VideoLAN’s popular media player VLC for iOS has been upgraded to 2.2 with a revamped iOS 7-style interface, along with new multi-touch gestures for easier navigation.
Google Drive integration and Dropbox streaming should make it much easier to access your media. And if that’s not enough, the new build also adds support for HTTP Live Streaming, m3u streams and https playback.
Third in a series. The holiday season is well and truly behind us now and there's lots of big and important new releases and updates in the App Store this week. One of the most significant is a new app from Google which sees the search giant challenging Apple’s own iTunes Store (albeit with some very important Apple-appeasing limitations).
Elsewhere, cloud storage service Box announced that it has rewritten its app to make it "super-fast, simpler to use and more immersive", and as an incentive for users to try it out the app now comes with 50 GB of storage for free, which definitely makes it worth the download. You can read more about the update here.
It seems to be a big day for cloud storage. Earlier Google added additional functionality to its Drive product. Now Box has an update of its own, though this new release is geared towards the mobile crowd, bringing more storage to those on iOS devices.
Additional cloud storage isn't all that's included, though. "We've overhauled our app to make it super-fast, simpler to use and more immersive. The result, we believe, is the best content viewing and collaboration experience available today for your iOS device".
It was announced very casually with very little fanfare. Twitter is getting a new look. It is in the process of rolling out around the world and when the revamped interface hits your account you'll find that the new look closely mimics that found in the iOS and Android apps. The redesign follows a recent update to the mobile apps, and while there are not many dramatic changes, the standardized look helps to create a more uniform experience moving between devices.
The tweet composition section is now found to the left hand side of the screen -- gone is the pop-up box in favour of an inline option. The two-column design has a very neat look to it, and does an excellent job of keeping related data together. The left hand column houses the profile box and composition field, and beneath this you'll find suggestions for who to follow, as well as a list of trending topics.
There has been a lot of talk about 2014 being the year of wearable tech. I'm yet to try out Google glass, but I can see its appeal -- providing the price drops a little! -- yet what interests me are smart versions of existing things we already wear. (I will grant you that Glass kind of falls into this category, but not everyone wears glasses) There have been quite a lot of smart watches over the last year, but they have a tendency to be rather ugly, bulky, or require an additional, specific device in order to function correctly. Yes, Galaxy Gear, I'm pointing at you.
But things are starting to evolve quite nicely. The new Pebble Steel is a spectacular smart watch that overcomes the looks issue that has blighted other models. The three models -- black leather, stainless steel and black matte -- all look great, and don’t stand out for the wrong reasons. This is a smart watch that looks like a watch rather than a smart watch, and this is where wearable technology stands or falls. An incredible piece of technology should be capable of just blending in and getting on with its job rather than jumping up, grabbing your eyeballs and demanding LOOK AT ME!
This was a week dominated by CES, and there were a huge number of announcements about upcoming hardware. Lenovo took the wraps off the (slightly) heavyweight ThinkPad Tablet 8, but any excess weight was countered by the ultra-light ThinkPad X1 Carbon ultrabook. HP's range of business desktops even included one device running Android, while Nvidia's new Tegra K1 promises much for the mobile market.
Competitor Qualcomm revealed two processors designed for entertainment while Pure's Connect platform opens up the possibility of using any streaming music service with its wireless speakers. Smart TVs are set to benefit from the addition of Roku software, but it seems that the technology du jour is 4K, with a new 4K laptop from Toshiba joining the streams of 4K TVs and monitors.
Second in a series. Big news for Apple this week as the tech giant announces that App Store sales topped $10 billion in 2013, including over $1 billion in December alone. iOS users downloaded almost three billion apps in that one month, which is an incredible figure.
Now the holidays are over, it’s back to business in the App Store, and lots of new apps have been released or updated and there are loads of great new games out too.
While the rest of the tech world is announcing hot new products at CES, Apple has chosen this time to reveal some app sales figures in the hope of generating a little press of its own. As you’d expect the numbers it’s offering today are pretty spectacular.
In December iOS users downloaded almost three billion apps, which Apple says makes it the most successful month in the history of the App Store.
Windows Phone may have managed to overtake Apple's iPhone in a small number of markets, based on sales, and become the third most popular smartphone operating system, but it -- and the devices that run it -- do not get much love from US consumers who are still buying Android smartphones and iPhones in droves.
Based on a new report from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, in the US Windows Phone continues to struggle to gain considerable traction as the OS only had a paltry 4.7 percent market share, in the three months ending November 2013. This may represent a whopping 80.76 percent increase compared to the same period from 2012, but it is not large enough to even remotely threaten the local dominance of either Android or iOS. The results of the report are based on smartphone sales.
It’s not enough that the iPhone and iPad have designs on replacing your computer, they’ve one eye on rendering your scanner obsolete too. Thanks to apps like Scanner Pro, which is free on the App Store until the end of this week (January 9), you can transform your iOS device into a fully functioning mobile scanner.
Scanner Pro makes it easy to not just turn your iPad or iPhone’s rear camera into a portable scanning tool, it also provides tools for optimizing the results, helping you create good quality digital documents quickly and with the minimum of fuss.
It's becoming quite a trend with Google. Buy up an interesting company or service, sit on it for a little while… and then shut it down. The latest victims of Google's seemingly never-ending cull are Flock and Bump. Bump was only acquired back in September, but it is already on the kill list. At the time of the acquisition, there was debate about whether the service might be rebranded, but as of the end of January it will be no more.
Bump was, in its day, quite an innovative tool, seen by many as the precursor to NFC. It enabled files to be quickly transferred between devices by bumping them together. Flock was a similar tool, but concerned solely with photo sharing. However as of 31 January, both apps will disappear from view, as announced in a blog post by CEO and co-founder of Bump, David Lieb:
First in a series. Every week thousands of great new iOS apps arrive in the App Store. These range from big name games to tiny gems hoping to build up a following by word of mouth. A trip into the app store can be a world of discovery, but it’s an area we’ve somewhat neglected in the past here at BetaNews.
Well that’s set to change. Every Friday I’ll highlight the best new apps of the week -- both free and paid -- for iPhone and iPad. I’ll cover the biggest releases, naturally, but also endeavor to pull out some new or recently updated apps that you likely won’t be aware of.
As you’ll have noticed by now, the BetaNews writers have been making tech-based resolutions for the New Year. This is something I did last year, and revisiting my post for the first time since I originally wrote it, I discovered what I suspected would be the case -- I failed miserably across the board.
I said I would embrace Google+, but I haven’t. I’ve followed some people, and used Google’s social network slightly more, but embraced it? Nope. I said I’d change my passwords. I changed maybe two. I claimed I’d sort out my inbox. It was 79 percent full (8GB) then. It’s 74 percent full (11.19GB) now, so that’s a big fat fail. I said I’d learn to love Windows 8. I never did. I do really like Windows 8.1 though, so I'll claim that as a win. I stated I’d move my data to the cloud, and learn to program. I think you can guess how well those panned out. While a lot of my files are stored in the cloud, I still have multiple local copies of everything, and I haven’t programmed so much as a single line of code. So for this year’s list, I’m going to choose resolutions I believe I can actually achieve.
As 2013 winds down, my colleagues have been busy talking up their resolutions for the coming year. But, like Ian Barker, I don’t actually have any of those -- they'd likely just serve as embarrassment when I failed to deliver on my promises.
I don't have a problem with backups -- I pay for Crashplan to take care of that for me, so I never need to think about the potential for disaster. I don’t resolve to use a particular product, as others have. I simply utilize whatever is available at the time, and I'm in a fortunate position to frequently have the latest, though it isn’t always the greatest, hardware.
Nowadays, cloud services like Pandora and Spotify allow us to listen to our favorite tunes no matter where we are, without having to actually own a single song. But what happens to our music collections, which we have built up over the years? Some of us have thousands of tracks, stored locally on devices like PCs. Should we just abandon our beloved content and embrace alternative ways of enjoying it?
Luckily, answering this question does not involve making a compromise. Cloud service Style Jukebox aims for the middle road, by providing a convenient solution that allows users to upload the music they own to the cloud and play it on PCs, smartphones and tablets. It is designed to work both with and without an Internet connection (the content can also be downloaded for offline playback), which makes it a good fit for those who use devices which are not always connected to the cloud. As Style Jukebox's motto says, "Your music, anywhere, on all your devices".