One thing that could make Microsoft's life much easier would be to have one, single apps tore. Well, according to unnamed sources of The Verge, the Redmond-based giant has been working on a single app store for both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 apps.
This new app store would create a common platform for developers to sell their software. The company is hoping to launch the store with the release of Windows 8.1 on October 22 next month, and would have a special update to Windows 8.1 in the first half of next year. The Verge has said that "it's possible that Microsoft may take an approach that's similar to Apple's App Store, where tablet specific apps don't run on the phone, but phone apps scale to run on a tablet."
One of my most used apps would have to be Ookla's Speedtest.net application, which has finally been updated and includes a radically refreshed, modern user interface.
The new interface is nothing new to iOS users, but those of us on Android have been waiting for what feels like forever for the UI refresh. The updated application also performs better, with improved network accuracy and a few new features. The speed results can be more easily shared from the first page, as well as a deeper look into your results, where you can even see a point on the map where each speed test was performed.
Social networking giant, Facebook, finally updated its Android application, which now lets you edit your posts. This is a feature that has been asked about for ages now, and we finally have it.
The post-editing feature has been available in the Facebook for Android beta, but now it has stepped over to the official, non-beta application. You can download Facebook for Android here from the Google Play Store, if your device hasn't already automatically updated it for you.
Apple's Maps app has been plagued with issues since its release, and has often been unfairly compared to Google Maps, which has a development head start of over a decade. Unfortunately, many of the errors Apple Maps has been experiencing are quite fundamental and not simply a misnamed road or missing imagery.
A recent error has popped up that involves the Fairbanks International Airport located in Fairbanks, Alaska. The airport has reported several incidents where iPhone users were using Apple Maps to navigate around the airport and wound up driving on a taxiway and then across an active runway.
"We asked them to disable the map for Fairbanks until they could correct it, thinking it would be better to have nothing show up than to take the chance that one more person would do this," said Melissa Osborn, chief of operations at the airport.
The airport has asked Apple to disable navigation leading to the airport until it has been fixed, and has even had to take the extreme measures of erecting barricades that prevent people from driving onto the runway. Apple said that the problem will be fixed by Wednesday. Just for fun, when you navigate to the airport using Google Maps, you are directed around the airport and to the correct driveway.
iMessage Chat for Android has arrived, but is it as good as what it sounds like? Well, yes and no. iMessage Chat allows Android users to chat between Android and iOS devices, but there should be caution used.
9to5Mac reports that iMessage Chat is definitely not an Apple app - which should be obvious - and was created by a third-party developed named Daniel Zweigart. iMessage Chat disguises the Android device you're using as a Mac mini, after which it pushes your messages to the Apple iMessage server. This means you'll require an Apple ID to gain access, but this isn't where the problems stop.
The creator of Cydia, Jay Freeman, noticed that iMessage Chat redirects to a server in China, before it forwards the information to Apple. This means that the server acts like a middle man, where it handles the transferring and processing of information between your smartphone and the iMessage server. The scary thing is, we don't know what the Chinese server is doing with your information - where it could be, and probably is storing your Apple IDs and chat logs.
On top of BlackBerry having serious issues, and diving out of the consumer market and letting 4,500 people go, its BBM rollout for Android and iOS has now been put on hold. The Canadian phone maker has said that leaked versions people were using were having "issues" and that they are hard at work to getting it released.
Prior to launching BBM for Android, an unreleased version of the BBM for Android app was posted online. The interest and enthusiasm we have seen already - more than 1.1 million active users in the first 8 hours without even launching the official Android app - is incredible. Consequently, this unreleased version caused issues, which we have attempted to address throughout the day.
Our teams continue to work around the clock to bring BBM to Android and iPhone, but only when it's ready and we know it will live up to your expectations of BBM. We are pausing the global roll-out of BBM for Android and iPhone. Customers who have already downloaded BBM for iPhone will be able to continue to use BBM. The unreleased Android app will be disabled, and customers who downloaded it should visit http://www.BBM.com to register for updates on official BBM for Android availability.
As soon as we are able, we will begin a staggered country roll-out of BBM for Android and continue the roll-out of BBM for iPhone. Please follow @BBM on Twitter for the latest updates and go to http://www.BBM.com to sign-up for updates about BBM for Android and iPhone. These issues have not impacted BBM service for BlackBerry.
How many apps do you have installed on your smartphone, tablet, and other Internet-connected devices? Well, add those up and times them by many hundred million and you'll be at a number so big it'll make your head spin.
According to research company Gartner, over 102 billion apps will be downloaded from mobile app stores this year alone, a number that has risen 40% from 2012. Total revenue from app downloads is expected to bust through $26 billion, which is up $8 billion from the $16 billion total of last year. Gartner's projections show that continuous growth is to happen until 2017, with the slow down taking place next year.
Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner, said: "We expect strong growth in downloads through 2014, but growth is forecast to slow down a bit in later years. The average downloads per device should be high in early years as users get new devices and discover the apps they like. Over time they accumulate a portfolio of apps they like and stick to, so there will be moderate numbers of downloads in the later years."
Google acquired Quickoffice back in 2012, and has since been hammering away at the application over at Mountain View. The search giant has just announced that Quickoffice is now free for everyone on iOS and Android.
Quickoffice is optimized for both smartphones and tablets, allowing you to edit and view Microsoft Office documents that are stored on your device without compromising the format. The latest version of Quickoffice allows you to work on documents that have been saved to your Google Drive account as well, which is a huge help for anyone (like myself) who works with Microsoft Office documents, but stores them on their Drive account.
Google has done one better, offering 10GB of extra Google Drive storage for two years if you download Quickoffice from the Google Play Store before September 26 and link it up to your Google account. You know what? I'm going to do that right now - thanks, Google.
Today, Google released an update to its Chrome for iOS application that brings forward a new design for iOS 7 and improves the full screen experience on Apple's iPad. The update further integrates the browser with other Google apps on the device allowing users to sign in to the apps by specifying which Google account you like sign in with.
Voice search has also been improved upon and now allows users to combine search terms to make searching faster. An example would be "What year did Bill Gates found Microsoft, and how old is he?" and Google will return both search results on a single page.
Additionally, relevant links in Chrome now open directly in Google Maps, Gmail, Google Drive, and even YouTube. This is convenient as it allows users to quickly access the more feature-rich Google apps over Apple's own solutions.
Ever since it has been out, Kamcord has been locked to iOS, until today that is. The game recording app maker has announced that it has an Android beta application out, which you can try out today!
If you were like me, and until very recently didn't know what Kamcord did in the gigantic, never-ending sea of applications did, it allows you to record your gaming moments and share them with the world. Right now, Kamcord has over one million videos that have been uploaded to its site from gamers all across the world. Kamcord is similar to Twitch, but is primarily focused on mobile gaming, which is exploding right now.
Jumping onto the Android bandwagon will see them grow like we have not seen before, thanks to the huge inroads that Google has done in Asian countries with Android. Android has over 60% of the smartphone OS market share in China and Japan, which should see Kamcord benefit greatly from. Kamcord co-founder, Kevin Wang, says: "Technically this represents a huge breakthrough. No one has been able to accomplish this until now because of the difficulties associated with recording performance in the Android environment."
Apple has finally released iTunes Radio 11.1, which actually includes iTunes Radio - probably one of the biggest, if not the biggest competitor to music streaming services such as Spotify, Rdio and Pandora.
iTunes Radio features 250 preset stations that are just like the "radio stations" that other music streaming services include which are based on artists, songs or genres. iTunes Radio is available ad-free if you have already subscribed to iTunes Match which costs $24.99 per month. iTunes Radio is also free, but there will be plenty of audio and visual ads splashed in front of your face and ears.
As a daily user of Feedly, I can only see this as a great thing - as Feedly has opened its doors to developers by opening up its brand new cloud API to anyone who is interested.
For the last six months, Feedly has had the help of over 50 developers to create an 'elastic programming interface' that lets developers create apps in less than a week. If you're an interested developer, you can do a bit of a clicky click with your mouse right here and check it out.
Earlier this week, YouTube announced that it plans to introduce a new feature in November that will add offline viewing to any videos that users add to their watch later list on their mobile device. Once downloaded to your device, the videos will be viewable for 48 hours, after which they will have to be re-downloaded.
YouTube did not specifically state how the service will work or if the feature would be exclusive to Android, or if it will be featured on the iOS version of the app as well. Either way, I feel that this is an excellent idea and I cannot wait to start downloading movies to watch while on long trips with spotty Internet service.
We have been hearing reports for months now that BlackBerry Messenger will be arriving on Android and iOS before the end of the summer, and we're not far away from those reports coming true. Today, a new report from the blog TeknoUp claims that BlackBerry will release BlackBerry Messenger on Android this coming Friday, September 20.
The leak appears to be credible as the blog has posted an entire schedule for the BBM rollout to both Android and iOS. BBM for Android is set to launch this Friday at 7 AM EST, the same time that the accompanying website, BBM.com, goes live. Then on the following Saturday, September 21, BBM for iOS 6 and iOS 7 will roll out again at 7AM EST. The leak also says that the app will be free and feature most of BBM's features we saw showcased earlier this year during the BlackBerry 10 launch event.
Today, Google pushed out a major update to Google Wallet for Android that greatly expands the app's availability on various Android-based smartphones. Google Wallet is now available for all devices running Android 2.3 or higher even if they don't feature NFC functionality.
This update comes after Google upgraded the functionality of Wallet to include direct money transfers similar to PayPal without the fees. Users can now transfer cash to anyone with an email address within the United States once the sender has linked his bank account to Google Wallet. Funds can also come from your existing Google Wallet balance, but if a Debit or Credit Card is used, extra fees may occur.
Google has also allowed loyalty cards from retailers to be added to Wallet by scanning or entering the barcode on the back of each card. The biggest change for Google Wallet, however, is that it is finally available on Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. Do you use Google wallet? I have used it a few times, but usually forget it is there and just swipe my card instead.
Have you ever wanted to record your dreams? I've thought about it a few times, but honestly the concept of recording my subconscious scares the heck out of me. If a new Kickstarter campaign has its way, we will all be able to record our dreams soon and upload them to what is being billed as the "world's largest dream database."
SHADOW is an app that acts much like an alarm clock that gradually wakes you up with escalating alarms. Once awake, the app will prompt you to record what you remember from your dreams in either audible or text forms. This information would be loaded into a private dream journal that will analyze and visualize your long-term dream patterns.
The end-user--or "Dreamer"--will have the option to keep their dreams private or share them with friends and family. Additionally, dreamers can push their dreams into the cloud to join an anonymous database that uses natural language processing algorithms and keyword recognition to help identify global dream patterns. While this technology is cool and definitely something we need to research, the last thing I would like to do when I wake up is record myself describing my dreams. Head over to the source below to find out more.
It looks like that A7 processor Apple is baking into each and every iPhone 5S is about to get used a helluva lot more. The Cupertino-based giant is now allowing app developers to submit 64-bit apps for the iPhone 5S. Developers with apps that work on both iOS 6 and iOS 7 will be limited to 32-bit for the time being, but the company is set to support a single app binary for both 32- and 64-bit apps rolling into October.
You can submit 64-bit apps for iOS 7 today that take advantage of the power of iPhone 5s. Xcode can build your app with both 32-bit and 64-bit binaries included so it works across all devices running iOS 7. If you wish to continue to support iOS 6 then you will need to build for 32-bit only. Next month we will be making changes that will allow you create a single app binary that supports 32-bit on iOS 6, as well as 32-bit and 64-bit on iOS 7.
Google continues its workout by updating its Drive app, which includes a UI change and a bunch of new features. First up, we have Google moving from the "holo dark" theme to "holo light", which will bring Drive to the same look as Gmail.
Next up we have a new bottom action bar which provides Drive users with the ability to upload, create and scan, and more. The "create" option lets you see a familiar menu where you can make new folders, documents and spreadsheets. The new bottom action bar replaces the old + button in the top action bar, and it also hides when you scroll down your documents list, freeing up precious pixels.
There's some new features to bed found in the spreadsheet editor, which lets you merge and lock cells, as well as new options to improve your scans. There are the usual bug fixes and small improvements here and there. You can grab Google Drive here, if your device hasn't already updated.
Google's most far-fetched ideas that might seem crazy or simply impossible to its competitors, are called "moonshots." Google's next moonshot is to remove language barriers, with news of development starting on a voice-enabled universal translation system.
Google has reportedly started work on the voice-enabled translator smartphone app, that is currently capable of translating 24 different languages. Google's head of Translate, Franz Josef Och, has said that the voice-enabled translator is quite slow at the moment, but mentions the improvements made in Google's text-based Translation service over the years, stating that the voice-enabled service will see the same improvements over the eyars.
Considering over 200 million users used the Google Translate service last year alone, Google's new moonshot is definitely worth pursuing. I'd love to have something that would get the dialect right in non-English speaking countries. I'd love to be able to travel to Taipei for Computex in a few years time, speak into a translate app and have it speak fluently to the taxi driver, or someone at 7/11 or a restaurant. Come on Google, reach for the moon.
Google never sleeps, and thankfully, as we have an updated Google Maps app that now includes a bunch of improvements. First off, navigation speeds have been improved, with complete route and traffic overviews.
Bug fixes and stability improvements have been baked in, with the full change log below:
- Faster access to navigation, complete with route and traffic overview
- Improved hotel search results with sponsored rates and booking links
- Tips and Tricks available in the side menu
- Bug fixes
You can grab the updated Google Maps app here, if your device hasn't already automatically updated. It should begin rolling out later tonight to those of you who haven't read this news yet.
It looks like Microsoft is set to work on a mobile personal assistant, that will tie in with all of it's products. The voice assistant is going to be named after Cortana, who was the AI character in Halo.
Nuggets of information have been popping up regarding Microsoft's voice assistant, with an app called 'zCortana' the biggest hint in an early version of the Windows Phone OS. Stefan Weitz, director of Being, commented on the fact that Microsoft was building a competitor to Apple's Siri and Google Now, but wanted it to be better. He said: "We are not shipping until we have something more revolutionary than evolutionary. There are teams working hot and heavy on this right now."
After the missteps that were Surface and Windows 8, I expect great things from Microsoft's voice assistant. Microsoft has yet another uphill battle before them, as its competitors' services continue to get better and better with each passing day.