I was a beta tester for Papa Sangre II, the excellent audio-only game for iOS (if you’ve yet to try it I can whole-heartedly recommend it -- Sean Bean stars) and am a massive fan of Zombies Run, an audio fitness app, that you listen to while running and which takes place following a zombie apocalypse.
So naturally, the news that Papa Sangre’s creators Somethin' Else are working on a zombie-based audio-only first person shooter has me in a heightened state of excitement.
The increasing trend towards using mobile devices has opened up users to a whole range of new threats. On mobiles insecure apps present a greater risk than traditional malware and viruses.
Announced at the RSA Conference, viaProtect allows consumers to take control of and protect the personal data on their devices.
Nokia's underwhelming Lumia sales from Q4 2013 had a negative impact on Windows Phone's momentum in the most important part of last year. The disappointing performance continues as, sadly, the growth of the platform's market share stalled in the three months ending January 2014, according to a new report issued by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, compared to Q4 2013.
Compared to the three months ending January 2013, Windows Phone actually posted higher year-over-year market shares in most major markets. But, its performance is more or less flat when we take into account the Q4 2013 results. The exception to the rule is US, where the tiled smartphone operating system managed to increase its share, albeit slightly, in the three months ending January 2014, when compared to the same period of last year and Q4 2013.
Seventh in a series. There was no round-up of iOS apps last week, not because there weren’t any worthy releases -- this is iOS, there are always great apps to cover -- but because I was away. I’m back now though, and so normal service is resumed.
This week there were some great new apps and games released, including a stunning adventure set inside a pop-up book, a 3D tour through some of nature's wonders, and a game that aims to improve your listening skills (something my wife says I need to do -- or at least I think that's what she says).
Laplink Software has released Laplink Sync for iOS 7.0, the latest release in Laplink's new Sync family, a collection of tools designed to allow users to manually sync media and other files across multiple platforms.
The app allows users to sync photos and videos between iPads, iPhones and iPod touches, and -- for an extra fee -- can also be used to sync with Android mobiles and Windows PCs running Laplink Sync for desktop. A Mac version is currently in development.
The world of VoIP services is one packed with various names bustling for attention. One of the biggest names in the game is Viber, which started small but grew impressively as it spread across platforms -- now it has grown to the point that it is deemed worthy of handing over $900 million. At least that is the view of Rakuten, the Japanese firm behind Play.com and the Kobo eReader that agreed to part with this not insubstantial sum of money for an outright purchase of Viber Media Ltd.
With around 280 million registered users, Viber could be quite a money-maker for Rakuten who explained that the service has a "rapidly growing numbers of users, especially in emerging countries". With its fingers already in various online pies -- ebooks, shopping and streaming media through Wuaki.tv -- Viber represents yet another string to Rakuten's bow as the company "aims to be the global number one internet services" provider.
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.