Samurai II Vengeance Hits the Android Market; Available For Both Tegra 2 And Non-Tegra 2 Handsets

One of the major complaints in the Android eco-system is the lack of quality’ games. Yes, there is Angry Birds and its various versions, but one game alone is not enough to cater to everyone’s need.

Thankfully, the gaming scene of the Android Market has been changing rapidly with new quality games being added nearly every day. Yesterday, Cut The Rope was made available for Android phones, and the day before that N.O.V.A. 2 hit the Android Market.

Today, another quality’ game Samurai II Vengeance has hit the Android Market. The game is about a Samurai who is seeking vengeance from Orochi. It is the sequel to the massively popular Samurai: Way of Warrior game, which is available for iOS, and was also crowned by Apple as one of the best games of 2009.

Below is a small video demo of the game :

Samurai II Vengeance is a quality game in all respect, especially gameplay and graphics. The game is based on the Unity 3D engine and looks absolutely great. The controls are easy to use as well. The game ran perfectly fine without any lags on my SGS II, which is down clocked to 1GHz.

Samurai II Vengeance is available in two flavors, one for Tegra 2 based devices with optimized graphics, and a non-Tegra 2 version. The non-Tegra 2 version is also optimized for Xperia Play, and supports its gamepad.

The Tegra 2 version costs $4.99, while the non Tegra 2 version costs $2.99. Here is the link to the game.

Android Market Gets Some Much Needed Changes!

Google has just rolled out some much sought after and welcomed changes to the Android Market. These changes will be appreciated by both the developers and the general Android users.

For the developers, Google has gone ahead and increased the APK size from 50MB to a whopping 4GB! The company also introduced a new APK format Multi APK which allows developers to upload different APKs of the same app, for different Android devices. Also, developers will now host their app on the hosting provided by the Android Market itself!


Another welcome change is the ability to exclude specific Android devices or filter devices by their screen resolution for an App in the Android Market. Developers will now also get monthly statistics of their app like the number of times it has been downloaded, how the competitive apps are doing etc. Developers will also be able to view sales figure of their application, right from January 2010.

For the general Android users, Google has added many new categories to Android Market including Editors’ choice, Top New Paid and Free apps, Top Free, Top Paid, and Top Grossing etc. All these lists will show you apps, depending on the country you access the Android Market from. The Market will also recommend users applications based on their usage pattern.

Android Market users can find the full change-log here.

Google Uses Kill-Switch to Remotely Uninstall Android Malware, Pushes Update to Undo Changes

Earlier in the week, a Redditor uncovered a large network of malwares masquerading as popular apps in the Android Market, when he stumbled upon one of the apps and noticed its incorrect publisher info. Android Police has a lowdown on the incident, which once again demonstrated how easy it is to infiltrate the Android Market. The fake apps, once downloaded, proceeded to root the phone using the famous “rageagainstthecage” exploit, and called home. It also had the potential to download additional payloads.

Android-Malware-AttackFor its part, Google reacted swiftly, and pulled the apps minutes after being notified by Android Police. However, according to information provided by “lompolo”, the Redditor who uncovered this entire mess, some of the app developers were already aware of this for as long as a week, but their complaints fell on deaf ears. The apps injected with malware, which were dubbed as DroidDream by Lookout, only affected handsets running versions older than Android 2.2.2. Google found DroidDream in 58 applications, which were downloaded onto 260,000 devices.

Google believes that the apps only uploaded device information (IMEI/IMSI, unique codes which are used to identify mobile devices, and the version of Android running on your device), and not user-data. After pulling the apps, and performing its initial investigation, Google is now moving to rectify the damage caused. It is in the process of removing the apps from all handsets by employing the remote kill-switch built into Android. It is also pushing through a new update called “Android Market Security Tool March 2011″ to affected devices. This update will undo the changes made by DroidDream. If you were among the affected users, expect an email from Google soon.

This entire saga raises several questions. Obviously, as Android’s popularity continues to surge, more and more hackers and malware writers will target it. Unfortunately, it’s clear that Google is simply in no position to mitigate these attacks before they occur. The “openness” of the Market is becoming Android’s biggest security weakness. Although most Android users have nothing but disdain for any app review system, I would welcome a change in the Market policy, whereby all submitted apps are screened for signs of malicious or fraudulent activities. Google might also need to give a serious thought to how it deploys security updates. Apple and Microsoft have full control over deploying critical system updates, unlike Google, which is at the mercy of handset manufacturers and carriers. Although the bug that was exploited by DroidDream was fixed in Android 2.2.2, hundreds of thousands of handsets were successfully compromised because Android 2.2.2 isn’t yet available for a substantial number of handsets. Unless Google can reign in the fragmentation problem, it might have to start deploying hotfixes for different versions of Android to patch critical security vulnerabilities, i.e. employ a Windows like model of distributing patches to different OS versions. What is your take on this issue? Chime in by dropping a comment here or in our Facebook page.

Best Mobile Apps Of The Week for iOS, Android and Symbian – #7

Welcome to the seventh edition of Best Mobile Apps of the Week for iOS, Android and Symbian. In this edition of BMATW, I will introduce our readers to a Fitness app for iOS and a popular third party browser for Android owners. Symbian users will know how to unlock their phone in a fun yet, efficient manner.

Below are the Best Mobile Apps Of The Week For iOS, Android and Symbian :

Fitness Free HD (iOS)

As the name suggests, Fitness Free HD for iPad is a fitness application containing information about more than 300 different exercises. All the exercises have been clearly explained with the help of many pictures and proper text instructions.

The benefits and the difficulty level of each exercise have been clearly explained as well. The app also lists all exercise according to various body parts.


The app also includes some inbuilt Recipes’ which can help a person burn all those fats or prepare him before he hits the gym. A paid version of the application is also available which features more than 700 exercises with video clips. The paid version also includes other goodies like a Calorie counter, Body tracker and BMI (Body Mass Index).

One killer feature of the paid version is that users can get live support from professional coaches! The paid version of the app costs $3.99. The free version of the app can be downloaded from here.

Nokia Bubbles (Symbian)

Today, Nokia released a new application called Bubbles which will help Symbian owners to unlock their phone in a fun, yet efficient manner.

Bubbles’ will appear on the screen if a user presses the Apps’ button whilst his phone his locked. The user can then either have some fun by simply throwing the bubbles away or initiate an action by dragging a bubble to the available drop point.

Below is a video of Nokia Bubbles in action on the Nokia N8 :

At the moment, users can use a bubble to unlock their phone, view an unread SMS, control the music player or the FM radio, call a specific contact or change the phone profile etc.

The application is still in beta so do expect some bugs. The application sure has a very interesting concept and hopefully, the future versions will improve the functionality of this app further. The application only supports the latest Symbian phones from Nokia like the N8, C7 and the C6-01.

The app can be downloaded for free from here.

Firefox 4 (Android)

It was only a couple of days ago that Mozilla released an updated version of Firefox 4 for Mobile for Android and Maemo. Compared to the previous beta releases, this new release of Firefox 4 for Mobile is way better.

The page loading times and the loading time of the application has been reduced drastically. In fact, the Mozilla team says that this new beta version of Firefox 4 is faster than the stock Android browser.


One big advantage of FF4 for Mobile is that it supports plug-ins. As of now, the mobile add-ons gallery for Firefox 4 features more than 100 plug-ins. The app does have its share of downsides including a very heavy memory foot print.

Readers can read more about Firefox 4 for mobile here. Android handset owners can download Firefox 4 for mobile from the Android Market.

Google Brings In-App Purchases To Android

Along with providing us an overview of features in Android 3.0 and launching the web store based Android Market, Google also announced support for In-App Purchases in Android apps.

At the recently concluded event, Google announced a new SDK aimed specifically towards in-app purchases. This new feature will allow Android users to directly purchase content right from within an app!


Developers can now offer paid upgrades in their app/game. With in-app purchase support, users also won’t see a Lite’ and a Full version of an app on the Android Market. Instead, users can simply purchase the full version of an app right from within its Lite’ or demo version.

The in-app feature will be available to the users before the end of the current quarter. Google has already released the new SDK to the developers. Disney used the announcement to demonstrate their app Tap Tap Revenge’ for Android which will be making use of the In-App Purchase feature. Google sure is trying its best to attract and retain developers towards the Android platform.

The new Web Store and the In-App purchase feature will help the developers in a big way. This will also help the developers to make more money from their apps.

Android Market Goes Online

At the recent Honeycomb event Google just put the market Online. The Market will now be available for browsing online at android_market_online The Android Market can be accessed through an online browser and the apps will be downloaded to your web devices. More details on the new Online Android market coming up soon.

Up until now, Android users could only download and install apps from the Android Market app on their phone. The new Android Market web store   features a carousel that shows a variety of popular and featured applications. The app detail page will feature high detailed pictures of the application in question so as to lure more users. Android users can directly purchase/install the app from the web store and the app will be directly installed on your Android phone.

Users can also share the application they like on the web store with their friends on the popular social networking site Twitter by simply clicking the Tweet’ button. Users with multiple Android devices can select their default device as well as give their handset nicknames. Android users can also sort the apps in the web store according to their popularity etc. Android users can also share the link of an application with their friends by simply copying and pasting the link of the web store. Opening the link of an app on the phone will directly open the Android Market.

Readers can read the official announcement from Google here.

NVidia Announces Tegra Zone, Android Market for High-End Games

We are seeing more and more high-end games make an appearance on Android. However, high-end games need powerful hardware, and as recently launched games like Dungeon Defenders have shown, many of the high-end Android phones (read Snapdragon phones with Adreno 200) might not have enough in them to support games with next-gen visuals. The good news is that the next generation of Android phones should solve the problem.

Dual-core processors are clearly going to be the way to go in 2011. Baring Sony Ericsson, all other popular Android handset manufacturers are expected to introduce dual-core CPU driven handsets. In fact, some like LG (Optimus 2x) and Motorola (Atrix 4G) have already made their move.

Most of the upcoming dual-core handsets as well as tablets will be powered by nVidia’s Tegra 2. NVidia clearly expects Android gaming to take off in a big way. Besides actively working with developers, nVidia is also working on its own app store. It will be launching a market called Tegra Zone for Tegra 2 enabled Android devices.

Galaxy on Fire

Tegra Zone will be an Android market dedicated to high-end games. It will be using the Android Market’s payment backend, which means that you will be able to use your Google Checkout account for payments (and carrier billing, if available). Since Tegra Zone is meant only for games, there will be no file size limit. It will also feature HD video previews, unlimited screenshots, reviews from 3rd parties and gameplay videos. The first five games to be included are Dungeon Defenders: First Wave, Monster Madness, Fruit Ninja THD, Backbreaker THD, and Galaxy on Fire.

via DroidGamers

Amazon Gears Up to Launch Its Own Android App Store, Begins Accepting App Submissions

There are a lot of things wrong with the Android Market. From the lack of in-app payments to the limited payment options, there are enough shortcomings to write an essay about. However, thanks to its “openness”, there’s always room for alternatives. Amazon, the Seattle based online shopping giant, is gearing up to offer an alternative. The Amazon appstore for Android is slated to be launched later this year. Right now the developer portal is live at Android app developers can sign up and submit their apps to Amazon.

After its success with the Kindle store, Amazon certainly believes that it can do a better job than Google. With the new app store, Amazon is aiming to take the middle-ground between Apple’s app store and Google Android Market. Like the iPhone app store, all apps will have to be approved by Amazon before they can appear on the store. However, unlike Apple, Amazon isn’t looking to be the moral police. Instead it will be screening the applications to ensure that they are safe, stable and do what they claim to do. The expectation is that it will keep the junk applications out, without killing the diversity and flexibility of Android apps.


The other differentiating factor for the Amazon appstore will be pricing. Unlike other stores where the developer determines the price of an app, in Amazon’s store they can only suggest a price. The actual price will be fixed by Amazon. Amazon has earned a reputation for giving deep discounts on both new and old items. Expect something similar on its Android store. In order to pull in users, Amazon will be tweaking with the price and offering deals from time to time. However, Amazon is promising that it will be looking after the developer’s interest and not undercut them. Under all circumstances, developers will earn at least 20% of the list price.

Having options is always good. However, at this moment, I am not certain if the Amazon appstore is good news or bad news. It will probably be safer and less junk-filled than the Android Market. It will also tap into Amazon’s expertise in ecommerce. I am expecting multiple payment options and a sophisticated recommendation engine. Amazon’s store should also please manufacturers looking to release an Android handset without necessarily bundling the Android Market. However, the biggest cause for concern in fragmentation. If multiple markets start springing up with their own exclusive apps, in the long run, it’s going to complicate things for the users. I am also uncertain about Amazon’s decision to control pricing. The presence of an established alternative in the form of Google Market will probably deter them from setting prices too low, but standardization of pricing can be a dangerous thing. Hopefully, Amazon’s entry will at the very least force Google to improve its Market.

Interview: Level Up’s CEO on the Viability of Paid Apps in the Android Market and More

Yesterday, Peter Vesterbacka from Rovio Mobile created a flutter with his remark that "paid content just doesn’t work on Android". Rovio Mobile is the highly acclaimed developer of Angry Birds, which has literally taken the world by storm. However, his comments didn’t sit well with many fans, who have been pointing out that Rovio didn’t even try the premium app route before opting for the ad-supported freeware option.

LevelUp Studio Logo

We reached out to Ludovic Vialle, CEO of LevelUp Studio. LevelUp Studio is one of the very few high quality publishers who have opted to limit themselves to Android. Beautiful Widgets has been consistently topping the Android Market charts (for paid apps), while Plume (previously Touiteur) has won the adoration of many a Twitter user. Having tried both the premium and the freemium business model, Vialle is uniquely qualified to comment on the state of the Android ecosystem.

Ludovic VialleMe: Why Android? Most publishers believe that the real money is in iOS. LevelUp Studio is amongst the very few publishers who have opted for an Android only strategy. What prompted this?

LV: Android was really new when I started to work on it, paid applications were just added to the Market, and I just had a feeling that being the first on a new platform could be a big opportunity. Before that I was an early iPhone user, but I started to dislike Apple’s methods of having everything closed in their eco-system. I was attracted by the different approach from Google with Android.

Me: How big an issue is fragmentation for Android developers? Moving forward, do you see fragmentation getting worse or getting better?

LV: Fragmentation has never been a problem, you just need to think and develop a little more in some rare cases, but otherwise Google did an incredible job to make it possible for everything to work without really paying attention to fragmentation.

Me: In an interview, Peter Vesterbacka from Rovio Mobile (developer of Angry Birds) claimed that Nobody has been successful selling content on Android. I suppose that as a company with multiple paid apps LevelUp Studio will have something to say about that. Vesterbacka also remarked that Paid content just doesn’t work on Android. What is your perspective on paid apps for Android?

LV: I can say that paid applications can be successful, I cannot really compare with iOS because we do not have equivalents applications on the platform. Beautiful Widgets has been the #1 paid application on the market for almost a year (with the exception of a new application occasionally borrowing the first place for a few days), and it certainly helps. Also people do like customizing their devices, and Android is the king of customization. You can make a lot of money from Android, quality and continued support/development is the key.
LevelUp Studio started as a hobby, and now we are an independent software producer, with three employees (two developers + my wife who assists me mid-time in paperwork) and myself. We will probably expand in the future, very soon, at this rate.

Me: Recently you made the full version of Plume (previously Touiteur), supported by advertisements, available for free in the market. What prompted this change? Based on initial results how has this affected the bottom-line?

LV: Previously we were using a Freemiumconcept, a free applications and a Premium version with more features, but to be honest, the revenues were not the same as Beautiful Widgets, very far from it, and developing Plume (Touiteur) was costing more money that it would provide.
So we decided to test advertisements and see how it works, we paid attention not to disturb the users, that was our priority, so we went with 140Proof, which is an incredible partner. In the end, the advertisements are not invasive, and they are providing really interesting content (not ringtones or antivirus advertisements that we are used to seeing). On the other hand, free users with advertisements now benefit from all of the premium features, and premium users don’t get advertisements.
I do not have the numbers yet, but I am confident that it will cover our costs at the very least.

Me: The general perception is that ad-supported free apps work better than paid apps in the Android market. What does your experience suggest?

LV: Unfortunately we do not have enough experience on this yet, but if properly implemented, it can certainly be an interesting model, but not necessarily for everyone. I have feedback from some Android developers who are saying that advertisements are not working at all, and they are going to leave that model. I tend to think that a paid only model with a good application/game could be interesting too (with no lite version).

Me: Both as a developer and a user of Android, what is your take on the recently introduced 15 minute refund window?

LV: As a user and developer: it is too short, sometimes we do not even have the time to understand how an application works within the stipulated time. People are not able to really test and quickly take the decision to refund before the end of the refund window. I think that one or two hours could work, but I understand that it might not be a good solution for game developers. Maybe this could be a developer setting?

Me: What is the one big limitation of the Android Market that you believe is hurting developers?

LV: The lack of a desktop version. I know this is coming, and hope that it will help people to choose applications. Also the limited payment methods (credit card only) .

Me: What is the one thing about Android that you love the most?

LV: Customizations, you can make your phone your own phone. I can even make my phone remain silent when I sleep, automatically! So many possibilities!

Me: Finally, what are you guys currently working on? What can we expect from LevelUp Studio in 2011?

LV: We are working on improving Beautiful Widgets (with some big updates coming soon) and Plume because there is always room for improvement. We will probably be starting a new project in 2011, but we will see how we perform at that moment and if we can afford to do it!

Android Has Over 200,000 Apps In Android Market

An unofficial app tracker for , Android Lib stats suggest that there are now over 200,000 apps in the Android Market. This brings the Android Market on par or at-least near to the number of apps carried by rival; Apple, in their app store.


The latest stats on Android Lib show that there are now over 200K apps and games in the Android market. If this is true, this is definitely a phenomenal growth for the Android Market over the past two year. However, there are several people out there who doubt the viability of the apps in the Android market.

After I tweeted about the stats, several users began complaining that most of the apps are either bad or crash. However, the same can also be said about the apps in Apple’s app store. Majority of the apps in the app store are just there for numbers, most of them are practically useless. This trend though does not apply to a single app store and is common throughout every store out there.

Coming back more to the stats, the development of new apps for Android has definitely grown in the past year, with the past 3 months seeing almost 70,000 new apps and games being added to the market. Also, out of the 200K+ apps, 180K+ apps were added in 2010.

The app store milestone adds to the earlier milestone of over 300,000 Android devices being activated everyday. However, there is no official data out there to corroborate either of these milestones.

Take this information with a pinch of salt. These numbers may be inflated and we are trying to do our best to find out other sources to confirm this information.

(Source: Softpedia)