Saturday, July 9, 2011

AAQR: Solitaire Free Pack / Megapack (game)

The initial layout of the game of Pyramid.Image via WikipediaSolitaire Free Pack, and its paid cousin Solitaire Mega Pack, is basically solitaire card games packed into a single app. The full version features... 110 different solitaire games, some of them use up to 3 separate decks. Plus there are "speed games" where you play against the AI in competition of speed.

Due to the sheer variations available this is a great little game. Not too much graphical flair, but it's a CARD game sim! On the other hand, it's not as pretty, say Solitaire Deluxe.

Download the free one, which has ads, or pay $2.99 and get the full version.

Solitaire Free Pack, Free

Solitaire Mega Pack, $2.99
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AAQR: ToonyHome (home launcher replacement, free)

ToonyHome, screenshot
ToonyHome is a launcher that supposedly have some cute icons, but feels like just a normal launcher. In fact, it's classified by Appbrain as a spam app.

You shouldn't bother downloading this one. I tried it and it doesn't feel any different than existing launchers.
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AAQR: Contacts3

Contacts 3 is a contacts manager with one very unique feature: encryption of your notes per contact. Otherwise, it looks about as plain as can be, but very good color themes.

The app basically has 4 tabs as show here:

Contacts -- list of all the contacts
Connect -- shows the details of the contact, such as phone number
Notes -- displays note of this contact, can be encrypted
Tools -- config settings, including entering the password to decrypt, choose color themes, and so on.

Other than, the ability to encrypt the notes, and pastel color UI, there really isn't much to recommend about Contacts 3.

There is a Pro version for $2.88 that removes the ads. (regular, free ) (Pro, $2.88)
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AAQR: Simple Text (app, free)

Simple Text is a great little tool to generate text-style icons. You simply chose what fonts to use for each line, and adjust the text X/Y offsets, size, any rotation, scale, color, and so on. You can even change the background.

If you have more TrueType fonts, you can load them manually (just put them into the right folder) and use those in your app as well. It comes with 6 fonts.

If you need ALL your fonts to look uniform, this is a good app to try.
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Friday, July 8, 2011

AAQR: Apparatus (game, physics, puzzle)

Apparatus is basically "The Incredible Machine" for the new generation with some 3D graphical flair.

The premise is simple: get the ball into the blue "basket", even if only for a moment, by using various tools available, usually gravity. You have various planks you can connect, power to motors to "paddle", and other tricks.

You will come up with very Rube Goldberg-type machines where one thing leads to another, then another... The one above has the ball getting "scooped" up the vertical chute by that motor with winch. The scoop is nailed together by several "planks".

There are dozens of levels, all of them challenging to a degree.

This was offered for free one day on Amazon AppStore, but the developer experienced very bad experience on it, and pulled it from Amazon. You have to buy it from Android Market now.

Works GREAT on tablets!

Definitely try the lite version first!

LITE version (free)

Full Version ($1.87)
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AAQR: DIY Your Galaxy LWP (free)

DIY Your Galaxy LWP is basically "choose your own slightly animated space-y sprite bitmaps.

Choose backgrounds, choose sprites, choose overlays, and so on. There are dozens of combinations. Not all of them are that good of course, but there are are decent ones.

I wouldn't say it's the best ever, and the animation is not that smooth. On the other hand, it is rather unique.

Worth a download, esp. since it's free.
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Thursday, July 7, 2011

AAQR: Game Dev Story (free, $2.85)

Game Dev Story is a charming little Japanese "business sim" from Kairosoft, where you run a game development company from the ground up! The result is a sim that is both a bit whimsical, has RPG elements, AND represents the seriousness of game development quite well.

The game basically runs similar to a "Tycoon" game. You start with just yourself and a secretary, and a budget. You need to hire employees in four areas: creativity, programming, sound, and graphics. Each employee have one "profession", and gains skills in each of these four areas. Clearly, you can't have the graphics guy do programming, or the creative girl do sound. Once you hired the staff, start an assignment, either develop your own game, or do contracting work. Initially, the types of game are limited, and the subject matter are also limited. Later, the choices open up with popular genres like shooters, and more subject matters becomes available. Choose to make a puzzle game on soccer is a possibility... but will it sell? You also pick the overall approach to the game: take a bit longer, rush, try new ideas are all possibilities. Then you pick how you want to allocate the resources: more on user-friendliness? Or more on authenticity?

Once the game development cycle starts, the employee in the "profession" will have to perform (generate points in the respective area(s). You can also choose to pay a lot of money and get an outside contractor to do it. Do all four areas: back story, engine, graphics, and sound, and your game can enter beta. At each phase, more points are generated for the game in the four areas. The game's "rating" depends on these points generated. During the development you also get bugs, and time must be spent to crush bugs (though it is possible to ship games still with some bugs). You can also choose to advertise (spend $$$) to build up buzz, and gain audience.

Once the game has been released, it's time to take the profits and start on another game! As time passes, you can decide whether you want to pay the huge licensing fees to develop games for a console (which has much bigger audience than PC). You can also "level up" the employees when you accumulate enough corporate action points. Your game will get ratings and fans, and your company will gain reputation.

My main complaint is the game doesn't use the entire screen, so the characters are a wee bit small, but you don't really need to touch the characters any way. All interactions are through the menus.

The lite version below only runs to 3rd year, but it will give you a taste of the game. As the full game is only $2.85, and you can replay this over and over, this game is a great investment. BUY IT!

Game Dev Story Lite (free)

Game Dev Story ($2.85)
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AAQR: Free Mini Droid City LWP

Cute but minimally animated live wallpaper that basically has a lot of Android's walking around. The Androids get random costumes, and you can pick random backgrounds.

There are cute parts as you can choose among which costumes can appear. And if the two Androids meet, they share a drink (funny!)

Otherwise, there really isn't much to this. I guess the paid version gives you a few more choices
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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

AAQR: VPlayer Pro / and variety of other names

This spam app keeps changing names and gets uploaded, so please AVOID download this player at all costs. I've tracked this app and it has changed names AT LEAST FIVE TIMES!


It was also know as Summer Player, Video Player, Mobo Video Player, and so on!

Do NOT confuse this with a REAL video player such as VPlayer or MoboPlayer!
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AAQR: Wikitude Enhanced Reality Browser

Wikitude started off as just a web browser, but it evolved into much more... a competitor to Layar, the "augmented reality" browser.

Consider the picture on the right. While looking through your phone's camera, you see the various icons OVERLAID on top of whatever you see. In the picture, the guy was looking for coffee.

Pretty cool, eh? This is not a joke. By using your phone's GPS, Camera, AND orientation sensor, you indeed can add to your reality.

And it's free.

(also check out Layar )
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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

AAQR: Pocket Salsa (Free / $1.99)

Pocket Salsa / Salsa Video is an app that teaches you Salsa dancing. Think of it as App front-end to the website Addicted2Salsa, a website all about Salsa dancing. The Website Has over 100 short video lessons on Salsa Dancing, and the paid app lets you access them all, plus video-cast episodes.

While you *can* just watch the lessons on the website, you don't always have the computer with you, and this lets you take the lessons with you, even download for offline play.

Salsa Video / Free

Pocket Salsa / $1.99
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AAQR: Skyfire 4 browser (free)

Skyfire has a very neat trick when it came out: it intercepts the various Flash Videos on webpages, transcodes them, then feed it back to you. As such, it is the first browser EVER on Android to play Flash Video, even before Flash became available for Android.

Obviously, this ain't cheap. Videos have to be downloaded, transcribed, then optimized and sent down to you. This cost money. So Skyfire is free... but the video optimization thing cost $$$. You get to try it for 3 days, and that's it. After that, pay $2.99 to unlock.

Skyfire, fortunately, is a very decent browser that has a couple OTHER tricks... Twitter and Facebook Integration, for example, plus RSS Feed Reader built-in, and better toolbar than ever. Is it enough to get you to switch? I don't know. But at least, try it. You may never go back.

Download Skyfire through Appbrain (Free, $2.99 for video unlock)

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AAQR: Wallpaper Wizardrii (app, free)

Wallpaper Wizardrii is an app that does what Wallaby (reviewed earlier) does, by letting you set the wallpaper, but with a couple more options. You can now set the wallpaper to

  • Scrollable – Android's default
  • No Scroll – The exact size of the display
  • Exact – The exact size of the image as seen
  • Crop Scrollable – Crop image to default behavior
  • Crop No scroll – Crop image keeping scale to display
In the screen shot, you can see the background color dialog, as well as rotate, and plug-in trigger (the plug above). At the bottom is zoom slider. It has some "plug-ins" where it access different libraries for more wallpapers to manipulate. 

Not bad, for a free app, but the interface is not as clean as Wallaby's. Still, a worthy download. 

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Monday, July 4, 2011

4G Phone Guide: Sprint Edition Released

Image representing Sprint Nextel as depicted i...Image via CrunchBaseWith 5 phones, 2 tablets, a netbook, and a collection of 4G modems and mobile hotspots, Sprint has something for you if you want 4G speeds. Available in over 100 cities across the nation, Sprint's WiMAX 4G is one of the first 4G networks in the US and delivers consistent speeds.

So which of the 5 phones they have should you get? the EVO 3D is the king, but the 1 year old EVO 4G is still surprisingly viable second choice.

Read more about Sprint's 4G Phone Guide here:
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4G Phone Guide: AT&T Edition released

AT&T logoImage via WikipediaGuide to AT&T's 4G Phone Offer is now available

The best phone available on AT&T for 4G is Motorola Atrix 4G, even without the fancy "laptop dock". On the other hand, AT&T's "4G" network has LOUSY coverage. So even with "4G phone", unless you're in a major metro area AND AT&T has HSPA+ coverage in the area, you won't get "4G speeds".

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