Posted by Alan Buckingham at 12:50 PM on March 23, 2013
Windows 8 launched way back at the end of October last year and it has steadily grown since then, though there is a vocal minority who would like you to believe otherwise — some of whom have a vested interest in making you think that way. While the growth of the operating system itself has been rather quick — four million copies sold in less than a week — the growth of the App Store has been slower, but rather steady.
Now the web site Metro Scanner reports a new milestone has been reached. As of this writing, the store is officially as 50,304 apps. This is likely a big moment for Microsoft, as it is validation of the company’s plan and proof that people, most importantly developers, are finally coming around.
Of course, there is a long way to go. The operating system is still without a number of feature apps. Lacking still are official versions of things like Twitter, Facebook and others.
However, the growth should steadily become a self-fulfilling prophecy. As more apps appear the pressure on others to get in there will mount. The steadily growing number of users will also add additional pressure on developers to get them on the ball with this OS and Store.
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 8:36 AM on March 7, 2013
While it has not been largely publicized, Amazon has a deal going on right now for Android customers and music lovers. The online retail giant is offering a trade-off — buy an app and get a free song.
The deal is not exactly temporary either. It began back on February 13, 2013 and will run through December 31, 2013. Customers need not do anything to qualify — simply purchase an app from the Amazon Appstore for Android and then, shortly after making the purchase, you will receive an email from the company that includes a code for $1 credit to Amazon MP3. The code is good until 11:59 PM PST on January 31, 2014, so you have plenty of time to decide on your song.
As many of you likely know, Amazon offers a paid app every single day as its “Free app of the Day”. As it turns out, these also count, meaning you need not even spend anything to land your MP3 credit.
Posted by KL Tech Muse at 8:50 AM on February 6, 2013
Ford Motor Company opened up their app program to all developers at CES 2013 The new platform is called Uplink it is a suite of technology that works with Connect to Sync. This program has gone through two years of beta testing using such apps as Pandora however now it is open to all developers. It should be opened to North America, Europe and China by the end of the year. Ford has hired people from the mobile industries work previously done some development so they are ready for the volume. They’ve have told developers there are certain categories they will not permit including games videos anything with a lot of texts involved. Ford has developed a multiple number of test that the developer’s app must pass before it is even submitted. These standards are available at the Ford Developer Program website. Ford would like developers to concentrate on using voice commands or if that’s not available quick touch. Right now Ford is concentrating on the driver and they want to make sure that the apps are distraction free.
Developers can work on either the iOS platform or the Android platform. The IOS platform works with the Xcode package in Objective C. The Android platform uses the Eclipse package in Java. Is it a Json library with an API call. The head unit software accepts and manage the information. The head unit software is being open to the industry. Ford is trying to work with competitors so that developers don’t have to develop a different package for each car company.
The apps once developed or tweaked for the environment will be available directly through iTunes and the Google Play Store. Ford is also continuing to work on opening up their diagnostic platform or OpenXC Platform to produce more data for research. If you are developer and interested in developing for the Ford platform you can find more information at the Ford developer website.
Nicole from Livio chats to Todd and Don about how the company has changed its approach to the market and the success it’s having in the automotive space.
Over the past year, Livio have moved away from consumer products and instead has started licensing its technology to other app developers. The Livio Connect API makes it easy for app developers to customise their apps for in-car and hands-free use, typically using the car stereo’s features to access and control the apps.
Ford does it’s updates via a USB stick which they provide to Ford drivers free of charge. According to the Ford representative most users where able to do the update themselves.
The majority of new Fords now being sold have Ford Sync in them. One of the great things about Ford Sync is that it works in a noisy environment. You can use it in a convertible with the top down going down the highway. Ford believes that listening to their customers and developing and maintaining a quality product is key.
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 11:41 AM on October 20, 2012
A few days ago Android Police posted an exclusive video showing the next version of the Gmail app. Version 4.2 includes several new features that users have wanted for some time now, like pinch to zoom in emails, swiping away emails to archive them, reporting emails as phishing scams and a lot more. At the time, they also posted links to the download of the .APK file, but Google asked them to take the links down and the site complied. The folks at XDA Developers also complied with the request but, as you probably know, things posted online never really go away.
If you do some searching around you will see that the file is still available, but only a bit harder to find. Hint: you can click here. Before you get too excited though, there are a few things you should probably know. Most importantly, your device needs to be rooted in order to install this update. You will also need to have a phone or tablet running Android 4.0 or 4.1. and you will need follow several hacky steps to get it up and running. You can find all of the steps detailed over at The Android Soul.
This has been a good week for Google app updates with, not only this new version of Gmail, but also a nice update to the Google Play Store (now at version 3.9.16). The Play Store update, unlike the Gmail update, has already begun rolling out to users, but if you haven’t received it then you can also grab the .APK file, which Google is NOT asking to be taken down. The new Gmail should begin rolling out very soon.
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 8:22 AM on September 2, 2012
This Labor Day weekend, Google has been holding a $0.99 sale on apps in their Play Store. The sale is about to enter it’s final 24 hours, wrapping up on Labor Day, September 3rd. The sale isn’t across the board, but is a select 18 apps that were picked for an unknown reason, but it’s certainly a good group.
The sale list covers the gamete of app types – there are games, camera apps, utilities and productivity apps. All are regularly priced in the $1.99 to $3.99 range. Camera aficoanados will want to grab Vignette, one of the premier picture taking apps on the market, while gamers will rejoice at getting a deal on the likes of Gangstar Rio: City of Saints and Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation. For those looking for an alternative to Google Calendar, you may want to check out Business Calendar.
My recommendation though, is an app that I picked up over a year ago – Star Chart. This is hands-down the best astronomy app available. It uses your handset’s GPS to locate itself, the clock for timing, compass to know the direction it’s pointing and the accelerometer to tell it’s angle. All of this information is translated in real-time to show the user a map of the sky in whatever direction the phone is pointed. Want to know what that particularly bright point of light is? Open Star Chart and point your phone at it and it will display the object and it’s name.
To view all of the deals just visit the End of Summer Sale section in the Google Play Store.
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 3:33 PM on September 1, 2012
I recently switched phones from a Motorola Android device to a brand new Samsung one and one of the apps I didn’t bother re-installing was the NBC Olympics. After all, the games are over for another four years…or two depending on how you want to count it. Now it looks as though I may want to revive that app because NBC has announced that it’s not dead and will be re-branded as NBC Sports Live Extra.
This update has now taken place on both the Android and iOS versions of the app. The new content that will be streaming live through the app will come from events covered on NBC, NBCSports Network and the Golf Channel. Before you get too excited, the app will still require users to authenticate, meaning they must prove they subscribe to a cable or satellite package that provides these channels.
It’s both good and bad news for users. The app isn’t useless and, in fact, will be far from it, but these services are eventually going to have to learn to break away from the traditional models, which are proving every day to be more broken. Perhaps NBC would be better served by charging a nominal monthly fee for use of the app rather than being beholden to the traditional home providers. There’s little doubt that will eventually happen, but we aren’t there yet.
It’s a good time to be in a geek in the UK at the moment. Over the past week there’s been a raft of announcements for predominately US-based offerings making it across the pond so here’s a quick round up of the latest news.
Barnes and Noble are bringing the Nook to Britain and if the marketing is right, it could be hit. Public libraries are still popular and they offer ebooks in the .epub format, which the Amazon Kindle doesn’t support but the Nook does. Some shrewd money-saving marketing and the Nook could give the Kindle a run for its money. I have the original Nook which I’m hoping will be supported in the UK, despite it being no longer sold. Pricing for the current Nooks to be announced but Argos and John Lewis are on-board to sell the hardware.
Amazon rolled out its Android Appstore to UK residents and parts of Europe, presumably for the as-yet-unannounced launch of the Kindle Fire. Coming with the Amazon Appstore is the App of the Day, which will have some great apps for nothing so it’s worth keeping an eye out for those. I’ve installed Appstore on my tablets already and have downloaded a few apps – all looking cool so far.
If you are looking for a small tablet, I think UK readers will be spoilt for choice with the Nexus 7, Kindle Fire and Nook Color / Tablet all likely to be available soon.
Finally, Groupon has some competition in the shape of AmazonLocal, offering similar group deals. At the moment it seems to be focussing on London with a few national offers. Presumably city or regional deals can’t be that far away. There’s a 2 hour flying lesson currently on offer for £99 which looks fun. (As an aside, I always thought Groupon was a rubbish name until someone pointed out it was like group-coupon. Duh!)
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 10:25 AM on August 20, 2012
Most of us who have Android devices set automatic updates for our apps, which means we don’t have to worry about going to the trouble of installing each update manually. That’s a great thing, but it has it’s drawbacks. For instance, if you play a game that frequently updates by adding new levels, as the popular Angry Birds does, then you can miss those cool new levels. After all, you don’t play those new levels unless you know they are there. How can you tell what has updated? Enter AppFeed.net.
You can sign into the service using your Google, Twitter or Facebook accounts. Once logged in, you can click “My Feeds” and get an RSS feed that you can add to your reader of choice. This will give you up-to-date information on what apps have received updates, so you can go play that new set of Angry Birds levels as soon as they are released.
Below you will find a gallery of screenshots of the setup process. It’s a simple service written by someone who had a need and couldn’t find a suitable solution in the Google Play Store.