Almost Half Of Top iPad Apps Are Unavailable Or Unoptimized For Android Tablets

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Almost half of the top 50 apps on iPad are unavailable or have not been optimized for competing devices that run Google’s Android operating system. That’s according to a new report from Canalys, which believes Google should be doing more to encourage top developers to build high-quality tablet apps for its platform.

The data from Canalys shows that 30% of the top 50 iPad apps weren’t available at all on Android-powered tablets, while another 18% were there but they were not optimized for larger displays — they were simply smartphone apps that were automatically scaled up to fit a tablet screen.

That means just 52% of top iPad apps were also available on Android tablets.

“Quite simply, building high-quality app experiences for Android tablets has not been among many developers’ top priorities to date,” said Tim Shepherd, Canalys Senior Analyst.

“That there are over 375,000 apps in the Apple App Store that are designed with iPad users in mind, versus just a fraction of this – in the low tens of thousands – available through Google Play, underscores this point.”

Canalys does expect this to change as Android-powered tablets become more popular, but it still believes that “Google needs to do more to encourage greater numbers of developers to invest in delivering high-quality Android tablet apps quickly.”

If it doesn’t, the search giant runs the risk of “disappointing consumers with weak app experiences in the short term.”

Of course, one of the issues with Android, which can sometimes drive developers away from the platform, is piracy. Google’s “open” approach means it’s too easy for users to download and install apps from other sources without paying for them.

Back in July, we wrote about a game called Gentlemen! that had attracted over 6,000 players on Android during its first few weeks on Google Play. That’s an impressive number of players, until you consider that only 50 actually paid for the game, while the rest downloaded it illegally.

As a result of this, many developers choose to avoid Android altogether, while other must find different ways of finding revenue — such as ads. Of the 52% of top iPad apps also available on Google Play, six were titles that were paid on iOS, but were free and ad-supported on Android.

Canalys analyst Daniel Matte points out that while these titles may be free, they “typically deliver a poorer and often more limited user experience, sometimes taking a considerable toll on device battery life and often subjecting users to unskippable [sic] videos or other unpopular intrusions.”

With Google seeing lots of demand for the new Nexus 7, and Android tablets now commanding a larger market share than the iPad, it’s never been more important for it to put more focus on tablet apps.

Canalys believes it can do this by increasing the revenue potential of Google Play, and by changing the Play Store to “ensure more rigorously managed, high-quality, optimized experiences are highlighted, to the benefit of consumers, and to reward those developers who invest the time and resources in building them with improved discoverability.”

[Via, Source]

Galaxy Note 3 models confirmed. Malaysia to get both Exynos & Snapdragon 800 versions

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Earlier it was rumoured that the upcoming 5.68″ Galaxy Note 3 will come in 2 different variants of different processors just like the current Galaxy S4. Now a source close to Sammobile has revealed more confirmed details of the models with list of country availability.

In terms of variants, there are 3 in total with the specs as follows:

Samsung Galaxy Note III 3G Version – SM-N900
Samsung Exynos 5420 Octa-Core processor
ARM Mali-T628 MP6 GPU
3GB LPDDR3 RAM

Samsung Galaxy Note III LTE Version – SM-N9005
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974 Quad-Core processor
Adreno 330 GPU
3GB LPDDR3 RAM

Samsung Galaxy Note III Duos – SM-N9002
Samsung Exynos 5420 Octa-Core processor
ARM Mali-T628 MP6 GPU
3GB LPDDR3 RAM

For Malaysia, we will be getting both 3G & LTE versions which is similar to the current Galaxy S4 availability here. With commercial LTE coverage being rolled out in Malaysia and Qualcomm’s better track record of power management, the LTE version for the Galaxy Note 3 would be a better pick between the two. All shall be revealed on 4th September and we expect Malaysian availability to follow closely right after. Hopefully they will launch both model simultaneously if it gets here.

Hit the source link for the full country listing.

[Via]

Plant vs Zombie 2: Awesomely addictive. [Review]

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PopCap has finally gotten around to releasing the new zombie game that everyone and their grandmother has been waiting for — Plants vs Zombies 2: It’s About Time.

Plants vs Zombies 2 by PopCap
Category: iOS Games
Price: Free

It’s been three long years since we were swept away with the original Plants vs Zombies, but we’re happy to say that Plants vs Zombies 2  is just as fun and addictive as ever, if not more so. Yes, you still plant sunflowers, harvest sun, and then use that to get more plants to destroy armies of zombies. But even though the gameplay is still the same, the adventure is more fun than ever.

What’s New

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Once again players are joined by Crazy Dave from the first game, except now he has a time-traveling RV that can transport you to three different time periods on his Time-Space Taco Map: Ancient Egypt, Pirate Seas, and Wild West. To advance to new time periods, though, players have to collect stars by beating levels and accomplishing objectives.

Each time period comes with over 20 levels full of new zombies to destroy, which would be fun enough as is, but this go around, players will have to repeat levels later with new puzzles to gain more stars and unlock new areas of the map. Some of the levels have to be replayed three times, with each new attempt bringing new objectives to earn stars.

You can also go back and replay levels to find keys that unlock new branches of your map as well, leaving players with even more gameplay than the original. With so many levels to beat, you’d think that dropping plants on a board for hours on end would get boring, but PopCap has done a great job of mixing gameplay up by including new mini-games.

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To help you defend your home in the crazy new worlds, Crazy Dave gives you a new power-up, called Plant Food, that the zombies drop and can be dragged over to one of your plants to activate its temporary super-powers. You can also save up to 3 bottles of plant food to use whenever you’re facing a big wave.

Coins play a different role in the worlds of Plants vs Zombies 2 than they did in the original. Rather than being used to unlock plants, the new game comes with three power-ups that can be purchased in the heat of battle using coins, granting the player phenomenal cosmic powers long enough wipe the board clean.

The new power-ups include Power Pinch, Power Toss, and Power Zap, which can be activated at the price of 800, 1000, and 1200 coins, depending on which power you want. All three are incredibly powerful and incredibly pricey, but you can usually beat levels without them.

Along with the big  new gameplay features, PopCap tossed in a few smaller features that make conquering PvZ2 a delight. Now the game syncs your progress through GameCenter so you can beat a few levels on your iPhone, and then pick up right where you left off on your iPad. They’ve also included slots for five different player profiles, so your spouse or kids can play on your device too and progress at their own pace without messing up your game.

Free-to-play

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When PopCap made the announcement that Plants vs Zombies 2 would be ‘free-to-play’, a lot of PvZ fans were worried the game would try to squeeze every dollar it could from you to open up content, but that’s not at all the case here.

Yes, you can buy coins, plants, upgrades and other bundles that will make the game easier for you, but none of them are worth it. You can beat the entire game without spending a penny, and you unlock different plants and upgrades along the way.

Ads do pop up every so often after beating a level, but nothing obtrusive that ruins gameplay. The only reason to spend money in PvZ2 is if you’re nostalgic for some of the plants from the original, or you just need a mountain of coins to dominate a level with your super powers because you’re too lazy to beat it the regular way.

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Product Name: Plants vs Zombies 2: It’s About Time
The Good: Gameplay is just as fun and easy to pick up as the original, but new power-ups and plant food add a new dimension. New plants are even more entertaining and badass. Lots of depth and challenging puzzles that will keep players engaged for hours.
The Bad: In-app purchases are always a bummer, but PvZ2 pulls it off as well as can be expected.
The Verdict:  Plants vs Zombies 2: It’s About Time is a solid sequel to the original hit. Rather than departing from the original, PopCap kept with what works best and upped the ante, with bigger worlds, better plants, and some phenomenal cosmic powers that make for one of the best games of the year.

Download it not in Apple App Store for free!

[Via]

2013 Google Nexus 7 from Asus: Mini Review

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Google recently announced the new Nexus 7 and it is really impressive. Apple will have alot of work to do to top this with its iPad Mini. Here we have a mini review on the new Nexus 7 for you. Its a very good review from ITProPortal.com. Have a good read. We apologize for being late.

Balance – that’s the key. Last year’s Nexus 7 set the bar for small tablets with just the right balance of features, size, and price. This year, Google and Asus have done it again, balancing size, performance, and a wallet-friendly price to hit the sweet spot for a compact tablet.

Physical features

The new Nexus 7 is slimmer, lighter, and more comfortable to hold than the original, which was already more comfortable to hold than the oddly wide Apple iPad mini. This model measures 200 x 8.6 x 114mm (WxDxH) and weighs 290 grams, with tapered sides and a soft-touch back that somehow feels a little classier than the weird faux-leather of the original Nexus 7. Asus still understands that narrowness, more than anything else, is key to making a device you might sometimes want to hold in one hand.

There are very few ports here – just microUSB, a headphone jack, and a microphone – and narrower, but not very narrow, side bezels framing a sharp 1,920 x 1,200 screen.

The screen is the big advance here. Asus swapped out the Nexus 7’s original 1,280 x 800 screen with a gorgeous 1,920 x 1,200-pixel IPS LCD panel. At 323 ppi, it’s almost exactly the same density as the iPhone 5’s Retina display and higher than any iPad. It’s bright enough for most circumstances, colours are very true, and the viewing angle is good – but it’s also small enough that the screen doesn’t totally kill battery life. We got 7 hours and 37 minutes of video playback with the screen turned up to max brightness. While that’s definitely shorter than the 10 hours that last year’s model, with its less dense screen, managed, it’s still quite respectable.

The Nexus 7 comes in three models. The first two are Wi-Fi only, with support for 802.11a/b/g/n on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands – the support for faster 5GHz Wi-Fi is another upgrade from last year’s version. The 16GB Wi-Fi model has gone on pre-order for £199 (expected to be RM999), and the 32GB version (which we were sent for review) retails at £239 (possibly RM1199). The third unit packs 4G LTE support and will retail at £299 (RM1499) (with 32GB of storage – there’s no 16GB option with the LTE slate).

All of the models have GPS, which makes this bright little tablet an absolutely killer in-car navigation system. The GPS on my test tablet locked in very quickly. The tablet also has Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC, although surprisingly there’s no support for Google Wallet. Maybe Google Wallet is a thing of the past.

Performance, OS and apps

The Nexus 7 is the first Android 4.3 tablet, running a 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm S4 Pro APQ8064 processor. Think of it as about two-thirds of the way up the current performance ladder, with the Samsung Galaxy S4 phone at the top. It almost doubles the performance of last year’s Nvidia Tegra 3-based Nexus 7 on pure processor and graphics benchmarks, and positively crushes the iPad mini on the Geekbench system benchmark: The mini scored only 748, while this guy registers 2,643. The Chrome browser beats the iPad mini on the Sunspider browser benchmark by about 30 per cent.

Real-world performance isn’t solely dependent on processor speed: It’s dependent on how many pixels you’re pushing, the OS, and third-party apps. That’s where the Nexus 7, running Android 4.3, runs into a bit of trouble. I run the same bunch of Android apps every time I test a tablet, and some of them either didn’t show up in the market or got buggy on the Nexus.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted, for instance, suffered from weird graphics artifacts. The UI in Netflix was sluggish, although videos played just fine. Asphalt 7: Heat, one of my standard test games, didn’t even show up on a search. Sometimes when searching Google’s own Play store, animations would get jittery or the text entry box would lose focus. The popular video player MX Player quit on launch. I suspect a lot of these problems are Android 4.3 issues which will get solved quickly as the app creators update their work.

I didn’t see any such problems in Google’s other built-in apps, and other apps such as Riptide GP2, Paper Monsters, Dead Trigger, and Photoshop Touch ran just fine. Most importantly, Google’s Chrome browser runs very, very well here, as do Netflix and Amazon’s Kindle app. I’d still recommend e-ink e-readers to many people because of their vast reserves of battery life and sunlight readability, but this will do a great job with children’s books and comics.

This has always been Google’s struggle with Android tablets: Making sure third-party apps are up to speed with the platform. Google has changed the home page of its Play store so only tablet-friendly apps show up, although you can still find “ugly” apps not designed for tablet screens by searching for them. Those apps still don’t look too bad on a 7in screen; it’s really with 10in tablets that you’ll run into problems.

Apple’s iPad mini has a superior app experience, it’s true. You’ll find more and better apps in Apple’s app store, and they’re pretty much all guaranteed to run smoothly. But the Nexus 7’s app situation is good enough for that not to be a deal-breaker.

Android 4.3’s other flagship feature makes this an excellent kids’ tablet. Android 4.2 allowed for the creation of multiple user accounts on your tablet, and now “restricted profiles” have been introduced to let you create accounts that can only use certain apps. I created one and found that the restricted account was locked out of the Google Play store. YouTube threw up an error message but worked anyway; all the other apps I allowed my virtual child to use worked fine.

Multimedia

With no memory card slot, I suggest buying the 32GB Nexus 7 (with 26GB of storage available) over the 16GB unit. The price difference is only £40, and you’ll want the space. The new Nexus 7 adds a 5-megapixel rear camera to the tablet, keeping the 1-megapixel front camera as well.

The new Android 4.3 camera app’s UI is extremely simple, although you still get some options like capture size, a countdown timer, a few scene modes, panorama and Photo Sphere. Photos taken with the main camera were clear enough in good light, although bright areas were washed out and there was some visible colour noise. In low light, the noise really ramped up. Front camera images tended to be very soft, even smeary (but not blurry) in low light. The main camera captured 1080p video at 30 frames per second indoors and out; the front camera captured 720p at 30 frames per second. There’s no image stabilisation, but there is a time-lapse mode.

The front camera is fine for video chatting, and the main camera will do just fine for augmented-reality apps, bar code scanners, language translators, and all the things you really should be using a tablet camera for. People taking snapshots with tablet cameras generally look like idiots – don’t be one.

Asus amped up the volume of the stereo speakers here, and they’re now quite loud, although they’re still tinny. Fraunhofer surround sound gives some real stereo separation in material coded for it, like Google Play movies. Still, the only way you’re going to get bass is with headphones.

The Nexus 7 had no problem playing MPEG4 and H.264 videos in resolutions up to 1080p, as well as streaming Netflix and Google Play movies. There’s no DivX or Xvid support by default.

The Nexus 7 doesn’t come with any wired means to output video to a TV, but it works with Google’s new $35 (£23) Chromecast to play some streaming (not local) media on TVs, and there’s also a SlimPort micro-USB-to-HDMI adapter available that works with this Nexus 7 and last year’s Nexus 4 smartphone.

Verdict

The new Google Nexus 7 will be the right small tablet for most people when it comes across to the UK (hopefully pretty soon, according to Currys it will be September). Regarding rivals, the cheaper £159 Amazon Kindle Fire HD is only the right choice right now if you’re heavily invested in Amazon’s media world, although a new and more competitive model is probably coming soon. If you want to go a lot cheaper, then obviously you’ll be sacrificing a great deal for a really budget Android slate – not the least of which will be the new Nexus 7’s superb screen.

At the higher end, the £269 iPad mini has an unmatched range of apps, but you’ll pay for that heavily in terms of a grainier screen, higher price, and more awkward form factor. And the £339 Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 has a Dirk Diggler-like “one special thing” in terms of its pen support, although you should only commit the cash if you need that pressure-sensitive pen.

Small tablets are most often used for some media, some gaming, some web browsing, and some e-reading. Provided third-party developers update their apps for Android 4.3 – and I think they will, soon – the new Nexus 7 is ideal for all of those, thanks to its sharp screen, comfortable ergonomics, and solid performance at an ideal price. All this means that Google’s latest tablet effort gets one of our Best Buy awards.

Write in to us for any queries!

[Via]

Everything Google Announced at Today’s Event [Wrap-up]

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Google’s Sundar Pichai just got done hosting breakfast at the press event in San Francisco and even though our expectations weren’t high, the event was packed with awesome goodies. Not only did Google show off Android 4.3 and all the new features, but some seriously great hardware was announced too.

Here’s a rundown of everything Google announced at today’s event:

Nexus 7

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1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro (80% faster than previous Nexus 7)
2GB of RAM
Bluetooth 4.0
4G LTE available in single U.S. Model
NFC
10 hours battery life with Wireless Charging
1920×1200 True HD
323ppi (world’s highest ppi for a tablet)
30% wider range of colors
Dual stereo speakers with Virtual Surround Sound from Fraunhofer
1.2MP front camera
5MP Rear Camera
16Gb – $229 (32Gb and 64GB also available)
2millimitters thinner than original Nexus 7
Slimmer bezel and lighter
Runs Android 4.3
Launches July 30th

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Android 4.3

Support for Bluetooth Smart
OpenGL ES 3.0 Support
DRM APIs to allow 1080p video streaming
Multi-Users with Restricted Profiles
Notification access for third-party apps
Textbooks for Google Play
50 billion apps downloaded on Google Play
Reveenue per user has increased 2.5x in the last year
1Million+ applications

Improved Google Apps

Google Drive – new title layout
Chrome – full screen mode, translation.
Google Maps – Discover new places with Explore feature. New full screen mode
Hangouts – Screensharing

Google Play Games app

Lists games you play and friends on one screen
See friends’ achievements
Social and Public Leaderboards

ChromeCast

chromecast

Plugs into back of TV via HDMI to receive video streams from a laptop or tablet
Project any Chrome tab to your TV
Runs simplified Chrome OS
Works with both Android and iOS
Casts music as well
Costs $35
Available now on Google Play

 

[Via]

Maxis offers LTE Samsung Galaxy S4

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The LTE version of the Galaxy S4 (i9505) is now available from Maxis for as low as RM1,399 with contract or, for a limited time, for RM999 for Maxis One Club members (RRP RM2,499). Aside from a more battery efficient 1.9Ghz quad-core processor, the LTE Galaxy S4 is virtually identical to the non-LTE version in terms of looks and, arguably, in performance as well.

But where the octa-core, non-LTE S4 is a battery muncher, the LTE S4 offers a significant improvement in battery performance over the non-LTE version though we’re not sure if the RM300 premium is worth it considering LTE coverage in Malaysia is sporadic at best right now. So if you’re staying in outside of market centres like Klang Valley, Penang or JB, you won’t be able to benefit much from the speed offered by LTE.

Or you can just opt for our current favourite, the HTC One offering great build quality, awesome sound from the dual front speakers, a display that’s better than the one on the S4 and a fuss-free interface that’s free from gimmicky bloatware. And, at RM2,299 for the 32GB version, the HTC One is RM200 cheaper than the 32GB LTE Galaxy S4.

In any case, the Samsung Galaxy S4 LTE joins Apple’s iPhone 5, iPad mini and iPad 4; Blackberry Q10, HTC One, Nokia Lumia 920 and HTC One XL on the list of LTE devices currently available from Maxis.

Maxis’ position as the country’s leading 4G LTE operator is further strengthened with a claimed LTE subscriber base of over 130,000 customers since the service was available on January 1 this year. In addition, Maxis say that it has doubled its 4G LTE coverage in the Klang Valley to include areas such as Bukit Damansara, Kepong, Sungai Besi, Sentul and Subang Jaya, as well as expanded LTE to Penang and Johor Bahru in addition to Kuching and Kota Kinabalu.

For the full list of Maxis’ 4G LTE coverage areas, data plans and devices, click here.

[Via]

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Unveiled: New King of Android Smartphones or perhaps the New King of Smartphones?

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Earlier, Samsung held an event to announce it’s highly anticipated Galaxy S4 device (successor of the highly successful Samsung Galaxy S3) and it appears to meet all the expectations thrown at it. It is one of the most important event for Samsung this year (Check out how HTC and LG troll Samsung in the event). As a successor to the S3, it looks fairly similar to the GS3 physically (yeah the plastic build remains) but internally, it packs a much powerful package.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 includes either an Exynos 5 chip from Samsung or a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor (depending on your region), with a full 2G of RAM and a huge 2,600mAh batter. You’ll be able to get this beast with 16, 32, or 64 G of storage, along with a microSD slot for expansion. We have an improvement in camera to 13MP from 8MP and many great software which come along with it. Though most of the software is not very useful or not something which will be useful in everyday usage, but the question is why not? Anything is better than nothing right?

It spots a 5-inches 1080p Super AMOLED screen which is longer. Yeah longer. And no one says anything this time. But undoubtedly, the screen looks amazing with over 400ppi available for your eyes to lust. 441ppi to be exact. It is also thinner and lighter than the Galaxy S3. In fact, it is only 0.1mm thicker than the iPhone 5. And it runs the most current version of Android which is the Android 4.2.2. And yes, yes the smart scroll is there which allows you to scroll up and down by tilting the device up and down and to pause videos when you are not paying attention. Sounds neat.

We dont have any pricing yet but it is expected to be priced similarly to the price of Samsung Galaxy S3 when it is first launched last year. We can start seeing it available as early as April and when it arrives in our shores, it will be May at the earliest.

So what is your verdict? Will the Samsung Galaxy S4 be the ONE? Will the iPhone remain at the top with iPhone 5S? Will HTC or NOKIA come out with an answer?

Photo credit to The Verge.

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