If you are a fan of gaming then you will of no doubt be aware of what the Steam portal has to offer you. The self titled ultimate online game platform, developed by the Valve Corporation is a digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer and communications platform which is predominantly used to distribute video games and other related media items to the online community. The distributed content comes from a wide range of sources, ranging from small indie developers to large software organizations. When packaged together with the community features, automatic updating of games and the ability to use voice chat as an in game experience, Steam becomes an attractive platform for any gamer.
The game choice also makes Steam an attractive option for gamers, with approximately 1500 games available to choose from it isn’t hard to see why Steam commands an estimated 70% share of the digital video game distribution market. The good news is that if you are a Steam user, and the owner of an Android device running version 1.6 (Donut) or above, then development company IBF Programs has a treat for you in the form of Steam for Android, an unofficial app of course. Make sure you read ‘unofficial’ well before you move on.
Steam for Android has numerous features including letting you check your Steams public profile, see whether your added friends are online or playing a specific game, check any updates in groups you are associated with or just to browse through the special offers section to see any game price reductions in the store. The Steam for Android application was released initially in December 2011 and is currently sitting on version 1.2.2 with the most recent iteration coming toward the end of 2011. So just what can you expect from this application?
The development team have tread carefully to ensure a very positive user experience which includes a simple and smooth user interface with the ability to either directly select a required tab, or, to use swipe gestures to navigate between the available options. The contained information is also organized extremely efficiently within a number of tabs , with these being:
- Summary Tab: Selecting this tab shows the relevant Steam profile based on user credentials provided along with the most recent games played.
- Friends Tab: An exhaustive list of the users friends, including whether or not they are currently online, in a game or have recently played a game.
- Groups Tab: All of the users groups of which they are a member. Also displays general information about those groups.
- Specials Tab: Displays the specials deals currently available on the Steam store ensuring users don’t miss out on price reductions.
- Favourites Tab: Displays a list of friends who have been tagged as favourites.
The Steam for Android application also makes effective user of available bandwidth. When a tab is selected, the application downloads only the information pertaining to the selected option. All other tabs remain asleep until the user selects them. This is a very understated, but useful addition to a mobile application and ensures only the minimal amount of cellular date is used should the user not be connected to a Wi-Fi network. The application should also run smoothly on older devices with limited RAM available due to the fact that it does not operate in the background. When the application is closed it is killed from memory.
For those Steam members interested, Steam for Android is available now on the Android Market and is a free of charge download containing no advertisements. But yet again, this is an unofficial app with some serious bells and whistles.
Download Steam for Android app [Market link]
Be sure to check out our Android Apps gallery to explore more apps for your Android device.
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