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BlackBerry Messenger is undoubtedly one of the most popular messaging services in the world, and since its arrival on Android and iOS it has grown even bigger. Today BlackBerry announced that it has partnered up with 12 Android Smartphone OEM's and struck a deal that will see BlackBerry Messenger pre-installed on their devices.
While this may sound like a major leap forward for the Canadian smartphone manufacturer, none of the 12 OEMs on the list are big-ticket names such as Samsung, HTC, LG, or Motorola. The listed OEMs are all respected names in their regions, so this could be a very big deal in getting BBM into more emerging markets.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is making a comeback on iOS, windows phone, android, and kindle. Rockstar has remastered the 2004 PlayStation 2 classic with better visuals. Characters and cars have been updated to have a better overall look and better shadow detailing.
San Andreas for mobile devices has been redesigned to be used with touchscreen devices. The game will also include support for MFi controllers on Apple devices. An improved checkpoint system as well as three different control setups for driving and maneuvering have also been added.
Instagram has shifted from a photo-sharing application, mainly for your food, to a video-sharing app to compete with other apps and social networks, but now there's news that the Facebook-owned company is working on a private messaging function.
According to "well-placed" sources of GigaOm's, the new feature would compete with Snapchat, who is rumored to be worth up and above $4 billion. The new feature would have group messaging functions, and would be baked into the upcoming new version of Instagram, which is expected to hit before the end of tthe year.
We should find this quite ironic, because Instagram is owned by Facebook, and we posted up a story about Facebook trying to acquire Snapchat for $3 billion, but were declined.
We took a look at the Chromecast when it launched, but Google has pushed out an updated Chromecast application, with a redesigned look, and a few new features.
A pull-out drawer makes an appearance, finally, with a link to Chromecast-compatible apps hidden away in that pull-out drawer. In that same drawer, you'll find the settings menu, too. There's a new timezone selector, which shows the relative time to GMT, as well as your Chromecast's MAC address, if you need to do some tinkering around in the networking side of things.
Google Play will be introducing their new tablet section in the Google Play store today. Users will now see a "Designed for tablets" area for your apps. Other apps will be under the "Designed for phones" section, tablet users will still be able to download these.
Developers will be optimizing apps and games just for use on tablets so you can get a better overall experience. Tablet users can set up their tablets much better and not have blown-up phone apps. App developers will need to check and see if their apps work against a tablet optimization checklist and fix them accordingly.
Today reports have surfaced that indicate that the industry's largest mobile music streaming service, Spotify, has managed to secure $250 million in financing which raises the company's valuation to the $4 billion mark. That is up more than $1 billion in just one year.
Unfortunately, even with a valuation of $4 billion, Spotify can not seem to make money. The cause of its negative cash flow stems from what many consider an antiquated business model that many big-name record labels are holding onto quite tightly. Spotify has managed to increase its revenue in just one year to more than $600 million, but its losses also increased to $77 million. Unless Spotify figures things out in the next few years, we may have to bid adieu to the streaming service we so dearly love.
Today Google released an update for its Translate app for Android that brings forth a newly redesigned user interface as well as a few new features I am sure we all will appreciate. The new UI is much cleaner and more modern looking, and brings everything more inline with the current theme of other Google apps.
The app now also features support for Hebrew, Greek, Javanese, and Esperanto. Users can switch languages by simply tilting their device, and loading new screens by tapping the microphone. The app can also use your built-in camera to decipher text in Malay, and Ukrainian, as well as a wealth of other languages. Google has also fixed a few bugs and tweaked the app for better performance and after a quick test on my HTC One, I can say that the app does feel much faster now.
Today Microsoft has released a major update for SkyDrive on the iOS app users have the ability to automatically upload their camera photos into the SkyDrive cloud storage. Microsoft says they are "looking at" doing the same for Android users.
When you snap a photo using the iPhone's default camera app SkyDrive will back it up into the cloud service. The automatic cloud uploading is not on by default, when you update the app you will be able to go into the app and enable this feature. The automatic cloud backup isn't only for photos either it works with your videos as well. Your photos and videos will be backed up over Wi-Fi unless you enable it to do so over your mobile data.
SkyDrive gives you an option to automatically re-size your photos so they don't use up all your cloud storage. The interface has also been updated to better fit iOS 7 with a cleaner look and larger thumbnails. The update for SkyDrive on iOS is available now and can be downloaded through Apple's App Store.
Google has updated its Google translate app for Android. The update brings more supported languages, gesture, and better speech translation. The app has a "new sleek look" according to Google. Google says the app can now have good "fully translated back-and-forth conversations." The update's conversation translator has been improved greatly.
One of the new features the update brings is gesture support, you can turn your phone and it will switch between languages. Google has added Malay and Ukrainian to the apps camera translation, and Javanese, Hebrew, and Esperanto to the handwriting feature. The update is available to download through the Google Play Store, Google mentions the update is coming out today and tomorrow.
The Xbox One launches on Friday, with launch-day gamers getting to experience a full, proper, dedicated YouTube app. Microsoft and YouTube announced the news today.
Better yet, the Xbox One version of the YouTube app will include both voice, and gesture controls, which will let users watch and scroll through videos, as well as channel subscriptions. On top of the voice and gesture controls, Kinect-based voice commands will be at play, with users starting the voice control by saying "YouTube" and then "pause," "play" and "fast forward."