- Google Hangouts updating to v2.4 on Android
- Samsung and Barnes & Noble introduce Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
- EYE Experience update now rolling out to Verizon and T-Mobile HTC One M8
- Google library updates will help developers bring Material Design to pre-Lollipop devices
- 17 best Android strategy games
- Humble Bundle brings “Mo-boo!-ile Bundle” to Android just in time for Halloween
- Leaked LG F490L ‘Liger’ may be the first smartphone with a LG-made SOC
- Developing on ARM – Everything you need to know
- Squawkin – Indie app of the day
- Google Earth update brings new 3D rendering tech and a few other tweaks
Google is pushing out a small update to the Hangouts app on Android. Hangouts v2.4 is rolling out now bringing with it bug fixes and a handy Google Voice tie-in UI improvement. If you do not already have Hangouts, head on in to the Google Play Store to get your free copy. Be sure to grab the Hangouts Dialer as well, if you wish to use the app to make calls. Truth is, Google has not yet updated the What's New section for Hangouts in the Google Play Store, leaving us to dig for any changes. It is safe to bet that there are some bug fixes and performance improvements in the background. What we are seeing up front is the inclusion of your Google Voice calling credits in the top right of the main screen, with a handy little button that fires you over to the Voice website to add to your balance. Let me take this moment to remind you to slide open that left hand menu and look at the Invites section. I just did, and found that I have missed hundreds of messages, including many from friends and from readers of Android Authority wishing to touch base. I have a few apologies to make, I hope that you do not as well. As mentioned, head on into the Google Play Store to grab your copy of Hangouts, otherwise, the update hit my devices a little over an hour ago, your update will be along shortly. While we wait for Google to update us on what's new, have you found anything we've missed? How are you liking the new calling and messaging services of Hangouts?
Soon after the release of their first tablet/e-reader hybrid, Samsung and Barnes & Noble are back with a bigger iteration of their first. This time dubbed the Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1, it aims to offer a bigger screen size, and that’s about it. The new tablet is priced at $300 (after a $50 mail in rebate), and comes with $200 worth of free content from the NOOK store. Users will receive an episode of “The Newsroom”, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, and “The Octonauts”, as well as four best-selling e-books, and choose up to four 14-day free trial subscription from 15 select magazines. The companies’ first tablet, the Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK, will also receive the $200 worth of free content, so long as you’re a new customer. As for what’s under the hood? The specs of the 10.1 and the 7-incher very similar. Both screens have a 1280×800 resolution, 1.2Ghz quad-core processor, 3MP rear-facing camera, 1.3MP front-facing camera, and 1.5GB of RAM. As the 7-inch Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK is going for $169.99, it’s _very_ difficult to understand why anyone would want the 10.1 variant but we suppose some people are willing to pay the premium for more screen real estate. The Galaxy Tab 4 Nook 10.1 is up for sale in Barnes & Noble stores and online starting today. Does the bigger version of the tablet have you interested? Let us know your thoughts!
Along with its recently announced Desire EYE, HTC is beginning to release the EYE Experience to One M8 owners in the United States. As promised, the update has come swiftly after the announcement, now making its way to Verizon and T-Mobile users. While Verizon’s update has just started pushing out today, T-Mobile’s update began yesterday. Not only will the update bring Android 4.4.4 KitKat, users will also see all of the EYE Experience camera enhancements. For those of you new to the EYE Experience, some of the additions include screen sharing, Split Capture, Voice Selfie, Crop-Me-In mode, along with improved face tracking with more people in the room. Be sure to check out our original announcement post for more in-depth details on what to expect. Though the update may be live, it could take a few days to get to your device. Have you received the EYE Experience update to your One M8? How are you liking the new camera features?
We were first introduced to Material Design back at Google I/O, and since then we’ve seen a number of Google’s apps slowly make changes that better fit in line with Google’s new design guidelines. Beyond that, a number of 3rd party developers have also taken inspiration from MD in the recent months and introduced changes that reflect these guidelines. Now with the Android 5.0 SDK out and Lollipop’s final release just around the corner, Google is doing even more to ensure developers can bring Material Design goodness to all their apps, regardless of whether or not the device is running Android 5.0. To that end, Google has now announced it is expanding their support libraries and introducing a major update to AppCompat (version 21), as well as new RecyclerView, CardVidew and Palette libraries in order to “enable [developers] to bring [their] latest designs to older Android platforms”. Among AppCompat’s changes is a new Toolbar widget, which Google describes as “a generalization of the Action Bar pattern that gives you much more control and flexibility. Toolbar is a view in your hierarchy just like any other, making it easier to interleave with the rest of your views, animate it, and react to scroll events. You can also set it as your Activity’s action bar, meaning that your standard options menu actions will be display within it.” While these changes really will only interest developers, end users should know that this means that the people that build your favorites apps now have better tools and libraries that will allow them to integrate the Material Design look and feel, even if you happen to have a phone that will never see the Lollipop update officially. For more details on the changes to AppCompat and other libraries, you'll want to check out Android's developer blog.
Strategy games have translated to touch screens better than most gaming genres. Game developers have noticed this and now you can find a metric ton of strategy games in the Google Play Store. Which ones are the best? That's the question we set out to find out. Here are the best Android strategy games. ------------------------- AGE OF CIVILIZATIONS [Price: $2.29] Age of Civilizations is a turn-based strategy game with no in app purchases. It also pulls out all the stops on add on content such as Google Play Games services, offline play, and a bunch of scenarios including both World Wars. The way it works is you issue commands before the start of every round and then those actions get completed. What you can do is limited by your Movement Points. Overall, it's kind of like the classic board game Risk so fans of that should enjoy this title quite a bit. You can also do things like form alliances and sign peace treaties. ------------------------- ANOMALY 2 [Price: $4.99] Anomaly 2 is a tower offense and tower defense hybrid game that includes intense game play and decent graphics. That includes PhysX integration and support for the Tegra K1 (if you have any of those devices). There is an online multiplayer mode where someone plays tower offense and the other plays tower defense which is a unique game play feature you won't find in many other places. It's also one of the few strategy games on this list to have a decent story line. There are also no in app purchases! ------------------------- AUTUMN DYNASTY - RTS [Price: $4.99] The first thing you'll notice about Autumn Dynasty is its unique graphics. All of the graphics are done in the style of traditional Chinese painting which adds a bit of an authentic feel to the game play. You "paint" your orders by manually circling troops and targets to tell them what to do. It's a real-time strategy and the idea is that you have to take up the sword and prevent civil war. It's $4.99 and there are no in app purchases in this title. ------------------------- BATTLESTATION - FIRST CONTACT [Price: Free with in app purchases] In this lighter, but addictive strategy game, you control a battle station. Using troops, upgrades, weapons, and other implements of destruction, you must defend your battle station from an alien invasion. The first level of the game is free to play but you much purchase the rest of the game via an in app purchase. It features quick, intense game play that provides a solid experience for a freemium title. ------------------------- BOOM BEACH [Price: Free with in app purchases] Boom Beach is a free (with in app purchases) strategy game from the super popular Supercell developers. In this game, you must load up boats with troops and storm the beaches of your opponents which can be both offline and online. There is a campaign mode where you must defeat the Blackguard and free the island natives from their reign of terror. You can upgrade your own base along with your troops to give yourself a better chance at defense and attacking. It's a fairly simple game with a strong social aspect and it's great for casual players. ------------------------- CLASH OF CLANS [Price: Free with in app purcahses] Supercell's more popular title is Clash of Clans. In this game you must build up a defense to defend against raids from other players and then raid other players. It's almost entirely a social game as the campaign mode falls into the background almost immediately after you begin playing. You can join clans with other players and give each other troops and engage in clan wars against other (usually similarly leveled) clans. It's been cloned a bunch of times and still remains the most popular free strategy game on Android. ------------------------- EUFLORIA HD [Price: $4.99] Eufloria HD is a different kind of strategy game. Instead of focusing on an intense battle between two entities, this title focuses on conquering asteroids in space and then using their resources to kind of terraform them. It's known as an ambient strategy game because it's actually more relaxing than anything and the muted colors and easy game play kind of lend themselves to that experience as well. It's $4.99 and there are no in app purchases which, frankly, only serves to strengthen the relaxing atmosphere of this title. ------------------------- FROZEN SYNAPSE [Price: $2.99] Frozen Synapse a fairly intense tactical combat game where you must clear levels by controlling your troops and killing the bad guys. There is an array of weapons you can use and a lot of the game focuses on breach-and-clear style tactics. There are over 50 single player missions and five online multiplayer modes. There are also no in app purchases which is great news if you don't like those. This game won't work on older tablets due to resolution constraints but if you have something fairly new then you'll be okay. ------------------------- GREAT LITTLE WAR GAME 1 AND 2 [Price: $2.49 and $2.99] The Great Little War Game series has been popular and highly rated for quite some time now. The premise in both games is roughly the same. Both games are checkerboard-style, turn-based strategy games. You move troops along a board and once you get within range, you can shoot at them. There are different strategies thanks to terrain and troops but overall this is more geared toward the casual gamer than the serious one. They're inexpensive and they also come in free version if you want to try those out first! ------------------------- KINGDOM RUSH AND KINGDOM RUSH FRONTIERS [Price: $0.99 with in app purchases and $1.99 with in app purchases (respectively)] The Kingdom Rush series is another highly touted and popular tower defense series. The first one has a 4.6 rating in the Play Store and the other has a 4.7. Those are very impressive marks. They're known for their fast, addictive game play and their goofy but fun choices in towers and troops. Alongside that are 70 achievements, 18 tower abilities, 40 enemies, 11 heroes, and three difficulty modes. The games themselves are a little short but you can still have a lot of fun. ------------------------- OUT THERE [Price: $3.99] Out There is a survival strategy game where you must gather resources and interact with alien life forms in order to survive. Like most strategy games you must travel, collect resources, and build updates to improve your changes of survival. You must combat some aliens while you befriend others while you slowly learn each of their languages. It's a pretty unique game with three different endings and it even builds a slightly different galaxy each time you start a new game. ------------------------- PLAGUE INC [Price: Free with in app purchases] Plague Inc is an intensely fun and popular game that has managed to keep a 4.5 rating in the Google Play Store. The premise of the game is quite simple. You must develop the next wave of super diseases to wipe out the planet. There are a variety of diseases to choose from and each one can be upgraded and modified to do more things. Despite its popularity and age, the developers are still adding new content as well. It's a great freemium title. ------------------------- PLANTS VS ZOMBIES 2 [Price: Free with in app purchases] Plants vs Zombies 2 is arguably the most casual strategy game of any on this list. In this checkerboard, tower defense-style game, you must create weaponized plants to defend your yard from the zombie hoard. By using a combination of plants, you can achieve victory in each level. The developers have been adding new content since the game came out and that just adds to its value. If you don't like this version, you can always try the original Plants vs Zombies which is $1.14. ------------------------- RYMDKAPSEL [Price: $3.99] The phrase "Great graphics don't necessarily mean great games" applies to a game like rymdkapsel. Despite the simplistic (albeit colorful) graphics, this game is intense and fun. In this title, you focus on building the best base you possibly can by building units and generating resources. You must also defend from wave after wave of attacks. The price is $3.99 and the game does only contain a single level so if you're a thrifty app buyer, you may not like that. Otherwise, rymdkapsel is worth some consideration. ------------------------- SKULLS OF THE SHOGUN [Price: $4.99] Skulls of the Shogun is a turn-based strategy game with a quick pace and fun, cartoon-ish graphics. It contains 24 levels, 4 magical animal monks, 4 gods, 6 generals, and all sorts of other content to enjoy. There are also two forms of multiplayer. There's a pass-and-play style multiplayer and an online multiplayer available where you send moves much like a chess game. It hasn't gained the popularity of some of these other titles and it really should. ------------------------- STAR COMMAND [Price: $2.99] This title was actually originally funded on Kickstarter which is where most of its early popularity stemmed from. In this game you build your own ship, explore the universe, prevent aliens from invading your ship, and blow up a lot of stuff. The graphics are old school which provides a charming retro feel to the game. Some people have complained about the lack of updates because the game only gets an update about once every six months but most people seem to enjoy it. ------------------------- XCOM ENEMY UNKNOWN [Price: $9.99] Those looking for console quality titles need to look no further than XCOM Enemy Unknown. In this combat strategy game you must train your allies, upgrade and research new tech, and save the planet from aliens. The strategy comes in combat as you must move your characters around to best take advantage of cover while you flank and kill your enemies. It's a deep game with a lot of content and great graphics. Of course, with a console level comes a console level price tag which some people may not be happy about. ------------------------- WRAP UP If we missed any great Android strategy games, by all means please let us know in the comments!
Beginning today, the folks at Humble Bundle are rolling out a new group of apps, this time with a spooky theme. Not only can you pay what you want to get this Android-exclusive group of Halloween-themed games, you can also grab one of the popular titles for free. _The Spookening_ is being offered for free this time around, bringing a spooky 3D gaming experience to your Android device. To download _The Spookening_, hand over your email address on the site, and continue on with the download. Here are the games included in the “Mo-boo!-ile Bundle”: * Rebuild * Oscura: Second Shadow * COntainment: The Zombie Puzzler If you’re so inclined to pay more than the average ($2.79), you can unlock 3 more games, including: * Five Nights at Freddy’s * Dead Effect * The Walking Dead: Assault Remember, not only are you receiving these 7 games for a very small price, but part of your money also goes towards charity. With that being said, it’s pretty hard to resist these horror-themed games! Which is your favorite game out of the list above? Any particular one that’s driving you to pick up this bundle?
A newly leaked brochure out of South Korea indicates that LG is gearing up to release a new phablet-sized handset that seems to pack some reasonably decent specs. The device is dubbed the LG F490L and bears the codename “Liger”. As for the specs, the LG F490L offers up a 5.9-inch 1080p display (not as impressive as QHD, but still more than decent), 2GB RAM, 32GB storage, a 13MP main cam with laser auto-focus, a 2.1MP front cam and a 3000 mAh battery. The overall aesthetics are clearly similar to the LG G3, though the phone is obviously much bigger measuring 157.8 x 81.8 x 9.45mm. Interestingly enough, it is still smaller than the Nexus 6 though, which dimensions are 159.26 x 82.98 x 10.06 mm.
the LG F490L is powered by an LG-made NUCLUN octa-coreYou may have noticed I haven’t mentioned the SoC for the F490L, and for good reason -- it stands out enough to discuss separately. According to the brochure, the LG F490L is powered by an LG-made NUCLUN octa-core, which means that this could very well be the first handset to be powered by an in-house LG processor. The CPU is said to feature four cores clocked at 1.2GHz and four at 1.5GHz, though it’s unclear whether this is a 32 or 64-bit chip. Now only one question left: Is this yet another LG G3 spin-off, a next-gen LG G Pro or something else? Considering the NUCLUN is LG’s first chip for smartphones, odds are the quantities are low, that makes it less likely that it’ll be the next-gen LG G Pro -- unless there’s also a Snapdragon model for other markets. For now it remains unknown whether or not it will carry the G branding (G3 or otherwise) or a completely different moniker all together. It is worth noting that the handset will reportedly be exclusive to LG U+ (LG’s own carrier brand) in South Korea and that should allow it to keep the numbers low enough to ensure the NUCLUN chip can chip up with demand. Its unclear if or when the phone might reach other markets outside of Korea. What do you think, if the handset came to a market near you, would you be interested in trying out a handset with an LG-made SoC?
There is no doubt about the popularity of ARM's range of microprocessor designs. From small microcontrollers to its multi-core 64-bit processors, ARM is responsible for the design and intellectual property in everything from white goods to server farms. The use of ARM based processors in smartphones and tablets means that both Android and iOS users rely on these chips every day. The ubiquity of the ARM architecture means that there is a high demand for ARM savvy developers. These developers are needed to create the next generation of software that will run on ARM processors. So, if you want to write software that will run on ARM processors, what do you need to know?
ARM has ensured that all the tools needed to develop for ARM processors are available, under both commercial and open-source licenses.The first thing you need to know, before we get into the specifics, is that it isn't hard. ARM has ensured that all the tools needed to develop for ARM processors are available, under both commercial and open-source licenses. The next question is, what type of device do you want to develop on? ARM's range of processors starts with its Cortex-M microcontrollers. These small processors run at low clock speeds (from around 16Mhz to around 120Mhz) and have a small amount of system RAM (between 4K and 256K). At the other end of the scale are multi-core 64-bit processors which run at GHz speed and have access to gigabytes of memory. In between you have single board computers, Chromebooks and smartphones. The easiest way to describe the different development environments is to look at them one at a time. However it is important to keep one thing in mind, all these different categories are essentially using the same processor architecture. If done right, and with some caveats, it is possible to take a binary built for a Cortex-M processor and link it into a program designed for a 64-bit Cortex-A57 processor! CORTEX-M ARM's range of Cortex-M designs are becoming increasingly important as the new wearables and Internet-of-Things (IoT) markets start to explode. Since these types of devices are low-cost and designed to be ubiquitous, the potential number of chips that will ship over the next few years could be ten times greater than the number of ARM chips that are shipping in smartphones and tablets. This is a potentially lucrative market just waiting to be explored. Microcontrollers are very bare-metal. When you write a program for one you need to do all the heavy lifting yourself, there isn't necessarily a fancy operating system like Linux to provide memory management, file systems, locks, queues and so on. This style of programming is known as "embedded" programming. This doesn't mean that developers are left to re-invent the wheel every time they write a program, but the mindset needs to be different. Embedded developers can optionally use what is known as a Real-Time Operating System (RTOS). An RTOS is small, fast, deterministic and provides a valuable set of core operating system functions. And as you can imagine there are lots of RTOSes available for ARM processors. If you want to get started with embedded programming with ARMs Cortex-M range then probably the best place to start is at mbed.org. The mbed project is developed by ARM and it provides all the free software libraries, hardware designs and online tools needed to create rapid prototypes based on ARM microcontrollers.
Mbed compatible boards start at just $12.95 each.Mbed compatible boards start at just $12.95 each. That will get you a FRDM-KL25Z board with a 48MHz Cortex-M0 processor, 16K of RAM, and 128K of flash memory to store the software. It also includes a 3-axis accelerometer, some LEDs and a capacitive touch sensor. The Mbed project provides an online C compiler and access to ARM's RTOS called RTX. That means that for under $15 and with access to a web browser you can start programming a Cortex-M0 board. On the website there are lots of examples along with full documentation. There is also lots of information about how to connect sensors and communication components to the different boards. Mbed.org isn't the only solution to programming for the Cortex-M processors. A lot of the board makers provide their own tools. For example, TI has a range of boards (called LaunchPad) and it also provides its own tools for developing with those boards. Other examples include the Arduino Due, which uses a Cortex-M3 processor; and the Arduino Zero, which uses a Cortex-M0+ processor. There are also commercial solutions from ARM (Keil and ARM Development Studio) and other companies like IAR, Atollic, Rowley Associates, and Keolabs. These tools support multiple boards from multiple manufacturers. There are also open-source solutions specifically the GNU compiler tool chain and tools like emIDE, CoIDE and Em::Blocks. RASPBERRY PI Another low-cost entry point into the world of ARM is the Raspberry Pi. At its heart is the Broadcom BCM2835 system on a chip (SoC), which includes an ARM1176JZF-S running at 700 MHz. The cheapest Pi is just $25 and comes with 256MB of RAM, but has no Ethernet port. The $35 version has Ethernet and an additional 256MB of memory. The board runs a specially built version of Debian Linux called Raspbian. Since the device has Linux it means that many of the common Linux development tools are immediately available including the GNU compiler (for C and C++) and Java. There are also scripting languages like Python, Perl and Lua available, plus Google's Golang has also been ported to ARM and runs excellently on the Raspberry Pi.
The GNU compiler collection already supports the ARMv8 architecture and programs written on a 32-bit ARM Linux platform should run on 64-bit processors without modification.Since these systems will likely run Linux then developing for 64-bit ARM is just like developing for any other 64-bit operating system, including 64-bit Linux on Intel. The GNU compiler collection already supports the ARMv8 architecture and programs written on a 32-bit ARM Linux platform should run on 64-bit ARM processors without modification. Assuming the code doesn't rely on any 32-bit trickery (like bit operations that assume a 32-bit word), then moving to 64-bits will be easy. The Linux kernel is already fully 64-bit aware, as are the various tools and system services. CONCLUSION Whatever your area of interest from wearables to server farms, from single board computers to smartphones, there is ample opportunity to write software that runs on devices using ARM based processors. The tools are available, the hardware is plentiful, what is stopping you?
WHAT IS SQUAWKIN? Squawkin is a new social media application that focuses more on messaging than on things like check ins or status updates. You can control the size of your messaging circles by using three different tiers and it does provide a little something different. It's currently free in the Google Play Store with no in app purchases. Here's how the app works. Once you sign up and get settled in, you'll be able to start interacting with people on Squawkin. There are three tiers of communication that you can use. There is the usual private messaging which is self explanatory. Groups allows you to create a group and populate it with people you know. Then those people can interact much like a chat room. The third tier is called Crowds and that's kind of like following something on Twitter. You follow a person or interest and you can post there to have everyone see it. Likewise, they can do the same. Squawkin uses a classic Holo UI so it's easy enough to navigate around and find what you need to find. There are a variety of tools to communicate with people you know and some discovery features to get you in touch with people you don't know. It does have a few pitfalls. Inviting people to the app is kinda difficult because it doesn't access your contacts (like other social networking apps do) so there's no real way to invite people unless you send them to download the app or to the website directly. Other than that, everything is straightforward and very few people will be confused on how to use Squawkin._Check out the last indie app of the day: 3D Live Wallpaper Dark City_ _Join us in the Apps and Games section of the Android Authority forums! Just don't forget to read the rules first!_
Its Something A Little Bit Different.
PROS* Allows you to communicate with other users in three tiers which is unique. * Focuses on messaging rather than on status updates which is a refreshing change. * Free with no in app purchases. * Uses Holo UI which makes it easy to use. * There are plenty of discovery and messaging features to help you enjoy yourself.
7.0Overall, it's a nifty idea. Most social networks focus on a "friends" or "followers" paradigm whereas this is more like an old school messaging service with a social media aspect. If you're looking for something new and a little bit different then this could be for you. It is free to try so it can't hurt.
It’s Update Wednesday and while the most exciting thing to come from Google is the new Inbox from Gmail app, Google is also rolling out a new Google Earth update that includes new 3D rendering tech and a few other tweaks. In their blog post, Google says that 3D images will now look much better and that users will see ““faster, smoother, and crisper transitions as you’re zooming into your dream destination in Google Earth. Thanks to a new 3D rendering technology—the first major 3D overhaul since Earth launched more than 10 years ago—sharper views of mountains and cities are just a virtual skydive away.” In addition, Google will give updates the same time as Google Maps basemaps from now on, meaning faster updates for Google Earth. While the new 3D rendering tech and faster updates are the biggest changes,Google also mentions roads will be getting nicer labels, Google Earth can now open KML files directly, and you can also expect the typical bug fixes that come with these sorts of updates. The latest version of Google Earth will start rolling out to Google Play over the next fews, though we’ll be sure to update his post if we manage to get our hands on an APK ahead of the full rollout. For those that have already received the update, what do you think of the changes?