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For months now, Samsung executives have warned that they fully intend to shut down the company's content hubs, and it looks like Samsung Music is going to be the first casualty in this disposal of antiquated apps. Today Samsung released a statement that quite firmly said that 1 July 2014 will be the final call for Samsung Music.
Samsung says that it encourages all Samsung Music / Music Hub users to "take the time to download all purchased content and use any remaining vouchers for Samsung Music before July 1, 2014 - after that date they will no longer be available." At the moment, it is still unclear as to if Samsung will be replacing Music hub with a new service, but with heavy hitters like Google Play Music, Spotify, and Amazon Music virtually sucking up customers left and right, there may not be room for a new Samsung-only music service.
Today Google issued an update for its Gmail on Android app that brings forth several new additions to the service and improves others. The biggest addition is a new feature that allows users to save attachments straight to their Google Drive account rather than to their device. This greatly simplifies document management, and allows users to only download attachments once.
With the update, Google has also added explanations as to why a message was marked as spam. To see this message just open any message that is located in the spam folder. Google has also improved support for Right-to-Left languages such as Arabic, Hebrew, and Persian. The update will allow users to re-orient the Gmail UI for a better RtL experience. Finally, Google has improved how the navigation menu is accessed. In the past, users had to touch the hotdog icon, but now simply swiping left will display the menu. For RtL users, swiping right will reveal the navigation menu.
Gmail for Android has been updated, which includes quite a few changes and improvements. The new Gmail for Android app is now capable of saving attachments directly to your Google Drive account, instead of saving it onto your smartphone, and then shifting it over to Drive. A full list of changes is below:
- Save to Google Drive - Instead of downloading attachments to your device which takes up valuable space, you can now save attachments directly to Google Drive. Files saved to Drive are easily accessible from any smartphone, tablet or computer.
- Spam explanations - Have you ever wondered why a message ended up in spam? You'll now find an explanation at the top of every spam message.
- Improved RTL support - If you're an English speaker, you're used to reading sentences from left-to-right. But there are a lot of languages out there that are written from right-to-left (RTL), such as Arabic, Hebrew and Persian. If you're a speaker of one of these languages, Gmail on Android now looks and feels the way you'd expect with profile pictures and the navigation menu on the right instead of the left.
- Faster access to the side navigation menu - It's easier to get wherever you need to go in the app. While reading messages, you can now swipe from the left edge (or right edge for RTL languages) to quickly access your accounts and labels. You'll also find Settings, Help, and Feedback in the side menu.
Today, WhatsApp's developers made the decision to pull the popular text messaging application from Microsoft's Windows Phone Store due to a major incompatibility with Windows Phone 8.1. The company says that the incompatibility was discovered during recent beta testing and proved to be detrimental to the apps functionality on Windows Phone 8.1.
With Windows Phone 8.1 releasing in just over a month, the developers have just a short time to remedy the issues and prep Facebook's largest messaging platform for release, or it will quickly be replaced by the myriad of other messaging apps that do work on Windows Phone 8.1. "Unfortunately due to technical issues, we have chosen to un-publish WhatsApp Messenger on the Windows Phone platform. We are working closely with Microsoft to resolve the issues and hope to return to the store shortly. We apologize to our users for the temporary inconvenience," said the WhatsApp development team in a statement.
Google Glass users, get to your smartphones and update your MyGlass app, as it has just hit version 3.0. The latest MyGlass app has a great new interface in the form of a new slide-in bar that comes in from the left, providing quick access to settings, contacts, active Glassware and new Glassware to install.
The interface for adding and managing your Glassware has been improved, with the app overall being much more stable and improved. You can also now share maps directly from your phone to Glass, something that is going to make things much easier than trying to speak into Glass and it not understand which address you're trying to say - something that happened to me just a couple of hours ago.
Apple has made an interesting change to the App Store and how developers can gift things to players of their games. Developers can now offer gamers promo codes for free in-app purchases. Promo codes have been accepted for game purchases for a while, but allowing them for in-app purchases is a new feature.
One of the first mobile game developers to take advantage of in-app promo codes was EA. It offered a promo code to players of Real Racing 3 if they visited the EA website. The code gave the players some free gold.
Mobli is a company from Israel that makes an app for smartphone users that allows them to take and share video and photos. The company has announced that it has updated that app to allow users to do something interesting, live broadcast video. Users of the smartphone application can watch that video in real-time.
The apps are available for iOS and Android users right now. The app only just gained the ability to live broadcast video with an update that went live this week. To be able to watch the live broadcasts, users do need to have the app installed on their devices.
Flappy Bird is coming back, with developer Dong Nguyen revealing the news to CNBC during an interview. When the game makes its comeback, it will be include new features, multiplayer support and "less addictive" gameplay.
During his interview with CNBC, Nguyen said that Flappy Bird had been downloaded over 50 million times before he took the game down. Flappy Bird was generating $50,000 per day in ads alone when it was at its peak. Once Flappy Bird was taken down, clones began to surface, as well as people trying to capitlize on its success by selling devices with Flappy Bird installed for thousands on eBay.
A growing trend in the tech world seems to be building a product designed to get you noticed by the big tech companies in hopes that they will acquire you for your talent and IP, and that seems to be exactly what has just happened to SnapChat rival Blink. Blink is an app that allows users to send self destructing instant messages, and functions similarly to how SnapChat works, and today the company announced that Yahoo has swooped in and picked it up.
"I can confirm that the entire team behind Blink will be joining our mobile team in Sunnyvale where they will focus on smart communication products," a Yahoo rep confirmed in a statement. Unfortunately, Yahoo plans to shut Blink down and will use the development team and founders to work on other Yahoo products. Details of the acquisition were not very clear, and at the moment, no word on how much the deal was worth has been released.
Facebook's Whatsapp may have some contending to do in the coming months for its top spot in the world of mobile instant messaging. Today Whatsapp rival, WeChat, announced its earnings report for the first quarter of its fiscal 2014 year. While this would not usually be major news, the fact that WeChat grew by almost 50 million active monthly users caught our eye.
At the end of 2013, WeChat had about 355 million active monthly users, and now the company is reporting that during the first quarter of 2014, it managed to grow its user base to 396 million active monthly users. This number covers both WeChat and Weixin, the Chinese version of the app. With user numbers rising this fast, we could see WeChat top 500 million by the end of the year.