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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Update - 271

Posted: 22 Mar 2012 02:33 AM PDT

Huawei has come forth with the release date of the Ascend D Quad smartphone. The quad-core device, which Huawei envisions as its bridgehead to the bustling Western markets, will only go into production this June, with a shipping date set for July.
If the report from CNMO is accurate, this late debut will put the Huawei Ascend D Quad behind the other quad-core smartphones that will compete for mindshare and the consumer’s money. Two other Android flagship devices are coming out this summer, the HTC One X and the Samsung Galaxy S3. The former will come this April to the UK (and probably Europe), and in June to the US. As for the Samsung Galaxy S3, depending on which rumors you believe, the rollout date ranges from April to June.
The Huawei Ascend D Quad is just one of the two quad-core smartphones that the Chinese mega-company is releasing this year, the other one being the Ascend D Quad XL. Both phones come with the K3V2 quad-core processor (developed in-house and leading the benchmarks as the fastest chip in the world), 4.5-inch IPS display with 1280 x 720 resolution, 1GB RAM, 8MP rear camera with dual-LED flash, and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The processor clock speed is set at 1.2GHz for the Ascend D Quad and to 1.5GHz for the Ascend D Quad XL. To accommodate that power-hungry proc, the XL version comes with a bigger 2500 mAh battery, compared to its sister’s 1800 mAh.
We're still clinging on the hope that both Huawei phones will be priced competitively against the other upcoming quad-core handsets. If Huawei can keep its commitment to price the phones 20 to 50% cheaper than the competition, we see no reason why the Ascends wouldn't set the Android world ablaze. Any doubt about the performance of the in-house SoC can be put to rest, with the benchmarks favoring Huawei’s K3V2 over both the quad-core Tegra 3 and Samsung's dual-core Exynos chip.
Would you choose the Huawei Ascend D Quad over the HTC One X or the Samsung Galaxy S3?

This article, Report: Huawei Ascend D Quad shipping in July , was originally published at - Your Android News Source.

Posted: 22 Mar 2012 02:00 AM PDT
Chrome vs Explorer vs Firefox
Since its first stable release back in December 11, 2008, Google Chrome was quick to gain popularity, taking just a few short years to become a major competitor in the bruising PC browser market. During this time, Google did not shy away from promoting their Chrome web browser in every way that they could, and, with Google being quite a powerful company nowadays (now, that’s an understatement), that actually meant a lot: video ads, ads on YouTube, and, of course, ads plastered all over their immensely popular search engine.
Open your Firefox browser, go to (logged out of your Google profile) and take a quick look. Doesn’t it seem like Google is doing a little too much marketing? I'm only asking since I personally know a few people that are somewhat offended by Google's ambition to turn users over to Chrome. Oh, and I almost forgot about the embarrassing paid posts fiasco from a few months ago, when the Google search engine actually penalized the Chrome team for breaking Big G’s SEO rules.
Anyway, as it turns out, Google's marketing efforts were pretty successful. According to recent stats published by StatCounter, Google Chrome was – for a day- the most popular PC browser in the world. Yep, that's right, this means Microsoft's Internet Explorer lost its crown for one day, and, most likely, it will soon lose it for good. Now imagine saying that a few years ago!
According to the data published by StatCounter, Internet Explorer loses a significant number of points during the weekend, when most people are not at their office, and browse the Internet from their own laptops or desktops. The interesting part is that these weekend points are won over almost entirely by Google Chrome. Last Sunday, on March 18, the shift was big enough for Google Chrome to ensure 32.7%, while Internet Explorer stood at 32.5%. It's a very small difference, but its significance is huge (for Google, Microsoft, and pretty much everybody else). The following Monday, Internet Explorer rose back up to 35% while Chrome slid to 30%. The following graph should provide a better perspective:
Leaving personal preferences aside, common sense dictates that users wouldn’t have embraced Google Chrome as quickly as they have if it wasn't a good web browser, regardless of how much exposure it received. Subjectively, I really think there is no "best web browser for everyone" out there, but Google Chrome should be considered an excellent alternative (and even tried out for a test run) by every PC user with Internet access out there. It's really that good.
Here are a few milestones reached by Google Chrome in the race to lead the highly competitive browsers market (as reported by StatCounter):
  • By the time the first stable version of Chrome was released, 1% of users were already using the beta version
  • In August 2009, Google Chrome was used by more people than both Safari and Opera (3.38% vs 3.25% and 2.67%, respectively)
  • Since January 2010, Google Chrome has more users than Safari and Opera put together (6.04% vs 3.76%, 2.00%)
  • In August 2010, Google Chrome's market share first passed ten percentage points (10.76%)
  • Since November 2011, Google Chrome is used by more people than Mozilla's Firefox (25.69% vs 25.23%)
  • For the past 30 days, Google Chrome holds a market share slightly bigger than 30%
  • On March 18, Google Chrome was the most used PC browser, globally.
What do you guys think? Are these milestones well deserved or are they just the result of Google’s marketing efforts? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

This article, For a day, Google Chrome was the world’s most popular PC browser , was originally published at - Your Android News Source.

Posted: 21 Mar 2012 03:21 PM PDT
samsung charging
If you're like us, you probably check the battery status on your Samsung phone a dozen times a day, and breathe a sigh of relief when you see a green indicator instead of a red one. Consider it a quirk of living the modern life, where one depends on gadgets and gizmos that still run on, unfortunately, on non-nuclear batteries.
Things are even worse when your device comes with a proprietary charger. While you can still use some cheap, no-name charger, in many cases, devices are designed to only work optimally with original accessories. Thus, what usually takes 2-3 hours with a proprietary charger can easily extend to many hours of frustrating wait, if you, for some reason, don’t have the original accessory.
Let's stop dwelling on the problem and start focusing on the solution, shall we? If you don't want to invest in a pricey Samsung charger to use as a spare, a developer at XDA has come up with a workaround that requires just a little bit of DIY. Getting those generic USB wall chargers to work on Samsung Galaxy phones won't be a problem anymore. A solution has been found to trick your device into accepting no-name chargers. Here's what Trusselo, the developer behind the workaround, has to say, in his own words:
"The theory behind it is with samsung galaxy phones and "official chargers": if the middle 2 data pins on the usb, while getting 5v to the outer 2 pins it tells the phone that it is an *official samsung* charger and enables full speed charging."

Basically, when you use a non-Samsung charger, the phone will only get around 350mA of power instead of the full rate. By bending the two middle pins, this will trick your Samsung phone into believing that you're using an official charger, thus, kicking into fast-charge mode, which happens at about 800 – 1000mA.
Do note that there are risks involved in following the procedure. One, you may end up with a damaged charger. Two, you'll risk frying your Samsung device. Of course, it’s highly recommended to go to the original thread at XDA to get the full low down of the method, as well as some nice pictures. Remember that it's better to be safe than sorry, so don't do anything that you are not really comfortable with.

This article, How to fast charge your Samsung Galaxy phone using any USB charger , was originally published at - Your Android News Source.

Posted: 21 Mar 2012 02:50 PM PDT

The Joy Of Using Experimental Software

One of the main reasons behind me rooting all of my devices and playing with custom ROM’s is that I projects that are in development, or experimentation. Anyone can use a ‘perfect’ ROM from the device’s manufacturer, but I enjoy running Android builds that other people have gone to the trouble of making for us all. Manufacturers never get this right when it comes to development, they’re under the illusion that we like what they give us. Whilst this is partially true, we end up discovering we want more features, and we know exactly what these features are. Across forums on the internet, these ideas are submitted and kind souls make these community builds of Android.
I also love snagging the development builds before the final versions are released. If something works perfectly, I get bored of it. If something doesn’t work quite as you would expect, I like trying to find a workaround, or submitting a bug to the developers of that ROM. Using a custom ROM makes you part of a deeper community, one of like-minded enthusiasts who want to get the most out of their smartphones and tablets.

Don’t Worry, You’ll be Fine

If you’re looking into the world of Rooting and custom ROM’s, then you will doubtless have heard the rumors that if you do it wrong it makes your phone unusable. Whilst this is possible, it is extremely – like extremely – rare. If you follow the simple instructions on a trusted forum or site for your device (like ours), or, even better, from the the ROM creators site, and follow them closely, you will be successful. I would say that 99% of custom ROM flashes are successful. The 1% of failures comes from people forgetting to charge their devices before flashing, as depending on how many steps you have to follow, the rooting process can take up to forty minutes.

So Many to Choose From!

One of the not-so-obvious joys of using a custom ROM is that you have so many to choose from. Each one with a slightly different aim and objective. The most popular ROM is CyanogenMod, partly because it is a fast and well-maintained ROM, but also because it is available for so many devices, 100 and counting in fact. Then there are other ROM’s like Android Revolution, focused on speed, improved usage, and occasional graphic driver enhancements. Then there is AOKP, and many more, so research as many as you can find which have a build available for your device. Identify the one that appeals most to you, and then find the instructions to install it. Bam!

Do I Need To Flash a New Rom? Can’t I Just Enjoy Having Root?

Well it depends on what your end objective is. If you want to enjoy a new Android experience different from your current one, or you want a certain set of features that a ROM provides, then no. You will need to take the brave step and flash your device. If however you want to run some applications which require root privileges like the network encrypting and disguising application Tor#, then you don’t need to flash a custom ROM, and a plain old root will do just fine.

The Forums Expect Me To Know Everything, But I Don’t Understand Some of the Terms.

That’s to be expected and not at all your fault. Though a large percentage or rooters and rom-users are a bit geeky or computer inclined, anyone should be allowed to enjoy their Android phone this way. So here are some definitions and explanations of terms which I hope might clear up some things for you.


Easy there, Flashing doesn’t have any connotation with that. Nor does it have quite the same meaning older computer users may be thinking of, the act of ‘Flashing’ EEPROM in older computers. What flashing means in the Android world is basically copying files, be it a whole Android build or a collection of applications, to your devices internal memory. I suppose the idea of flashing is that ‘BAM’ your old system files are gone, and the new ones are laid in their place. So, the expression ‘Flashing the ROM’ pretty much means copying the ROM files to where they need to go.

Root User

Users of Linux or advanced users of OS X will understand the meaning of Root User, but it’s unlikely that Windows Users will. Android is based upon the Linux operating system which runs on many computers, that in turn was based off of Unix. Something that has carried down these generations is the name of what Windows users call the ‘Administrator’ user. The only difference here is the name and that the Root User can do absolutely anything. Even deleting files which a computer or Android device needs to boot up, which Windows protects even from the Administrator in most cases.

ClockWork Mod / Recovery

This is a small program which you can install, and can boot into instead of Android when you turn your on. This is usually done by holding both the volume down and power buttons simultaneously. Within ClockworkMod, you can flash new ROM’s, back up your existing ones, erase cache’s, install updates, and many more things. Just remember that rooting a device doesn’t install ClockworkMod. It has to be done separately.
If you have more questions, be sure to check out our Rooting for Dummies post here. This post contains all the various rooting guides we’ve made to help walk you through it. We’ve also got another section devoted to custom ROM’s too, so check them out if you are curious to know more.
We also have a dedicated rooting category here, too.

Be brave, count to ten, and go for it

You’ll be worrying about whether or not you’ve done everything perfectly, or if something will go wrong. Remember to check the guide provided thoroughly, and make sure you are ready to do all the steps and you’ll be fine. Afterwards you will have a truly open and customisable Android device.
Happy Rooting! Tell us about your experiences rooting and why you root your Android devices below? To root or not to root?

This article, Concerns about rooting? Let me put your fears aside , was originally published at - Your Android News Source.

Posted: 21 Mar 2012 02:47 PM PDT
trigger happy
If you ever felt the need to control your top-class point-and-shoot or DSLR camera with your smartphone, you are almost in luck, as a new project called Trigger Happy is designed to help you control the camera with your Android smartphone (exactly the same functionality is also offered for a certain Apple smartphone as well, but that's beyond the purpose of this blog). Trigger Happy is a patent-pending technology that consists out of two major components: a cable that converts the audio signal emitted from your smartphone's 3.5mm jack into a signal that the camera can use, and an Android/iOS app that acts as a trigger (pun definitely intended). The list of supported cameras is quite extensive, up to the point where if your camera isn’t included, it probably isn’t worth the effort. For your reference, here’s a link to the full list. According to the small team behind the project, Trigger Happy devices will reach the consumer market sometime in early June, but you can get yours delivered in April if you “pledge” $100 or more. You can also pre-order your Trigger Happy device for $50, while the retail price of the system will be set at $70 once it gets released. It's all part of the "we need money to get our start-up going" mentality that the developers are showcasing, but, unfortunately, I'm not sure there is a single reason you should give in, not matter how much of a photo buff you really are. Although I personally find the idea of controlling your camera via your smartphone quite interesting, I'm not sure that a wired solution is the answer. In the age of mobile tech, the Trigger Happy solution is not what many would expect. Although additional functions are planned (for example, the Trigger Happy team is working on a way to set the camera to take a photo at the exact moment when your smartphone recognizes a face passing by the objective), at its current state, it's really only a trigger. Granted, it's nice to get a glimpse of Android-DSLR interoperability, but to be honest, the developers might need to come up with something more than a cable solution. I’m sure not gonna pay $50 for a trigger cable, will you? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!

This article, Trigger Happy: an Android-controlled DSLR remote , was originally published at - Your Android News Source.

Posted: 21 Mar 2012 11:01 AM PDT

Over the last months, there’s been no shortage of announcements concerning upcoming Android 4.0 tablets, to a degree that it became a little hard to find differences between the various devices touted by manufacturers. So here we are, bringing you yet another Ice Cream Sandwich loaded tablet, this time from Fujitsu. So, lets see what the Fujitsu Stylistic M532 Android 4.0 tablet can bring to the table?
At first glance, Fujitsu’s Stylistic M532, while impressive to look at, offers no immediate indication of its superiority over the slew of other similar tablets announced or available on the market. The M532 features a "standard" 1280×800 resolution display, protected by a 10-inch Gorilla Glass screen. The tablet features Fujitsu’s so-called Soft Grip back, which, as the name suggests, makes it easy to hold. At just 8.6 mm thickness, the Stylistic M532 is a proud member of the ultra-thin club, weighing a meager 560 grams.

Other specifications include:
  • 1.4 Ghz NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor
  • 1 GB DDR3 RAM
  • Android 4.0 OS
  • 10.1-inch multi-touch capacitive touchscreen
  • 16GB/32GB built in memory, expandable to 32GB with microSD
  • 8 MP with flash rear camera, 2 MP front camera
  • 802.11 b/g/n
  • Mini USB port, HDMI out port
  • 9.5 hour battery usage available

As you can see, the excellent specs position the Fujitsu Stylistic M532 as a direct competitor to the ASUS Transformer Prime and the iPad 3. What makes this tablet stand out is the fact that Fujitsu clearly markets it as a business tablet. It comes with a free one year subscription to Norton Tablet Security and Absolute CompuTrace, to lock it in case it goes missing, and the ability to enable full disk encryption.
Office apps are standard, the Stylistic supporting Citrix, VMWare, and Microsoft Virtual Desktop right out of the box, allowing remote access to your work system. It also includes the NitroDesk Touchdown e-mail client, which is a secure app for managing your corporate Exchange email accounts. What points this tablet might lose on style and appearance, it makes up with the perfect combination of apps to meet any office goer's needs.
The Fujitsu Stylistic 532  provides a lot of nice features that will appeal to the consumers in need of a portable business platform. The high-end specs naturally bring along an equally high price tag of $630, but the M532 is still cheaper than other similar high-end devices (I'm looking at you, $780 ASUS Transformer Prime).
Here is a short video for further information on the Fujitsu Stylistic M532, courtesy of

This article, Preview: Fujitsu Stylistic M532 10.1″ Android 4.0 tablet , was originally published at - Your Android News Source.

Posted: 21 Mar 2012 10:05 AM PDT

In the ongoing debate about 3G vs WiFi-only slates, the verdict is finally in (at least according to industry analyst Chetan Sharma) and the results are not entirely surprising. According to his recent market update report summarizing the US wireless industry, almost 90% of consumers currently prefer WiFi-only tablets over the 3G versions. Mentioning that his chart compares U.S. 2011 sales of WiFi-only tablets against cellular-equipped versions, Sharma suggests that mobile network service providers, like AT&T, T-mobile, Verizon, and Sprint are not essential for a thriving tablet ecosystem.
There are a number of causes for this situation, of which we will discuss the following below.


Most WiFi-only tablets cost around $100 less than their 3G-enabled counterparts. This figure does not include the extra cost required to subscribe to a data plan. In the United States, getting data connectivity on your tablet implies a contract for a minimum of two years. The big exception is represented by iPad users, who can opt for a month-by-month subscription from AT&T.
Sharma’s research brings up the question of the feasibility of such long term contracts. With most devices seemingly dated after only a year due to the rapid pace of hardware development, committing to a two year contract is a hard pill to swallow, and the early termination fees of hundreds of dollars don’t help either.
In addition, market studies suggest that most users are likely to leave their tablets at home. Since a lot of homes have access to WiFi Internet, the additional cost of owning a 3G-enabled tablet is simply too high for most consumers.


Most data plans will set you back $49.99 for between 2GB to 5GB 'free' monthly usage, with additional charges being tacked onto your bill when the limit is crossed. Only Sprint offers a truly unlimited data plan, but with a hefty price tag of 99.99 USD. These limits are in place due to bandwidth limitations, and, according to the carriers, so as ‘not to disrupt the quality of data service available to other customers.” Right.
While the reasons for these limits are understandable, they certainly seem too low. Devices on Wifi are usually connected to home broadband services. This gives the user the advantage of truly generous data limits, a 100GB being the average of amount of data available on a lot of the popular internet data plans these days.


The only saving grace for 3G+ tablets is the mobility they offer consumers. Daily commuters nowadays prefer to 'flip' through newspapers available on their tablets. It also helps consumers avoid boredom on long journeys, or waiting in airports (without free Wifi available). Business professionals on the go may not have ready access to a Wifi network, and 3G connectivity enables them to have access to urgent e-mails, presentations, and documents available online. Still, it’s important to remember that elsewhere in the world, you can purchase a tablet, plug in your SIM, and you have data on the move.


With most high-end smartphones being 3G/4G enabled and offering a portable WiFi hotspot feature, or mobile tethering, allowing users to connect their Wifi enabled devices to use the phone's data to connect to the internet. MiFi (Mobile WiFi) as this called, provides consumers with an alternative to requiring a 3G enabled device. This saves the user the hassle of requiring another long term contract with a carrier and also requires just one data plan subscription to run multiple devices.


With data speeds on the rise with the introduction of 4G LTE networks and with costs hopefully hitting a downward trend at some point in the future, this recommendation might change. But, for now, WiFi only tablets is the more logical choice. Unless carriers minimize the cost of adoption and change the contract to one year, it’s likely that this scenario is likely to continue. What say you? 3G/4G tablet with 2 year contract for $499 and a monthly fee? How does that sound?

This article, 9 out of 10 tablet users prefer WiFi-only tablets , was originally published at - Your Android News Source.

Posted: 21 Mar 2012 09:00 AM PDT

Augmented Reality is a real-world view of a physical environment augmented by sensory inputs including sound, video, graphics, and GPS data. The technology functions by enhancing one's perception of reality. Information can be overlaid on real physical object, can be interactive, and is digitally changeable.
Later this year, Google is expected to start selling eyeglasses, dubbed Google Glasses, that will project information, entertainment, and advertisements, I’m sure, onto the lenses. The glasses will feature Android software and will function as a smartphone, with the lenses equivalent to a see through screen. Such a device requires a generous dose of augmented reality mapping technology.
But, if you cannot wait to get your hands on this, there is a solution closer to home. A PhD Candidate in Geospatial Science at RMIT University, in Melbourne, Australia, thought just to do what you are looking at before you now. Google Glasses do it yourself edition is born.

Matt Kwan decided to make his own HUD(Head-Up Display) using an HTC Desire Z, a baseball cap, two fresnel, a plastic mirror, some mirrored film from an iPhone screen protector, and assorted office supplies. The smartphone is held in place by a rubber band, and whatever is on the screen, gets displayed in the wearer's field of view. The fresnel lenses are required to push to perceived distance of the screen to about 50 cm, to avoid serious eye-strain.
Courtesy of Matt Kwan
According to his notes, this setup worked quite well, with some design changes recommended to make it even better.
The image quality from the fresnel lenses was mediocre at best. Use a pair of lenses in series to get the right focal length created distortion around the periphery since the mounting wasn't very rigid. He recommends using single, rigid lens with just the right focal length. The reflected light from the screen was also dim in direct sunlight, as the mirrored film was not very reflective. He also suggested using a phone lighter than the Desire Z, like an iPhone. Now, now, we can’t have that now, can we?
Courtesy of Matt Kwan
Overall, this worked as a proof-of-concept. With the right software and perfected design, this might be the next big breakthrough in mobile communication technology, but Google’s closer than ever. See here.
Will you be trying this at home? Are you looking forward to Google Glasses? Is augmented reality the next big thing?

This article, Man cannot wait for Google Glasses, creates his own , was originally published at - Your Android News Source.

Posted: 21 Mar 2012 08:04 AM PDT
What a rollercoaster! After days of furious speculations, today we've got two huge pieces of news concerning the Samsung Galaxy 3. First, Samsung's VP for China told the press that the Galaxy S3 launch event may come in April, although it was originally planned for May.
Now, we have even bigger news – a leaked image originating from Dutch mobile blog shows a supposed Galaxy S3 that is very similar to the device shown in the leak we saw last Saturday. Moreover, GSMHelpdesk claims that the trusted source that supplied the image has also provided them with the full specs of the Samsung Galaxy S3.

New image corroborates with previous leak

[Updated with image supplied by commenter OBWhite.]
Here is the new image:

And here's the image superimposed on the leak from last week, which surfaced via Reddit.
Samsung Galaxy S3 Image Specs
Needless to say, the two renders clearly represent the same device, although there are a few differences between them. First, the big rocker you can see on the left side of the first phone and the camera shutter button are, at first glance, missing from today's leaked image. But, again, some leveling in Photoshop reveals that the rocker is present in the second image as well. Also, there are a few pixels present in the area where the camera button should be, although we can't tell if that's really the button or just some artifact.
Samsung Galaxy S3 Image Specs
The second apparent difference between the two leaks is the rendered screen image. While today's image shows the same launch information like the image from Reddit (May 22, in London), there are a few notable differences. First, today's leak shows a Gingerbread-like status bar and only four icons in the lower bar.
Second, the scheduled time for the Unpacked event differ: the Reddit leak says 6-7 PM, while GSMHelpdesk's leak says 7-8 PM. Not a big difference and we are not sure what to make of it. Probably, the two images were created at different times, with today's image (with its Gingerbread design cues) being presumably older.
As The Verge notes, the image used in today's leaked render was used in previous Samsung press shots, which may or may not mean that the image is a fake. After all, Samsung designers may have just thrown a quick mockup, reusing some older official images.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Specifications!

GSMHelpdesk also claims that it received trusted information concerning the full specs of the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S3.
Here's the list, as conveyed by the Dutch blog:
  • Processor and memory
    • Processor: quad-core 1.5 GHz
    • RAM: 1GB
    • Storage: 32GB
    • Card Slot: Unknown
  • Dimensions
    • 131 mm long
    • 64 mm wide
    • 8 mm thick
    • 125 grams
  • Battery
    • 1750 mAh
    • Removable
  • Display
    • 4.7-inch
    • 720 x 1280 resolution (HD)
    • 313 ppi
    • Super AMOLED Plus HD
  • Camera
    • 12MP rear camera
    • LED flash
    • Slow motion,
    • Time lapse
    • Full HD (1080p) video recording
    • 60 FPS video shooting
    • 1.3 MP front camera
    • 720p video recording (front camera)
  • Connectivity
    • Dual Carrier HSPA 3G networks
    • Download speeds of up to 42 Mbps
    • Upload speeds of up to 5.76 Mbps
    • Bluetooth 4.0
    • NFC
    • WiFi a/b/g/n
    • Micro USB 2.0
    • HDMI out
    • DLNA
    • WiFi direct
    • Wi-Fi Hotspot option
In short, most of the presumed specifications provided by GSMHelpdesk's source seem in line with previous rumors.

Samsung Galaxy S3 release date

The leak states that the May 22, 2012 Galaxy S3 release date (first seen in Saturday's leak) still holds. However, considering the abundance of leaks coming out, Samsung may decide to hurry up and launch the Galaxy S3 sooner, maybe in April. This would be in line with the declaration we reported this morning.
We'll update this post as we learn more. Meanwhile, tell us, what do you think about this new development? Real or not?
No related posts.

This article, Bam! New Samsung Galaxy S3 image leaked along with full specs? , was originally published at - Your Android News Source.

Posted: 21 Mar 2012 06:22 AM PDT

Lately, more and more pieces of Android software are being released with in-app purchases available to the user. I personally think this is a terrible strategy for developers to be using, and I’d like to explain why.
The developers of software on the Play Store (and indeed the iPhone’s App Store!) are just using low tactics to make us purchase things from them when we wouldn’t otherwise give it a second thought. Take the relatively new game ‘Sims Freeplay’ which is available from EA games for both phones and tablets. It is an officially licensed version of the game, is very well made, and gorgeous to look at. Your incentive to download it is that it’s free, or at least that is how it seems. This version of the Sims works quite differently to the classical PC versions, and uses real-world time in the game, and this carriers over to the time required to complete tasks. So if I instruct a Sim to eat something from the fridge, that takes five minutes to complete…

You can use ‘Lifestyle points’ to instantly complete actions that would normally take hours, and this is where EA Games reaches for your wallet. These lifestyle points cost real-world money and can be bought as an in-app purchase in varying sizes. Unbelievably, they have the nerve to charge the same price as a full game for a decent amount of these lifestyle points. They draw you in with the idea of a free game, then say that you can’t enjoy the game properly without buying their silly in-game currency.

Hardly Sporting

These are already on the disc that I bought, but I have to spend more money to use them? Doesn't seem right to me. The same sort of payment structure is becoming more prevalent in Android
Honestly, this seems like a dirty tactic to me. I know that the sales and advertising world is riddled with dirty tactics, but this niggles at me more than any other sales strategy I’ve ever heard of. The developers give you a free sample of a game and what you can expect to enjoy in it, then begin charging for further content. People who’s minds are soaked in desire for this content figure that they just have to lump it and buy the content, but they shouldn’t. The sales method is akin to that of a drug dealer’s. Give out free samples, wait for people to get hooked, and then charge for continuation or further installments.
What I want is for developers of games, applications, and tools to be upfront about their creations and how much money they want for them. It’s no good releasing something as ‘Free’ and then start asking for money once the application is running. If EA Games had been charging $5 for this silly game I would have paid it, and enjoyed the Sims with time acceleration and no silly Lifestyle Points. As it is, I don’t want to play the game. I refuse to pay for downloadable content or use in-app purchasing, so the game got boring very quickly because of the real-time simulation. In my opinion, the more developers use in-app purchases, the less successful they will be as people will just stop viewing their products, anticipating in-app purchases.

Why Must We Oppose It?

If people continue to use in-app purchasing or buy downloadable content, game developers are going to be inclined to use this sales strategy more and more. Eventually, every smartphone game would be a free ‘trial version’ in which you can purchase the full version, or additional content to make the application seem better.
Fans of console gaming will have noticed the Downloadable Content revolution taking off in the last year. A relevant example is the Xbox 360 game Gears Of War 3. If you don’t buy their downloadable content (either in individual releases, or a season pass) you don’t get to play with other people who are on the new maps. Content such as additional maps for the game sit uneasy with me, but the real crime is when you have to pay to unlock content which is already stored on the disc you purchased from the store in the first place! These include playable characters and weapon skins. If you buy a season pass (the cheaper option). You pay another $25 dollars. You do get 4 installments of downloadable content which is of high quality, and I do enjoy it when I have it. It’s just frustrating that I have effectively bought two games when you look at things financially.

Occasionally, DLC and In-App purchases Can be Used Well

What I am specifically opposed to is the requirement of money to unlock individual or additional features in the game. An example of when in-app-purchasing is acceptable is unlocking a trial game into a full version. Sometimes, DLC can show that developers are committed to a product and it’s continued development. The game I have used for this screenshot, Triple Town, makes it easy to buy the full game with unlimited moves if you like it. It isn’t mandatory though, and you can enjoy the game with limited moves if you’d like to. The price for the full game (unlike a lot of games and applications) is very reasonable. This is how things should be.
What are your thoughts on downloadable content?

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