Rajesh is a 19 year old nerd, currently pursuing B.Com Hons from Bhawanipore college in Kolkata, India. He loves everything tech, especially Android. You can follow him on twitter @ePandu or mail to him at [email protected]
Back when Google unveiled the Nexus 4, there was a huge cry over the lack of LTE on the phone. The Nexus 4 very well features an LTE capable radio inside its 9.1mm thick body, but it has been disabled by Google over battery life concerns. Well, an XDA member has managed to enable LTE on the Nexus 4 in all its high-speed glory.
Sadly, the LTE connectivity will only work in Canada on 1700MHz frequency. This means that this trick will not allow Nexus 4 owners in the United States to enjoy LTE on their handset, since this 1700MHz band — known as the AWS in the U.S — is not used by carrier. The method to enable LTE is also pretty easy, and all the user needs to do is key in *#*#4636#*#* in the dialer and change the network mode to LTE.
Below is a video of LTE in action on the Nexus 4 -:
So if you own a Nexus 4 and are living in Canada, you can enjoy LTE on all the carriers out there including TELUS and Rogers.
Samsung has announced that it will be rolling out a Premium Suite upgrade for the Galaxy Note 10.1 with the Jelly Bean update for the tablet. Along with the announcement, the company has also released a video detailing all the new features that the Premium Suite upgrade will bring.
The Premium Suite Upgrade will consist of Multi-Window multi-tasking like on the Note 2, Dual view, Air View, improved S-Pen functionality and S-Note app, and much more.
Below is the video that shows all the new functionality in action on the Galaxy Note 10.1 -:
While most companies are clearly struggling to update their devices to the latest version of Android, Samsung keeps adding a bunch of new software features and enhancements to its devices with every new software update.
Back in 2005, when EA released Need For Speed: Most Wanted, I was hooked to it. I had a pretty decently powerful PC back then, and loved playing the game at Full HD resolution with all the settings to max. Not only did the game look absolutely fabulous, it was insanely fun to play as well. I even went ahead and got an Xbox 360 controller for PC so that I could enjoy playing the game more.
After Most Wanted, the next racing game that I got hooked to was Burnout Revenge when EA finally released it for PC. I had heard a lot about Burnout on consoles and from my hardcore gamer friends that how much better the series is compared to NFS.
Once I started playing Burnout Revenge, I could not agree less with my friends. The game was really well done, and had more than just ‘racing’ to it. In between, I never tried any of the NFS games that were released including Shift, Run and more. They all got horrible reviews, and I really did not want to spoil all the good memories I had of playing NFS: MW in my mind.
So, when EA and Criterion released Need For Speed: Most Wanted again this year, I was more than excited. So, here is my review of Need For Speed: Most Wanted after playing the game for the last couple of weeks.
In nearly all the racing games, the gamer needs to win races, or earn bonus/XP/points to unlock better and powerful cars. Most Wanted bucks this trend. You can roam around in the city – Fairhaven – aimlessly and find all the cars you want to. It’s an open-world out there, and it is up to you to explore it!
The game does have a pretty loose narrative though. Winning races will earn you speed points, which will allow you to challenge the top 10 Most Wanted drivers in the city. These top 10 most wanted racers drive the most desirable cards including many concept cars. Keep in mind that only beating a most wanted driver in a race is not enough to earn his car; you need to takedown his car as well.
Winning races also have another incentive apart from earning speed points, you get to unlock mods for your car, including shorter gears, lighter chassis etc. Every new car that you get is completely stock, so you need to win races to not only earn speed points, but also mods for your car. Every car has five different races allotted to it ranging from easy to hard.
One thing, which Most Wanted absolutely nails, is the handling of the cars. All the cars handle differently at varying speeds, with different mods, at different corners.
The Criterion/Burnout effect in Most Wanted is also clearly visible with billboards that can be smashed, hidden corners/shortcuts. The ‘Burnout’ effect is definitely there, and I mean it in a positive way.
Most Wanted also has a very different approach to races. There is no starting line here. Instead, players are greeted with a stunning track intro video, which is different for different tracks, before they are put in control of their car right in the middle of the race.
If it is a city based racing game, cops have to be there, and Most Wanted is no exception. There are 6 different heat levels, and according to the heat level, the cops get tougher by bringing in SUVs or by deploying spike stripes. Evading cops in Most Wanted is no easy task. I actually spent more than an hour trying to evade cops once, before giving up. You can evade cops by either aiming for the horizon and flat-out outpacing them or by taking some quick corners and hiding somewhere underground.
The open-world, the graphics, the ability to drive a Lamborghini Gallardo right from the start without the need to win a race, the Burnout effect, the EasyDrive navigation system to select mods or races for your car are easily the strengths of the game. The tracks of the game are really well executed as well. They are not only limited to the city roads but include a bit of off-roading and hidden shortcuts as well.
The attention-to-detail in Most Wanted is amazing as well — watching the debris flying from another car and then sending it into oblivion by knocking it with your car — all while driving your car at insane speeds. Each and every car in Most Wanted has been given the treatment they deserve, right from the Ford Focus ST to the Lamborghini Countach.
Don’t expect to win races easily in Most Wanted. The competing cars can sometimes be clearly much more faster than you, and if you miss those barely visible shortcuts, there is a fat chance of you winning the game. In some races, you will be on your toes and will have to make full use of the nitrous boost to rank among the top 3. You may win the ‘Easy’ races on stock cars, but beyond that, if you are not gonna modify your car, the chances of you winning are going to get extremely slim.
As much as I like Most Wanted, I am not hooked to it. Blame my lack of gaming experience or the game itself, but there are no indicators or barriers in the racetracks so as to prevent the player from going off-road. Imagine driving an Aston Marin at nearly 200MPH on a flat road in a race, which you are leading, only to realize that you missed a turn. While there is an on-screen map that highlights the racing path, it is simply not possible to take your eyes off the road when you are driving at such high speeds. Do so, and you end up crashing your car.
The baffling part? There are actually virtual barriers present in certain points in some tracks. Why not everywhere? Or a virtual indicator like in Forza? I am fine with a game being very tough to play, but the lack of any kind of indicator makes me absolutely want smash my console or TV out of frustration. Nothing can be more frustrating that losing a race because you took a wrong turn.
This is perhaps the sole reason why I won’t recommend Most Wanted to anyone. The game does have some other oddities as well. If cops chasing you take you down, you will not be busted. Instead, the game resumes from the same place where you crashed. You can wreck you car into pieces, but it will not affect the performance of the car.
If you are a racing game freak, you are going to love Most Wanted. Nearly every aspect of the game has been executed very well, and the several oddities in the game are nothing too much to be bothered about. However, if you are new to racing games or a casual gamer, I will recommend you to not to spend your money on Most Wanted. ‘The Bad’ part of my review clearly sums up my lone frustration with the game and why I won’t play the game and recommend it to anyone.
P.S. – What’s up with the need for an Origin account? Is not an Xbox Live Account enough? I really don’t see the point of creating any kind of accounts for Xbox games, especially when I am already paying for an Xbox Live account.
Apart from the exhaustive list above, quite a few Gameloft games have also gone on sale on the Play Store and the iOS AppStore including Asphalt 7, The Amazing Spiderman, and BackStab HD. If the above list is not enough for you, keep an eye on this Reddit thread for updates.
The iOS AppStore is also filled with price reductions for all the popular apps. EA has reduced the price of nearly all of its titles to a mere $0.99, making this the perfect time to grab your favorite EA games. Other apps that have gone on sale include Track 8, 1Password, ChuChu Rocket, Avengers Initiative, Real Racing, Real Racing 2, QuickOffice Pro, Fieldrunners 2 and more. In fact, most of the popular apps in ‘Top Paid Apps’ category in the AppStore are priced at around $0.99 currently. The whole list of iOS apps that have gone on sale or are free to download can be found here.
Earlier this week, an Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean based firmware for the Galaxy S2 and the Galaxy S3 leaked online. The leaked firmware brought about a lot of new features to both the handsets including Smart Stay, Multi-View multitasking, new Gallery app for the S3 and a new TouchWIZ version, some gesture features and more to the S2.
Now, joining the list of leaked Android 4.1.2 firmware is the Galaxy Note II. The new test firmware does not bring as much new features as introduced in S3 or S2, but does include some minor new additions including the ability to select the notification toggles, a new Swype-like continuous input and a new animation for the lock screen.
The firmware does not contain any major bugs, indicating that Samsung is in near final stages of development of the Android 4.1.2 update for the Galaxy Note II.
Head over to SamMobile for the download link and other information about the leaked ROM.
Last night, the official Skype application for Android was updated to v3.0 that brings about a new layout optimized for Android tablets. The application now features a new layout optimized for 7″ and 10″ Android tablets. Sadly, the updated version of the app will only work in landscape mode on all tablets.
The new update also includes some other changes include an improved audio quality thanks to the use of Skype’s wideband audio codec – SILK. Lastly, the update also adds the ability to sign in to Skype via Microsoft account. The update is already live in the Play Store and can be downloaded from here.
Plume, one of the most popular Twitter clients for Android, also got a bug-squashing update today. Apart from fixing a bunch of bugs and issues, the update brings lock screen widgets for all Android 4.2 users.
Below is the full change-log of the update -:
– add a lockscreen widget on Android 4.2
– fix the widget context on Android 4.2
– fix the display of the DM recipient
– fix Facebook timeline not updating in some case
– fix unread list item appearing multiple times
– improve the picture cache coherence
– make Halloween notification sound available all the time
The latest version of Plume can be downloaded from here.
Sony has started rolling out a new software update for its brand new flagship handsets – the Xperia T and Xperia TX. The update brings a bunch of new features to the handsets and enhancements including extended standby mode, screen mirroring, enhanced media applications and more.
Screen Mirroring lets you experience the full Xperia T/TX interface wirelessly on your TV** – get the bigger picture as you share photos, videos, games, maps, emails and music.
Extended standby mode
Extended standby mode increases the standby time by up to 4 times. When the screen has been in sleep mode for a few minutes, Wi-Fi and data traffic will temporarily be disabled and most applications will become inactive. Core functions such as calling and messaging will work as normal; you will still be able to receive calls, messages and notifications. Once you touch the screen to wake the device up from standby all functions are back to normal!
Sony’s media applications
The upgrade also brings new improvements to Sony’s media applications – we continue to evolve our applications to make your experience of enjoying and sharing content more personalised and effortless.
Movies app now let’s you run the show from the dashboard with a small viewing window, controls and film gallery.
“WALKMAN” app’s interface is more dynamic, with changing colours to reflect the track’s album art.
Album app utilises Mobile BRAVIA Engine with even higher contrast, depth and sharpness in photos and videos. You can also make full use of SenseME Slideshows, delivering a tailored presentation matching music to your image’s ambience.
Xperia T supports HD Voice, the most significant voice quality upgrade in mobile history; transmitting a broader spectrum of the human voice resulting in a more natural sound filtering out distracting background noise. It’s now easier to recognize voices, and to hear and understand what the person at the other end is saying, even in noisy environments.
The HD voice feature is only available where it is supported by the carriers. Keep in mind that if you own a carrier-branded Xperia T then the update will be only available to your handset, once it has been approved by your carrier, which can take sometime.
Sony will roll-out the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update for the Xperia T and other Xperia handsets by early next year.
Today, Mozilla announced in a blog post that it is brining Firefox for Android to million more Android devices out there. Until today, Firefox for Android was only supported by Android devices running Android 2.2+ and using an ARM v7 based processors.
However, beginning from today, Firefox for Android will be available to all Android 2.2+ devices that are powered by an ARM v6 processor. This includes quite a lot of popular low-end Android devices like the GAlaxy Ace, Motorola Fire XT, HTC ChaCha and more.
According to Mozilla, more than half of the 500 million Android phones out there are powered by an ARM v6 processor, so this move from Mozilla will definitely help in increasing the user base of the app. However, your Android device needs to have at least an ARMv6 processor that is clocked at 800MHz, along with a minimum of 512MB RAM.
The latest release of Firefox for Android also adds support for hardware and software decoder for h.264 videos on Android 4/4.1, along with initial web app support. The full release notes of the latest release can be found here, while the latest version can be downloaded from here.
The Android app ecosystem may not be lacking compared to iOS, as it was before. The Play Store is now filled with some quality apps from top developers that mostly follow the design guidelines laid down by Google.
However, accept it or not, there is still a lack of a decent Twitter client for Android. The official Twitter app for Android is absolutely horrible and slow, while Plume, Tweetcaster and others seem to be designed by a high-school going kid.
Thankfully, the developer of Falcon for Twitter – a full featured Twitter widget – has released a new Twitter client for Android, based on his Twitter widget, Falcon Pro.
The app is still in beta, and does lack certain features that Plume or Tweetcaster have, but it looks much better and polished. The developer has also taken effort to optimize the app for tablets. The app will work on any Android 2.2+ devices.
Falcon Pro for Twitter is still in beta and the APK of the app can be downloaded from this thread on XDA forums. The developer plans release the app on the Play Store after beta testing it for sometime at a nominal price.
Remember the beautiful Apollo music player that a CyanogenMod developer released earlier this year? The music player was eventually included in CyanogenMod 9 and 10 builds. However, the development of the music player pretty much stopped from Andrew soon after.
Today, Andrew Neal has released an updated version of the Apollo Music Player on the Play Store — Apollo+. The new version has been completely written from scratch and contains lots of under-the-hood enhancements and bug-fixes. He will also merge the updated app with CyanogenMod sometime soon.
However, the version of the app included in CyanogenMod will be different from Play Store one. The latter will be updated more frequently and contain more features. The app also comes in two versions – a free, ad supported version and a paid one for a mere dollar.As of now, the app is not optimized for the tablet layout, but Andrew is working on it and expects to add it sooner than later.
The developer is eagerly responding to all feedbacks, including negatives ones and feature requests, over at Reddit. So head over and directly give him your feedback!