Block Breaker 3 Hits The Android Market; Google Goggles and Go Launcher Ex Updated!

Gameloft, one of the most popular gaming publishers for Android, has released a new game in the Market, Block Breaker 3. The game is unlike any the usual pin-ball game. Users can get power-ups, trigger switches, and blast through gateways to score more points. The game also has 8 different modes to suit the style of various gamers.


Like any other game from Gameloft, the game has stunning graphics. The game also supports a wide-variety of Android handsets and tablets. Block Breaker 3 can be downloaded for $1 from the Android Market.

In other Android related news, Google has recently released an updated version of its Goggles app on the Android Market. The new version of Goggles automatically scans photos clicked by you, and provides information about it. Due to privacy concerns, this feature is disabled by default. Goggles users can enable this feature from the Settings menu of the app.

The Go Developers team has also released an updated version of Go Launcher Ex on the Market. The update fixes some bugs, and brings 8 new effects for the app drawer. There is also an option to change the launcher’s orientation to landscape mode permanently.

I have been using Go Launcher Ex for a couple of weeks now, and will highly recommend it over the other two popular launchers for Android, Launcher Pro and ADW Launcher Ex. It’s been ages since Launcher Pro last got an update, and I am not even talking about the highly talked about and promised re-write of LP from the developer.

The only area where Go Launcher Ex cannot compete with ADW Launcher Ex/Launcher Pro is themes. However, as Go Launcher Ex gains popularity, I am pretty sure existing themes/icons for ADW Launcher and LP will be ported to it. Go Launcher Ex can be downloaded from the Android Market for free.

MobiReader for Android Scans and Organizes Business Cards and Documents

Business cards are vestiges of a bygone era. I would hardly be exaggerating if I said that business cards have long outlived their welcome. It simply takes too much effort to go back home manually type in all the data from business cards that you earlier collected during a conference. It’s amazing that in this digital age people still insist on exchanging pieces of paper with their name on it. Unfortunately, all of us are forced to accept this stupidity as no convenient and globally accepted alternative exists. Luckily for us, today’s smartphones are powerful enough to ease the pain and simplify the process of organization of business cards.


Last week, I received a request to review MobiReader Pro for Android, a business card organizer app. Although getting sufficient quantity of business cards for a proper review turned out to be harder than I thought – trash can is the inevitable destination for almost all the business cards that I receive, I am glad that I took it for a spin.


MobiReader utilizes OCR (Optical Character Recognition) on snaps of business cards to automatically extract information like name, address, email and phone number. The intuitive user interface makes the entire process a breeze. The OCR can, however, be dodgy on occasions. Proper lighting and focusing is essential. Nevertheless, given that several OCR solutions perform miserably on anything but decent quality scans, I found MobiReader’s detection capabilities to be fairly impressive. For properly captured snaps, it was surprisingly accurate. The parsing engine is also quite smart. It figured out exactly what each field meant in 4/5 cases. The only business card it made a mistake with was mine! Scanned business cards can be saved into MobiReader’s card holder as well as your phonebook.


Another interesting piece of feature in MobiReader is the Augmented Reality view. MobiReader displays contacts as you rotate your camera around based on the location of the contacts. It integrates with Google Map to help you in finding a contact whose address is stored in the card holder.

Although, I have been characterizing MobiReader as a business card organizer, it is capable of doing a lot more. It can also act as a document scanner and organizer. You can scan any piece of text with it, and save it as a PDF, share it via MMS or email, or even upload it to Google Docs. You can even lookup meanings of words directly from the snapped images by utilizing MobiReader’s dictionary integration.

Mobi-Reader-ReccomendedMobiReader is available in the Android market for $3.99. The price is slightly on the higher side as far as Android apps are concerned. However, if you are someone who gets a lot of business cards, or needs to scan a lot of documents, you will probably find MobiReader to be worth a lot more than the four bucks it demands.

Techie-Buzz Rating: 4.5/5 (Excellent)

Facebook For Android Updated; Comes With Improved Messages And Notifications

Most of the Android smartphone users, does not like the official Facebook app for Android due to a number of reasons. The guys at Facebook are working hard and trying their best to make the application more useful. Facebook for Android does not allow us to tag friends and places in posts, but the latest update of Facebook for Android completely solves this problem. It also comes with a new design for profile and group walls, improved photo browsing and sharing, improved messages and notifications, etc. Check out the complete changelog, after the break.

facebook for android update


  • Made it easier to share with who you want
  • Improved the sharing tool to add privacy controls on posts and match your settings on the web site
  • Added the ability to tag friends and places in posts
  • Added new design for Profile and Group Walls
  • Improved photo browsing with swiping
  • Added the ability to tag your friends in photos
  • Improved Messages and Notifications
  • Fixed a number of crashes and performance issues

The Facebook for Android app is available for free on the Android Market. You will get a notification to update this app. If you don’t get an notification, then just head over to Android Market from your handset, go to My Apps and update all the apps. To download the Foursquare for Android app from web version of Android Market, head over to this page.

Samsung Unveils The ChatON Messenger

Samsung recently launched the new ChatON messaging service. It allows you to communicate instantly with any mobile phone and share text, pictures, calendar, contacts, emotions, hand-written notes and videos instantly with your friends. ChatON will also be available on all major smartphones, tablets, notebook PCs and Samsung feature phones.

With ChatON, Samsung has vastly simplified mobile communication by allowing users to connect to our upcoming feature phones and all major Smartphones in the market,said Ho Soo Lee, Head of Media Solution Center at Samsung Electronics. Users around the world can now enjoy easier and richer interactivity with whoever they want, in the format they want—this is mobile communication reinvented and democratized.

samsung chaton

The new Samsung ChatON service will be available in more than 120 countries, supporting up to 62 languages. It will come with with two functionality options – basic and advanced. The basic functionality option will be available only for feature phone users. It will allow them to share text, pictures, calendar, contacts and emotions through an easy-to-access client.

On the other hand, advanced functionality will be available for smartphone users. You can easily share photos and videos with your friends. You can view all the photos and videos in an automatically-generated content sharing ‘Trunk’. Smartphone users can also create their own content by adding texts, audio, background, etc, and share them as an ‘Animation message’.

Samsung will include the ChatON IM client in all th forthcoming devices showcased at IFA 2011. The Samsung ChatON messaging service will be available from October. Until then, check out the video below.

Skitch now Free for All Users, Coming Soon to a All Platforms

Skitch, which is arguably the best screen shot annotation app on the Mac, is now free to all users. Thanks to Evernote, who announced that they have acquired Skitch Thursday, the highly popular image capturing and annotating app is now available for free on the Mac App Store. It was previously available for $19.99.

Evernote is a fantastic free note taking and organization application that I have mentioned before. They currently have applications available on 14 different platforms, including iOS, Android, Mac, PC, and the Web. They are now planning on expanding their service by bringing Skitch to all of those platforms, giving users of Windows and Linux the ability to use one of my favorite blogging tools.


There has been full timeline released for Evernote’s release of Skitch across its platforms. They have said that their Android app is available now in the Android Market for absolutely nothing. They also said they are working on their iOS and Windows apps, and hope to have them out as soon as possible.

They also promised deeper integration of Skitch into Evernote. In their blog post, Evernote said that Skitch represented their fulfillment of a promise to users. That promise was to bring better image editing to Evernote, and Skitch fits that bill nicely. I am looking forward to trying it out with the next versions of Evernote.

If you are a Mac user and do any kind of image annotation or screen shot work, then Skitch is an app you should defiantly pick up. I recommended it when it was $20, and now that its free I think it should come preinstalled on all Macs. Grab it form the Mac App Store today.

Google Maps and Reader for Android Updated; Minecraft Now Available For Xperia Play

Google has released updates for two of its popular apps for Android – Google Maps and Google Reader. The Google Maps update brings with it some welcomed changes, including custom transit notifications.

The bubble buttons, which had mysteriously disappeared in the previous update, have also made a comeback. The Transit support has also made its way to the tablet version of Google Maps. The latest update (v5.9) is already available for download from the Android Market.

The Google Reader app for Android has also been updated, and brings with it some much-needed improvements. Most importantly, the Google Reader app finally supports Honeycomb. The tablet layout of the app is similar to the mobile/tablet version of GReader website. The ‘Mark as read’ function has also been improved, and users can now mark an item as read by long pressing on it.

While this update definitely helps in improving the overall usability of the GReader app, it still does not stand a chance in front of the competition.

In other Android apps and games related news, the highly popular and insanely addictive game, Minecraft from Mojang is now available exclusively for the Xperia Play. At the time being, the game will remain exclusive to the Play. Hopefully, the game should be available to other touch screen based Android phones, sometime in the future. Sony Ericsson has also stated that a bunch of new games are soon going to be available for the Play, including Fifa 2012, Death Worm and EVAC HD. The whole list of games can be found  here.



Foursquare For Android Updated; Brings Revamped UI

Last month, Foursquare updated their Android app, and now, they are back with a bang. Foursquare recently updated their Foursquare for Android app. The new version was released on August 11. Apart from the revamped user interface, it comes with a new design for titlebars, tabs and venue photo gallery, added support for managing Facebook and Twitter, etc. It also brings an option to save all the photos to SD card, directly from the settings. Check out the complete changelog, after the break.

foursquare android


  • New redesign for titlebars and tabs, check in button added to titlebar.
  • Explore redesigned with specials and more.
  • Added support for managing Facebook and Twitter sharing from Settings page.
  • Venue photos gallery redesign.
  • Share photo with venue when checking in.
  • Added option to save photos to SD card from Settings page.
  • Viewing items in notification tray clears push notifications in notification manager.

The Foursquare for Android app is available for free on the Android Market. This app is compatible with all devices running Android 1.6 and higher. To download the Foursquare for Android app, head over to this page.

Google Search App for Android To Get a Major Update

Google will soon release a new version of the Google Search app for Android, which will pack in a lot of improvements. The update will also come with a tweaked UI to make it more in line with the Gingerbread/Honeycomb look and feel.


The new Google search app groups the search result by type, with the suggestions from the Internet being at the top. The app now also shows country-specific suggestions and search results. The new version is also faster and smoother, compared to the previous version(s). All Android users, running Android 2.2+ can install the app on their handset, when the update goes live.

Google posted a blog post about this new version before pulling it back within a few minutes for some reason. I guess they found some issues with the latest version of the app, and so had to push back the launch.

Here is the full blog post :

We’ve released a new version of the Google Search app for Android with a number of improvements:

  • Suggestions grouped by type, with web suggestions at the top.
  • Country-specific suggestions and search results for all countries with Google domains.
  • Long press to remove history items.
  • Faster, smoother performance, with an updated and simplified user interface.

Search history, search suggestions and on-device results

Here are some additional tips we’d like to share:

  • Tap the arrow to the right of a search suggestion or history item to edit it before searching.
  • Get suggestions from other apps on your phone – check out searchable items in Search settings.
  • Long press on homescreen to add the Google Search widget if you don’t have it already.

Hopefully, the new version of the Google search app should go live sometime soon! (Possibly today!)

360 for Android – Click and Share Panorama Images with Your Friends [Review]

Panorama images are clicked with an elongated field of view. In laymen term, it basically means stitching or joining multiple images to make one giant wide’ image.

Below is an example of a panorama image-:


In today’s world, camera phones are the primary image capturing device for a majority of people. Irrespective of the poor quality of images, and the lack of detail, everyone prefers camera phones because of their portability factor, and mainly because we carry our cellphones with us everywhere.

2-3 years ago, it would have been impossible to click a panorama image from your handset. However, with advancements in technology and handsets featuring faster 1 GHz processors, and oodles of RAM, capturing panorama images is not a big task for modern age smartphones. Many quality apps exist for iOS to click panorama images. However, the same cannot be said for Android. The problem with panorama images is that they are very hardware centric, and since every Android phone has a different hardware configuration, it is tough to make one app which works on a range of hardware, especially on low-end ones.

360 for Android is one slick app to click and share panorama images with your friends. The app is made by TeliportMe, which consists of only 3 highly talented people. This same team was awarded by Nvidia as the Emerging Technology Company in 2010. The app has been available in the Android Market for quite some time now, and has a pretty big user base of around 45,000+ users.

Recently, a new version of 360 was released on the Android Market which has many under-the-hood changes. I gave the app a try, and I must say I have been pretty impressed by it.

Below is a video of 360 in action :

360 uses the various sensors found in today’s high-end Android handsets, and the powerful CPU+GPU combo to click panorama images. The app makes use of the GPU instead of the CPU to stitch the images together, and because of this the images are stitched together in a very short span of time. The best part about 360 is its ability to share your panorama images online with other fellow 360 users, or your friends on Twitter or Facebook.

360 also has a public timeline which shows you the panorama images clicked by other 360 users. I spent a lot of time in seeing all the panorama images clicked by other 360 users. Thanks to the image being panoramic, you get a feeling of being physically present in that place. This one feature is what makes 360 stands out from other panorama apps on the Android Market.


Sadly, not all is perfect with the app. The images are not stitched properly all the time. However, the team behind 360 is working on this, and in the latest version the stitching errors are definitely less. Another problem with the app is the 3D image viewer. It is a bit buggy, and sometimes one light flick will be registered as a full swipe.

Thankfully, I have been in constant touch with the developer, and they have assured me that they are working hard on improving the stitching process. That said, these couple of small bugs do not deter me from recommending 360 to all Android users out there. Install the app, and have fun by just watching panorama images of unknown places, a stranger’s room or car. 360 for Android can be downloaded for free from the Android Market (link).

Three Simple and Easy Apps to Backup SMS on Your Android Phone

I love how Android syncs almost everything to your Google Account contacts, application data, WiFi passwords – to mention a few. However, it doesn’t sync your text messages. Given how  important  SMS can be and how frequently they’re used I’m not sure why Android doesn’t do that.

This, however, is remedied by the sheer number of SMS backup applications available in the Android Market. Here’s a look at 3 of them.

SMS Backup+

SMS Backup+ is probably one of the first apps that I had installed after learning the hard way that Titanium Backup doesn’t do SMS Backups. SMS Backup+ is free and syncs your SMS to your Google Account.

SMS Backup+

In addition to SMS, SMS Backup+ can also sync your call logs and MMS to your Google Account. These aren’t enabled by default and you’ll have to enable them by heading into Backup settings. SMS Backup+ also gives you a fair degree of control as to which particular group of contacts that you’ve sent and received messages from, can be backed up.

SMS Backup+ Settings

There’s also a handy scheduling system to allow for periodic backups – just set a period for backups to happen and your SMS will be backed up silently.

SMS Backup+ Auto Backup

The only downside of the app is that it doesn’t backup your SMS to the SDCard. The app, however is free and without any ads or any other limitations.

SMS Backup Android

SMS Backup Android is another simple application to backup your SMS. Unlike SMS Backup+,  SMS Backup Android can also backup to your SD Card.

SMS Backup Tool

Deviating from SMS Backup+, SMS Backup Tool is a paid app.  There is a free version though, but the free version includes ads and seems to expire rather fast.

SMS Backup Tool also features auto-backup feature for scheduled backups, but is available only on the paid version. Considering that the free version has an expiration period, I have no idea why this was disabled. Looking at the settings menu, there are options to backup SMS to Dropbox, Evernote and to developer’s online service, but none of these features were implemented at the time of writing this.

SMS Backup Tool Settings

The author mentions that he will hike the prices once these are implemented, so perhaps it’d be a good idea to purchase the app at a lower price and then get the features as and when they are implemented.


While GO SMS is not strictly a backup tool, it is, however an excellent replacement for Android’s stock Messaging app. Fellow Techie-buzz author Rajesh  had mentioned this app earlier, however I’ll mention about the SMS Backup features.

The option for SMS Backup and restore is hidden deep in the settings ( it’s available under Settings -> GoSMS Services -> SMS Backup and Recovery)


Like most other apps, Go SMS allows for scheduled backup and backup to SD Card. The send backup to mailbox is a  misnomer  though, you will manually have to send your backups via the email client. If you’re already using GO SMS however, all it takes is to go and flick a checkbox and you have your backups ready without using any other app.

So which one is recommended?

If you need an app which will save your SMS in the cloud, SMS Backup+ is recommended.  Besides being free, it’s rather simple to use and the auto-backup feature will ensure that even if you forget to do it yourself, there’s a scheduled process taking care of your backups.

SMS Backup Tool is a good alternative if you want a single app to handle both local and cloud backup. However at about $5, it’s hard to justify spending that amount, especially when excellent free alternatives exist.

If you’re already using GO SMS, then it’s just a matter of enabling the feature from the menu and you’re all set to have your SMS backed up.