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WhatsApp finally has some substantial competition for its bid as the biggest text messaging service in existence. Today Kik messenger announced that it has surpassed the 100 million user milestone and has been adding new subscribers at a rate of 200,000 per day.
"For us, growth gets a really big bump over Thanksgiving, which is a combination of new devices and people being in a new social sphere and sharing their passion for Kik," he explained, pointing to factors that have helped them reach this milestone. "It's hard to know what exactly is prompting growth. I wouldn't say there's anyone coming to Kik just for Cards and not for the messaging platform, but what it does do is provide a way for people to look at it and say 'Look at all the fun things I can do with Kik that I can't do with any other messaging apps."
Earlier this year, Google unveiled Chrome Apps for the PC desktop environment, and today the company has finally released a version for Apple's Mac devices. The apps are different from Chrome OS apps and Chrome browser apps, and feel more like native apps to the device and can even be accessed offline.
The apps are designed to resemble their web-counterparts and function exactly the same, the difference is that they have access to local storage naively and do not need an interlink such as the internet. They will however fully sync up to your Google account to ensure that all changes made are present across all Google services. Users must run the Chrome browser on their Mac for the new desktop apps to appear though.
Google didn't do too much to change the lock screen with Android 4.4 KitKat, but thanks to the openness of Android, developers across the world can just make their own apps, such as Cover for Android. The video below shows it off perfectly.
Cover for Android, which is still in beta at the moment, is a feature-rich lock screen application. You can tell it your home and work addresses, and when at a particular place, it will come up with specific apps. At work, you might use a select few apps, which Cover handles without a problem. At home, you might use other apps - such as Gmail, Facebook and Chrome - so it will have shortcuts ready for you.
Cover for Android currently works on Android 4.1 and above, and for users in the US, Canada and Europe - although, I'm based in Australia and I've just installed it without a problem. You can grab Cover for Android (beta) from the Google Play Store.oidcentral%26utm_medium%3Dblog%26utm_campaign%3Dbloglink
Razer has released its Comms for Android app, which is a free app for gamers. You can use Razer's Comms for Android to keep in touch with your gaming friends, which supports both voice and text chat on-the-go.
Private messages also make an appearance, which is yet another nice addition to the app. Comms for Android will also let you respond to SMS at your desk, as well as turn down calls through its Windows version, too. You can grab Razer Comms for Android from the Google Play Store, but if you're on an iOS device, you'll have to wait until early 2014 to get your mitts on Razer's mobile app.
This morning, Instagram unveiled a newly added feature to its service that will allow users to directly share images and videos with specific friends via Facebook messaging and text messaging. Dubbed Instagram Direct, the new feature allows users to share images with friends directly in real-time and see likes, and comments instantly.
Instagram Direct has a few safety measures in place as well, with the most prevalent being a notification when someone you are not following sends you an image or video. The app will let you chose if you want to see this image or video, and if you decide not to, then you simply decline and the invitation goes away.
"As we've grown, Instagram has evolved not only into a community of photographers, but also into a means of visual communication. From a photo of your daily coffee to a sunrise shared from the top of a mountain hike, every Instagram moment contains something you find special-something you broadcast to your followers when you tap share," Instagram said in its official release. "There are, however, moments in our lives that we want to share, but that will be the most relevant only to a smaller group of people-an inside joke between friends captured on the go, a special family moment or even just one more photo of your new puppy. Instagram Direct helps you share these moments."
If you're a fan of PopCap and Electronic Arts' Plants vs. Zombies 2, then you'll want to make sure you've received the new, and massive, 215MB update to the mobile game. The update includes:
- There's loads of cool stuff in our latest update! We have a new map, fun new features and we introduce a new foe!
- We've upgraded the map to make game progression quicker and easier.
- It's simpler to know how much you've done, where you're going, and what loot you'll get along the way.
- You can invite your friends and send 'em gifts.
- Use the Turbo button to speed up your planting - and speed up the zombies.
- Be warned: when we were upgrading the map, somebody let in the Gargantuars.
Today Codeacademy launched a new app for iOS users that allows them to continue their coding education even when on the go. The new app features lessons that are designed to take less than an hour each to complete and gradually teach the users the basics of coding.
Codeacademy timed the launch with Computer Science Education week, and hopes that the app can play a role in helping 10 million students to participate in one hour of coding. At the moment the app only features one lesson, but the company's CEO says that it will eventually become a stand-along code learning platform much like its website is now. No word was mentioned on when we might see an Android version of the app released.
Today Pandora added new functionality to its app for iOS in the form of a new alarm feature. The new Alarm Clock will let users wake up to their favorite Pandora station, and are no longer limited to their iPhones stock alarm sounds. When the alarm triggers, the Pandora app will begin playing from a user-selected station and album art will scroll in the background.
Users can snooze the alarm to 5,10,15 or 20 minutes by simply tapping the screen. Additionally, the alarm can be quickly turned off by tapping the song title or artist name. This alarm works perfectly with Pandora's other recently added feature that turns off the music feed after a preset length of time, allowing the user to fall asleep to their favorite station.
iBeacon is part of Apple's iOS 7, which works with low-power Bluetooth transmitters and the Apple Store app, which together track your location within a retail store, providing relevant information to your iPhone.
For example, if you were standing next to the iPhone table, with everything iBeacon requires from you enabled, it would pop a message up onto your iPhone asking if you'd like to upgrade. It would also tell you if you were eligible for getting some money back for trading in your old iPhone. It could also send push notifications to customers alerting them to when their order is ready to be picked up.
iBeacon isn't just limited to Apple Stores, either, as it has rolled out into retailers like Macy's, J.C. Penney and more.
It looks like Spotify could be unleashing a free mobile version of its streaming music service, something that The Wall Street Journal is reporting. The free version would be an ad-supported app, focusing around playing personalized radio.
Users would be allowed to play a certain amount of songs on demand, which isn't bad considering it would be pushed out as a free app. At the moment, Spotify's on-demand mobile service is only available to paying consumers through its Premium service, with the free service limited to PCs. The Journal is reporting that the music streaming outfit has inked deals with Sony, Universal, and Warner for the free service.
The issues weighing in on the deal were the rates that the company would pay the label, as well as the level of on-demand control that users would have. We should hear more details on the service at the Spotify event being held in New York City next week.