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Facebook SDK 3.0 for iOS is here, brings mobile ads in the beta

Facebook SDK 3.0 for iOS hit beta a few weeks ago, but it looks like a finished version has popped up onto the surface of the Internet. The SDK continues to push a more iOS-native experience, better API support and better session management.




iOS 6 integration won't get the eye down until Apple pushes out their latest software update, with Facebook keeping a separate beta track active to serve forward-thinking developers. Facebook's regular users won't be getting the same reward, though. Mobile ads are peeking their head into the latest beta, it seems and while Facebook isn't pushing them big time [yet], it's a sign of things to come.


The social network is letting developers pitch their Android and iOS apps from Facebook's mobile portals, with a quick jump over to the relevant app store if the title isn't already loaded. At the moment there's no ETA, but with the mobile ads, I'm sure Facebook junkies are in no rush just yet.

Apple removing YouTube app from iOS 6, Google working on standalone version

Apple seems to be on an anti-Google rampage with iOS 6. The obvious change is the lack of Google Maps in the upcoming mobile operating system, but now Apple has said that the YouTube app will also be removed. It would seem that the reason for this change is due to the licensing agreement between Apple and Google has run out.




Don't fret, however, as Apple has confirmed that YouTube will work in Safari. They also said that Google is working on a standalone version of the app which will be available through the App Store. It's not clear whether Apple wanted to free the iOS experience of Google or if they got tired of paying Google's licensing fees.


It's likely that this change will be good for consumers. The stock YouTube app hasn't seen any major changes or improvements for years, however, now that Google has its own app, it can change and update it as much as it would like. A YouTube spokesperson said that "we are working with Apple to ensure we have the best possible YouTube experience for iOS users."


Apple's full statement is below:


Our license to include the YouTube app in iOS has ended, customers can use YouTube in the Safari browser and Google is working on a new YouTube app to be on the App Store.


Note that iOS 5 devices will not lose the stock YouTube app; it is only being removed from iOS 6.

Amazon unveils Instant Video app for iPad owners

Netflix isn't the only game in mobile town anymore as Amazon has just released its new Instant Video iPad app. The app is available free to iPad users and offers both Amazon Prime and non-Prime users the ability to purchase or rent videos from Amazon's online database of over 120,000 selections.




The rented or purchased content can then be streamed when online or downloaded for later offline viewing. Amazon Prime members can stream thousands of of movies and TV shows for no extra cost above and beyond their yearly $79 fee. Non-members are required to purchase or rent each individual piece of content they want to watch.


The system is very similar in design and function to Netflix's offering. The layout looks very similar and it features a Watchlist, which is very similar to Netflix's queue. The one downside to the app is that purchases and rentals cannot be made directly from the app. Instead, users have to open Safari and head to Amazon's Instant Video Store. Once purchased, they are available for viewing from the app.

Spotify brings Pandora-like functionality to Android, stream free

Stop me if you've heard this one before. There's a new free app that allows you to stream music by creating a radio station based upon a song. The kind of music playing can be adjusted by giving playing tracks a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. Why didn't you stop me? That's basically exactly what Pandora does!




However, the new app I am speaking of is not Pandora. Instead, it is a free streaming offering from Spotify. Spotify's new app does basically exactly what Pandora does, right down to playing ads to free listeners. I'm not exactly sure why anyone would pick Spotify over Pandora as they do the same thing.


Be that as it may, competition is good so we may see better apps out of both companies, fewer ads, or other incentives to use one app over the other. This same app was released for iOS last month and delivers the same functionality. The app is available in the Google Play store for free. Paying users don't have to listen to ads.

Security firm BT says that one-third of all Android apps have malware

Security firm BT are claiming that more than one-third of all Android apps have malware baked inside of them. BT bases their statement on tests that the firm itself has conducted, where they examined more than 1,000 Android apps.




According to the company, the fact that malware is in that many devices means that those devices are compromised in some way or another. The company said this during a panel discussion at NetEvents Americas conference. The panel moderator pointed out that he had found malware in an application whilst reviewing Samsung's latest Galaxy S III, with BT's representatives detailing the company's findings.


One thing that BT hasn't revealed is whether the malware they found was found in apps coming from Google's Play Store. With Google's Android-based devices being capable of downloading apps from more than one place, it may be possible that BT's numbers are a bit explosive, and aren't really a representation of people who download apps directly from the Play Store, and nowhere else.

Continue reading 'Security firm BT says that one-third of all Android apps have malware' (full post)

Instapaper gets an insta-boost in downloads thanks to the Nexus 7 launch

Instapaper has seen a huge surge in downloads since the release of Google and ASUS' 7-inch tablet, the Nexus 7. The Nexus 7 has becomes the most popular device for the app, according to Instapaper's internal numbers.




Since the Nexus 7 was released, downloads of the Instapaper app on Google's Play Store have increased by a whopping 600-percent. The app's developers attribute some, but not all, of this increase to the $25 credit Google gives away with the Nexus 7. Downloads paid for with the credit are listed under the codename "grouper", as shown in the chart above.




"Grouper" downloads make up 15.58-percent of all installs, making the Nexus 7 lead the bunch of devices. Instapaper's app developer notes that the Nexus 7's mostly positive reviews are the main driving point behind the device's popularity, as well as the 600-percent surge in downloads.

Instagram breaks through 80 million user barrier

Instagram have announced that the photo-taking and sharing service now has passed 80 million users, a 60-percent increase in the last 13 weeks. Instagram infrastructure engineer Rick Branson wrote in a tweet "we now have >5.7m users per employee", with Instagram having 14 employees, the math is simple, Branson adds "We're hiring :)".




Instagram have had a fun-filled adventure, with the service launching in October of 2010, and only took the company a year and a half to hit 50 million users, which the company announced back in April. This means it took just three months to add a 30 million users. The growth that Instagram are experiencing is quite amazing.


Up to now, the 80 million or more Instagram users have shared more than 4 billion photos, mostly of their food in front of them. That last bit was a bit of humor from me, not actual fact.

Android FPS game goes free after 'unbelievably high' piracy rates

Madfinger Games has said they have been forced into relaunching their Android game at a lower price point due to piracy rates. Even though the app only cost $0.99, Madfinger Games has said that piracy rates were "unbelievably high" and that is why they have relaunched the game for the low price of free.




The game is available for Android users on the Google Play store for users who would like to download it. Of course users who purchased the app are not exactly happy that it is now free and as such have started posting angry one-star reviews. Madfinger Games has released a statement regarding the change, although it's doubtful to relieve much anger:

Continue reading 'Android FPS game goes free after 'unbelievably high' piracy rates' (full post)

Windows Store on Windows 8 to enable, facilitate 7-day trials

The release of Windows 8 is getting closer and closer every day and Microsoft keeps releasing more and more information about the upcoming operating system. The latest nugget of news is that the app store, aptly and unimaginatively named Windows Store, will enable and facilitate the ability to offer 7-day free trials.




This is a welcome addition. As most users of iOS know, there is no method for offering trials through the app store. While some developers have produced lite versions of their paid apps, significantly more have not. Furthermore, these lite versions aren't exactly the same as a full version trial. Developers also have to worry about putting safeguards in, which isn't the easiest task, especially with Apple's restrictions.


However, Microsoft has detailed how the Windows Store will offer APIs and facilitate the ability to offer 7-day free trials of paid apps. It turns out that a try-before-you-buy offer boosts sales to as high as five times. Microsoft is even going to offer analytics to show how many conversions are made from the trials.


Trials will benefit both developers and consumers. Developers get a chance to get up to five times more sales and consumers get to test out an app before purchase. There's really no downside to this proposition.

App transfers data by 'singing', works in loud areas at low volume

A new app has been developed by a new spinout from University College London, Department of Computer Science. Based upon the work of senior researchers, the app transfers data by chirping a series of notes. These chirps are designed to work in loud environments, such as pubs, at low volumes.




Even cooler is that the app can transfer data to multiple devices without being paired to any of them. Each chirp lasts about two seconds and is composed of about 12 distinct notes. When another device hears the sequence of chirps, it decodes it into a shortlink which can then be accessed to download the data.


The chirp can also be saved for later viewing if an active data connection is not available. The ability of being able to transfer to multiple devices without pairing offers a significant advantage over other data transfer apps. More information on the app is available on their site at

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