Blog Archives

Is This BBM On Android?

bbm android rumor 1

We all know that Apple is bringing their own version of BBM to the iPhone next week with iOS 5 and iMessage, but from the looks of this, RIM (the makers of BlackBerry) is about to make a big move of their own: bringing an official BBM app to Android. That’s right: real, official BBM— on Android.

bbm android rumor 2

If you remember, we heard a rumor about this earlier this year (along with rumors of an official BBM app for iPhone) but these are the first pics we’ve seen of what BBM would look like on something other than a BlackBerry. And while these pics may very well be fake and Photoshopped (there have been a lot of fakes floating around online over the last couple of days), they look pretty real to us and make sense with everything else we’ve previously heard about RIM working on bringing BBM to Android (and the fact that it’s on a phone that actually looks like a RIM Android test phone– with its sticker Android buttons and BB_Dev folder on the homescreen– makes us further believe that this really could be legit).

Obviously details like exact features (rumors are this may be a “BBM-lite” with the full BBM experience being available only on real BlackBerrys) or when we can expect the app to be officially announced are still not known, though TechnoBuffalo— the site that leaked the pics– says it could be announced as soon as October 18th-20th at BlackBerry’s DevCon conference.

We’ll of course let you know more as we hear it, but assuming this is true– and BBM officially comes to Android– would you ditch your BlackBerry and go with a new ‘Droid instead (or better yet– would this make you want to get an Android over the iPhone for your next phone?)? Let us know in the comments.

More info: TechnoBuffalo

Looking For Textbooks For The Upcoming School Year? Then You Should Definitely Check Out Amazon

kindle textbook rentals

Viewing Kindle Textbooks from your computer

Before you run out to buy those textbooks for the upcoming school year you should really first go to Amazon. Amazon’s Kindle bookstore is now renting out textbooks at up to 80% off the price of the paper version of the same textbook. Yeah, this could be some major savings.

So here’s how the new textbook renting service works. You download the Amazon Kindle app for your PC, Mac, phone or tablet (that’s right– you don’t even need a Kindle), find the textbook you need in the Textbooks Store on Amazon’s site (they have “tens of thousands” available),  pick how long you need it for (anywhere from 30 days to a 360 days) and check out. That’s it. And if you find out that you need more time you can always extend the rental (from one more day to however many days you need to even buying the textbook outright if that makes more sense for you).

Once you check out you can read your textbook on any of the above devices so long as it has that Kindle app installed. You can even make notes which are saved online (at kindle.amazon.com) and viewable even after you “returned” the textbook (and if you re-rent the textbook later your notes will return to the places you made them).

So yeah, the textbook you need, for when you need it, at a much cheaper price AND it can fit anywhere from your computer to your pocket? Sounds like a great deal to us.

For more info on this awesome new deal from Amazon see their site here. If you want to see if they have the textbooks you need you can search their entire store here. And stay tuned– we’ve got a lot more to come to help make sure you’re ready for the upcoming school year.

Would You Buy a Facebook Phone?

facebook logo

File this one under strange but strange enough that it probably could happen. Rumors are swirling around the internet today of Facebook developing their own cell phone. Yes you read that right, not an app like those found on iPhone, Android or BlackBerry– but a full-out phone. This rumor comes courtesy of TechCrunch (who was the first to report the rumors of Google making their own phone, what later became the Nexus One). What this Facebook phone looks like, when it will come out, or even how much it will cost are still unknown, but what is known is that this project is (well, was) super top-secret that was hidden from even Facebook employees.

Though all the talk is of this being a teen marketed phone, which makes sense as we use Facebook more than any other demographic by a long shot. The phone is said to be a full OS focused around Facebook, including deep contact integration (so all your Facebook contacts are automatically synced to your phone. This is something already done by the iPhone app, so we wonder how this would be better), and I’m sure easy access to common Facebook uses like updating your status, uploading and viewing pix, and commenting and liking friends status’.

Now Facebook’s status (pun fully intended) on all this is the as expected “no,” telling the site Mashable “The story, which originated in Techcrunch, is not accurate. Facebook is not building a phone. Our approach has always been to make phones and apps more social… building phones is just not what we do” (emphasis ours).

Here’s what we want to know though– how important is having great Facebook access to you when your picking a new phone? Is it up there with the “must haves” like sleek design, a good camera and great texting? Or would you rather get a phone with a Facebook app (and pretty much every new phone now has some sort of Facebook app)? Me? I’m more than happy with the Facebook iPhone app, and really wouldn’t see why I’d want a Facebook focused phone (I mean, isn’t that kinda of what the now dead Microsoft KIN phones try to do?).

Colorix—Review

There are a lot of great puzzle-like games available for the iPhone and iPod Touch. We recently had a chance to test out a new one called Colorix, a kind of Tetris-Bejeweled mix, and it actually plays pretty well, a great quick game for the bus or killing time.

Made by Mobo Studio, the goal of Colorix is simple— take the sets of 3 colored marbles falling down and try to get match 3 colors together in a row. You can make a row in any direction—horizontally, vertically, and diagonally– and can also get matches in different combos, like having one match lead directly to another. The more matches and combos you get, the more points you accumulate, with the goal to get as many points as you can while avoiding the marbles reaching the top of the screen. Simple, right?

As the marbles fall, you have the power to place the sets of 3 where you want (though they only fall vertically), and while it falls you can either speed up the fall by 2x tapping on the spot you want them to fall (getting you more points), or use swipes to change the order of the marbles. When we first started playing we thought this was way too easy (we picked up the controls pretty easily after playing it a little), but after playing for a little bit, we started to realize a whole bunch of different combinations to get even more points using special marbles (such as Rainbow ones that change after they’re placed—as seen above in the pic). As you get more points and move up to higher levels, the game does also get tougher, with more color combinations and black marbles that stay on the board for a certain amount of turns and block spaces and combinations (as seen in the number 4 marble above).

Gameplay in Colorix is also very smooth, with quick load times and no stuttering during gameplay. The graphics are also surprisingly good for a game like this, with everything looking slick and colorful.

While it isn’t as feature-packed as say a Bejewled or Tetris, Colorix is a solid game for those look for a cheap, fun puzzle game that while not intense, is still very addictive and we’re gonna give Colorix a very good 4 out 5.

Colorix is available now in the App Store for a not too bad price of $1.99 (with a free Colorix Lite version also available now). You can check it out in the App Store here (link opens iTunes)

Zune HD Gets Some New Games and Apps… For FREE

zune hd pgr

Project Gotham Racing on the Zune HD (Pic from Kotaku)

Remember back in our Zune HD review where we mentioned how the Zune HD will be getting some new free games and apps, like the hit Xbox 360 game Project Gotham Racing? Microsoft released a whole bunch of new games for the Zune HD including

  1. PGR: Ferrari Edition (which is like it’s Xbox sibling, giving you 12 Ferrari cars to race all over New York, London or Tokyo either in a 33 level Career mode or in online races aginst up to 3 other cars)
  2. Lucky Lanes Bowling, a bowling game where you can play either against the computer or up to 4 friends
  3. Piano app which simulates a virtual piano
  4. Vans Sk8: Pool Service, a skateboarding game where you aim to do the best tricks in 10 different events
  5. Checkers
  6. Audiosurf Tilt, a game where you pick a song from your music library on your Zune and then try to collect the colored blocks and avoid speed bumps along a custom roller coaster made for each song. Microsoft also said today that they soon will also have apps for Facebook and Twitter.

Yes, this is nowhere near the 100,000+ apps in the iTunes App Store, but Microsoft does deserve some credit– creating what looks to be some quality apps (specifically the PGR and Audiosurf games) that look to take full use of the high powered Nvidia Tegra chip inside the Zune to give some solid games all for the unbeatable price of FREE (though you do have to look at a brief ad while the game loads, something I’m more than happy to deal with if it means quality, free apps).

Now if only they’d open up a real App Store and give developers a chance to fully  tap into that high powered Tegra chip (I mean check out this video of PGR and Audiosurf on the Zune from Engadget, who they say looked as sharp as a PSP game!), and we’d be all set.

Anyone out there with a Zune HD, you like your new games?

Full info on the apps can be found on the Zune site here.

Apple's App Store Turns 1– What's your Favorite App?

apple app store turns 1

If you haven’t been paying attention to the giant banners in iTunes for the past week (like the one you see above), the Apple App Store for the iPod Touch and iPhone turned 1 yesterday, and Apple is taking the time to celebrate by promoting some it’s favorite apps– both free and paid. Apple’s got a lot to celebrate– 1 billion apps, tons of new iPhones and iPod Touches sold thanks to the App Store, and the envy of pretty much every other cell phone maker– think bout it,   because of the App Store, there is now a BlackBerry App World,  Palm’s App Catalog, Google’s Android Marketplace, a Windows Marketplace for Mobile (coming to Windows Mobile phones later this year in Windows Mobile 6.5) and countless other mobile app marketplaces trying to get in on the action.

But we’re not writing this post just to congratulate Apple, but seeing as the App Store is the most popular of the “App Stores”, we wanna know what’s your favorite apps– whether for iPhone or iPod Touch, free or paid.

Me? My favorite apps (right now at least) are ESPN ScoreCenter (free), MLB At Bat (paid version– about $10), AIM (free version), Tap Tap Revenge2 (free), iheartradio (free), and Facebook (free).

Sound off with your favorites in the comments.

Apple’s App Store Turns 1– What’s your Favorite App?

apple app store turns 1

If you haven’t been paying attention to the giant banners in iTunes for the past week (like the one you see above), the Apple App Store for the iPod Touch and iPhone turned 1 yesterday, and Apple is taking the time to celebrate by promoting some it’s favorite apps– both free and paid. Apple’s got a lot to celebrate– 1 billion apps, tons of new iPhones and iPod Touches sold thanks to the App Store, and the envy of pretty much every other cell phone maker– think bout it,   because of the App Store, there is now a BlackBerry App World,  Palm’s App Catalog, Google’s Android Marketplace, a Windows Marketplace for Mobile (coming to Windows Mobile phones later this year in Windows Mobile 6.5) and countless other mobile app marketplaces trying to get in on the action.

But we’re not writing this post just to congratulate Apple, but seeing as the App Store is the most popular of the “App Stores”, we wanna know what’s your favorite apps– whether for iPhone or iPod Touch, free or paid.

Me? My favorite apps (right now at least) are ESPN ScoreCenter (free), MLB At Bat (paid version– about $10), AIM (free version), Tap Tap Revenge2 (free), iheartradio (free), and Facebook (free).

Sound off with your favorites in the comments.

Apple Contest to Download the 1 Billionth App

apple-1-billion-apps

We all know how popular the iPhone and iPod Touch are (unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year– in that case your excused 😉 ), and how awesome it is to be able to download apps right to the device using the App Store. Well, for those of you who don’t believe how popular the iPhone and iPod Touch have become, just check this: Apple right now is running a contest for the person who downloads the BILLIONTH app. Yup, as we said in the title, thats BILLION with a B!

This is rather amazing, considering it’s been really under a year since the App Store launched (technically it came in July of  ’08), but it gets even better for us users! Like what Apple did a couple of years ago when they were closing in on selling their 1 billionth iTunes song, they’re giving away a boatload of gear to the lucky soul who happens to download that 1 billionth app. What kinda gear you ask? Well, try a 17″ MacBook Pro; an iPod Touch 32GB; a $10,000 iTunes Gift Certificate (yes 10 GRAND– honestly, this is crazy!); and an Apple Time Capsule (basically a back up hard drive for your Mac or Windows PC that will automatically back up your hard drive using your wireless network). Total Retail Value of all the prizes? $13,746 (again– WOW!). You can follow the countdown to 1 billion apps at Apple’s site here.

Wanna know something even better? The app you download doesn’t necessarily need to be a paid app! You can just download a free one and you could win.

Listen, this won’t be easy to win, especially as they’re going at about a thousand apps every 10 or so seconds (at the time I’m writing this at least), but hey best of luck to ya!

BlackBerry Launches App World

blackberry-app-world

BlackBerry App World

Today was a pretty big day for anyone out there with a recent Blackberry with OS 4.2 or later in addition to either a touchscreen (currently referring to the Storm, a phone we already anticipated getting an App Store last year here) or a trackball (most BlackBerry’s made within the last 2 or 3 years). As of today you finally get… APPS!!!!

Yup, RIM (the makers of BlackBerry’s) finally released it’s own app store for the BlackBerry called App World — a much lamer title than the iPhone/Touch’s App Store), and boy does it look great.  Not only does it give you easy access versions of all your standard programs, including games, Facebook and MySpace, AIM, Pandora (a radio app that lets you listen to music on your phone over the internet) but also boasts apps resembling ones for the iPhone, like Shazam (it finds all the info for the song you’re listening to by just listening in).

Like on the Apple App Store, some apps will be free, others will cost money, though going through apps look to be just as easy as on the App Store’s for the iPhone and T-Mobile G1. You can download App World for your BlackBerry here, and see a video of App World here.

So now all you BlackBerry users not only get the famed, awesome BlackBerry keyboard for texting, but you also get apps! How you feel bout this, and what apps you get so far?

(Oh, and by the way, this is NOT an April Fools joke 😉 )

Sprint Drops Instinct Apps Contest

instinct-app-contest-closed

Yeah, I just became aware of this myself, and it really sucks, I know. Apparently, Sprint decided late last year that they were not interested in following through with their Instinct contest, and decided to just pull it entirely. Yup — no apps nor contest winner. Their reason? Pretty dumb I’d say: (and I quote below)

All,

The Samsung Instinct(tm) Java Developer Contest closed on August 29th, 2008. We appreciate the interest in the contest.

Unfortunately, we are unable to announce contest winner or release any information about the applications submitted. Our objective is to deliver a meaningful opportunity for developers and foster the creation of entertaining and useful applications for our customers.

In the future, we expect to offer additional contests and incorporate the lessons learned from this initial effort.

Again, thanks for your interest and participation.

The Sprint ADP Team

Listen, I’m as annoyed as you probably are: the Instinct was already an awesome phone, and giving it apps and an App Store would’ve made it even better (who knows, apps plus it’s cheaper pricing and more features like TV and radio, it could’ve even matched or beaten the iPhone). I’d understand if the Instinct just couldn’t handle apps, but then again — as commenter Robert pointed out on a previous post on the subject (our initial post on the topic, linked to at the end of this post) — there are unofficial apps out there running perfectly fine on the Instinct.

I don’t know, but I’m gonna try and contact Sprint to try to find exactly what’s up (though I’m not 100% confident they’ll listen to a teenager on this), and I’ll update this post if they answer me back.

To all you Instinct owners looking to get some good apps like your iPhone rivals, I’m sorry; we really didn’t know that Sprint would do this and just cancel it pretty much (from what we currently know) out of the blue. We were only reporting on something we had from Sprint that in retrospect was too good to be true.

We’d like to apologize to those of you who, like us, thought this was accurate information that Sprint would end up following through with this and not canceling it in the end, and we understand the frustration some you are feeling. As bloggers, we try not to post rumors and such without the greatest level of information we can get (and if we ever do post on rumors, we make sure we classify it as such).

Here’s some links:

Sprint’s post on cancellation of Instinct apps contest: Here

Our initial post on Sprint’s possible Instinct “App Store” and apps contest: Here

The first “delay” of Sprint’s Instinct “App Store”: Here

Again, we’re sorry for all of this confusion; feel free to vent in the comments.