbue on
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We all have opinions to give or questions waiting to ask. Perhaps you’re afraid your opinion is bold and you’re afraid you may hurt a feeling or two. Or maybe you want to ask a specific question, but you’re afraid of folks thinking you’re stupid. Well the Thumb app aims to let users throw in their 2 cents or ask those million dollar questions, naturally in anonymous fashion of course. Created by developer Opinionaided, the app allows you to:

 

  • Vote and comment on questions
  • Responses come in just seconds after you post your question
  • Choose your audience: post questions to everyone on Thumb, select a gender, or just send to your Friends
  • Respond to questions in a specific category
  • Connect with people who share similar interests
  • Reward people by giving them Stars for helpful responses

 

While the app is cool, it does lose its charm and novelty after a while. Nevertheless it’s worth it for Android users to give it a shot– especially considering you will be able to finally channel your inner jerk or ask if you should get that 1985 Honda Accord… all without hassle. You can find the app out over in the Android Market or by scanning the QR code below.

Android Market

Contest: Submit the best caption and win an HTC Wildfire S or HTC Status compliments of HTC (Updated With Winner)

by Robert Nazarian on
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Updated with winner below

It’s time for another Talk Android contest. This time HTC is providing two phones, the HTC Wildfire S and the HTC Status. The winner will get their choice of which one they want.

The HTC Wildfire S is currently offered on T-Mobile and features a 3.2-inch display and a 5MP camera. Recently, it was added to the bootloader unlock support by HTC. The Status is available on AT&T and is geared towards the hardcore Facebook fan. It features a QWERTY keyboard for all your status updates, and features a 2.6-inch display, a 5MP camera, a VGA front facing camera, and an extra special Facebook button.

The rules are simple:

» Read the rest

Official Google Modify Watches

by Jim Farmer on
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Modify Watches are “super-dope”, interchangeable watches. They’re built so you can mix-and-match faces and straps to create the “Mod” that allows you to make your statement, whether (quiet) or LOUD.

While not the smart watch we’re all waiting for, Google has officially teamed up with Modify Watches to create a custom set of Google watches. The initial batch of these were exclusive gifts to the Google Plus team, but now you can get one too for $59.95. As with everything on the Google Store, available while supplies last.

Watch Specs:

  • Android, Chrome, & Google Designs available
  • Water-resistant to 3ATM (go swimming!)
  • Stainless steel and polycarbonate casing
  • Sizing:
    Small
    from tip to tip, the length is 9.5″ at it’s widest point, it is 1.5″ height is .5″
    Large
    from tip to tip, the length is 10″ at it’s widest point, it is 1.75″ height is .56″

[via TheGoogleStore]