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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.
Facebook has gone ahead and updated Instagram to be compatible with the larger screen on the iPhone 5 and to make the app more compatible with iOS6. The new update brings with it several changes, most notably the removal of live filters for the iPhone 5. Older iPhones, such as the 4S seem to have retained the feature.
Along with no more live filters for the iPhone 5, Instagram has a new registration page that allows users to pull in their information from Facebook--go figure. However, the option to log-in with Facebook is curiously absent from the app. One would think that this would be a feature that Facebook would want to implement.
Moving back to the live filters, it appears that they will soon be removed from older devices. Their absence has been acknowledged on Instagram's "known issues" page and the acknowledgement seems to indicate that they will be removed from the older phones soon:
As of the current release (v3.1), Instagram does not support live filters on the iPhone 5. Going forward, live filters will be phased out as we work to improve the Instagram experience for all users.
It's not clear why they feel that live filters create a bad user experience. It could be that live filters led to many of the app freezes and crashes or something similar. One thing is clear: for now, Instagram is planning on getting rid of them, with no plans to bring them back in the future.
The first big update to Opera Mini since it launched a few months ago is here, bringing it up to version 7.5. Opera Mini 7.5 is available right now on Android, from the Google play store. What does Opera Mini 7.5 offer this time around?
Smart Page. Smart Page will give users an overview of what is happening on the Internet, including separate tabs for social, news and suggested links. Opera Mini sports the ability to compress your web viewing so that you experience the Internet faster, kind of like if it were processing the page locally.
Opera has been using this method for quite some time, and have become quite good at it. Other features include Link - which syncs up history, bookmarks and notes from your browsing on the desktop. This would obviously only apply if you're using Opera on your desktop, too.