AT&T on Monday unveiled a new end-to-end suite of home automation and home security services ahead of the annual CTIA Wireless convention in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dubbed AT&T Digital Life, the carrier’s new offering is an IP-based solution that includes home security and automation features, professional installation and monitoring services, and software for PCs, tablets or smartphones that allows users to monitor and control system features remotely from anywhere in the world. “AT&T Digital Life will change the way people live, work and play — and meets a clear need in the market,” AT&T SVP of Digital Life said in a statement. “The service is smart, simple and customer centric– freeing homeowners to do the things they want to do without compromising on the things they need to do to care for family and home.” AT&T will begin trialing its new Digital Life service in Atlanta, Georgia and Dallas, Texas this summer. Digital Life subscribers will not be required to subscribe to AT&T’s wireless services. The carrier’s full press release follows below. More →
During the annual Consumer Electronics Show in January 2009, a struggling smartphone company that had once helped shape the mobile industry unveiled its next-generation platform. It was gorgeous. The design was unique and appealing, the gesture-based controls were smart and intuitive, and the company’s new smartphone operating system offered a breath of fresh air in an industry dominated by just two major players, Apple and Google.
On August 18th, 2011, less than three years after this promising new platform was unveiled, it was effectively laid to rest.
Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference is scheduled to take place in San Francisco from June 11th to June 15th. Tickets for the event sold out in less than two hours, leaving many West Coast developers in the dark, and the Cupertino-based company is enforcing restrictions this year that prevent tickets from being transferred. For developers who aren’t interested in legally changing their name to get past Apple’s restrictions, there is an alternative — Indie Developer Labs. “Indie Developer Labs is an open area where developers are provided with space to work, free Wi-Fi, and an open environment to connect with other developers. Our mission is to help foster the collaborative spirit of the Apple developer community,” the organizers said, adding that a hackathon event is being planned as well. The event is being organized by Kyle Kinkade, Craig Fox and Nate True, who are looking to “help the developer community have a place to collaborate during WWDC.” IDL will take place from June 12th to June 15th in San Francisco, just blocks away from where Apple’s event will be held at the Moscone Center. More →
A new study from Parks Associates found that two-thirds of U.S. consumers are unwilling to spend more than $50 per month on mobile data plans, while almost half of smartphone users were unsure how much data they consumed each month. The report highlights the risks carriers face as they try to shift consumers from unlimited data plans to usage-based ones. “Moving mobile users to usage-based plans will be difficult and painful, but changes are necessary for operators to maintain revenues,” said Harry Wang, Director of Mobile Research at Parks Associates. “Operators would benefit by recasting mobile data services as experience-driven in order to reduce price sensitivity, fend off competition, and keep their mobile data revenue engine humming.” The firm believes that in order for carriers to maximize their revenues, they should tie in their offerings to popular apps and services, including TV, music, books, newspapers, games, location-based services, and social activities, rather than charging consumers per megabyte. Read on for Parks Associates’s press release. More →
Microsoft on Tuesday announced on its Windows Phone Blog two changes regarding its Windows Phone Marketplace that will “help pave the way for new store features and new apps in the months ahead.” The Redmond-based company will be removing the option to shop for Windows Phone apps from the Zune Desktop software and will now require handsets to be running Windows Phone 7.5 to buy and download new apps, or update existing ones. The Zune Music Marketplace will remain open, and the software will be used to back up music and photos, and to install updates on the Zune HD. More →
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 →
While Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform may not be as big as Apple and Google’s offerings, it is still possible for app developers to find success on the emerging operating system. A year ago, FourBros Studio launched a free game called Taptitude on the Windows Phone Marketplace. The game, as of today, has earned the company over $100,000 in revenue and boasts more than 300,000 users, Business Insider reported on Thursday. Interestingly enough, the company’s revenue has spiked since the launch of Nokia’s Windows Phones. FourBros Studio uses Microsoft’s pubCenter, along with a service called AdDuplex, to sell advertisements on Taptitude, which is now making roughly $1,000 a day and averaging over 1 million daily impressions. The success of FourBros Studio could encourage more developers to join the Windows Phone platform, which has struggled to gain market share since launching more than a year ago. More →
Google co-founder Sergey Brin said during an interview published on Sunday that Apple and Facebook pose serious threats to Internet freedom because of their closed approaches to software. While speaking with The Guardian, Brin said there are “very powerful forces that have lined up against the open Internet on all sides and around the world. I am more worried than I have been in the past. It’s scary.” The executive pointed to the “walled-garden” philosophy that sees companies like Apple and Facebook maintain tight control over third-party software on their respective platforms as the cause for his concerns. Read on for more. More →
The security of the Android mobile platform has always been a topic of debate. Due to Google’s open ecosystem and less invasive app policing policies, researchers argue that the Google Play marketplace is home to numerous malicious apps. Reports have surfaced over the past few years that claimed even applications from legitimate companies — such as Facebook, Skype and Path — were exploiting Android permissions and secretly accessing data. Paul Brodeur of Leviathan Security had a simple question: what data can an app access when it has no permissions? What he found may be shocking. More →
Facebook’s $1 billion acquisition of Instagram has had a great impact on the photo-sharing app’s popularity. Despite public outcry with some users looking to delete their accounts, Instagram continues to add users by the millions. The media coverage has benefited the company greatly and on Tuesday evening, Instagram became the N0. 1 free app in Apple’s App Store for the first time ever. The company recently revealed that it had surpassed 30 million users on the iPhone, and combined with the success of the Android version and Facebook’s user base, it won’t be long until the photo-sharing app surpasses 50 million users and beyond. More →
Amazon on Tuesday announced a new mechanism that will facilitate in-app purchases within mobile applications available for download in the Amazon Appstore. Much like the services currently offered in iOS apps by Apple, in BlackBerry apps by RIM and in Android apps by Google, Amazon’s new system will allow developers to sell additional content, level packs, new features and more from within their apps. “Amazon Appstore’s In-App Purchasing service enables developers to generate more revenue from their apps,” Amazon Appstore director Aaron Rubenson said in a statement. “In-App Purchasing is simple to integrate and gives developers access to millions of Amazon customers who are already familiar with Amazon’s 1-Click payment system. Many of Amazon Appstore’s customers have shopped with Amazon before and they trust Amazon’s easy payment process, which leads to higher conversion of developers’ in-app content and subscriptions.” Amazon’s press release follows below, along with a video detailing the new service. More →
Adding yet another positive note to Instagram’s biggest week ever — Facebook on Monday announced that it will acquire Instagram for $1 billion — the company’s new Android application has been downloaded more than 5 million times after less than one week of availability. Instagram launched for Android-powered devices on April 3rd, and it took less than one day for the highly anticipated app to reach the one million download mark. As of Monday, April 9th, the application had been downloaded from the Google Play marketplace more than 5 million times, The Next Web reported. Instagram allows users to capture photos or import them from a smartphone’s camera roll, and then apply retro effects before sharing them with their contacts. Facebook expects its acquisition of Instagram to close later this year. More →
Despite reinforcements arriving this year from Nokia, Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform will only account for 2% of all mobile application downloads in 2012, a recent report suggests. Market research firm ABI Research recently released a new study stating that nearly 36 billion apps will be downloaded to smartphones and tablets this year, and an overwhelming 83% of those downloads will be served to either Android or iOS-powered devices. “Although Windows Phone lags behind RIM’s BlackBerry and even Nokia’s Symbian, we shouldn’t ignore the fact that the two percent that we forecast for 2012 would be twice the share the platform achieved last year,” ABI analyst Lim Shiyang said in a statement. “Microsoft is gaining momentum, but its starting point is frustratingly low.” Devices like Nokia’s new Lumia 900, which BGR reviewed on Tuesday, are expected to improve Microsoft’s position in the smartphone market while the firm works on its next major OS release, Windows Phone 8. ABI Research’s press release follows below.