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Secret founder pulls plug on anonymous mobile communications app

Social chat app Secret is closing, with operations winding down in the next few weeks. The app was used by more than 15 million people and allowed for open communication with a certain level of anonymity that is unavailable on other social networking sites.

 

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"After a lot of thought and consultation with our board, I've decided to shut down Secret," said David Byttow, co-founder of Secret, in a blog post. "This has been the hardest decision of my life and one that saddens me deeply. Unfortunately, Secret does not represent the vision I had when starting the company, so I believe it's the right decision for myself, our investors and our team."

 

Byttow says most of the team has moved on already, and he will help remaining staff find new opportunities elsewhere. The company helped raise $35 million after three successful rounds of venture capitalist funding, with Secret once valued close to $100 million.

Continue reading 'Secret founder pulls plug on anonymous mobile communications app' (full post)

Microsoft including Android, iOS apps for Windows 10 phones

Microsoft is opening the door for Google Android and Apple iOS app developers to port their software and games to Microsoft Windows 10. If everything works out, more Windows 10 apps will be available to users, and developers won't be forced to rebuild the app from scratch.

 

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"Initially it will be analogous to what Amazon offers," said Terry Myerson, executive VP of operating systems at Microsoft, in a statement to The Verge. "If they're using some Google API... we have created Microsoft replacements for those APIs."

 

The company, which hopes to give new life to its smartphone and tablet effort with Windows 10, will give Android and iOS developers access to new software development kits (SDKs). "We want to enable developers to leverage their current code and current skills to start building those Windows applications in the Store, and to be able to extend those applications."

Continue reading 'Microsoft including Android, iOS apps for Windows 10 phones' (full post)

Facebook enables video calling through Messenger

If you're in constant communication with friends, family and loved ones, video calls can really come in handy. Until now, it is something that has been mostly dominated by the likes of Skype and Hangouts, but now Facebook is joining the fold with Messenger.

 

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Messenger is now capable of video calls thanks to the latest app for both iOS and Android, where a single tap has you starting a video call with a friend. Facebook has rolled the feature out to 18 countries across the world, including the US and UK. Let us know what you think, especially if you use something like Skype or Hangouts for your video calls.

Google lets developers test Android apps in Windows, Linux and Mac

Google has released the Arc Welder tool that is able to test Android apps on any device with a Chrome browser, opening the door to cross-platform testing on Microsoft Windows, Linux distributions, and Mac OS X.

 

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Arc Welder is currently in beta/developer preview right now, and can only run one app at a time. Once it has been downloaded, interested users must download and install APK files, which can be done using something like Raccoon.

 

There is still a discussion among many coders saying it's better to have natively created apps, but a conversion tool seems to be a step in the right direction.

Continue reading 'Google lets developers test Android apps in Windows, Linux and Mac' (full post)

Gartner: Mobile app usage mellowing, as adoption matures

The current marketplace for mobile apps is maturing and usage is mellowing, according to a survey from the Gartner research group.

 

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Users are integrating apps more deeply into their lives, but it's now becoming more difficult for app providers to try to stay one step ahead. App creators must focus on development, marketing and branding as even more apps seem to hit the market for smartphone and tablet users.

 

"It's not that smartphone users have lost interest in apps, users remain excited about what apps can do for them in their daily lives, including for work and nonwork app scenarios," said Brian Blau, research director at Gartner. "However, app users need to be convinced about the value of the app. Their willingness for new app experiences is open-ended, but their plan is to keep their same patterns of use. Users will try new apps, but they need to be convinced of an app's value before they adopt them and change use patterns over the long term."

Continue reading 'Gartner: Mobile app usage mellowing, as adoption matures' (full post)

Gmail for Android updates with new 'All Inboxes' option

Google has released an updated version of Gmail for Android that includes a new "All Inboxes" option which does exactly what it sounds like; offers all of your inboxes in one spot.

 

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Even if you have inboxes from Outlook or Yahoo, Gmail for Android will display them, and you'll be able to read and reply to each e-mail, without swapping tabs or logging out. The Mountain View-based search giant has also teased that e-mail threads from external accounts will now be displayed with the same threaded conversation format that internal Gmail e-mails use.

 

The new integrated accounts will also make use of the improved autocomplete function, larger attachment previews and one-touch saves to your Google Drive account.

Growing number of people in US embracing mobile banking apps, services

A growing number of mobile users in the United States are relying on smartphones and tablets to access their bank accounts, using apps and mobile websites.

 

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Thirty nine percent of mobile phone owners are using mobile banking in 2014, a slight increase from 29 percent in 2012 and 33 percent in 2013, according to a survey from the Federal Reserve.

 

If you have a bank account, chances are very good that your bank has a mobile app that you can utilize to check your balance, recent transactions, and other typical activities. Regional and national banks are pushing users towards mobile banking - and it's becoming a major selling point - as 26 percent of respondents noted they switched banks in the past year because of a more enjoyable mobile experience elsewhere.

3D Robotics releases DroneKit open source API for app development

3D Robotics has released the DroneKit API for drone app development, and the free open software can be used for drone apps or onboard drone software.

 

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The purpose of releasing the API for the community is so those interested in drones are able to customize how they use them in the field. DroneKit allows for waypoint flight paths, drones can follow GPS targets, view playbacks and log analysis of flights, and other advantages currently unavailable.

 

"Unlike other APIs for drones, there are no levels of access to DroneKit; it's completely flexible and open," said Brandon Basso, VP of software engineering for 3DR. "The platform works on laptops as well as mobile devices. Best of all, once an app is created, the app automatically works on any computing platform - the interface is always the same."

IBM: Mobile app developers aren't focusing enough on security

Even though mobile apps are becoming more popular in the workplace, ensuring the apps are secure isn't a major priority. Companies must ensure that apps are properly tested to make sure only authorized users have access to data, even if that makes bring your own device (BYOD) a bit more complicated.

 

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"Building security into mobile apps is not top-of-mind for companies, giving hackers the opportunity to easily reverse-engineer apps, jailbreak mobile devices and tap into confidential data," said Caleb Barlow, VP of mobile management and security at IBM, in a statement.

 

Security verification is important, and companies that neglect this process leave themselves open - especially when apps access company Wi-Fi networks, and are used to share corporate documents. Even worse, clever hackers are finding new ways to breach confidential networks, relying on unsecure mobile apps as an entry point.

McDonald's embracing technology to stay ahead of fast food competition

McDonald's wants to fully embrace technology to boost sales and keep one step ahead of fast food and fast casual restaurants. The company could use kiosks, wearables, smartphones, mobile apps, and other technology solutions to give customers a wider method of ordering food.

 

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One such development could be using next-generation kiosks, so customers can walk into a restaurant, sync a smartphone to the kiosk, and receive food recommendations, see order history, and get an updated menu.

 

"We see the experience being made so much better through technology," said Atif Rafiq, chief digital officer at McDonald's, in a statement to Fast Company. "It's an environment where it's really built around you as opposed to operations of a restaurant."

Continue reading 'McDonald's embracing technology to stay ahead of fast food competition' (full post)

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