Android Free Apps Roundup #2 – WoodEnigma Lite

As promised in my last Android Free App Comments  post, here’s another one for you. This time, I’ll just be taking a look at the Woodenigma Lite game. I’ve tagged this under WebOS as well as the full version is available for free on WebOS phones (The now redundant ‘Palm Pre’ line), whilst a ‘Lite’ version is available for free under2012-04-19_20-46-48 Android which contains less puzzles. A paid version is available under Android, which apparently contains more puzzles, but I’m not sure about the exact number.

The app is a puzzle game, which revolves around the simple premise of moving blocks of ‘wood’ into various shapes. Sounds basic and in many respects it is. However it can also be downright infuriating, but for a good reason – the idea of playing any puzzle game is to be puzzled and to use the grey matter to beat the game. This is something that the game can do well as moving a small number of shapes into a correct pattern can be a lot more difficult than it sounds.

The number of puzzles in the Android ‘Lite’ version is enough to keep you busy for a few hours – there are 50 puzzles included, although some of which are very simple, which I guess is to break you into the game gently.

As for the version on WebOS, there are 450 of puzzles available – remember that 2012-04-19_20-46-58this is the full version which is totally free on WebOS, I presume this is due to the much smaller target audience.

The control method is simple – drag the shape into the target area and tap to rotate it. The shapes will snap into the correct alignment, so you won’t need to worry about spending ages lining up the shapes in the exact place.

Overall it’s a neat little way to pass the time – but once you’ve completed it, you’ll probably not return to it for a long time as the puzzles will be a lot easier on the second time around. It’s worth a download though, especially if you find that you do a lot of waiting around during day to day life (and thus needing something to pass the time)

Another phone app summarised. If you want me to comment on any other free android apps, you can either drop a message on here in the comments section or drop a message to me on twitter. If you want to know when the next posts are, you can either follow my twitter (all posts are tweeted), or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Android Free Apps Roundup #1 -TuneIn Lite, Task List & NetCounter

I was thinking, as I did a post a while back about free apps for WebOS, that I should probably do a post for Android apps. Considering that I’ve been running my Desire S for a few months now, I figured it was a good time to hit the keyboard and get writing about those apps which make my day-to-day life a little easier. Instead of doing one post with lots of apps like the WebOS apps post, I’m going to be doing a few smaller posts over the next month or two – some with thoughts on a few apps and some with just thoughts on one app.

TuneIn Radio Lite

This is a brilliant little app for listening to the radio via the internet. We all know that using FM Radio is lacking in audio clarity – especially when used through an Phone / MP3 player – so this is a pretty handy replacement. 2012-04-16_13-56-44

Although on GPRS this app is basically pointless due to the connection speed limitations, once you get into 3G / HSDPA enabled areas it’s brilliant. If streams of differing quality are available for your chosen station, the app will generally pick them up and let you choose which stream to listen to. General rule of thumb for me is lower quality when using the mobile network and highest quality when on WiFi.

The only major downside is the rate that it eats up data allowance – but then you have some control over this by picking streams. Still not advised for low dataplans though, as even a low quality 64k stream will eat data given enough time.

Slightly off topic – I’m aware this may seem a bit hypocritical, based on a previous post about how an MP3 player is better than a phone for music. No need to tell me 😛

Task List

A handy app for people like me who have a tendency to forget things and get 2012-04-16_13-56-59side-tracked far too easily. The app does exactly as the name suggests – it’s a list creator. You can create several lists and then you can add a widget to your homescreen to serve as a reminder. Personally I’ve got a personal list and an overtime tasks list – just so I can keep track of things.

You can also set reminders as well, for if you’re a little forgetful, or have a deadline to complete list items by.

Not really a great deal I can add – just that if you want something for making lists, give it a go. Only thing that does detract is that the ads that support the application are very obvious – however as I’m a cheapskate, I can’t really complain.

Also a small title font on the list view would be nice, but then I could start using smaller titles instead

NetCounter

Actually, this app is a good one to bundle in the same post as TuneIn Lite, as it helps you keep tabs on your data allowance – something that TuneIn has the potential to use up quickly. 2012-04-16_13-57-15

At it’s most basic function, this app will tell you how much of your data allowance you have used over a given amount of time. It can monitor both cell data usage and WiFi usage.

Another handy function is that you can set the date for the individual counters to reset – this means as your tariff resets for another month, NetCounter will reset the data tariff back to zero to start again. Now that you have your counter resetting at the appropriate time, you can set an alarm to let you know when you are approaching your data cap.

As far as drawbacks go, I really can’t think of any. the app is small, has a easy to use help section and no ads jumping out at me.

There you go – three helpful and FREE android apps summarised. If you want me to comment on any other free android apps, you can either drop a message on here in the comments or drop a message to me on twitter. If you want to know when the next posts are, you can either follow my twitter (all posts are tweeted), or subscribe to the RSS feed.

GAME – Thoughts on how to not lose it…

So upon reading that the GAME Group has been saved by a buyout worth about £1, I got thinking about where the chain has gone wrong and what could potentially make it a decent place on the high street for picking up games…

Cut down on duplicate stores in the same area

This has been partly done to an extent, with loss making stores being closed down a couple of weeks ago. I can remember going into Crawley a while ago and there were three stores all within a 5 minute walk from each other. A little wasteful to say the least – I think the group would have been better retaining the larger store and removed the smaller ones. That way the overheads would be reduced and thus more profit would be fed back to the company from that town.

There are other towns that have multiple stores in the same place – If I recall correctly, Portsmouth has / had multiple stores within a short distance.

Appeal to PC Gamers more

At the moment, in all the GAME stores I’ve been to, I’ve noticed (as have many people) that the place is geared towards the console market fairly heavily. There are next to no PC peripherals available and there is a very limited selection of games – mainly budget ones.

Although a lot of people prefer digital distribution and in many cases, digital distribution is the only way to obtain certain games, there is still a chance to cash in on this market. For example, adding more PC peripherals to the stock (such as gaming mice / keyboards – even PC upgrades). Branching out to another target audience should attract some more people and thus, put more sales through the tills.

Have store based tournaments

An idea to make people come in – have a few consoles set up in larger stores for tournaments – using PCs isn’t really viable due to the expense of frequent upgrades, but a console will generally have a longer lifecycle and thus be cheaper to run.

By having multiplayer tournaments, it will encourage more people into the store. More people coming in, is equal to more potential sales.

In my opinion, the best way to set this up would be to have a small fee for entering (for example £3 – £5), with a prize for the best player(s) – such as either store credit or a new release. The combined entry fees should reimburse the cost of the prize, thus in theory a loss shouldn’t be made as long as enough people turned up.

This would also help GAME become a destination for gamers to socialise as well as pick up some new games.

Take a look at the way pre-owned sales are handled

Preowned sales – although the console deals really aren’t that bad, the games can be a tad overpriced to say the least – a preowned copy of a recent game can still more expensive than a new version at the local supermarket in some places. A review of the pricing system on preowned goods to bring it down a tad and provide more of a bargain for the customer – the better the deal, the more chance of the customer returning for more.

Personally, I’d like to be able to buy more retro games as well, but then again I can’t imagine the market being that large. Either way, the odd N64 game wouldn’t hurt.

Staff training

The staff members at my local store are fantastic – enthusiastic and most certainly gamers themselves. However, this isn’t the case across the company – I’d suggest better training to bring staff up to date on games, so they can better interact with the customers and even suggest sales (for example “I see you’re buying game X – might I suggest from experience that you may enjoy game Y once you’re done”)

So there we go – a few thoughts on what might help GAME pick up the pieces, clear some debts and hopefully become more of a consumer friendly, profitable business.

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