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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.