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Apple Free Apps Now Labeled As ‘Get’

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If you used the Mac or iOS App Store lately, you might have noticed slight difference.

Apps that are free to download no longer carry the “Free” designation. Instead, they say “Get.” The decision comes after pressure from the European Commission (EC). Over the summer, the EC was able to successfully force Google to relabel its apps that offer in-app purchases. As a result, Google changed the label of its “Top Free Apps” and “Top Free Games” categories to simply, “Top Apps” and “Top Games” in European Union countries.

The EC said labeling games as “free” could mislead customers as the true cost of a game, once in-app purchases were taken into account. Apple has worked over the last year to be more compliant with EU and U.S. regulators, especially when it comes to apps targeting kids. Rather than maintain different branding in different countries’ App Stores, Apple simply replaced “Free” with “Get” on all non-Apple apps. Apple apps that are free still maintain the “Free” designation.

The “Get” designation shows up whether an app has in-app purchase options or not.

Google Fit Is The New Threat For Apple’s HealthKit

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It looks like Google has taken the recent Apple’s HealthKit issue more seriously.

Google’s big concern is proven with the release of Google Fit, a fitness tracking app for Android.

The app (which connects to your existing Google account) acts as a main dashboard for tracking your fitness records and health goals. Like HealthKit, Google Fit extracts the data into the sensors in your smartphone to supervise on your daily activities like steps and active minutes. Users can also manually add exercise and other activities, such as biking and walking.

Google Fit’s dashboard, which also available on the web, tracks your activities over time and your progress toward exercise or weight loss goals. Eventually, you will also be able to connect Google Fit to third party apps and devices, including Android Wear smartwatches and fitness trackers from Runtastic, Polar and Basis

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Google Fit’s dashboard tracks your activity and progress toward goals over time.

To make it easier for third-party app integration, Google also released the full versions of its Google Fit APIs for developers. A preview version of its software development kit for Google Fit has been released earlier this year. It contained a series of early partners, including Nike, Runtastic, RunKeeper, who will be among the first developers to make their apps Google Fit-compatible. The first batch of apps is expected in “the coming weeks.”

“Rooms”: The Latest Anonymous Group App From Facebook

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There is always a moment when you want to go where nobody knows your name.

Here is Facebook’s much-anticipated anonymous social app. The app, which called “Rooms”, allows people to create a “room” on any topic. The room can then be customized with colors, icons and photos — even the Like button can be changed. Text, photos and videos can be posted to a room’s feed, creating an ongoing multimedia conversation. The goal of the app is to transfer the utility of message boards to the mobile world.

“Basically it is a feed of photos, videos, and text — not too different from the one you have on Instagram or Facebook — with a topic determined by whoever created the room”

The most unique trait of this app lies on its anonymity feature. The app allows users to sign in with “whatever name makes you feel most comfortable and proud.” Users can create different names for each room. Rooms can be shared through invitations that look like QR codes. You take a picture of the invitation, and the app scans your recent photos for the QR code and signs you into the room, like this:

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In fact, to get started on Rooms, Facebook requires users who don’t already have an invite to a room to take a screenshot of a QR code that the app provides. New users can then access one of four recommended rooms: “backpack diaries”, “noms from above”, “kicks from above” and “parkour spots” — by taking yet another screenshot of a QR code.

Obviously Rooms is a separate app form Facebook, since it does not require users to have a Facebook account, nor does it allow users to import lists of friends. The invitation process means each room can be as public or private as its owner and members wish. The invite codes can be posted anywhere online or share just among a select group of people. Each room can also be customized to a certain level of privacy, including whether or not the room’s post can be discovered on search.

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Unfortunately, some issues arise regarding the app’s availability on iTunes. Some people who attempted to download the app have reported their failure to acquire the app on their Smartphone.

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Hyperlapse: A New Standalone App From Instagram

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Brace yourself. The new fantastic stand alone app for Instagram has been released.

Lately, Instagram has released its latest time-lapse video app named Hyperlapse. The app allows Instagram users to easily make a time-lapse video without spending thousands of dollars on video equipment. Unlike Bolt andSlingshot, which have so far proved underwhelming, Hyperlapse is simple, elegant and useful.

“We designed Hyperlapse to be as simple as possible,” said Instagram on one of its official blog post.

In fact, the app’s interface is ridiculously simple. Record a video, select a playback speed, save and share. No additional editing, tweaking or user account required. Here is an example of a video that was made with Hyperlapse:

Just like Vine, think of Hyperlapse as a new social media marketing tool. You can use this app to create a super short infomercial. Who knows? Your imagination is the limit.

Sony Introduces Several Underwater Apps To Accompany Its Waterproof Smartphone Series

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It looks like Sony has a lot of fun time creating some trivial apps to test their new waterproof feature.

So you already own one of those waterproof phone, yet what’s the point of that feature if you don’t have underwater apps? Yes, you read it right: underwater apps. Sony Experia marketing team feels the urge to release these special apps. The main purpose is to raise awareness of the technology. Thanks to the new ‘underwater detection’ sensors, the phone now will “know” when it’s underwater, not just being waterproof.

If you already have one of Sony’s waterproof smartphone, then the next thing you need to do is experimenting with its underwater apps. Here is the official promotional video from Sony:

Tech News & Info: WhatsApp Has Reached 600 Million Monthly Active Users

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It looks like Facebook has made the right decision when purchased the popular mobile messaging application, WhatsApp, in February 2014 for US$ 19 million.

Now, according to a tweet fromWhatsApp CEO and co-founder Jan Koum, WhatsApp has more than 600 million monthly active users. That’s up from the roughly 450 million it had in February when Facebook announced its plan to acquire the app.

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Previously, WhatsApp has garnered 500 million active user in April, thus it has added 100 million active users in just four months.

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg has alluded to the staggering growth rate in the original announcement of the acquisition, leading some to conclude that WhatsApp may be on pace to hit the 1 billion user mark more quickly than Facebook did.

With 600 million users, WhatsApp continues to lead the competition in the fast-growing messaging app battlefield. Free messaging and calling app WeChat revealed earlier this month that it had 438 million active users, while Line had around 235 million active users.

While WhatsApp acquisition has received regulatory approval in the U.S., it is still being reviewed in Europe. In its most recent earnings call, Facebook’s executives restated that they expect the deal to close later this year.

Tinderdoption: A Matchmaking App For Dog Adoption

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What happens if you combine a matchmaking mobile app with an animal adoption service?

A creative app service called Tinderdoption is the answer. Maybe this app isn’t the first and (hopefully) the last hack from Tinder to try and leverage the popularity of the app. Rosie Animal Adoption in Montreal is trying a new way to connect dogs with potential future owners through the natural swipe connection of Tinder’s user interface by setting up profiles for dogs that are up for adoption. This is a great example of a creative campaign combined with the support of a perfect app. Take a look at how Tinderdoption works in the video below:

 

Snapchat Is Still More Popular Than Facebook Among College Students

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Facebook is still struggling hard on finding the best app to compete with Snapchat.

Recent study revealed that most teenagers are more engaged with Snapchat than Facebook. The same study found out that while 70% of college students report posting on Snapchat at least once a day, only 11% report posting on Facebook with the same frequency:

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The college students reported Snapchat as their most frequently used app, with 70% of students reporting they use the app one or more times a day. Twitter also had high engagement with the students — 46% reported posting on Twitter at least once a day. However, when it came to Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram, just over 10% reported posting on those networks with the same frequency.

On the privacy side, the students also considered Snapchat to be the social network that afforded the most of their privacy, while Facebook was overwhelmingly considered the least private network. Still, this doesn’t seem to impede the users from Facebook. If they had to pick only one social network to be part of, it would still be Facebook:

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On the other hand, Facebook’s Slingshot, a perplexing version of Snapchat, is not doing well with college students. Despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of the students polled use Facebook, only 2% said they had downloaded Slingshot.

As far as what’s in store for these apps, 76% of those polled said they would use a group messaging feature, despite 46% saying they had never used the app’s text messaging feature. The remaining 45% said they would use discovery features that would help connect them with new people and content.

Snapchat has been experimenting with new features targeted towards brands and events. The company introduced branded filters earlier this year before rolling out Snapchat Stories, a group sharing feature for live events.

Bolt: Is It A New App Or Just An Ad For Instagram?

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Lately, Instagram has this peculiar notification about a seemingly new app called “Bolt”.

Numerous Android users reported seeing a new banner-style ad on on the service, which featured a “one tap photo messaging” app called Bolt. The ad included what appeared to be an install button similar to the app-install ads from your Facebook News Feed.

The button was a dead link, however, and the ads were removed shortly after they appeared. “We don’t have anything to share right now,” said an Instagram spokesperson.

Social media experts guessed that Instagram could be testing app-install ads, similar to its parent company, Facebook. Instagram only began advertising last fall, and it seems too early for Instagram to have banner style ads to the platform, especially since the user backlash during the initial Instagram ads.

It’s also possible that Instagram and Facebook have another new app in its arsenal, and accidentally shared the news before it was ready. This has happened before when Facebook botched a product launch last month. The company accidentally pushed its Snapchat competitor, Slingshot, into the app store too early. It was removed shortly after and Facebook offered no real explanation for the incident.

Previously, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the company would release more standalone apps in 2014, so another app wouldn’t be a major surprise. However, the idea of another messaging app would be a bit of cheesy, as the company has owned four solid messaging apps: Instagram, Messenger, Slingshot and WhatsApp. Plus, the recent changes to Messenger has already included a one tap photo sharing feature.

Hence, it is understandable that Facebook, along with other social companies like Twitter, love to test new features for a small group of users. It’s possible these Bolt banners, whether for a Facebook-owned app or a fictitious one, were simply a test.

Telstra Treats: A Localised, Geo-Targeted Mobile Reward App

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Telstra is launching a localised mobile reward app that offers local customers more discounts and deals based on their own personal preferences.

The app, called Telstra Treats, has been developed by Vivant and was soft launched in Sydney’s CBD this month. Soon, Telstra will bring the app to small businesses in the local area and offer more rewards. The offered ‘treats’ ranges from a free cup of coffee at your local cafe to designer clothing from a retailer in your area.

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The company claims that the app will be “an exciting new app that sends you special offers based on your location and interests. Telstra Treats offers special, ‘just-for-you’ treats based on what you tell us you like and where you are.” Basically, users tell the app about their personal data, including their age, gender, how much they like eating out, shopping and going out. Telstra serves adds for discounts that match in the local area.

The treats are available for all Telstra customers with a number of discounts, rewards and offers for local restaurants, cafes and shops within a limited time. The offers and deals each user receives will be customised based on how they respond and interact with the app. Current offers include deals on haircuts, group meal discounts, free coffee and dessert. It also offers time limited deals on discounted Telstra contracts and handsets as well.

The offers are targeted by location, so users will receive push notifications for nearby offers. The app features a map to help customers searching around for the deals to redeem. A Telstra spokesperson confirmed that the trial is in a “soft launch” phase and that it would be gathering feedback from both customers and small businesses involved before making any moves to roll it out beyond the Sydney CBD.