Fourteenth in a series. While catastrophic bug Heartbleed can potentially affect some versions of Android, iPhone users are safe. Apple has confirmed that "iOS and OS X never incorporated the vulnerable OpenSSL software and key web-based services were not affected". So that's some good news.
Featured apps this week include Adobe Lightroom for iPad, RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile, Carousel (a photo and video sharing app from Dropbox), Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff, Drync for iPad (a wine cataloguing and ordering app) and Warhammer Quest (a hack 'n' slash RPG).
Cloud storage service Dropbox has officially announced the public availability of Dropbox for Business, a new product designed to boost the company's penetration in the enterprise cloud storage market. There, it will go against existing offerings from competing services like Box.
Dropbox for Business is designed to appeal to both enterprises and their employees, so it will give enrolled users the option to switch between work and personal content. Administrators will be able to have better control over company data, according to Dropbox, with the help of features like remote wipe, account transfer and audit log sharing, which allow them to keep track of data stored in Dropbox's cloud.
For many, small tablets are synonymous with low cost. This is thanks to Android tablets like the Nexus 7, which is great. While there is nothing wrong with being inexpensive, many of those Android tablets are also of poor quality -- the market is flooded with no-name variants. This has given small tablets a bad name. Small Windows tablets have been hit or miss. There have been duds such as the Acer Iconia W3 and good ones such as the Lenovo Miix 2 8. What has eluded the market thus far, is a great one.
The ThinkPad name is synonymous with business-class quality and durability. The laptops under this branding are known to be rugged, but elegant too. Leonovo only designates this moniker to computers that meet a certain high standard. So when given the opportunity to review an 8.3 inch ThinkPad tablet, I was excited for a quality product. Is it the great tablet we have been waiting for?
Thirteenth in a series. Apple has confirmed that its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), will be kicking off on Monday June 2, at San Francisco’s Moscone West. The five day event will give developers (and the press of course) the chance to "learn about the future of iOS and OS X". At last year’s conference Apple unveiled iOS 7, Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks, a new MacBook Air lineup, iTunes Radio, iCloud Keychain, and much more.
In other news, Microsoft says its newly released Office apps have been downloaded 12 million times since launch.
Today, at the Build conference in San Francisco, Microsoft takes the wraps off Windows Phone 8.1, the first major update for its smartphone operating system since late-October 2012. The much-awaited release should finally give the software giant's competitor a clear advantage in the race against main rivals Android and iOS, that dominate the smartphone market from afar.
Microsoft has thrown a lot of features at Windows Phone 8.1, some of which we had been expecting to arrive with Windows Phone 8. A lot is riding on this release, as the platform is at a critical stage now. Its market share fails to top 4 percent due to low consumer adoption, Microsoft is set to become the largest Windows Phone vendor, manufacturers have shown little interest in it as they focus their efforts on Android instead, and the competition is more fierce than ever. Windows Phone 8.1 is the release which sets the tone for the platform in 2014, and, naturally, our expectations are high.
Popular music-streaming service Spotify has updated its iPad and iPhone app with the release of Spotify 1.0. The app gains a refreshed user interface to match the new darker theme being rolled out across all platforms.
It also debuts several new features. Chief among these is Your Music, a means of saving, organizing and browsing the user’s favorite music in one spot.
Before Motorola brought the Moto G and Moto X to Europe, the company's presence on the old continent was lackluster at best when it came to smartphones. The best consumers could get, and only in a small number of markets, was the dated Razr HD that seemed to be aimed solely at the brand's fans and keeping the Motorola name alive. The maker had thrown in the towel, trailing behind the likes of Apple and Samsung.
The Moto G and, later, the Moto X have put Motorola back on the smartphone map. "Motorola was nowhere in Europe before the Moto G launched in November last year, but the new model has since boosted the manufacturer to 6 percent of British sales", says Kantar Wordpanel ComTech strategic insight director Dominic Sunnebo. "It highlights the speed at which a quality budget phone can disrupt a market".
Microsoft has flirted with Apple's iPad on a couple of occasions this week. Early on in the week there was the case of a 12-year-old girl who wanted nothing more than an iPad Mini. Microsoft stepped in and managed to convince her that the Surface 2 was the way ahead. Way to spin! But this was not the big Microsoft-iPad news. In a move that many saw as almost sacrilegious -- but one that was welcomed by just about the same number -- Microsoft Office, finally, made its way onto iPad. This wasn't the only release from Microsoft this week -- the source code for early versions of MS-DOS and Word for Windows was made publicly available. Having faced criticism for the way it approached a recent investigation, Microsoft pledged that it would no longer read customer emails during the course of an investigation without getting law enforcement involved.
Windows XP may be in its death throes, but this isn't going to stop people from using it. To help keep these hardy fellows safe, Malwarebytes announced that it would keep its users protected for life. It's not just XP that Microsoft is lowering into the grave, Office 2003 also finds itself six feet under. As the door on XP closes, another one opens -- or closes, depending on how you look at it. The purchase of Nokia's Devices and Services division is due to close in April after initially facing some delays.
Rdio is already partnered with Shazam, the app that allows you to identify that song you're hearing and are dying to know -- on the radio or TV, it can’t help with the one stuck in your head. That app hasn’t been invented yet, but I personally hope it is soon.
Now Rdio announces it has expanded the partnership beyond previous bounds. Until now users of Shazam could add songs they discovered to a Rdio playlist. Now customers of the app will be able to add any song to that list.
When it comes to mobile media apps, there is no shortage of available content. It is simply overwhelming to choose between the various music and video services, such as Netflix, Beats Music, and Hulu Plus, to name a few. However, more choice is always a good thing, as it can cause a competition that ultimately helps consumers with lower prices.
One network that has been lacking a representation in the mobile app landscape is BET -- Black Entertainment Television. While the network self-proclaims to focus on African-American audiences, people of any color or nationality can enjoy it. Today, the network launches the BET NOW app for iOS and Android.
Twelfth in a series. Microsoft rolled out Office for iPad this week, and it's excellent. Like Apple iWork, it's not a single app but rather three individual apps for Word, Excel and PowerPoint (an updated OneNote is available too). You need an Office 365 subscription to get the most out of it, as without one you can only view documents.
Other featured apps this week include a modern remake of Little Big Adventure (a classic game from the nineties), a touch typing tutor, a drawing app for children, a sweeping and rather too addictive Game of Thrones RPG, a Captain America tie-in, and a group text messaging app.
It’s taken a very long time, but today, finally, Microsoft unveiled Office for iPad. Despite the name, Office for iPad is three separate apps -- Word, Excel and PowerPoint -- which are individually available in the App store.
The apps have a familiar interface, with the same Ribbon interface and layout. But at the same time, they’re not just a port of the regular desktop version. Menus have been optimized for touch; objects can similarly be dragged, rotated or resized with a swipe; Excel has a special formula keyboard to help you enter data quickly, and everything scales properly in both portrait and landscape mode.
Analyst Gartner has just released its latest worldwide devices forecast, which shows, unsurprisingly, traditional PC shipments declining, and tablets, mobile phones, and ultramobiles (hybrid and clamshell) all growing. In total, device shipments are set to rise 6.9 percent, up from the 4.8 percent growth achieved last year.
There are few surprises in the report. Shipments of mobile phones, the most popular device type in the market, are expected to reach 1.9 billion units in 2014, a 4.9 percent increase from 2013. The worldwide tablet market is forecast to grow 38.6 percent in 2014, shipments of traditional PCs are forecast to total 276.7 million units in 2014 (a 6.6 percent decline from 2013), and ultramobiles are set to grow from 21.1 million in 2013 to 37.2 million this year. Gartner has also forecast shipments by operating systems, and while Windows still shows growth, overall it's far from happy times ahead for Microsoft.
As much as I enjoy running, I often need help and motivation to get started, and keep going, and Zombies, Run! has been my savior. I’ve mentioned the fitness app several times in the past, but if you’re not familiar, it’s a sort of interactive radio play, in which episodic stories unfold in-between tracks from your playlist as you run, transforming a real-world jog into a journey through the zombie apocalypse.
Season 3 of Zombies, Run! is out next month, but I’ve found a new running app to keep me occupied until then. BattleSuit Runner Fitness is available for both Android and iOS and is quite similar in that the missions unfold in-between your running songs, but in this game you’re DeltaSuit, an exosuit-wearing commando battling against an alien invasion.
Synium Software has released a major update to its Apple mobile family history app with the release of MobileFamilyTree 7.1. Aside from gaining an iOS 7-inspired facelift, the app also adds AirPlay video support, rebuilds the interactive tree from scratch and includes a number of other major and minor tweaks and improvements.
Despite the major changes, the app remains free to all existing users, while new users can take advantage of a special 50 percent off promotion and purchase the app for $6.99 before March 31st.