Earlier in the week we saw the Dutch branch of EA launch The Simpsons: Tapped Out to a limited audience, and tonight it seems to be available for everyone else. Loosely based on the show that's been on TV forever, The Simpsons: Tapped Out is part Sim City mixed in, a dash of Farmville, and a tiny bit of Mafia Wars. Mix this all together and you have the makings of a decent game.
Progress your way through the missions to rebuild Springfield after a small "accident" down at the power plant, collecting XP, cash and donuts along the way. The gameplay is great on the Nexus 10, with smooth animations and no stuttering. I've been playing it a couple hours and have had a good time doing it.
The app is free (of course in-app purchases are there if you like) and various versions exist for multiple devices in Google Play. From the comments it looks very well supported on a myriad of different devices, and it installed and runs well on all the phones and tablets I've tried it on. Hit the Google Play link above and give it a shot. The game trailer is after the break.
It?s not even out yet, but as you might expect, iFixit has already got its hands on the iPad mini and has today posted the results of the teardown. The first thing that the teardown reveals is that just like the iPhone 5 and the fifth-gen iPod touch, the iPad mini has a large metal plate behind the screen, which is fixed in with 16 screws. iFixit says that this would now seem to be a ?new iDevice design convention.? The teardown also found a Murata 339S0171 Wi-Fi module, which the iPhone 5 also has. Also revealed by the integrated circuits that control the display is the fact that the LCD was made by Samsung, one of Apple?s main rivals. And, as has been mentioned in other stories today, it has also been revealed that the iPad mini does indeed have stereo speakers. It turns out that Apple was able to fit them due to the tiny bit of extra space left when the 30-pin dock connector was replaced by the Lightning port.
Source: iPad mini teardown finds Samsung LCD, design cues taken from iPhone 5
Here's a quick look at Samsung's devilishly simple flip case for the Galaxy S III. Some of you might remember this guy from the Galaxy Note as well, and the premise remains the same. You get a pretty slick way of protecting the phone's display while adding very little bulk to the device.
That's achieved by having the cover attached to a replacement battery door via a hinge made of the same material. The inside is suede-like, and the exterior of the cover is done in a textured sort of vinyl or plastic. It folds over the display and lays nearly flat (or, more likely, will lay nearly flat after a little more time in our pockets), covering the screen and the buttons below it. There's a cutout for the earpiece, so you can close the cover while on a call, which will save you from those unsightly oil slicks. (On the other hand, we're not sure what it'll do for the cover itself. Who wants to walk around with a yellow phone?)
The battery door part of the flip case is nearly identical to what came with your phone. If you've got a carrier-branded phone in the U.S., you'll lose that logo, though, and have Samsung's instead. (That'll be a feature for a number of you, we imagine.)
The whole thing adds just a tiny bit of thickness to the phone, which at 8.6 mm maybe could stand to eat a sammich anyway. We've got a slew of pics and some hands-on video after the break.
We're back with another installment of Android A to Z, and this time we're looking at haptic feedback. It's one of those little things that can make a big difference, and something we never really think about. Simply put, haptic feedback (commonly referred to as haptics) is the use of touch feedback to the end user. You know how your Android phone vibrates a tiny bit when you tap one of the navigation buttons? That's haptics at work.
Since the screen on your Android phone or tablet is pretty much just a smooth sheet of glass of some sort or another, it's difficult to register any sort of tactile feedback to our fingers. When we type on a computer keyboard, we know when our fingers have pressed a key down. Our mouse (and some trackpads) do the same thing with a healthy click when we press the button. On a smartphone, we just have to trust we've done something, and wait for it to happen. Haptics helps here. The short and light vibration when typing out a message with an on-screen keyboard can make a big difference for many of us, and I can see myself being pretty frustrated if an on-screen button didn't let me know I had pressed it.
Haptics go beyond navigation and the keyboard though. They can be a very important part of mobile gaming. Gunning your way through an enemy horde is much more satisfying when you feel every shot from your rifle, and nothing lets you know you've hit the wall in your favorite racing game like a harsh vibration from your phone or tablet.
Probably the best thing about haptic feedback on Android devices is the way it can be customized. The OS itself is open, meaning OEM and developers can adjust things to get them just the way they like, including leaving the settings wide open to the user like we see in CyanogenMod ROMs. More importantly, application developers have access to the hardware controller to customize haptic feedback for their products. It goes one step further with the addition of things like the Immersion haptic SDK to the mix, where developers have an almost unlimited way to make their applications register with your fingers as well as your eyes and ears. Sometimes, the little things mean a lot.
Check out the complete Android Dictionary
The menu of low-cost mini-computer options expands.
Ars Technica and others report on a cool miniature Android computer that can plug directly into your TV. The whole thing is housed in a 3.5-inch plastic case, weighs in at 200 grams, and measures roughly the size of a USB thumb drive (a tiny bit bigger, actually.) It
FYI: Androinica is hosting a contest that allows users to print their Instagram photos on canvas to decorate their home or office. Get more information on how to enter the contest here.
Android users waited a long time for an Instagram for Android app. In the weeks leading up to its release, CEO Kevin Systrom even teased that the Android version was in some ways better than the iPhone version. After using the app for a few hours, I’m forced to say that’s not exactly true.
First, let’s have everyone settle down and acknowledge that this is a 1.0 of a highly-anticipated app, so there’s bound to be a tiny bit of letdown. And that’s all that this is – a tiny letdown. Still, Instagram isn’t an instant homerun. For one, the app may crash on you depending on what device you use. It stuttered several times when I attempted to take my first picture and required me to close the app and start over. (I’ve since seen others complain of a similar fate.) It’s also missing “Tilt Shift,” a feature I’m told is available on the iOS version. And then you factor in that Instagram has trouble importing from cloud services – something other apps I’ve used have done without issue – and forces users to crop images into squares, the hype doesn’t seem warranted.
But once you get past those issues, you see why Instagram might flourish in a way that other apps don’t catch-on – community. Clich
One of the triumphs of the newly unveiled iPad is the fact that despite having a much faster, quad-core processor and a Retina display, Apple says that it will still deliver 10 straight hours of battery use on just one charge, and 9 straight hours even when the LTE radio is in constant use. How can this be, you might be wondering?! Well, according to PhoneArena, the answer lies in the fact that the new iPad has a 42.5Wh battery, which is almost twice the capacity of the iPad 2?s battery, which is 25Wh, and the reason for the new iPad being a tiny bit heavier than the iPad 2. Many people thought the fact that the new iPad was rumoured to be getting a battery with a higher capacity would mean that it would actually have an extended battery life beyond the 10 hours of the iPad 2, but given that the new iPad?s battery actually has a lot more to do, for once, maintaining the status quo as far as battery life is concerned is no bad thing.
Source: iPad 3 can run for 9 hours straight on LTE. Here’s why
HTC has finally given some cold-hard assurances about which of its current crop of phones can expect to receive the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update. In a post to its Facebook page in the wee hours of the morning, HTC confirmed that it plans to deliver Ice Cream Sandwich to the following phones:
These phones are part of the “first wave of devices,” signaling that more phones could snack on Ice Cream Sandwich once more testing is done and the company has time to see if they will be able to fit Android 4.0 on previous generation devices. In the meantime, these phones can count on receiving the update so long as there aren’t any last minute complications like the Gingerbread debacle.
We expected that only the flagship devices released in 2011 could have realistic hopes of ICS, but perhaps others can have a slim, measured, tempered, tiny bit of hope that HTC will extend the upgrade to other phones in early 2012. Here’s HTC’s statement in full.
HTC Facebook via Engadget
HTC knows how excited our fans are to get their hands on Google’s latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, so we’re thrilled today to announce the first wave of HTC phones that will receive upgrades: We can confirm the brand new HTC Vivid, on sale beginning today, is upgradeable to Ice Cream Sandwich. In addition, Ice Cream Sandwich is coming in early 2012 to a variety of devices including the HTC Sensation, HTC Sensation XL and HTC Sensation XE, as well as the HTC Rezound, HTC EVO 3D, HTC EVO Design 4G and HTC Amaze 4G through close integration with our carrier partners. We’re continuing to assess our product portfolio, so stay tuned for more updates on device upgrades, timing and other details about HTC and Ice Cream Sandwich.
If you live in a cave and missed the "big" announcement of the
iPhone 5 iPhone 4S, you need to have a peek for reference before we start. Jump over to TiPb, where Allyson has a summary and links so you can watch the whole thing (if you can be bothered to install a proprietary QuickTime plugin, that is). If you came back a bit underwhelmed, you're not alone, and it looks like more than a few iPhone die-hards will be skipping this update altogether.
OK, we're done with the links and news about the iP4S — promise. I just wanted to be sure you all had a chance to see just what Apple took 16 months to release, and have an idea how it was received. Now compare it to the reaction the Internet, folks in our forums, and people in general had to the Samsung Galaxy S II.
This goes beyond the Galaxy S II. Samsung is releasing some amazing products, listening to user feedback, and delivering what consumers want. I don't like Touchwiz. Not even a tiny bit. But, damn, it is smooth and fluid on the latest Samsung hardware, including the Galaxy Tab 10.1. It's also functional, bringing things to the table that users haven't even thought to ask for yet. Techie types are falling in love with Samsung's new products, and we all know where non-techy types look for advice. No longer will the non-fanboy instantly say the word iSomething when asked what the best smartphone is, because until Apple can show something new, with features users have been asking for, the iProduct isn't it.
We tend to think in terms of smartphone here (we are a Mobile Nation of Smartphone Experts after all) but Samsung, like LG, sells an amazing amount of phones every year. Numbers that dwarf any manufacturer's smartphone sales. They are in the Prime position (see what we just did there?) to put out the product that sets the tone for the next generation of smartphones, likely running Android. Apple can't risk that, because they have a giant cash cow they need to protect.
For all the polish and thought that goes into Apple's mobile products, they are just a front end for iTunes. The fellows in Cupertino know that they can create buzz on a brand (and they do a marvelous job at it), but can they compete when another product comes on the scene that is simply better? That's a risk that Apple is too smart to take. If Samsung is able to build and sell something to make the average user want it enough to leave the iTunes universe, Apple's revenue will be hit — hard. Apple knows how to sell content and build mindshare. Samsung knows how to sell a whole lot of electronic devices. The two had to butt heads eventually, and as Android matures, that day isn't far off. NVIDIA shows us what can be done with powerful hardware on a mobile device. The Galaxy S II line shows us that hardware has reached a point where even less-than-optimized software can look and feel awful damn good. When the two meet (Ice Cream Sandwich? Maybe.), the chance to really shake up Apple's ecosystem is there.
I'm no fancy paid analyst — I'm a middle aged father of three who happens to be a big nerd. I have a theory that if I can see the big picture, real analysts and businessmen can as well. Samsung is in the position to de-throne Apple, and spending the last six months worrying about legislation instead of innovation makes perfect sense to me after the recent iPhone announcement.
AppleInsider says that Apple?s iPad 2 launch last week has sent Samsung back to the labs to work on ?inadequate? parts of its forthcoming Galaxy Tab 10.1. In an interview with Yonhap News Agency, executive vice president of Samsung?s mobile division, Lee Don-joo, said that the fact that Apple was able to make the iPad 2 so thin was forcing Samsung back to the drawing board, especially with Apple keeping the iPad 2 at the same price point as the first iPad, but with all the extra goodies.
Samsung introduced the Galaxy Tab 10.1 at last month?s Mobile World Congress. It runs on Android 3.0 Honeycomb, weighs 21 ounces and was 0.44 inches thick, in contrast to the iPad 2, which weighs just a tiny bit more (21.28 ounces) but is just 0.35 inches thick. Although Samsung has not yet announced pricing details for the Galaxy Tab 10, its planned pricing structure was obviously higher than that of the iPad 2, as Lee has also apparently said that Samsung is already rethinking its pricing structure for the new Galaxy tab.
AppleInsider notes that Samsung was one of the companies mentioned by Steve Jobs at the iPad 2 launch last week when he said 2011 could be the ?year of the copycats.?
Source: AppleInsider | Apple’s iPad 2 prompts Samsung to improve ‘inadequate’ parts of Galaxy Tab 10.1