Beta Version Of Chrome For Android Hits The Play Store

Google introduced Chrome for Android with Android 4.1 and the Nexus 7. With the launch of the Nexus 4 and Android 4.2, the company ditched the stock AOSP browser for Chrome. While Chrome for Android is feature-filled, it has some major performance issues even on devices with a dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM.

Google aims to bring Chrome for Android on level with its desktop counterpart in terms of security and performance. Keeping this in mind, the company has released a beta version of Chrome for Android in the Play Store. Like the beta channel for the desktop version of Chrome, the beta version of Chrome for Android will provide users with some new experimental features, under-the-hood changes, bug-fixes and much more.

The official blog post from Google states that the beta version of Chrome for Android should already feature at least 25-30% improvement in Octane benchmarks on average. Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7 users who have already tried the beta version of the browser have also reported an improvement in the performance of the app.

The beta version of Chrome for Android can be installed side-by-side with the stable version available on the Play Store.

Swype Update Brings Living Language And Smart Editor

Remember Swype? The first keyboard that brought ‘swiping’ to the Android devices. Today, its developer – Nuance Mobile – released a new update for Swype beta that brings “Living language” and “Smart Editor” to the keyboard.


“Living language” is a crowd sourced dictionary that adds some of the most commonly used word to Swype’s dictionary like Dropbox, LOL, YOLO and more. This feature will be only available to users who decide to opt-in to the service since your predictions will also be sent back to Swype’s server. The company even promises to deliver “trending words and phrases in real-time”, which if true can come in handy.

“Smart Editor” examines your writing style over a period of time and will automatically suggest words when the user ends a sentence with punctuation. Swype will also automatically underline words which it thinks are incorrect in a sentence.

Last, but not the least, Nuance Mobile has finally got rid of all the registration headache to install the Swype beta keyboard on an Android device. Users can now simply download the Swype Installer APK from Swype’s beta website.

Chrome For Android Graduates From Beta

With Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and the Nexus 7 tablet, Google announced that it will be replacing the stock Ice Cream Sandwich browser with Chrome. Now, Google has already released a new update for Chrome for Android without the ‘beta’ tag. Yes, Chrome for Android is finally out of beta.

While there is no official change-log available for the update, the new version definitely feels a lot faster than the beta version along with reduced RAM usage on my Galaxy Nexus. Apart from this, I found no other changes in the final version compared to the previous beta version. Chrome for Android can be downloaded for free from the Google Play store.

With Chrome for Android becoming the default browser in Jelly Bean, Google has effectively killed Flash Mobile for Android. Time for web developers to shift to HTML5 based websites now.

Counter Strike: Global Offensive Updated with Arsenal: Demolition Mode

The steady stream of updates on Counter Strike: Global Offensive is quite fantastic. The latest update from Hidden Path Entertainment, the makers of the newest Counter Strike game, is the addition of a new game mode called Arsenal: Demolition. Demolition, as we all have come to know and love, is the mode where the Terrorist team plants a bomb at one of two specified sites, while the Counter-Terrorist team either stops them [dead], or defuses the bomb once it is planted. Another “mode” for the game is the server side mod developed by many gamers called Gun Game. In a Gun Game, there are no buy menus and everyone starts with the same gun. As the game progresses and as the players rack up kills, the player is awarded either a better gun in the next round (the classic Gun Game) or is awarded with a weaker gun the next round (the reverse Gun Game).


The new update for Counter Strike: Global Offensive includes the Arsenal: Demolition mode which is a combination of the demolition mode as well as the reverse Gun Game mode set in a brand new map called “Lake”. The CT team starts with the M4A1 and a knife, while the T team starts with the AK 47 and the knife. Each successive ‘level’ crossed brings the player a weaker weapon and increases the difficulty. The game goes on for five rounds per team with a 5 second break to switch teams. Thus it is a really short 10 round game.

The developers said that the classic Gun Game will make its appearance later in the Arsenal: Arms Race mode. T

We will have more on CS: GO with a short review soon (guess who got a beta key?)

CS:GO Survey Open! Participate to [Maybe] Avail a Beta Key

The official Counter Strike blog has put up a new Steam-only survey for the upcoming team-based shooter Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). Completing this Steam-only survey may allow a player to receive a beta key to CS:GO. Developed by Hidden Path Entertainment and Valve Corporation,Counter Strike: Global Offensive is the multiplayer first person tactical shooter to look out for this year.


The beta program for CS:GO started last week with some 7,000 beta keys being given away to players of Counter Strike: Source and Counter Strike 1.6 directly on Steam, Valve’s digital distribution platform. About 2,000 more keys had gone out to other community websites from the developer. Now, with the online beta is kicking off with a Steam based survey with a random selection of players to get the most diverse amount of feedback on the game:-

Over the coming months we will make selections from the survey participants. Sometimes we might add experienced players, other times new players. Sometimes 1.6 players, sometimes CSS players, sometimes people who have played neither.

To take the survey, make sure you are logged in to the Steam client on your computer. Initially, the survey identifies the components of your computer and your internet connection speed, then you are taken to a web-based survey with a lot of rather odd questions on weapon preference, game preference (CSS or CS1.6) and other questions. Take the survey here.

Rumor: Windows Store Games for Windows 8 Revealed

Reckless Racing

Windows 8 Consumer Preview (Beta) is nearing, and the news and leaks about the same have started flowing fast and furiously. Today (February 7), Tom Warren at The Verge is reporting that a source familiar with Microsoft’s Windows Store plans for Windows 8 has revealed several top notch games which will be made available in the Windows Store for the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

Full House Poker

Here is the list they have revealed (in addition to Cut The Rope which was demoed heavily at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas):

  • Hydro Thunder
  • Toy Soldiers
  • Reckless Racing
  • Angry Birds
  • Ilomilo
  • Rocket Riot
  • Full House Poker
  • Tentacles
  • Crash Course
  • Ms Splosion Man
  • Wordament

In addition, Warren reports that Pinball and Solitaire will come preinstalled on Windows 8.

Hydro Thunder

As you can see, these games are not only popular, but they are from top tier development houses. This is a good sign for Windows 8, because Microsoft is virtually going to have to start from scratch with their Store just like they had to do with Windows Phone 7 Marketplace. WinRT and Windows 8 are brand new and so is the Windows Store, and it has been well-documented that the most popular “apps” in any ecosystem are games. To have high quality games as well as top tier brands at the time of Consumer Preview, and most definitely at the time of launch is a must-have in order for Windows 8 to gain any kind of foothold in this rapidly approaching Post-PC or PC-Plus era.

What is more intriguing though, is that most of these games are familiar to Xbox and Windows Phone users. Could we see some sort of multi-player scenarios among Windows Phone, Xbox and Windows 8? Wouldn’t it be awesome to play Full House Poker with your friends who may be on their Xbox, and you are on your Windows Phone or your Windows 8 PC? Xbox has already enabled “Cloud Save” with games; could we see a scenario where I can continue Angry Birds on my phone and not lose the progress I have made on my Windows 8 PC? It is so annoying to have to start from scratch every time the game is reinstalled or you install the game on a new device. With the power of the Microsoft Cloud (a.k.a. SkyDrive), we could see games which tap into the Cloud Save concept and allow seamless movement across devices without losing progress.

Wouldn’t that be awesome?


Reckless Racing: From iTunes Store

Full House Poker:

Hydro Thunder:

Microsoft Security Essentials Beta Opens for Public

Microsoft has made the beta for the new version of Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) available for public widely. Earlier, the beta was only available for a limited number of beta testers.

MSE Beta

The download isn’t straightforward though. You need to click the Download Now link on the Microsoft Security Essentials homepage that would take you the MSE beta page on Microsoft Connect (Windows Live ID required). The current beta build is version 4.0.1111.0. The beta is available both as 32-bit edition (8.87 MB) and 64-bit edition (11.04 MB). The software supports Windows XP with Service Pack 3, Windows Vista with Service Pack 1 or 2, and Windows 7 with Service Pack 1.


This latest version includes the following new features and enhancements to better help protect your PC:

  • Cleans highly impacting malware infections automatically, with no required user interaction
  • Enhanced performance
  • Simplified UI
  • New and improved protection engine

While, Microsoft Connect is used to engage with beta testers by encouraging participation in surveys to report results or submitting bugs, the MSE Beta page doesn’t have those available at this moment though.

First Batch of Dota 2 Beta Invites to Be Sent Soon

A while back fellow techie-buzzer Kaushik had written about how to apply to be a beta tester for DoTA 2. Now if you had signed up for the beta, you might want to check your email – Valve has just sent an email confirming that the beta testers’ pool is about to be expanded.

Dota 2

The email reads as below:

You recently indicated you want to play Dota2. Before we send the first batch of invites we need to collect a little more information from you about your level of gaming experience and your gaming rig.

To begin the survey go to the machine on which you intend to play Dota2, start Steam and click this link: steam://takesurvey/1/ (if you haven’t restarted your Steam client for a few days, you might need to do that before clicking that link).

The Dota 2 blog has a new post where they mention that they’ve expanded the server capacity – keeping the upcoming beta pool expansion in mind. And to keep things interesting, they’ve released a comic, Tales from the Secret Shop.

We’ve just finished our first significant expansion of Dota 2 server capacity around the world, and that means it’s time to kick this thing up a notch. Starting this week, we’ll be handing out Dota 2 in increasing volumes. To celebrate, we’re releasing the first part of the official Dota 2 comic, Tales from the Secret Shop

Once you’ve read today’s part, make sure you fill out the Dota 2 Survey in Steam to secure your place in the upcoming invitations (if you haven’t restarted your Steam client for a few days, you might need to do that before clicking that link). The extra data the survey provides will allow us to ensure we invite a wide spread of players and hardware.

And if that hasn’t gotten you excited yet, Valve mentions that everyone who gets an invite to the beta will get two extra copies that they can handout.  Good news all around! So head over to this link and take the survey, if you’ve signed up for the beta. And if you’re facing problems with the link – make sure you’ve Steam installed and have updated to the latest version.

BlackBerry PlayBook OS Update Pushed to 2012

If you were waiting for the PlayBook to get an update to OS2.0 before actually being useful, unfortunately you’ll have to continue waiting.

While RIM is going against all odds and continuing to provide support for the PlayBook, the shiny brick won’t be getting the expected update to OS 2.0 until February of 2012. It’s not the recently announced BBX, but it is supposed to be a fairly large upgrade for existing users. It wouldn’t be a product from Research in Motion if it didn’t ship missing crucial features, would it? Of course not, so it’s very fitting that RIM has decided to leave BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) support out of the update. That’s right, it’s going to take an additional 4 months of work before the system is polished up, but it still won’t have their proprietary instant messaging functionality. Feel free to purchase a new $500 (likely) BlackBerry to accompany your $700 PlayBook so you can use BBM with it. That’s a pretty good option, right?Maybe news of RIM doling out a couple of hundred PlayBooks loaded with OS 2.0 beta might make you feel better. Developers and any other DevCon attendees were given a new PlayBook. So, technical journalists, hobbyists and other random kids got them, but not paying customers. Members of the BlackBerry Early Access Program will also be getting closed betas of 2.0 shortly, this is mainly for tackling Enterprise support and integration.

In a post to the Inside BlackBerry Blog, Senior VP of BlackBerry PlayBook at RIM, David Smith gives a few reasons for the delay and lack of features upon launch.

First off, we have decided to defer the inclusion of the BBMâ„¢ application to a subsequent BlackBerry PlayBook OS release. We are committed to developing a seamless BBM solution that fully delivers on the powerful, push based messaging capabilities recognized today by BlackBerry ® users around the world and we’re still working on it. In the meantime, BlackBerry smartphone users will be able to continue to use BlackBerry ® Bridgeâ„¢ to securely access BlackBerry ® Messengerâ„¢ on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet’s high resolution display.

These betas will be rolled out over the course of this year and are an important next step to bringing our unmatched enterprise app deployment, device manageability, security and email integration capabilities to the tablet category.

There is a bit of good news in the tidbit. When OS 2.0 does pop around for download, it will bring integrated email, calendar and contacts. Your “business ready” tablet, isn’t exactly business ready at all, but it soon will be.

The software update will add advanced integrated email, calendar and contact apps, a new video store, as well as new functionality that will allow your BlackBerry smartphone and BlackBerry PlayBook to work together even better.

Hopefully this means a few software managers at RIM got slapped with a trout and are now starting to put actual work into the PlayBook. Their half-assed Android Player isn’t going to bring any new customers, so hopefully the brand spanking new OS, BBX, will make it to smartphones by February with the new PlayBook OS in tow.

Dota 2 Beta Will Not Have an NDA With Testers

IceFrog, the developer of the upcoming tower defense game Dota 2 is a real cool guy. Not only does he make some really fantastic mods (the original Dota to be precise), but he makes changes to beta plans to make them accessible to all the gamers clawing to get at the video game.


Originally, Dota 2 was supposed to stay in beta for over a year with all the participants agreeing to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA). This means that the beta players cannot share information about the game to anyone outside the beta slot. So extremely fun games would be played and recorded, but they could never be shared with the outside world for an entire year. Considering that the original mod found acceptance in the entire community due to the recorded games and screenshots that were shared amongst players, this was not a very good idea. In fact as IceFrog himself says:-

So we decided our original plan was dumb.

So now, the beta is no longer under purview of the NDA, and the Dota 2 team will be adding more players to its closed beta test.

But there’ll be no restrictions on what players can do with it they can release screenshots, make movies, shoutcast matches, write guides, publicly make fun of our HUD, or anything else their hearts desire. While they do that, we’ll be shipping regular updates with more heroes, new features we’ve been working on, and improvements on the existing content as we get more and more feedback.

So, do you want in on the up and coming tower defense game? Just sign in on this web page with your Steam credentials to be added to the list!