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Google Android and Apple iOS users are likely familiar with having just about any app available to them, but Microsoft Phone and BlackBerry users have a significantly smaller number of apps to choose from. However, that's something BlackBerry CEO John Chen wants to hopefully change in the future, as the effort to boost BlackBerry sales continues.
Chen believes these "app neutrality" laws could help even the playing field, despite Android and iOS clearly leading the mobile market.
"Unlike BlackBerry, which allows iPhone users to download and use our BBM service, Apple does not allow BlackBerry or Android users to download Apple's iMessage messaging service," Chen recently stated in an open letter. "Netflix, which has forcefully advocated for carrier neutrality, has discriminated against BlackBerry customers by refusing to make its streaming movie service available to them."
Starbucks continues its mobile dominance, racking up 7 million smartphone purchases per week, and mobile payments now account for 16 percent of total transactions, the company confirmed earlier this week. Starbucks has heavily promoted its My Starbucks Rewards program, with the loyalty program offering discounts and free perks to frequent customers.
Furthermore, Starbucks hopes app-based ordering will cut order lines down, helping both mobile and non-mobile users.
There is a growing number of mobile users browsing a store's website or app, but they still tend to rely on cash and debit or credit cards when making a purchase. Somehow, Starbucks has found a way to convert many store customers into mobile shoppers - and continues to build momentum.
WhatsApp users will be happy with the news that the Facebook-owned messaging giant has finally released a web-based client. The 700 million people that use the application might find this very, very handy.
The web-based version of WhatsApp isn't a dedicated piece of software you download, but that's OK. To get it, you can visit the WhatsApp Web page using Google Chrome as your web browser, and scan the QR code with the WhatsApp application on your smartphone to log in. It's definitely different to require this procedure to log in, as the web client is still using your phone number for its SMS verification, exactly as the WhatsApp app does.
What this means is that the web-based client on your desktop will still keep your messages on your phone, so you'll need your smartphone connected to the Internet during your web session of WhatsApp. This sounds like a hassle, but let's face it, when isn't your smartphone connected to the Internet? Especially to the 700 million strong crowd of WhatsApp users?
Mobile devices have given us access to countless conveniences, including the ability to manage our finances from anywhere. Fifty-one percent of smartphone owners use their devices for some form of mobile banking, according to a 2013 Federal Reserve study. As we continue to embrace the use of mobile apps to help us track our money and monitor our finances, check out our list of the top five financial apps that help us stay organized.
Formerly known as Easy Envelope Budget Aid, this app hasn't abandoned its core concept; Goodbudget lets you quickly categorize your income into self-categorized "envelopes," with labels such as rent, groceries, gas, healthcare and utilities. Users then categorize their spending along these lines and their budget is adjusted, just like in the tried-and-true envelope method of budgeting. The free version of the Goodbudget app enables users to create 10 unique envelopes for personal budgeting, while paid subscribers can create unlimited budget envelopes as well as sync their app across five devices.
Evernote is an entire workspace in a single app, helping you to quickly search and collect everything from Web articles to handwritten notes. While not a traditional financial app, Evernote works well for groups looking to get on the same page across their organization. Evernote enables organizations to manage their expenses by organizing receipts, invoices and bills and share in a collaborative workspace. Searchable and shareable, Evernote is a fantastic resources for those who must collaborate in the search to find a financial balance with multiple contributors.
According to Facebook's David Marcus, it looks like a new voice transcription feature will soon be baked into Messenger. This new transcribing feature would take a sound clip that you either send or receive to a friend, and transcribes the content of the message into text, just below the voice clip.
Marcus has said that Facebook is testing the new transcribing feature on a very limited basis, explaining "Our plan is to test this feature at a tiny scale for now and we're looking forward to seeing what you think of it before making the experience more widely available". We should expect the new transcribing feature to roll out on Messenger sometime in the near future.
This brings me back to my high school days, playing Stick Cricket throughout my computing class while pretending to complete assignments. Well if you haven't kept up-to-date or have no idea what Stick Cricket is, you're in for an awakening. With over 28,000 followers on Twitter and over 15 million app downloads - this game which started out as a cool browser time-waster has become a rather large project.
It's basically a very simplistic and addictive way to play Cricket on your phone or PC, allowing simple controls for users to slog it out and take a break from their Candy Crush Saga addition. If you haven't heard, there was a tragedy recently in the Cricket world, seeing Aussie player Phillip Hughes cop a nasty hit to the back of a head while batting, courtesy of a 'bouncer' (a ball which was bowled and ended up around head height) and eventually saw his life support being switched off.
Stick Cricket decided to change their simple app to reflect respect towards this occurrence. Previously if a bouncer was missed, your character would be struck on the head, eventually falling onto the stump and classifying you as out. However due to this tragedy taking place, Stick Sports' Creative Director, Colin Rowe, has stated in an interview to News.com.au that "we felt that the landscape had changed," further adding"it was there for comedic value, and when we first made Stick Cricket, no one had ever died from a head blow in professional cricket, so we felt justified to add the comedy. It's sobering now and no longer funny, so we had a team meeting the day Phillip Hughes died and put plans to change the game with the very next update."
Ever been frustrated at your power nap that's turned sour? Sometimes you'll lie down for a quick 15 minute snooze and end up waking 3 hours later feeling much worse than you did previously. We've been contacted by Phase4 Mobile and they claim to have a solution.
Their Power Nap HQ iOS application can be used on Apple iPhone and iPod Touch systems and is designed to prevent you from napping for too long - said to ensure you always wake up fresh and alert. According to their latest information release, the Power Nap HQ works by using "proprietary algorithms to monitor and track your sleep, waking you up at just the right moment." There's some other cool features mentioned, like "after your nap you can view your nap profile on a graph and even compare it to your previous naps."
CES 2015 - Smartphone, smartwatch, smartring, smartpen - everything is smart these days. Giving users the ability to share, store and create information like never before. Smartpen manufacturer Livescribe inc. has just announced they will be supporting Android OS as of this Autumn, using their new Livescribe 3 product as the launching platform.
The Livescribe+ app was designed with Android in mind, supporting Android KitKat 4.4 and above and Bluetooth Low Energy capable devices. Gilles Bouchard, Livescribe's CEO, explained in their recent press release about the partnerships and lead-up to this release, stating that "since launch, we've been adding new features to Livescribe+ for iOS and also introducing expanded functionality through partnerships with Moleskine, Evernote, Microsoft and Fluid Touch. Now we can start to bring those innovations to Android devices this spring and combine the physical world of pen and paper with Android smartphones and tablets."
The Android edition will feature the key points included within the iOS version of this app, including handy features such as the ability to transfer notes from Livescribe 3 pens and search your handwriting and convert it to digital text.
A new app is hitting the market, with Strings capable of un-sending those messages that you didn't want to send in the first place. Maybe you were drunk, maybe you didn't mean to send them, Strings will un-send those items for you.
Strings works like any other messaging app, such as WhatsApp, except it allows you to take back messages after you've sent them. It will work with multiple formats, including text messages, e-mails, photos and videos of unlimited length, and more. The sender also has control of whether or not the recipient has the ability to save, and download the sent content.
The offending material is deleted from the recipients' smartphone, and Strings' servers permanently, as soon as the request is put into the app. The biggest thing here, is that both sides need to be using the app, which will surely cut down on the usefulness of Strings. But, at least it's here, and available for people to use. Strings is available from the App Store for iDevices, with an update arriving in a week or so. Android devices should get it in the future, but there's no word on that yet.
Ahead of CES 2015 next week in Las Vegas, automaker Hyundai a new app that car owners will be able to use to remotely start their vehicles. The Hyundai Blue Link smartwatch app allows users to tap an icon or use voice commands to execute functions before stepping into their vehicles.
"This new app expands Hyundai's exploration into how wearable technology and Blue Link fit into a customer's lifestyle," said Barry Ratzlaff, executive director of the customer connect and service business development for Hyundai Motor America, in a press statement. "Connecting to your car through a smartwatch and voice recognition was previously something seen only in science fiction movies. Now, we can provide this capability to owners of Hyundai vehicles equipped with Blue Link."
Features include remote engine start, remote engine stop, remote door lock/unlock, remote flash lights/honk horn, car finder, and the ability to call Roadside and Blue Link assistance.