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For over a year now we have been hearing rumors and seeing leaks surface around a secret music streaming service being built by Beats Audio. The service was given the code name Daisy, and at one point, it appears that it would never make it to launch, but this morning Beats Music launched on the Apple App Store.
Beats Music offers mobile music streaming of more than 20 million tracks for just $10 per month, and its MadLib-style music suggestion feature is actually pretty innovative. Users can create playlist, share them on social media, and rate their suggested songs to improve what music is selected next time. The launch of Beats Music signifies the end of MOG, the long running streaming service owned by Beats parent company. Subscribers will see their billing arrangements terminated on March 15th and annual subscribers will receive a prorated refund.
The man who seems to have his hand in everything, Kim Dotcom, has just debuted his new music streaming service known as Baboom, and the first album to hit the service is Dotcom's own album titled Good Times. Baboom is quite interesting in the fact that it plans to directly compete with Spotify and Google Play Music, but will be operating on a "pay what you want" business model.
I see Baboom as more of a streaming version of SoundCloud or MySpace, and will allow indie artist to really break out of the years old model of social networking for artist. Baboom does however encourage listeners to purchase albums through Amazon, iTunes, and Bandcamp and as far as I can tell, artist receive no compensation from Baboom itself.
During the DLD conference in Germany, WhatsApp CEO, Jan Koum, shared some exciting news with attendees about the messaging app's usage numbers. WhatsApp now has more than 430 million monthly active users, which makes it the worlds largest messaging app by leaps and bounds.
More importantly though are the number of messages sent every day on the service. More than 36 billion outbound messages are sent in a day while 18 billion inbound messages are received each day. That equates to 50 billion text messages sent over WhatsApp each and every day. To put that into perspective, that is more messages sent each day than all SMS messages on every carrier world wide in a 24 hour period.
With many of the largest mobile carriers still charging fees for a set amount of text messages every month, WhatsApp is now the biggest competition in the SMS realm for every wireless carrier in the world. Most of my friends as well as almost everyone I know uses WhatsApp on a daily basis, and many who use it as their sole text messaging platform. With growth like this, I feel that there is no stopping WhatsApp and if the company can released a PC version as well, the sky is the limit on how far WhatsApp will go!
Adobe's Lightroom is a must have in almost every photography enthusiast arsenal of post processing software, and for those who own an iPad, things are about to get even better! According to 9to5Mac, Adobe is preparing to launch a mobile version of the app that will be compatible with Apple's iPad.
9to5Mac says that Lightroom for the iPad will feature a syncing feature that will let it fully utilize file sharing between Mac and PC devices via Adobe Creative Cloud, which will remove the need to store huge RAW files directly on the iPad. Users will have full editing functionality right on their iPad and when finished, can easily sync the photo back into their cloud. The article states that Adobe Lightroom for iPad will require users to enter into an annual contract costing $99 per year.
Microsoft has just updated its Skype for iOS app to include new two-way HD video calling to its users. This new feature brings Skype up to date with its competitors such as Google Hangouts and Apple's Facetime. The update also includes a new lockscreen chat notification feature that lets you preview chat messages the same way text messages appear on the lock screen.
Skype says that chat messages will now sync faster across all devices, and that other minor bug improvements have been made. This update follows a previous one in which the app got a complete makeover to more closely align with the new iOS 7 theme. Users can update or download their app from iTunes from the source link below.
Google Now is one of the most innovative applications for Android ever published, and today that innovation has made its way to the desktop for both PC and Mac by way of the latest alpha release of Google Chrome. Google Now has been integrated into Google Chromes notification center, something we have been expecting to happen since mid 2013.
Google Now for the the desktop is not exactly identical to its mobile counterpart, and some cards are missing at the moment such as the Stock Market Information card. Additionally, the feature is not enabled by default and users must tick off a flag to enable Google Now. Users who wish to take the desktop version of the app for a spin will need to download the Alpha version of Chrome Canary from the source link below.
Today Google pushed its Google Play Movies app to iOS and allows iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch owners to playback movies and TV shows they purchased on Google Play. The app is yet another Google service the company has brought to iOS in the past year and directly competes with iTunes.
The design is almost identical to its Android counterpart, but Apple has heavily restricted what you can do from within the app itself. The most major restriction is that users can not purchase movies or TV shows from within the app and must do so from another device or the web version of Google Play. Additionally, Offline playback is missing, and users can only watch their purchases when connected to Wi-Fi.
In true Google form, its recently acquired Bump and Flock apps will be shutdown effective January 31st 2014. Google acquired Bump and Flock in September and only seemed interested in its talented employees, and not necessarily the apps themselves.
The shutdown announcement came late last night via the company's CEO and founder, David Lieb, who quietly broke the news via blog post last night. Google says that users can export their data by simply using the app and following the export instructions provided. This saddens me asbump is one of the apps that I used most often to trade contact info with colleagues and friends.
Today Microsoft updated its OneNote app for Android which brings forward several features long requested by users. OneNote users on Android can now share notes as they would with any other piece of content on Android, the integration of native sharing also allows users to instantly upload their OneNotes to Microsoft's cloud service.
Additionally, Microsoft has built-in a new OneNote widget that Android users can add to any of their home screens. The widget allows users to view most recent images, recordings and notes as well as pin shortcuts to the home screen. The UI also got a few tweaks to bring it more inline with the Windows 8.1 version of the app.
With over 250,000 downloads and well over 1000 positive ratings in the Apple Store and Google Play, Power-Grid is quickly becoming a huge success. Over the weekend ROCCAT released the first major update to its Power-Grid application, and two new major features were added.
Up first is a new Grid that turns your smartphone into a fully functional track pad and lets users control the mouse or a character in much the same way they would from a track pad on a laptop. Additionally, users can now control the LED back-lighting on the Ryos MK Pro. The lighting sequences that are possible when using Power-Grid are nothing less than spectacular, and honestly quite mind blowing.
Finally, the update brings in an entirely new SDK, which is something I am sure developers will love to hear. "Releasing the Ryos MK Pro Grid is the first step towards combining Power-Grid with ROCCAT hardware. You remember our Phobo keyboard concept? Well, we've been working on that and I can promise you a mind-blowing solution for 2014," says René Korte of ROCCAT.