Tag Archives: Mashable.com

7 Rockin’ Android Apps

cool android imageSmartphones can do some amazing things these days, and the Android Market has quickly become a sandbox for some clever developers, as well as Google Inc.itself.

We’ve already touched on some popular Android apps for Twitter, some for news, and some great multiplayer games, but not all apps have a specific purpose. Some are just interesting, amazing, or too cute not to keep in your back pocket as a conversation starter.

Utility be darned, here are seven free android apps that are just plain cool.


1. Floating Image


If you’ve lost your passion for Android’s bare bones built-in photo gallery, check out the Floating Image app that will breathe new life into your snaps, as well as pull in some great shots from around the web.

There’s not a whole lot of utility here, but it’s a really sharp looking way to show off your photos or discover some pretty ones from Flickr. You can even score a new home screen background by long-pressing any of the images that float by.

This one is all about the animation, and this video demo shows it off well.


2. Google SkyMap


Google SkyMap is an armchair astronomer’s dream come true. Using data from Google Sky and your GPS coordinates, the SkyMap app becomes a handheld window unto the heavens. As you move your phone across the night sky, you can see real-time information on the stars, celestial objects, and constellations as you pass them. You can also disengage the compass view and float freely through the galaxy with your finger, browsing the celestial map or searching for objects at will.


3. Google Goggles


We’ve certainly covered the release of Google Goggles before, but it’s hard to over-stress just how cool this project is. In essence, it’s a visual Google search which utilizes your handset’s camera. Simply view your surroundings through Google Goggles to get an augmented view of the stores and landmarks in your area, or snap a photo of a product or some text to get relevant search results.

In testing, Goggles didn’t recognize the Nike swoosh (one of the simplest and most well-known U.S. logos), but it did know where I was without GPS, and identified a complex logo for Coca-Cola, the American flag, and my DVD of High School Musical 2 [Extended Edition], promptly directing me to Amazon.com where I could purchase a second copy.

Google is also hoping to implement text translation into Goggles, which is not available yet, but is expected in future updates.


4. Talk To Me


talk to me android image

Talk To Me is an impressive app that can translate your input text or speech between over 40 different languages, and in most cases, speak the translations back to you. The interface is really dead-simple: An input for text, a drop-down list to choose your languages, and a big green button to activate the speech recognition.

You can even set it as a home screen widget. Simply tap the button, speak a phrase, and the app will speak it back to you in Spanish, German, French, and many other languages that use Roman characters. Support for many Asian languages is included, but currently only provides textual translations.

The speed and ease of translation has a pretty big cool factor, but this is one app on the list that may also be very useful for tourists or those studying a new language.


5. MovieFone


If you’re out with friends and still on the fence about which flick to catch and where, gather ’round the oldNexus One and fire up the new MovieFone app, which is a great way to get film details without ever touching a mobile browser.

The app, developed by AOL Mobile, gives you all the data from moviefone.com in convenient Android form, including synopses, coming attractions, theater listings based on your location, and perhaps best of all, full trailer videos built right in.


6. Android Lightsaber


Android Lightsaber Image

If you simply must get your nerd on, the Android Lightsaber app, which is officially sanctioned by LucasArts, brings the power of the Force (or a Force-like substance) into the palm of your hand. Choose between five different Star Wars characters, each with their own unique saber color, then tap the screen to unleash your weapon.

Swing your handset for the classic wooshing and buzzing sounds. Your lightsaber will flash and crackle as you spar with invisible foes. Perhaps the best part is the 1-click epic music that you can switch on in the midst of your imaginary battle.


7. BubbleBeats


BubbleBeats is brand new in the Market and injects some much-needed creativity into Android’s music library. The concept is difficult to explain, but it essentially creates a visual landscape for your music collection by way of multicolored, animated bubbles.

Each bubble represents a song that you add to the canvas. Resize and group your bubbles however you want — perhaps a gathering of red rock songs on the left, some blue blues bubbles on the right — and float around your custom bubble-scape, playing your favorite tunes at will simply by tapping their corresponding bubbles.

This one’s certainly not for everyone. Finding and arranging music on this sort of interface can be difficult. But it’s a unique way to visualize your collection, and experiment with a new approach to the playlist. Check out the developer’s video below to see what I mean.

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Facebook wins in Poll

It’s been yet another exciting matchup here in our Web Faceoff series, with the newcomer Google Buzz going head to head with Facebook and Twitter for the heady title of Mashable readers’ favorite social network.

Last week we saw free beat out premium in our online dating services head-to-head, and this week we wanted to check in on how you good readers were ranking Buzz in its still early days against popular contenders Facebook and Twitter. The results are now in…

…and Facebook wins the day, with 47% of the vote out of a healthy 7130 votes cast. Twitter came in a respectable second place at 26% of the vote, with Google Buzz coming in not terribly far behind at 18% of the vote. A good 9% of you thought it was too close to call, with the tie vote snagging 651 votes.

What do you think of the results? Check below for the results listing from the past editions of this series, and tune in next week for another edition of the Web Faceoff!

Twitter Down(It’s Back!)

Update: After about an hour of downtime, Twitter seems to be up and running. Here’s what the Twitter team had to say: “We are experiencing an outage due to an extremely high number of whales. Our on-call team is working on a fix.”

It’s good to know that Twitter got those extra fail whales out of its series of tubes. The exact cause hasn’t been released yet, but we’ll update you when we have that info. – It’s not just you: Twitter is completely down, and has been for at least 15 minutes. What exactly what took down the microblogging service, we don’t know (some speculate that a wave of tweets due to this morning’s 6.1 earthquake in Haiti could be partly responsible). It’s late pacific time (or early, depending on your perspective), meaning most of the Twitter team is probably asleep and a response to the situation will be delayed. Since the DDoS attacks last August, Twitter’s been doing pretty well in terms of uptime (though it’s had its share of slowdowns). We will update you when we learn what’s happened. In the meantime, you’ve got Facebook to update your friends on your frustrations, or our comments section below.

Tech Boom: Intel’s Earnings Up an Astounding 875%

We thought Zillow’s 2011 IPO was a good sign for the tech and Internet market. Intel has not only just confirmed that notion, but blown everybody’s expectations right out of the water.

The world’s largest chipmaker just wowed Wall Street and the tech world with its latest earnings report. The publicly-traded company reported a net income of $2.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2009, up an amazing 875% from its $234 million earnings in the fourth quarter of 2008. This more than beat Wall Street expectations.

While we won’t go into detail over the financial numbers (you can do that here [PDF]), we do want to highlight some of the key stats:

– Revenues in Q4 2009 rose to $10.6 billion, a climb of 28% from $8.3 billion last year.

– However, if you look at the big picture, Intel had a better 2008 than 2009. 2009 revenues were $35.1 billion, while 2008 revenues reached $37.6 billion. That’s a 7% difference.

– Intel predicts revenues of approximately $9.7 billion in Q1 2010, above Wall Street estimates.

– Around a year ago, at the heart of the economic collapse, Intel decided to invest $7 billion into new chip plants. It looks to be paying off.

Intel’s Q4 report is one of the first to come out this year, but it won’t be the last. If Intel’s numbers are any indication though, we’re nearing the light at the end of the tunnel.

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WordPress Android App Coming

It’s still in the rumour stages with no official word yet from the organization, but the blog software platform WordPress has set up a blog at the android.wordpress.org domain, Blog Herald notes.

They did the same for the existing mobile WordPress versions for iPhone and Blackberry, which points strongly to an app in development for those with Android phones.

With the launch of Google’s shiny new Nexus One Android phone in all likelihood just around the corner on January 5, we wonder if WordPress plans to capitalize on the Android buzz by announcing the new app on the same day. Even if not then, it’s probably pretty safe for Android owners to start getting their hopes up that a WordPress app is coming up for the platform in the not-too-distant future.

What features would you like to see in a WordPress app for Android?

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Google to Come out with a “Google Tablet”?(RUMOR)

Google is working on a tablet computer with HTC, the company that built the hardware for the Nexus OneGoogle Phone“, according to a report.

The report claims that HTC has “been working closely with Google for the past 18 months” on “several working models of a touch tablet”.

Are Google and HTC about to challenge both the iPhone and the Apple tablet, rumored to be called iSlate?

Australian news site SmartHouse, which first published the story, pits the Google/HTC offering as a direct rival to Apple’s tablet ambitions. But the device might equally prove a threat to Microsoft: getting Google Chrome OS into consumer’s hands is key to the operating system’s success.

Skeptics might argue that Google will never promote a tablet computer of its own: that would endanger its relationships with other hardware makers. And yet the Nexus One proves that Google very much will tread on toes if the move makes strategic sense.

What do you think: could a Google Tablet rival the iSlate? Or will this rumored device never see the light of day?

[image for illustration only, courtesy Gizmodo]

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FCC Chairman’s Facebook Account has been Compromised

The New York Times’ Bits blog is reporting that FCC head honcho Julius Genachowsi — the man in the middle of the net neutrality initiatives and the Google-Apple disputes — has fallen victim to the fraudulent activity of scammers on Facebook.

Mr. Genachowski apparently inadvertently passed around a malicious link to his Facebook friends via Facebook’s messaging system. Facebook confirmed the incident in a statement, saying that Genachowski’s account was compromised and that it has been flagged as is standard procedure. As of right now, Genachowski’s account is nowhere to be found on Facebook.

In fact, Facebook stated that Genachowski — just like everyone else — will need to take a few additional steps should he wish to reinstate his account. “Users whose accounts have been compromised are put through a remediation process, where they must take steps to re-secure their account and learn security best practices. This is what happened with Chairman Genachowski’s account.”

According to the report on the incident:

On Friday morning at around 10:30 a.m., Mr. Genachowski sent his Facebook friends this puzzling message: “Adam got me started making money with this.” It was followed by a link to a Web page that is no longer active. The messages indicated that Mr. Genachowski’s account had been taken over by a malicious program that was using it to send out spam.

As of Friday afternoon Mr. Genachowski’s Facebook profile was no longer visible on the site. A Facebook spokesman, Larry Yu, said the company learned of the problem this morning and suspended the account, as it routinely does in such cases. An F.C.C. spokeswoman said Mr. Genachowski was vacationing and declined to comment further.

This latest incident draws even more attention to an exacerbating problem that Facebook and Twitter face around scammers finding ways to infiltrate their networks with infectious and malicious messages. It also serves as yet another reason to always be wary of suspicious looking tweets, messages and status updates.

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