Share of iPhone increases by 1.8 percent for second quarter in a row
Matching its performance in the previous quarter, Apple's iPhone again gained nearly two percent market share in the US in the last three months, according to ComScore, widening its lead as the dominant smartphone maker. While Android as a platform continued to hold the top platform position at 52.1 percent, it again suffered an overall decline of 0.7 percent, while iOS surged to 43.5, a 1.8 percent gain matched exactly by losses from Android, Microsoft, and BlackBerry.
Super-minimalist puzzle game of interlocking pieces
Sometimes, we want to engage our mind, while at the same time turning it off. Hook by Maciej Targoni is a super-minimalist puzzler with simple controls for solving problems that can be fantastically complex. It's all about interlocking pieces that fit together in very specific ways. The player must figure out in what order the different pieces can be removed to clear the board.
BlueStacks emulator allows Android apps to be used from Mac desktop
BlueStacks has released a completed version of its BlueStacks for Mac app, allowing for Android apps and games to be played from OS X. Originally launched in 2012 in alpha but only being finalized now, the BlueStacks App Player for Mac emulates the same functionality offered by Android tablets and smartphones, but on the desktop, and without the need for users to own an Android device in the first place.
Open Beats 1 streams discovered, work on Android devices
Android users do not have to wait until the Apple Music app heads to the platform in the fall before being able to listen to the Beats 1 station, some users have discovered. A number of unprotected live streams have been uncovered, allowing anyone with a suitable client to be able to listen to the stream uninterrupted, even on operating systems not yet supported by the service.
An ambient sound app to relax by, sleep to, or make your own soundscapes
Remember those scenes in the 1992 comedy Cousin Vinny, where Joe Pesci's character couldn't sleep in the rural quiet of the small country town he was visiting. He didn't get a good night's rest until somebody sent him a recording of his New York neighborhood at night. Noise can either keep you awake, or lull you to sleep. White Noise by TMsoft is an app that provides ambient soundscapes, paired with an alarm clock and the ability to record and loop our own "perfectly quiet" environment sounds. We tried out White Noise for iOS on our iPhone 5, and we were often surprised and delighted by the experience.
App allows for remote control of the 8,000 BTU AC in or out of the house
Home appliance manufacturer Frigidaire has released the first iOS and Android app controlled window air conditioner. The Cool Connect Air Conditioner connects with the Frigidaire Smart Appliance app across the Internet and through a local area Wi-Fi network, which lets consumers control the unit from their smart device, including generating a schedule for operation, receiving maintenance alerts, and remote unit status monitoring.
BlackBerry adds private chat function to $1 BBM monthly subscription
The latest update to BlackBerry Messenger for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry 10 devices adds more paid-for security functions to the service. The current timed and retracted messages options have been rolled into a similarly-priced $1-per-month Privacy and Control subscription, with the new Private Chat function able to strip out names and profile pictures after a short period of time, minimizing the usefulness of taking a screenshot of a conversation. The Android version of the app has also received a Material Design overhaul, while iOS users will now find their in-app font sizes will be based on the size selected in system settings.
We check back in on two female reproductive health apps
Last month, we compared two apps for tracking female reproductive cycels; back then Apple Health didn't track reproductive health, and we weren't sure when it would -- if ever. Thankfully, earlier this month at WWDC, it was announced that the built-in Health app will get reproductive health tracking in iOS 9. We still don't know what that will look like, unfortunately. Will the myriad of period tracker apps become obsolete? Maybe not ... Well, probably not. The announcement prompted us to take a look at the two trackers we tried previously, to see what's been going on with them.
An adorable side scrolling puzzler about a boy and his combat bot
Okay, maybe not so much a "boy" and his combat bot, but more like "very short man" and his combat bot. Tales From Deep Space by Amazon Game Studios is a side-scrolling puzzler where the player, or players, switch between two characters to overcome obstacles and move forward in their pursuit of ... figuring out what's actually going on. The story centers around E, a shlubby put-upon interstellar traveling salesman, who gets saddled with an old busted-up droid named CASI. Shortly after meeting on Big Moon (home of the Meeks), E gets robbed, martial law is imposed, and the pair are denounced as enemies of the state for what appears to be no reason. Thus begins an adventure of running through corridors and questionable security practices.
Apps collectively downloaded over 200M times insecurely transmit account credentials
A number of popular Android apps have been discovered to leak the passwords of users, due to the use of insecure authentication systems. Researchers have found the issue in Google Play Store apps run by many major companies, where a flawed implementation of HTTPS or a complete lack of HTTPS encryption at all during the login process leaves the user's credentials exposed and viewable by anyone monitoring network traffic.
Deliberately basic note taking done great
Enough already. We just want to write this thing down before we forget it, okay? If we could avoid faffing around picking a template to base our new document on, that would be a big help. Later on, we'll worry about where we're going to use the text, at this moment we just want to get words down. That's the aim of this app, and it has been from its start in 2008 right up to two weeks ago, when it got updated to Simplenote 4.1.1.
Report claims BlackBerry considering switch to alternative mobile operating system
The next smartphone from BlackBerry may not run on BB OS, switching out the operating system for Android. Reuters claims the manufacturer is contemplating switching over to producing Android devices because of the extremely low adoption rate of current BlackBerry devices compared to other popular smartphones on the market, and will form part of a change in focus for the company towards being a software-driven entity.
An Android based media platform for cable cutters
Over time, it's gotten easier to access downloaded and stream content legitimately. Unfortunately, there's still no one good place to get all of one's entertainment. There are many devices whose only job is making dumb TVs "smart," utilizing apps from the providers we subscribe to. One of those is the Satechi Smart TV Box. We actually like that it uses Android as its operating system, so we are already familiar with how it works, and the apps available for it. Once we got video playing -- when we could play it -- it all looked and sounded great, but we had some issues with it. Learn more in the full review.
Apple to update iOS, iTunes ahead of Apple Music launch, iOS 9 release
Because Apple Music, the company's just-announced subscription music service, will be out on June 30, Apple has noted that it will deliver an update to both iTunes on the Mac and iOS 8.4 (which contains the new Music app) sometime before that date so that early adopters will be able to try the three-month free trial or sign up as desired. The Music app will also function as it currently does without using the subscription options, but with a new UI that's more minimalistic.
Samsung, most other Android handset makers see contraction
Against all odds, Apple is continuing to increase its share of the US smartphone market in a "saturated" region, reports Comscore in its latest analysis of America's cellphone landscape. Apple's iPhone line grew 1.8 percent between January and March, with iOS now claiming 43.1 percent share and dominating as the leading single brand. While Android sales overall claimed 52.2 percent, the figure was down a full percent from the previous quarter, with individual makers mostly seeing declines.
Turn your whole Mac into an iOS keyboard
It is true that it's harder to type on the glass of an iPhone or iPad than it is to use a real keyboard with full-size keys that depress under your fingers. You could argue how much harder, as we do get by every day without carting large keyboards around with our iPhones, but it is harder -- and there's one more thing. We don't cart our iPhones around as much as we think: we are often right there with them at our Macs. Our Macs which have keyboards. Now Typeeto 1.0 lets you use that Mac keyboard with your iPhone.
BBM for Android gains Material Design, private chats
The latest beta for BBM for Android has been given a visual overhaul using Android Lollipop's Material Design. According to Crackberry, the same beta also brings with it private chats, where contact names are hidden, notifications are turned off, and the conversation is deleted upon ending the chat or after a short period of time. The option to edit a sent message, and the ability to publish status updates directly into the user's personal BBM feed have also been added. Since it is a beta, these features may change before reaching the main release, with no timescales for the additions advised by BlackBerry.
Second-generation ZenWatch still uses Android Wear, enhances Remote Camera function
Asus has launched its second smartwatch at Computex, following last year's ZenWatch. The ZenWatch 2 remains an Android Wear-powered device, but the design of the original has been altered to include a side crown, though more as a button than the Digital Crown of the Apple Watch, with it also replacing the previous dock with new magnetic charger to simplify the charging process, as well as improving the recharge time overall.
ZenPad S 8.0 has 2.3GHz processor, 4GB RAM, QXGA IPS display
Asus has unveiled a number of new tablets at its Computex event in Taipei, including ten-inch and seven-inch models, with the main focus being two eight-inch tablets. The ZenPad 8.0 and ZenPad S 8.0 are similar sized tablets with Intel processors, but while the ZenPad 8.0 opts for more modest specifications and a resolution of 1280x800, the S variant goes for higher-specification components and is fronted by an IPS 2048x1536 display.
GeForce GTX 980 Ti has 6GB memory, 2,816 CUDA cores
Nvidia has launched its latest non-Titan flagship graphics card, the GeForce GTX 980 Ti, as well as commencing sales for its new set-top box. Part of a raft of announcements made recently, the new card is an upgrade from the GTX 980 that is claimed to easily play games at a 4K resolution, as well as meeting Oculus' virtual reality content requirements of providing images at a resolution of 2160x1200 at 90 frames per second.
Chromecast APIs aim to improve second-screen gaming
Google is giving developers even more ways to create content that works with Google Cast and the Chromecast streaming dongle. A new set of Remote Display APIs released in beta for Android and iOS will allow for developers to set up a better second screen experience than currently available, such as displaying the controls and some important information for a game on a smartphone or tablet while the main game is displayed on a connected television.
Google Now in Android M will use currently-used apps as search query prompts
Google Now is receiving a hefty upgrade in Android M, allowing it to understand more context-sensitive queries, as well as being more generally available to users. Now on Tap will allow users to trigger the Google Now voice prompt by tapping the home button for help, regardless of whether the user is on a website or an app, with users able to easily return to what they were doing once their query has been answered.
Android Pay, fingerprint recognition support arriving in Android M
Google has introduced a number of changes it is introducing to the next version of Android at Google I/O today. The developer preview of Android M this time is said to be focused on "improving the core user experience," taking some of the functions introduced by device manufacturers into their smartphones and incorporating them into the stock operating system, as well as making other usability changes.
A pre-teen survival horror game with puzzles and quicktime events
So, unlike our game from Amazon Game Studios (Lost Within), we didn't call Todd and ask him to keep us company as we played Til Morning's Light, but the story here is still pretty horrific. The game sits firmly in the classic survival horror genre of exploring a spooky old house, solving puzzles and occasionally being attacked by monsters. The puzzles aren't terribly difficult, although there's a very real danger of overlooking something important. We also enjoyed the production quality, and the quick-time combat system held our interest.
Google makes Roboto font open source
Roboto, the font used throughout Android, Chrome OS, and a number of other Google products has been made open source. Originally released under the Apache license as part of Android 4.0 in 2011, Google has now made it, and the toolchain used for its creation, into an open source project hosted on Github. Google has also added Latin, Cyrillic, and Greek characters found in Unicode 7.0, with the total number of glyphs increased from approximately 13,000 to more than 40,000 as part of the effort.
Streaming video app from Twitter reaches Android one month after competitor Meerkat
Periscope, the live-streaming video app from Twitter, is now available to download on Android. Arriving two months after the iOS version, and almost a month after competitor Meerkat made its own Android app available to the public, Periscope's Android variant keeps the majority of the iOS app's functions and also introduces a number of other features that have yet to reach Apple's mobile devices.
Microsoft virtual assistant app will head to iPhones, Android this year
Microsoft will be making Windows 10 more useful to smartphone owners, by making it easier to set up their desktop and mobile device to connect together and share files. The added mobile support is also supported by a second announcement that the Cortana virtual assistant will be available to download and use on other platforms than Windows Phone, with both iOS and Android set to receive access in the future.
Expected Android unveiling at Google developer conference may include biometric security API
The next version of Android could ship with native fingerprint authentication, bringing it in line with iOS devices, according to reports. Android M, the next version of Android expected to be announced at next week's Google I/O developer conference, could include an API that allows developers access to the functionality from within their apps, potentially making it easier for device producers to add a fingerprint reader to their devices using a common interface.
Windows Phone music service spreads to other platforms
MixRadio, originally called Nokia Music and owned by Line, has exited its beta testing and is now available to download on iOS and Android. Previously available only on Windows Phone and already available in 31 markets, the cross-platform music streaming service has managed to retain the majority of its features during the porting process, including free personalized playlists.
Facebook Messenger video calling rolls out globally
Facebook is making video calling via the Messenger app available to more users. Previously available in 18 countries, including the United States, the Facebook Messenger video calling has been rolled out globally for iOS and Android users, though some countries will be delayed in receiving the calls due to ongoing work to improve the service's quality in those regions.
Google Fit adds calorie burn, distance estimates, Android Wear widget
The latest update to Google Fit for Android has added the ability to estimate the distance the user has traveled, and using information such as gender, height, and weight from their profile, estimate the calories burned. The update also includes a new widget for use with Android Wear smartwatches, one which provides more details about how far away the wearer is from their daily goal.
Google Play adds option to pre-register for Android apps
Android users are now able to pre-register for apps due for release in the near future on Google Play. According to Android Central, Glu Media's Terminator Genisys: Revolution game currently gives the option to sign up for an alert when the app is released, allowing them to buy it as soon as it becomes available. The same system also allows users who have registered their interest to unregister, if they no longer want a release alert for the app.
AT&T finalizes acquisition of Nextel Mexico for $1.88 billion
AT&T has completed its acquisition of Nextel Mexico from NII Holdings. Approved by the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, overseeing the restructuring of NII Holdings, as well as Mexico's telecom regulator IFT, the transaction costs AT&T $1.88 billion and grants them the spectrum licenses, network assets, retail stores, and subscribers covered by the network. This is the second Mexico-related purchase completed by the carrier, having already acquired Iusacell.
Developers offered variety of ways to bring apps to Windows
Microsoft has used Build to reveal to developers what to expect when they develop apps for the incoming upgrade to Windows 10, both for mobile and desktops. More details about universal Windows apps was issued, as well as new ways for developers to create new apps or port existing apps from other platforms, including iOS and Android.
Google Now integrations increase by 70 to 110
Google is increasing the number of cards in Google Now, after adding integrations with 70 more apps to the service, bringing the total number of integrations to 110. The new cards, which will be rolling out to Android users over the next few weeks, will include news notifications from ABC News and Feedly, food reminders from Eat24 and Allrecipes, fitness updates from Runkeeper and Jawbone, and playlist recommendations from Spotify and YouTube, among other new additions.
Google online store discontinues Nexus 7 tablet
Google is no longer selling the Nexus 7 through its online store. Spotted by Talk Android, the product listing for the Android tablet shows the message "The Nexus 7 is no longer available for purchase," and the tablet does not appear in the main products menu anymore. The Nexus 9, the company's larger tablet produced by HTC, remains unaffected and is now the only tablet sold in the store.
The quest for the crown continues
The third installment of Steve Jackson's Sorcery! game series is now available from iTunes. It isn't necessary to play the first two chapters to enjoy the third; each leg of the journey is its own self-contained quest and story. However, for those willing to put in the time, a magic word is given at the end of each game to add input into the next. Friendships, items, curses, abilities, and knowledge transfer from one to the other, giving the whole experience a richer feel.
Apple's default browser remains tops in mobile, captures 10 percent of US desktop
A new study by analytics firm StatCounter has shown that Chrome and Safari are virtually neck-and-neck as the top mobile browsers, but that Safari was the clear winner in both North America and Europe. In particular, in the US Safari holds a 55 percent share of mobile browser use, with Chrome at 30 percent and generic Android browsers with 9.5 percent. In addition to just edging out Safari worldwide to be the top mobile browser, Chrome is also the dominant desktop browser worldwide, with a 52.6 percent share.
Android gains 70 percent of downloads, iOS gains 70 percent of revenue
A new report by analytics firm App Annie has revealed that Apple and Google, as the progenitors of iOS and Android respectively, are locked in a roughly stalemated battle when it comes to revenues from apps versus app downloads. Google's Android enjoys the majority of app downloads, as it has for some time -- but continues to be unable to catch Apple in terms of being able to reward developers for their work. In a set of charts from the analytics firm, Apple's revenue from app sales is about 70 percent higher than Google Play, while Google's downloads outpaced Apple's by 70 percent.
Live streaming app heads to Android before Twitter-owned competitor
Meerkat, the live-streaming mobile app, has beaten the Twitter-owned Periscope to Android, albeit in beta. While both apps are similar and available on iOS devices, Meerkat is the first of the competing services to make the transition to Android, with the startup asking for external beta testers to sign up and try out the app on the mobile platform.
Google adds option to find Android smartphone to search results
Owners of Android devices have a simple way of finding their misplaced smartphone, by performing a Google search. Similar to Android Device Manager's tool for finding a lost device, a search for the phrase "Find My Phone" with the owner logged in to their Google account will load up a card showing the device's location on a map, with the added option of setting the phone to ring at its loudest setting to help with finding it nearby.
Comparison shopping, Android app bundling complains issued by European Commission
Google's relationship with the European Commission (EC) has worsened, after the regulator made two antitrust-related announcements. It has formally objected to the way Google gives more prominence in search results to its own shopping comparison services than competitors, and has also opened up a separate formal investigation over Android and its bundling of Google apps.
Trusted Voice Smart Lock option rolling out to stock Android devices
Owners of devices running stock Android will be able to unlock their smartphones and tablets by uttering "OK Google." Following changes to Google Play Services, Android Police reports that the Trusted Voice unlocking option is starting to roll out, appearing in the Smart Lock settings. Users are warned before setting up Trusted Voice that it is "less secure" than a knowledge-based security measure, such as a PIN or a pattern, as "someone with a similar voice or a recording of your voice could unlock your device."
Android Wear companion app for iOS allegedly close to completion
Google may be preparing to fight the Apple Watch on its home turf, by working on getting Android Wear devices to work with iOS devices. A companion app for iOS is reportedly close to being completed by Google, which in theory would allow smartwatches running Android Wear to receive notifications and interact with other apps on Apple's mobile operating system.
Venue 10 7000 aimed at business, uses Android for Work
Dell has launched a new larger version of its Venue 8 7000 Android tablet from September. The Venue 10 7000 is a premium tablet meant for business, with the slate using a 10.5-inch OLED display with a resolution of 2560x1600, though unlike its smaller stablemate, Dell is providing the option of turning it into a notebook, by using a detachable keyboard dock.
Amazon adds Android tablet support to Prime Instant Video app
Amazon has finally allowed Android tablets access to Prime Instant Video. Previously only available to iOS devices and, since September last year, Android smartphones, tablet users can now watch the same Prime Instant Video content via their device, reports Android Police. Prime subscribers need to install the dedicated Prime Instant Video app from the Amazon Appstore before watching shows.
New OnePlus One ROM stays close to stock Android Lollipop
OnePlus has released its first custom Android ROM, one it is calling OxygenOS. Initially released as an early alpha in January, OxygenOS was created for the OnePlus One smartphone as a replacement for CyanogenMod, following the parting of ways between the manufacturer and Cyanogen, with One owners able to download and install the ROM to their devices now.
Developer tool runs Android apps on Windows, Mac desktops
Google is attempting to increase the number of places people can run Android apps, by bringing them to desktops. The App Runtime for Chrome (ARC) tool was initially brought out for Chrome OS, but Google has expanded the development tool's availability to the Chrome browser, allowing the Android apps to run on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems, all from within the browser itself.
HBO joining Sling TV this month, add-on priced at $15
Sling TV will be getting HBO before the new series of Game of Thrones is set to begin on April 12. Confirming a Wall Street Journal report to Slashgear, the Dish-owned service will offer HBO to subscribers of its "Best of Live TV" core package as a $15 per month add-on, bringing the total monthly cost to $35. While there will be only one of HBO's channels available to watch, subscribers will still have access to the broadcaster's on-demand catalog.
Unified Gmail inbox combines messages from multiple accounts into one list
Google is bringing the unified inbox to its Gmail app for Android, the search company has revealed. The latest version of the app allows users to view emails from multiple accounts on one single page, with the function not only working with multiple Gmail accounts, but also email addresses from other services, including Yahoo and Outlook.com.