Microsoft recently unveiled an official Xbox LIVE application for iOS devices, including the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The application allows users to view and change Xbox avatars, send Xbox LIVE friends messages or compare achievements, learn about new games and more. Prior to Wednesday, Microsoft had only offered an official Xbox LIVE application to its Windows Phone users, so we’re a bit surprised (and pleased) to see the company spread the love to iOS. There’s no word if an Android application is in the works. Xbox LIVE for iPhone is available now in the iTunes App Store for free. More →
Want to share your iPhone’s 3G connection with your laptop for a one-time $15 fee? iTether recently launched for iOS devices and it allows you do just that, without any carrier involvement. We would use the software with caution, however. Several wireless providers such as AT&T can detect when subscribers are tethering an unauthorized device and they usually send a warning asking users to stop. iTether is available now for anyone looking for a quick tethering solution to get through the day but, since carriers will likely react negatively to its existence, we don’t expect it to be around in its current form for much longer.
UPDATE: It now looks like Apple has pulled iTether, as most presumed it would. As of approximately 11:40 a.m. Eastern, the app still shows up in the store but attempts to download it are met with Apple’s “This item is temporarily unavailable” error. More →
Apple’s Siri represents the birth of a new breed of voice-controlled smartphone assistant services, and it is only a matter of time before other companies begin to expand their offerings as a result. While Microsoft and Google undoubtedly work to refine their own voice command services, a new third-party app hits the Android Market on Tuesday that could represent Siri’s first real competition. Cluzee, billed as your intelligent personal assistant, offers Android users a Siri-like service that includes capabilities even more impressive than Siri in some cases. As showcased in a video provided by Tronton, the company behind the app, asking Cluzee a simple question like “what does my schedule look like today?” will yield a spoken rundown of the user’s schedule. Beyond just listing events, however, the app also includes smart tidbits from a range of data it pulls from the web. In one example, Cluzee adds “to reach the doctor’s office on time, you should avoid Main Street because of construction” following the mention of a doctor’s appointment, using traffic data to ensure the user reaches his appointment on time. Read on for more. More →
Apple on Tuesday released a highly anticipated update to its Apple Store app for iOS, adding functionality that may represent the future of the company’s retail operations. The new app was released five days later than initially planned and while the cause of the delay is unclear, Apple’s new Store app includes all of the great functionality BGR exclusively detailed last week. Apple’s change log for version 2.0 includes “Personal Pickup,” giving users the ability to make purchases in the app and then pick them up at a local Apple Store of their choosing, and “EasyPasy,” a self-checkout feature that allows iPhone 4 and 4S users to scan and pay for accessories without any required interaction with Apple retail staff. Apple’s updated Apple Store app is available immediately in the App Store. More →
While information about Apple’s new iOS app and retail plans have leaked out in various forms over the past few weeks, we now have the whole story thanks to a trusted source. On Thursday, Apple’s new retail store app for iOS will launch, and it will bring two major features with it. First, it will enable online ordering with retail store pick up. This has already started happening in a few stores in California and New York City Apple stores as well, and more stores will go live on Thursday. Hit the jump for details on what happens when you place an order through the app to pick up in a retail store nearby. More →
When Facebook announced a revamped mobile page in April, its lead mobile exec Eric Tseng said the social network would focus on using the HTML5 standard for future updates instead of updating individual applications for each mobile operating system. “Project Spartan” is the fruit of those labors, reports claim, and it will be the social network’s attempt to the spill its games and applications into the mobile space. Images and information on Project Spartan were recently posted on a Facebook developer page before being pulled. Thankfully TechCrunch grabbed several of the images and information from the site before it was taken down. The leaked photos clearly display a panel loaded with Facebook Pages, mobile apps and events being accessed from an iPhone’s Safari browser. There also appears to be a notifications component. Facebook will officially announce the platform sometime next week, TechCrunch said. Read on a few additional photos of Project Spartan. More →
Former renegade peer-to-peer file sharing service Kazaa is back from the dead. After numerous legal battles and settlements that reportedly reached into the hundreds of millions, Kazaa will attempt one last time to use what little heat surrounding its name is left in an effort to sell music. The firm now offers a like-named iPhone and iPad app that works just like Spotify, Rhapsody, Zune and the plethora of other music subscription services on the market today: pay $10 per month, stream as much music as you want, and store files locally if you choose. The apps touts a catalog of “millions and millions of songs,” and offers a free 7-day trial before the monthly fee is required. While seeing the Kazaa brand revived is amusing, we’re not sure what compelling argument Kazaa makes to draw users away from competitors, and we’ll likely stick with Spotify as a result. More →
Flipboard, the company behind the popular like-named social magazine application for the iPad, plans to add TV shows, books and movie content, Reuters reported on Thursday. The company’s app has been downloaded more than 3 million times, and it offers articles from several popular magazines including Rolling Stone and National Geographic. Users can view articles alongside customized news and social network feeds, too. Flipboard CEO Mike McCue told Reuters that he hopes to add TV shows and movies by the end of the year but has not discussed who his company is teaming up with to deliver the content just yet. It is also still unclear when McCue will add books to the app. A version of the software for the iPhone and iPod touch will be launching in the coming weeks and we’re excited to see how it performs on the iPhone’s smaller screen. More →
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration may soon approve or reject mobile health applications. The government agency said on Wednesday that it is proposing to oversee the applications in an effort to ensure the apps perform as advertised and aren’t actually hurting users. “There are advantages to using medical apps, but consumers and health care professionals should have a balanced awareness of the benefits and risks,” FDA policy advisor Bakul Patel said. The administration hopes to approve and reject mobile applications that:
- Are used as an accessory to an FDA-regulated medical device. For example, an app could enable a health care professional to view medical images on an iPad and make a diagnosis;
- Transform a mobile platform into a regulated medical device. For example, an app that turns a smartphone into an electrocardiography, or ECG, machine to detect abnormal heart rhythms or determine if a patient is experiencing a heart attack.
“We want to hear from as many consumers, advocacy groups, health care professionals, and software creators and distributors as possible to help us finalize the proposed guidelines,” Patel said. The proposed guidelines will be published on Wednesday.
Have a Windows Phone? Want in on the Google+ fun? Your wait may soon be over. In a post published on July 14th, Google listed fifteen changes that it said “may” be implemented this week. Number six on the list is “Google+ App for Windows Phone 7.” Google officially announced the Google+ social network on June 28th and, while it already has more than 10 million users, third party user stats have suggested 87% of the current profiles belong to men. More →
When RIM launched the BlackBerry PlayBook earlier this year, AT&T was the only carrier that didn’t provide a BlackBerry Bridge application out of the gate. As of Friday, the application is now available for PlayBook owners with AT&T BlackBerry phones. The app provides free email, calendar, and BBM sync between your PlayBook and BlackBerry smartphone, but you’ll need to subscribe to a $20 monthly plan to share data, too. BlackBerry Bridge is available immediately for free in BlackBerry App World. More →
Skype announced on Wednesday that its Android application now supports video calling on select devices. The application is particularly attractive because it allows mobile users to connect with other users on Mac, Windows, TV, iOS, or other Android devices. Skype says the app was built with a complete new redesign, too, which includes a new main menu, easier contact navigation, quick access to your profile, and more. There’s even a new “mood” message box that allows you to show what you’re up to or how you’re feeling. Skype for Android requires Android 2.3 and above, as well as a front-facing camera for video chat. It currently supports the HTC Desire S, the Sony Ericsson Xperia neo, the Sony Ericsson Xperia pro, and the Google Nexus S. Skype says it also has plans to roll out support for additional handsets in the near future. Hit the jump for a video demo of the new client in action. More →
Hulu announced on Thursday that its Hulu Plus application is now available on select Android smartphones. The service costs $7.99 per month and allows users to browse and play Hulu Plus content directly on their smartphones. It’s currently only available for the Motorola Atrix, Motorola DROID X, Motorola DROID 2, HTC Inspire 4G, Nexus S, and Nexus One, but Hulu says it will add more devices throughout the year. New users can sign up for a free 1-week trial to give the service a whirl, and the app is available in the Android Market now. In other news, Hulu is also reportedly up for sale. The company has hired Morgan Stanley and Guggenheim Partners to assist with possible deals, and Yahoo is said to have already expressed interest in bidding on the streaming video firm. More →