Posted: 15 Mar 2012 10:50 AM PDT
Who is ready for the best month of sports? Yup, it’s March Madness time. Although the NCAA Tournament has officially kicked off already and most brackets need to already be finished, we have a few of our favorite applications for following or creating brackets, live streams and more. A couple will give you game updates, alerts, scores and even live audio streams of all 67 games so head down below to see what we liked.
Before we start check out the March Madness Roundup from last year, as it had some good stuff. This is going to be another epic month of college Basketball. Who thinks Murray St. can go all the way? I don’t. Maybe Duke? As long as Austin Rivers can knock down buzzer-beaters all month long, then yes, yes they can.
There are tons of applications in the
Google Play Store for March Madness and the NCAA Tourny starting with the Sweet 16. Below are a few that we enjoyed enough to share with our readers, in case you watch sports and do more than just flash CyanogenMod nightly builds all day.
Official NCAA March Madness
The official NCAA March Madness App takes our top pick. Why you ask? It has everything you need and more, and even has live video streaming of all 67 games. With a simple and easy bracket, that is also easy to view and follow so you’ll be able to quickly look over your bracket and make sure you’ve made the right decisions.
They are live streaming every game’s audio for free, and for only $3.99 you can watch every single NCAA Tourny game live on your Android smartphone (no tablets sadly) on video. Yes all 67 games live on your phone. Not only that but they also have all the scores, analysis, and highlights one would ever need, and it even allows for alerts. Not just game start/end either. From the image above you can see it will alert you on crunch time, close games, and even overtime.
NCAA March Madness says it works for all Android devices but tablets were left out. Some aren’t finding it on the web market for Android 4.0 ICS devices but it installs fine on my Galaxy Nexus right from the Play Store. Enjoy!
NCAA March Madness Link
ESPN Bracket Bound 2012
Next up is ESPN’s Bracket Bound. It was at the top of our list last year and is still one of the best apps for following the 2012 Tournament. Just like last year ESPN’s is awesome. With bracketology, video highlights and analysis, bracket following, and support for 10 brackets — although you might be a little late on filling those out. If you already have an ESPN bracket filled out like the rest of the world does, just sign in and you’ll have full access to everything you need. They have a “My Team” tab right on top to easily and quickly follow your favorite teams progress and check stats too.
The ESPN Bracket Bound app for 2012 has been redesigned and is better than ever. Sadly the video highlights have short commercials for things like 5 hour energy of course, but works great and streams extremely smooth and of decent quality, even on 3G.
ESPN Bracket Bound 2012 Link
There are many different bracket apps in the market but just the simple one named “Bracket” is up next on the Android Community list. While it doesn’t have a community like ESPN, or video and alerts it is however one of the easiest and simplest layouts for brackets. This app will let you do as many brackets as you’d like, and is a great way to follow and check your status as you go. There isn’t a lot to it, but it doesn’t need to be.
This is basically a bracket tracker more than anything, and it does it great. The developers even added a Winner bracket that shows all the winners for that particular day. Nice huh.
Yahoo! Sports app called Scortacular isn’t necessarily a good NCAA March Madness app specifically, but in terms of one of the easiest and quickest ways to follow all sports and every single NCAA game this is a great choice. I use this as my go-to app for all sports because it is extremely easy, straightforward, and the same for most sports. It has all the sports you can think of (even Nascar) and breaks down Top 25, divisions, regions and you can also select your starting sport, favorite team, and even alerts. Following stats is very simple with this app and I’d highly recommend it.
Yahoo! Sports Link
Now that is only a few of many but they offer some of the best and simplest ways to follow the NCAA Tournament this year during the month of March. We couldn’t list them all but wanted to make a quick shout out to Thuuz Sports for being another app to follow all sports in general similar to Yahoo’s option. And don’t forget to download Slacker Radio to live stream the audio from all 67 games if you wont be near a TV or can’t get away during those big games.
Things have already kicked off this morning and it looks like Murray State is off to a good start — we’ll see how long that goes. Feel free to drop your comments below on what apps you like, and who you think will win the trophy this year. I’m going with Duke or Memphis.
Posted: 15 Mar 2012 10:02 AM PDT
Not a big fan of the Zune brown on the HTC One V displayed at Mobile World Congress? Depending upon your region and carrier, you may have some more options. New versions with black grey and purple tints to their unibody aluminum case were uncovered by Blog of Mobile, in some pretty convincing press shots. Sure, these could be whipped up by any Photoshop guru in about five minutes, but low-end phones tend towards some more fashionable color options, and mobile carriers like a little distinction. Let’s hope these choices (yes, even purple) show up when the One V starts hitting retailers next month.
No matter what hue you choose, the One V has some respectable specifications hiding beneath its metal frame. The 1Ghz single-core processor and 512MB of RAM won’t keep up with its big brothers the HTC One X and One S, but it should be enough to run Ice Cream Sandwich and Sense 4.0. The 3.7-inch 800×480 screen is small by late Android phones, but should suffice for those who want a more pocket-friendly device. On the back you get a 5 megapixel camera with HTC’s F/2.0 lens. The One V is the only member of HTC’s new lineup to get a MicroSD card slot, to help out with its somewhat cramped 4GB of on-board storage.
The One V will be available unlocked in the UK and Europe sometime in April, with Taiwan and other markets likely to follow. Here in the US, the phone is coming to regional and budget carriers Metro PCS, Virgin Mobile and US Cellular. No national carriers have picked up the phone yet (AT&T and T-Mobile are busy with the HTC One X and One S, respectively) but it should land on one of them eventually.
Dimension & Weight
Battery & Power
Posted: 15 Mar 2012 09:09 AM PDT
If you’ve watched the web-based social media circles over the last few years, even causally, odds are that you’ve come across the ubiquitous TED Talks at least once. The Technology, Entertainment and Design conferences host notable speakers from all walks of life to speak on topics they find important, and think others should too. While most of the content is available on YouTube or the TED website, the nonprofit organization has finally released an official Android app that allows users quick and easy access to a huge library of presentations.
Features include new videos posted daily (assuming that there’s new content to post) browsing and searching features and quick sharing via email, Twitter or Facebook. The library can be accessed even when offline, though video and audio are limited without a connection. Speaking of audio, you can listen to any of the talks without the video – a brilliant move for workouts or multitasking, since most of the presentations are pretty dry from a visual standpoint.
TED notes that the creation of the app was made possible by generous support from Sony, who was apparently tired of seeing them support Apple platforms exclusively. No worries, though – it’ll work on devices from all Android manufacturers. The app was released more than a week ago, but it’s already gotten three revisions, so it looks like they’re intent on supporting it well. TED is available now on the Google Play Store, and is compatible with phones and tablets running Android 2.1 or later.
Posted: 15 Mar 2012 08:09 AM PDT
CyanogenMod supports a lot of Android phones and tablets: dozens officially, and a handful more can be found as side projects for the members of the CM team. Bit one of the questions they get asked most frequently is, will my phone/tablet/ereader/phablet/toaster oven get CyanogenMod 9, the Ice Cream Sandwich release of the popular ROM family? To help dispel some of the uncertainty, CyanogenMod released a flow chart that spells out which phones will, won’t and may or may not be officially supported. Click here for a full-sized version.
Long story short: if your Android device has 512MB of RAM or less (like the original DROID, Nexus One and pretty much everything from before summer 2010) you won’t be getting CyanogenMod 9 officially. The rest of the modifiers get a little more tricky. If the manufacturer is planning an ICS release and there’s already an official build of CyanogenMod 7 for your device, you’re quite likely to get an official CM9 build. If Your device is close enough to one of these in the hardware department, your odds are about 50/50. If there’s no manufacturer ICS update coming and the device doesn’t have a dedicated GPU, odds are slim to none.
If your phone or tablet doesn’t qualify under the CM9 team’s guidelines, don’t despair. Since CyanogenMod is published as open source code, plenty of independent modders release their own slightly different releases (often known as “kangs”) for pretty much every major device out there. Even those pesky Motorola phones with locked bootloaders can get in on the action in some cases, albeit by using some flaky kernel tricks. And there’s always other ROMs out there, or (shudder) you could just wait for a manufacturer over-the-air update.
Posted: 15 Mar 2012 07:32 AM PDT
If there’s any hardware company that keeps a close watch on the ebb and flow of the PC gaming industry, it’s Nvidia, and that often means a beneficial conflict of interest for owners of Tegra-based machines. Last year fantasy fans got a complimentary Skyrim live wallpaper, and now Nvidia’s teamed up with BioWare to give the same treatment to Mass Effect 3, easily one of the biggest video game releases of 2012. It’s available on the Google Play Store now for free to Tegra-based tablet owners.
As with the Skyrim wallpaper, it’s a little simple, but fits in well with the game’s scifi aesthetic. Galactic bad mama jamma Commander Shepard sits above a view of the Earth in flames as the evil Reapers invade, animated as they break orbit to start munching on some tasty Glagnar’s Human Rinds. Though the only real movement is the reapers themselves and the foreground and background layers, you can add a little bit of custom flair by changing it to Commander Shepard’s female variant if you play FemShep (and you should, by the way – Jennifer Hale’s voice acting makes it a much better experience). Unfortunately, there’s no way to remove the GTX logo.
As nice as the wallpaper is, we can’t help but wonder: is that all? BioWare and EA have already teamed up to release both a separate game and a companion app for Mass Effect 3 on iOS. With EA promoting the hell out of ME3 (including some rather shady DLC and pre-order shenanigans) you’d think they’d be eager to make as much of that content available to as many people as possible. Guess they didn’t get the memo that Android is beating the pants off of iOS for sales.
No spoilers in the comments section, please. I want to preserve my inner fiction of Shepard and Mordin getting married and raising little salamander babies.
[via Android Police]
Posted: 15 Mar 2012 06:57 AM PDT
Archos has been rather surprisingly quick to dole out timely updates for its tablet hardware (a fact that certain parties would do well to take not of). After upgrading their 8 and 10-inch 9th generation tablets to Ice Cream Sandwich via a software update, they’re re-releasing the G9 series with ICS straight from retailers. The G9 Turbo tablets will have the latest version of Android right off the shelf, something that very few phones and tablets can say even four months after release.
According to Eurodroid distribution seems limited to the UK at the moment, but given Archos’ French origins, should spread to the rest of Europe soon. The 8-inch Archos 80 G9 Turbo starts at £199 for the 16GB version, with the 32GB version upped to £239. The 101 G9 Turbo starts at £249 for a paltry 8GB, with the 16GB version going for £269. THe hard drive version isn’t available yet, but you could always buy the Honeycomb model and upgrade manually.
It’s great to see Archos supporting its current hardware with software updates, even if we’d like them to roll it out more territories (our UK editors are making nyah-nyah faces across the Atlantic). They aren’t sitting on their haunches when it comes to new hardware, either: the G10 series looks to have both a slim profile and a Transformer-style keyboard dock, in addition to Android 4.0.
Posted: 15 Mar 2012 06:30 AM PDT
Sometimes our friends down under get unfairly left out of the news as far as the latest and greatest hardware goes. Fear not, Australians: HTC hasn’t forgotten about you, and neither has Ausdroid. They spotted the HTC One X hanging out a Virgin Mobile web page. (Not to be confused with the US version of Virgin Mobile, a budget no-contract network – in Australia it’s more like AT&T or Verizon.) While there’s no release date beyond “early April”, the One X is free with a two-year contract on a $59 plan or higher.
Australia’s LTE network is still in its infancy, so they’re getting the full Tegra 3 quad-core version of the HTC One X. Other specs like the massive 4.7-inch 720p screen, 1GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and the Ice Cream Sandwich/Sense UI 4.0 combination make it one of the most anticipated phones out there at the moment. The One X will also be headed to Optus, with the One XL (the LTE/Snapdragon S4 version) headed to Telstra, so Australians will have plenty of carrier choices when the phone finally arrives.
That’s 200% more choices than we’ll have here in the States. AT&T is the only carrier confirmed to get the One X so far, and it’ll be the Qualcomm variant (though it isn’t getting the “XL” moniker). While the One S and One V are headed to a handful of other carriers, the options for the One series as a whole are depressingly narrow. The UK and Europe are set to see all three phones in April, and the US and Australia should follow shortly.
Dimension & Weight
Battery & Power
Posted: 14 Mar 2012 07:49 PM PDT
It’s been almost four months since Google posted the first open-source code for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. A month later the official ICS update began rolling out to owners of the Samsung Nexus S, Google’s developer phone that was less than a year old at the time. Almost immediately Google pulled the update, citing battery and WiFi issues. Three months later, there hasn’t been a peep out of Google on the status of the update – which is small comfort to owners of the Nexus S CDMA variant, who haven’t seen any update at all.
With more and more phones and tablets getting Ice Cream Sandwich updates from their manufacturers, Nexus S owners who bought the phone to get timely updates are seeing red. Sure, advanced users can root the phone and use a custom ROM, but that’s not the point – one of the selling points for the Nexus series is that they’re supposed to get the newest versions of Android first. That doesn’t appear to be the case any more, and user frustration is easy to sympathize with.
Combine that with concerns over Verizon’s control of the new Galaxy Nexus and problems with other CDMA phones, and the Nexus program itself seems to be dropping fast in the eyes of Android fans. Add in A lack of communication from Google, and you’ve got a crisis of confidence among the Nexus faithful. It’s not as if updates are promised in perpetuity, but some sort of indication that the ICS update for the Nexus S is still being worked on (including Nexus S 4G models) would go a long way towards solving the problem.
Posted: 14 Mar 2012 06:58 PM PDT
If there’s one game I’ve been waiting to play ever since I picked up my first Android smartphone, it’s Super Monkey Ball. This kooky title is fun, addictive and so simple that dome kind of non-human simian could play it. Now Sega has seen fit to release Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition on the Google Play Store, and you’d be hard pressed to have more fun with a barrel full of baboon lemurs. It’s available today for just 99 cents, though that’s a promotional price that’s likely to increase soon.
The original Super Monkey Ball was a launch title for the Nintendo GameCube way back in 2001. As one of Sega’s first original titles to debut on a competitor’s hardware, it surprised players with simple but challenging gameplay in the style of a classic marble puzzle. Despite appearances, players controlled the floor (not the monkeys in their gerbil balls) with the GameCube’s analog stick. Super Monkey Ball 2 has already been available for iOS for some time, and previous reports indicated that it was headed for an Xperia Play release, but happily, it’s available to one and all.
The basic tilting gameplay makes for a fun time on smartphones and tablets, and there’s plenty of content here – 125 levels with a Far East theme, plus four mini-games. These include a bowling game, mini-golf, a sort of bare-bones flying game and the tablet-exclusive Monkey Base, sort of like the old classic Scorch. With Monkeys. In plastic balls. Trust us ,this one’s worth it.
Posted: 14 Mar 2012 06:27 PM PDT
What’s cooler than a brand new smartphone? In our eyes, not much. But shooting 10,000 volts of electricity through its case to make it better might just make that lofty goal. HTC’s been hot to trot on its new micro arc oxidation technique for making the metal casings on its One series stronger, with the end goal of needing no cases for the phone to be comfortably carried loose in a pocket. To make their case, they’ve released a video detailing the micro arc oxidation process in a format the even gadget bloggers can understand.
IT starts off with airplane-grade aluminum, a material that’s becoming more and more popular for laptops, smartphones and tablets, and which HTC itself introduced way back on the Legend model. Then the unibody phone structure is treated with 10,00 volts of electricity causing a chemical reaction (HTC isn’t saying what the reacting agent is). The end result is more of a ceramic treatment than a coating, which HTC claims is almost five times stronger than aluminum and three times stronger than steel. The HTC One series won’t be taking a bullet any time soon, but they’re definitely some of the toughest phones around.
The HTC One X, One S and One V are headed to worldwide markets next month, with preorders already appearing in the UK and other European markets. In the United States, AT&T gets the big daddy One X (with a dual-core processor to allow for an LTE connection) T-Mobile gets the One S, and various regional carriers get the One V. THere’s no concrete dates for any of them, though, so for the moment we’ll have to dream about out lightning-infused superphones.
[via Geeky Gadgets]
Posted: 14 Mar 2012 05:26 PM PDT
Android users tend to like big, big displays on their phones. A previous study found that the median size for an Android handset was between 4.0 and 4.3 inches diagonally, and of course more and more devices are coming out with 5-inch and larger screens, a figure that was downright laughable just a few years ago. It looks like Android manufacturers ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie. According to a report from Strategy Analytics, 9 out of 10 people gravitate towards a phone with a bigger screen than their current one when buying a new model.
The responders didn’t discriminate between platforms. Though the poll size wasn’t given, presumably it’s a relatively even sample of US and UK smartphone owners – Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc. No matter which manufacturer their current phone came from, they wanted a screen that’s larger than the one they’ve got. This seems like a fairly obvious trend from an Android point of view (my personal phones from the last few years have had 2.8, 3.2, 3.7, 4.3 and 4.65-inch screens) and flies in the face of a certain Cupertino giant, which swears up and down that a 3.5-inch, 4:3 screen is perfect for everyone.
Of course, it can be overdone. Even we’ve got to admit that phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note and LG Optimus Vu aren’t for everyone, and tend to be pointed dispraportially towards guys with huge hands. The current crop of megaphones is is pushing dangerously close to tablet territory. It’s a good thing that pretty much every manufacturer seems to have at least one entry at both 3.2 and 3.7-inch levels, though finding a sub-4-inch phone with high-end specs is nearly impossible these days. Sorry, niche buyers – there’s always the iPhone.
Posted: 14 Mar 2012 04:49 PM PDT
March Madness is here and it’s time to get into the NCAA Basketball Tournament mood. If you wont be able to watch many, or any of the NCAA Tournament games this month don’t worry because Slacker Radio has you covered. They recently announced a partnership with Dial Global and to kick things off will be streaming all 67 games of the NCAA Championship tournament completely free.
All you have to do is download Slacker Radio for Android, or update to the latest version and you’ll be able to listen in on the play-by-play and commentary of every single game completely free. Obviously there are some ads, and users can pay for Slacker Radio should they choose but the NCAA Tourny streaming will be free.
This is the best month of sports around (except maybe NFL in December) so you wont want to miss all the action and nail-biting finishes. With the games officially getting important tomorrow, you’ll want to get the app in a hurry. If BYU’s largest comeback in Tournament history last night was any indication, we are in for an awesome month of Basketball. You can also watch the games live right from your Android device with the official NCAA App for only $3.99 if you’d like.
Enjoy March Madness and drop us a comment below with who you think will win it all this year. I was going with Syracuse but recent issues with a certain player has me thinking we might see a sleeper team this year. Lets go with Memphis.
Slacker Radio Link
Posted: 14 Mar 2012 04:00 PM PDT
Daily deal offerings like Groupon and many others are extremely popular. Google’s answer to those has been Google Offers. While it is still currently in its beta stages Google has been putting tons of time, effort, and money behind it and today have some good news to announce. Bringing multiple deals all to a single and easy to use place or application Google Offers is a great alternative and today just got a little better.
According to Google’s official blog, they have partnered with 11 new groups to bring awesome deals to their daily subscribers. Some of those include: Dailydeals.com, Boston.com, Half off Depot, AT&T Interactive, and multiple others. Along with these new partners Google has announced 4 cities have been added to Google Offers. Bringing the total to 40 cities, and 30 partners that bring a wide array of deals to their subscribers.
While some have been using Offers already in places like Philadelphia, today it has been officially added and will have access to all 30 partners. The 4 new cities are: Austin and Houston TX, Miami, and Philadelphia. Once you subscribe to a city you can even take the Google Offers personality quiz so Google can match deals to your personality, needs, and interests. All the details, cities, deals and more are available from Google.com/offers
Posted: 14 Mar 2012 02:57 PM PDT
The Samsung Galaxy S III is coming. Yay! I’m just as excited about this phone as the next Android enthusiast but that is about where it ends. Until we get any official details or leaks all these fake renders are just pointless. Most likely the next Galaxy S III will look something similar to what we see below, but after a quick closer look you can obviously spot the faults of this Photoshop job.
The guys from Phone Arena received this “official press image” but clearly it is a fake, or Samsung is getting sloppy. Between the widgets being different size, shape, and not the same on the corners and even the lighting being off and messed up this is clearly fake — don’t get me started on that font. I have a feeling the next Galaxy S III will probably look something similar to this, but most would guess the same thing. With Android 4.0 ICS not needing the hardware buttons we no longer see the rectangle home button from previous devices. The design also gives the phone a longer look to go along with the suggested 4.8″ screen from previous rumors.
Nice widgets right? Clearly tossed together pretty fast and without attention to detail. In the gallery below you’ll also see the brightness increased and how the light reflection is clearly not right either. If this was real then we’ll be hearing something soon and even possibly an official announcement on March 22nd — but that is doubtful. Earlier this week we heard reports that the device has started production, and will have a unique ceramic design that will truly be revolutionary.
Latest rumors suggest a 4.8″ display, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, a quad-core Exynos processor, 12 megapixel camera and more. Not to mention the ceramic casing for a strong and lightweight design like mentioned above. I can’t wait to see some official information about the Galaxy S III and hope Samsung releases some details soon. For now, enjoy this fake photo and dream of what the future holds for Android.
Posted: 14 Mar 2012 02:26 PM PDT
One of the most popular, successful, and top grossing apps for Android Beautiful Widgets, has just been updated to the latest and greatest version 4.0 and has some impressive new features. Beautiful Widgets is that awesome weather and clock you’ve probably seen on thousands of Android smartphones and tablets. Today they’ve added multi-forecast options and a few other new features. It’s also half-off for a limited time so get it while you can.
With today’s update we have a brand new Web Store where users can browse all the different clock and weather skins to find the perfect customized look for their device. They’ve also added a cloud-to-device option so users can browse the skins online, and then tap download and it will instantly download right to your device. A nice feature but I usually just browse for skins inside BW myself.
One of the most requested features of the excellent Beautiful Widgets was the option to have multiple locations at once. Being able to set multiple weather forecasts. Previously you could only use a single location, or enable Geo-location. With BW 4.0 we can now add as many as we’d like and it works great in Ice Cream Sandwich. Just simply swipe to scroll through your weather forecasts. I’ve added three as you can see in the screenshots above. While viewing the weather forecast just wipe to the left/right to view different locations. It’s simple, easy, and something I’ve wanted forever.
Beautiful Widgets is one sale along with the new 4.0 update for a limited time so if you’ve not already purchased this simply awesome application, I highly suggest you give it a try. Check out the new BW Web Store with the link below, then head to the Google Play Store and get it today.
Beautiful Widgets Web Store
Google Play Link
Posted: 14 Mar 2012 12:32 PM PDT
Google has just issued an update to the popular Google Earth application for Android. Nothing comes close to beating Google Earth and this latest update makes it even better. With gestures, social integration and sharing, Earth Gallery and more it truly has some awesome features you wont want to miss on this latest version.
Google Earth version 6.2 you can now simply and easing share saved views, or current viewing state right on Google +, or other social network sites. Google has also added new scroll, pinch and zoom gestures for even easier navigation. Obviously with most updates they also state stability and performance improvements across the board. Things are running extremely smooth here on my Galaxy Nexus.
The biggest feature is probably the integration of the Google Earth Gallery. We’ve seen this before with 3D views of Rome and things of that sort but now you can access and enjoy entire galleries right on your mobile device. With Earth Gallery you can tour with multiple layers things such as real time flights, earthquake, and city tours. With the full gallery available right in the menu setting on Google Earth you can instantly go to the entire gallery and select what you’d like to see.
Pretty neat stuff Google. I love using this application to look up things, including my childhood home. If you haven’t tried Google Earth on Android before or want to enjoy the latest version hit the
Google Play Store link below.