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Apple's App Store is getting close to hitting the 50 billion download mark and wants to celebrate. They've started another countdown, this time to 50 billion and will be awarding a $10,000 gift card to the person who manages to snag the 50 billionth app download.
As part of the countdown, Apple has listed up some of the all time most downloaded free and paid apps, citing these apps as being what helped propel the App Store to such great heights. Interestingly enough, the top paid app is Apple's Pages and the top free app is Microsoft's Skype for iPad. Goes to show what we use these devices for the most.
Blockbuster was acquired by Dish back in 2011 after filing for bankruptcy in 2010. The defunct movie rental company has had a desktop app, Smart TV app, and Android app since January and has now added an iOS app to the line up. The new app performs the same functions as the other currently available apps.
Users are able to browse, rent, then stream movies from Blockbuster's catalog of almost 5,500 different movies. Pricing ranges from $2.99 all the way to $6.99 for new releases. You'll need a free account, which you can create through the app or on Blockbuster's On Demand website.
Blockbuster has some competition in the streaming market. Netflix is rather well established and Redbox has recently entered into the market. It's going to be an uphill battle, but definitely doable. The app is available from Apple's App Store.
Google has debuted a Keep Chrome web app, bringing the functionality of the Android app to the desktop. For those who don't know, Google Keep functions much the same as Evernote, providing content storage and syncing between devices. This content is generally notes and other journal-like data.
The new app, available from the Chrome store, offers up offline support on the desktop. Google Keep allows users to store notes, pictures, and other content and sync it between devices.
The Google Keep Chrome app launches in its own window, so you can create notes, cross out your to-do lists, and attach photos to tasks while you work on other things. And if you don't have an internet connection, don't fret: the Chrome app works offline because we all know that ideas (big and small) can be sparked at any time.
Rovio's Angry Birds Friends released, features Facebook integration to allow playing against friends
Rovio has delivered the latest Angry Birds game in the form of Angry Birds Friends. The new Angry Birds game features Facebook integration to allow users to play the game with friends. Players can expect new levels and tournaments each week along with daily gifts and challenges.
The game syncs progress between the Facebook version and the app, allowing you to seamlessly transition from one device to the next. The gameplay doesn't deviate too much from the standard Angry Birds that you've come to know and love over the past iterations of the game.
A Google employee has taken to the Macworld forum to deny claims that Google Now for iOS is tough on battery life. There have been numerous reports that Google Now rapidly drains a device's battery, but this Google employee says these reports are "incorrect."
Many have blamed Google Now's Location Services, but Google counters this by saying the app is built differently to minimize the impact of Location Services. Instead of GPS, it relies on cell towers and WiFi hotspots. Reports claim that the Location Services arrow is displayed "permanently" after enabling Now and only goes away after deleting the Search app.
According to Google, who says they tested the Google Now for iOS app for months, they did not observe any significant battery drain. What qualifies as significant is up for argument.
Twitter has released yet another update for its iOS app, bringing with it the typical feature additions and bug fixes. This specific update brings with it support for location-based Trends, making it easy to view Trends in hundreds of locations.
Other feature additions include the ability to invite friends to join Twitter via the app. Twitter has also instituted numerous bug fixes and performance enhancements. Vine videos now feature improved playback, replies to retweeted Tweets now include both the author and person who retweeted the Tweet, and various other bug fixes have been implemented.
You can download the latest version of Twitter for iOS from the App Store.
Today Amazon announced that it had updated its Kindle for iOS app to incorporate more accessibility features for users who are visually impaired.
The biggest of the updates is the integration with Apple's VoiceOver technology, which is now capable of reading aloud more than 1.8 million Kindle Store offerings.
Also included in the update are improvements to UI navigation, Search Tools, and other features like X-Ray, End Actions, sharing, highlighting and bookmarking. Amazon said, "Accessibility features make it easier for blind and visually impaired customers to navigate their Kindle libraries, read & interact with books, and more. Enable VoiceOver in your device settings to begin."
Facebook is looking for volunteers to use its new beta app and recommend changes to make it better. The announcement was made via the Windows.com blog and calls upon "all tinkerers" who "love Facebook and enjoy playing around with pre-release software."
The app is available through the Windows Phone Store, though it won't show up in normal search results. You'll need to use this direct link to the app to be able to download and use it. They note that those who don't like app crashes should steer clear of this app as it is a beta product.
As you'll see, the app is undergoing a major redesign and now includes several much-requested features, including new support for high-res photos, post sharing, and Facebook Timeline. Once you've put the beta app through its paces, we hope you'll pass along bug reports, feature requests, and other feedback by going to Settings>About in the app. You can also post a Store review. Your comments and suggestions will inform future releases.
WMPowerUser received an anonymous tip that Instagram would finally be making the jump to Windows Phone 8 alongside the Nokia Lumia 928 launch. The report says that Microsoft is planning to release INstagram, Temple Run 2, and Jetpack Joyride to Windows Phone devices when the Lumia 928 is launched.
We expect the Lumia 928 to make its appearance sometime next month, so hopefully these apps will also materialize. These three apps would mark significant improvements to the app ecosystem over on Windows Phone, though Windows Phone is still lacking many popular apps that are on iOS and Android.
As with all rumors, it's best to take this with a grain of salt until an official announcement is made.
Social traffic and mapping app Waze is looking for beta testers ahead of its launch on the Windows Phone platform. For those who don't know what Waze is, let me explain. Waze is a social traffic app that allows users all over the country and world to report accidents, police, and hazards so others can avoid them.
Waze is one of the major apps that is available on Android and iOS and by working on a version for Windows Phone, it signals some belief in the Windows Phone platform. In order to apply for the program, you'll need to head over to waze.centercode.com. Note that applying does not guarantee a spot in the beta.
In order for Windows Phone to be successful, it needs to have some of these killer apps that are available on the competing platform. Waze is certainly one of them, but there are plenty more that Microsoft needs to bring over.