A group of developers in Russia recently launched the “HackStore,” a centralized location for third-party OS X applications. Like Cydia on iOS, the HackStore is a software hub that allows developers to distribute applications without having to endure Apple’s approval process. The developers behind the project claim that piracy will not be tolerated in their app store, though it is unclear exactly what measures they are taking to prevent pirated software from being distributed through the HackStore. “The biggest Mac Appstore problem is that they limit their users in everything, without giving an opportunity to expand these limits,” HackStore’s creators wrote on their website. “This is not correct, because ONLY users should decide which applications they should install and which one do not. We think HackStore [will] break through the narrow confines of Mac Appstore.” More →
Research In Motion will be removing the ability to sideload applications on the BlackBerry PlayBook in a future software update, RIM’s VP of developer relations Alex Saunders said. After the update, PlayBook owners will only be able to download and install applications through BlackBerry App World. Saunders said the reason was to prevent piracy, claiming that more than 25% of Android apps are downloaded illegally. “Piracy is a huge problem for Android devs, and we don’t want to duplicate the chaotic cesspool of Android market,” he said. The VP went on to say that while RIM is removing sideloading for consumers, he is “pretty sure we’ve got a solution for devs” to be able to install and test their applications. Earlier this year, RIM announced its BlackBerry App World was home to more than 60,000 applications, and while the number is a mere fraction of what’s available in the Google Play marketplace and Apple’s App Store, BlackBerry apps are downloaded about 40% more frequently each day than their Android counterparts according to RIM. More →
Facebook on Wednesday evening announced new applications that can be used to populate users’ Facebook Timelines with new information. The initial launch apps include Foodspotting, Foodily, Ticketmaster, Pinterest,Rotten Tomatoes, Pose, Kobo, Gogobot, TripAdvisor and several others. “If you’re a traveler, you can add the Gogobot and TripAdvisor apps to bring a virtual passport to your timeline, and show your friends where you’ve been and share tips about your favorite spots from around the world,” Facebook product manager Carl Sjogreen explained in a blog post. Thankfully, Facebook has added an option that allows users to choose exactly who can see the updates from each application, which means Timelines shouldn’t be too flooded with updates about what an old friend from highschool has been cooking for dinner all week. Sjogreen also said more applications for additional interests will be added over time. More →
Microsoft recently revealed a number of details on its Windows 8 Windows Store, an application storefront that will launch in February in tandem with Windows 8 Beta. Microsoft corporate vice president Antoine Leblond explained that developers will receive 80% of all revenues from applications sold after earning $25,000 in revenue, before which developers will receive a 70% cut. Apple, by contrast, offers developers 70% of app revenues. Microsoft is also taking a different approach to subscription models. The Daily Telegraph, for example, will offer a subscription option to its daily newspaper but will use its own existing authentication system to allow its users to log-in. Apple and Google typically force developers to use proprietary subscription systems. Read on for more. More →
Research In Motion announced on Monday that it will soon offer BlackBerry users 12 free “premium” applications through December 31, 2011 as an apology for its recent BlackBerry service outage. In addition, the company said it will provide its enterprise customers with one month of free technical support. “Our global network supports the communications needs of more than 70 million customers,” RIM Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis said in a statement. “We truly appreciate and value our relationship with our customers. We’ve worked hard to earn their trust over the past 12 years, and we’re committed to providing the high standard of reliability they expect, today and in the future. We are taking immediate and aggressive steps to help prevent something like this from happening again.” The free applications include SIMS 3, Bejeweled, N.O.V.A, Texas Hold’em Poker 2, Bubble Bash 2, Photo Editor Ultimate, DriveSafe.ly Pro, iSpeech Translator Pro, Drive Safe.ly Enterprise, Nobex Radio Premium, Shazam Encore and Vlingo Plus: Virtual Assistant. Read on for the full press release from RIM. More →
Nokia recently announced that its Ovi Store has served a record 7.62 million downloads in a single day. The figure is a large jump from the 3 million daily downloads Nokia said the Ovi Store was serving in October of last year. The phone maker attributed its app store’s popularity to the decision to remove a registration and login requirement from the shop. In addition, Nokia said downloads more than tripled in India, the top country in terms of overall download volume. To put the Ovi Store figures in perspective, earlier this month Apple announced that its iTunes App Store had served a total 15 billion downloads. By Business Insider’s math, that’s about of 13 million downloads per day. 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.
Microsoft’s Windows Phone Marketplace is now home to more than 25,000 applications, according to the app tracking website WindowsPhoneAppList. That’s a rapid jump from the 18,000 applications that were available in May but it’s still a far cry from the competing app stores offered by Apple and Google. The Android Marketplace is populated with more than 200,000 applications, and Apple said in May that its iTunes App Store boasts more than 500,000 apps. The top-5 paid apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace are all games. Angry Birds is the most popular download, followed by Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1, Plants vs. Zombies, Doodle Jump, and Pac Man Championship Edition DX. Microsoft has yet to officially announce having reached the milestone. More →
The iTunes App Store is now home to more than 100,000 iPad applications. According to MacStories, Apple and its developers set a record by hitting that milestone just 453 days after the iPad made its debut on April 13th of last year. That’s approximately four months after Apple hit the the 75,000 iPad app mark in March, too. The most popular paid iPad Apps of last year included Pages, GoodReader for iPad, Numbers, Angry Birds HD, Keynote, and more. That list isn’t very different today. At the time this article went to press, Video Time Machine, Angry Birds Seasons HD, Pages, Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, and Angry Birds HD were at the top of the paid apps list. More →
We now spend more time using mobile apps than on the Internet, according to a new research report from Flurry. The firm, which pulls its data from more than 85,000 applications, noted that in June 2011 the average person spent 81 minutes using mobile applications each day and just 74 minutes surfing the web. That’s up from December, when the firm found that users spent more time surfing the web (70 minutes) than using mobile apps (66 minutes). More surprisingly, it’s a 91% jump from last year when users spent just under 43 minutes using mobile apps, versus 64 minutes spent surfing the web. Flurry also found that mobile users spend 47% of their time playing games, 32% of their time browsing social networks, 9% reading the news, and 7% using other “entertainment” apps. Finally, the company said that 14 of the 74 minutes spent per day by consumers on the Internet is spent browsing Facebook. More →
The original Google TV products were met by lukewarm reviews at best, and according to Geek.com, the search giant is hard at work on its new Google TV 2.0 product. Developers have been joining Google’s new “Fishtank” program to get early access to tools that will allow them to create compelling new content for Google’s next attempt at entering our living rooms. Google TV 2.0 runs a barebones version of Android 3.1 (Honeycomb) and there are reportedly only 50 developers partaking in the initial Fishtank program. Fishtank includes an Intel CE4100 reference platform with a beta version of Google TV 2.0 preloaded, and a wireless keyboard. Intel’s Sodaville SoC, part of the CE4100 reference platform, also includes support for 3D gaming and Flash. Geek.com noticed a new “dual-view” feature that allows users to watch TV and use the OS at the same time; and the user interface has the same glowing-blue Tron-like effects as the tablet version of Honeycomb. Developers are said to be up in arms over the “Live TV” application on Google TV 2.0 — many want to interact with the TV interface directly, but Google isn’t allowing that just yet. Will it be enough for Google to tackle Apple TV? We’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, another shot of the box and a couple of UI images can be seen after the break. More →
Facebook is set to launch its own iPhone photo-sharing service that will compete with the likes of Instagram and Path. Tech Crunch has obtained 50MB worth of data about Facebook’s project, including documents and actual images of the work in progress. The service is being called “WithPeople” or “Hovertown” internally, and it’s possible that it will be launched as a built-in feature to Facebook’s existing iPhone app or as a separate application entirely. Judging from the leaked image, we definitely see a resemblance to Path, particularly with the layout of the image previews. It certainly looks like a faster and more interactive way to view your friend’s Facebook photos though, so we’re excited to hear more about this project. More →
Apple introduced iOS 5 and its new widget system just last week during WWDC, and a day later it was jailbroken. Now, Cydia developers have taken iOS 5 a step further by providing new third-party applications that allow users to tweak the Notification Center with new widgets. iOS 5 currently only offers widgets for viewing the weather or a stock ticker, but one app — UISettings — will allow users to quickly toggle their network and phone controls, too. Similarly, a widget called MusicCenter is being developed that enables users to view the current audio track they’re listening to. We can’t wait to see what other developers have in store. Hit the jump for an image of UISettings. More →