Gaming The System: Using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk To Boost App Ratings


By now, we are all conditioned to make online shopping decisions based on previous buyer’s reviews. Amazon taught us that over the years, and as Android users, we continue this behavior in the Google Play Store. Community reviews help us make the decision to download an app or skip it and keep looking. That’s why it’s so important that these reviews are real and accurate. Google has a policy in place for just this reason. It states that developers “should not attempt to change the placement of any Product in the Store by rating an application multiple times, or by offering incentives to users to rate an application with higher or lower ratings.

Now it seems developer Noosoft Games ignored that policy and used Amazon’s Mechanical Turk system to crowdsource 5-star ratings for their game The rise of the Aliens, resulting in a near-perfect 4.9 rating in the Play Store. For those who don’t know, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is a platform for businesses to farm out tedious, menial tasks to the masses. Users perform these tasks for a very small fee. The more tasks they perform, the more money they make from the comfort of their own homes. In this case, Noosoft was paying around $1.35 for a 5-star rating and favorable review of their game in blatant disregard of Google’s policy.

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Xperia S has display issues after heat exposure, Sony admits

Following complaints from Xperia S users, Sony has acknowledged that some of the phones have developed a yellow tint to the screen after being exposed to increased temperatures. While Sony says the problem is only in a limited number of handsets, the yellow color may appear if the phone is exposed to temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius. Sony also stated that the manufacturing process has been corrected so this won’t happen in the future.

If you have a phone that has already developed a yellow hue, Sony encourages you to contact your local customer service center. Sony promises they will fix the phone at no cost to the customer.

It’s a shame that there is a problem with the Xperia S‘s screen, since that is its best feature and selling point. The 1280 x 720 pixels resolution HD display is well-known for its beautiful images. Nonetheless, Sony is addressing the issue and ensuring it will be fixed.

source: CNET UK


ESER A10 Tablet Takes Budget Title To Another Level, Costs Only $51

Times are certainly tough and we love our budget-friendly devices, but here’s a tablet that’s sure to raise an eyebrow or two. And no— this isn’t an April Fool’s joke either. The ESER A10 tablet is a 7-incher which features seriously outdated modest specs. You’ll find a 800 x 480 “resistive” touchscreen, 1.2GHz BoxChip CPU, 4GB of internal storage, microSD out, HDMI out, WiFi and a front-facing camera. Oh and the device is capable of decoding 2160p video (can your tablet do that?!). All of this will be powered by Gingerbread 2.3 and feature 3G connectivity– though you’d need to buy a separate USG dongle. While the specs don’t come anywhere close to competition such as the Amazon Kindle Fire— the ESER A10 tablet is going for an astounding $51. You read right folks… the device will be available for a little over 50 bucks. Not too bad at all.

We know most of you love your speed and power in your tablets, but if you are pressed for cash and looking for a cheap alternative, what do you think? Would you splurge on this device?

source: The Digital Reader
via: Ubergizmo

Samsung Galaxy Pocket Checks In at the FCC

The tiny device, announced shortly after the Mobile World Congress, by Samsung known as the Galaxy Pocket has made its way to the FCC. For those that missed it, this an entry level 2.8-inch (320×240) 823MHz device that is being released in the UK. It comes with GSM 850 / 1900 and UMTS Band V radios which means that it’ll work on AT&T and like-minded networks. However, this Gingerbread device hasn’t been committed to the United States markets just yet, so keep it locked here and we’ll let you know if or when it does. Stay tuned!

source: FCC
via: engadget 

Google TV Officially Arriving In Europe By September

You remember how we had a hunch Google TV would be available outside of the U.S.? Good news folks as news has gotten out that Sony France will be developing two variations of Google TV devices and launch them in September. The first is a set-top box which will go on sale for €200 ($266), whle the second will be a box with an integrated Blu-ray player that will sell for €300 ($399). Sony France marketing director  Stephane Labrousse highlights that while Sony Google TV devices are certain in France, it’s possible the devices could launch in Spain, Germany and the U.K at the same time. The devices won’t skimp on features either as it’s reported the Google TV boxes will feature items such as a Google Play button on their remote controls, giving direct access to Google’s app and content store and come with Sony’s own content offerings, including Music Unlimited.

See gang— good things comes to those who wait and are patient. Let’s just hope the price is right for consumers out in Europe.

source: Giga OM


April Fool’s? 29 Individuals Still Using CM “TehUberDuckDistro” ROM… From 2011

Sure April Fool’s Day has come and gone sadly, but many of us sure enjoyed the good laughs, right? Well sadly, a particular joke has taken an unusual— albeit comical turn that has gone on for the past year. Last year a CM ROM was renamed to “TehUberDuckDistro” for a single nightly release which featured an unusual duck as its mascot instead of the usual Android. Some 29 individuals did not get the memo of “TehUberDuckDistro” being a joke and are actually logging in info with CM’s reporting app featuring “TehUberDuckDistro“. Here’s CyanogenMod team member Ricardo Cerqueira sharing his thoughts on the stunning find:

“I accidentally noticed, while checking something entirely different in our stats data, that 29 people are still running TDUD today. That one year-old, one-shot nightly is still in use, and I want to meet these 29 people just to shake their hands.”

The moral of the story is two-fold. One— some of these individuals using the CM ROM featuring “TehUberDuckDistro” really need to update their CM ROMs… immediately. Two— perhaps the 29 people still using the joke ROM may really like their duck mascots? Perhaps.

source: Android Community

Sony flagship Xperia phones set for the US via Brightstar

Living in the US and itching to get your hands on Sony’s flagship Xperia Android phones? Wireless distribution giants, Brightstar has got you covered as it’s set to bring the Xperia S, Xperia U and Xperia P to our doorsteps. No dates have been announced as yet  however watch this space as we’ll be sure to keep you posted as soon as we have more news.

President of Sony Mobile Communications North America, Paul Hamnett quoted “We are thrilled to expand Sony Mobile Communications’ presence in the U.S. with Brightstar, offering a broader range of our Xperia portfolio to consumers”

Sony is really working hard to turn around its fortunes in the Android market. Sony Ericsson never really hit the heady heights achieved by big rivals such as Samsung and Motorola, and the newly founded Sony Mobile Communications is determined to right that wrong. The new devices have arrived to critical acclaim , if Sony can back that up with a solid worldwide distribution strategy then it may well be on the verge of an impressive turnaround.

Will you be looking to pick up Sony’s latest offering over that of Smasung, HTC, Motorola et al? Let us know your thoughts in the comments and be sure to check out the full press release from Brightstar after the break.

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Coming soon: Customise your Galaxy Nexus navigation buttons [Video]

Chances are that part of the reason you picked Android over other popular mobile Operating Systems was due to the huge amount of customisation available straight out of the box. Another huge benefit of the Android OS is the enormous and talented developer community who always strive to make the wonderful OS experience ever better. Combine the two together and what do you get? Well the sky is the limit, but the video below should serve as an appetizer.

The talented AOKP developer, Zaphod-Beblebrox, is working on a new AOKP addition that will allow the user to completely customize the Galaxy Nexus‘ on-screen navigation buttons. Bored of the standard back, home and multi-task buttons? Why not replace them with a browser or SMS short-cut?

This is one that we will certainly be watching with interest as the possibilities really are endless. Check out the work in progress in the video after the break and stay tuned as we keep you updated on when this mod gets added to the AOKP ROM!
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The Once $299 HTC Rezound Now $49, Incredible 4G Inbound?

If you folks on Verizon are in the market for a new device at a steal of a price then let me recommend the HTC Rezound. The once $299 Beats equipped device is now just $49 dollars on new contract. This could be a sign of the arrival of the Incredible 4G as Verizon may be attempting to make room for the new device or it could just mean that Big Red is trying to move some product. Either way folks this is a heck of a price for the device that sadly got overlooked in the wake of the Galaxy Nexus. If you’re wanting a great device with growing developer support and one of the best displays on the market then hit the source below to check it out. If you’re not sure maybe our review on this phone will sway you. If that doesn’t maybe the possible release of Ice Cream Sandwich this week will. Enjoy!

source: Verizon

ClockworkMod Touch Recovery Now Available for the Transformer and Transformer Prime

For those of you ASUS Transformer and Transformer Prime owners who enjoy a little custom recovery action every now and then you’ll be pleased to know the CM touch version is now available to you. Over the weekend Sir Koushik Dutta released the touch recovery for the two tablets, adding to the ever growing list of compatible deices. This will make it the first “tablet” versions added to the list, though.

If you have yet to use touch recovery on any of your devices, well, you are missing out. After using the handy touch controls on my Galaxy Nexus, the OG version on my Transformer Prime just seems so outdated. Not that there is anything wrong with the older scrolling method, I just prefer to tap away at my hacking. :-)

To get the newest CM recovery on your Transformer and Transformer Prime is a piece of cake. You can automatically flash it through the ROM Manger app for the small price 0f $2 (you really should support CM development), go to the CM source link for manual install instructions, or you can use the flashable zip below (created by XDA member jvscorp). Happy touching!

Clockwork Recovery by JvS

source: ClockworkMod / XDA
via: Android Police