Plex, if you aren't familiar with it, comes in two parts. There's a server that you install on a, preferably, always-on computer. Then there are the end-user apps, which are available for multiple mobile devices and set-top boxes. The server is free, but the apps will set you back $5 (OK, $4.99 if you want to be technical).
However, now through tomorrow, Valentine's Day, the service is offering a discount to its potential customers. "Until Valentine’s Day, we’re offering all our mobile apps for 50% off: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Windows 8. Not enough sale for you? We’re also offering 3 bonus months on a yearly Plex Pass bought with PayPal (that’s 15 months for the price of 12)", the company announces.
BlackBerry is struggling in the smartphone market, but the Canadian company is seeing better results with its BBM service, which grew by 20 million users in just one week after it arrived on rival platforms Android and iOS in late-2013. It is no wonder then that BlackBerry is focusing on making BBM even better, especially for those who are not using its branded smartphones.
Today, BlackBerry announced the release of BBM 2.0, for Android and iOS, and BBM 10.3 for BlackBerry OS. The latest version adds many new features to the available apps, with BBM Voice and Channels finally arriving on rival platforms as well, allowing its Android and iOS users to make free calls via Wi-Fi and cellular networks, and take advantage of the built-in networking options.
The spread of BYOD means that employees increasingly expect a seamless experience, accessing content on the device of their choice.
With the launch of its new HP Access Catalog, HP lets enterprises create a secure app store so employees can instantly download applications and digital content across both mobile and desktop devices.
Ellora Assets Corporation has launched its first iPhone app with the release of Freemake Musicbox for iPhone. The app provides users with a search tool for accessing and streaming free music and music videos via YouTube to their phone.
Freemake Musicbox claims to support over 20 million tracks, and makes much of the fact it’s completely ad-free and comes with no built-in limits. The initial release is a little short on features, but more expansive functionality -- including support for playlists and a built-in personalized radio -- are "in development".
Death threats, inflated eBay auctions, clever marketing, lawsuits, app cloning, IP cloaking and bots -- the departure of Flappy Bird from app stores at the weekend has sparked an array of rumours, accusations and conspiracies.
A notoriously tricky and addictive game, Flappy Bird had been downloaded more than 50 million times since May 2013, and was the number one free game in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store charts.
Sixth in a series. I'm a massive fan of the Broken Sword series of games, so this week was a great one for me as I finally got to download and start playing the brand new Broken Sword adventure on iOS. I'm pleased to report it doesn't disappoint. Thanks to mobile devices (and Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns) classic adventure series are getting a whole new lease of life, which is fantastic. Fans of classic games will be thrilled to know there's a "new" Final Fantasy game out this week too.
With the Winter Olympics upon us, Apple has gathered together a collection of official Sochi 2014 apps, including the Athletes’ Hub which is well worth a download.
Today, Google launches the developer preview of Google Cast SDK, allowing for the development of apps for the company's plug-in-and-forget-about-it streaming unit. In a post on the Chromium Blog, Engineering Manager John Affaki, explains that developers will find it easy to make existing mobile and web apps ready for use with Chromecast as the SDK allows for easy integration. In addition to the Chrome extension, the SDK is also available for Android and iOS.
The lack of new and exciting apps that offer Chromecast support has partly contributed to the fact that Google's streaming device has not really caused the explosion of excitement that it should have done. Google will be hoping that by making the SDK available, developers will start to integrate the API into existing apps that are suitable for taking advantage of second screen casting.
Fifth in a series. A big week for Apple as the company delivered record fiscal first quarter results -- $57.6 billion revenue and $13.1 billion net profit. The tech giant revealed it had shipped 51 million iPhones, an all-time quarterly record, compared to 47.8 million a year-ago, and 26 million iPads, up from 22.9 million in the same period a year ago. Wall Street wasn’t impressed, but that’s to be expected.
Of course a big part of Apple’s success is the number and quality of apps available for its hardware. As the owner of both iOS and Android devices, I find the apps for the iPhone and iPad to be vastly superior (although there are always exceptions). There’s less garbage, and far fewer ad-riddled apps. Part of that reason is Apple’s strict approval process, and the amount of money it pays to developers -- $2 billion in its fiscal first quarter -- helps too.
Two weeks ago my colleague Mihaita Bamburic wrote a piece on how a Facebook news reader app could give users the best tailored content. Today, Facebook announces Paper, a "new app that helps you explore and share stories from friends and the world around you". It's not quite the app Mihaita was hoping for -- not yet, at least -- but it does sound promising.
Paper is essentially a Flipboard alternative for iPhone (and Android eventually, presumably) that displays content from your Facebook friends, well-known publications, and "emerging voices" in a fullscreen, distraction-free layout.
Google is the undisputed search king, but it is not the only player in town. Microsoft's Bing is a distant second, but some people prefer it. While I prefer Google's offering for search, I like Bing for one thing -- rewards.
Yes, Bing Rewards is pretty darn cool, as it provides perks to users for simply using the service. This is a win-win relationship as users earn points for searching and Microsoft gains search activity. Users can then redeem points for things like raffles and gift cards. Sadly though, the experience was not available for mobile -- until today. Microsoft releases Bing Rewards for iOS and Android. Shockingly, Windows Phone is not yet supported.
Bad news for Microsoft today, as a new report that was just released by research firm Strategy Analytics places its smartphone operating system, Windows Phone, at less than 4 percent market share in 2013. It may be in an honorable third place, but, by contrast, Apple's iOS, which ranks second, had a market share of 15.5 percent in the same period, while Android, the most popular of the bunch, dominated the landscape from afar with 78.9 percent market share in the past year.
In 2013, shipments of smartphones running Windows Phone reached just 35.7 million units, leading to a low market share of 3.6 percent. Overall, a previous Strategy Analytics report released earlier this week places smartphone shipments in 2013 close to one billion units (990 million, to be exact). The tiled mobile OS grew in both shipments and market share compared to 2012, from 18.8 million and 2.7 percent, respectively, but has yet to reach a threatening position to its more popular rivals, even for iOS which has been losing market share in major markets across the globe.
Google has rolled out Chrome for iOS 32, a major new release of its alternative browser for iPhone and iPad users. Version 32 introduces a new translation bar for pages written in foreign languages, plus promises to reduce bandwidth usage by up to 50 percent.
It also sees the first phase of a new feature that will update the New Tab page to speed up future searching, and includes the usual gamut of fixes and improvements.
Fourth in a series. Unsurprisingly, after last week’s post-holiday rush of big and important new releases and updates, things have quietened down a little in the App Store.
There’s the usual collection of interesting apps and games, of course, but nothing massively groundbreaking this time around. That said, as ever, I’ve found plenty of apps to take up space on both my iPad and iPhone 5s.
What's that? Another music streaming service? Another one?! You could be forgiven for having this reaction to the news that Dr Dre's Beats Music is now available for iOS and Android; this is a market that is already rather saturated, and music lovers are not exactly short of options when it comes to picking a service to satiate their audio needs. So any new service vying for attention has to have something rather unique to offer if it is going to stand out from the competition.
Beats Music does have a unique selling point. It is a service that is about more than just streaming music, it aims to deliver the right music according to the time of day, what you are doing and where you are. Is this sort of stream tailoring enough to win over music fans? Only time will tell, but Beats Music certainly has a fight on its hands if it is to wrestle users away from the existing services that have been established for some time.
The phablet. It's a device with a silly name, but it's a market that is gaining massive momentum. Analysis by Juniper Research suggests that the number of larger-screened devices that ship will rocket by 600 percent by 2018. Projected figures show shipments jumping from around 20 million devices in 2013, to 120 million five years later. But taking into account the loose definition of a phablet it is possible that the figures could be even higher.
In fact there is no "official" definition of a phablet, at least in terms of the size of screen a device must sport in order to qualify for the title. Juniper Research acknowledges that phones with very large screens are increasingly common, with many high-end handsets featuring 5 inch - 5.5 inch displays. For the purposes of its report, Juniper Research uses the term phablet to refer to handsets that have a screen size between 5.6 inches and 6.9 inches.