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Apr 23, 2014 - 10:55 AM - by dgstorm

If you haven't heard of it, then you probably don't play too many turn-based strategy games on the PC, because one of the most award winning games from that genre will soon be coming to Android. XCOM: Enemy Unknown is that game, and the fact that it is coming to a touch-based gaming platform makes such perfect sense, it makes you go, "Oh yeah. That makes perfect sense!" The game currently has a Metacritic composite score of 89/100, which is a rare feat.

The video you see above refers to the iOS version of XCOM, but it gives you a great idea of just how cool this port will be for Android as well. For those who don't know anything about the game, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a contemporary "reboot" of a classic PC game from the nineties. In this game you command a global task force called XCOM, which must protect the world from an alien invasion. The game isn't just about the fantastic turn-based combat. It is also an in-depth resource management and team customization game. You command several squads of customizable soldiers, research alien weaponry looted from your fallen enemies, manage the construction and resource utilization of your home base and much much more.

The game was developed by 2K Games and Firaxis, and is already running on iOS (including the iPad and iPhone). There's no specific date given, but the word is that it will come to Android "soon." There is one bit of dark news regarding this release (depending on your perspective). The game sells for $20 on iOS and will likely be the same on Android. If you look at this price from the standpoint of a typical Android game, then it is one of the most expensive titles ever. However, considering the game still sells from $50-$60 on the PC, that $20 sounds like a bargain, especially when you consider how many 100's of hours you could potentially get out of this game.

Source: Twitter
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Apr 21, 2014 - 11:02 AM - by dgstorm

We've actually heard both of these rumors before, but this is supposedly "supply chain" intel which corroborates them. According to this newest report, Google is still considering teaming up with HTC on the next Android Tablet, which may be an 8-inch device. The second part of this rumor suggests that Google is considering eliminating the Nexus line of Android tablets altogether after this device.

There are two reasons cited why Google is considering going with HTC instead of Asus for the next Nexus tablet. First...

Continue Reading @: [Rumor] Google May Team with HTC for 8-Inch Nexus Tablet; Could Be Google's Last
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Apr 18, 2014 - 11:23 AM - by dgstorm

Do you ever miss the days of classic RPGs on the PC? Do you have fond memories of the Baldur's Gate series from Black Isle Studios and wish you could relive some of that gaming magic? Even if you haven't played the Baldur's Gate D&D games on the PC, if you are a fan of that style of fantasy gaming, then you owe it to yourself to check out the newest thing to come to Android. Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition is now available for Android and can be found on the Google Play Store for $9.99. The price is a bit steep compared to the typical app/game for Android, but that price is really a bargain for the 100+ hours (including sidequests) of fun you will get from this immense and enjoyable game.

This isn't just a straight port of the game either. The "Enhanced Edition" moniker serves it well. Free-roam zooming, high-resolution fonts, and other UI tweaks breathe fresh life into the 16 year old game. On top of that, the Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition includes the two expansion packs (Tales of the Sword Coast and The Black Pits) built-in, and there is new content (some of which requires in-app purchase). Even if you never try out any of this extra paid content, you will be hard pressed to find a more enjoyable RPG experience on Android.

Here's a quote from the Google Play Store with a full game description,

The dawn is especially cruel this morning...
For as long as you can remember, your view of the world has been limited to the heavily fortified walls of Candlekeep. Your foster father, Gorion, has done everything in his power to protect you and keep you out of harm’s way.

All of that is about to change. Forced to leave your home under mysterious circumstances, you find yourself drawn into a conflict that has the Sword Coast on the brink of war. An iron shortage of unknown origin threatens to plunge the city of Baldur’s Gate into conflict with Amn. Meanwhile, there is something else at work, far more sinister than you can even begin to fathom...

Since its release in 1998, this classic saga of mystery, intrigue, and adventure has set the standard for Dungeons & Dragons™ computer roleplaying games. Customize your hero’s traits and abilities, recruit a party of brave allies, and explore the far corners of the Sword Coast in your search for adventure, profit… and the truth.

Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition contains the original 60-hour epic, as well as the following expansions:
* Tales of the Sword Coast: Explore the fabled Durlag’s Tower and more locations from the original Baldur’s Gate expansion.
* The Black Pits: You have been captured and forced to fight in Baeloth’s marvelous arena. A myriad of monsters await, as well as countless other adventurers who face the same fate. Maim,
... [Read More]
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Apr 17, 2014 - 10:20 AM - by dgstorm

It's hard to disseminate all the info running rampant across the internet regarding the Heartbleed SSL vulnerability which has been the big media talk over the past week and a half. We mostly stayed away from the story to avoid spreading any "fear-mongering."

Still, that doesn't mean we don't want to offer some useful intel for you guys. We've been holding out so we could wait until much of the initial hype died down and something useful came along. The above infographic is precisely that. The cybersecurity experts at LWG Consulting have put together a handy infographic which gives details on which major websites/web-services we should change our passwords on ASAP. It also shows some websites that we can breathe easier about.

It's possible that this infographic isn't 100% exhaustive, but it should be a great starting reference. Many of the companies who own these websites are currently scrambling to fix the vulnerability. Some of them have already fixed the vulnerability, but the problem has been there for years, so it is best to change your password regardless.

Source: LWG
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Apr 16, 2014 - 3:47 PM - by dgstorm

We have a second great story to share with you guys today. Just this morning we featured an article of Android humor regarding a unique Craigslist add we found. A clever fellow was trying to trade his prosthetic "old leg" for an Android tablet. Beyond the humor we found in his post and the humor we added with our feature, we decided to explore this further.

Here at HQ, we felt inspired to go beyond just writing a funny story about the unusual posting. We felt compassion regarding the gentleman's plight of needing an Android tablet for his "drawing" projects, but not being able to afford it. We didn't just think of it as a charity case though, because we found his proposal to trade his old prosthetic leg for an Android tablet clever and amusing. It just so happened that we actually had an extra Nexus 7 Android tablet on hand that wasn't being used much. On top of that, we even had a spare stylus in a drawer. We thought that if anyone deserves our compassion, it would be a person with a great sense of humor too.

Because of this confluence of coincidences, we decided to follow this "rabbit hole" as far as it could go, and made contact with the "seller" through his Craigslist ad. In the end, we got to meet a kindly and enthusiastic fellow named "Alan," who was very grateful to meet us and trade his "old leg" for the Nexus 7 Android tablet. Ultimately, we traded the Nexus 7 tablet (with all necessary cords and power adapters), a stylus, and $100 in cash so Alan could download some great artistic apps from the Google Play Store.

We aren't sharing this to be exploitive, nor to "sound our own horns." We simply were happy to experience this heart-warming event and wanted to share it with you guys. The Android community is far more amazing and diverse than we realize sometimes, and it's enjoyable when the universe reminds us of that.

In the thread below we included a few pics that Alan asked us to take with him so that we could share in his joy!
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Apr 16, 2014 - 9:40 AM - by dgstorm

Brace yourself! Here's a shank of Android humor for the day. Frequently in life we hear people blurt out the phrase, "I would give an arm and a leg for..."

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that's not something you expect to be literal, but sometimes the stuff you find on the internet just stretches belief. Case in point... we found a post on Craigslist in which the member wants to trade his prosthetic leg for an Android tablet! Yes... really.

In one segment of his listing, the brave man shares that he can't afford even a used Android tablet, so he needs the support of a generous soul willing to trade their Android tablet for his old leg.

Here's a quote from his post,

I'd like to trade an old, thoroughly used prothetic leg with flex foot attached for a functional Android tablet or Kindle Fire or Kindle Fire HD. You could turn it into a piece of art if you liked...or whatever other strange purposes you might have for a prosthetic leg. I won't judge, I just want the thing gone and I recently had it pointed out to me that you can draw with those little tablets and I wouldn't need to drag a bag full of pencils around with me when I go to the doctor and stuff if I had one. Being of limited means (about all I've got is an old leg) I can't afford to buy one, not even a used one. So....a leg for an Android. Maybe you want to start building an android......
To be clear, we are not poking fun at the person who left this Craigslist ad. This article is meant to be "tongue in cheek." We admire his obvious sense of humor about the situation which is propped up in his Craigslist column. Also, we fully respect his desire to "get a leg up" on technology, especially since it's a piece of technology that is near and dear to our hearts. We definitely support him, and wish him luck in this portion of his quest for an Android tablet!
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Apr 15, 2014 - 9:41 AM - by dgstorm

If you are one of the few out there who like the idea of the Google Glass wearable eyewear, and are looking forward to dropping $1,500 bucks to try them out, then today is your lucky day. For today only Google will be allowing anyone in the United States the opportunity to join the current Google Glass Explorer program and purchase the test product for $1,500 USD.

For your money you will receive...

Continue Reading @: For Today Only Anyone in the US Can Purchase a Google Glass
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Apr 10, 2014 - 2:54 PM - by dgstorm

Leave it up to the folks at Google to take Android to the next level for reliability and security. Google just announced their plans to extend their security services beyond Google Play and create a system for real-time continuous malware monitoring for Android. They will be evolving their "verify apps" service to take on the worthy task of finding and eliminating malware before you ever have to worry about it. Here's a quote from the Google blog with more of the details,

Think about the ways your home is kept secure. You rely on structural security features—secure locks, a rock-hard foundation, strong windows and doors. You might also have an alarm or video camera to give you an extra layer of security, with a support team behind those tools making them more powerful, all but invisible until the moment you need them.

We have a similar approach to how we deliver security improvements in Android. As part of Android’s foundation, we built safeguards like application sandboxing, which confines apps, minimizing their ability to damage other parts of your phone. But just like your home, Google offers a built-in “service layer” (kind of like the phone equivalent of that alarm service for your home) to most every Android phone and tablet that’s constantly being strengthened, and it’s included for free. We’re adding to that service layer, further fortifying your Android phone or tablet.

Verify apps: now protecting you continually
Building on Verify apps, which already protects people when they’re installing apps outside of Google Play at the time of installation, we’re rolling out a new enhancement which will now continually check devices to make sure that all apps are behaving in a safe manner, even after installation. In the last year, the foundation of this service—Verify apps—has been used more than 4 billion times to check apps at the time of install. This enhancement will take that protection even further, using Android’s powerful app scanning system developed by the Android security and Safe Browsing teams.

Because potentially harmful applications are very rare, most people will never see a warning or any other indication that they have this additional layer of protection. But we do expect a small number of people to see warnings (which look similar to the existing Verify apps warnings) as a result of this new capability. The good news is that very few people have ever encountered this; in fact, we’ve found that fewer than 0.18% of installs in the last year occurred after someone received a warning that the app was potentially harmful.

Even though the risk is miniscule, we’re committed to making sure that the best available security protections are available to all Android users. This includes service-based protections such as Verify apps, as well as security features within the platform itself.
Source: ... [Read More]
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Apr 10, 2014 - 11:00 AM - by dgstorm

It looks like within the next year Apple's iPad may be unseated as the top dog in tablet marketshare globally. Of course, it's their chief rival, Samsung, who is closing the gap. According to the latest reports, Samsung’s global tablet market share rose to 23% in the first quarter of this year. This is within spitting distance of the 30% total global marketshare for the Apple iPad.

Just last year alone, Samsung shipped...

Continue Reading @: Samsung Closing the Gap on Apple's Tablet Marketshare
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Apr 08, 2014 - 11:40 AM - by dgstorm

For some reason, Google has delayed the registration process for their Google I/O 2014. It was originally going to begin today, but instead it will now run from April 15th through April 18th. Here's a quote with the report from the Google Developers Google+ page:

Update on Google I/O Registration Window -- opening next week:

We're still working to make the registration process even easier for you, and it will now be open four days starting next week (opening next Tuesday and closing Friday). After the registration window closes, applicants will randomly be selected and we'll send ticket purchase confirmation emails shortly thereafter
It looks like they are still organizing to make the process even easier. Sound off and let us know if you plan on attending this year.
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Apr 08, 2014 - 10:18 AM - by dgstorm

HP just launched their Slate 8 Pro Business Tablet with Android KitKat. Just as the name implies, it is meant to cater to a different customer than the consumer level Slate 8 Pro. It has some very powerful specs, but the 1GB of RAM seems a bit lacking.

Here's a breakdown,
  • 8 inch, 1600 x 1200 pixel display with a 4:3 aspect ratio
  • NVIDIA Tegra 4 ARM Cortex-A15 quad-core CPU
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 16GB of storage
  • A microSD card slot
  • A micro HDMI port
  • A micro USB cable
  • 8MP rear camera and 720p front-facing camera
  • 21Whr battery which HP says is good for up to 11.5 hours of run time.
  • 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and support for Miracast wireless display streaming
  • NFC
  • Measures 8.7″ x 5.6″ x 0.4″
  • Weighs about 1 pound
  • Android 4.4 KitKat

At $349 bucks, this is a decent value, considering the power of the Tegra 4. That's only $20 bucks more than the $330 price of the consumer version. Still... we can't help wondering where this fits in the market. New tablets which will outclass this are just on the horizon for later this year.

What do you think of HP's Business tablet?

Source: HP Business
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Apr 07, 2014 - 4:19 PM - by dgstorm

Although it sounds like something out of Shadowrun novel, there is some new tech on the horizon which could make our worries about smart-device battery drain a thing of the past. An Israeli company named StoreDot just showed off a high-tech new prototype battery charger at Microsoft's Think Next event. This new battery charger utilizes Nanodots technology, which is essentially some of the newest nano-tech available.

Nanodots are bio-organic nanocrystals with superior energy storage capabilities, although commercial applications for them could eventually be seen in data storage, flexible displays, and imaging sensors. In this particular application...

Continue Reading @: Prototype Nano-Tech Charger Can Fully Recharge Your Cell Battery in Under a Minute
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Apr 07, 2014 - 10:59 AM - by dgstorm

It looks like Qualcomm is just never satisfied with impressing mobile tech geeks. They continue to push the envelope, even when we are already blown away by the amazing tech they show off. Their latest creations scheduled to debut next year are the Snapdragon 808 and 810. Here's a quick spec breakdown of these powerhouse chipsets,

Snapdragon 808 MSM8992: (The 808 differs from the 810 primarily with a different core arrangement and slightly slower GPU and memory interface.)

  • CPU: 2 Cortex A57 cores + 4 Cortex A53 cores (hexa-core, big.LITTLE arrangement)
  • ISA: 32-bit/64-bit ARM v8-A, 20nm
  • GPU: Adreno 418
  • Memory bandwidth: 64-bit LPDDR4-933
  • LTE: Cat 6/7 LTE, built-in
  • eMMC interface: 5.0
  • Wi-Fi: no (requires separate Wi-Fi module)
  • Camera ISP: 12-bit dual-ISP
  • H.256 encode/decode: no/yes

Snapdragon 810 MSM8994: (The 810 is the higher-end of the two chipsets, and is designed to follow-up the Snapdragon 805, which is coming later this summer.)

  • CPU: 4 Cortex A57 cores + 4 Cortex A53 cores (octo-core, big.LITTLE arrangement)
  • ISA: 32-bit/64-bit ARM v8-A, 20nm
  • GPU: Adreno 430
  • Memory bandwidth: 64-bit LPDDR4-1600
  • LTE: Cat 6/7 LTE, built-in
  • eMMC interface: 5.0
  • Wi-Fi: no (requires separate Wi-Fi module)
  • Camera ISP: 14-bit dual-ISP
  • H.256 encode/decode: yes/yes

It looks like Qualcomm is now starting to make excellent use of the big.LITTLE architecture, which makes their stuff a bit more similar to Samsung's Exynos. Regardless of how things are evolving in the mobile tech world, Qualcomm seems to be on the leading edge. Can Samsung and NVIDIA (or any of the other chip OEMs) really compete with Qualcomm's lead?

Source: Anandtech
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