Category Archives: Android

Update to Weather Beautiful app

Z10cropThe Weather Beautiful app has been updated to version 2.1 for both Android and BlackBerry users.

This is a simple weather app that displays stunning photography of your surrounding area. In addition to the current temperature and weather conditions, the app also allows you to scroll down for a full weekly forecast.

New in version 2.1 is the ability to swipe right in order to advance to the next background image, or to swipe left return to previous background image. Also the overall file size of the app has been greatly reduced, with the BlackBerry version 70% smaller and the Android version 61% smaller. Additionally on BlackBerry 10 the app now shows a custom splash screen while loading.

Links & Information

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Twinkle update adds support for Android

AndroidTwinkle has been updated to version 6.0, adding new features, new colors, and Android support.

About Twinkle

This app allows you to set and keep track of upcoming and past events. Twinkle will tell you how far away an event is, and share it with a friends through social networks. The app includes an number of options for sorting or filtering your views in order to allow you to easily be able to manage and share a large number of different events.

New in version 6.0

The biggest new feature is the added support for Android phones. Designed to conform with Google’s material design guidelines, the fully native android app has been completely rethought for the platform.

BlackBerry 10 users will get two new background colors (Brown and Teal), in addition to fixing a bug that previously prevented changes to the filters to last between app restarts. Also, the details line is now hidden when the event doesn’t have any details.

Users of traditional BBOS phones have not been left out either, as that version of Twinkle has been updated to version 4.3 to give access to the two new colors.

Links & Information

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Theming ListPreference Dialogs on Android Lollipop

ListPreferenceSetting a custom theme color for your Android app is as simple as setting a colorAccent color in the app’s styles.xml file. Yet while this will theme most of the app, oddly ListPreference pop-ups and other dialogs do not naturally inherit the theme used by the rest of the app.

In order to fix this both a dialogTheme and an alertDialogTheme need to be explicitly added to the app’s styles.xml file. The result should look similar to this…

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<resources>
    <style name="AppTheme" parent="android:Theme.Material.Light">
        <item name="android:colorPrimary">@color/primary
        <item name="android:colorPrimaryDark">@color/accent
        <item name="android:colorAccent">@color/accent
        <item name="android:dialogTheme">@style/DialogStyle
        <item name="android:alertDialogTheme">@style/DialogStyle
    </style>
    <style name="DialogStyle" parent="android:Theme.Material.Light.Dialog">
        <item name="android:colorAccent">@color/accent
    </style>
</resources>

How to treat Android’s up button like a back button

When opening up a child screen on most android apps an arrow will appear on the upper left corner of the screen indicating that you can go back to the previous screen. Android’s documentation refers to this as an “up” button (despite the fact that it clearly points left). While at first glance it appears to similar to the back button it is subtly different.

More complex apps may have a use for the difference in this button’s behavior, but for simple apps the up button acts like a back button that additionally blows away minor state information (such as scroll position) on the parent screen. Fortunately there is a simple way to force the up button to act the same as your standard back button.

In the child activity find the onOptionsItemSelected() method…

public boolean onOptionsItemSelected(MenuItem item) {
    int id = item.getItemId();
    if (id == android.R.id.home) {
        NavUtils.navigateUpFromSameTask(this);
        return true;
    }
    return super.onOptionsItemSelected(item);
}

and replace NavUtils.navigateUpFromSameTask(this); with finish(); so that your new code now looks like...

public boolean onOptionsItemSelected(MenuItem item) {
    int id = item.getItemId();
    if (id == android.R.id.home) {
        finish();
        return true;
    }
    return super.onOptionsItemSelected(item);
}

Now the back button on your action bar will work just as well as the back button at the bottom of the screen.

Weather Beautiful now on Android

IMG_20150504_132524The Weather Beautiful app has now added support for Android phones. The app can be downloaded from either Google Play or the Amazon App Store.

This is a simple weather app that displays stunning photography of your surrounding area. In addition to the current temperature and weather conditions, the app also allows you to scroll down for a full weekly forecast.

The background images for the app feature landscapes taken in the area surrounding your current location. These pictures update every fifteen seconds in order to show you more views.

Links & Information

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Xploding Boxes reaches 500 levels

Z10Xploding Boxes has been expanded to a total of 500 levels. Version 5.4 in now available in BlackBerry World, Google Play, the Amazon app store, the Nook app store, the Windows 8 app store, and the Windows Phone app store. In addition to the new levels, this update also improves the touch sensitivity on BlackBerry 10 phones, and adds additional menu options to the game play screen on Windows Phone.

About Xploding Boxes

Xploding Boxes is a strategy game where the goal is to start a chain reaction that will explode all of the boxes on the screen. Each level presents a different look and number of touches, requiring a different strategy to solve.

The game itself, and the first 25 levels are available for free, while a one time in-app purchase can be used to access the rest of the levels for just $2.99 while still maintaining your progress from the free levels.

Links & Information

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Xploding Boxes updated with Windows Phone support

wp_ss_20150324_0002Xploding Boxes has been updated to version 5.3 in BlackBerry World, Google Play, the Amazon app store, the Nook app store, the Windows 8 app store, and the Windows Phone app store. This update adds 10 new levels to the game, and also adds support for Windows Phones for the first time.

About Xploding Boxes

Xploding Boxes is a strategy game where the goal is to start a chain reaction that will explode all of the boxes on the screen. Each level presents a different look and number of touches, requiring a different strategy to solve.

The game itself, and the first 25 levels are available for free, while a one time in-app purchase can be used to access the rest of the levels for just $2.99 while still maintaining your progress from the free levels.

Links & Information

Amazon now allowing for fine grained control of BlackBerry app Support

With the Amazon app store coming pre-installed on new BlackBerry 10 phones, Amazon is continuing to improve the support given to developers. Last month Amazon began explicitly adding BlackBerry phones to their testing procedures, and now they are giving developers the option to individually select support for various BlackBerry phones.

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Previously all BlackBerry phones were just included under the generic “all other Android devices” category while a specific per device breakdown like what is now offered was only available for the Amazon Fire line of products.

Buffalo Metro Rail app updated

IMG_20150219_103945The app for the Buffalo Metro Rail has been updated for both Android and BlackBerry. This update fixes a date related bug, and also resizes the map for BlackBerry Z10 users.

About the Buffalo Metro Rail app

This app shows the departure times for trains along Buffalo’s Metro route. The app automatically selects the proper schedule for the day, allows for sorting options, and also shows a map of the full light rail line. Additionally the app only needs to be synced once a month, and can otherwise be used without an active internet connection.

Links & Information

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Canal apps updated for BlackBerry and Android

IMG_20150213_111144Apps for the New York State Canals have been updated for both BlackBerry and Android users. These apps give you the ability to see the locations of all locks and boat launches along the Erie Canal, Cayuga-Seneca Canal, Oswego Canal, and Champlain Canal. Additionally the apps also contain a map view to give a visual representation to where everything is. The most recent update accommodates the new data that is being supplied by New York State, and also adds a link from the landmarks directly back to their respective locations on the map.

Links & Information

Erie Canal

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Cayuga-Seneca Canal

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Oswego Canal

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Champlain Canal

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Stuff I Need updated to version 2.6

The free Stuff I Need checklist app has been updated for Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone. This new version adds a few new features, including an improvement to the responsiveness of the pull down tab on both Windows 8.1 and BlackBerry 10.
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New in version 2.6

The Android version of the app received improvements to the text input fields, where they now automatically use sentence case capitalization and automatically submit when the return key is entered. Additionally, the sorting was improved so that it is no longer case-sensitive.

The BlackBerry 10 build of the app improves the use list switcher (especially on the Z30, Classic, and Passport phones), streamlines the app, and also makes an additional backup of some settings to the users BlackBerryID.

Windows Phone users will see the biggest changes, as the app has been modified to become compatible with the action center added in Windows Phone 8.1. Additionally, the app now includes an option allowing users to pick alternative font sizes and makes it easier to select existing items.

About Stuff I Need

Originally conceived as a grocery list app, this minimalistic checklist app can be used to keep track of the stuff you need to get, or the stuff that you need to do. New items can be added to list with the ‘Add’ button on the bottom of the screen. Items on the list can be edited (or deleted) by giving them a long press. Lists can be switched by pulling down on the tab at the top of the screen. This will expose a spinner that shows all of your current lists. New lists can be added by using the “+” button on the right side of the expanded tab. Making use of three or more lists requires the use on a one time in-app purchase. Lists are automatically deleted if you delete all items in a list and restart the app.

Links & Information

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Amazon Appstore testing BlackBerry phones

Below is screen shot of an app acceptance email I received from Amazon. In addition to the many Kindle devices, and the lone “Non-Amazon Android” device, you will find the BlackBerry Classic and the BlackBerry Passport.

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With the Amazon appstore now preloaded on newer BlackBerry phones, Amazon now appears to explicitly be checking submitted Android apps on these phones. Given the unique screen ratios on these phones, and the fact that they are outselling most of the other devices on this list, it is nice to see Amazon explicitly checking for compatibility. This should free BlackBerry users from having to wonder if anything they download from Amazon will work on their phones.

Xploding Boxes gets another 10 levels

IMG_20150206_175129_cropXploding Boxes has been updated to version 5.2 with ten additional levels. This brings the total number of levels in the game up to 480.

About Xploding Boxes

Xploding Boxes is a strategy game where the goal is to start a chain reaction that will explode all of the boxes on the screen. Each level presents a different look and number of touches, requiring a different strategy to solve.

The game itself, and the first 25 levels are available for free, while a one time in-app purchase can be used to access the rest of the levels for just $2.99 while still maintaining your progress from the free levels.

Links & Information

Version 1.4 of Pixelated Shapes released

ShapeItAppPixelated Shapes has been updated to version 1.4 in BlackBerry World, Google Play, the Amazon App Store, and the Windows 8 App Store. This new version reduces the minimum width required on Windows 8, improves the back up options on BlackBerry 10, and supports the newest version of Google Play on Android.

About Pixelated Shapes

Pixelated Shapes is a twist on the classic version of Pixelated that replaces the familiar squares with triangles and hexagons. The object of the game is to get the screen a single color by slowly growing a blob out of the upper left hand corner by matching it to the colors of the surrounding shapes. This is done repeatedly until either the game is won, or you run out of moves. Under the default settings you must clear the screen in 29 moves or less in order to win. A one time in-app upgrade can allow you to adjust the difficult, switch color schemes, change to different game modes, and get an indicator giving you the number of remaining moves.

Links & Information

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More levels for Xploding Boxes

Nexus4Xploding Boxes has been updated to version 5.1 with 10 all new levels. In addition to the new levels, this update includes some bug fixes for the Android and BlackBerry 10 versions of the app, custom highlight colors on BlackBerry 10.3, official support for the Amazon Fire TV Stick, as well as updating to the newest in-app purchase API’s for the Google Play store. The app also continues to support classic BBOS, Windows 8.1, and the Barnes and Noble Nook.

About Xploding Boxes

Xploding Boxes is a strategy game where the goal is to start a chain reaction that will explode all of the boxes on the screen. Each level presents a different look and number of touches, requiring a different strategy to solve.

The game itself, and the first 25 levels are available for free, while a one time in-app purchase can be used to access the rest of the levels for just $2.99 while still maintaining your progress from the free levels.

Links & Information