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Online music service Spotify's decision to open up its service to Apple iPhone and Google Android users for free has paid off, with the company drastically growing its customer base.
After announcing its free app, Spotify app downloads increased by four times during the past week, though Spotify wouldn't release official download figures after its announcement. Instead of allowing music listeners to select what artists and songs play, Spotify relies on a 'shuffle mode' that gives listeners the chance to shuffle through personal - and random - playlists.
The music service now includes an ad-supported version of its service for mobile users - and should continue to pick up users at a rapid pace. Services such as Pandora offer a great service for mobile users, but the ad-supported version isn't as functional as the paid membership, with Spotify trying to fill the void. Expect a continued battle among music providers trying to attract casual users as the number of smartphone and tablet owners increases due to product availability and price.
Shutterbugs who are fond of both 500px and Windows Phone will be happy to hear that the two have merged in the form of a new app. The official 500px app for Windows Phone was released this morning, and allows you to check out friends snapshots using the Flow feature.
Additional features include the ability to search for interesting images, and import 500px images to live tiles and the phones lock screen. Unfortunately direct uploading of images to 500px is not supported at this time, and no mention was made of when this feature may be integrated.
A struggling BlackBerry is attempting to turn its BlackBerry Messenger Service into something that can help keep it afloat, and lately has been pushing it pretty hard. Today BlackBerry announced that it has entered into a deal with LG that will see BBM installed on all of the company's smartphones.
Along with this announcement comes several new features that are sure to make BBM users on iOS and Android quite happy. Heading up the list of new features is BBM Voice, a free calling feature that lets users voice chat instead of using cellular voice service. BBM also now features chat room with a handful of channels that vary based on interest, hobbies, and consumer brands.
Creating apps isn't easy, but it looks like Microsoft wants to make it easier to make Windows apps with the just-announced Project Siena. Project Siena is a Metro-style app that lets anyone create their own Windows 8.1 program.
All you'll need is Windows, obviously, as well as some knowledge in how to use PowerPoint and Excel. You can make apps directly from a touch-enabled slate, which is a nice touch, as you don't even need a mouse or keyboard to make an app, which is nice. You can get into it right here.
This morning Spotify began quietly rolling out updates to its Android, Windows and Mac apps that brings forth a whole new look for the popular music streaming service. The login pages have a new look, and the overall theme is now much darker than before.
The update also adds image galleries, track play counts, and other small improvements such as larger fonts. Unfortunately, a full changelog has not been published and Spotify is keeping oddly quiet on the matter. When contacted by website, TheNextWeb, a Spotify representative said that the company had no comment on the updates or changes.
For those of us with expansive Kindle libraries, Collections have made life very easy when looking for books of a specific type, but unfortunately until now, Collections were not possible on Android Tablets. Today Amazon updated the Kindle for Android App, and has now included the ability to add books to collections.
Kindle for Android now lets users chose how they would like to organize their books, and can also filter them by Author, Title, or Genre. Additionally, accessibility support for Android's Talk Back feature has been added, as has Explore by Touch. Users can now also offer a star rating for the books they like or dislike.
Time Warner Cable subscribers that currently own an Amazon Kindle Fire HD or HDX tablet now have access to 300 live channels and 5,000 on-demand titles via their tablets. Time Warner already rolled out VOD for Roku set-top boxes, Microsoft Xbox 360 game consoles, the Samsung Smart TVs, and Apple iOS and Google Android devices.
It was rumored the Apple TV would receive the TWC TV app, but it looks like that might have to wait until early 2014.
Time Warner, like other cable operators, continues to try and tempt users to migrate content away from the living room - and rolling out apps for devices such as the Kindle Fire is an important step in the process. In a battle against cord-cutting, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes wants cable operators to create new and innovative ways to compete against Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and other Web-based, streaming services.
Beginning February 1st, all apps submitted to the Apple App Store must be optimized for iOS 7, and those not iOS 7 ready will be rejected. This basically means that all apps must be built using the latest version of Xcode 5, and feature specific optimization for iOS 7.
The official announcement from apple follows: "Starting February 1, new apps and app updates submitted to the App Store must be built with the latest version of Xcode 5 and must be optimized for iOS 7. Learn more about preparing your apps by reviewing the iOS Human Interface Guidelines."
Google has rolled out a new YouTube app for the Roku 3 set-top streaming player, providing Roku owners easy access to the world's largest video sharing site. The new channel is available starting immediately.
The new YouTube app includes HD video streaming, "Send to TV" feature from wireless phones, and easy access to all subscribed channels that can be shown on the TV. The new Roku 3 YouTube app is available for users in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Ireland, with additional rollouts expected in the future.
Even with HDTVs, Blu-ray players, and other living room electronics using streaming services, lack of YouTube access for Roku 3 owners has been a major complaint. The Roku 3 is the premier model from the set-top maker, providing access to a large amount of TV episodes, movies, sports, and other content all in HD - with integrated support for Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus and VUDU - and includes a headphones jack so content can be enjoyed quietly.
With Apple iPhone, iPad and Google Android support, viewers can use their mobile electronics as a Roku 3 remote.
LG Smart TV's are finally getting access to the most popular music streaming service on the web. LG announced today that Spotify will be making its way to LG Smart TVs later this month.
To gain access to the streaming app, you will have to meet a few requirements though which include a Spotify Premium subscription, and your LG Smart TV must be a 2013 or higher model. Unfortunately 2012 models will not have access to the app, and at the moment their appears to be no plans for free access to the service on LG TVs.