Author Archives: Chris Davies


Android apps see in-app purchase swell

65-percent of revenues for the top 200 Android apps come from in-app purchases, download store analysts Distimo have discovered, though the potential for making cash from Android software still pales in comparison to iOS. Meanwhile, Android is the place to go for free titles, holding a comfortable lead ahead of its rivals when it comes to freely-distributed software. iPhone apps in the top 200 make almost four times the revenue - looking at both upfront payment and in-app purchases - of Android's top apps, while iPad apps make more than twice that of Android. Android holds the second spot for gaming options, too, with 46,045 titles in the US in comparison to the iPhone's 79,077 and iPad's 28,638. Angry Birds was the top app of 2011 for downloads, Distimo found, followed by Facebook and Skype. Google's own Google Maps came in fifth, despite only being offered in the Android Market. [via SlashGear]

Grand Theft Auto III arrives in Android Market

Just as expected, Grand Theft Auto III has arrived in the Android Market, offering some classic high-speed gameplay on your Android phone or tablet. Priced at $4.99 in the US and £3.23 in the UK, the 10 Year Anniversary version of the game runs at HD resolution and supports select USB controllers. Those with a Galaxy Nexus may have to wait a little before they get their game on, however; Rockstar says the title is "coming soon" to the new handset. We're guessing that's an Ice Cream Sandwich compatibility issue. As for existing device support, the list is as follows:
Android Phones: HTC Rezound, LG Optimus 2x, Motorola Atrix 4G, Motorola Droid X2, Motorola Photon 4G, Samsung Galaxy R, T-Mobile G2x Android Tablets: Acer Iconia, Asus Eee Pad Transformer, Dell Streak 7, LG Optimus Pad, Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1, Sony Tablet S, Toshiba Thrive
You can download Grand Theft Auto III here; it's not a small game, though, weighing in at a hefty 18MB. Let us know whether it brings back good memories in the comments! [gallery]

Galaxy Nexus LTE on sale at Verizon

Verizon's Galaxy Nexus by Samsung is now on sale through the carrier's website, with the LTE 4G version of the Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone priced at $299.99 with a new, two-year agreement. The unsubsidized price is $649.99. Announced officially yesterday, the smartphone is the first to officially run Android 4.0. That makes a big difference in usability, with Ice Cream Sandwich pulling together elements from Gingerbread and Honeycomb to make Android feel more consistent and improve things like multitasking. More details in the HSPA+ Galaxy Nexus review over at SlashGear. Verizon brick & mortar stores will be offering the Galaxy Nexus LTE from this morning, and we know plenty of you are preparing to head down and pick up this third Nexus device. Let us know in the comments if you're going to grab a new Nexus! [timeline]

T-Mobile sets out its Android stall

Your smartphone is often the gadget you're closest to every day, from your nightstand in the morning, your desk at work, your pocket or purse on a night out, and then keeping you entertained when you're on your way back home again. One size doesn't fit all: you wouldn't wear the exact same clothes as your parents, siblings, friends and colleagues, so why should your smartphone be any different? T-Mobile has a choice of eleven 4G Android smartphones (more if you count the different colors) spanning a range of screen sizes, physical design and a choice of on-screen or slide-out QWERTY keyboards.

Samsung email blunder spills Galaxy Nexus buyer details

The UK Galaxy Nexus launch hasn't gone quite to Google's plan. Not only did exclusive retail partner Phones 4U accidentally sell a developer prototype in place of a consumer handset to the very first buyer, but now it seems Samsung has managed to share the contact details of the first 100 early-adopters with each other.
"Congratulations on being one of the world’s first owners of the Galaxy Nexus! You’ll receive your codes and redemption instructions within 14 days of purchase. And as a bonus gift, we’ll be sending you a £100 bonusbond gift voucher, which is redeemable at over 25,000 places in the UK. To receive your bonusbond gift voucher (also within 14 days of purchase), please reply to this email with your full postal address no later than Tuesday 29th November, 2011. Full terms and conditions to follow" Samsung UK email
The manufacturer ran a £250 media giveaway for the first 100 Galaxy Nexus buyers, and followed up today via email. Unfortunately, whoever is manning Samsung's email made the rookie mistake of using the "CC" rather than "BCC" box, thus sharing all 100 email addresses with the group as a whole. Of course, we imagine Google is too busy working on a volume bug fix to spend time scolding Samsung, so hopefully the early owners will treat the email blunder as a way to make new friends rather than as a great source of spam targets. As our tipster - who wanted to remain anonymous - said, "it's a good thing we 100 Nexus buyers are good people..." Update: Samsung UK has been in touch with the 100 people affected to apologize for the gaffe, Android UK News etc reports. [Thanks anonymous tipster!]

Google confirms Galaxy Nexus volume bugfix incoming

Google has acknowledged the volume bug affecting the Galaxy Nexus, insisting that it is a software rather than a hardware problem and promising that a fix is fast incoming. Although Google did not confirm the technical reason to the issue, believed to be a problem on the 2G 900MHz band, it did tell AndroidPolice that Galaxy Nexus owners should expect an update asap.
"We are aware of the volume issue and have developed a fix. We will update devices as soon as possible." Google
The volume problem was identified shortly after the Galaxy Nexus' UK launch, predominantly affecting voice calls. Audio would mute or fluctuate outside of the user's control, though it was only observed happening when the phone was using a 2G connection on a specific carrier band. Fears had arisen that the problem could be a hardware one, forcing Google to recall the handset, and indeed at least one retailer froze sales of the smartphone pre-emptively. Google hasn't said exactly when to expect the new firmware, though we're hearing independently that a new build was already in the pipeline.

Ice Cream Sandwich gets dedicated search button mod

Google may be a search company first and foremost, but Ice Cream Sandwich shifts Android away from a dedicated search button and replaces it with the app switcher. Using virtual buttons has benefits for modders, however, and MoDaCo's Paul O'Brien has wasted no time in adding a dedicated search option in the ICS button bar. As you'd expect, tapping it brings up the search dialog, just as the dedicated search buttons on previous Android phones would do. Google hasn't exactly excised search from Android 4.0 altogether - in fact the homescreen now has a persistent search box across the top, that's carried over all five panes - but this dedicated key makes it a little easier. Sometimes it's the little tweaks that can make the most difference to daily use, and this could well be one of them. No word on when exactly Paul might release the mod at this stage, but he tells us it will be "very shortly."

XOOM 2 and XOOM 2 Media Edition tablets confirmed

Motorola's much-rumored new tablets have been made official, in the UK at least, with the 10.1-inch Motorola XOOM 2 and 8.2-inch Motorola XOOM 2 Media Edition both being confirmed today. Each packing a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, splash-resilience and a pair of cameras - 1.3-megapixels upfront, 5-megapixels on the back - the only real disappointment is that they run Android 3.2 Honeycomb rather than 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Inside, each packs 1GB of RAM along with 16GB of storage. There are various preloaded business apps on the bigger tablet, while the Media Edition gets Motorola's music/video streaming app preloaded. The Media Edition also boasts 178-degree viewing angles. The XOOM 2 is 253.9 mm x 173.6 mm x 8.8 mm and 599g, 100g less than its first-gen predecessor, while the XOOM 2 Media Edition is 139 mm x 216 mm x 8.99 mm and 386g. Both have Gorilla Glass. No word on pricing, but they'll each arrive in the UK midway through November. [youtube x16LUdsMPqw] [gallery] [via SlashGear]

HTC Sensation XL hands-on [Video]

The HTC Sensation XL has been officially revealed, the company's first Android smartphone to be built with Beats Audio in from the ground up, and toting a super-sized 4.7-inch Super LCD along for the ride. A 1.5GHz single-core MSM8255 handset with 768MB of RAM, all in a 9.9mm thick unibody-style chassis, the Sensation XL does make a few compromises: not least the WVGA resolution display. We caught up with HTC for some hands-on time and to ask a few spec decision questions.