Not too long ago, we announced that Rovio had opened a publishing studio to help new game studios get started. Rovio Stars' first game to be published is Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage. From the trailer, it appears to include aspects of Cut the Rope and Slice It! Take a look for yourself:
The game is available for $0.99 on the iPhone and $2.99 on the iPad. It looks like it could be a fun game, though I haven't yet gotten a chance to try it out for myself. One of the best parts of the game is that it features a variety of different puzzles through featuring different obstacles.
Messaging platform WhatsApp has seen massive user growth over the past four years, with a large portion of the growth coming in the last year or two. WhatsApp has announced that they are now seeing more than 250 million active users, or a quarter of the total users on Facebook.
Back in December, Twitter announced that they had surpassed 200 million active users, making it possible that WhatsApp is now ahead of the micro-blogging site. Telecom companies are likely unhappy with the growth that WhatsApp has seen as they are currently making huge profits from text messaging.
Whether WhatsApp will be able to continue this rate of growth remains to be seen.
Facebook announces Videos for Instagram for iOS and Android, includes revolutionary video stabilization
At this morning's press event held by Facebook, the company announced that Instagram is getting a video sharing feature similar to its image sharing service. Instagram cofounder Kevin Systrom took the stage to show off the company's new feature and spent about 20 minutes talking about the Instagram Video's new features.
Since Instagram was released, the service has seen more than 16 billion photos shared from a community of over 130 million active users. At the moment, images shared on Instagram see an average of one billion likes daily. Instagram attributes this success to the inherent human want to create and store memories. Realizing this, the company knew that the next step was to include video in their memory sharing service.
The new video feature will allow users to create and share 15 second video clips similar to how Twitter's Vine app handles things. The similarities end there though as Instagram has enabled users to chain together clips to form a longer more informative video. Additionally, in true Instagram form, users can customize each clip or video with its own filter. The company says that it developed 13 new custom filters just for video to allow users to create a more beautiful memory.
Crittercism has just launched their new Fathom Mobile Command Center, which can help companies in many ways. With the growing digital lifestyles that not only consumers live in, but businesses have to build to sustain those consumers, the behind-the-scenes app development and maintenance headaches also grow.
This is where Crittercism is here to help with their new platform that will improve companies' mobile app strategy for the long-term. Fathom is the first solution that is capable of monitoring and reporting how third-party services and network conditions affect the performance of iOS and Android. In order to help companies manage the performance of their iOS- or Android-based apps, Fathom provides powerful tools that allow these companies to not only understand, but address these performance issues within any consumer, business-to-business or employee-facing application.
Crittercism's new Fathom Mobile Command Center will show each factor affecting app performance for each individual app session where an issue is encountered. This provides, as you can imagine, a huge understanding to mobile teams and developers who are looking to improve to overall app experience - be it consumers, or business partners, or both. Mobile teams can then use Fathom to monitor app performance in real-time, which is a nice touch.
Facebook has released an update to their iOS app that brings with it emotions for status updates and better controls over sharing. Emotions for status updates were released not too long ago on the desktop side of things, but it has now been brought to iOS through this latest update.
Facebook has also made it easier to adjust who can see something you've shared, making it easier to protect your privacy. Of course, Facebook has included the prerequisite "bug fixes," but they have also added in the ability to start a new conversation with photos you receive in messages.
The latest version of the app can be grabbed from the Apple App Store.
A lot of speculation has been circling in the rumor mill about Facebook's mysterious press event being held later this week onJune 20th. Today TechCrunch may have just cracked the code that will let the genie out of the bottle. Apparently an unknown source has confirmed that Facebook will be launching video capabilities for it's popular Instagram service.
Facebook adding videos to Instgram makes a lot of sense as its biggest competitor, Vine, is based around sharing short video clips. Analyst expect a similar model to Vine in which Instagram videos would be between 5 and 10 seconds each to make sharing quick, simple, and as low bandwidth hungry as possible.
Of course the added video feature would attract even more users which would further bolster Facebook's plans to monetize the service with ads. Being able to inject a 5 second video before a users video is played would bring in more cash than a simple banner ad placed over a photo. While details on the press event later this week are still unknown, we will be sure to bring you all the latest news as it is released.
CPU-Z is now available for Android, a tool that has been used for many years by people like myself and other enthusiasts to get information on their systems and to check their latest overclock and what not. The app is now available for Android, which is a refreshing change.
CPU-Z for Android provides a slew of information about the internals of your Android-powered device that you can use for debugging, optimizing or tweaking, just like you would on your Windows-powered PC. There are different tabs for your SoC, system build information, battery stats and live sensor data. There are obviously other apps that provide users with a similar experience, but this is CPU-Z, something that has been a long time companion of PC tweakers and enthusiasts.
I'll be installing this on my phone this afternoon for a tweak or two! You can grab it, here.
Nokia is said to be getting Instagram as an exclusive app on June 26. Windows Phone has lacked many popular apps from other platforms, this has been seen as a problem for Windows Phone adoption and one that Nokia has decided to address. If this rumor proves true, it would appear that Nokia's work has paid off.
Exclusivity seems just slightly unlikely as Instagram would probably not want to cut themselves off from a greater market possibility. However, it could end up being an exclusive for a certain period of time. Either that or Instagram doesn't see the Windows Phone market as being that huge. After all, Nokia is one of the major Windows Phone players, so they would still pick up a large portion of Windows Phone users.
We'll have to wait until an official announcement or June 26 to see if this rumor proves to be true. Until then, take it with a grain of salt.
Windows Phone users will finally get access to the hit game Jetpack Joyride. Android, iOS, BB10, and Windows 8 have all had access to the app, though for varying amounts of time. However, why it's taken so long to get to Windows Phone is a mystery. After all, Microsoft originally announced that the game would be coming to Windows Phone seven months ago when Windows Phone 8 was launched.
While it's not too important what the hold up was, it's still interesting that it took seven months to arrive. But now that it is here, gamers can rejoice. The Windows Phone version of the app comes with Xbox Live integration, allowing challenges, acheivements, and other Xbox Live features to be utilized in game.
You can download Jetpack Joyride from the Windows Phone Store.
Google's Android update for Gmail was leaked yesterday and today sees a similar update for iOS devices. Google has released an updated Gmail for iOS app that will bring the newly redesigned inbox to iOS devices, but only if the user has already enabled the new inbox on the web.
The app update also brings with it changes to the notification system. The new app will allow you to configure notifications for each type of e-mail. This means you can stop receiving new e-mail alerts for e-mail that arrives to the promotions, social, or other e-mail boxes.
The new app is available from Apple's App Store.
Hulu, currently amid buyout rumors and offers, has updated their Android app to provide higher quality playback for Plus users on some devices. The new high-quality playback is available on Samsung's Galaxy S4, HTC's One, and HTC's Droid DNA.
According to Hulu's release notes, "You'll feel like you have bionic retina implants minus the deductible and waiting for its invention."
The higher quality playback is available for those devices that feature a 1080p display, hence the short list above. Another minor change included in this version is your standard bug fixes, specifically playback issues for certain LG phones and other devices. The updated app is available from the Google Play Store.
AndroidPolice have gotten their hands on the latest Gmail APK that will be rolling out to all Android users over the coming weeks. The APK, version 4.5-694836, features the new slide-out navigation and redesigned inbox. Take a look for yourself:
This update comes as part of Google's recently unveiled Gmail overhaul that introduced new tabs to help you become an e-mail power user. E-mail will automatically be sorted into various categories, including 'Social', 'Promotions', and 'Updates'. You can grab the APK from Source #1 below, or try Google Play. Don't be surprised if you don't have it quite yet--Google is slowly rolling it out over the next few weeks to all users.
Computex Taipei 2013 - ROCCAT have unveiled something they're calling a first in the history of PC gaming with their new Power-Grid technology. Power-Grid allows you to use your smartphone to control both your games, and your computer, and is free to get you started.
ROCCAT's Power-Grid will allow you to connect, monitor and control your game and PC in real-time, with the app featuring four control displays, or "grids". There are four grids at play, with the first three preloaded with a bunch of essential gaming tools while ROCCAT have left the fourth one completely customizable. The three grids are made up of the "Incoming Center", "Stats Control", "Sound Control" while the fourth is free.
Incoming Center routes all outside voice and text communication - be it Skype, Facebook or TeamSpeak - to your smartphone for easy viewing. This way, gamers can continue to get their game on, without their PC disturbing them with updates, which they can quickly check on their smartphone.
Stats Control allows gamers to view their PC's vital data - such as CPU load, hard drive space and network traffic - all from their smartphone. The third preloaded grid is Sound Control, which lets gamers set and adjust all aspects of their gaming audio from their smartphone. Gamers can tweak audio settings in Skype to provide in-game music or with their media player together, or independently.
During Google I/O this year, Google launched a new music streaming service to go head-to-head with Spotify, Pandora, and others. Unfortunately for iPhone users like myself, the streaming service isn't accessible on iOS...at least not yet. A Google executive has come out at the D11 conference and said that it will "soon" be available for iOS users.
Google's Sundar Pichai has stated that All Access is due for iOS in a "couple weeks," which is a bit vague. A Google spokesperson was even more vague, offering just that "Google Play All Access is coming to iOS this summer." Pichai added, "[T]he teams are working like crazy to do it."
This is good news for iOS users as you have to sign up before June 30 to get the reduced $8 per month introductory rate. After that, All Access will set you back $10. All Access is currently only available in the United States, though you can expect Google to work to expand that.
We first saw Spotify's Discover service back in December and now the music streaming giant has began rolling out the music discovery page to its users. The new page allows users to "Discover and Sample" new music, something that was previously hard to do.
"With the Discover page, we're making good on our promise of helping you choose what to listen to when faced with millions of songs," Spotify Chief Product Officer Gustav SÃ¶derstrÃ¶m said in a statement. "We've made your listening experience more personal, more social, and more current."
The new Discover Page will include the following features:
- New personalised recommendations every day based on the music you love
- New releases from the artists you follow
- All the music and playlists shared by friends and trendsetters you follow
- Find out when an artist you love is touring near you - the information will just bubble up through recommended shows from Songkick
- Related Music: play a song and get instant recommendations on what to play next
As of this writing the "Discover" page is available to all Spotify users on the web-based app, and the company says that it will "gradually" roll out the new feature to desktop and mobile apps in the coming weeks.
A Plex refresh for Android has been in the works for sometime now. The popular media streaming application gets an entirely new look for Android while the 3.2 version for iOS gets some bug fixes.
The refresh provides a much more polished and elegant interface while improving access times to larger libraries. The initial 3.0 release had a bug forced the app to require a MyPlex account as well not allowing the remote control widget to function properly. iOS users have had Plex 3.0 for some time now and the 3.2 update brings forth some tangeable improvements including speedier media access, fixes for Plex Sync. Other improvements include letting the iOS app serve as a remote playback target for other Plex equipped devices.
As a user of Plex for some time now, this update is a most welcome one. I love Plex's ease of setup and use and the ability to not only stream content hosted on local servers, but the ability to watch web based content from hundreds of free sources such as Revision3. I will be covering how to set up Plex in an upcoming how to article in which we will build a small form factor home media server, so stay tuned to TweekTown for that.
Sky have had their mobile apps reportedly hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army, with Sky now advising all users to remove their apps from devices. Sky TV have said that their Android applications have been hacked, and have now been removed from the Google Play Store.
You can see from the above image that the description for the Sky Go app says "Syrian Electronic Army Was Here". Twitter has been a source of information as usual, with the Sky Help Team stating: "UPDATE: All Sky's Android apps were hacked and replaced... please uninstall it, And we will let you know when it will be available".
So if you're running a Sky TV app, you might want to remove it from your device completely and only reinstall once Sky have given the all-clear.
Microsoft and Google kiss and make up, said to be working on YouTube app for Windows Phone that serves ads, coming in 'the coming weeks'
Good news for Windows Phone users! Microsoft and Google have apparently kissed and made up and are now working jointly on a YouTube app that follows the YouTube API guidelines. The new app will serve ads using YouTube's iFrame API and is due out as soon as next month.
Microsoft and YouTube are working together to update the new YouTube for Windows Phone app to enable compliance with YouTube's API terms of service, including enabling ads, in the coming weeks. Microsoft will replace the existing YouTube app in Windows Phone Store with the previous version during this time.
Windows Phone users should ultimately be the winners from this agreement as they will gain a polished YouTube app. It's not clear exactly what brought the two companies together or what Microsoft had to provide to Google to get them to play ball. Microsoft needs a YouTube app to make Windows Phone a viable mobile platform.
We'll let you know when the newly polished YouTube app is released for Windows Phone.
We promise you, Instagram did not randomly delete your account last night. Instead, the popular photo sharing app suffered a glitch that prevented some users from logging in. Users, however, jumped to conclusions and the hashtag #Dontdeletemyaccount made its rounds, ultimately being used on over 500,000 photos.
Today, Instagram has issued an apology and explanation: "Yesterday we experienced technical issues that caused people to be unable to access their accounts for a short period of time. We restored access as soon as the issue was brought to our attention, and we're sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you."
Rumors swirled that Instagram was deleting accounts to clear server space or punish users who violated the company's Terms of Service. It's highly unlikely, for future reference, that Instagram or any web company would randomly delete user accounts. Next time, wait a few days as it's most likely a glitch.
Google have updated the Chrome beta for Android, which has reached version 28 (28.0.1500.21) and includes a bunch of requested features as well as a new code base. Chrome users on tablets will now enjoy the same full screen experience that was included in version 27 for smartphones.
This means that the toolbar and omnibox disappear as you scroll down the page, which is very useful to use more of the screen. Automatic translation of pages not in the device's native language is now available, which desktop users have enjoyed for a while now. Here are the full details of the new version:
- Google Translate: When you come across a page written in a language that isn't in the same language as your phone or tablet, look for the translation bar
- Fullscreen on tablets: Simply scroll the page to dismiss the toolbar
- Support for fullscreen API
- New graph showing your estimated bandwidth savings when you use the experimental data compression feature
- Mobile friendly error pages
Today Amazon.com announced that its Appstore is now available in nearly 200 countries worldwide, and features apps for Macs, PC's and Android based devices such as Amazon's Kindle Fire. Alongside this announcement, Amazon said that the Kindle Fire will release to over 170 new countries in June.
"We are thrilled to be expanding the reach of our global app distribution to nearly 200 countries. We think our customers will love the app selection we have to offer and also find features such as Free App of the Day and personalized recommendations very helpful as they discover and explore new apps and games," said Mike George, Vice President of Apps and Games at Amazon. "By further expanding the distribution of apps to millions of customers around the world, we are continuing to make it easy for customers to enjoy their Amazon apps on Kindle Fire and any Android device."
To celebrate this expansion, the Amazon Appstore is bringing back one of its most popular Free Apps of the Day, "Fruit Ninja," along with "Cut the Rope: Experiments." These will be available, for free, on May 23 and May 24. For those not in the know, the "Free App of the Day," is a program in which Amazon offers a paid app for free every day.