Monday, December 31, 2012
In what is probably a bit of a big-G whoopsie, the folks at Tech From 10 woke up to find a new, test version of Android Market installed on their Galaxy S.
Visually, the new version is almost identical. The carousel of featured apps has been updated slightly, and apps now have a 'Content rating,' but that's it (image after the break). The interesting bit, however, is the inclusion of alpha and beta apps -- most notably, there's a new version of the Music app, which looks like a scaled-down version of the Android 3.0 Honeycomb Music app (see right).
Also available from the test Android Market is 'Google Gallery 3D New 10.2', 'Google - Camera v12' and 'Google Desk Clock 10' -- but, curiously, all of the apps refused to launch on Tech From 10's Galaxy S (Vibrant) smartphone. Are they Honeycomb apps? Or, more likely, are they destined for the next Android smartphone OS, Ice Cream?
If you want to try out the new Honeycombish Music app, Tech From 10 has made the APK available for download. You can also download the three Google apps, if you want to have a poke around.
It's Saturday, and that means it's time for the Android Central app picks. We've got another smattering of random apps, games and utilities for your enjoyment here this week. This is our last roundup of app picks for 2012, but fear not, we're coming back stronger than ever in 2013 with more apps for you to check out. See how we did wrapping up 2012 after the break.
Christmas Day is a huge day for mobile device activations, obviously. Once we finish unwrapping our gifts and scarfing down a big breakfast, we all become children and want to immediately play with our gifts. For smartphones and tablets, that means activating your device on a network, and downloading a slew of apps. Once we install these apps (like Twitter), we start telling followers about our new device. Two pieces of research hit my radar today. They’re both quite fascinating and paint a picture of Apple dominating the scene.
The first is from analytics firm Flurry, who posted a little something on their blog revealing just how big these activations were this year.
Flurry estimates that iOS and Android sales were more than 2.5x larger on Christmas Day in 2012 compared to last year’s equivalent. A whopping 17.4 million devices were activated this year versus only 6.8 million last year.
Tablets are also growing in popularity big time. Perhaps because many of them don’t come with cellular connectivity (and therefore don’t have data plans), they are easier gifts. But 51% of device activations on the 25th (among iOS and Android devices tracked) were tablets. Compare this with 20% tablets for the days leading up to Christmas. I think these data points tell us the tablet market is on fire, and not slowing down anytime soon.
Interestingly, the Flurry study makes no mention of Windows Surface or the heavily discounted BlackBerry Playbook.I’m not surprised on the Playbook side of things - it’s now an old tablet, and will be obviously updated in 2013 when BlackBerry 10 comes out. But the Surface is brand new. If it was going to make a move, you’d think Christmas would show some results for team Microsoft, eh?
Another data point, if I can call it that, aggregated tweets from people writing “first tweet from (device name)”. The image showing the results (below) comes from Andy Biao and @axian, and it looks like a completely unscientific (but very interesting) graphic detailing the search results.
For whatever these results are worth, iPad crushed everybody else. And to check if these results could be trusted I did an informal search of my own, looking at similar tweets over the last few hours. I got comparable results (just looking at the rough split). Maybe iPad users like Twitter more than everyone else, or people who like Twitter gravitate to iPads, and the fact that almost nobody tweeted from a Microsoft Surface could be driven by the lack of an official Twitter app. But it’s not like the web version sucks. It uses HTML5 and works pretty well. I have to think it’s just not selling very well.
Image to use: http://i.imgur.com/cg6O5.jpg
We're curious, though -- how many of you are still printing? Like our pals at Engadget, our printers have been mostly gathering dust for the last few years.
Smartphone users won't be losing any functionality because of the consolidation. If your phone supported the enhacned features offered by touch.facebook.com, the new site will automatically flip the switch when you visit.
Rolling the sites together helps simplify things for Facebook's developer team. Now changes can be pushed to a single site instead of two separate sites, which makes it easier to ensure that all mobile users receive a nearly identical experience regardless of the device they're using.
The new Facebook mobile can also check to see if your phone supports geolocation. If it doesn't, you won't be seeing much of Facebook Places -- which obviously relies heavily on geolocation. Images can also be optimized on the fly to keep page performance from suffering on less powerful devices. You can see the three different versions of the share button below, courtesy our friends at TechCrunch.
You rotate the ring itself with the arrow keys, while a Tetris-like piece slowly (excruciatingly slowly, in fact) descends from the top. As soon as you make a solid line, it disappears.
Not all pieces are Tetris-like; some of them wouldn't really work with a regular Tetris game but are a good fit for Torus' 3D format.
Torus is ideal for playing at the office, because it has absolutely no soundtrack. The game is dead-quiet. It's also very very slow (slow enough for me to mention it twice in one post) so you can safely look away for a moment and then keep playing. Also, as soon as the game loses focus, it automatically pauses.
Bottom line: It's an impressive demo of the power of HTML5; if it were a bit faster, it would have some serious addictive potential.
VideoStudio Pro is aimed at home users and small business professionals who want to create professional-looking videos, but without the hassle, steep learning curve and price of Adobe Premiere Pro and the likes.
This new version introduces several features:
- Stop motion animation: You can now capture still frames using a webcam, camcorder or DSLR and use them to produce an animation. Tools such as "onion skin view" let you compare the previous image in the sequence with the current one and make the animation as smooth as possible.
- Processor optimization: Corel says the app is optimized for Intel's new Sandy Bridge systems, and have shown us some graphs with very impressive numbers. We've been unable to test this particular point, but if you have a recent-generation Intel or AMD Fusion system, VideoStudio performance should be blazing. Even on our older test system performance was quite impressive.
- Customizable workspace: You can drag the video preview window to your secondary monitor (if you have one) and tweak just about any other element in the window layout. Once done, you can save your ideal workspace in one of three slots.
- Share-to-Web: VideoStudio Pro X4 hooks directly into YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook and Flickr, so you don't even have to launch a browser to upload your final product. Edit, produce and share from within the app itself.
- Smart Package: Video projects typically consist of many files; Smart Package lets you bundle all video assets for a given project into one ZIP file which you can password-protect and keep in a safe place once you're done editing.
Note: We'll be running a give-away of ten VideoStudio Pro X4 licenses later today, each worth $100 USD. Keep your eyes peeled for the giveaway post!
I've said it before: Every Fortune 500 company is compromised by APTs (advanced persistent threats). In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find a single computer security expert who would argue differently.
But the experts, including me, could well be wrong. I recently encountered one company that's a classic exception to the rule.
As we head into the year 2013, you're probably finalizing your plans for New Year's Eve, but have you considered how you're going to use your iPhone during the celebration? Whether you're going out for a night on the town, attending a house party, or staying home, we have rounded up some iPhone apps that will help you ring in the new year.
New Year's Live
New Year's Live an app by EarthCam that present exclusive webcams of New Year's 2014 celebrations live around the world, including Time Square in New York City. The cameras include audio so you can hear countdowns from the crowd and cheers and noise as the clock strikes midnight. New Year's Live also includes a photo booth that lets you have fun taking pictures with New Year's Eve costume pieces, a Party Box for making noise at midnight, and more.
- $3.99 - Download now
New Year's Eve and alcohol go hand-in-hand, but driving does not fit into that equation -- and that's where Uber comes in. With Uber, you can request a taxi, classic black sedan, or SUV to pick you and your friends up. The app is super easy to use, even in a drunken state, and the fare will automatically be charged to your credit card at the end of the ride so that you have one less thing to think about.
- Free - Download now
Mixology/Mixologist Drink & Cocktail Recipes
Staying home and hosting a party instead hitting the town? Then Mixology or Mixologist will help you be the best bartender ever. It features thousands of recipes and a liquor cabinet feature that filters drinks that you can make based on the ingredients you have on hand. The difference between the free version, Mixology, and the paid version, Mixologist, is that Mixologist also includes a custom drinks feature, more ways to choose random drinks, and no ads.
2012 QUIZ is a trivia game about this past year including topics ranging from the Grammy Award, the Olympics, hurricane Sandy, Music, Movies, and more. The free version includes a smaller set of questions as a way to allow you to try before you buy, and the $2.99 upgrade unlocks more than 200 questions, a score sheet, and strips away the ads. 2012 Quiz is a great way to have some fun during a New Year's party... you could even turn it into a drinking game!
- Free - Download now
Times Square Official New Year's Eve Ball App - 2013
In America, the place to be on New Year's Eve is Times Square in New York City, but very few of us actually get to be there and instead watched the yearly Ball Drop on our televisions. Well, now you can watch from your iPhone as well! With the Times Square Official New Year's Eve Ball App - 2013 you can participate in the festivities by submitting your own photos (that may be featured on the Toshiba Vision screen atop Times Square, directly below the Ball), send New Years Eve ecards, and watch live streaming of the evens in Times Square.
- Free - Download now
Your favorite New Year's Eve celebration app?
Are there any other apps you plan to use this New Year's Eve? We want to know about them! If you pick any of these ones up, let us know what you think!
Happy New Year!