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Apps

Amazon gives away 30 free Android apps June 27, 28
June 27, 2014 | 3:36 pm

If you’ve got an Android tablet and are looking for something fun to put on it, don’t miss this Amazon giveaway. Instead of just one app, today Amazon’s giving away thirty with a combined total value of over $100. And these aren’t some random apps you’ve never heard of, either. Gizmodo has a rundown of some of the better ones.  The list includes the Plex media streamer, AccuWeather Platinum (a great weather app, which I personally used myself already), Notepad+, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and more. Most of them will work with any Android tablet, as long as you’ve...

Portuguese app store Aptoide files anti-trust accusation against Google for bundling Play Store
June 18, 2014 | 5:37 pm

aptoideGigaom (and our sister blog TechnologyTell) reports that a Portuguese Android app store, Aptoide, has filed an anti-trust complaint against Google to the European Commission. This isn’t the first such complaint Google’s gotten in Europe, either. Aptoide complains that Google’s Play store won’t permit fully-functional third-party app stores on board (which is to say, apps that let you download other apps from outside Google), that Google has been making it harder and harder for people to find the setting necessary to allow installation of third-party apps, that the Google Play store is bundled with Google’s services and required to...

Amazon Prime Streaming Music is terrific for Prime subscribers
June 17, 2014 | 3:41 pm

Juli gave her review of Amazon Prime Music yesterday. Now I’ll have my say. First of all, as Slate and the Verge point out in their reviews, Amazon Prime Streaming Music is not a Pandora or Spotify killer, and it’s not meant to be. It really isn’t even a new service at all, so much as an extension of an old one. Amazon has offered cloud music storage since 2011, after all. You can already upload music to Amazon’s cloud and stream it, or stream mp3s you buy from Amazon’s mp3 store. Prime Streaming Music just lets you stream...

App Review: Google Play Books for Android
June 17, 2014 | 12:19 pm

Screenshot_2014-06-17-10-57-52I hadn’t paid much attention to Google Play Books before. I’d installed and even paid for readers like Aldiko and Moon+ (TeleRead review), and snagged a couple freeish ones like UB Reader, but Play Books just sat in my app drawer, unused, like most of the pack-in Google apps. But when I came across this Lifehacker piece calling it “the best e-reader for Android,” I figured it was worth trying out. And darned if I don’t by and large agree. Offering a simple and easy-to-use reading interface and cloud reading-position sync with all books, Google Play Books is...

Feedbooks acquires Aldiko ereading app
May 28, 2014 | 11:25 am

logo_feedbooksFeedbooks announced the acquisition of Aldiko, an Android ereading app that has more than 20 million downloads. Feedbooks began in June 2007 and has added a number of initiatives over the years such as a web e-book creation tool, and offers a distribution channel. Now it will have its own ereading app. Considering Feedbooks offers more than 800,000 titles in its own store and Aldiko works with a number of publishing formats, the match seems like a good one. Feedbooks allows customers to stay within its system from start to finish with its new purchase. “We are thrilled to join Feedbooks with whom...

Review: SwiftKey Note for iOS
May 15, 2014 | 12:31 pm

swiftkey note for iOSOne of the things I love most about the Android platform is the ability to use third-party keyboards, like SwiftKey, which has an uncanny predictive ability. Unfortunately, iOS doesn't allow third-party keyboards. The stock keyboard is okay, but it doesn't have crazy good prediction. The folks at SwiftKey have coded a work around called SwiftKey Note for iOS. It's a separate app, so you can't use it systemwide, but if you can live with the limitations of only using it in the dedicated app, it has utility. The app syncs seamlessly with Evernote, so if you use it, SwiftKey Note might meet...

Mailbox app fiasco resolved. New system using Gmail and IFTT
May 12, 2014 | 2:55 pm

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the fiasco I experienced with the Mailbox app for iOS deleting important emails. I debated removing it, and when I saw an intiguing IFTT recipe, I decided to see if it answered my needs. For those of you who aren't familiar with IFTT, it stands for If This Then That, and it's a service which automates tasks, following certain "recipes." In my case, the recipe was "When I star an email in Gmail, create a Google calendar event." Hmm. Might that solve my problem? Turns out it does. The recipe works perfectly, and I end...

In wake of Amazon acquisition, ComiXology drops Apple in-app purchases
April 26, 2014 | 5:52 pm

Since its recent acquisition by Amazon, people have been wondering what changes Amazon is going to make to the company. The first one came along today: ComiXology is retiring its old iPhone and iPad e-comic applications, and releasing new ones that remove the ability to buy comics as in-app purchases from Apple devices. You have to buy them from the web store now. Unless you’re on Android, in which case the in-app store works just fine. This is, of course, because of that pesky 30% commission Apple enforces on all in-app purchases. Amazon has steadfastly refused to pay...

Latest update to Mailbox for iOS has a serious flaw
April 25, 2014 | 12:25 pm

mailbox for iosIf you happen to follow me on Twitter, you know I'm a huge fan of the Mailbox app. Whenever someone tweets about mail apps, I chime in about Mailbox for iOS. Unfortunately, the latest update to the app has caused me significant embarrassment, enough that I'm considering deleting it. Here was the innocuous line in the Changelog With Auto-swipe, Mailbox learns from your swipes and snoozes to automate common actions. That sounded so innocent and yet turned out to be a major hassle. It all started when a client asked if I had received an email. I said, "No." Later when I looked...

Android versus Apple apps: The time factor
March 7, 2014 | 12:32 pm

appsThe vexed question of Android versus Apple apps has surfaced again, but this time it's not money: it's time. And those nice people at Crispy Codes have shared an infographic that helps make sense of this issue and map out project timelines. According to Crispy Codes, "Android devices vary. It takes longer to build an Android app vs. iOS or Windows." But issues such as UI design (whether out-of-the-box or custom made),  level of complexity, and integration with a backend server, obviously make more of a difference. See below for the whole story. ...

How much would you pay for a phone installed with Flappy Bird?
February 10, 2014 | 4:24 pm

Too much of a good thing can be tough to handle. Dong Nguyen the creator of the viral game Flappy Bird couldn’t handle the quick rise of popularity of his game – even though he was supposedly making a lot of money off ads – so he took it down. This has caused people to find alternative methods to finding Flappy Bird, one of which may cost people thousands of dollars. Several smartphones and tablets that have the game installed already have sold on eBay for more than $3,000 – all the way up to $10,100. Are all these auctions legit? Probably not. I...

Amazon offers $5 Appstore credit for downloading any Android app, and another for buying a digital PC game
December 24, 2013 | 4:58 am

Screenshot_2013-12-24-04-50-53Have an Android device? You can get a $5 credit in the Amazon Appstore by installing it and downloading any application, even a free one. Amazon is offering this deal from 12/24 through 12/28. You just have to download the Appstore installer, then snag an app from it. See this page for details. It’s worth noting that sometimes the versions of apps Amazon has in its store are not the same as the latest version from the Play Store. Might be worth checking the version of the app in both places before you buy it. As with the...