Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Ravenmark: Mercenaries Drops Into The Play Store With Seriously Strategic Turn-Based Combat

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The land of Estellion is a bit of a mess, but perhaps you can bring it under control in Ravenmark: Mercenaries. It's going to take careful planning and tactical knowhow, but you didn't expect it to be easy, did you? Ravenmark: Mercenaries is a turn-based strategy game with some interesting surprises along the way. Think you have the keen tactical mind for it?
The turn-based element of Ravenmark: Mercenaries is based around two phases – command and battle. Both sides submit and execute moves at the same time, which is a bit unusual for a turn-based game. Your armies are made up of mercenaries you hire and improve through experience, but there's also a monetary angle. This is a free-to-play game, though the developers insist on calling it "free-to-win." Apparently it's not balanced to force you into in-app purchases and relies mainly on ads (which you can disable with an IAP). 

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This game has a ton of options and really emphasizes strategic mechanics – you can't just move units around and start swinging swords at anything that moves. Some units are better for certain tasks than others, and there are even different ways to issue orders to your troops. There is some server side component to the combat, though it's not entirely clear what that is. The end result is the same – you have to be connected to play Ravenmark: Mercenaries.
RAVENMARK: Mercenaries
RAVENMARK: Mercenaries
848 ratings
by Witching Hour Studios
10,000 - 50,000 downloads
 

NVIDIA Pushes Update 65 To SHIELD, Brings Gamepad Mapper Enhancements, 1080p Gamestream Console Mode Support, And More

Screenshot_2013-12-02-10-53-57

So far NVIDIA has been making good on its promise of regular updates for its SHIELD portable gaming console, and this month is no different. Update 65 is rolling out now, and it brings a handful of new enhancements to some of SHIELD's flagship features, like Gamepad Mapper and Gamestream. Before we get into the details, here's a look at the full changelog:
GAMESTREAM improvements
  • Stream from your PC at up to 1080p @ 60 FPS in Console Mode when using Ethernet (via micro USB Ethernet adapter).
  • Improved PC streaming quality at 720p @ 60 FPS and Wi-Fi performance.
Gamepad Mapper improvements
  • New community profiles BETA feature – ability to share, browse, and rate gamepad mapping profiles.
  • Ability to map gyro simulation to analog thumbsticks with new “motion sensor” feature.
  • Improved right thumbstick features for first person perspective games that use touch swipes to look around.
  • New “accelerated cursor” option for joystick mouse mode.
Full-screen mode updates
  • Option to auto-hide status bar.
  • View status bar with a swipe down from the top of the screen.
  • Enable option from Settings > Display.
The biggest improvement probably comes to Gamestream, which can now stream some games at full 1080p in console mode. The catch, of course, is that it requires the use of an ethernet adapter; otherwise, only a handful of games are supported at the moment: Assassin's Creed: Black Flag, Batman: Arkham Origins, Battlefield 4, BioShock Infinite, Borderlands 2, Crysis 3, and Skyrim. If all those requirements are met, then streaming PC games to your TV isn't just a dream anymore – it's something that can actually happen. That's sweet.

Past that, Gamepad Mapper also sees some considerable improvements, including the launch of community profiles, which will allow users to share their custom mappings. As of this update, gyro simulation will also be mappable to the analog thumbsticks using a feature called "motion sensor." FPS games that use touch swipes to look around are also improved with this update, which is something that definitely needed to be tweaked.
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One of the other big additions in this update (which isn't in the changelog) is support for NVIDIA GRID. This now-included app will allow users near NVIDIA's Northern California cloud gaming servers to stream PC games to their SHIELD. That's pretty huge... and it makes me wish I lived in Northern California. Anyone looking for a roommate?
GRID is also available in the Play Store, though it's only compatible with SHIELD and Tegra Note at the moment. Head here to check it out.
Screenshot_2013-12-02-10-46-23
Finally, there are some fullscreen features along for the ride, which will allow the status bar to be auto-hidden. It can then be brought back with a swipe down from the top of the screen – a lot like KitKat's immersive mode feature.
Update 65 should be on its way out now – head into Settings > About SHIELD > System updates to pull it down on your device. 

Motorola Will Offer $150 Discounts For Any Off-Contract Moto X Bought On Cyber Monday, Includes Moto Maker And Developer Editions, As Low As $349 [Update: Live!]

moto x promo

Update, 12-2 7:30 PM Pacific: Moto Maker has been slammed all day, so Motorola is planning on offering the Moto X discount again on both Wednesday and next Friday.
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Update, 12-2 9 AM Pacific: The deal is live, and discounted Moto X phones for all carriers are now available. You can get contract-free 16GB models in the Moto Maker website for $349.99, or upgrade to 32GB for $399.99. Developer editions for Verizon and GSM networks are $399.99 in the Motorola Store.
The site is struggling under a massive load of users, and is periodically showing the "coming soon" boilerplate in Moto Maker. Keep trying if you want that price. The Developer Editions don't seem to be affected. Hurry: supplies are limited, and these phone will go quickly.
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If you've been shopping for a new phone, Cyber Monday might be your chance to save some real cash. Motorola has just announced that it will be offering $150 discounts on all off-contract Moto X purchases that day. That includes the carrier-locked phones and the developer editions.
Holiday Phone Capture
That means the carrier versions of the phone from Moto Maker will only cost $349 (usually $499) and the developer editions (usually $549) will work out to $399. Motorola hasn't provided any specific details about how the promotion will work, but it did point out that supplies will be limited. With a hefty discount like that, it's more than likely the online store will be cleared out before the day is through. Because it's the Moto X, we're probably looking at a US-only deal.
Motorola will provide more information as the day approaches (December 2nd, by the way). For now, consume your holiday bird and bide your time.
[+Motorola, Moto X – Thanks, Vinu]

White Verizon LG G2 Now Available, Free With Two-Year Contract For Cyber Monday

G2White1Depending on where you live, there's a decent chance you're not going to get that white Christmas no matter how often you make the wish. Thankfully, it's much easier to get your hands on a white phone. Verizon Wireless is now offering the LG G2 in white, and to sweeten the deal, they're giving it away for free on Cyber Monday. Well, sort of. You will still have to sign away your mobile soul for two years, but for many customers, that's just par for the course.
The Verizon G2 typically costs $149 with a new two-year contract, but today's deal strips away that price. In addition, buyers also skip the activation fee and can have the device shipped to their homes for free. But if you want to get the device off-contract, you will still have to pay $499.99.
The G2 is also available for free from Best Buy, but Verizon's white version is currently no where to be found there. Amazon has the handset for sale, but it's currently sold out. Right now, your best bet appears to be heading over to the Verizon Wireless site directly, but links for all three are listed below. And if you want a white Verizon phone that isn't the G2, there's always the DROID Mini and Ultra.

The Qualcomm Toq Smart Watch Is Available For Purchase, Ships In 1-2 Weeks

2013-12-02 11_44_11-Qualcomm Toq Store
Samsung isn't saying exactly how many Galaxy Gears have been sold, just that it shipped 800,000. The Qualcomm Toq is going to be a much more limited in scope. Qualcomm is only going to make about 100,000 and now is your chance to get one. Yes, as promised, the Toq is on sale direct from Qualcomm starting today. 

The Toq will be $50 more expensive than the Galaxy Gear at $349.99. However, it will work with any Android device running 4.0.3 or higher (Jelly Bean or KitKat recommended) to display notifications on its Mirasol screen. This unique display is probably the reason for the inflated price and limited run. Mirasol is a technology Qualcomm has been working on and demoing for years. It's a type of reflective display that can conserve power by only refreshing when needed, like an e-ink panel. The difference is that it can display colors and refresh fast enough to act like a normal screen while still being sunlight-readable. Check out our hands-on.
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Toq_Black3qrtr_Blossom350x350 TOQ-watch-back-black-350x350 TOQ-wireless-charger-black-watch-350x350
Qualcomm is making a white and a black version of the Toq, but only the black is available at this time. The initial batch is all going to pre-orders, but new orders placed today will go out in 1-2 weeks. It comes with a wireless charging dock (it's not Qi-compatible) and a separate cable. There's going to be some developer tools for the Toq, but the low volume means it won't be a huge platform for apps. Still, multi-day battery life would be sweet.

Refurbished 2012 Nexus 7 (32GB) Available Through eBay Daily Deals, $114.99 With Free Shipping

2013-12-02 12_25_31-Asus Nexus 7 NVIDIA Tegra 3 1GB Memory 32GB 7 0_ Touchscreen Tablet PC Android 4
The new Nexus 7 is a fancy device, but it's still a little more expensive than some folks are comfortable with. The 2012 Nexus 7 is still floating around, and Newegg has a cache of them for sale on eBay. Just $114.99 and this slab of refurbished Android is headed your way this holiday season. 

The 2012 N7 is still a respectable device, especially after recent updates. It benefits from the TRIM support in Android 4.3 and better memory management in 4.4. The 1280x800 screen is still acceptable for most people, and this is the model with 32GB of storage. 

This is one of those limited quantity deals, so hop on it. The price includes free standard shipping, but it's US only (sorry).
 

Newegg Cyber Monday Sale Has The LG G Pad 8.3 And Other Goodies Available For Cheap

LGGPad
 
It's Cyber Monday, and Newegg is known for selling nice tech, so let's cut to the chase here. The site has a sale going on, and while the vast majority of it has nothing to do with Android, a few niceties have managed to slip through. For starters, we have the LG G Pad 8.3, which is currently on sale for $279.99, and if you apply the coupon code CYBERMND16, that price will go down an additional $30.
Next is a reason to prefer phones that can handle micro SD cards. Newegg has a 64GB option on sale for just $36.99. At that price, some people might be tempted to pick up a handful or two, but it's limited to five per customer.
MicroSD
If your Android device satisfies most of your music listening needs, Newegg has a few discounted products that might just perk your ears up. After applying coupon code CYBERMN127, you can get a JLab portable Bluetooth speaker for just $59.95. Then there's a pair of KOSS earphones available for just $9.99. If you want to browse the complete selection for yourself, just hit up the link below.
And while it may not be available on the site directly, Newegg is also selling a refurbished 2012 32GB Nexus 7 through eBay Daily Deals for just $114.99.
Newegg Cyber Monday Sale

Win 1 of 15 HoneyDru Car Chargers From PoweredByGen And Android Police

1[7]One of the best things about being an Android fan is having a killer little mascot that defines the brand. The Bug Droid is everywhere – on cases, shirts, posters, toys, speakers, and a lot more. If you can dream it up, it probably exists somewhere. Out of all the Android-branded accessories, however, PoweredByGen's Andru is one of the best – it's a device charger that looks like the Bug Droid. If you've been reading Android Police for any somewhat-lengthy amount of time, then you've definitely seen them floating around the site from time to time.


This contest is now over.
The final results are listed below. If you've won, you will be contacted in the near future. Congratulations!
Everyone else - keep participating and stay tuned to Android Police so that you don't miss our upcoming giveaway announcements. You can follow AP on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and RSS.
Filip MaciejewskiDustin MorrisLovász BenedekHunter KnephsieldJason FuMurali MadhavSebastien LesieurTom CalistiPoit HolmesSzymon MrózShaunak GuharayGearHead CustomsJeremy JonesScottJustin Powell




What you may not have seen, however, is PoweredByGen's new kickass car charger, HoneyDru. The Honeycomb logo is still my personal favorite of all the themed Androids, and this charger nails it perfectly. Check it out:

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Note: Hand not included.

It's almost as if Google designed the HC logo with this charger in mind. And there's more to this little guy than meets the eye – his wings and eyes glow when he's plugged in, it comes with a matching cable, and the wings and antennae are both flexible, so they shouldn't break. I love you, little Honeycomb-shaped charger.

Starting today, you can score a pretty sweet deal on an Andru/HoneyDru charger pack – get one of each for $35. Or you can get all four Andrus for $65. That's a lot of little Android guys to brighten your day (and keep your stuff from dying). Find 'em here.

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But that's not all that's going on – PoweredByGen was cool enough to give us 15 HoneyDrus to give away to you guys! I'm pretty bummed that I can't enter this one myself, so be grateful that you can.

Here's how to get in the running:

This giveaway starts now and will end in one week, on Tuesday, December 10th at 12:00AM PT (Midnight). Winners will be selected at random and notified shortly thereafter.

Good luck!



Sprint Galaxy S4 Gets Software Update MK2 That Resolves Sleep Mode Issues

SprintS4Update 
Lets face it, some updates are more exciting than others. The OTA that Sprint is now rolling out to the Galaxy S4 is not one of them. That's not a bad thing per se, as a small update is better than no update - just don't expect much here. The list of enhancements for this one is just one line long. Software version MK2 "resolves sleep mode issues." That's it. If your phone wasn't sleeping well, it should rest more easily now. And so should you, after reading a changelog like this.

There's a decent chance this has already rolled out to your device, but if it hasn't yet, feel free to check manually. This probably isn't the type of update that will have many of you racing to do so, but you have the option. An update is an update, after all.

Tylt Offering 50% Off Its Selection Of Chargers, Cables

VU-untitled-3-Edit

If you're in the market for some stylish new accessories, Tylt has a Cyber Monday deal for you. The company is offering a whopping 50% off everything it sells, including the VU wireless charger. However, there have been some issues with stability as the site gets hammered today, so you can also submit your email to be issued a 50% off voucher for use in the future. 

VU_Red_Front  ENERGI-Plus-Bag-3qtr-front-face-lft
Tylt has a healthy assortment of cables, external batteries, cases, and other stuff. It's a bit more expensive than competing gear, but that's why the 50% off deal is so cool. The VU charger is admittedly pretty neat, but costs $70. With the deal today it's only $35 – pretty reasonable. To get the deal, just enter code 50off_ty!t during checkout (assuming you can get there). Keep in mind there is a $100 limit per user, so you can't go crazy.
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In addition to the VU, Tylt's Energi+ Backpack gets solid reviews, and the Y-Charge car chargers are pretty handsome too. It can't hurt to at least get on the waiting list for a future coupon. We've been able to get through the purchase process, so maybe things are finally getting worked out.

Reddit Sync Gets A Massive Update, Brings New UI, Multiple User Support, Hamburger Navigation, And A Lot More

 
redditsync

If you're a reddit user, there's no shortage of Android clients to choose from. Out of those, if you haven't tried reddit sync, there's no time like the present to give it a shot – it just got a massive update. Encompassed in this big ol' re-written-from-scratch update, you'll find a brand new card-based UI, support for multiple users, the hamburger navigation menu, multireddit support, and more. Here's a look at the new UI:

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...And the full changelog:
What's New
Introducing the brand new reddit sync! Featuring:
  • Cards UI
  • Multi user support
  • Sidebar subreddit navigation
  • Multireddit support
  • Re-written from the ground up
  • Remember what posts you've read with reddit gold
  • And much more
To make this deal just a little sweeter, the Pro version of the app is still on sale for $1. It's definitely worth picking up, and now it looks better than ever. If you're on the fence about shelling out a dollar, however, there's also a free version you can check out.
reddit sync
reddit sync
8,033 ratings
by Sync Apps
100,000 - 500,000 downloads



Xposed 2.4 Leaves Beta, Brings Support For KitKat, New Log Viewer, And Performance Improvements

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If you live right on the bleeding edge of the Android modding world, but you just can't press the button on using beta software, you're in luck! Xposed 2.4 is now out of beta just one week after KitKat support was first announced. As with the previous release, this one comes with the new log viewer and some pretty serious performance improvements. Now that it has lost the beta tag, it should also be fairly stable, or at least as stable as you can expect for a super-charged modding framework
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Screenshot_2013-11-30-16-15-32

Xposed is still not equipped to support KitKat's new runtime-in-testing, ART. As developer rovo89 explains, trying to run ART and Xposed together will result in a bootloop. To prevent users from accidentally sending their devices into a tailspin, Xposed will reset the runtime to Dalvik if the switch is made.
Android 4.4 users should also remember that some modules may not work correctly if they modified anything that has since been changed with the upgrade to KitKat. This is one of the ways in which the new log viewer can be helpful for debugging, or at least determining if a module is incompatible.
If you're already an Xposed user, simply hit the download screen for the latest installer, then update the framework from within the app. For new users, or those just getting set up on Android 4.4, simply follow the instructions on the developer's thread. Remember, your device must be rooted and /system must be writeable. Don't forget, you will definitely want to make a nandroid backup before starting the install, and be prepared to either restore it or hop into Safe Mode in case anything goes wrong.
Source: XDA 1, 2

DP Review Scrutinizes Every Pixel Of The Nexus 5's Camera In Exhaustive Review

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DP Review, one of the go-to sources for reviews, guides, discussions, and even periodic photo challenges related to all types of photo gear, recently published their own exhaustive review of the Nexus 5 on DP Review Connect, the mobile-centric arm of the site. 

The review covers everything you could possibly want to read about the Nexus 5's camera, digging deep into its features and flaws (there are many in both columns), why we don't exactly have the great photo experience many expected, and providing tons of sample images in all scenarios. As with any DP Review piece, it's hard to overstress the fact that the review is in-depth, objective, and well worth looking at.
The short version is that, as we'd expect, the camera does well in good conditions, and can even do alright in low light as long as nothing is moving too much. The downsides come primarily with the camera app and its controls which lack functionality, take time to start up, and have their own set of UX problems.
To check out the full review (and you definitely should), hit the link below.



The Staggeringly Beautiful Side-Scrolling Action Game Badland Comes To Android

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Just in time to help you unwind after a few days with the family, Badland has arrived in Google Play with a ton of free content. This is an atmospheric side-scrolling game that has some action elements along with a little dash of platforming. It's also incredibly pretty.
In Badland you simply press on the screen to make your little fuzz-ball character flap its... wings? It's not entirely clear what this thing is, but it's definitely flying. All you have to do is make it through the level as the screen steadily advances. Along the way, you'll encounter objects that make you larger or smaller, thus changing the game mechanics dramatically.
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The visuals are amazing in this title. All the obstacles in the foreground are crisp black silhouettes against the vibrant multi-layered backgrounds. The animations and physics also feel very fluid in Badland. Just from initial impressions, this seems like a killer game.
You can play the first 40 levels for free, but the next 40 have to be unlocked with an in-app purchase. If you only want the levels, that's $1.99. You can also just unlock the multiplayer pack for $1.99. Or just get everything for $2.99. All purchases also remove ads, but I haven't seen any yet.
BADLAND
BADLAND
277,445 ratings
by Frogmind
5,000,000 - 10,000,000 downloads