This morning, Nokia Asha owners have one more reason to use the phone today. Nokia has announced that the popular professional networking site LinkedIn has just released an app for the full-touch versions of its Asha smartphones, making it even easier to stay in touch with colleagues and coworkers.
"LinkedIn for Nokia Asha essentially brings the most popular features of LinkedIn to an app built specifically for Asha touch devices," said LinkedIn's Giovanni Iachello, responsible for international product management. It's made up of four main features:
- Update Stream: Keep up to date with your network and access information about your industry. You can like, comment and share updates to stay in the loop with what's going on.
- Inbox: Accept connection requests and communicate with your contacts.
- Search: Search through the global network of over 225 million LinkedIn members. There's also a People You May Know feature, which suggests professionals you may know and want to connect with, based on your current contacts.
- Profile: Check out your own profile, and see who's been viewing you. You can reach out to them with a message or an invitation to connect.
Today, Microsoft announced an update to its Bing for Windows Phone 8 app that brings forth several months of refining user experience on mobile. Once updated, users will notice that search filters have been reduced to just three which include web, images, and video, which will help greatly with providing more relevant content on the first screen.
The app will also show more usable results on the main screen with immediate results for searches such as flight schedules, movies, and word definitions. Infinite scrolling has been added to photo searches as well as auto-sized thumbnails. Not everyone will get the update immediately as Microsoft plans to roll it out nationwide over the next few weeks. No information was released on when the worldwide rollout will take place.
Today, Google announced a new app that will soon help Android owners track down there lost or stolen devices. The app is named Android Device Manager and will allow users to track down their device on a map in real-time as well as activate the ringer or even delete the phone's contents before any sensitive information has been stolen.
Google says that the new app will be available on Android devices that run version 2.2 or higher. Given that 98.7 percent of all Android devices out in the wild today run Android 2.2 or better, it is safe to say that almost any phone or tablet has the possibility of being easily located if lost or stolen. Theoretically, parents can even use this feature to track their children, or any other Android phones they may have access to.
Google says that the app will be available in the Google Play Store later this month and will be available free of charge. Apple has had similar functionality for iOS devices for years, and I have always wondered why Google never released anything similar for Android.
Google released Android 4.3 into the wild last week, but the latest iteration in their mobile OS includes some improvements to Photo Sphere. Photo Sphere is used to take 360-degree photos, and is quite a nice ability of Android.
The latest software improvements to Photo Sphere in Android 4.3 make it easier to upload and share pictures on Google Maps. Google have taken the how-to a step further by providing a couple of handy tips:
- Hold the phone close to your body
- Keep the phone in portrait orientation
- Make full rotations holding the phone at each angle until a full 360 is achieved
If you're a Cut the Rope addict, you might want to prepare yourselves for the "Cheese Box" update, which will add 25 more levels to the physics-based puzzle game.
The 25 new levels will feature cheese-filled backgrounds, if you're into that kind of thing. Since Cut the Rope launched in 2010, it has had 15 updates, with the latest Cheese Box update seeing you use mice to catch and carry food. The trailer above should give you a good idea of what to expect.
Google pushed out an update to its Drive app for iOS this morning. The update brings forward several new features including the ability to open links from within files in either Chrome or Safari. The app also allows users to insert new rows and columns by using the "+" button in Google Sheets.
Version 1.5.0 of the app also addresses several bugs and has improved overall app stabilization, which should alleviate some of the app crashes that some iOS users have reported. Reports say that the app now appears to be faster overall and more responsive. No updates were made to the Android version of the app. Windows Phone users as well as those running BlackBerry 10 have nothing to worry about as Google has yet to release a Drive app for either of the alternative mobile operating systems.
Apple introduced podcasts as a huge part of iTunes eight years ago now, and in that time they've seen some mammoth success with their software. It has become the center of Apple's consumers digital lives.
Now, the company have passed 1 billion podcast subscriptions, with the milestone being celebrated. Apple are using the milestone to highlight some of their most popular podcasts, which include This American Life, TWiT and All Songs Considered, as well as an upcoming program called The Alton Browncast. I would've expected more from the milestone, such as the company giving away something for free, but whatever, Apple.
BlackBerry has not made any attempt to hide the fact that its mobile messaging service, BlackBerry Messenger, will be coming to Android and iOS this summer. The company has, however, been quite tight lipped on when exactly BBM will launch on both platforms. In a recent interview, India's managing director for BlackBerry accidentally let a hint slip that September could be the official launch month for BBM on Android.
"The service is coming to Android this summer. But summer as per North America, where it remains till September," said Sunil Lalvani. He did not elaborate whether or not his claim actually meant it would arrive at the end of September nor did he make any mention of a release date for iOS.
Previously we were led to believe that BBM would make its Android and iOS debut sometime on or around June 27 but that date has obviously come and gone. BBM on iOS and Android could play a major role in companies who have multiple smartphones all running different operating systems but need a central form of mobile messaging. Some analysts say that it could once again become the de facto messaging service for professionals on the go.
Today, Evernote updated its app for iOS and added some new features that are sure to make its users happy. The update mostly includes features that make organization much easier including things like Shortcuts, Related Notes, and Skitch integration. This new support for Skitch allows users to have the app annotate their images and notes with Skitch and they will show up at Evernote.
As you would expect, the newly integrated Shortcuts feature allows users to "shortcut" important notes, notebooks, and even tags so they are easily accessed for quick use. Additionally, your shortcuts will sync across all devices and versions of Evernote which makes cross-platform organization much easier. The new shortcuts feature is similar to the old "Favorites" section which only allowed the pinning of notes.
Don't worry premium users of Evernote, you are not left out in this update as you now have the ability to annotate PDF documents using Skitch. Another new feature called Related Notes will search when a new note is started and recommend additional posts that may be helpful or related. Evernote for iOS is available for free in the App Store with a premium version costing users $4.99 a month or $44.99 per year.
After some licensing issues arose back in 2011, VideoLAN decided to pull their popular VLC media player app from Apple's App Store until all the issues were sorted out. Over the past two years, the developers have been working hard at bringing VLC back to iOS and making it better than ever.
Tomorrow, July 19, VLC Media Player will make its triumphant return to the App Store and will be accompanied by both the Mozilla Public License Version 2 as well as the GPL V2 license which will alleviate any further questions on its legality. VideoLAN says that the app will be 100 percent free and have new features that will be sure to put a smile on everyone's face.
The app has been completely rewritten from the ground up and will play all of the file types that its PC and Mac version already does. The company says that getting files into VLC will now be much easier thanks to Dropbox integration, Wi-Fi syncing, and web downloads. Reports are coming in that say the app is much faster than the previous version which should negate streaming issues.
A new app has just hit the smartphone markets and it aims to serve up audio news much in the same way the Pandora handles music. Swell actually launched back in June and featured content from NPR, American Public Media, ABC news, the BBC, Ted talks, and many others. Today, the company announced that they have raised $5.4 million in Series A funding.
This round was led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson and included investors like Google Ventures, InterWest Partners, and Correlation Ventures among others. This tops the company's seed funding round by almost $3 million, which was led by Google Ventures, Charles River Ventures, DFJ, Andreessen Horowitz, and other angel investors.
Swell works much like Pandora and once you start the app, you just let it run. In the event you don't like what it's playing, simply swipe to skip it. You're also able to choose topics that appeal better to you such as technology, world news, health and wellness, and many more. With it being out in the wild for over a month, it appears that the app is a success with the company saying that users listen for 30 minutes on average their first time using the app and returning users spending more than 110 minutes per week using the app.
Google have released a very nice update to Chrome for iOS which now includes some highly anticipated features such as fullscreen web browsing on the iPad, and giving users full access to their browsing history.
Chrome for iOS now includes improved integration with Google's other apps on iOS, where after you've signed into your Google account in Chrome, you can quickly sign into other Google apps with a single tap. You can also choose to have certain links open in the native Maps, YouTube, Google+ and Google Driev apps, instead of displaying them in Chrome.
Something Google decided to throw into the Chrome for iOS bag of tricks is an experimental data compression service. This feature has been on the beta version of Chrome for Android for a few months now, but iOS users can now play around with it. I've been using it on my smartphone for a few weeks and it definitely feels snappier to browse the Internet. You can download the latest version of Chrome for iOS from the Apple App Store, here.
This morning, Tumblr issued what it called a "very important" security update for its iOS app. The social networking site said that on Tuesday it discovered a vulnerability in the app that could allow passwords to be compromised. Tumblr said that it cannot stress enough the importance of everyone downloading this update as soon as possible.
No details were released as to what the actual vulnerability was or how the intrusion could take place, but the issue appeared to be specific to the iOS app as no information has been posted about a similar vulnerability in the Android or Windows Phone versions of the app. Additionally, Tumblr said that all users of the iOS app should update their passwords after the update has taken place.
WhatsApp has been quickly making its way to the top of the list for the world's most popular messaging platforms. Just a few months ago, its owners claimed that its servers see more than 10 billion messages pass through each day; that's more than Twitter or even iMessenge. The app is free on Android for the first year and then costs one dollar per year thereafter. Unfortunately for iOS users, until now they had to pay that dollar upfront.
Today, the company announced that it is finally going to bring the iOS version of the app in line with Android and BlackBerry and offer the application free for the first year and then require a one dollar per year subscription thereafter. This move has been planned for quite some time and everyone knew it was coming; we just did not know when.
Existing iOS users should be ecstatic to hear that since they've already paid for the app, their subscription to the service will be free for life and they will not be required to pay the one dollar subscription fee each year. I use WhatsApp on a daily basis as it appears to be much faster than my carrier's text messaging service, is quite convenient, and is a free way for me to communicate with my brother and sister who live overseas. While none of us are iOS users, I know a few friends will be happy to hear of this announcement.
Google has updated its Play Store's website to more closely align with the design features of Google Now-style cards, which actually makes the place look a little more organized and much more like the official app. While these updates are cool and certainly needed, the most notable change is the inclusion of apps for Google Glass.
The addition of Google Glass compatibility checks were first spotted by Nicolas Gramlich. It's no surprise that Glass has shown up on the Play Store as Google likes to streamline their device management. Website androidandme.com has also posted a screenshot which appears to be of the official Google Glass app for Android. With these hints, it appears that Google Glass users will officially have access to the Google Play Store any day now.
Foursquare has just stepped up their monetization efforts in an attempt to profit from the actions of its 35+ million users. Beginning today, those who use the service to check in at any location will instantly be served up a targeted ad that may benefit brands sold at the location they are at.
One of the first advertisers to test out this new feature on Foursquare is Captain Morgan, a brand of rum from Diageo. The brand is using Foursquare to suggest a Captain Morgan cocktail to people immediately after they check in at bars, nightclubs, restaurants, or other places where liquor is sold. On the other side of the scale, Toys "R" Us has also been using the service to show coupons to select users who check into kid friendly areas such as parks, pools, and fun zones.
Instagram CEO says the photo-sharing app 'will be the biggest thing in the world', eclipsing Facebook
Instagram's CEO, Kevin Systrom, has some seriously high hopes for his company. Just how high? Sky high. Instagram has come a very long way, with the company being purchased by Facebook for $1 billion last year.
Since then, their user base has expanded by a very hefty 130 million users. Systrom has said that if Instagram continues to grow at this rate, it will not only be bigger than Facebook, but it "will be the biggest thing in the world." I don't know about that, because Kanye West's ego is pretty big, but hey, who am I to judge?
I don't see Instagram maintaining this growth without serious change, as they have nothing like Facebook on offer apart from sharing a 15-second video or some pictures. During an interview with Fast Company, the Instagram CEO said: "Now, will we continue to grow at this rate [and outgrow Facebook]? Different question."
Aviary photo editing app makes its way on to Windows Phone 8, offers all paid content for free for limited time
Originally a plug-in for Flickr, Aviary took flight as a powerful image editor for smartphones when it graduated to a standalone application last year. Today, the company announced that it has given the app a complete makeover in preparation for its port to Windows 8. Download the popular Aviary App and add filters and stickers to your photos until your eyes hurt.
To celebrate the Windows Phone 8 release of Aviary, the company is giving away extra in-app DLC packs that include filters and stickers that normally cost Android and iOS users $2 each. These freebies will only last for a limited time and once the event is over, they will revert to the $2 price tag. You can head over to the Windows Phone Store and download your copy of Aviary today by visiting the Source #2 link below.
If you're running a smartphone with Windows Phone 8 and use WhatsApp, you might want to make sure it's updated as there's a new version available for WP8 users.
The latest version now promises to fix the notification issues, as well as adding support for Windows Phone background agents as well as in-app dialing. There are over 100 million WhatsApp users, but not many of them are using it on Windows Phone 8 right now. This new update just might help that number increase a little.
Lately, it appears that Google is shutting down more of its services than it is creating. Today, we learned that the local recommendations application known as Alfred will cease to exist after July 19. Alfred came to Google back in December 2011 when Google purchased Clever Sense, but development seemed to progress at a snail's pace as Google was focused on making its Google+ Local service better.
Alfred was a sort of a digital concierge that would inform you of the best places to eat, drink, and party based on your taste. At one point it was even being pitched as a Pandora for the real-world. Google did not issue an official blog post about the shutdown like it has for previous service shutdowns such as Reader or Latitude. The announcement came, however, in the form of a notification when users loaded the Alfred app on their mobile device.
If there is one thing Google does right, it has to be web page translation. Since the inception of Google Translate, the Internet has become a much more fun and open place. Those of us who use Google's Chrome browser have had the luxury of on-the-fly automatic web page translation for a while now.
Unfortunately, those who use Chrome on their Android devices have had to use third-party apps or navigate to the Google Translate page for web page translation. This morning, Google has updated its Chrome app for Android to now include built-in translation that works much in the same way the desktop version of the browser does.
Also included in the Chrome 28 update for Android is full screen support on tablets which lets web apps such as video games and streaming video take over the entire screen. Google has also optimize the user interface for right to left languages including Arabic, Farsi, and Hebrew. Support has been added for Google's experimental data compression service that lets fast Google servers read a Web page, optimize it for mobile devices, then transmit it faster to a mobile device using Google's SPDY network technology.