You may have seen our story earlier today about the worrying permissions used by photo app Meitu -- and you have almost certainly seen the disturbing images created in the app and shared on Facebook. The company behind the app -- also called Meitu -- has jumped to defend itself, insisting there is nothing sinister going on.
The company insists that there is a very good reason for asking for so many permissions on iOS and Android. It insists there is a very good reason for gathering so much information about users. It insists this data is stored securely and is not shared with or sold to third parties. The defense is worth reading, but whether users are happy to accept what the company says about transmitting collected data back to a Chinese server remains to be seen.
There has been a sudden craze for freaky-looking photos created using the Chinese app Meitu. The images the app creates are either cutesy or horrific, depending on your point of view, but it's what's going on in the background that has people concerned.
While Meitu has been popular in China for several years --amassing a huge following -- it has only just caught on over here. What many users are unaware of is that while they are busy applying virtual makeup to their face in the app, data such as a phone's IMEI, Mac address, users' precise location and much more is being gathered and shared. The advice? Ditch the app if you're concerned about your privacy.
Google is adding a new social component to YouTube, rolling out in-app messaging and direct video sharing on Android and iOS. The new features are available only in Canada at the time of writing this article, but Google says that they will be (eventually) released worldwide.
Why is Google introducing those features? Simple. In today's landscape, it is no longer enough to let users watch videos and reply back and forth in the comments section. If you look at Facebook, it is also super easy for users to connect after having a conversation, which then lets them privately share content, among other things. The result? They spend more time using the service.
There are lots of really successful paid apps, but which one generates the most net revenue? According to a Sensor Tower report, Spotify comes out on top overall in 2016. The music streaming service only led the pack on the App Store, but that was enough to push it all the way to the top. On Google Play, it was messaging service Line which took top honors in this category.
Line actually came second overall, and in third place on the App Store. It is interesting that Spotify managed to come out ahead despite the fact that it is nowhere to be found in the top ten grossing apps on Google Play. This suggests that iOS users spent far more than Google Play users did on Spotify subscriptions.
It is no secret that iOS is a tightly controlled ecosystem. There is not a whole lot that users can do to customize their iPhones, and there are not that many options for developers wanting to sell their apps outside of the App Store. In fact, if you do not want to reach a very small audience, who likes to jailbreak their devices, your one and only bet is the App Store.
A number of customers believe that that is a problem so serious that they sued Apple over its perceived iOS app distribution monopoly. A complaint was filed all the way back in 2011, but only now did a court allow the lawsuit to go forward.
Apple traditionally enjoys very strong iPhone sales after it launches new smartphones. And this is certainly true of the three months ending November 2016, when the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus topped the sales charts in US and helped iOS close in on Android in Great Britain.
In US, it is actually an all-iPhone podium, with the iPhone 6s joining the newer models in the top three, according to a new Kantar Worldpanel ComTech report. Apple saw its share rise to 43.5 percent, while Google's Android dropped to 55.3 percent of the market.
Gartner has a grim prediction for Microsoft which is pinning its hopes on Windows 10 and the forthcoming Creators Update. According to the research firm, Windows will lose OS share in 2017, and then flatline for at least the next two years.
Gartner’s prediction covers all flavors of Windows, but of course it really means Windows 10 since that is now Microsoft’s only readily available OS. Apple on the other hand is set for a brighter future, with its operating systems set to see continued growth.
Android Wear devices are hardly lighting the world on fire. Heck, smartwatches in general are not particularly popular. With that said, some consumers find real value in more basic wrist-worn wearables such as the fitness-focused Fitbit. Still, there are fans of more advanced smartwatches, such as Apple Watch, too.
While Samsung has created Android Wear devices in the past, its new focus is Tizen-based "Gear" wearables that work with its Galaxy devices -- and other smartphones running Google's mobile OS. Today, Samsung announces iOS support for three of its Tizen-based Gear devices -- Gear S2, S3, and Fit2. Will iPhone users really pick this over the Apple Watch, though?
Back in October Twitter announced that it was shuttering Vine, with the promise that more details of the closure would follow. A subsequent announcement narrowed it down to the first month of 2017, and now it has been pinned down to 17 January.
The move sees Twitter morphing the app into a new Vine Camera app, and killing off the Vine website as we know it. It will still exist, but only as an archive of Vines for you to browse. If you want to download your old Vines for posterity, you'll need to do so by the 17th.
Welcoming the new year with a trumpet of doom, WhatsApp is bringing misery to many users. If you're using old versions of iOS, Android or -- heaven forbid -- Windows Phone 7, Facebook's popular messaging tool no longer works.
There is a brief stay of execution for anyone still packing a BlackBerry, but as of June 30 these will also be cut off. WhatsApp says that "BlackBerry OS, BlackBerry 10, Nokia S40 and Nokia Symbian S60" will stop working by the middle of the year, but it is the hundreds of thousands of Android and iOS users that will be hardest hit.
The popularity of Super Mario Run for iOS may be starting to wane slightly, but there is great anticipation for the arrival of Nintendo's Italian plumber on Android. Well, the wait is nearly over -- Nintendo has added Super Mario Run to Google Play!
Malware producers were quick to jump on the popularity of the Mario game on iOS, pushing fake, malware-filled versions into the Play Store. In a move that will not only help to prevent people falling victim to such scams, but also serves to indicate the imminent arrival of the official game, eager Mario fans can now pre-register to download Super Mario Run for Android.
When Apple announced that Mario was making his way to iOS, there was much rejoicing. But the excitement soon gave way to disappointment for several reasons. Firstly there was the price, with many feeling $9.99 was just too much to ask for what is, ultimately, a very basic, one button platformer.
Next there's the complaint that Super Mario run requires constant access to the internet -- many users have also grumbled that the game has eaten through large chunks of their monthly data allowance. Nintendo may have made a pretty penny from sales of the title in the first few days, but the company's share price has tumbled. On top of this, just as it happened with Pokémon Go, the initial success of the game is being used to push malware at users.
It's not all that long since Facebook started to allow users to broadcast live video to their friends and followers -- now the social network is doing the same with audio. Things are looking good for mobile users, particularly those with Android devices.
Starting off with partners such as the BBC World Service, LBC and Harper Collins, Live Audio is something of a blend of podcasts and radio. To start off -- just as happened with live video -- audio broadcasting will only be available to a select group of companies, but there are plans to open it up to everyone.
After "the most requested Messenger feature ever" yesterday -- Group Video Chat -- Facebook now has another update.
This time around the social network is allowing users to change the background color of status updates. Before you get too excited, however, there are limitations aplenty to bear in mind.
Twitter is rolling out a new feature to iOS and Android users that enables users to broadcast live video from within the app. If this sounds rather familiar, it's because it's a feature copied from Facebook -- and something that is already offered by Twitter-owned Periscope.
But live video broadcasting on Twitter is not replacing Periscope, it is powered by Periscope. By moving live video direct into the app, Twitter acknowledges the importance that users place on the feature, something which has been proven by the popularity of Facebook Live videos.