Microsoft just released the second major iteration of its Blink Windows Phone 8 app which now introduces GIF (the pronunciation is still open for debate) support, new features and improved functionality.
The app, which is built by Microsoft Research (the software giant's research arm), allows users to take advantage of its burst shot feature to combine multiple pictures (the number is user-selectable) into a GIF image. The GIF can be viewed directly after creating it and can be shared via email and three social networks -- Facebook, Microsoft's Socl and Twitter. (It's time to test this with the help of your pet and post the results, for posterity's sake of course.)
Am I naive in thinking that Freemium-based games should blow your socks off with an amazing gameplay experience during your first taste of the free game period?
This certainly doesn’t seem to be the case given nearly all the titles I'm seeing so far. What I’m invariably experiencing is a title that’s unremarkable, often tedious and bland by all measures, with the expectation for you to pay money to make it slightly more bearable.
A couple of days ago, Microsoft quietly launched Office for iPhone. To the ire of many, it requires an Office 365 subscription. The internet is abuzz with chatter that this is simply a way to gain 365 subscriptions. While I do agree this is a way to increase subscriber numbers, it is not the full picture -- it is also the best way to fight piracy. This is the future of mobile app purchasing.
I applaud Microsoft for taking this approach. On iOS, piracy is far too convenient on a jailbroken device, thanks to apps that help the user download them. On Android, a phone does not even need root to install pirated .apk files. And so, how could Microsoft release its flagship software potentially for free for jailbroken iOS users and all Android users? Microsoft Office is too important to show up as an .apk for free in a Google (or Bing) search.
Yesterday, despite "credible" rumors suggesting a full-on iOS approach, Microsoft released Office for iPhone but left iPad users stranded. The company also planted a little trojan horse -- the app is free but it is not free to use, requiring an Office 365 subscription, which runs for $99.99 per year, to take advantage of Excel, PowerPoint and Word.
But, based on my own experience with Office on Windows Phone, the suite is not really in its own element on a small display. iPhone users are most likely to run the app just to perform quick edits and (in the most-optimistic scenario) create very short and basic documents, presentations or spreadsheets. Office would really shine on bigger screens, however Microsoft doesn't want iPad users to actually use it. I've asked the software giant to explain the iPhone-only design and here is the company's response.
Your iPhone/Android is cool -- this we know. But, they wouldn’t be half as cool without apps. Apps are the icing on a smartphone -- minus the calories -- and we have a ravenous appetite for them. But cool apps aren’t isolated to just phones any more, as we’ve seen with new tech products like Google Glass.
Glass already has the usual suspects of apps, but what Glass really needs is to go nuts with apps that sound too good to be true.
As you’ll know by now, Microsoft today announced the launch of Office Mobile for Office 365, an iOS app which allows users to access, view and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents -- provided you have an Office 365 subscription.
We took it for a spin and despite the limitations, were actually pleasantly surprised. There’s plenty of functionality in the app to explore. The app can view Office documents stored on SkyDrive, SkyDrive Pro, or SharePoint, for instance, as well as documents which arrive as email attachments. It syncs with your other Office 365 devices, too, so documents you’ve read elsewhere will appear on your phone’s Recent Documents panel, and when you open one it’ll resume at whatever point you left off.
Seven months ago, when rumors burned hot, I explained why "Microsoft Office for Android and iOS is a Trojan Horse" -- that any mobile suite would be all about the cloud service. Sure enough, today Microsoft released the strangely named "Office Mobile for Office 365 Subscribers" to the App Store.
Office 365 is the productivity suite's future. Microsoft now claims to be a "devices and services" company. Smartphones are devices, Office 365 is a service and required for the iOS app. What more reasoning is needed? The Redmond, Wash.-based company provides more functionality than I predicted, but does so strictly in mobile context that doesn't diminish the PC product. That said, what Microsoft gives to iOS should be withheld from Android.
The public beta of McAfee's newest mobile security app becomes available to download for Android devices today. Its leading feature is something called Smart Perimeter which addresses one of the key concerns of users, losing your device.
Smart Perimeter works by allowing devices to track each other and alert the user if they stray more than 30 feet apart. If a device goes outside the perimeter an alarm sounds and it's also locked so you have to enter a PIN to re-enable it.
Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry just rolled out a new version of its Facebook BB 10 app, bringing the latest iteration one step closer to its Android and iOS counterparts. This is the second major update in the past couple of months.
The new Facebook app for BlackBerry 10, now at version 10.2.0, focuses on design and functionality improvements. In the former department, the app sports a new "refined" look for the newsfeed, adding a couple visual tweaks. The most noteworthy enhancements, however, are related to photo management and tagging.
Following Splashtop 2, a new remote control app is now available on Windows Phone 8. The popular TeamViewer just launched, allowing users of the tiled mobile operating system to access Linux, Mac and Windows computers while on the go.
TeamViewer is pretty easy to use, only requiring folks to type in a "partner ID" and passcode in order to remotely control a PC. The app offers essential functionality -- remote typing using a virtual keyboard, direct access to the CTRL + ALT + Del menu and the ability to move the cursor -- and keeps things secure by implementing 256-bit AES encoding and 1024-bit RSA key exchange.
I can't remember the last time I printed a photo. Can you? The versatility of cloud services and the increasingly accommodating on-device storage changed the way folks enjoy and look at pictures, turning printing from a once-popular activity into a dying art. Today, more than ever, digital replaces physical.
But prints are not dead (yet), as cloud services like Kicksend look to modernize the way people get their memories onto paper. Kicksend, available first on iOS, Android and the web, just turned its eyes towards Windows 8 and Windows RT, also allowing users of the tiled operating system to share photos and order prints straight from its app.
Finnish maker Nokia announced, on Monday, that its Lumia 925 Windows Phone 8 flagship is now officially available in Germany. The smartphone can be purchased from local mobile operators and retailers like Vodafone and Amazon, respectively, alongside carrier agreements or off-contract for EUR599.
Nokia revealed that the Lumia 925 will be its first Windows Phone 8 device to receive Glance Screen. The app, initially available in beta trim, allows users to double tap on the screen in order to unlock the handset and can show the ringer mode, battery status and time on the display, when the smartphone is on standby.
The BBC’s weather predictions tend to be reasonably accurate, and now you can check the corporation’s latest forecasts on a new app available for iOS and Android.
When you launch the app it detects your location and tells you what the weather is like where you are, providing details such as high and low temperatures, current conditions, humidity, visibility and wind speed.
Undoubtedly, Twitter deems Windows Phone 8 as a second-class citizen. The popular social network introduced filters for its Android and iOS apps nearly six months ago but only late-yesterday did the feature finally arrive on the tiled mobile operating system.
Similar to its Android and iOS counterparts, Twitter for Windows Phone 8 introduces eight filters -- Vignette, Warm, Cool, 1963, 1972, Golden Hour, Antique and Black & White -- which can be applied to new pictures or already existing ones from the Photos gallery. Adding filters is straightforward -- select the picture and either scroll to the right or hit the "filters" button to choose the desired effect.
It's not often that I wish to find out what "Qorwagh" or "ghaH*" mean, but when curiosity strikes I can always power up Bing Translator on my Windows Phone. Sadly, Microsoft does not provide a similar app on Windows 8, leaving folks to look up the meaning of those Klingon words using a web browser. Until today, that is.
On Thursday, the software giant released its excellent Bing Translator on Windows 8 and, yes, I can assure you that Klingon is among the supported languages. The app is similar to its Windows Phone 8 counterpart in terms of functionality and includes options like camera translation and more mundane ones like text-to-speech.