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Google's Chromecast took the world by storm when it was released about a month ago. The little $35 HDMI streaming dongle sold out faster than any other tech item released this year. Unfortunately, consumers with an iOS device were left in the dark on how to control the dongle from their phone.
Today, Google released the official Chromecast app for iOS and it currently works with the iPhone, iPad, iPad mini, and iPod touch. The app allows you to configure basic settings that are required to get the dongle up and running and will display all of the Chromecasts connected to your Wi-Fi network and their statuses. The app is available for free on iTunes, but requires users to be running iOS 5.1 or higher.
We've known that BlackBerry Messenger is making its way to Android for quite some time now, and while we had hoped for an OS-wide launch sometime in July, it appears that the first Android devices to get BBM will be of Samsung origin. Earlier today, website CrackBerry spotted a teaser ad that was posted on both YouTube and Samsung's Ghana Facebook page.
Unfortunately, the YouTube video has since been removed, but the Facebook posting is still up at the time of this writing. It makes sense that the company's Ghana page would be the first to post as BlackBerry Messenger is a major form of communication in many African countries.
So what does this mean? I think we may see the app officially announced by Samsung or BlackBerry at the IDC trade show in Berlin, Germany, next week, and with a working port for Android-based Samsung devices now in existence, it is only a matter of time before BlackBerry Messenger is in the Google Play Store for all Android devices. That is, unless BlackBerry did something stupid like sign an exclusivity deal with Samsung, but then again this is BlackBerry were talking about and weirder things have happened in the past.
As an ex-professional photographer, one of the most annoying things about 90 percent of the photos posted online is the fact that they are never straight. No one seems to care about holding their smartphone in a nice in level orientation. Today, it appears that the developers over at Instagram felt the same way and decided to fix this crooked issue.
The latest version of Instagram for iOS features built-in image straightening and the best thing about it is that it can be setup to happen automatically. The developers figured out that they can collect data from the phone's accelerometer and gyrometer sensors to figure out at what orientation and the angle the smartphone was being held at at the time the image was captured and then use that data to automatically straighten the image.
Baydin, the makers of the popular Gmail add-on Boomerang, have just released a full email client for the popular mobile platform Android. Boomerang for Android is a full email client that features Archiving, Deleting, Labels, Read/Unread, Full Search Features, Attachments, Conversation View, Push Notifications, and everyone's favorite "Send later" feature. The company says that you can use it as a standalone application or in conjunction with Google's Gmail app.
The app includes all of Boomerangs popular features wrapped up in a easy-to-use, customizable, swipe-based user interface that allows users to swipe right to archive email or swipe left to reveal more actions that include delete, boomerang, label, mark as read, and staring. I tried out the app for most of the day and I am quite excited to continue using Boomerang for Android.
I don't know what has taken Instagram, or Facebook for that matter, to get off its asses and unleash Instagram for Windows Phone 8, but it looks like those days could soon be over.
A WMPoweruser has pointed out some remarks that Nokia's executive vice president, Chris Weber, who said that Instagram is finally coming to Microsoft's mobile OS, but he didn't provide any further details or a possible release window. Considering Instagram is one of the major apps that Windows Phone 8 is missing, you would think it would've been here by now.
Apple is poised to press the all-systems-go button for iTunes Radio, but Pandora is striking its hammer now, with company CFO Mike Herring announcing during Pandora's earnings call yesterday that the company will remove its 40-hour listening limit on mobile devices.
Last we heard they had started a 40-hour listening limit per month because of an increase in royalty rates, but now mobile users can enjoy the same unlimited music streaming goodness that desktop users can enjoy, without the $36 per year charge. Just what accounting magic did Pandora perform to provide mobile listeners with unlimited music, for free? Herring explains:
Our investment in advertising infrastructure and implementing smart levers such as reducing song skipping and limiting mobile listening have helped us drive monetization and manage content costs, as reflected by the increase in RPM and a decrease in content costs as a percentage of revenue
As our results have shown, the continued strong growth in our advertising revenue allowed us to cover the increased royalty costs with dollars left over to invest back into the business. With these tools in hand, and insight into how they work, we are resetting our levers in September. Notably, Pandora plans to eliminate the blanket 40-hour-per-month limit on free mobile listening effective September 1st.
Many years ago, Mozilla revolutionized the browser world with its addition of the "awesomebar" to its Firefox web browser. This awesomebar allowed users to do so much more from the URL bar than just entering URLs. Today, the company announced that it has completely revamped the "awesomescreen" feature in its Firefox for Android app.
In a blog post, user interface engineer Lucas Rocha said that Mozilla has accepted the new awesomescreen design into its beta-stage "nightly" builds, which is where the new feature will be tested, debugged, and further refined before being released into the mainstream app.
The awesomescreen basically meshes together two key features of Firefox: the browser start screen and the screen that is shown when users tap the address bar. Much like Chrome, this new awesomescreen will display thumbnails of webpages from a user's browsing history, bookmarks, and a reading list. Each of these different segments can be featured by swiping from side to side among the different topics.
Earlier today, avast! Software announced the release of its new premium mobile security platform called avast! Mobile Premium. The company says that this premier version of its award-winning mobile security app for Android smartphones and tablets offers customers new superior anti-theft and backup technologies. The company claims that the new software will help owners recover lost or stolen phones by using a new technology called "Geofencing."
Geofencing creates a virtual perimeter around the device and sounds a loud alarm if someone attempts to take the device beyond a user set distance. This new anti-theft feature, when combined with avast's mobile backup, ensures that in the event that a phone is stolen, both the hardware and data are easily recoverable. The backup technology allows you to backup important documents such as photos, contacts, and even financial information.
"More than half the people in the US own a smartphone and consumers are growing more concerned by the day about the security of the information on their mobile devices," said Vincent Steckler, Chief Executive Officer at AVAST. "avast! Mobile Premium easily fills the rapidly growing need for on-the-go security and protection." Check out the full release at Source #1 below. You can pick up the avast! Mobile Premium app from the Google Play Store at Source #2.
In a not-so-surprising move, PayPal is reportedly testing out a new face verification system for mobile payment transactions. PayPal's app currently features a tab called "Local," which allows users to find nearby stores and restaurants that accept mobile PayPal payments.
When a customer checks into a PayPal-capable store, their name and photo appear on the store's PayPal app. The customer can then use the app to pay for items, with the cashier completing the transaction by clicking on the customers profile picture. Head of retail services at PayPal, Rob Harper, has said: "We're pleased to help local businesses of all sizes offer a new more personal experience, while never having to turn away customers who don't have enough cash on them to pay."
Google are continuously pushing out updates to its awesome Google Now app, with today being no exception. The Mountain View-based giant has pushed an update out that includes the ability to keep track of your car rental, and more.
Concert tickets are included in the new update, as well as an update to Now's public transport cards that will notify a user when their last train leaves home. There's also a new football card that will let you check out the latest NCAA scores, if that's your type of thing. There's also a new reminder feature, too.
The reminder feature is accessed by tapping on the "remind me" button when searching for media, which will have Google Now notify you when your favorite TV show, band or author releases something new - a very, very cool new feature. Even better, is an updated TV card which will detect the TV program you're watching using your smartphone's mic, after which it will provide you information on the program you're watching.