Tag Archives: app

Snapchat encourages cohesive communication in latest app update

The ever-evolving social media and communication platform Snapchat received a major update today, and this one effects the way users chat with friends. Typical software updates have enhanced the app’s flagship feature, you know, sending snaps; fun filters, lenses, and geofilters make snaps unique and even more personal. This latest update, however, focuses on a completely separate section built into Snapchat, one that has been yearning for an overhaul for some time now. I’m talking, of course, about Chat.

When we first launched Chat, our goal was to emulate the best parts of face-to-face conversation. Chat 1.0 was all about the joys of being here — when most apps told you when your friend was typing, Chat let you know that your friend was listening. Two years later, we’ve learned a ton about how people talk, but our goal remains unchanged. We want Chat to be the best way to communicate — second only to hanging out face-to-face.

Chat 2.0 is here. So, what’s new? Click on to find out. READ MORE Snapchat encourages cohesive communication in latest app update

Twitter drops #music app to promote discovery

Twitter is expanding its horizons with a new app called #music. It’s a simple service, really, with a snazzy user interface that helps you discover new artists, see what’s popular, and preview and share tunes. The app is organized into five sections: Popular (new music trending on Twitter), Emerging (Hidden talent found in the Tweets), Suggested (Artists you might like), #NowPlaying (Tweeted by people you follow), and Me (a section that lists the artists you follow). Essentially the service scans your Twitter activity (people you follow, specific artists you follow and interact with, etc.) to aid in the discovery of new music you might like. The main portal is the Popular section and the UI displays interactive images of artists that you can tap on. You can preview tracks, share them, and download them via iTunes. Additionally, the artist squares give users quick access to a musician’s Twitter page where you can find out what artists that musician is following. In addition to iTunes for track previewing, #music is tied to Spotify and rdio; if you subscribe to those streaming services, you can link your account to enable the app to play full tracks.

Currently Twitter’s #music app is available in Apple’s App Store free of charge; if you have an Android device you’re out of luck for the time being. However, you can test drive the new service in a desktop browser at music.twitter.com if you live in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand; the desktop layout mirrors its mobile counterpart. In time, the service will expand to more devices and countries.

So watcha waiting for? Go get your discovery on. #getlucky

[Via Twitter]

YouTube Capture app makes it simple to record and share video anytime, anywhere

Google has whipped up an app called YouTube Capture that makes it super simple to record and share video from your mobile device. After downloading, installing, and briefing setting up the app, you are given the tools to quickly upload video to YouTube. After you shoot a scene, you can edit it before sending it off to the Internet. After giving your video a title, tapping the wand icon allows you to flip on or off color correction and stabilization; you can also trim the video and add background music provided by free YouTube Soundtracks. Tap the YouTube icon and you can control who sees your video online; the public setting allows anyone to search for and view your video, the unlisted setting allows only people with a link to your video to view it, and the private setting makes it so that only you can view it. The app also makes it easy to share your video with friends via Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. If you want to share video with your Twitter followers, for example, tap the Twitter icon, allow the app to access your Twitter login credentials, and poof your video is tweeted into the twittersphere.

It’s all rather rudamentary, but that is Google’s point with this app. Want to upload a video to the Internet and share it with your social circles? YouTube Capture will get the job done quick and easy. Download it today in the App Store. Coming soon to Android. Video demonstration after the break.

[Via YouTube Blog] READ MORE YouTube Capture app makes it simple to record and share video anytime, anywhere

Google intros Nexus 4 smartphone, Nexus 10 tablet running the updated Android Jelly Bean 4.2

On the same day that Microsoft launched Windows Phone 8 and detailed a hardware lineup, Google decided to announce new hardware along with a new version Android.

Google leaves it up to many third party smartphone manufacturers to develop devices to run Android. Once in a while, however, the search engine likes to inject its own cream into the crop with devices branded Nexus. The next smartphone featuring vanilla Android is the Nexus 4 and it’s a collaboration between Google and LG this time. Here are the hard specs: 4.7-inch WXGA True HD IPS Plus display (1280 x 768 resolution, 320ppi) with Corning Gorilla Glass 2 protection; Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor; 2GB RAM; 8 megapixel rear camera with 1080p video recording and 1.3 megapixel front camera; 2,100mAh battery promising 15.3 hours talk time and 390 hours of standby; 8GB and 16GB storage capacities; WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth; supports NFC and wireless charging; ports include Micro USB, SlimPort HDMI, and 3.5mm headphone jack; it’s 9.1mm thin and weighs 139g; and it supports 3G (WCDMA) and HSPA+ networks. The Nexus 4 comes loaded with the latest version of Android (Jelly Bean 4.2) and it releases November 13 at $299 (8GB) and $349 (16GB); it will be sold as an unlocked device at those prices in the Google Play store. Buy the 16GB model from T-Mobile with a new two-year contract and you can get it for a more affordable $199. On launch day it will be available in the US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Spain and Australia and it’ll start to roll out to Europe, Central/South Americas, Asia, CIS and the Middle East beginning in late November.

Google is already in the tablet game with the Nexus 7, and today they’ve decided to up their game with an even larger slate to directly compete with Apple’s iPad. A collaboration with Samsung, the Nexus 10 packs–you guessed it–a 10.055-inch WQXGA display with an incredible 2560 x 1600 resolution (300 ppi) and Corning Gorilla Glass 2 coat of protection. Other specs include: dual-core Cortex A15-based 1.7GHz Samsung Exynos 5250 processor; Mali T604 GPU; 2GB RAM; 5 megapixel rear camera and 1.9 megapixel front camera; front-facing stereo speakers; 9000 mAh battery promising 9 hours of continuous video playback and 500 hours of standby; 16GB and 32GB storage capacities; WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth; supports NFC; ports include Micro USB, Magnetic Pogo pin charger, Micro HDMI, and 3.5mm headphone jack; and it’s 8.9mm thin and weighs 603g. The Nexus 10 too comes preinstalled with Jelly Bean 4.2 and it releases November 13 at $399 (8GB) and $499 (16GB); these slates are WiFi-only.

Google’s original Nexus 7 slate is seeing an update. The 8GB model is no longer offered; in its place are 16GB ($199) and 32GB ($249) flavors. Available today are those WiFi-only models, and come November 13 a 32GB model with WiFi and HSPA+ data (with AT&T and T-Mobile in the US) will sell for $299.

In addition to announcing a new smartphone and tablet, Google injected new life into Android with the latest version of Jelly Bean 4.2. Photo Sphere allows you to take pictures in every direction and stitch them together for immersive panoramic images; Gesture Typing brings Swype-like interaction to the virtual keyboard; support for multiple user accounts gives your friends and family their own personal spaces on a single device (this feature is limited to tablets only running v4.2); Daydream allows you to personalize your screensaver with photos and news; and Google Now and Google Search have been updated with more cards and an enhanced interface, respectively. For more, click the source link below. (Update: The Google Search app for iOS has been updated with improved voice search that rivals Siri. Download here, video demo after the break.)

And just like that, Google has their very own lineup of Android-powered Nexus devices in three different sizes. Get a closer look at the Nexus 4 phone and Nexus 10 tablet in the galleries embedded above; after the break there’s video.

[Via Google 1, 2] READ MORE Google intros Nexus 4 smartphone, Nexus 10 tablet running the updated Android Jelly Bean 4.2

My Xbox Live companion app update turns your smartphone into a Dashboard navigator

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

[Via Major Nelson]

Apple aims to reinvent the textbook with iBooks 2, iBooks Author & iTunes U

On January 19 Apple announced new versions of its iBooks and iTunes U platforms, ushering in a new way for students to get their education on. Apple has partnered with McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to launch iBooks textbooks, “an entirely new kind of textbook that’s dynamic, engaging and truly interactive.” More specifically, they are fullscreen textbooks that feature interactive animations, diagrams, photos, videos, and slick navigation. When you’re holding your iPad horizontally, an iBooks textbook offers up all kinds of interactive media embedded next to text; when orientation is turned vertically, text is front and center. In addition to the interactive  elements and content, this next generation of textbook also allows students to learn and study in a more efficient manner. For example, other features include easy highlighting and note-taking, searching and definitions, and lesson reviews and study cards.

Says Apple’s Phil Schiller: “Education is deep in Apple’s DNA and iPad may be our most exciting education product yet. With 1.5 million iPads already in use in education institutions, including over 1,000 one-to-one deployments, iPad is rapidly being adopted by schools across the US and around the world. Now with iBooks 2 for iPad, students have a more dynamic, engaging and truly interactive way to read and learn, using the device they already love.”

The iBooks 2 app is now available to download in the App Store for free. iBooks textbooks are also up for grabs today, and they range in price from free to $14.99. And Apple isn’t keeping educators in the dark when it comes to the creation of these virtual textbooks. In addition to McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and other big textbook makers, Apple is letting anyone create iBooks textbooks and publish them to the iBookstore for free. The creation tool is called iBooks Author and it comes with Apple-designed templates that feature a wide variety of page layouts for educators to customize. You can add your own text and images by simply dragging and dropping them into the templates, and multitouch widgets allow you to easily add interactive photo galleries, movies, Keynote presentations, and 3D objects. If you do decide to publish your own material into the iBookstore, there are two things to be aware of: (1) Apple has set in place the classic 70/30 revenue split (creators get the larger chunk, of course) and (2) your work must be exclusive to the iBooks. Have you always been itching to publish a book and educate the masses? Now’s your chance. Download iBooks Author in the Mac App Store today for free (Lion only).

Last, Apple let loose a dedicated app for iTunes U. In short, it “lets teachers create and manage courses including essential components such as lectures, assignments, books, quizzes and syllabuses and offer them to millions of iOS users around the world.” According to Apple, it gives iOS users access to the world’s largest catalog of free educational content from top universities, and now any K-12 school district can offer full courses through the app. Here’s a real-world example. A university teacher can set up a virtual portal through which his or her students can access course materials such as syllabuses and assignments. Students can use the iTunes U app to keep up with homework and check off projects once they are complete. Teachers can push new assignments to students at anytime, and students will receive the updates as notifications. iTunes U and iBooks are integrated; if a teacher pushes out a homework assignment to reach an additional chapter from a Biology textbook, the student can receive the notification, tap the assignment, and immediately be brought to the interactive Biology iBooks textbook without ever leaving the iTunes U app. Wild, huh?

Says Apple’s Eddy Cue: “The all-new iTunes U app enables students anywhere to tap into entire courses from the world’s most prestigious universities. Never before have educators been able to offer their full courses in such an innovative way, allowing anyone who’s interested in a particular topic to learn from anywhere in the world, not just the classroom.”

The iTunes U app can also be downloaded from the App Store today.

Apple’s education-centric announcement is very exciting to say the least. With iBooks and iTunes U, students will have the ability to carry around enhanced versions of traditional textbooks, ones that are highly interactive and constantly keeping up to date with the latest information. iBooks Author and iTunes U give educators the opportunity to publish, share, and keep in touch with students during the school year and help them maintain healthy study habits. This really is a whole lot to digest right now; Apple might just be on the verge of pushing US education into a bold new direction. And you want to know what the best part is? Future students won’t have to lug around giant backpacks stuffed with thick textbooks. With the introduction of iBooks and iTunes U on lightweight, small iOS devices, those days will soon be a thing of the past.

Video demonstration awaits after the break.

[Via Apple 1, 2] READ MORE Apple aims to reinvent the textbook with iBooks 2, iBooks Author & iTunes U

GarageBand comes to iPhone and iPod touch

Mac OS X and iPad users have been creating sick beats and rocking out with Apple’s music creation app for quite some time now. Today the company released a new version that can be downloaded and installed on iPhones and iPod touches. The official press release announcing the news (posted in full after the break) describes the app’s prominent features:

You can plug your electric guitar into iPad, iPhone or iPod touch to play and record through classic amps and stompbox effects, or record your voice or any acoustic sound using the built-in microphone. GarageBand allows you to record and mix up to eight tracks and then share your finished song with friends or send it to your Mac to keep working on it in GarageBand or Logic Pro.

GarageBand for iPhone (3GS, 4, 4S) and iPod touch (3rd and 4th generation) is now available in the App Store for $4.99. If you already purchased it for the iPad, it’s totally free to port it to your other iOS devices.

[Via Apple] READ MORE GarageBand comes to iPhone and iPod touch

Facebook for iPad is here

They say good things come to those who wait. After sitting through two iterations of Apple’s tablet, Facebook for iPad has arrived. On Monday Facebook dropped a dedicated app to access to the social network in the App Store. The house that Zuck built is calling it a “hands-on Facebook” that takes advantage of the tablet’s large, hi-res display. Organizing and flipping through photo albums is easier than before, as is chatting, playing games, and navigating around. Facebook also went ahead and updated its iPhone/iPod touch version to make its aesthetic match that of its bigger brother. The iPhone version of the app features the same left-hand navigation pane for a more streamlined experience and search is more comprehensive. Download the new Facebook app for iOS devices today, gratis.

[Via Facebook Blog]

Facebook releases dedicated Messenger app for mobile users

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.

[Via FacebookBlog]

Google+ app comes to iPhone

When Google pushed out their new social service Google+ they simultaneously gave Android users a way to access their accounts on their phones in a handy dandy app. Up until now, iPhone users have been forced to login and check their accounts inside the Safari browser. Today, thankfully, Google has pushed out a native Google+ app for iPhone users. The app’s homescreen includes Stream, Huddle, Photos, Profile, Circles, and a Notifications tray. In Stream you can view new posts from your Circle mates, those that are Nearby (if you allow the app to tag your location), and Incoming posts; you can also check-in at places and obviously send out posts and attach pictures to them. In Photos you can view pictures that have been uploaded by your Circle mates, photos of you, from your albums, and from your phone. In Profile you can view (but cannot edit) your About page, your Posts and Photos. In Circles, you can see all of your Circle mates, tap them to view their profiles, and from there you can move and/or remove them from Circles; you can also create new Circles. And lastly there’s Huddle, the one feature that has been exclusive to Android users until now. With Huddle you can initiate a group messaging experience that gathers together selected friends or circles so you can chat together in one space; users can be searched by name, email, and circle.

And that about covers the Google+ app for iPhone. Download it today for free from the App Store. Note that it is only compatible with iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 3G; Google has not specified when (or if) the app will make its way to other iOS devices (i.e. the iPad and iPod touch).

Evernote Peek makes flashcards obsolete

It’s mid-June which means it’s finals time for students in middle and high school. It’s proven that making flashcards is a great way to study for a test. If you use this method and happen to own an iPad, you’ll want to learn more about Evernote Peek. The folks at Evernote have designed a new app around the iPad 2’s smart cover accessory. So you know how the smart cover works, right? When you attach the accessory to the iPad, it automatically aligns to the screen (magnets). The cover instantly wakes up and puts to sleep the iPad when it’s applied and removed thanks to the built-in ambient light sensor. Evernote figured out a way to take advantage of this simple yet intriguing behavior.

You have a vocabulary test coming up. Goodbye flashcards, hello iPad. Lift up the smart cover flap to peek at a definition. Close it and think about what the word might be. Lift the cover again and you’ll be presented with the correct answer. The app will track which definitions you remember; the ones you get wrong will be saved so you can study them again later. Designing your own study guides using Evernote Peek is easy. All you have to do is create a free Evernote account and connect it to the app. Text and visual clues can be used to help you study. See it in action in the video above.

All in all Peek gives students yet another way to study for tests, albeit one that brings them one tap closer to accessing distractions like Facebook and Angry Birds. But it’s not like flashcard studying doesn’t take place in front of the computer screen. Download Evernote Peek for free in the App Store today.

[Via Gizmodo]