Archive for the 'Android' Category

Forget Target: Apple is still the biggest company censoring games

Thursday 11 December 2014 @ 12:30 pm
Scanning another potential immigrant in Papers, Please.

Apple does not curate the music or books that you can buy through its digital stores. But for games and apps must live up to a different standard.

Developer Lucas Pope revealed today that he will release his mundane political game Papers, Please for iPad for $6 on Dec. 12. The title has players controlling a border agent guarding an entrance to the fictitious nation of Arstotzka. The crux of the gameplay is all about deciding who you will let in and who you will refuse. If that sounds uncomfortable, that’s because it’s supposed to. But Apple is not OK with uncomfortable games, and it forced Pope to change his game to get approval for release on iOS.

Papers, Please gives players a number of tools to help them decide if a person is a threat to Arstotzka or not, and one of those is a body scanner that lets you see the immigrants and travelers fully nude. The idea of this is not to sneak a peek at the person’s goodies, it’s to make the player realize just how easily they can denigrate and humiliate people in the name of security.

But Apple doesn’t care.

As you can see in the above tweet from Pope, he had to change the game because Apple considered the nudity “pornographic content.”

This is actually a part of Apple’s stated policy that it will not stand for serious games that have something important to say.

“We view apps different than books or songs, which we do not curate,” reads Apple’s guidelines for app developers. “If you want to criticize a religion, write a book. If you want to describe sex, write a book or a song, or create a medical app. It can get complicated, but we have decided to not allow certain kinds of content in the App Store.”

Apple is clearly dismissive of the potential for games to affect change in people, and the company is explicitly saying that it knows what kind of expression its customers should get exposed to.

This is similar to the recent issues in Australia where retailers Target and K-mart pulled violent, open-world action game Grand Theft Auto V off of their shelves after receiving petitions from concerned customers.The idea of a private company willingly censoring a game caused many fans to grow concerned about censorship. While countries like Germany, India, and United Arab Emirates enact laws and censor games on a governmental level, it is perhaps more difficult to get enraged about that since it comes across as the will of the people. Or, at the very least, it is up to the people to get their governments to stop censoring media.

When Target blocks a game, however, people tend to view it as a corporation saying that it knows better than its customers. But Target and K-mart have nothing on Apple.

In January 2013, Apple blocked Endgame: Syria, which explores the civil war in that country. Developer Tomas Rawlings was only able to release the game on iOS once he changed the name and removed all references to real political events. On Android, Rawlings released Endgame: Syria without any changes or compromises.

In March 2013, Apple pulled the game Sweatshop from the App Store. The app explored the harsh conditions and impossible tasks that many people working in manufacturing in developing nations have to deal with every day. That was too political for Apple.

In May, Apple blocked an app called HappyPlayTime from the App Store. This game teaches and encourages women to find joy in masturbation. That subject was too touchy for Apple.

I recently spoke with a developer who was building a mobile game about cultivating a harvest of marijuana plants. The app is due out on Android without changes, but the studio was in the process of changing it from pot to junk food to get around Apple’s tough policies.

Apple owns one of the largest distribution platform for games in the world, and it is making billions from revenue-sharing with developers. But the company still wants to treat the medium like toys, and it has no problem censoring strong and smart games like Papers, Please while the company admits it would never do that to a book.

We asked Apple to comment on this story, and we’re awaiting its response.

Meanwhile, Pope explained that he was OK with making the changes to get the game out and earning some revenue on iOS. But he also may appeal Apple’s decision.


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Warning, This App Could Trash Your Phone

Tuesday 9 December 2014 @ 10:48 am
Gyro Skate If the idea of throwing an expensive piece of consumer electronics up in the air and watching it spin around makes your palms clammy with sweat then this app is definitely not for you. You have been warned. Read More

Gillmor Gang: Not Fade Away

Saturday 6 December 2014 @ 11:00 am
Gillmor Gang Artcard The Gillmor Gang — Robert Scoble, Doc Searls, Keith Teare, and Steve Gillmor. Recorded live Friday, December 5, 2014. As notifications and deep linking are built out, the Gillmor Gang is implementing a series of interconnected apps and services including a forthcoming Gillmor Gang app. Read More

Torque, Microsoft’s Alternative To “OK Google,” Now Works On Android Smartphones

Friday 5 December 2014 @ 8:55 am
torque Microsoft this morning has released an app for Android smartphone users called Torque that allows you to shake your phone in order to perform a voice search, similar to Google’s “OK Google.” The difference is that instead of waking up the app with a standard keyword command, it’s the shaking motion that instead does the trick. Also like Google, Torque will provide a… Read More

Find Your Zen With Desert Golfing

Friday 28 November 2014 @ 10:01 am
Desert Golfing If you’re looking for something to do while sitting around with family as you all process the remainder of the Thanksgiving meal still working its way through your digestive tract, I’ve got something for you that will take very little effort but still provides hours of entertainment. Read More

Apple Pay competitor ‘Android Pay’ is reportedly coming to China

Wednesday 26 November 2014 @ 7:00 pm

It looks like Apple Pay will soon face some competition in the mobile payments space from its biggest competitor, Android.

According to a new report from China Business News, a new mobile payments service called Android Pay is coming, and will likely launch in the third quarter of 2015.

Android Pay is reportedly being developed by China UnionPay, which is the biggest credit and debit card provider in China. For context, UnionPay is the second biggest payment network in the world next to Visa, based on the value of processed transactions.

Because of China UnionPay’s expansive list of partners, Android Pay could feasibly debut with the support of more partners than Apple Pay, which it also plans to support next year.

According to Want China Times, UnionPay has already approached smartphone makers including Lenovo and Coolpad. UnionPay is likely to offer subsidies to smartphone makers to ensure popular smartphones will include the technology required for Android Pay to work.

Android Pay will be similar to Apple Pay and will utilize Near Field Communication (NFC) payments with Android smartphones, which will allow for wireless payments.

Apple recently announced the ability for Chinese Apple users to make payments using UnionPay’s credit cards in its App Store, a collaboration that suggests Apple could work with UnionPay to bring Apple Pay to China.

There’s no reason why UnionPay couldn’t introduce Android Pay while also supporting Apple Pay in the future, but for now it appears that Chinese smartphone users won’t have to wait too long to be able to purchase things at the store with a swipe of their phone.

This story originally appeared on Business Insider.

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Google’s Nexus 6 Might Be Too Big For Right Now, But Right-Sized For The Future

Saturday 22 November 2014 @ 3:26 pm
Nexus 6-3 As Greg Kumparak noted in the TechCrunch review of the Nexus 6, the phone is very large. Too large, in fact, for most humans. Back when it was just a rumor that Google would be picking Motorola to provide the Nexus 6 hardware, and that it would indeed be a monster with a 6-inch display, I lamented the phabletization of the Nexus line before it was even a real thing. Now, I’ve had some… Read More

Office Mobile for Android updated with Dropbox integration and OneDrive sharing

Thursday 20 November 2014 @ 7:10 am

Microsoft today updated its Office Mobile app for Android phones with Dropbox support and OneDrive sharing. You can download the new version now directly from Google Play.

The update today follows a surprise partnership between Microsoft and Dropbox announced on November 4. At the time, the companies said Dropbox integration would arrive in Office apps first on iOS, and then later on Android smartphones, and today they have delivered.


More to follow

TC Droidcast Episode 27: Nexus 6 Is Too Big And Nokia N1 Is Too iPad

Wednesday 19 November 2014 @ 4:17 pm
droidcast-27 This week on the Droidcast, it’s Darrell Etherington, Greg Kumparak, and Engadget’s Chris Velazco, and we’re talking in more detail about the Nexus 6 now that the full reviews are out. Bottom line: It’s big. We also tackle Nokia’s return to hardware with an Android-powered tablet, and Google’s acquisition of an iOS prototyping company. Next week,… Read More

HackerRank Expands Its Technical Recruiting Platform To Mobile With DroidRank

Wednesday 19 November 2014 @ 12:04 pm
step-1-614db7d62204978234b72bbdaf3246d1 HackerRank, a technical recruiting platform and former TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield finalist, today announced it is expanding into mobile with the launch of DroidRank. Recruiters could already test for Java skills on the service (in addition to 15 other languages). While that’s the basis for programming Android apps, being able to write Java apps doesn’t necessarily mean you are… Read More

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