Skip to content

Archive for

22
Nov

Mr. Jump makes the leap to Android (review)


Overview

Mr. Jump was a widely popular game on iOS, and it’s finally made its way over to Android. Mr. jump is a simple game with a charming aesthetic and challenging platforming that will surely keep you coming back.

  • Developer: 1Button & ZPLAY
  • Cost: Free

Impressions

Mr. Jump is one of those games that you hear about a lot as an Android user, not privy to those iOS exclusives. It’s a simple, challenging, and addictive platformer that everyone loves and is given heaps of praise. After what seems like all too long, Mr. Jump is finally here on Android, ported over by ZPLAY.

Mr. Jump is a cute, simplistic platformer with one-button controls and a basic premise of getting to then end without dying to advance and unlock the next stage. The game is challenging and does a generally decent job of scaling the difficulty throughout its many levels.

The trick in Mr. Jump is timing and quick thinking, and it can get very difficult in later stages to execute perfectly every time. There are different power-ups in the game as well, to help you navigate the many obstacles, which include jetpacks and infinite jumps. There are also secret areas that allow you to bypass levels and unlock even more.

1 of 7


The secret to Mr. Jump’s success is rooted in simplicity. The graphics are blocky, and feature bright colors and patterns pleasing to the eye. The sounds and music are fun and jaunty without getting distracting, and overall the game looks and feels great without being overly cutesy or too bland.

The developers have really done a good job of making this game play well as well and look good, and it’s evident by the success it has achieved on iOS. Mr. Jump on Android runs well, with no performance issues that I’ve experienced so far. Overall, Mr. Jump is just a very solid game to play.

That being said, I do have an issue with the difficulty scaling in some places. For the most part the game is a decent challenge, but in some levels, including the first one, the game seems unusually hard and I miss jumps that I seem to have timed correctly.

I don’t know if it’s just me or if the game is actually that difficult in places, but sometimes Mr. Jump can get frustrating and make you want to throw your phone in anger. Despite that, I still enjoy Mr. Jump and that challenge certainly encourages you to keep trying, until you finally beat that one level that has been plaguing you for days or weeks.

Conclusion

Mr. Jump is, in my opinion, a perfect example of a mobile game. It’s simple, yet challenging – engaging, yet not overbearing. Most of all, it’s fun and addicting without being a time-consuming mess.

It’s cute and has polish and substance, and just the right amount of infuriating challenge that will bring people back to playing again and again. Mr. Jump checks all the boxes for a great, fun game and I am sure it will find similar success on Android that it has on iOS.

Advertisements
22
Nov

Google announces major contest for indie game devs in Europe


Google to European indie game developers: Show us what you got!

One of the hardest challenges indie game developers face is getting publicity and exposure for their finished product. The fine folks at Google are doing their part to help, launching a new initiative for European indie developer teams of 15 people or less — they’ve put out the call for submissions to the first-ever Google Play Indie Games Contest in Europe.

google-play-indie-contest.jpg?itok=nScGQ

The European contest is the latest way Google has attempted to support indie game developers, whether it’s by highlighting the best new indie games in the Google Play Store — where we’ve discovered some recent favorites of ours such as Reigns — or by hosting Indie Games Festivals in North America and Korea.

From the announcement blog post:

If you’re based in Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France (coming soon), Germany, Iceland, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, Poland (coming soon), Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, or UK (excl. Northern Ireland), have 15 or less full time employees, and published a new game on Google Play after 1 January 2016, you may now be eligible to enter the contest. If you’re planning on publishing a new game soon, you can also enter by submitting a private beta.

Submissions close at midnight on December 31 with the finalists scheduled to be announced sometime in mid-January. The contest culminated in a final event to be held on February 16 at the Saatchi Gallery in London, where the finalists will get a chance to showcase their games to the public and winners will ultimately be selected by a panel of industry experts.

Google is offering up an impressive list of prizes for winners and finalists alike, which include a Pixel XL for each finalist team, heavy promotion in the Google Play Store’s Indie Corner for the top 10 games, and more exposure and promotion for the top three finalists.

Qualifying developer teams can go here to submit a game. If you live in London, you can pre-register to attend the live event on February 16.

And if you’re just excited to see what games are showcased, you can keep it locked to Android Central, as we’ll surely be keeping an eye on this contest — and can’t wait to see what great games are showcased in the new year.

Android Gaming

best-action-games.jpg?itok=XIT8sDVg

  • Best Android games
  • Best free Android games
  • Best games with no in-app purchases
  • Best action games for Android
  • Best RPGs for Android
  • All the Android gaming news!

22
Nov

Huawei CEO Richard Yu announced as CES 2017 keynote speaker


Huawei CEO to talk about his company’s vision for a more global model of innovation.

CES 2017 is just over a month away, and news surrounding the event is starting to ramp up. Today, organizers announced that Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group, will deliver a keynote address on the afternoon of January 5 in The Venetian’s Palazzo Ballroom.

huawei-richard-yu-2016.jpg?itok=Qha2BYhj

From the release:

During his address, Yu will showcase Huawei’s vision for a more global model of innovation, which taps into the strengths of each country and region and encourages collaboration with the adoption of the latest technologies and techniques. Through his keynote, attendees will learn about Huawei’s plans for the future of mobile – one that integrates the latest in artificial intelligence, virtual reality and connected technologies and pairs them with elite global partnerships and sustainable product development.

Yu has been with Huawei for over two decades. In his time there, he has held several titles, including CTO of Wireless R&D, and director of the GSM/UMTS technical sales department. In 2006, he was appointed president of Huawei’s Wireless Network product line, and was nominated as president of the European region in 2008. During his time as president, Huawei has risen to become the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world.

Other CES keynote speakers already confirmed include NVIDIA Founder, President and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, and Qualcomm Incorporated CEO Steve Mollenkopf.

Android Central will have full coverage of all the best stuff from CES 2017, which runs from January 5 to 8 in Las Vegas.

22
Nov

Galaxy S7 on Nougat defaults to 1080p: A look at Samsung’s new display scaling options


On the current beta release, the Galaxy S7 runs at a lower resolution by default. But that’s not as big a deal as it might seem.

Android 7.0 Nougat for the Samsung Galaxy S7 — currently in testing in the form of a semi-public beta build — is the phone’s biggest software update to date, featuring not only a brand new OS version, but a host of new Samsung-specific changes, and a significantly updated UI. Among them are major changes to the display settings, allowing you to change how graphics and fonts are shown — and change the phone’s screen resolution.

This feature isn’t entirely new. The GS7 has offered a “condensed mode” for a while, and the ill-fated Note 7 let you reduce the screen resolution as a battery-saving measure. On the GS7 on Nougat, however, the option is presented less as a last-ditch battery-saving feature, and more as a thing you just set and leave on.

Your three options are HD (720p), Full HD (1080p) and Quad HD (1440p). And whereas before the native 1440p resolution was the default, now it’s 1080p.

Wait… what?

gs7-1080p.jpg?itok=kzJ7QXjM

Yep. A clean installation of the current Nougat beta on the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge has both phones running below their native screen resolution. This comes along with the standard disclaimers about the current build being a beta, and things possibly changing when the official OTA rolls out. (It’s entirely possible Samsung may vary this setting from region to region, too — Chinese characters, for instance, would benefit from the additional clarity that 1440p brings.)

A subtle visual downgrade for subtle performance and battery improvements.

But as bizarre as this move might seem, there’s a method to Samsung’s madness. Most of the time, you just can’t tell the difference between Full HD and Quad HD anyway. And bumping down to 1080p can bring performance and battery life improvements. Not huge improvements to be sure — we haven’t noticed significantly lengthened battery life in the past couple of days in 1080p mode. Other things like display brightness, CPU load and signal strength play a much greater part. Nevertheless, it’s a factor.

And it speaks to something many of us know, deep down: Quad HD resolution is, for the most part, wasted on a device with a 5- to 5.5-inch display.

Naturally, downscaling all the way to 720p makes the display noticeable more pixellated, with some UI elements having to be juggled around to compensate for the lower pixel density.

GS7 resolution GS7 at 1440p, 1080p and 720p. If you can’t tell the difference here, just imagine how it looks on a phone.

On the 5.5-inch GS7 edge, the difference is only barely noticeable, when examining text and fine details in photos up close. On the 5.1-inch GS7, the argument for defaulting to 1080p is even more compelling. In both cases, we’d imagine the Gear VR would still be able to use the displays’ full resolution, however VR isn’t supported in the current Nougat beta.

Changing the resolution doesn’t affect the size of things on the display — that’s controlled by a separate setting called “screen zoom.” Nor does it seem to affect memory consumption — the amount of RAM consumed by the system with no apps running in the foreground didn’t change notably when switching between resolutions. We also didn’t notice any major performance differences in the system UI and day-to-day apps like Chrome, Twitter, Instagram, Hangouts, WhatsApp and the like. (Games will be more sensitive to screen resolution changes, but many titles already offer in-game resolution sliders.) As always, your mileage may vary.

gs7-display-scale.jpg?itok=nUhSVjTP “Huge,” “Medium” and “Tiny” screen zoom settings.

Could we see similar resolution options built into a 4K-capable Galaxy S8?

The default screen zoom level has everything looking a bit oversized, at least to my eye. Stepping down to the “tiny” zoom level (roughly equivalent to the old Condensed Mode on Marshmallow) shows more on screen. “Huge” mode scales things up significantly, showing less on the screen, and may be more legible for GS7 owners with vision problems when combined with a larger font size.

This is a natural extension of the display scaling features Google has built into Android 7.0, and it’s interesting to see Samsung developing things further by offering control over display resolution, as well as the density of the UI.

It’s easy to see how these features could be further built out in Samsung’s next flagships, the Galaxy S8 line. If, as rumored, one of these phones has a 4K-capable screen, it’s likely the phone wouldn’t run in 4K mode all the time, but instead scale down to 1440p or even 1080p in day-to-day app use. (The first mainstream 4K phone, the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium, already does this without any user-facing settings.)

In any case, it’s good to have options. Be sure to hit the comments and let us know which resolution you’ll choose when the GS7 Nougat update hits.

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

  • Galaxy S7 review
  • Galaxy S7 edge review
  • U.S. unlocked Galaxy S7
  • Should you upgrade to the Galaxy S7?
  • Best SD cards for Galaxy S7
  • Join our Galaxy S7 forums

Unlocked
AT&T
Sprint
T-Mobile
Verizon

Android Nougat

  • Android 7.0 Nougat: Everything you need to know
  • Will my phone get Android Nougat?
  • Google Pixel + Pixel XL review
  • All Android Nougat news
  • How to manually update your Nexus or Pixel
  • Join the Discussion

22
Nov

T-Mobile Black Friday deals: Free phones, free money and free Wi-Fi


John-Legere-Uncarrier-5.jpg?itok=Bbk88wL

Deals kick off midnight Pacific Time on November 24.

T-Mobile U.S. has announced its Black Friday 2016 deals, with some attractive offers for anyone looking to pick up a flagship phone on the cheap, cash in on a change of carrier, or score some free Wi-Fi on the flight home this Thanksgiving weekend. For Android lovers, the main attraction this year is a free LG V20 or Samsung Galaxy S7.

Highlights include:

  • A free LG V20, Samsung Galaxy S7, or S7 edge (or, ahem, iPhone 7) when you trade in a qualifying device. (T-Mobile ONE or Simple Choice Unlimited, via 24 monthly bill credits.)
  • $200 per line when you switch to T-Mo, up to $2400 total, on a prepaid MasterCard.
  • A free hour of in-flight Wi-Fi for everyone — even if you’re not a T-Mobile customer — from today through until November 26.
  • Free Gear VR and $50 Oculus store credit when you buy a GS7 or GS7 edge.
  • $70 off UE BOOM 2 Wireless speaker ($129.99)

The new deals aren’t live on T-Mo’s page just yet, instead expect them to show up when the carrier’s Black Friday sale official kicks off — at 12 a.m. PST this Thursday. More details, along with plenty of marketing speak and small print, over on T-Mobile’s official blog.

See at T-Mobile

Anything catch your eye? Let us know down in the comments!

22
Nov

Nextbit Robin Nougat update released to community testers


Minty cloudphone company teams up with Paranoid Android devs for faster updates.

Nextbit has announced that the Android 7.0 Nougat update for its Robin phone has officially entered its community testing phase, with builds now rolling out to testers registered through its online form. To help bring the Nextbit Robin right up to speed on the latest stable version of Android, it’s partnered with the Paranoid Android development team, the group responsible for one of the most popular custom Android ROMs out there.

Nougat for Robin brings another surprise with it – more help from the community. When we say “our dev team,” that now includes members of Paranoid Android. We have joined forces to bring you a faster, less power-hungry OS. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished together so far, and this cooperation will continue. Stay on the lookout – Robin is going to get even better. For more info, check out our blog post.

Nextbit says over-the-air updates are already going out to testers, and the rollout will continue over the next 24 hours — so don’t fret if you’ve registered but aren’t seeing an OTA notification just yet. As you’d expect from a beta build, there might be a few bugs in the mix until the builds become official and stable.

Robin owners can look forward to redesigned notifications, split-screen multitasking, improved battery life and re-vamped Settings controls in Android 7.0, along with a bunch of smaller under-the-hood enhancements.

nougat-robin.jpg?itok=ErbQ1caf Image credit: Android Police.

Android Nougat

  • Android 7.0 Nougat: Everything you need to know
  • Will my phone get Android Nougat?
  • Google Pixel + Pixel XL review
  • All Android Nougat news
  • How to manually update your Nexus or Pixel
  • Join the Discussion

22
Nov

Next Google Pixel update adds raise-to-wake, double-tap-to-wake


So far, only Pixel owners in Canada are seeing the mid-month update to build NPF26J.

It’s been just a few weeks since the Google Pixel November security update started rolling out, but already we’re seeing a new build hitting some handsets, with the second update apparently hitting Pixel owners in Canada first.

Pixel owners in TELUS, Bell and Public Mobile are reporting on Reddit that they’re receiving the update to build NPF26J, which weighs in 261MB. The biggest user-facing change seems to be new “moves” for the Pixel phones, including the ability (as was in the Nexus 6P) to raise the phone to wake it and see notifications, or double-tap to see alerts. That’s a useful tweak, and the first new feature we’ve seen added to the Pixels since launch.

pixel-xl-new-moves.jpg?itok=EQXXdfJw

Android nerds will know that the second letter of the build usually denotes which code branch it’s from (R = release, M = maintenance release, P = preview), however Google has gone off the rails with build numbers before, so don’t read too much into this being an “NP” build.

Reddit user someguy172 has captured the Pixel XL OTA image to go from NDE63V to the new NPF26J, so if you’re on that build (or want to grab a factory image and flash NDE63V), you should be able to then sideload the zip to update to the new build. You’ll find the NDE63V-to-NPF26J OTA file over here.

More: How to manually update your Nexus or Pixel

TELUS’s software update page confirms that a “Security Update + Bug Fixes” update is rolling out starting November 22, which seems to make things official. However we’re not seeing anything from the U.S. carriers, nor has Google updated its factory and OTA images page yet.

We’ll keep you posted if this new build shows up anywhere else. In the meantime, hit the comments and let us know if you’ve already updated.

Google Pixel + Pixel XL

  • Google Pixel and Pixel XL review
  • Google Pixel XL review: A U.S. perspective
  • Google Pixel FAQ: Should you upgrade?
  • Pixel + Pixel XL specs
  • Understanding Android 7.1 Nougat
  • Join the discussion in the forums!

Google Store
Verizon

22
Nov

The biggest ‘Minecraft’ console update of 2016 lands in December


The final Minecraft: Console Edition update of the year is also its largest. The Holiday Update will land in late December, bringing the Elytra (wings that allow players to glide), Amplified Terrain, End Cities, the Dragon’s Breath potion ingredient and more features to PlayStation 4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Vita and Wii U. This means that the console versions will be nearly on par with the PC edition, Microsoft promises.

The Holiday Update polishes the UI and includes new mobs, items, blocks and status effects. Players will find the Elytra in The End, Minecraft’s third and final dimension. The End itself will be updated with End Cities, End Ships, Chorus Plants, Chorus Flowers and Purpur blocks, among other features. There are also new enemies, including Shulkers, which hide near Purpur blocks and fire homing missiles at encroaching players. The Dragon’s Breath ingredient allows players to create Lingering Potions — just throw one of these suckers on the ground to leave some status effects behind for enemies or friends to find.

Developer Mojang is giving players a sneak peak at the update today, meaning there will be more surprise features when it actually goes live in late December. The Holiday Update is free for anyone who owns Minecraft: Console Edition. The Windows 10 and Pocket editions of Minecraft recently saw updates that brought those versions nearly on par with the original Java version as well. Plus, Minecraft is scheduled to hit Apple TV before the end of the year. Happy holidays, indeed.

Source: Mojang

22
Nov

Doppler’s smart earbuds coming to sports events and museums


Dopper Labs is partnering with the Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Philharmonic and San Francisco fine arts museums on new experiences for its Here One earbuds. They use “smart” active listening tech to intelligently block outside sounds or blend them with music. For instance, you can listen to tunes while walking, but still hear cars; or hear live on-field action with reduced crowd noise, all while streaming stats and play-by-play.

Doppler Labs is also partnering with the New York Mets, MADE Fashion Week, JetBlue, Gimlet Media and Coachella, promising “unique, contextual content and other enhanced acoustic experiences.” For instance at the Philharmonic, attendees with Here One earphones will get a curated “custom audio commentary layered perfectly over the performance … be it a deep dive on Tchaikovsky or the soloist performing Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons,” it said in a press release.

Or, at Cleveland Cavaliers games, fans can “stream real-time, play-by-play sports commentary, scores, and stats — even content directly from the players — over the real-world sounds of the game.” The company’s smart noise filters were specifically set up for Cleveland’s Quicken Loans arena, so you can “selectively filter out crowd noise” and just hear sounds from the court.

Mets fans will be able to get play-by-play and other stats, while museum-goers at San Francisco fine arts museums can get “location-based insights” about exhibitions, while still discussing pieces with friends using the mixed listening feature.

The company says it will start bringing these experiences “throughout 2017.” Unfortunately, the $299 Here One was supposed to arrive this month, but Doppler Labs has pushed back shipping to February of 2017, promising to fulfill all pre-orders by March. Also, some backers of Doppler’s original Here Active Listening earbuds (that only cancel noise and don’t stream music) appear to be disappointed, so you might want to wait for reviews on the Here One. We’re hoping to get our hands on them at some point so that we can give you a better idea of how well they work.

22
Nov

New battery tech lasts for days, charges in seconds


Scientists from the University of Central Florida (UCF) have created a supercapacitor battery prototype that works like new even after being recharged 30,000 times. The research could yield high-capacity, ultra-fast-charging batteries that last over 20 times longer than a conventional lithium-ion cell. “You could charge your mobile phone in a few seconds and you wouldn’t need to charge it again for over a week,” says UCF postdoctoral associate Nitin Choudhary.

Supercapacitors can be charged quickly because they store electricity statically on the surface of a material, rather than using chemical reactions like batteries. That requires “two-dimensional” material sheets with large surface areas that can hold lots of electrons. However, much of the research, including that by EV-maker Henrik Fisker and UCLA, uses graphene as the two-dimensional material.

Yeonwoong “Eric” Jung from UCF says it’s a challenge to integrate graphene with other materials used in supercapacitors, though. That’s why his team wrapped 2D metal materials (TMDs) just a few atoms thick around highly-conductive 1D nanowires, letting electrons pass quickly from the core to the shell. That yielded a fast charging material with high energy and power density that’s relatively simple to produce. “We developed a simple chemical synthesis approach so we can very nicely integrate the existing materials with the two-dimensional materials,” Jung says.

The research is in early days and not ready for commercialization, but it looks promising. “”For small electronic devices, our materials are surpassing the conventional ones worldwide in terms of energy density, power density and cyclic stability,” Choudhary said.

Jung calls the research “proof-of-concept,” and the team is now trying to patent its new process. While it could go nowhere like many other battery developments, it’s worth looking at new supercapacitor research closely. If commercialized, it could allow for longer-range EVs that can be charged in minutes rather than hours, long-lasting (non-explosive) smartphones that can be charged in seconds and grid or home energy storage solutions that drastically reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

Source: UCF

%d bloggers like this: