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Microsoft has announced through its by the Numbers webpage that its Windows Phone Store is now home to over 300,000 apps. This doesn't begin to compare with Apple and Google, but it's a big milestone for Windows Phone, and Microsoft.
A Microsoft spokesperson spoke with The Next Web, where they said: "We have more than 300,000 Windows Phone apps today and the Windows Phone Store continues to grow. In the past year alone the Windows and Windows Phone app catalog has grown 94%, while the number of active developers has grown by 50%".
The company was asked when it reached the 300,000 app milestone, where TNW was told the data: "is as of end of June 2014". If we rewind to December 2013, Microsoft had 200,000 apps and rewinding further to June 2012, it had just 100,000 apps. So we're seeing many more apps uploaded to the Windows Phone Store as time goes on, with over 100,000 apps uploaded within the last six months alone.
Apple TV owners who also like NFL football games and content will get a new channel to enjoy this month. The NFL Now app is heading to the Apple TV according to an image that was leaked by a NFL employee during testing for the app. The app will offer personalized NFL content along with other content.
That other content includes on-demand highlights, extensive archives, and news broadcasts. The channel will also feature content produced by NFL teams with locker room interviews and player features. NFL Films content will also be included on the channel.
Live events and press conferences will be featured as well. The NFL Now app will hit Apple TV in time for fans to enjoy it during the 2014-2015 NFL season. NFL Now app will also be landing on other platforms includes iOS devices, Xbox, and Roku set top boxes.
A game called "Bomb Gaza" has been found on the Google Play Store for Android, prompting outrage as war rages in the Middle East.
Although the app since seems to have been removed, it encouraged players to drop bombs on Gaza from Israeli aircraft and "avoid killing citizens" as they target caricatures of Hamas members. According to Britain's Independent, it was first uploaded on 29 July and was installed as many as 1,000 times. 1,800 Palestinians have so far lost their lives since the most recent assault began, while Israel has said 64 of its soldiers are now dead.
One user slammed the app as "utterly shameful" while another branded it "inhumane" and another still as a "violation of human rights." Users flocked to Twitter to express their disgust at the game, with some urging as many as possible to flag the content, made by developers PLAYFTW, as inappropriate. Other games from the developer include two benign looking titles, called Piano and Space War.
If you are a fan of the Hulu Plus app on your Android smartphone or tablet, you will have some new content to check out thanks to an update. Hulu has announced that Android users out there can now get new content free when using the updated app.
The app already offered a free selection of current content and past episodes of some shows. The update brings free access to Hulu Originals, Anime, Kids, Movies, and Latino libraries of content.
With the update, the Android version of the Hulu Plus app is now on par with the content available on the free ad-supported version of Hulu on the web. The fee for Hulu Plus to unlock all content is $8 monthly.
One of the best things that BlackBerry has going for it right now is that its BlackBerry Messenger or BBM service is very popular with users. BlackBerry is working on opening that BBM ecosystem up to other smartphone users and has announced that it has now launched the BBM app for Windows Phone users.
The big draw for BBM is that it promises to be a secure service for messaging. Last year BlackBerry launched an app for people on the Android operating system and iOS allowing them to use BBM from those rival devices.
With the addition of the BBM for Windows Phone app, the major platforms are now supported. Keeping the BBM platform closed for so long and only allowing BlackBerry devices to use it hurt the service and made it hard to compete with WhatsApp and other rivals for secure messaging.
For users of the Slacker-based Milk Music Premium service from Samsung, you'll be delighted to hear that Samsung is now offering offline listening for its $4 per month Premium option.
The free and paid tiers both remain ad-free, for now, so there's no need to push for the Premium option right now unless you want access to the offline listening side of things. But for $4 per month, you can't complain too much. Samsung will most likely start pumping ads into the free version of Milk Music in the near future, making the Premium option look a little better.
Instagram has announced that it is launching its new instant messaging app, Bolt, in three countries today: New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa. Bolt allows you to send one-tap photo and video messages to your friends.
An Instagram spokesperson explained why we have a limited launch of Bolt: "We decided to start small with Bolt, in just a handful of countries, to make sure we can scale while maintaining a great experience. We expect to roll it out more widely soon". Users will be able to sign up to Bolt using their phone number, without requiring an e-mail address.
From there, they can add friends to their list, and start tapping away to send photos and videos to their friends. Bolt also includes support for text captions, and you can also reply with text, or photos. Bolt works similar to how Snapchat works, where it throws messages away after you've swiped them to the side.
There are many mobile wallet apps out there that allow you to do things like store credit cards and debit cards. There are also different wallet apps that allow you to send money digitally to other users. Amazon has launched a new wallet app called Amazon Wallet that is designed to be used at the point of sale in stores.
Amazon Wallet lacks some of the features you might expect with an inability to store credit cards or debit cards and no ability to send payments. That may not be a big deal to some security conscious users out there. What Amazon Wallet can do is store your gift cards and loyalty cards.
Using the app, you can scan or type in gift card and loyalty card numbers. The goal is to help you reduce clutter in your wallet. Perhaps future updates will let you add in credit and debit cards for use at the point of sale. The Amazon Wallet app is available on the Amazon Appstore and Google Play.
It looks like Google has made the first move in cleaning up its Play store, where it has made it clearer to know what an actual free game is, versus a game that will feature in-app purchases.
The European Commission has requested Google change the way that it markets apps shown on digital storefronts like the Google Play store, with the company moving forward to keep its consumers better informed. This now includes no longer putting up with apps with in-app purchases to call themselves "free". The Mountain View-based search giant has said that it will install new guidelines for games and developers so that kids won't be encouraged to buy items once they are in the game.
The European Commission has taken Apple to task over in-app purchases, asserting that the Cupertino company has failed to protect consumers from their kids racking up enormous bills in misleading "free" apps.
Following a deluge of complaints across the continent, the Commission approached individual countries to consult on what could be done, before approaching Google and Apple themselves. According to the EC, Google decided on some appropriate changes that are due by September this year. Part of Google's proposals included scrubbing the term "free" from any apps that enabled in-app purchases. But the EC insisted it had not yet heard anything concrete from Apple. "No firm commitment and no timing have been provided for the implementation of such possible future changes," the EC said in a statement. "CPC authorities will continue to engage with Apple to ensure that it provides specific details of changes required and put its practices into line with the common position."
Apple suggested the protections currently in place are enough as they are. "The parental controls in iOS are strong, intuitive and customizable," a spokesperson told the Irish Independent. "And over the last year we've made sure any app which enables customers to make in-app purchases is clearly marked."