OnLive brings cloud gaming service to Android devices, Kindle Fire support included

OnLive has just announced (via TechCrunch) new mobile apps capable of accessing their cloud game streaming service previously only available to PC, Mac, and OnLive console owners. Launching in the US and UK first, 25 console titles have been ported to the smaller screen with touchscreen controls, and almost all 200 of the service’s library of console quality titles will be playable via the $50 OnLive wireless controller.

The OnLive service allows streaming of console quality games like Assassins Creed, L.A. Noire, and other titles typically reserved for consoles like the PS3, directly from the company’s servers. The service has received mixed reviews, mostly due to inconsistencies in performance. The same appears to be true for the mobile version, with early hands on reviews highlighting the same performance issues common on PCs. These are “console-class” games, but not always a console quality experience. It’s playable, but really laggy.

The free app should be launching in the Android Market any second now, and will still of course require that you purchase or rent the games. Fortunately, any purchased or rented content is instantly playable through any compatible device. As for supported Android devices, below is the complete list courtesy of TechCrunch (who also says the Kindle Fire is supported):
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Walt Mossberg reviews the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime: “best Android tablet”

AllThingsD’s review columnist Walt Mossberg has graced us with his Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime review this evening, giving the device a pretty high score. Mossberg, a renowned reviewer, calls the Prime the best Android tablet he has tested. Mossberg compliments the Prime on its fast quad-core Tegra 3 processor and keyboard dock which can be purchased separately.

Just as Joanna Stern from The Verge said, Mossberg isn’t too happy with the software on the Prime. He calls it sluggish and not as complete as the iPad. For his final words, Mossberg says the iPad is still the best tablet out there, but if you’re interested in Android and a physical keyboard this tablet is for you. Be sure to read his full review.

I still believe the iPad 2 is the best overall tablet available. However, if you’re looking for a model using Google’s Android interface and are yearning for a well-designed, easily integrated keyboard solution, or want to play more power-hungry games, the Transformer Prime is a good choice, as long as you can tolerate its software limitations.

The Prime launches in the United States on December 15th. The 32GB model will be available for $499, and the optional keyboard dock will be available for $149. We look forward to getting our hands on this!

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Ice Cream Sandwich ported to Kindle Fire, still lacking a few components

Following the release of Cyanogenmod 7 on the Kindle Fire, an Xda-Developers user has ported the latest and greatest Ice Cream Sandwich to the device. The port is currently a bit sketchy — missing audio, Wi-Fi, accelerometer, and light sensor — but does have a working touch panel and hardware graphics. The forum user promises a release of the code in the near future, and we can promise you this project isn’t for the feeble. You have to remember there’s no going back if you mess up. But it doesn’t hurt to look does it? Head on after the break to see the port in action.

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Instagram for Android is coming soon, says CEO

Instagram’s CEO Kevin Systrom told the audience at Le Web today that an Android app is on the way. For those of you who don’t know, Instagram is a very popular socia lnetworking app on iOS, that lets users take pictures of the world around them. Android users have been begging for the app ever since it was first released 13 months ago.

Systrom said that the company currently has two developers working on an Android app, but didn’t say when the app would be completed. The iPhone version of the app currently boasts 50 million users, and Android could help double those numbers. So why did Instagram select iOS to begin with? Systrom said that the iPhone’s disruptive camera and screen were something that had to be taken advantage of — 13 months ago he might of had a point. (via CNET)

Today’s 10 cent apps: Read it Later Pro, Fruit Ninja and more

Yesterday, Google began a 10 cent Android app promo to celebrate hitting 10 billion downloads, and actually included a pretty solid list of apps. Yesterday’s included Sketchbook Mobile, Asphalt 6, and more. The 10 day special continues today with even more apps. Most of the ten apps being offered through the “10 Billion Promo” page on the Market typically range from 99 cents to a few dollars or more, and at ten cents, the majority of them are must have apps. Here’s what’s on offer today:

Fruit Ninja

Bedtime Battle

AirSync by doubletwist

Flick Golf!

Star Chart

Reckless Racing

Read on..

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Google Goggles for Android updated with continuous mode, improved text recognition, and more

The Google Goggles Android app has received an update to version 1.7 today, bringing with it a number of performance enhancements and new features including “continuous mode, improved text recognition and contributed results”. You can grab the free updated app here now and check out a break down of the new features below.

The new Continuous Mode allows you to get results for what you’re looking at without having to take a picture. Google Goggles will scan the area automatically looking for books, artwork, or landmarks. Continuous mode searches won’t be stored in your Google Search history, but snapshot is still available. The app also received improved text recognition that will  scan text in, for example, a newspaper or magazine and return a link to an online version of the same article. The app will also now display user submitted results and provides a “Do you have a better suggestion?” option when searching.

Google also today updated the Google Maps Android app to version 6.0.1 with a “bug fixes for certain newer devices”.

Facebook launches updated Android app with refined UI, side-menu, and performance improvements

Facebook has just started rolling out an updated version of their Android app with a bunch of new features and performance enhancements. If you don’t see it in the Android Market just yet, it should be popping up here any second. Among the new features is a refined UI for easier sharing of photos, viewing comments, and editing captions, as well as a new left-hand side menu (much like the latest iOS app) that lets you quickly access your News Feed, Groups, apps etc. Your messages and notifications are also now displayed at the top of the screen, allowing you to respond and view updates without leaving the current page. When it comes to performance improvements– Facebook says photos and albums are “up to two times faster” than the previous app.

When the app eventually goes live at some point today, you’ll be able to grab it from the market here.
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Eric Schmidt: Developers will prefer ICS to iOS within 6 months

Google’s Eric Schmidt recently took the stage alongside Android Product Management Director, Hugo Barra, at Le Web conference in Paris to talk Ice Cream Sandwich and the future of Android. Most of the interview and demo consisted of showing off some of the new flagship features of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich like face unlock, but the Google chairman also took some time to talk competition (via Cnet). While noting that Android is now ahead of iPhone by unit volume, price points, and number of vendors, Schmidt shared his thoughts on why he thinks developers will perfer Android to iOS in the near future:

Ultimately, application vendors are driven by volume, and volume is favored by the open approach Google is taking. There are so many manufacturers working to deliver Android phones globally. Whether you like Android or not, you will support that platform, and maybe you’ll even deliver it first.

When asked about iOS apps beating the Android versions of apps to market, he had high hopes that would change with Ice Cream Sandwich:

My prediction is that six months from now you’ll say the opposite.

As for the future of Android:
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December 9 U.S. Galaxy Nexus launch confirmed by Verizon retailer

We’ve heard any number of dates now for a “solid” Galaxy Nexus launch stateside, some of which have come and gone and others are quickly approaching. If you had any doubt that you’d get your hands on the device this week (same as Canada), RootzWiki has published what it claims is proof of a December 9 launch, which is this Friday.

The email and accompanying PDF you see above were reportedly leaked by an authorized Verizon retailer, and as you can see, lists December 9 as the earliest date to display and sell the CDMA Galaxy Nexus. We already know the device has started popping up in some retail locations, but the documents also confirm those who haven’t will receive their shipments today, December 6. Yesterday we discovered that Google Wallet functionality would not be included in the device, while the WSJ claims it will debut for $299.99 a two-year agreement.
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Verizon issues new statement on Google Wallet, “continuing discussions with Google”

Following up on our Verizon blocking Google Wallet report last night, Verizon spokesperson extraordinaire Jeffrey Nelson just emailled us with an updated statement that moves from vagary to confusion.

Statement from Jeffrey Nelson, Verizon spokesperson . . .  on Google Wallet

Recent reports that Verizon is blocking Google Wallet on our devices are false. Verizon does not block applications. 

Google Wallet is different from other widely-available m-commerce services. Google Wallet does not simply access the operating system and basic hardware of our phones like thousands of other applications.  Instead, in order to work as architected by Google, Google Wallet needs to be integrated into a new, secure and proprietary hardware element in our phones. 

We are continuing our commercial discussions with Google on this issue.

“OUR Phones?”  The Google Galaxy Nexus is now a Verizon phone, not a Google phone.  So the Verizon iPhone isn’t Apple’s either it would seem.  However, Google has told us previously that you can get your Google Galaxy Nexus Android updates from Google, not Verizon.

Making Google Wallet’s NFC sound scary and experimental is a controversial tactic – especially when Verizon is heavily invested in a competing NFC payments consortium, ISIS.  Verizon will obviously not only bless, but push ISIS on its phones next year when the spec is finalized.  As for Wallet, Google’s Samsung Nexus S on Sprint has been running Google Wallet for months.

Then to make the obvious more obvious, Verizon slips up in the final sentence. Right after saying the Wallet blockade is a technical issue (“needs to be integrated into a new, secure and proprietary hardware element”), they say that Verizon and Google are continuing COMMERCIAL (not technical) discussions about the app.

Oops.  So which issue needs to be worked out to get Wallet onto the Galaxy Nexus?  Is it a technical issue or commercial?

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Celebrate Android Market hitting 10 billion downloads with 10 cent apps

The Android Market just recently reached the 10 billion download milestone and to celebrate Google has made 10 premium apps available for 10 cents each. Most of the ten apps being offered through the “10 Billion Promo” page on the Market typically range from 99 cents to a few dollars or more, and at ten cents,  the majority of them are must have apps. Here’s what’s on offer:

SketchBook Mobile

Asphalt 6

Color & Draw for kids: phone ed

Endomondo Sports Tracker Pro

Field Runners HD

Great Little War Game

Minecraft Pocket Edition

Paper Camera

SoundHound

Swiftkey X Keyboard Read more

First Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich tablet lands for $99

There is no shortage of cheap Android tablets from Chinese manufacturers that can be found for under $200 online, most of which are running an older version of Android and don’t have Google’s blessing (meaning no Google services and Market). MIPS Technologies and Ingenic Semiconductor announced today availability of the world’s first Ice Cream Sandwich, Android 4.0-powered tablet, and it just so happens to a $99 budget-friendly tab with decent specs.

The tablet will pack in a 1GHz MIPS-based ‘XBurst” CPU, 7-inch capacitive touchscreen, microSD, HDMI 1.3, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, USB 2.0, 2-megapixel main cam, front-facing cam, and bluetooth. Ainovo, the company offering up the tablet to the Chinese market, is promising 30 hours standby and 8 hours video playback for battery.

The Novo7 will become available to the US market (likely with different branding) through other companies including OMG Electronics Ltd. and Leader International Inc. at a later date. There will also be 8 and 9-inch variants released in the future, mostly likely depending on the success of the 7-inch model. You might have to pay a little more than the US $99 price tag to get it shipped from a Chinese supplier before it lands stateside, but it will probably be your first chance to get your hands on an ICS tablet if you do.

Google’s Andy Rubin had this to say about the launch of new MIPS-based ICS tablets like the Novo7:
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