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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...

Amazon crackdown on monster erotica is a monster problem for its authors
December 23, 2013 | 4:54 am

bear-gods_1000x15002-200x300Business Insider is running a piece on Amazon’s latest crackdown: monster erotica. Yes, that’s right, if you write stories involving sex with Bigfoot, aliens, giant squids, etc., Amazon doesn’t want you around—even if your titles have been selling well. In the most recent purge, one author saw her income fall from $2,000 to $400 a month. Authors can try cleaning up the titles, covers, and descriptions of their books, but the problem is anything that makes them less “offensive” also makes them less likely to appeal to the people who like that sort of thing. There is, of...

SoundHound app has an ear for music, even in Chinese
December 4, 2013 | 12:15 pm

soundhound appWhen I heard a hummable little ditty during a karaoke session at my local karaoke joint here in southern Taiwan -- the song was in Chinese  but the lyrics contained one word in Japanese that started me on this  wild goose chase, as you will see below -- I was told by Taiwanese old-timers who knew the song and the melody that they thought it was  actually originally a song from Japan that was translated to Chinese  and made popular by a TV star for the karaoke market. By the way, did you know that karaoke is actually pronounced in Japanese...

Universal Marvin App Free For “Limited Time”
November 22, 2013 | 3:56 pm

marvinMarvin released an upgrade today, and while the changelog wasn't as impressive as some I've seen, there's still big news. This was the last upgrade for Marvin for iPad. Going forward, all updates will be to the universal iPhone/iPad version. From a development perspective, that makes sense, and as a user, I much prefer universal apps. However, the universal version isn't free. It's $2.99 (quite reasonable for such a great app). However, even you cheapskates don't have to worry. To aid in the transition, the app will be free for a "very limited time." I'd interpret that to mean a couple...

Mashable app list: Really making you a better reader?
November 11, 2013 | 6:37 pm

Social media and technology site Mashable has grouped together "8 Apps to Make You a Better Reader" - and not just concentrating on e-reading, but also bringing in some apps that will be just as helpful for print reading as well. If they help. Because the premise for choosing some seems the exact opposite of making you a better reader - i.e. making you a hastier and less insightful reader by predigesting and dicing up your reading matter. As Mashable's Mark Knoblauch says, the article has been "trying to stray from the obvious reading apps, like e-readers." And yes, as well...

App Sale: SwiftKey is Half Off. Today Only
October 22, 2013 | 10:37 am

SwiftKeyI've tested and reviewed many third-party keyboards for Android, and SwiftKey remains my go-to keyboard on my Nook HD. If you've been thinking about trying SwiftKey, today is a great day. It's half off on Google Play (to celebrate 5 years of Android), bringing it to $1.99, which is an excellent price. Here's my review from earlier this year, if you want to check it out before heading over to buy the app....

How to get the most out of library ebooks via the right gadget, text to speech, and otherwise
October 18, 2013 | 6:26 pm

FireVergeWant to hear text to speech from free library ebooks on your 50-mile commute? Even if you own an Android machine and the usual OverDrive app can’t do “read-aloud” unless audiobooks count? Also, what if you haven’t even bought an e-reading gizmo for library use, but want to? Which model to go with? In those cases and others, the guidance here is for you. Most tips will work even with low-cost, no-name tablets. But let’s pay special attention to the new Kindle Fire HDXes. They are among the top choices if you care more about reading than about tech and can stomach...

Oyster Updated for iPad.
October 17, 2013 | 4:44 pm

oysterOyster, the all-you-can-read ebook service was updated yesterday with a dedicated iPad app. They also added a free 30-day trial. As you may remember, I wasn't impressed with Oyster when it was first announced. Have I changed my mind? I re-upped my subscription to check them out and decide. The short and answer is yes, and no. Yes, I think the service has been improved considerably. Will I continue my subscription? Probably not. Adding an iPad app was a big step, and it makes the service lots more worthwhile. That said, the app still needs improvement. It's clearly intended to be used...

Aldiko Updates to 3.0. Sporting a New Look
October 9, 2013 | 2:03 pm

aldiko Aldiko was the first third-party ereading app I used on Android, and I was quite happy with the reading experience. However, I wasn't as thrilled with the library interface. I recently tried the 3.0 update, and I like it much better. You can tag and sort into collections. The look is improved, being more modern and, in my opinion, visually appealing. They've also added a Progress feature, to see where you are in books you've read recently. That's a feature I particularly like in Mantano, and I was glad to see it implemented here. Reading the reviews, however, I notice a feature has...

Apple allows old iOS devices to install ‘last compatible version’ of newer apps
October 6, 2013 | 6:00 pm

ipadlatestappThis is a slightly old story, but I thought it was worth following up on when I had the chance. A few weeks ago, Apple quietly added a new feature to its iOS app store. It used to be that when you had hardware too old to run the latest version of an app, and you lost the version of it you had, you were out of luck. After OS 7 came out, for example, when I tried to update my 1st-generation iPad’s Zite app, I was told that the new one required OS 7. So if I...