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It was not even a week ago that we reported that Microsoft were reaching the edge of 100,000 apps on their Windows Store, but they've announced through Twitter that they've now broken through this milestone.
Microsoft don't have the most apps, or the best apps, but they got there the quickest - in just 8 months. Comparing them to Apple, who saw 18 months go past before the App Store got there, and Google's Play Store took over two years. But, the Windows Store is here to stay and with Windows 8.1 coming soon, Microsoft are putting themselves in a better position with each day that passes.
Skype for Android has been updated today, a major release by the looks of things as we're hitting version 4.0 with a major redesign. Skype has passed 100 million downloads on Android, and has now been totally redesigned to look like other platforms' versions.
Skype 4.0 for Android includes a cleaner "conversation-first" UI, which shows the instant messaging part of Skype in a brighter light. It's no longer thrown to the side like previous versions of the app. You can now tab through different parts of the app, and change tabs using swipe gestures. Skype have said that underneath, it has been "rebuilt from the ground up" in order to be more reliable, and most of all, faster.
Until today, the most popular live radio streaming app was only available on iOS and Android devices, fortunately that ends today. Microsoft announced today that iHeartRadio has finally landed on Windows Phone 8 and is available for immediate download through its app store.
For those unfamiliar with the app, iHeartRadio allows users to tune in to more than 1500 live radio stations across the United States. Additionally users can create commercial free, custom stations from a pool of more than 15 million songs and 400,000 artists.
To celebrate the launch the folks over at iHeartRadio are giving away a bunch of Nokia Lumia 920 smartphones, so check out Source #2 to find out how to win one for yourself. The new Windows Phone 8 app brings forth several other unique features which I have listed below.
- Recommend stations - Find the soundtrack for studying, driving-even cleaning house.
- Sleep Timer - Doze off to your favorite station.
- Lock screen album art - Displays album art on the lock screen
- Bookmarking - Pin favorite stations to your Start screen.
- Universal search - Now you can search across the app.
Facebook for Windows Phone gets complete makeover, now features high-resolution photos, post sharing and more
In what seemed like a landslide of app announcements, Microsoft has chimed up and announced a major update to Facebook for Windows Phone. This new release brings a plethora of new features and improvements that Microsoft claims its users have been asking for for months.
The user interface has been completely overhauled and is now skinned in a more Windows Phone-esque skin that Microsoft says improves navigation. Also implemented is support for high-resolution photos, post sharing, as well as Facebook Timeline view. This app overhaul is the direct result of the beta program Facebook and Microsoft implemented a while back. To check out the new and improved Facebook for Windows Phone App, head over to Source #2. To join the beta program so your feedback can be heard, Source #3 is your destination.
This morning, Redbox announced that it has finally released its mobile app into the Windows Phone 8 ecosystem. The app appears to be identical to the Android and iOS version and will allow users to find the nearest Redbox kiosk via Bing maps.
Redbox says that with the app you will be able to browse and reserve movies as well as games at any Redbox kiosk you choose, which is very similar to how Redbox online works. Additionally, users will be able to sort their searches by release date, genre, rating, and title, as well as watch trailers straight on their mobile device. The app is available now for download at Source #1 below.
Microsoft announced today that the OneNote app for iOS and Android is getting a complete ground-up reboot that will provide users a more feature-rich experience and will better integrate into the Windows 8 ecosystem. The company says that the most noticeable update is the better editing experience.
Microsoft says that the new editing experience brings forth features like formatting text, tables, and layouts carrying over from platform to platform. The redesign also brings forward the ability to sync files across Sky Drive Pro and SharePoint and it removes the 500 note limit imposed by the previous iteration of the app. Additionally, users who download the updated app will receive access to the Office Ribbon UI.
The brand-new, fully featured OneNote app is available for iOS devices via the Apple App Store, as well as the Google play store for Android users. Microsoft says the app is currently available in the US and other "select" markets. Additional details and screenshots can be found by clicking Source #1 below.
Microsoft's SmartGlass Xbox companion app has been downloaded over 17 million times since its release last year over four platforms: Windows 8, Windows Phone, iOS and Android.
17 million downloads is quite a lot, but considering there are close to 50 million Xbox Live subscribers, Microsoft haven't even seen a 50% penetration rate for their companion app. Not all Xbox users would want to use it, so it's not that stressful for Microsoft. 17 million downloads is better than 1-2 million downloads after all.
Google have released an updated version of Chrome beta for Android, which addresses some issues that have been popping up for a while now. One of these is the white flash that pops up when you load a new tab.
Other fixes include favicons now syncing across other devices using Clank (Google's codename for Chrome beta for Android), as well as problems with the keyboard on the Gmail website which wouldn't dismiss. A security fix has also been plugged up, making sure that a dialog is displayed as soon as any downloads are called.
The usual bug fixes are of course updated in this latest beta mobile browser, and you can get it right here.
Facebook has had a few security and privacy related incidents of late, with the newest one to come to light being that the Facebook for Android app sent your phone number back to Facebook's servers even if you didn't log in or didn't have an account. Facebook has said that all of these numbers have been deleted, but it still makes you wonder why they were ever collected in the first place.
The "bug," as Facebook calls it, was in the beta application that Facebook released yesterday. That bug has since been patched and Facebook has stated that the accidentally logged numbers have all been cleared from their servers. The bug came to light thanks to security firm Symantec. According to their researchers, a user's phone number would be sent to Facebook immediately upon opening the app.
It's unclear how many users were affected. This bug does not appear to be related to the other recent privacy snafu at Facebook. Still, you've got to wonder if this was something similar to the Google Street View Wi-Fi snooping issue that was settled not too long ago.
Apple users have their secure way of sending messages through iMessage, but right now Android users are a little left out. CyanogenMod hopefully have the answer to this, where the team are working on a new application called PushSMS.
Devleoper, Koushik Dutta said this week that he has constructed a secure push-based messaging plugin for CyanogenMod which encrypts messages between two CyanogenMod users from end-to-end and is sent over the Google Cloud Messaging service. Dutta adds that the feature is built directly into the CyanogenMod framework, and is compatible with third-party clients like GoSMS and Handcent.
PushSMS isn't quite available, and should arrive in a new iteration of CyanogenMod in the coming weeks.