Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) coming to HTC Desire S?

November 24, 2011

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Well in a word, no – not officially from HTC anyway and not yet. Perhaps. Maybe. Confused? So am I.

Here’s the official blurb from HTC (taken from their Facebook wall)

HTC knows how excited our fans are to get their hands on Google’s latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, so we’re thrilled today to announce the first wave of HTC phones that will receive upgrades: We can confirm the brand new HTC Vivid, on sale beginning today, is upgradeable to Ice Cream Sandwich. In addition, Ice Cream Sandwich is coming in early 2012 to a variety of devices including the HTC Sensation, HTC Sensation XL and HTC Sensation XE, as well as the HTC Rezound, HTC EVO 3D, HTC EVO Design 4G and HTC Amaze 4G through close integration with our carrier partners. We’re continuing to assess our product portfolio, so stay tuned for more updates on device upgrades, timing and other details about HTC and Ice Cream Sandwich.

Now I do recall having Gingerbread update issues from HTC before. First they weren’t going to bring it to the Desire and then, after a number of complaints, they folded and got it sorted. Can we expect the same regarding Ice Cream Sadnwich (which the cool kids are calling ICS)?

Only time will tell.

Ice Cream Sandwich features a tonne of improved and new features including Face Unlock, even better multitasking and a revamped interface.

Obviously HTC not officially giving Desire users won’t stop them getting their hands on it one way or another. It won’t be long ’til the “scene” get hold of it and port it across to every phone in the world*

*bar the iPhone of course (oh and the Nokia 3330).

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Gameloft 9mm Android Review – running on HTC Desire S [HD video]

October 29, 2011

Happy Saturday people, today I’ve got a special review of Gameloft’s fantastic 9mm game. Check out the video and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Gameloft have been hyping 9mm up for the last few months so when it was released I obviously just blindly paid £3 for it and downloaded it straight away.

Have I been burnt by my silliness? No, it seems not.

Let’s get this out the way with first – 9mm is as close to Grand Theft Auto as you’re going to get on an Android phone (until Rockstar actually release Grand Theft Auto for Android).

The game put you in the rather lovely leather suit of one John Kannon who is the leader of a special team of hardened cops. John and the gang don’t mind bending the rules when it comes to dealing out justice and it is just this which lands them in trouble.

After killing off the brother of a local gang lord and stealing millions of dollars of drug money; Kannon and his colleagues become the target of revenge.

When Kannon’s family start getting threatened it’s more than enough to convince Kannon he’s going to have to take down the leader of the gang who’s hunting them and put an end to the violence.

Sound: 8/10

The attention to detail in this game is some of the best I’ve seen in a mobile game. Whether you’re walking past a burning bin or hearing the sound of your enemy’s head being blown off Gameloft have really outdone themselves here.

The music in-game (although not something I’d personally listen to) really does help to add to the atmosphere of the game. Intense gun battles are backed up by fast paced tunes and when the panic is over the music fades out and goes to some of the more relaxing rap/hip-hop sounds.

Graphics: 10/10

The graphics in this game are….*cough*….the graphics are really….*cough*….sorry; the graphics in 9mm are the best I have seen on a mobile game. Huge 3D environments look as good as anything you’d have seen on a high-end console 3/4 years ago. The lighting effects cast shadows well and the sun will blind your vision if you happen to peer into it.

The main characters are all animated well with good detail to their bodies John Kannon and his crew all look the part and so do the main bad guys. Some of the less important characters however can look a bit more basic but that’s to be expected really. I was quite surprised Kannon’s wife was not better drawn but perhaps she’s just ugly.

Controls: 7/10

The controls do take quite a bit of getting used to. Moving with your left thumb and looking around with your right is natural but you have to keep swiping around with your right thumb to get your character to look where you want him to. For a beginner this may be difficult but after some trial and error you can find a system that works for you. The thing that helps you along the way is the slow-mo mode. Once in this mode you have time to aim at your targets with pinpoint accuracy and this really helps get you out of some sticky situations.

The weapon select/reload in the top-right although handy is also a bit annoying. When scrolling through your arsenal you cannot keep scrolling one way to get back to the start; this can leave you in a sticky situation every now and then but you’ll soon learn the hard way.

Gameplay 8/10:

The game plays very well. The story is fluid and navigating your way round the levels is easy. Having a Max Payne-esque slow-mo mode adds another dimension to your battles. Whether you’re diving sideways to shoot some guys through a doorway in the room next door or throwing yourself back to avoid an explosion these Matrix-style jumps are really something.

Another nice addition to the game is QTEs – Quick Time Events as seen in other games (namely Shenmue if you’re old enough). Think of them as interactive cut scenes – although you’re not directly moving your character you determine the outcome of the scene by performing actions that are prompted on-screen. You may have to jump over an on-coming car or duck under an oncoming punch but these keep you on your toes and keep you involved in the game.

9mm even has online multiplayer for you and your friends (or drug-dealing enemies) to compete on. There are currently two different game modes – Free For All and Cops  & Robbers. I found the multiplayer quite frustrating at first – namely because I’m crap – but you seem to be able to be killed in just a bullet or two which when you’re used to flying through the air with your leg practically blown off in the single player mode is a bit harsh.

One tip I can give you is to use your left thumb in the top left of the screen to aim your weapon and then your right thumb to shoot. Using your right thumb to do both just doesn’t give you enough time and I can bet your foes have already worked that one out.

OVERALL 86%

The story as previously mentioned is really good. Although a bit over the top it’s interesting and keeps you wanting to come back for some more Kannon action.

With ideas taken from Max Payne, Grand Theft Auto and Duke Nukem (namely Kannon’s voice acting) this puts 9mm in another league.

Juice Defender Ultimate Android App Review (Settings & Walkthrough)

October 23, 2011

Evening everyone. Today I’m reviewing the excellent Juice Defender Ultimate for Android.

This app really does help you configure your phone to save battery when you’re out and about so be sure to let me know what you think in the comments below!

I also put this app through a test a while back and my results can be found here:  https://desirefanatics.wordpress.com/2011/02/03/android-app-test-juicedefender/

 

Android Market Update – UK users can now rent films (and buy books)!

October 23, 2011

Well it’s been a long time coming for us UK users but you can now rent films from the Android Market (version 3.1.5)!

You should notice a new link in the Market to “Films”. Click on this and it’ll take you through to the rentals section. Films vary from 99p to £3.49 and there are some quite ‘new’ films in there.

Books are also now available to purchase but the prices vary quite a bit but they’re definitely worth checking out.

Note to root users: Film rentals do not work on rooted devices 😦 (yet). I assume this is because root access could possibly allow you to save the movie file and back it up somewhere else. Obviously this would be illegal because you are only paying to rent the film.

Android Market Update - Rent films and buy books 2Android Market Update - Rent films and buy books 1Android Market Update - Rent films and buy books 4


Gameloft free game of the day: Order & Chaos Online

October 15, 2011

order-chaos-online-androidYep that’s right, Order & Chaos Online is currently free for UK Android users. Be sure to head over to the Gameloft mobile site (j.mp/and-store) on your handset and download it straight away (as there is only 1h 35mins to go!)

Considering the game is currently £4.99 in the Android Market you’re getting a pretty decent RPG for nothing!

Once downloaded be sure to back up your download so you can re-install it should you ever wipe your phone.

Have fun 🙂

Free Gameloft games!

October 14, 2011

Gameloft currently have a sale on each day where you can download one of their Android HR games for free!

Each game is only available for 2 hours however so you’d better be quick!

First up is Let’s Golf 2: Click here on your phone’s browser

App of the Week – Bedside – reviewed (inc video)

September 24, 2011

android app of the weekHi guys, it’s been a while since I posted an app of the week but I just couldn’t wait any longer.

This time I have an amazing little app which will save you a lot of time, effort and just general bedtime bother.

App: Bedside
Cost: ~ £1.21
Developer: Daniel Velazco
Developer pagewww.danvelazco.com

Don’t you hate it when it’s time to put your head down and catch up on some sleep only to have to mess around with your phone before you do so? Playing around with your volume, turning off ringtones and setting your alarm is not only annoying but it can also make you feel less tired than you were – not good for insomniacs I’m sure (not that I am one).

The problem is, I’ve always wanted to be able to be contacted from by my family in case of emergencies but I don’t want drunken calls from my friends at 3am. This has always been a predicament. Also, who really wants to receive and hear an SMS notification when you’re trying to sleep? An SMS can surely wait til morning can’t it? If it was important they’d call right?

Well, however you look at it, Bedside is the perfect solution.

Not only does bedside take the hassle out of ‘setting your phone up’ at night but it also allows you to customise who (if anyone) can contact you – and by what means too (phone/SMS).

By default, when Bedside is started it’ll mute your phone completely. This means you won’t hear any calls or SMS messages (or even e-mails for that matter) coming through. No sounds at all. That’s a great start but like I said earlier I like to know that my family can always contact me if they need to. This is where the whitelists come in.

A whitelist is a set of ‘safe’ numbers who can bypass the rules Bedside sets and get through to you if you want them to. I don’t know, you may want to make sure your girlfriend/boyfriend can always get hold of you but you don’t want your drunken friends to disturb your slumber. Adding names to one of the two whitelists allows this.

There is one whitelist for phone calls AND one for SMS messages – this is where Bedsqide differs from some of the other ‘call manager’ apps.

The calls configuration allows you to allow or disallow calls completely, enable/disable vibration for calls, set a custom volume to use for allowed calls and of course allow a whitelist of numbers to get through if you wish.

The SMS configuration allows you to completely allow or disallow SMS notifications, enable/disable vibrate, set a specific tone for SMS notifications and again, allow a whitelist.

“Great!” you might be saying “This is a cool app” – but wait; there’s more.

Not only does Bedside do these handy things but it also acts as a “desk stand” or “night stand”. This basically means your phone will display a large clock on-screen whilst the app is running. This allows you to use the phone as a bedside clock. The settings on the night clock can be fully customised – from font to text size and colour to an automatically adjusting brightness depending on the time of day (or night in this case). You can of course have the night clock turned off if you just want your phone’s screen to be off whilst you sleep but I’m sure a lot of people will find this useful.

Before you head off and download the app – there’s even more. You can customise more settings for the app and also the night clock. For example, you can get the night clock to display SMS notification symbols, the battery life, the next alarm you have active and you can even get it to speak the time. There are also 4 customisable shortcuts which you can program to launch an app of your choice.

I think however, the best feature I have found is the “auto start” and “auto close” settings of the app. The app will detect when the phone is plugged into power and also when it is disconnected. This means when you pop your phone into it’s dock to charge (like me) or plug it into your standard charger cable, Bedside will load automatically and start up how you have set it to. This means no messing around. I know that when I dock my phone it will mute the ringer (except for my whitelist people), disable any other notifications (e-mail SMS etc) and even thought I don’t tell the night clock to stay on permanently, I can quickly double check my alarm is set for the next day before the phone’s screen time-out kicks in.

When the morning comes, simple un-dock (or disconnect from the power) and Bedside closes itself automatically and you’re ready to start your new day.

I think the reason I love this app so much is because once it’s set up you don’t need to think about it anymore. It just works when you want it to and closes itself when you’re not using it – absolute genius.

OnLive UK Android running on HTC Desire S [HD] (and MSI Wind U135 review and bandwidth usage)

September 24, 2011

Hi peeps, today I’ve got a little preview of OnLive running on the HTC Desire S. Originally an HTC Flyer only application someone has managed to retrieve the .apk and you can now run it on nearly every Android phone!

As the Android experience is currently “view only” you can’t play any games on it yet 😦 but hopefully soon they’ll enable the on-screen controls so you can play a spot of Unreal Tournament III on your phone!

To give you an example of what to expect I load up OnLive on my MSI Wind U135 DX Netbook to show you you don’t need a huge powerful computer to run the software on!

Take note of how much internet/bandwidth the OnLive service uses during the video of me playing.

Amazon Appstore UK still not available to download

September 20, 2011

Rumours on the grape vine were that Amazon quietly unleashed the Amazon Appstore for people who don’t happen to live in the US.

I can confirm however that this is just not true. Not for UK users anyway (see below)

Amazon App Store not available in the UK download

You can still access it via other means however but it may still be some time before we see it accept our hard-earned British pounds as Amazon haven’t announced anything yet 😦

N64oid – Android N64 Emulator review Zelda Ocarina of Time, GoldenEye 007, Banjo Kazooie and more

September 12, 2011

Hi everyone, in this video I’m taking a look at the fantastic n64oid N64 emulator for Android.

I’ll take you through 4 different games so you can get a feel as to how the emulator performs – to be honest – it’s pretty darn good!

The games include:

Banjo Kazooie
GoldenEye 007
Zelda: Ocarina of Time
and
Diddy Kong Racing

n64oid can be found in the SlideME Market for just 4.99

If you have any questions be sure to ask!


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