Saturday, January 22, 2011

AAQR: gTabSiMiClock, i.e. SIMI Clock

gTabSiMiClock is a modified SiMiClock that is compatible with tablets that supports more than 4x4 screens.

Even with just 4x1 it has very clean looks and rather minimalistic yet stylish. If you tap the clock it will also launch an app of your choice. Worth checking out.

Download SiMi clock from Appbrain

Android Phone Utilities Roundup Has Been Updated

Covers phone, SMS, backup, dialer replacements, call log recorders and analyzers, and so on.

7 Weirdest Android Phones of 2010

Do you know the 7 Weirdest Android Phones of 2010?

Smallest, largest, brightest, and more.

Juice Defender review updated to cover latest version 3.2

BatteryImage via WikipediaJuice Defender and other battery extender reviews updated to cover Juice Defender 3.2 with total interface revamp

You should also read why Task Killers Do NOT Save Power
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Newbie Android FAQ Has Been Updated

Image representing Android as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBaseIf you want to buy an Android phone, or have gotten one but have some questions about it, check the Newbie Android FAQ for some advice, such as "do WiFi count toward my data plan?" and "what is rooting"?

Latest section added is "selection", which explains what sort of Android Phones are out there. it's not a buyer's guide, but a general explanation.
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AAQR: Android Assistant

Android Assistant is just a task killer with pretty graphs, process lister, and some "tools" like cache cleaner and so on tacked onto the app.

The "monitor" seem to be the prettiest feature... pie chart for CPU and memory. However, there's really nothing special here. battery info is also normal. "Quick Boost" is just a task killer on "auto".

Under "process" it gives a nice list of running apps, classified into services, widgets, system, and so on. It's nothing too special either. AutoKiller / Watchdog etc. have done this for a while.

In fact, the actual app name is actually "advanced process manager", so this "assistant" name is most camo. 

Tools are just various tools tacked onto a screen.

It's not bad, but it's not that special either.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Download Android Assistant from Appbrain
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Live Wallpaper Roundup now at 186 different LWPs rated

Android robot logo.Image via WikipediaAdded another 10 to one of the most comprehensive list of live wallpapers for Android phones! Following are added:
  • sakura
  • plasma
  • city streets
  • Rotating Universe
  • mirror eye
  • mantra wheel
  • plasma colour
  • shining mosaic
  • Spiro
  • suiho bubbles  (and any other Android devices)
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Updated "Android OS Names: What is Gingerbread and all that?"

Updated the hub about Android OS Names, and updated the "Samsung Galaxy S Froyo rollout" situation. Apparently T-Mobile is getting the updates starting today for their "Vibrant" variant of Galaxy S.
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Thursday, January 20, 2011

AAQR: Honeycomb Clock Lite

Honeycomb Clock Lite is a widget that is a combination "analog clock" and "polar clock". It supposedly is styled after the clock found on various Honeycomb demo videos. 

There is only one size 2x2, and there are no settings in the lite version. (the full version is $0.99 and promise more settings)There is no explanation on what are all the dials and such.

I personally don't see much use for this unless you want to trick your friends into thinking you got Honeycomb on your phone already by faking it with the clock, the fake launchers, and so on. 

Rating: 5.5 out of 10
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Asteroid 21-07-2006Image via WikipediaW.A.R.P. is basically has you protecting the Earth from incoming asteroids by creating gravity wells to deflect the various asteroids. You touch the screen. The longer you hold, the larger the gravity well. So the idea is to last as long as possible.

The problem with this game is it's basically "survival mode" all over. There is no level, there is no save game, it's "until death". For a 14MB game, I'd expect a little more gameplay than that.

It is also rather reminiscent of BUKA, a game with similar mechanics (in that game you "escort" a star to get home)

Not that interesting. Call it 6 out of 10.

Download W.A.R.P. from Appbrain
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Android Free Keyboard Review Has Been Updated: now 27 keyboards reviewed!

You never knew there are that many different free keyboards for Android devices, did you? Some are just regular keyboards, some are Swype -type sliders, some are tap-sliders, and some are truly different like 8Pen.  And yes, they are ALL free.

Read the review here:

AAQR: Skyball Lite

Skyball Lite is one of those "rolling ball" games where you use tilt controls to control the ball to pass through some clever mazes, dodge objects, and generally not fall off the path. This one is in full 3D with some clever paths that requires careful management of speed and deft dodging skills.

The levels look pretty good, and there is no time limit, but then, you only have X lives.

As 6MB, this game is not small, but the graphics are good enough that you should give this a try at least.

It's just there isn't much "new" in this game.

Rating... 7.0 out of 10

Download Skyball Lite from Appbrain
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AAQR: Screenatics Lock Screen Replacement

Screenatics is one of the many lock screen replacements available on the market. This one... Works mostly, but not always.

I test on my Droid with Cyanogen Mod 6.1.2.

Screenatics doesn't always come on, but when it does, it is pretty impressive. Often, the normal lockscreen shows up first, then the screenatics lockscreen displaces it. So this is more of a visual glitch.

The clock and date is on screen, No background, but it's very readable, and it also displays latest text message, latest missed call,  next event in calendar, etc. There are a couple other icons on screen but they don't seem to do anything... Until you do press and hold. In that case, they bring up email, browser, camera, call, or contacts respectively. At the bottom is the slide-to-unlock bar.

The main problem is this doesn't always come on, but then ALL lock screen replacements have this problem: they never seem to work consistently.

The looks is a bit off, and really needs some customization options. The uniform grey background looks horribly boring.

Overall, 7 out of 10 for now.

Download Screenatics from Appbrain

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Yet More Game Reviews from 2010

Image representing Skies of Glory as depicted ...Image via CrunchBase
Skies of Glory

A cousin to Winds of Steel, SoG is also a flight sim for Android that lets you pilot a WW2 plane in the skies in a fictional conflict. Its graphics are arguable better than Winds of Steel. Think of it as the European theater (US and UK vs. Germany) counterpart to the Winds of Steel (which primarily deals with the Pacific theater, i.e. US vs. Japan)

The graphics are quite good. The ground is phenomenal as you CAN literally fly between the hills if you wish. You can engage temporary "boost" for a short burst of airspeed, but otherwise the planes follows slightly simplified laws of physics... You can stall the plane if you pitch up too much. Unfortunately, no artificial horizon is available so you can't really tell your "attitude" (and I don't mean mood). 

Controls are quite responsive, as you need to use the accelerameter to control the plane. There are also "pedals" on screen for yaws (rudder turns). 

You can choose from multiple viewpoints... 3rd person, cockpit, and other camera views are available. However, some of the buttons are positively tiny. 

The enemies are an additional problem. The brackets / crosshair are positively TINY, and have horrible contrast against the ground and sky. The air targets have a yellow bracket, which is virtually invisible against the blue sky. The ground targets' orange brackets are almost invisible against the brown earth. 

Furthermore, the plane's twitchiness makes aiming your cannons quite difficult. The gun doesn't aim itself... you have to manually adjust the plane to shoot, and your machine guns and cannons can "overheat", thus stopping you from just holding the trigger down to hope for a lucky hit. 

There is no "bombs" so ground attack is gun only, and since your targets are so tiny (and there's no airbrakes that I can see) shooting stuff on the ground is VERY difficult. Lining up requires almost a miracle. 

The game has two modes in the demo: dogfight (quick battle), and campaign, where you are asked to perform multiple missions (fly here, fly there, shoot enemies...)  The paid version promises WiFi multiplayer battles. 

All in all, Skies of Glory is a great little game, but it seems to have shrunk a bit TOO small to be really playable on Android. 

8 out of 10

Some More Game Reviews from 2010

Gish (video game)Image via Wikipedia

Steambirds Demo 

Steambirds is a turn-based 2D air combat game where two sides plot their moves against each other trying to outmaneuver each other and kill each other using the guns and special abilities in their arsenal. It sounds boring, but it isn't, because the play mechanics is very simple to describe, but the tactics you can employ is quite varied. 

Basically, you draw this little arrow from your plane. The max reach of the arrow means that's as far as your plane can go for that turn. You an move the arrow to either side instead of straight ahead, and that will initiate a turn. You can also fly slower than max speed (may help you turn faster) by NOT moving the arrow to max available. Finally, each plane has 2 special abilities that can be used either every other turn or very third turn  (only one at a time). It is the combination makes it infinitely variable. 

The AI opponent is not that smart but when they come in a crowd it can be quite nasty, esp. if you want that 4-star (every plane unscratched) rating for all missions. 

The paid version just gotten an update to include hotseat (actually, pass-the-phone) multiplayer, so you can challenge your friend to a dogfight. 

Try the demo. It may be simple, but this game is fun. It's so much fun, I bought the full version.

Pros: very simple play mechanics, nice little graphical touches
Cons: missions are a bit limited, AI is a bit too simple-minded
Rating: 8 out of 10
Verdict: A fun little game that challenge your brain, not your fingers

More Game Reviews from 2010

Nuclear weapon test Romeo (yield 11 Mt) on Bik...Image via Wikipedia Here are some more game reviews from 2010 that I never got a chance to publish. 

SpaceBlaster -- shooting gallery disguised as a space shooter. You'd be tapping the screen so fast that you thought you broke it over and over. For such a ssimple game it should 
not take up 6 MB of space. 5 out of 10

Atomic Bomber -- 2D retro style game... You're a lone bomber defending the area against enemy invasion. Fly this way and that drop regular bombs on enemy units that will be moving around (read: learn how to dive bomb). And grab the powerups. Beware... Enemy do have fighters and missile launchers. Hit enemy for power ups... such as nukes. Yes, I said nukes. Kinda retro fun. 7 out of 10

Tiki Towers -- PAID APP. The idea is simple... you got 5 monkeys who want to go home, and you need to help them by building some rickety structures to help them get to the level exit. If you get help them get all 5 bananas on the level that'd be excellent. Just remember, these are monkeys... don't be surprised if they break your structures... just don't let them be killed (any one of them). There are 45 levels (organized into 5 islands of 9 levels each) and you can get multiple levels of success: got them across, got all bananas, and 'eco warrior' (used less sticks than usual). It's challenging and fun. 

Multiple Game Reviews from 2010

Mahjong tilesImage via WikipediaHere are a couple quick game reviews I never posted from 2010

Hongkong MJ  (mahjong)

Most non-Westerners, except some Jews, only know the solitaire version of mahjong play, but real mahjong is a group name, needing four players. Hongkong MJ implements the HK variant of the game, using 13 tiles per player, and "flowers". It is beyond the scope of this article to explain the rules of mahjong. That you can find on wikipedia. The game demo is faithful to the real game, but limits you to two "sessions" (real mahjong game is played through several DOZEN sessions). Graphics are okay, but does not use the entire screen on the Moto Droid. There's black unused space to the right. The tiles are okay. 

Game has simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, and English so even non-Chinese who knows the rules can enjoy the game. It won't teach you mahjong, but it will give you a bit of practice. 

All in all, not bad, as it gave you a taste of what's in the game. I'd wish for more sessions though, but it is a demo. 

Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: real mahjong, not the tile-matching solitaire game, multiple languages
Cons: does not use whole screen on Droid, only two sessions play


Be a cute little frog, jump around lily pads, eat black bugs and don't eat the red bugs (argh!). And impress the lady frog. 

Tap the screen to make the frog jump there (and fall back down). The more bugs you get in one jump the better (you get combo scores if you do). Otherwise, that's about it. Amusing for kids, probably. 

Rating: 6 out of 10

2010 App Review Summary

Image representing Android as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBaseHere is are the summary of my app reviews posted on Hubpages in 2010.

Android App Reviews

Android Games

Tilt left/right, Tilt full 2D, Tilt 2D for full movement in 3D space

Tanks, hovercrafts, cars, or planes

Android Tips and Knowledge

Other Cell Phone Info

Older reviews (needs update)

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Welcome to Android App Quick Reviews

the android logoImage via WikipediaWelcome to Android App Quick Review, another personal project.

Why another Android App Review? I review Android apps for fun, and I review a lot more apps than the various Android app reviews I had on Hubpages.

So, enjoy.
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