It was only last week that we talked about the rumor of a dedicated Podcast app from Apple, and now we have it. We thought we might have to wait for iOS 6, but Christmas has come early for Podcast and iOS users.
The new app is called, quite simply, "Podcasts", and is available for all iOS devices running iOS 5.1 or later. Podcasts features a bunch of ways to browse and discover new podcasts through the thousands upon thousands of the things.
Podcasts also includes a new Top Stations feature that groups together select podcasts by category, as well as the ability to either stream, or download the episodes for offline use. Podcasts is optimized for both the iPad, and iPhone versions, and it's also able to sync podcasts with iTunes to your Mac, or PC. You will need to have iTunes 10.6.3 first.
Grab Podcasts for iOS here.
Mozilla have just pushed Firefox 14 for Android, and made it available on the Google Play store. Firefox 14 doesn't have any new stand-out features to really brag about, but there's enough filler here to have a reason to upgrade your mobile browser.
Mozilla claim that Firefox 14 is faster, including start up and page load times, as well as panning and zooming. This even includes running mobile web pages like Mozilla's BrowserQuest game. Mozilla note that Firefox 14 runs much faster than the stock Android browser, with sample tests showing Firefox 14 to be more than three times faster than the default Android browser.
Firefox 14 sports a new streamlined look, including a personalized start page. Awesome Screen, a function that is powered by Firefox Sync, brings across all of your bookmarks, passwords and browsing history from y our PC to your smart device. Mozilla have also tweaked tabbed browsing and add-ons to bring a more desktop-like experience. Firefox 14 also features Flash for a broader range of web content compatibility, as well as HTML5 capabilities.
Version 1.8 of the Facebook Messenger app for both iOS and Android has been released and sports some new snazzy features. We have fast conversation switching, swipe-to-delete for specific messages, and a built-in buddy list for who's "online" when you begin a conversation.
The update should have hit already, and also adds the ability to see larger photos in the app. Local notifications for chat updates are also here, as well as read receipts. This along with the other features makes Facebook Messenger a feature-packed instant messaging app. A full feature log from Facebook:
- Quickly switch between multiple conversations with in-app notifications (you'll get notified of an incoming message while within another conversation)
- Include friends of friends in conversations
- iOS users can now swipe to delete an individual messages from conversations. Android users can hold down a message to delete it.
- See who's available when you start a new conversation - Update: in changelog, but from a prior version of Messenger
- Share bigger photos (tap for full screen and pinch to zoom)
- Bug fixes: fixed some bugs and improved performance (faster app loading, navigation and sending, and more reliable push notifications).
Google not sour over being dropped from iOS 6's Maps app, instead plan 'amazing iOS Maps experience'
Google don't seem to mind that they were dropped from iOS 6's Maps app, and plan to make a triumphant return to the upcoming OS from Apple. A recent post from Google exec Jeff Huber has hinted that Google will not be leaving the iOS map scene, and instead will make a push with its own specifically-designed mapping app.
The news broke today from a Google+ post celebrating a new Google Street View exhibit at the Computer History Museum. It was in a response to a comment expressing dissatisfaction with Apple's forthcoming Maps app. Huber said that Google is looking forward to "providing amazing Google Maps experiences on iOS".
Another user stepped forward and asked Huber to elaborate on this, asking if he meant iOS users could expect a new dedicated app, or web-based services. Huber didn't provide any further details on Google's iOS plans.
Google have donned their magic fingers and made some changes to some of the most-requested features for their Gmail for iOS app. They've announced the changes today, which come in three new features.
First up we have full Notification Center support, the ability to send messages from your alternate e-mail addresses, and an improved login experience. Now Gmail is fully integrated with Notification Center and even supports banners, alerts and lock screen options. Plus, notifications are now 'incredibly fast', up to 5x faster than the previous version of the app.
The second update to the Gmail for iOS app is the ability to send e-mails from your alternate e-mail addresses. If you have this configured through alternate sender addresses in Gmail on your desktop under Settings -> Accounts -> Send mail as, you will see a From: option when composing new messages with the new app.
Everyone was shocked when Facebook acquired Instagram for a cool $1 billion. Facebook said they were going to keep Instagram somewhat of a separate entity after the acquisition and Facebook rolled out their own Camera app. Now, Facebook has released an update to the Instagram app, the first facelift since the acquisition.
What's New in Version 2.5.0:
- Revamped profile tab
- Search for users and tags in the Explore tab
- Improvements to commenting
- User search autocompletes based on people you follow
- Visual improvements
- Speed optimizations
- Optionally share likes to Facebook (enable in your Profile > Sharing Settings > Facebook)
The biggest change comes in the form of the new "Explore" tab which shows popular photos and has a way to search photos as well. The search allows users to look for users, hashtags, and photos based on the entered search terms.
Currently rocking an iPhone and want to switch over to that awesome new Samsung GALAXY S III but don't want to go through the hassle of manually re-entering all of your contacts, etc? Well, fear not, Samsung have released what they call 'Easy Phone Sync'.
Easy Phone Sync is an app that has been developed to make the transition between an iPhone and the GALAXY S III much easier. The app can run on both a Mac or a PC, and gives options to transfer music, videos, podcasts, pictures, contacts and even text messages. The process takes around five minutes to set up, and users can continue to rely on iTunes to manage their content after the transfer.
DRM-restricted content purchased from iTunes can't be transferred, the same goes for iOS apps.
SwiftKey 3 for Android is now here, and the customizable and helpful keyboard has been updated with some new features. The updated version of SwiftKey sports a more intelligent correction capability, and an improved user interface.
One of the new features is something the developer, TouchType, call "Smart Space". Smart Space detects when you've inserted a space in the middle of a word, or forgotten to insert spaces when typing too quickly into a string of words and automatically corrects it for you.
The keyboards also sports a bigger space bar, and a smart punctuation key that gives you access to common punctuation. As a long-term user of SwiftKey, the new smart punctuation key will take a little getting used to. There's also two new themes to choose from, the first "Cobalt" and the second "Holo", which looks similar to the default color theme of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
Flipboard arrives on Android, includes Google+ and YouTube, also comes standard with US-bound GALAXY S III phones
I've been using Flipboard on my iPad when I'm laying in bed, or on the couch and it's a perfect app that I wish were on Android, and now it is. Flipboard officially launched on Android today after its short beta period and sports some new flashy super powers.
These new super powers include integration with YouTube as well as Google+ across platforms, as well as a pretty big distribution deal with Samsung. The Verge reports that the YouTube and Google+ integration works just like the Twitter and Facebook integration does in Flipboard. To add, you just tap the content guide ribbon, then select either service under 'Your Accounts', then head to 'Add an Account', easy.
YouTube on Flipboard looks great, as it pulls down all of your subscriptions allowing for simple browsing, as well as full commenting, liking, sharing, and subscriptions support built directly into Flipboard. Google+ is said to be pretty much the same, you can +1, share, and comment on posts, as well as browse circles, individual users, or pages. The updated Flipboard app is available from the iTunes App Store, Google Play Store, Barnes & Noble NOOK Store, Amazon's Appstore for Android and finally, Samsung Apps.
Now when viewing apps in the Google Play Store, users will be able to see developers' responses to user comments and reviews. It's something that should have been instituted from the very beginning and it's surprising that it took them this long to add it. It's a feature that can be seen in action on Newegg's review system and, quite frankly, it works great.
Google Play Project Manager Ellie Powers:
User reviews on Google Play are great for helping people discover quality apps and give feedback to developers and other potential app users. But what about when developers want to give feedback to their users? Sometimes a user just needs a helping hand, or perhaps a new feature has been added and the developer wants to share the good news.
That's why we're adding the ability for Google Play developers to respond to reviews from the Google Play Android Developer Console. Developers can gather additional information, provide guidance, and - perhaps most importantly - let users know when their feature requests have been implemented.
The feature won't be available to every developer quite yet. Only developers who have a "Top Developer" badge will be given access to the feature for right now and they will be able to test it out. When a developer responds, an e-mail is sent to the user who placed the comment or review to alert them of the response.
Google seems pretty committed to strengthening its developer ecosystem around Android. So much so that they are now offering live support during office hours with a new program called "Developers Live." The new program allows developers to talk directly to Googlers who are the ones creating the APIs the developer is currently working with.
Louis Gray from the Developer Relations team:
We think connecting you with Google's experts and your fellow developers can inspire incredible app creation. So today, we're introducing Google Developers Live, a destination for developers around the world that will feature live, interactive broadcasts ranging from developer-focused game shows to Office Hours where you can connect with the engineers who created and work on your favorite Google product.
Google Developers Live allows us to bring you the excitement of Google I/O year-round, beginning today with the release of starter-level sessions on everything from Android to YouTube, to help prepare you for the more advanced content that will be presented next week. And, if you have any questions after watching these tutorials, we've set up Office Hours with each of our presenters on Google Developers Live so you can ask them directly.
It looks like with the impending release of Apple's mobile OS, iOS 6, that we could see a change in the podcasts section of Apple. Sources have revealed to AllThingsD that Apple are planning to release a native app that focuses solely on podcasts.
iOS 6 is said to have a dedicated podcasts app, which will let users discover, downloads and play podcasts on mobile devices. This is a similar move Apple played when they decided to split iTunes into a video and music app on iOS, as well as launching the iBooks app with the iPad release.
If this ends up happening, it may explain the disappearance of podcasts from the version of iTunes that Apple has been showing off to developers.
The My Xbox LIVE for iPhone app has been updated, which lets you find, learn more about, and control your favorite content from popular entertainment services on Xbox 360. But, it gets better: you can control the content on your console with play, pause, fast forward and rewind controls directly from the confort of your iPhone, on your lounge, bed or bean bag!
The good news doesn't stop there, My Xbox LIVE for iPad has also been updated. The new app sports Retina Display support, as well as improved authentication making connecting your iPad with your Xbox LIVE account easier than it has ever previously been. And for the first time on Android, the free My Xbox LIVE app lets you read and send messages to friends, manage your friends list and invite new friends, read and edit your full LIVE profile (name, bio, motto), change your avatar features and items with the avatar closet, and view and compare your achievement progress with friends.
Some of the updates coming for the iOS version are:
- Discover fresh content (iPhone)
- Connect to and control content on your Xbox 360 (iPhone)
- Improved authentication (iPad)
- Retina display support (iPad)
Popular music streaming service Spotify have updated their Android app which sports a new interface, new features, and Last.fm users can now add their account details to the app which allows songs to be scrobbled and added to their playlist history.
The updated app includes upgraded sound options, high-resolution artist imagery, and a new slide-out navigation system. The new user interface is swish, allowing you to simply slide across between options. Friend playlists and profiles, queues and album art are all here, as well as a new "related artist" view - something missing from the previous versions of the Spotify for Android app.
Folder playlist management and other social parts of the app are included, with sound quality settings extended to 320kbps. Android 4.0-based users can now control Spotify playback through a home screen widget (great!!), but for most of the high-end features, and offline mode, the $10 per month premium subscription is required - it's highly recommended, personally!
It looks as though Sprint could be working on their own NFC wallet app. Last week, news leaked out that Sprint was developing their own NFC wallet app, and thanks to some slides passed along today, we now know that those rumors were true. The details are slim, but we certainly know more now than we did.
The thing looks pretty darn similar to Google Wallet. Sprint has been the only official partner carrier for that app, so they may have decided it would be better to make their own. The biggest questions remain unanswered. Questions like what bank partners Sprint will have or when it will be unveiled have yet to receive an answer.
Functionally, it appears to be near identical to Google Wallet. After the app is unlocked using a passcode, you receive a screen of options. If the phone is tapped to a reader, a listing of sorts will be presented to select a card to use. When you are done, the entire thing locks back up.
Users in the US need a singular app to get behind before these NFC wallets will take off. Is this the one for us, or is it just another novelty?
Instagram have been doing more than just rolling around in pools of money since their acquisition from Facebook, the exposure to millions upon millions of socially-connected users has its benefits. Last month, the photo sharing website saw a 78-percent surge in unique visitors in the United States.
This surge made Instagram the highest gaining site on the Internet for the month, according to analytics firm comScore. From comScore's reports, Instagram.com had close to 14.6 million unique U.S. visitors in April, which is up from the 8.2 million the month before. Considering that Instagram's bread and butter is from mobile applications for the iPhone and Android, this is a pretty big feat for the photo sharing service.
But, April was a huge month for Instagram: on April 3 they released their long-awaited Android app, and just a few days later Facebook announced they were acquiring the company for close to $1 billion in cash and shares. Both of these events would've triggered a surge in Instagram activity, as seen from the comScore report.
Amazon has had a feature like this for sometime and it looks as though Apple is finally following suit. It's no surprise that iOS users like to save money just as much as Android users who get this feature from the Amazon app store. The only announcement regarding this is a tweet by Apple, so this could be a one time thing, but I doubt it is.
The tweet by Apple says "Cut the Rope: Experiments is our #FreeAppoftheWeek. Go to the App Store for your free download. tw.appstore.com/uUj" so I'm going to guess it will be a continuous thing going forward. To go along with this, the description of the app says "***FREE FOR A LIMITED TIME***".
The app itself is actually a pretty fun game. I've played it before on a Windows 7 tablet that was running Windows 8. The object of the game is to cut various strings and manipulate objects to get the piece of candy over to the monster. While I'm not sure I would pay for the app, I'd definitely take it if it was free as it is now.
Facebook Camera is a new app which is designed to let users see just pictures from all of your Facebook friends. Designed and released by Facebook, I can't help but feel the Instagram acquisition is partly to blame for this. With the new app comes the ability to share multiple photos at once, instead of having to upload them one at a time.
The new app makes viewing photos easier as you can swipe through the pictures in an album. In Facebook's words: "When you launch the app, you'll see a feed of just great photos from the people you care about. You can swipe to see more of any album or tap to enlarge an individual photo." Cool. But isn't that what you already do on the regular Facebook app?
The reason to believe it is due in part to the Instagram acquisition? This feature right here: "It's also easy to edit photos with new tools like the ability to crop, rotate and add filters to any picture in your camera roll." Specifically, the add filters function. The new app will be available on iPhones later today and Facebook is offering the option to have a link texted to your iPhone.
Our Mobile App of the Day is Feed Me Oil for Windows Phone.
When hunger strikes, strike oil! Welcome to a weird and wonderful place where the land is literally alive - and it's starving! Your job is to get the oil from the broken pipe to the mouths of the strange creatures. It won't be easy though, as you'll need to use all sorts of fun tools, as well as your brains, to solve the puzzles.
A huge variety of mind-bending levels will test your mental skills. Different ways to solve each puzzle for endless replayability.
A JOY TO PLAY
Intuitive controls that make the game a breeze to pick up. Incredibly slick and realistic physics create oil like you've never seen. Use fans, magnets, wind, and more to beat each level.
Unique, surreal art design that looks amazing. Stunning musical soundtrack that features jazz, emotive piano tracks, and more.
You can download Feed Me Oil directly from the Windows Marketplace on your Windows Phone device, or here.
Chinese search company Baidu has whispered into the ears of TechCrunch that they have some big plans for the Baidu Cloud Smart Terminal system that runs their newly-announced phone. Baidu wants to push Baidu Cloud into all major mobile operating systems, including Windows Phone, iOS and Android.
According to a Baidu spokesperson, the company wants to eventually produce a Windows Phone with Baidu Cloud, as well as an iOS-based device. A Windows Phone I could see happening, but an iOS device? It would really require Apple's complete permission, and I just can't see this happening.
Baidu Cloud is a suite of apps tied into Baidu's storage, music and search offerings. The phone announced today, is a low-cost phone, dubbed Changhong H5018 and sports a 3.5-inch 480x320 touchscreen, 3G connectivity, and a 3-megapixel camera. It will be available for $158, which earns it the right to be dubbed a low-cost smartphone. Baidu Cloud runs on top of Android 2.3, and because Google gives Android partners much more freedom in adapting their OS, it gives Baidu the chance to start off on Android.
Our Mobile App of the Day is OfficeSuite Pro 6+ for Android.
View, Edit, Print and Share your office documents on the go!
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Create, view, edit, print and share Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files and attachments and view PDF files on your Android based phone with a single complete feature-rich mobile office solution. The software utilizes the most commonly used desktop document formats and also includes a File Browser and integration with Google Docs, DropBox, Box and SugarSync to help you manage your local, remote files and email attachments. OfficeSuite Pro is an essential productivity application offering greater office efficiency than ever anywhere, anytime.