More and more companies are releasing apps for Windows 8. Amazon has just joined the party with the release of their Kindle app for Windows 8. The app will allow users to read their collection of Kindle eBooks on both Windows 8 and Windows RT. Of course, the app comes with all the features you've come to expect from Amazon and Kindle.
This means the app supports Amazon's Whispersync technology, which "automatically syncs your furthest page read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights across all your devices that have the Kindle app installed and across any Kindle device." It even comes with the ability to pin your favorite Kindle books to the home screen.
This is great! No longer will I have to wait those extra few seconds to start reading Fifty Shades of Grey. Joking aside, this is a nice feature of the app, and a Kindle app should be well received and welcomed on the new Windows 8 and Windows RT platform. After all, there will be many more potential customers for Amazon with all of these new Windows 8 tablets shipping.
Here's reason enough to switch to Apple's walled garden: less chance of malware. Malware is increasingly becoming a problem for the Android operating system, no doubt due in part to its openness and the ability for anyone to post an app to the Play Store. Also sideloading apps furthers this problem.
Don't believe me? Well, a new study shows that Android malware grew by 580 percent in the previous year. An incredible 175 million downloads were of apps deemed "High Risk." And these app downloads came from Google Play's Top 500. Let's stop the scare tatics, though, and focus on reality. For the most part, Android users will be safe from malware.
That 580 percent statistic is misleading. Malware samples grew from 4,951 in September 2011 to only 28,707 in September 2012. So while the 580 percent statistic is true, it's highly misleading. Looking at it in terms of total apps, roughly 1.69 percent of all Android apps are malware, though most of those are not in the Play Store.
Furthermore, "High Risk" does not mean malware. It just means the app has the potential ability to steal data, damage privacy, make payments, or various other nefarious activities that could have legitimate uses.
Windows Store is slowly filling with apps in the lead-up to the unveiling (well, official launch) of Windows 8. Skype has officially added their app to the Windows Store and anybody running a preview copy (or full, MSDN, TechNet, etc copy) can download the app from the Windows Store and get in touch with friends.
The Skype App is compatible with both versions of Windows--Windows 8 and Windows RT--meaning you'll be able to use it on your shiny new Surface tablet, as soon as it arrives. The app definitely looks polished, and that is probably due in part to it being developed by Microsoft. After all, they have to make the new platform attractive to potential customers.
Skype was acquired by the technology giant for a few billion dollars, and Microsoft has been working on integrating the video chat service with its products since then. Skype should soon be making its way onto the Xbox platform as well, as Microsoft works to unify the experience across all of its platforms.
There are only a few days until Windows 8 launches, with Mountain View-based search giant Google releasing a dedicated search application for Windows 8 ahead of the operating system's release on Friday.
Google Search for Windows 8 is available right now in the Windows Store for free as an alternative to Microsoft-owned Bing, the default search engine in Internet Explorer on Windows 8. Google Search for Windows 8 isn't just a search app either, it is a portal to other Google services.
Google Search for Windows 8 acts as a portal to Gmail, Calendar, Maps, Drive and Reader - all while the main interface sports a simple large search bar including voice search, if you want to just talk into the PC for your searching needs.
Folding@Home stops folding for the PlayStation 3, has added over 100 million computation hours to research
I still remember when the PlayStation 3 was first teased, dual HDMI outputs, PS2 compatibility, tonnes of USB ports, Folding@Home support and oh so much more - well, one-by-one those features are being taken away.
Sony have taken to their PS3 software update post, announcing that the Folding@Home service would go into retirement next month when the PS3's 4.30 update arrives.
Folding@Home ties into Stanford University's work on protein folding and research into causes of diseases like Alzeihmer's. Until now, it had reached 15 million PS3 owners, which offered the second greatest contribution, only to have Windows machines beat them. PS3 owners have added 100 million computation hours into the research project.
Windows 8's release is just around the corner. On October 26, Microsoft will officially unveil their latest iteration of the Windows operating system. As most of you know, Windows 8 features an app store, much like the Mac Store and App Store on iOS, and the Google play Store on Android. What wasn't known, however, is what we would be seeing available there at launch.
Companies and developers have started to come out with announcements that their products would be available in the Windows Store. Hulu is one of those developers and they have announced that a Hulu Plus app will be available in the Windows Store as of October 26 to coincide with the launch of Windows 8.
The app will allow users to browse the plethora of content available through Hulu. It has, of course, been optimized for the touch-enabled systems and tablets that Windows 8 has been designed for. The regional rules for content still apply to the app, though I doubt anyone expected anything different.
We're sure to see loads of new apps for Windows 8 being announced through the coming week, and we'll try to make you informed about the most important ones.
Before Microsoft pushes out the mandatory Dashboard update to the Xbox 360, they have decided to do some spring cleaning. This spring cleaning comes in the form of the Redmond-based software giant removing social networking apps Twitter and Facebook from their Xbox 360.
The new Dashboard update is in the process of rolling out across the world, and from now on users won't be able to read or update their status through the Xbox 360 itself once the apps have been removed.
A Microsoft representative spoke to IGN saying "we're retiring the Facebook and Twitter apps" in something they push to "streamline" app functionality on the console. Microsoft were asked if the social networking apps would return in the future, which is something they wouldn't comment on at the time.
Facebook for Android has been updated today, with the 16MB-or-so app now including three changes. The first of which speeds up photo tagging, another new change is you can now select an album that your pictures get uploaded to, and thirdly a photo upload bug has been squashed.
Facebook are really into photos, so these changes are very welcome to those who use Facebook regularly for photo uploading and tagging. The official change log for this update doesn't really state much:
- Faster photo tagging.
- Choose an album when uploading photos.
- Fixed photo upload bug affecting people using certain languages.
I've updated the app on my Galaxy S II running Jelly Bean and it doesn't seem too bad at all so far, but it's not a native app and I'm really hanging out for that - come on, Facebook.
Mozilla have launched the latest Aurora-based Firefox for Android which includes the browser maker opening the doors to the Firefox Marketplace for early adopters and testers. With the name "Firefox Marketplace" you should be able to guess that this is Mozilla's version of Google's Web Store for Chrome.
Firefox Marketplace lets users browse around looking for mobile web apps, and allows developers to show off their web apps. These apps will run in full-screen mode and can be pinned to the home screen.
The idea behind the early release of Firefox Marketplace is to "collect as much real-life feedback as possible about the Marketplace's design, usability, performance, reliability, and content", according to Firefox engineering manager Bill Walker. Walker also pushes that it is meant to be an open ecosystem, where "users have choices and developers have control over their content, functionality and distribution".
Facebook have announced they've updated the Android SDK bringing it to beta 3.0. Facebook's new changes have been called the "biggest overhaul" yet, which are mostly aimed toward making it easier and quicker to develop Android apps which work with Facebook.
The social network are also trying to make third-party interfaces more consistant, offering new native UI control packs built-in caching in order to make the whole experience faster. Developers will also now receive the ability to integrate friend tagging and calling up nearby places. New login controls to manage authentication are said to help apps call up your Facebook identities and hold onto them, without you having to authenticate more than a few times.
Hopefully this means we see the native Facebook for Android application soon, like iOS receives a few weeks ago.
Rovio has released a new trailer for its upcoming Star Wars based Angry Birds game. The new video is the second to feature actual real footage from Star Wars, curious because George Lucas has traditionally been somewhat stingy with the usage rights for the film. This footage comes from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
In the video scene, we see Han Solo boast about his Millennium Falcon. Rovio explains that this is "one of the few times Lucasfilm has allowed for such use of the original material." The hint from this film comes in the form of the slingshot being placed on top of the Millennium Falcon. Any ideas as to what this could mean?
What do you think about the new trailer? What hints do you see? Are you excited for the new Angry Birds game?
Microsoft may have released Zune which failed to really take off or compete with Apple's iTunes, but it looks like Microsoft is back yet again with a new competitor for Apple: Xbox Music.
Xbox Music is an all-in-one digital music service that will throw the 30 million tracks available to users through the Xbox 360 gaming console to Microsoft PCs, tablets and smartphones running the Redmond-based company's Windows 8 and Windows RT operating systems.
There are three parts of this new venture, the first is a free streaming service that will be ad-supported and limited to a certain number of hours after six months. A premium, unlimited, ad-free streaming option is also available at around $10 a month, and consumers will also have the option to simply purchase and download any track from the catalogue.
Developers of Android applications will be pleased to hear that Google has heard your complaints and updated the Android developer console to make it easier to use. As the system stands, there are some significant difficulties seeing whether or not an app is published and is generally confusing to use.
"At its core, the Developer Console is how you put your app in front of hundreds of millions of Android users around the world, and track how your app is doing," the company said in a blog post. "We hope that with a streamlined publishing flow, new language options, and new user ratings statistics, you'll have better tools for delivering great Android apps that delight users."
Like most updates offered by companies, the new version is faster, sleeker, and easier to use, or so Google says. By the looks of it, this is true, though I'm no Android developer. The new version features loads of new analytics with charts and graphs everywhere. Developers can see data by device, country, language, carrier, Android version, or app version.
However, a few features from the old console are not compatible with the new version, so Google has left in the option to switch between views so that those few features are still accessible by developers. Part of the reason that Apple products have so many great apps is that developing is easy. Hopefully this new update will aid Android developers do the same.
Apple haven't been having happy days lately, their shares prices are at a bad low right now, the iPhone 5 didn't sell anywhere near analysts expectations. On top of that, their decision to throw Maps on iOS 6, ditching Google Maps for iOS hasn't gone down well, either.
Google have since then been reportedly working on releasing Google Maps for iOS, with App Map developer Ben Guild posting some early details and partial screenshots of the Mountain View-based company's Map application for iOS.
According to the developer, the standalone version of Google Maps for iOS is in alpha testing, but has some great improvements over the previous Google Maps app. This includes the new app being vector-based, sporting two-finger rotation on any angle, and is "super fast". Best of all, it supports the new, taller 4-inch iPhone 5 screen.
Android Police have some great news for Gmail for Android fans, where in Android 4.2 you'll have pinch-to-zoom abilities in the Gmail app. Also included with Android 4.2 is a new swipe to delete/archive, as shown in the video below.
The video above was done on a Galaxy Nexus running Android 4.2, meaning that the new abilities aren't limited to just Android 4.2 which is great. Android Police have noticed that the 'About' screen notes it's Gmail version 4.2.
Swipe to archive/delete is as simple as swiping a notification away, where you can swipe an e-mail out of your inbox, or archive it somewhere. Google give you some nice options, where you can change your swipes to "No effect", "Archive or delete" or "Always Delete". The default option is set to "Archive or delete" which will send swiped messages into archiving when you're in the inbox, delete swiped messages when you'er in All Mail or Sent, and remove a label when you're in label-only view.
I was laying in bed last night and grabbed my Nexus 7 that I have on my bedside table, I turned it on and hit the Google Play store to have a look around. I noticed that the menu looked different, so I looked closer and noticed that "Magazines" now appeared - finally, the Australian Play Store has magazines!
Cool, I thought, I'll check it out and purchase a magazine to see how it is. I download the app, purchase a magazine from an Australian technology magazine "PC & Tech Authority", lay down and proceed to enjoy reading it. Well, I couldn't because Google Play Magazines doesn't quite work yet.
The app itself doesn't open, and requires an update, which you can't tap the option to do so. You can see in the picture above, just below where it says "GOOGLE INC.", there should be an "Update", and "Open" tab, but there is not. So I have now wasted $4.99 on a magazine that I can't read. I'm sure it'll work soon enough, but it's disappointing to see Google launch a new section of their Play store, and have it fail on day one.
Anyway, the new Magazine part of the Play store offers countless titles from major Australian publishers like Haymarket Media, ACP Magazines and Pacific Magazines. Also thrown into the mix are a bunch of publishers from overseas, and the option of a once off purchase or subscription-based service is offered. Prices aren't too bad, where they either match the price of Apple's Newsstand, or they're slightly cheaper.
Microsoft Office is looking to jump over to Android and iOS, with evidence coming from Microsoft product manager, Petr Bobek, reportedly telling Czech site IHNED that Office is headed for the mobile OS' of Google and Apple in 2013.
The Verge have also stepped up and said that they've had their eyes locked on a press release from the Redmond-based company's Czech Republic team, which confirmed that the productivity suite is coming to Android and iOS, joining other operating systems like Windows Phone, Windows RT, Mac OS and Symbian.
The press release states that Office 2013 would be available for businesses in December, with a consumer launch not until the end of February or early-March 2013.
GoPro cameras are pretty slick. They're pretty indestructible and perfect for recording a point-of-view video of your extreme adventures, whether that be snowboarding, base jumping, or sky diving. Unfortunately, as it currently stands, users have to remove the camera from their head mount to adjust what they are recording.
That's all about to change with GoPro's new app for iOS devices which allows users to link a HD Hero2 camera through the WiFi BacPac to your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. Once linked, users can adjust camera settings from anywhere nearby. All of the cameras settings are available to be adjusted through the new app.
The Next Web brings up a great idea that should be added to the app. They suggest the ability to preview what is being recorded so as to allow adjusting the angle of the camera to be done easier. The app also connects users to the company's Photo and Video of the Day so that you can try and outdo fellow GoProers.
An Android version is reported to be in the works. A release date is not currently known.
Google have just pushed in a bunch of input tools to their Gmail client, which will allow users to access a new variety of languages and layout tools. With these new features, Gmail has the proud ability to brag it supports typing in 75 languages.
These new tools include over 100 virtual keyboards, transliteration and IMEs (input method editors). You can now swap between languages with a single click once you've enabled the tools under Language in your Gmail settings.
Once you've flicked the switch on input tools, you'll see a new Input Tools button that will appear in your toolbar, where you can toggle these tools on and off. Virtual keyboards and IMEs is a move from Google that will see many more flock to the web-based e-mail client, and will see better use of keyboards instead of having to get an expensive multilanguage keyboard setup or overlay. Nice move, Google.
Bit of short news bit, but we look to be on the cusp of seeing social networking site, Facebook, release a native Android app very soon. Engadget have reported the news from an anonymous tipster.
This tipster has said that the native Android application is close to its final testing, and it should be ready any day now. The HTML5-powered Android application should be announced by the social network soon, and we'll post it up as news when it hits.
Are you looking forward to a native application? I know that my Jelly Bean-powered devices are drooling for it, and I'm quite the Facebook addict myself.
There are more people on Android than iOS, but how do those numbers break up when it comes to the biggest social network site on the world, Facebook? Well, Android comes out on top, just.
20.1% of Facebook users are connected through an Android-based devices, compared to just 18.9% of users who run the social networking app on iOS. This data is coming from social advertising and analytics platform Optimal, cited by Inside Facebook.
Optimal also states that there are roughly 189.8 million active users on Android, and around 178.3 million active iOS users, with bot hof these numbers including users accessing the app and browser-based site. Optimal is using the figures from the 944.2 million monthly active users that they found through the Facebook Ads API, and not the full 1 billion users.