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By Jefferson Mangubat
Amazon is rolling out workout tracking feature to Echo Buds
by Jefferson Mangubat
Amazon is finally adding a new feature to Echo Buds meant to help track your workouts. That capability was first tested on the earbuds a year ago, and Amazon says it's finally rolling it out over the next few days.
With fitness tracking, the Echo Buds can monitor how long you've worked out in a given period. It can also measure the amount of calories you burn, count the steps you take, and estimate how fast or far you walk or run.
If you want to give it a try, you can start by opening the Alexa app, going to Account Settings, tapping the Workouts section, and then setting up a workout profile. To view your stats, you can simply open the Alexa app again, go to the devices tab, and then find your stats in the Echo Buds section. You can ask Amazon's digital assistant to start tracking your activities by saying: "Alexa, start a workout." The feature also lets you use your voice to pause or end a workout.
It's worth pointing out that Amazon has a dedicated fitness service called Halo, which was unveiled in August alongside the Halo Band. While the Echo Buds may not represent the company's health-focused business, its fitness tracker could still offer an alternative for customers.
By News Staff
Windows 7 -- Free Reference Card Bundle
by Steven Parker
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By Steven P.
Razer accessories at Amazon and Best Buy are up to 50% off
by Steven Parker
Razer has kicked off its Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals with a bunch of accessories at up to 50% off. The deals are live now and will remain available until November 28th at 11:59 PT. We've compiled all of the deals below.
DeathAdder v2 Gaming Mouse (MSRP $69.99) 21% off @ $54.99 Ornata V2 (MSRP $99.99) 30% off @ $69.99 Naga Trinity Wired MMO Mouse (MSRP $99.99) 30% off @ $69.99 Basilisk X Hyperspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse (MSRP $59.99) 33% off @ $39.99 Kraken Tournament Edition Wired Headset - Black (MSRP $99.99) 45% off @ $54.99 Kraken Gaming Headset- Black (MSRP $79.99) 30% off @ $49.99 Kraken Kitty RGB USB Gaming Headset - Quartz Pink (MSRP $149.99) 30% off @ $109.99 Goliathus Chroma Gaming Mouse Mat Extended (MSRP $59.99) 17% off @ $49.99 Huntsman Tournament Edition TKL Keyboard - Black (MSRP $129.99) 23% off @ $99.99 You can also check out a dedicated page for Razer Featured Products deals on Amazon.
Best Buy deals
Razer Nommo Chroma - 2.0 Gaming Speaker (MSRP $149.99) 13% off @ $129.99 Razer Kraken X Usb (MSRP $59.99) 33% off @ $39.99 Razer Kraken Ultimate (MSRP $129.99) 46% off @ $69.99 Kraken X White Gaming Headset (MSRP $49.99) 30% off @ $34.99 Razer Kraken Kitty Chroma USB Gaming Headphones Quartz (MSRP $149.99) 33% off @ $99.99 Razer Kraken Kitty Chroma USB Gaming Headphones (MSRP $149.99) 33% off @ $99.99 Razer Kraken X Overear Headphones (MSRP $49.99) 30% off @ $34.99 Razer Kraken Headphones Quartz Pink (MSRP $79.99) 38% off @ $49.99 Razer - Kraken Wired Stereo Gaming Headset (MSRP $79.99) 38% off @ $49.99 Razer Nari Ultimate - Wireless Gaming Headphones (MSRP $199.99) 25% off @ $149.99 Razer Kraken Tournament Edition Wired Headphones (MSRP $99.99) 45% off @ $54.99 Razer Ornata V2 Mecha-Membrane Gaming Keyboard (MSRP $99.99) 30% off @ $69.99 Razer Blackwidow Elite Green Switch Keyboard (MSRP $169.99) 50% off @ $84.99 Razer Huntsman Elite Opto-Mechanical Keyboard (MSRP $199.99) 15% off @ $169.99 Razer Viper Mini Wired Gaming Mouse (MSRP $39.99) 25% off @ $29.99 Razer Basilisk V2 - Ergonomic Wired Gaming Mouse (MSRP $79.99) 19% off @ $64.99 Razer Basilisk X Hyperspeed Wireless Ergo Gaming Mouse (MSRP $59.99) 33% off @ $39.99 Razer Viper Ultimate Wireless Gaming Mouse & Charge Dock (MSRP $149.99) 33% off @ $99.99 Razer Viper - Ambidextrous Wired Gaming Mouse (MSRP $79.99) 50% off @ $39.99 Razer Naga Trinity - Optical Wired Gaming Mouse (MSRP $99.99) 30% off @ $69.99 That's all of the Razer gear that's on offer for now, check back on Friday where we'll also have a bunch of Amazon Deal of the Day offers from Razer.
As an Amazon Associate, Neowin may earn commission from qualifying purchases.
By Usama Jawad96
Looking back at Android games which were all the rage back in the day
by Usama Jawad
Fame is a fickle food, and this is especially true when it comes to the tech landscape. It's not surprising to see pieces of tech, whether it be hardware, software, or even companies being heralded as the next big thing, only to be forgotten in a relatively short amount of time.
In this piece, we will take a look at a specific niche with the respect to the above, and that is the world of Android games. Over the past few years, we have seen tons of titles which were being played by millions around the globe but now do not command a strong user base. Before we begin, it is important to remember that this is by no means an exhaustive list and neither is it in any particular order. Popularity of games differ region to region and it's possible that even though you may have heard of most of these games in the past decade or so, they might not be big names in your circle. With that out of the way, let's begin!
Image via ryancustard13 This 2010 blockbuster from Rovio Entertainment was all the rage back in the day. The title had a simple and silly premise: launch the titular Angry Birds at pigs who have stolen your eggs and are now hiding in destructible structures. Coupled with an addictive theme song, there was a weird satisfaction in killing pigs with birds - many of which had special powers - and it offered great replay value.
With over 100 million installs on Android alone, Angry Birds was popular among all age groups. Seeing its popularity, Rovio was able to partner with various franchises such as Star Wars, Rio, and Transformers, among others and release various sequels and spinoffs. None reached the heights of the original but managed to find their dedicated audiences nonetheless. Unfortunately, Angry Birds as well as most of its spinoffs are not available to download any more because Rovio has decided to shift focus to its newer titles.
Temple Run and Subway Surfers
Image via 91Mushrooms Even though I have coupled these two titles together because they are extremely similar in premise, this should not diminish their respective popularity. Both these games are endless runners, which simply mean that you control a character that's running on an endless path and you have to swipe to dodge obstacles and change directions while picking up power-ups and coins along the way.
While Temple Run had you being chased by demonic monkeys in a temple in a jungle, Subway Surfers had you on the run from an inspector who has seen you spray graffiti on a trains on the subway. Even though the two games were extremely similar, both enjoyed immense popularity at their peak, and it was not surprising to see both installed on someone's Android device. The two games are still updated from time to time with new content and bug fixes.
Clash of Clans
This freemium strategy game landed on Android back in 2013, tasking players with building up their clans, attacking other players to loot their resources, and defending against attacks your their own bases. Clash of Clans was extremely popular among players who liked city-building games due to the diverse content it offered, coupled with its focus on playing with your friends. The title received its latest update just this month and is still available on Google Play with a smaller, but dedicated, player base.
Asphalt 8: Airborne
Image via AndroidSpin Back in the early 2010s, Gameloft was commanding the wave of "console quality" games on smartphones with games like Six Guns, Modern Combat, Real Football. But perhaps nothing from its portfolio stood out more than Asphalt 8: Airborne. This arcade racer offered amazing graphics for the time, addictive gameplay, fun race tracks, a huge roster of cars, and a respectable playlist. It also featured seasonal content to keep the game fresh and keep pulling in players back for more. Up until 2015, it was almost impossible to find someone who hadn't given the game a go at least once.
While the Asphalt series has several other spinoffs and sequels, none have been able to match Asphalt 8: Airborne in popularity. The title is still updated with new content from time to time.
Candy Crush Saga
Love it or hate it, there's no denying that Candy Crush Saga was a huge hit on Android. While there are people who hate the game primarily because of the pesky Facebook notifications they kept receiving from their friends, the freemium title raked in truckloads of money via in-app purchases for its developers, publishers and any platform who hosted it.
While it didn't bring anything new to the match-3 genre, it was successful in reeling in millions of players due to its color visuals, fantastic sound design, and thousands upon thousands of levels. It's impossible to not have heard of the game in the past decade, unless you've been living under a rock. It's still updated with new levels to this day, and people just can't seem to get enough of it.
Plants vs. Zombies
Image via Android Games Originally planned to be released as Lawn of the Dead, this PopCap-developed game was released under the Plants vs. Zombies moniker on PC platforms back in 2009. It was later ported to consoles and smartphone devices, with the release on the latter platform published by Electronic Arts.
The premise of this game was quite silly. Waves of zombies are heading towards your home via your front lawn, and it is your job to "catch" sunlight and grow plants that will launch different attacks to kill the undead. Due to the range of plants that you could grow, different gameplay strategies that you could try out, various game modes, and an impressive variety of zombies, this title packed great replay value. A few sequels of the game have come out in the past few years but the original can still be downloaded from Google Play.
Perhaps the most simple title in terms of gameplay in this list. The concept of Fruit Ninja was quite straightforward: Swipe your finger across the fruit flying across your screen to slice it. Depending upon the game mode you were engaged in, there were various objectives you had to achieve within the given time limit.
Despite its simple premise, this 2010 game managed to garner hundreds of millions of users due to its addictive nature, and you can still find it on Google Play here.
Also from the developers of Fruit Ninja, this is yet another endless runner game of sorts. However, what sets it apart from the likes of Temple Runner and Subway Surfers is that it is a 2D sidescroller instead of a 3D game. You control the character of Barry Steakfries as he uses his jetpacks and other power-ups along the way to dodge various obstacles and reach the end of the science lab before the other scientists.
Despite stiff competition of seemingly visually superior endless runner, this 2012 game managed to hold its own and has nearly a billion players. It was updated on Google Play just a couple of days ago.
This is a bit of an odd one. Made by Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen, this simple-on-paper game tasked you to tap on the screen to make a bird fly between Mario-like green pipes. If the bird even slightly touches a pipe, it's game over. With very simple 2D graphics, this game became notorious for its throw-your-phone-at-the-wall difficulty and was downloaded en masse several months after its release.
But that's not what's strange about it. What's weird is that despite its meteoric success and the title bringing in thousands of dollars to the developer, Nguyen decided to remove the game from storefronts in early 2014, claiming that he felt guilty for exposing the public to its addictive nature. Following its mysterious and abrupt removal, devices which already had the official game installed were soon up for sale for insane prices, and clones began to appear left and right. While Nguyen later released Flappy Bird Family on Amazon Fire TVs in August 2014, it was not able to re-capture the charm of the original.
We would like to know: What Android (or any smartphone OS, for that matter) game was popular in your circles back in the day? Let us know in the comments section below!
Google outlines Android dev plans for next year
by Paul Hill
Google has announced its plans for developers in 2021. It said that new apps will have to target API level 30 (Android 11) in August and in November for all app updates. Additionally, Google Play will require new apps to use the Android App Bundle publishing format which brings smaller app sizes and simpler releases.
With regards to Android App Bundle, Google revealed that 750,000 apps and games already use the publishing format and benefit from advanced distribution features such as Play Asset Delivery and Play Feature Delivery. On average, the size of an app using this publishing format is 15% smaller than a typical APK; as a result, app developers are seeing a higher install success rate and those in areas with poor download speeds benefit too.
From August 2021, the Google Play Console will require all apps to use the Android App Bundle format, utilise Play Asset Delivery or Play Feature Delivery to deliver assets of features that exceed 150MB, and target API level 30 (Android 11) or above and adjust for behavioural changes. It said expansion files (OBBs) will no longer be supported for new apps.
Existing apps will have to target API level 30 or above and adjust for behavioural changes in Android 11 by November 2021. Existing apps that are not receiving updates are unaffected and can continue to be downloaded from the Play Store. Google said that the changes due in August will impact instance experiences and updates; instant experiences will be required to publish instant-enabled app bundles.
Wear OS apps are not subject to the new target API level requirements so no work is needed there. Developers can continue to use a minSdkVersion so apps can still be built for older versions of Android. Google said that it has published a video series called modern Android development (MAD) skills that can help developers transition to app bundles.