If you’re a Facebook fanatic, chances are that you’ve played Rovio’s hyper-addictive Angry Birds Friends at some point recently. As slick and cool as that spinoff of the game is, gamers have been limited to playing the game on a desktop computer as opposed to on our mobile devices. Fortunately Rovio realized that 60 million installs and a 15 million active user base must be tapped into just a wee bit further– and that’s why it used a Facebook event in Helsinki to announce a mobile version of its Angry Birds Friends game— which is inspired by the popular Supercell in-app store services to gain extra revenue.
Many of you are probably wondering why it took so long for Rovio to
finally come out with a mobile version of the game, right? Well it’s quite simple really: up until recently, Rovio has been reluctant to monopolize revenues and sources of income in areas like paid apps, but with the paid apps business and merchandising taking off, Rovio is taking a chance by being open with free creative spinoffs of its games like Angry Birds Friends. Looking at the bigger picture, the developer sees this latest installment of the series as more exposure for its brands, while simultaneously tapping into the up-and-coming freemium business model.
Be on the lookout for the game to hit Android devices soon. Oh— and please don’t blame us for any lost time in productivity.
T-Mobile made a splash announcing its new no-contract Simple Choice plans and we here at Talk Android are wondering: Can they actually save you money? For the longest time, the wireless industry here in the U.S. has been dominated by two-year contracts. Whether you go with Sprint, Verizon or AT&T, the only way to get a solid smartphone at a lower price ($99 to $299), is by signing a two-year contract. Many Americans simply don’t have the cash to pay full price for an unlocked smartphone or tablet.
T-Mobile wants to change that with Simple Choice. There are no contracts and kicking off with the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4 for just $99, it sounds like a great deal. First, let’s see what Simple Choice has to offer and at what prices:
Last week we told you that AT&T would be opening up pre-orders for the Galaxy S 4 on April 16th and would be coming with a $249.99 price tag. However AT&T wasn’t clear on whether or not that price tag would be for the 16GB or 32GB model. Well today they ended up shedding some light on the matter. The 32GB model will come with the $249.99 price tag and the 16GB will be $199.99. AT&T hasn’t given an official date for when the phone will be actually available but at least you’ll have some options when you pre-order. Paying an extra $50 for 16 more gigabytes may be worth it but you could always use that extra $50 for an SD card. Either way, it’s nice to have options. Which one are you buying?
The Galaxy S 4 will be the most successful phone for Samsung this year, but there is still a huge market for entry-level phones. They just announced the Galaxy Star and Galaxy Pocket Neo, which will end up in emerging markets. The only glaring difference between the two phones is the CPU. The Galaxy Star comes in at 1GHz, while the Pocket Neo comes in at 850MHz. You will also find a digital compass on the Pocket Neo as well. Both phones feature a 3-inch QVGA (320 x 240) display, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal memory, microSD slot for expandable memory, 2MP rear camera, dual-SIM capability, and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
Samsung and Mozilla announced a new partnership today that involves the development of a next generation browser engine. Called Servo, this browser engine will take advantage of multiple cores, allowing it to work even faster than today’s mobile browsers. To start, Servo will run on ARM-powered Android devices. Servo is written on a new language called Rust which was developed by Mozilla and will help to beef up security. There is no official release date as Rust is not considered stable yet and if you are a developer, you can access the source code from Github.
Last month Google CEO Larry Page announced Android founder and team member Andy Rubin was moving on to something new at Google. In his place, Sundar Pichai will be taking over the lead on Android. While all parties have been pretty mum on the subject of what Google was up to, that has not stopped the rumor mill from cranking up and trying to read between the lines. Recently, some folks with Business Insider spent some time speaking with insiders and former Google employees to see if they could piece together a better understanding of the situation.
A new report from Digitimes says Samsung has set a goal to sell 500 million handset devices in 2013. This is a step up for Samsung given that they sold 420 million handset devices in 2012. The report also stated that BOE, a China-based panel maker, is supplying Samsung with a rate of 10 million panels per month for its entry-level and mid-range handset devices. Samsung is shooting for the stars, and depending on the success of their newly announced Galaxy S 4, they may very well reach their goal.
Just yesterday we saw pictures of the Facebook Phone’s hardware, but the software is what’s really exciting, right? Thanks to @evleaks and courtesy of 9to5 Google, we’ve got our first glimpse at what the custom Android skin is going to look like.
In the first picture you can see what’s likely to be an app drawer, complete with standard Google apps. There was some speculation that Facebook might pull an Amazon and cut ties with Google completely in the software, but that’s obviously not the case. Aside from the Google apps, we have the expected Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram apps. On the top of the app drawer, there are shortcuts for posting status updates, photos, and check ins on Facebook.
AT&T has rolled out LTE to 14 new markets which now marks a total of 175 markets with LTE coverage. Eight locations are in the south with Florida taking the top spot. Here they are:
- Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Arkansas
- Fort Smith, Arkansas
- Fresno, California
- Palm Coast, Florida
- Lakeland-Winter Haven Florida
- Fort Pierce, Florida
- Mount Dora, Florida
- Carbondale-Marion Illinois
- Houma/Thibodaux, Louisana
- Jefferson City, Missouri
- Las Cruces, New Mexico
- Binghamton, New York
- Temple/Killeen Texas
- Mount Vernon, Washington
The HTC One is set to launch on multiple U.S. carriers April 19 and one feature that has people talking is the new UltraPixel camera. Instead of a higher megapixel camera, HTC went with a four megapixel camera that has some different technology behind it. As any photography geek knows, more megapixels doesn’t always mean better image quality. Factors such as image sensor and the quality of lens have a large impact. With a sensor that can capture 300% more light than any 13 megapixel smartphone camera on the market, HTC believes its UltraPixel camera is better than the competition. JR Raphael of Computerworld got to sit down with Symon Whitehorn who heads up smartphone imaging at HTC.
According to reports, Samsung is working on a new generation Galaxy Ace device to succeed the Galaxy Ace 2 released last year. The third generation in the Ace line will have a 4.0-inch display, a 5MP camera, 4GB of internal storage and will run Android Jelly Bean. No information on a processor is available yet, but some are guessing it may carry a 1.2GHz dual-core chip. Samsung is expected to release the new Ace device in four colors – Metallic Black, Metallic Blue, Pure White, and Wine Red – sometime in June. The device’s model number is GT-S7272.
While many people are waiting and watching for news about flagship devices from the major manufacturers, work continues on devices for other strata in the market. Today Vietnamese retailer Mai Nguyen posted information about a new device from Samsung, the Galaxy Win (I8552), expected to launch in May 2013. The Galaxy Win will be powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 processor driving a 480×800 4.7-inch screen. The device will run Android 4.1.2, has a 5MP camera, supports up to a 32GB microSD card for additional memory, and is dual-SIM capable. The device does not have 4G capability. No information on pricing, carriers or markets was provided. Hit the break for a couple more images of this new Samsung smartphone.
Since the major acquisition last year, Google has made it clear that it wants QuickOffice to make accessing and editing various Microsoft Office documents for the average consumer— but what about the various businesses out there? Sure business have the option of using their Google Apps account to access Google Drive, but let’s face it— Google Drive isn’t exactly intuitive and doesn’t mesh well with various Office documents out there. Well Google has heard businesses’ cries and made QuickOffice available for all Google Apps users… all for the smooth price of free. This means that all you Google Apps users out there will have instant access to all your files stored in Google Drive or open up an Office file on your device and have the ability to edit and save the file back to your device or Drive and access them from anywhere, anytime.
Again, the app is available for free for all Google Apps users, so if you have one of those coveted accounts, head on down to the Play Store link and grab your copy today.
Play Store download link
We already reported that the next Nexus 7 will sport the Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU instead of the current NVIDIA Tegra 3, and Reuters is now confirming it. Also unsurprisingly, they are reporting that it will have a better display. We expect the next generation Nexus 7 to be unveiled at Google I/O in May, but Reuters is saying that it won’t be available till July.
Pricing is going to be key now that Amazon has lowered their pricing. Google may choose to stick with the $199/$249 plan, but there is a rumor that they will drop to $149/$199. I believe they will opt for the latter, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they drop the price of the Nexus 10 around the same time.
Humble Mobile Bundle has done it again! Above and beyond the games we previously reported for the Humble Mobile Bundle with Android 5, they have gone and added another 3 games. As was the case last time, the additional games will not cost a penny if you have already purchased the bundle, and will cost a mere $5.57 (at the time of this post) for new purchases. This price will get you the original six bundle games, Contre Jour, Anomaly Korea, Plants vs. Zombies, Bladeslinger, The Rooma and Metal Slug 3, coupled with the additional 3 new games:
- Funky Smugglers
- Raiden Legacy
- Another World