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We all know that iOS 6's Maps app is pretty craptacular (crAPPtacular?) but there is a benefit to the company's vector graphics-based app. Maps is up to 80% more efficient on data usage than Google's iOS Maps app, which is a raster graphics-based app.
This is all according to a new analysis from Onavo. Because Apple's Maps uses vector graphics, the application doesn't need to re-download map images every time a user adjust the view, which in the end, consumes much less data. Onavo's results are definitely interesting:
On Google Maps, the average data loaded from the cellular network for each step was 1.3MB. Apple Maps came in at 271KB - that's approximately 80% less data! On some actions, such as zooming in to see a particular intersection, Apple Maps' efficiency advantage edged close to 7X.
Apple acquired the app Chomp earlier this year. Chomp was an app discovery platform that allowed users to search through the App Store in a method that differed from Apple's. Apple took the Chomp-style store and implemented it into iOS6 and has now decided to shut down the remaining Chomp business and app installs.
Apple had already killed the Android part of Chomp back in April, shortly after acquiring the service. The iOS app and website remained up and functioning until yesterday's announcement and closing. The Chomp website, http://chomp.com, now redirects to Apple's main website. The app has been removed from the App Store.
What I find really interesting here is the apparent ability of Apple to shut down an existing install of an App. As you see in the picture, Apple effectively disabled the software that was installed on the device, which is a bit scary, if you ask me.
The new Chomp-styled store isn't getting quite the feedback that Apple would like, with many users complaining search and discovery is much more difficult. I tend to agree that the old store format was better.
Online streaming provider Netflix has debuted a new mobile app for the iPad. This new app takes a feature of the Netflix site and mobilizes it on the iPad. Dubbed "Just for Kids," users tap the tab in the mobile app and "find their favorite shows and movies by swiping through a row of their favorite characters, many of which they will instantly recognize."
The app currently supports the iPad 2 and new iPad (iPad 3). The old iPad and Android device support will be forthcoming. The iPad is becoming a more attractive platform for kid entertainment. Though brittle, the device can contain hours and hours of fun packed into a small, easily portable device.
Apple is really going through a hard time with Maps, the navigation app that was baked into their new iOS 6. According to data management company Snappli, just 4% of users are running iOS 6's Maps app.
In order to get this data, Snappli looked at data usage from their 5,000 users in the days after iOS 6 was released, where they found that 64% of its users in the US and UK had moved over to iOS 6. Before iOS 6's release, 25% of Snappli's users were using Google Maps at least once a day.
After iOS 6 dropped, 35% of the company's users were using Apple Maps - with that number now plummeting to just 4%. This is just Snappli's figures, and doesn't reflect on the entire iOS 6 user base.
I'm a huge fan of SwiftKey, and use it on every Android device I own - it is the first app I install when I get a new Android-based device, and because typing is one of the most important things you'll do on a smart device, it's also one of the most important.
SwiftKey 3 is on special at the moment as part of Google's celebration of hitting 25 billion downloads on their Google Play store. SwiftKey 3 has dropped from $3.99 to just $0.99 - a 75% discount! If you haven't tried SwiftKey and want to get into it, at this price you'd be crazy not to. Here's what SwiftKey 3 offers:
Users of the Google Gmail app will be happy to hear it has been updated to support the larger iPhone 5 screen. The update brings with it a larger area for reading email as well as allowing more emails to be displayed on the screen at a single time. The app retains its ability to send push notifications for new messages.
That's really the only thing different from the older version, so if you don't own an iPhone 5, you can skip this update. For the iPhone 5 owners, updated apps that take advantage of the larger screen area are much appreciated. The app is available for download from the Apple App Store.
Google have just unveiled a new app called Field Trip, from their Niantic Labs team. Field Trip is quite simple, where it pops up with location-specific information as you walk, or drive around. It is kinda like Google Now which comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, where it will predict the information required, providing multiple channels of content.
This content can be historic places, events, lifestyle, food and drink, and many more. Field Trip gives you control of how many, as well as what kind of notifications you will receive for the app through its various settings. Google's Field Trip app can also push the information via audio, or a Bluetooth or wired headset. Field Trip has partners such as Food Network, Zagat, Cool Hunting, and others.
As with most things with Google when first launched, this is for the United States only at the moment. But it does have some promise - I see this technology being baked into Google Glasses when it reaches, where it seems like the perfect companion to an augmented reality pair of glasses. The ad is quite sweet, too, it makes me promise myself to spend quality time with my daughter, always.
Rovio appears to have done it again. Early this morning, around 12AM PT, Rovio launched their new game Bad Piggies, a spin-off of the oh-so-popular Angry Birds series. This new game features many similar characters from the older Angry Birds series, but focuses on the pigs' point of view.
Players build vehicle-style contraptions to get through the map, as opposed to flinging, well, angry birds. Just three hours after its launch, Ville Heijari tweeted that the game had rocketed to the top spot in iTunes for the US. This is an incredible rate of adoption, considering that most of the US should have been sleeping at launch.
Comparing the success of Bad Piggies to Angry Birds Space is a bit difficult. There isn't an exact time frame available for how long it took Angry Birds Space to hit number one. Remember that Angry Birds Space achieved 10 million downloads in 10 days and 50 million downloads in 35 days, both impressive feats. Let's see if Bad Piggies can beat it.
Google's Chrome for Android browser is very popular, with those rocking Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and above getting access to the great app. News has now hit that the Chrome for Android has been updated and is now completely compatible with x86-based devices.
This might not mean much to most people, as the chips inside most smart devices aren't x86-based, but for Intel chips on Android devices, this is huge news. It also shows that Google is willing to work on the compatibility of their apps, not just for their own benefit, but for the benefit of other devices on the Intel platform.
We should see more support for the Intel platform as it grows, but it's really jus tin its infancy now. Chrome for Android is a pretty big deal, especially with its abilities of syncing up with your desktop- or notebook-based Chrome, syncing all of your settings, passwords, and more.
Google updates YouTube for Android - provides preloading to Froyo, Gingerbread, as well as YouTube TV queuing
If you're still rocking the older Froyo- or Gingerbread-based Android devices, and an avid YouTube user, then you will be delighted to hear that Google have just pushed out a new version of their YouTube for Android app that gives these older versions of Android some features that Ice Cream Sandwich and above versions of Android devices have enjoyed since June.
These features include the preloading feature that was baked into the ICS and above devices' YouTube apps, which will let you preload videos from your subscriptions or watch later list, where they'll precache while you're on Wi-Fi and plugged in so you don't need to wait for buffering - which can be annoying.
The initial Watch page has changed a little, the Channel Store features more channels, and you can now queue up videos to player later on any YouTube-powered TV once you've paired it with your mobile device.