Sunday, February 23, 2014

Top 10 Android Apps of the Week – Feb 24 2014


Over the course of the last few weeks we have seen a litany of Flappy Bird clones populate the Android ecosystem. None have seen the critical success as the original, but some have close to five million downloads. The viral nature of the whole phenomenon has seemed to dissipated, with not many new Vine or viral videos being created. Today, we look at the top best apps that came out last week, or received major updates.

Mig 2D: Retro Shooter! – What would you do with an enormous flying machine armed to the teeth with a variety of deadly weapons? Bring peace and justice to the world of course. It's especially pleasing to bring peace with high-precision uranium core bombs or air to ground homing missiles.

VH1 for Android – Watch VH1 shows from your favorite Android device. Just sign in with your TV provider to watch recent episodes from select VH1 series anytime and anywhere. Access is included with your TV subscription to participating providers. If your provider isn't listed, don't panic. We are working hard to get all TV providers to participate.

The Tonight Show: Jimmy Fallon – Ready to tweet your Tonight Show #hashtags or submit your videos for the latest challenge? Looking for free games that are as silly as they are addicting? Wonder who will be on the show tonight? The official app is something no FalPal should be without.

Ironpants – Wanna play hard?! Ironpants – new arcade game by E2applets is for you! Be the best and fly the longest distance with your hero Ironpants avoiding coming obstacles.

The Tribez & Castlez – During any scientific experiment, something might go wrong. Sometimes you can even… travel to another world! Magic rules here: monster dragons hover in the sky, and forests are full of treacherous monster werewolves. Our old friends, Professor and Aurora, will help Prince Eric rebuild his kingdom and protect it from the evil plans of various villains!

Deadman’s Cross – Deadman's Cross is a zombie-themed collectible card battle RPG, and the latest creation from the same team that brought you the multimillion-download hit Guardian Cross.

Holofication Nation – This is the Official Holofication Nation app, here you can find information, screenshots and downloads for our Holofied apps. Enjoy!

Afterlight – Afterlight is the perfect image editing app for quick and straight forward editing. Our simple design, paired with powerful and snappy tools, will give you the look you want in seconds.

Ridge Racer Slipstream – The ultimate arcade racing franchise brings the console experience to your Android device! Slipstream past your rivals and drift around tight turns at over 150 MPH!

Equalizer + mp3 Player Volume – Equalizer+ the new standard when it comes to audio player! A must have to listen to your music! Boost and improve your sound quality and volume thanks to Equalizer+! Equalizer + is both a music track player and a frequency equalizer. Access your own music library directly from the app. Set the frequencies you like for your songs and save your presets. Equalizer + enables you to control 5 different band frequencies. Adjust each filter to bring out the best in your music. In addition to the low frequency filters, you'll have the possibility to amplify even more your bass sounds thanks to the Bass Booster option. Finally, you'll be able to visualize your sound thanks to a spectrum analyser, directly available from the app.

Top 10 Android Apps of the Week – Feb 24 2014 is a post from: Good e-Reader

OAXIS Launches New e-Ink Case For Smartphones

InkCase Lite

OAXIS has followed up its earlier attempt at an e-ink smartphone case with a new take on the concept which was unveiled at the ongoing MWC event. The InkCase Lite adds a secondary 3.5 inch 360 X 600 resolution Mobius e-ink display at the rear. It comes with its own battery and CPU which means it does not have to poach on the resources of the smartphone it is clamped on to. Also, this makes the system easy to use as well as there are no tech wizardry to deal with. The cases just have to be fitted with the matching smartphone and those will be ready for use. These communicate with the smartphone via Bluetooth.

What is even better this time is that OAXIS has stated they have enhanced the scope of the smartphone case this time, which means the InkCase Lite will be compatible with all smartphones currently available. That no doubt is a tall ask but at least the better known devices should come under the purview of the new case. In its first avatar, the InkCase Lite was limited to just the iPhone 5, Galaxy S4 and the Note 2 device which attracted a fair bit of criticism.

However, no matter how exciting the concept might sound, there is also no denying the fact that the add-on case does add some bulk to the smartphone. The lack of suitable apps to make the most of the secondary e-ink display also negated all the good things that the e-ink display could have introduced. The best we can have right now is EpiReader which can be used to read ebooks on the e-ink display. The EpiReader can also be used to engrave the display with a favorite quote. Similarly, the app InkCase Photo enables users to fillup the e-ink display with a photo while InkCase Sports can be used to make the display work as a sports timer. The Singpore company has also stated they are making available the InkCase/Lite SDK for developers to explore other ways to make the most of the secondary e-ink display.

Pricing remains a mystery right now, even more so now that the case has been made compatible with more smartphones this time. In any case it can't be expected to be cheap either given the InkCase i5 now costs $149. With dedicated e-ink readers such as the Kindle ($69) or the Kindle Paperwhite ($119) being much cheaper than that, the choice could boil down to a cheaper but a bigger full-fledged ebook reader or a smaller and hence more portable smartphone add-on that costs a bit more.

OAXIS Launches New e-Ink Case For Smartphones is a post from: Good e-Reader

eBook Review: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

Verdict: 1 Star

Congratulations go to Ms. Catton, as she has the distinct honor of being the first-ever recipient of a one star review from Good e-Reader. Even Willie Nelson’s literary diarrhea musings from his life on the road while high got two stars, mostly for having a cool-looking cover. I’m sure she is not all that affected by the news, having won the Man Booker Prize for this book. Sad, really. I wasn’t aware the pool of eligible titles was so abysmal this year that this book somehow rose to the top.

As with many prestigious award winning books, this one has everything that makes it stand out in the eyes of a snobby, musty committee of literary judges: it’s got a Victorian setting, a unknown journey, gratuitous and inexplicable violence, and opium. Last but not least, it’s 800 pages long. The committee must have awarded it based solely on the sheer amount of effort that went into writing it.

Am I being overly harsh and unnecessarily critical? Of course. Is it because I have a chip on my shoulder about the prize itself as it not only forbids self-published titles but also requires the publisher to throw in 5,000 pounds towards the advertising of the book’s status as a shortlist prize nominee? You betcha. Yes, the Man Booker Prize not only goes to a book published in the UK by a “formal” publishing house (don’t worry, just in case you’re confused and think your book is eligible, the rules are nice enough to state further down that you’re not welcome), but also expects the publishers of the six books whittled down to the shortlist to foot the bill for advertising to the world that this book made it to the finals.

And somehow, this book won.

The best quote on the entire internet about this book is from a review by Sarah Skoletsky: “Here’s my takeaway – gold mining is terrible work, opium seems pleasant, a dress weighing over 5 pounds should be looked into, and it rains a lot in New Zealand.”

I hate to make my negative impression of the book all based on the fact that it’s just another droning example of what passes for prestige in the world of legacy publishing these days, so there are actually valid points to make. The writing is about as wordy as it can possibly get, and the endless cast of characters make it nearly impossible to follow the story line. And just for fun, it has a rather unrefreshing plot–man strikes out for the unknowns of New Zealand to seek his fame and fortune and finds that the rest of the world is also trying to enjoy the prosperity that a whole new economy can offer–that has been done often and done well. This just isn’t one of those times.

eBook Review: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton is a post from: Good e-Reader

PediaPress: An Idea So Backwards That It’s Revolutionary

Wikipedia may be the saving grace of every hot-wings-and-trivia-night guru, but it can also be the damnation of high school biography paper writers everywhere. Known for its crowd-generated content and editable fluidity, Wikipedia is admittedly a brilliant at-your-fingertips web based information solution, even if its information has to be taken with a grain of salt.

But now, a company has decided to create a print book edition of all 20 million articles on the site, thereby proving that print and ridiculous ideas are not dead. There is even a $50,000 crowdfunding campaign afoot to help spur the completion of the estimated 1,000 print books that will comprise one set of the unabridged article collection.

What would drive someone to want to own 1,000 print books of user-generated articles on everything from famous people to rampant STDs? Other than a man already having the idea to print the German Wikipedia in its entirety, that is?

Actually, while the concept negates everything awesome about Wikipedia–namely, the ability to find something out at the tap of a few keys–it’s a really good marketing strategy for a service called PediaPress, the masterminds behind the behemoth print idea. PediaPress exists to allow users to generate print editions of articles they’ve collected on any given topic, helping them create their own print-on-demand editions of any articles they need. Ideally, no one needs all 20 million articles, but the service does exist to cater to these individuals.

Of course, the backwards nature of their crowdfunding campaign has brought a relatively obscure service publisher into the news, allowing more people to use the article aggregation service (while hopefully forgoing the entire collection and the shipping costs that would entail). After all, we’re talking about it now, aren’t we? PediaPress may have just touched on a brilliant marketing ploy that lets us feel superior as we mock their ideas, while still spreading the news about their much more limited service.

PediaPress: An Idea So Backwards That It’s Revolutionary is a post from: Good e-Reader

Archie to Release New Comics Aimed at Young Adults


Archie has close to 70 years of stories under their belt and it is time to make a change. In a similar vein as Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the inaugural book from Archie will follow Riverdales favorite blond in a title called Diary of a Girl Next Door: Betty.

The new title will be out in digital format on July 16th and will see future titles released during the rest of the year. The Story follows Betty as a Riverdale freshman, her strained relationship with Veronica and her new crush Archie. The book is designed to be reminiscent of diary entries, complete with text and pictures.

The book features art by Bill Galvan, Bob Smith and Jack Morelli. While the story is being penned by Tania del Rio, who said she’s filling the book with humorous entries focusing on all the drama of being a teen: “Academic pressure, the highs and lows of unrequited crushes, ‘frenemies’ and trying to balance growing up with keeping childlike interests.”

Archie to Release New Comics Aimed at Young Adults is a post from: Good e-Reader

Huawei Unveils TalkBand B1 Smartwatch/Fitness Tracker


Huawei today launched its first smartwatch offering at the MWC event. Named TalkBand B1, the device is more of a wrist band than a watch though that does not decrease its appeal any bit. Rather, the thin vertical profile does makes for a refreshing change in the fast emerging smartwatch me toos. The device comes with a 1.4 inch flexible OLED display but does not support touch gestures. What this means is that the smartwatch has to be magaed with the device it is paired with, which can be a smartphone or a tablet. Huawei stated it is compatible with Android devices running version 2.3 and higher as well as iOS running at least version 5.0.

Huawei also stated a unique aspect of the TalkBand B1 is that it can be ripped off the band and used to make phone calls, in which case it will also function as a removable Bluetooth earpiece. The smart wearable is waterproof too. It can pair up with other device via NFC or Bluetooth 4.1. Coming to its power characteristics, Huawei is claiming 6 days of runtimes, which no doubt is pretty decent from its 90mAh power source. The device also offers 6 hours of talktime and up to 2 weeks of standby time. Further, that band itself functions as a USB connector and can be used to charge the device in about 2 hours.

So far as the TalkBand's fitness tracking features are concerned, the wearable is designed to keep track of the number of steps taken, the miles covered on a day and estimate calories burned from these data. What's more, Huawei is also claiming that the TalkBand is also capable of tracking movements during sleep and judge the quality of sleep in the process. Clearly, Huawei would like users to have the smartband on them at al times, except during the charging process of course.

As for its price, there seems some confusion here though cnet is claiming it to be priced 99 euros, which comes to about $136. Other sources maintained, its slated for a launch in China, Russia, the Middle East, Japan, Latin America along with some European countries in March 2014.

Huawei Unveils TalkBand B1 Smartwatch/Fitness Tracker is a post from: Good e-Reader

Samsung Launches Galaxy Gear 2 and Galaxy Gear 2 Neo Smartwatch


Samsung has launched two new smartwatch devices – Galaxy Gear 2 and Galaxy Gear 2 Neo that succeed the original Galaxy Gear, which was launched just five months ago. Also, as can be expected, both the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo feature several enhancements over their predecessor though the biggest surprise here is the switchover from Android to Tizen to power the two devices. That apart, none of the devices break any new ground so far as the design is concerned though there sure are a lot of new features added to the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo devices.


Both are thinner and lighter than the original and continue to be compatible with only Samsung smartphone devices as of now. Coming to the tech bits, both come with a 1.63 inch super AMOLED display lit up by 320 x 320 pixels. Both are powered by a 1 Ghz dual core chip and come with 512 MB of Ram and 4 GB of storage.  Another common aspect for the two Gear 2 versions is that they are compatible with Bluetooth 4.0 LE to connect to a smartphone.

Among a host of other features that both the Gear 2 version offer include infrared blaster which means the device can also be used as a remote control as well as a heart rate sensor which no doubt will appeal to the health conscious among us. The latter is designed to keep track of the heart rate during walking, running and so on with there being apps accompanying it to track cycling and hiking performance. Both the Gear versions also feature a distinctive home button as well.


However, the one aspect that sets the Gear 2 devices apart is the inclusion of a 2 megapixel camera for Gear 2 which also will be the pricier of the two. Further, the camera has been included within the main body and not on the strap as was the case on the original Gear. The camera is capable of shooting 1920 x 1080 pixel still shots or 720p video.


Among the apps that come pre-loaded on the Gear 2 and Gear 2 include notification, calendar, S Voice, stopwatch, a timer, weather forecasts, and media control. There are also add-ons for calculator, Samsung’s ChatON messaging service, voice memo, quick settings control, as well as an app that can make the smartwatch function as a flashlight as well. Among the third party apps available for the two Gear 2 versions include Banjo, CNN, Conde Nast, Expedia, eBay, Evernote, Feedly, GARMIN, Glympse, iControl, LINE, Path, Paypal, RUNTASTIC, Weather Channel, and Under Armour’s Map my Fitness. In addition, several carmakers such as BMW, GM, and Volkwagen too have developed apps for the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo.

Water/Dust Proof, Battery:

Another likeable aspect of the Gear 2 variants – and which was missing with the original Gear – is that both are now water and dust proof. Further, with a 300mAh non-removeable battery under the hood (a downgrade over the 315mAh battery for Gear 1), Samsung is claiming run times extending up to 3 days under normal usage. This could extend to even 6 days under low usage though Samsung hasn't specified what it meant by normal or low usage. The first gen Gear lacked on both counts as it was susceptible to damage from water seepage while the device required recharging at-lest once every day.

Meanwhile, pricing remains undeclared right now though Samsung has stated both the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo will go on sale from April.

Samsung Launches Galaxy Gear 2 and Galaxy Gear 2 Neo Smartwatch is a post from: Good e-Reader