While you wait with bated breath for Xbox SmartGlass to release on your portable devices, enjoy the next best thing which is a significant update to the My Xbox Live companion app for iOS and Android. Most significantly, the 1.5 update turns your iPhone into a remote control complete with directional arrows and the ABXY buttons. These are solely used to navigate your Xbox Dashboard and controlling media playback, not for playing games. A new section called Discover lets you browse new entertainment content and beam it to your Xbox. Also, you can now access a quick list of your most recent console activity. All of these aforementioned features work on Windows Phone and iPhone only. For the iPad retina display support has been added. And for Android users this is their first taste of the app. Get your download on here: iOS / Android
On Thursday Twitter announced that it’s rolling out another new look for its homepage. This time around, the desktop and mobile experiences are getting simpler and streamlined. (New) New Twitter is organized into four sections: Home, Connect, Discover, and Me. Let’s take a brief tour…
Home is home to your personal collection of tweets. The desktop version is organized into two columns. To the left there’s your personal info including your name, profile picture, your number of tweets, who you’re following, and your followers; there’s also a link to your profile page and a way to quickly compose and send out a tweet. Underneath that you’ll find follower suggestions and the trending topics list. To the right there’s the familiar list of incoming tweets from the people you follow. The new interface allows tweets that are attached with images and videos to expand so you can easily explore embedded media. Replying, retweeting, and favoriting tweets are all just one hover and click away.
Connect acts as a hub very much like the Activity Feed of the old Twitter. It’s the place where you’ll see who has followed or mentioned you, retweeted or favorited one of your tweets. Tweets are organized by Interactions and Mentions. A search bar sits at the top and you can use it to find and discover people by entering their @username or full name.
Discover highlights trending topics and stories that are being talked about on the social network. This section is organized like this: Stories, Activity, Who to follow, Find friends, and Browse categories. Stories that are shown to you are based on recent popularity as well as your connections, location and language. Activity shows everything your connections do related to the accounts that they follow. See who else your connections follow, their lists and what Tweets they favorite, retweet or reply to most. In Discover the search bar at the top allows you to enter a hashtag or keyword to further explore a topic of your choice.
Me servers as your profile page and it can be fully customized from here. A gallery of your recently tweeted photos and videos are stored here, as are your Direct Messages.
The new Twitter design is the network’s most simplistic to date, and best of all it transfers over to the mobile space too. Whether you’re accessing Twitter from a desktop or your cell phone the experience will be nearly identical. How do you enable the new look? Easy! Download and login to the latest versions of Twitter on your iPhone or Android device and then you should be able to access the new desktop version. Twitter says they’re working on rolling it out to all users “over the next few weeks.”
One of the most iconic video games of all time is about to be re-released for gamers on the go. Rockstar Games is calling it Grand Theft Auto III: 10 Year Anniversary Edition, and it’s coming to the App Store and Android Market on Decemeber 15 for $4.99. And just in case you’re wondering, this isn’t a spinoff or rehash of the PS2 original; this is GTA III all the way only miniaturized for mobile devices. Look in the gallery below for some gorgeous screenshots, and hop after the break to see exactly which iOS and Android devices will support the game. The wait for GTA V just got more tolerable.
A little under a month after previewing it, Sling Media has released its SlingPlayer for Android Honeycomb tablets. Just like the iOS and Windows Phone 7 versions that came before it, this one costs $29.99. A press release, in full after the break, clarifies: The SlingPlayer application for Android Phones will continue to work in “Compatibility Mode” on tablets at no extra charge. The Android Phone version of the application streams from all Slingboxes, but not at the higher quality resolutions available on tablet devices. Go and get it at the Android Market today.
Android smartphone users have been slinging live TV to their devices via the SlingPlayer Mobile app for some time now. Now running through the pipeline is a Honeycomb version of the same app. That’s right: in the near future both Android-powered phones and (Android 3.0 and higher) tablets will be able to run SlingPlayer. The app upgraded for larger screens will go for the same price it always has: $29.99. Click here and sign up to be notified about its release. For now, prepare for the release by watching the video demonstration above.
Facebook’s been cooking up a dedicated messaging app and today they’ve released it for iPhone and Android users. It serves as “an extension of Facebook messages” and it aims to “give you a faster way to message friends and small groups.” In a nutshell, it transplants the Messages section of the traditional Facebook app into one of its own so that the user has less jumping around to do when he or she wants to send and read messages. The app culls together your Facebook friends and your cell phone contacts so that they’re available to pluck from without hassle. For example, when you type John Smith his name will come up and you’ll be able to select how you want to reach him. If he’s a close friend and you have his cell phone number saved in your device and you’re friends with him on the social network you can choose which way you want to contact him: Facebook notifications or texts. It’s all done right inside the app and messages are delivered instantly. The app also makes group messaging a snap; simply type two or more names in to To field and your message will be sent to everyone at once. You can attach and share pictures and location data as well. Since the Messenger app is an extension of Facebook messages, all of the conversations you have inside it will transfer instantaneously to the proper Facebook app and web experience.
After playing around with the app, it’s plain to see that Facebook is trying its darnedest to prepare for the impending Messaging War that will be fought between it and Apple (iMessage), Google (Huddle), and BlackBerry (BBM). Download the free Messenger today: iPhone / Android.
HBO first unveiled the HBO Go service in February 2010, promising subscribers access to their favorite premium TV shows and movies inside their browser. It never really caught on. Today HBO revealed its plan to bring the on-demand service to the mobile front, and I’ve got a feeling this will get the motors revving. Come May 2, HBO subscribers will have instant and unlimited access to every episode of every season available through HBO on their mobile devices. Featured content includes “HBO original series, blockbuster hits, sports, specials and more.” The company has specified it’ll be coming to iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad as well as Android-powered ones. The service is free for (paying) HBO subscribers and it’ll work over WiFi and 3G. The interface mimics the one they’ve been using inside the browser and it’s pretty slick; check it out in the video above.
Fring is putting the finishing touches on its newest service for mobile users called Group Video Calls. That’s right–soon you’ll be able to initiate a video chat amongst you and three friends. After some beta testing is completed, Fring plans to roll out the new group vid chat service to Android and iPhone users. See it in action above!
Everybody loves the Google’s little green mascot named Android. Heck, he’s the face of their smartphone-turned-tablet user experience. He deserves some of your affection, and now you can properly show it. With the Androidify app from Google you can customize Android to make him look like you–you can alter his size and facial attributes, play dress up, and even throw on some accessories like shoes and glasses for good measure. So wait are you waiting for? Android users, have at it!
The next version of Google Maps for Android-powered mobile devices is now available as a free download in the Android Market. Google’s Andy Rubin previewed it (and I provided you with details) a little over two weeks ago. In a nutshell, the new Maps uses vector graphics to provide 3D modeling of streets and buildings with a skyline; there are new multitouch inputs like tilting, rotating and smooth zooming; in compass mode the map will start rotating to match your perspective; offline caching will proactively save large mapped areas on your device based on where you use Maps the most; and with offline rerouting you no longer need to rely on a network connection once you’ve started a route and find yourself lost. In fact, Google claims that viewing maps now requires almost 70% less mobile network data overall than before; you should notice considerably faster speeds in Maps. Android 1.6+ devices can run version 5, but 3D and offline features require Android 2.0+ devices. If you’re reading this on your phone, click here to access the Maps download page.
Ya’ll remember the introduction to YouTube Leanback, the minimalistic way of browsing and watching YouTube videos on the desktop? Well now that YouTube and the Leanback viewing experience has found a second home on the television through Google TV, the search giant has decided to create and disseminate a YouTube Remote app for Android users (sorry, iPhoners) that allows you to control Leanback using your phone. Setup is simple. You “pair” your phone to your television (or PC) by logging into your YouTube account on both screens and boom! Now you can “find and queue up videos to watch, send them all to Leanback with a single tap…[and] play, pause, skip forward and back and even control the sound volume.” The power of YouTube user control lies in the palm of your hand. The free Android app is available for download today.