Thursday, May 19, 2011

AAQR: Guns'n'Glory (game, free / paid)

A variant of tower defense, this one features you, and a bunch of outlaws, trying to stop the settlers from coming through the canyons with variety of units, including rifleman, dynamite chuckers, flame arrow shooters, cannons, and gatling gun. Got this from the Amazon Appstore daily giveaway, though I've tried it previously when it was ad-supported.

The later levels are pretty hard, when you don't seem to have enough firepower to stop them all. The ability for the units to move and pickup chests of "bonuses" is an interesting touch.

The paid version have no ads, and 5 different locations (each with multiple "maps", and each maps have multiple "waves") while free version have ads and just one location.

The longer review is in roundup of tower defense games.

Rating: Try it

http://www.appbrain.com/app/gunsnglory-free/com.hg.gunsandgloryfree  (free version)
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AAQR: Planet in a Bottle (game, virtual pet)

Planet in a bottle is basically a Tamagotchi (i.e.a virtual pet) where you periodically check on your minions on a planet and try to keep their balance of water and sun at an optimal, and give them a periodic "nudge" to let them know you are there. If you keep the optimal balance, they will grow faster and be happier.

The game keeps track of how often is your attention and will "react" accordingly.

It is somewhat amusing... for a day or two. Then you realize unless you check in every few hours your population will not prosper, and that's just too demanding.

Rating: try it

http://www.appbrain.com/app/planet-in-a-bottle/com.pseudoblue.planet
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

AAQR: OMG Space Free Live Wallpaper (LWP, free)

Cute space background that scrolls automatically, plus some random characters that will... fly and bounce and crash into other objects and so on and so forth. It is definitely cute. Is it worth keeping? That's up to you.

Rating: Try it

http://www.appbrain.com/app/omg-space-free-live-wallpaper/com.igm.android.livewallpaper.spacefree
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AAQR: Live Musical Note Free Wall (LWP, free)

Key signature names and translationsImage via WikipediaPurple background, a bunch of random musical notes spawn and spread on screen, then disappears. Graphics are professionally done, but there isn't much to this at all. Was expecting the notes to move along the scale, or get animated to the sound, or something. This is... lame.

Rating: Skip it (unless you like the look)

http://www.appbrain.com/app/live-musical-note-free-wall/com.igm.android.livewallpaper.musicnotefree
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

AAQR: Power of Thor (free, movie, tie-in)

This app is a movie tie-in. Unfortunately, it just crashes my phone silly, and it's a 30MB download (eek!)  Don't try it without a hefty Android phone.

NO RATING

http://www.appbrain.com/app/the-power-of-thor/com.thepowerofthor.thor

AAQR: Live Earth Wallpaper (LWP, free)

Based on satellite photos of earth... with some info on major events, like earthquakes, storms, and so on iconized and marked on the map. Also have the proper sun and moon phases. Multiple "projections" available, and zoomable. Much better than the solar one.

Rating: Try it

http://www.appbrain.com/app/live-earth-wallpaper/com.nomanprojects.wallpaperdroid.liveearthfree
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AAQR: Armageddon Live Wallpaper (LWP, free)

Picture of the sun's corona, updated every few hours. Kinda interesting, for about 5 minutes.

Rating: skip it

http://www.appbrain.com/app/armageddon-live-wallpaper-free/com.nomanprojects.wallpaperdroid.armageddonlivefree


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Sunday, May 15, 2011

AAQR: Super Launcher (free)

Super Launcher is not a launcher replacement, but a shortcut maker similar to BetterCut or AppOrganizer. Basically it lets you make a "folder" or a "launcher icon" that points at specific things, like a group of pictures, a group of contacts, a group of apps, and so on and so forth.

Other than that, there isn't much here.

Rating: try it (not that special)

http://www.appbrain.com/app/super-launcher-%28free-version%29/androidcap.superlauncher.lite

AAQR: PowerTutor (free, utility)

Image representing Nexus One as depicted in Cr...Image via CrunchBasePowerTutor is an app that checks your phone and tells you how much EACH component is consuming. It is fascinating. It is designed for the Nexus One, so the results may not be quite as accurate on other phones, but it is still fascinating look into your phone.

Rating: Get it! (you can always uninstall later)

http://www.appbrain.com/app/powertutor/edu.umich.PowerTutor
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AAQR: Nuance Flex T9 Input (paid, keyboard)

Image representing Android as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBaseNuance Flex T9 is basically a revamped version of ShapeWriter, a soft keyboard for Android that competes directly with Swype and SlideIT! The catch is, of course, what used to be a "free beta" is now $4.99. I was a ShapeWriter user for a long time, so when Amazon Appstore offered this free for a day, I know I had to grab it. However, I am somewhat disappointed.

FlexT9 claims to have 4 modes of input

tap keyboard / XT9 -- your normal Android / smartphone soft keyboard with individual keys

trace keyboard / T9 Trace  -- same keyboard as tap keyboard, but also allow Swype-style input, tracing a word from key to key on the soft keyboard

write keyboard / T9 Write -- similar to Graffiti, lets you write letters on top of each other, and use multiple strokes.

speak keyboard / Dragon Dictate-- use Dragon dictate's voice recognition to decipher your voice input.

Write Keyboard / T9 Write feels out of place, as it had a VERY hard time deciding whether my input is upper or lower case. It interpreted almost everything I wrote as upper case, which makes for a VERY odd looking message. There is no automatic capitalization (or in this case, UN-capitalization). It also did not recognize any of the Graffiti (tm) input strokes (which I am familiar with).

The tap keyboard is nothing special. In fact, the white on gray (iPhone) look turns me off. I want the Android or "Black" look, but the keyboard does not appear to be skinnable.

The trace keyboard is as I remembered... just like ShapeWriter. However, there seems to be no more of those "command shortcuts" where you trace from the command button to a letter to execute a special action. At least they kept the "auto-double" where you don't need to "circle" the letter to double like. For example. to enter "cool", you trace c-o-l. In Swype, you have to trace letter C, then circle the letter O, then letter L. However, the dictionary / word suggestion seem to have gotten MUCH MUCH worse. It doesn't seem to be learning from my inputs at all, and gave often very esoteric suggestions.

Voice input is hit and miss. I am guessing this app sends data to the Dragon Dictate online server similar to the way Google voice input sends data to Google and get stuff back. There are a few glitches, but doesn't seem to be a major problem. Accuracy, on the other hand, seem to be below Google's voice commands.

Now the big question... is this app worth $4.99?  I say... no. It's more like $2.99. Why? The word prediction is quite bad. (I tried to enter "hell" which is NOT in the word prediction list at all, only he'll )  There seem to be no way to customize the dictionary (like the old ShapeWriter). The Write Keyboard seem to be relatively useless unless you're trying to do completely blind input, but you have the voice keyboard for that. And finally, no keyboard skin. Argh... and no demo.

Sorry, but this app needs a bit more polish.

Rating: Try it (you can ask for refund within 15 minutes)

http://www.appbrain.com/app/flext9-speak-trace-write-tap/com.nuance.flext9.input

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