Facebook today unveiled what CEO Mark Zuckerberg called the "next version" of the social networking site. Facebook Home is a new UI for Android devices that transforms a user's smartphone or tablet into a central hub for Facebook. When asked if Home will also be available for iOS devices Zuckerberg replied, “Apple is a very controlled environment". Meaning you will probably never see Home on your iPhone or iPad.
The Home interface is just too invasive for Apple's closed ecosystem. When installed, it takes over a device's lock screen, home screen and even notifications. This is something Apple would never allow. Zuckerberg said, Facebook has "great relationship with Apple", but that doesn't mean they will welcome a UI that overrides iOS. It's just not the way Apple does things.
Reebok quietly launched a new fitness app for Apple and Android devices. The idea of the app is to get people to break out of their normal workout routines and try something new. The Reebok Fitness app allows users to create their own exercise programs by choosing the length of time and the activities they want to do. Activities include training, running, dance, yoga and walking. Users also have access to to videos, demos and tips from world-class fitness experts.
The app promises a "quick and simple" interface, and fun customized workout programs based on your favorite activities. The app also offers achievement breakdowns that you can share on your favorite social networking sites, calendar reminders for upcoming workouts, an archive of past achievements, and inspirational messages to keep you motivated.
The iPhone 5 release has pushed Apple over the top. Regaining its lead for the first time since March, Apple's iOS smartphone sales are once again dominating the US market. According to Kantar World Panel, Apple is on track to surpass the previous high of 49.3% of smartphone sales seen after the iPhone 4S launch.
Second place Google Android is not far behind at the moment, but the devices have seen a sharp decline in sales with the iPhone 5 launch. Google's share of US smartphone sales had surpassed 65% just one year ago. While Windows and other smartphones linger at the bottom, BlackBerry maker RIM has seen a steady decline in US sales over the past two years.
Imo.im announced today it will begin offering free voice calling for iOS users via its imo instant messenger app. The free service allows users running iOS version 3.1 to make voice calls through Wi-Fi and 3G connections. According to imo, "free voice calling eliminates the cost of mobile minutes without any loss in the quality of the connection and, when connected to Wi-Fi, requires no data usage."
The instant messaging client connects users to 11 of the top third-party messaging services. It supports Facebook Chat, Google Talk, Skype, MSN, ICQ/AIM, Yahoo, Jabber, Hyves, VKontakte, Myspace and Steam. The app features group messaging, photo sharing, concurrent sessions on different devices, searchable chat history and provides the ability to share multimedia files with other users.
Apple and Android users who download the new Mitt's VP app will be the first to know who the Republican nominee chooses as his running mate for the 2012 election . Beth Myers, senior advisor to Romney made the announcement on Tuesday:
These last few months, I've had the privilege and honor of leading Governor Romney's search for a vice presidential running mate. While I won't be breaking any news today, I wanted to let you know how to be the first to get the VP scoop with our new Mitt's VP app. Just download the free app on your iPhone or Android device and when Mitt decides on his running mate, you'll get an exclusive notification of his VP selection before anyone else.
Romney supporters can download the free iOS app from the App Store, and sign in using their MyMitt or Facebook accounts to receive a notification when the announcement is made. MyMitt is a photo sharing app which allows you to customize photos with a variety of "Mitt-inspired artistic frames." It's also free to download from the App Store.
Samsung has partnered with software maker Media Mushroom Applications to help iPhone users make the switch to the Samsung Galaxy S III. The two have created an app that allows users to easily transfer their iTunes and iOS data to Samsung's Galaxy line-up.
The Easy Phone Sync app uses an USB connection to transfer music, contacts, messages, photos and videos from your iTunes backup on your computer, to any Samsung Galaxy device. It comes in two parts: An app that runs on your Samsung smartphone and a Mac/PC client. I'm not sure if droves of iOS users are rushing out to buy a Galaxy S III, but it's a smart marketing ploy by Samsung.
Google announced their redesigned app for the iPhone on Wednesday via their official blog. Version 220.127.116.1188 of the Google+ brings a new stream and navigation experience, plus various bugfixes and performance improvements.
Full-bleed photos and videos are cool. But you know what’s really cool? Content so immersive it remakes your mobile device into a rich carousel of beloved memories and breaking news. That’s the Google+ experience we aspire to, and today’s release helps us get closer:
Whether you post photos or articles or text, we’re making ‘em look gooood
We’re adding crisper fonts, larger profile pics and a friendlier homescreen
We’re making the stream easier to scan, and easier on the eyes with overlays, gradients and other visual elements.
Asylum Press is releasing a 32 page sampler comic via comiXology for the iPad and iPhone on May 5th for Free Comic Book Day. The sampler will feature 8-page previews of their titles Trenchcoats, Cigarettes and Shotguns, Black Powder, Farmhouse and Chopper. Aylum Press Sampler Free Comic Book 2012 #1 will also be available for Android devices, the KindleFire and Nook.
"We're excited about the possibility of reaching new fans on Free Comic Book Day,“ explains publisher Frank Forte. "People will be going to comics stores in droves, but they'll also be on their tablets and iPads. Mobile device and smart phone ownership keeps growing at an amazing rate and we want to provide great comics to these readers. Digital comics are the return of the newsstand."
The popular third-party browser Dolphin has been updated with a new voice-control feature. Dolphin Sonar allows users to search the web and navigate websites by using simple voice commands. Downloading version 4.0 adds a familiar looking microphone icon to the bottom left of the browser. Users can can easily access the Dolphin Sonar by tapping the icon or shaking their iPhone. The new voice control system eliminates the need for typing while searching Google or messing around on Facebook. Just tell Dolphin Sonar where you want it to go and it will lead you there.
The Dolphin Browser also features a magazine reader Webzine, one-click sharing for Twitter and Facebook, and Gesture, which allows you to create a personal symbol to access the websites you like the most. Dolphin Browser is compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. It requires iOS 4.0 or later.
We've heard it all before, Apple is adding T-Mobile and Sprint to its roster of iPhone carriers, but Piper Jaffray analyst Chris Larsen and analyst Shing Yin of Citadel Securities believe 2011 is the year Apple will actually make the move.
Most analysts seem to agree that if Apple wants to compete with the growing Android Market, they will have to make their products more accessible. The days of Apple exclusivity are over, and Larsen's crystal ball says the iPhone being offered by all four national carriers will increase Apple's market share by 30 percent.
"While we remain uncertain regarding the next-generation iPhone's specs and features, we believe the most noteworthy change could be the device's ability to run on more networks, specifically Sprint and T-Mobile in the U.S.," Larsen wrote in his analyst report.