Apple’s MobileMe service will shut its doors forever on June 30th, 2012, and the Cupertino-based company is encouraging existing users to migrate to its iCloud service instead. To make the transition easier, MobileMe subscribers will be offered 20GB of free iCloud storage until September 30th. Apple plans to also offer MobileMe customers who purchased additional storage 50GB of extra iCloud space until September as well. “MobileMe members with 20GB of purchased storage receive a complimentary iCloud storage upgrade of 20GB, and accounts with additional purchased storage (40GB to 60GB) receive a complimentary upgrade of 50GB after moving to iCloud,” Apple posted on its website. “These free upgrades are good through September 30th, 2012. After that date, you can continue the upgrade at the regular price or let it expire and use the free 5GB plan.” –
Google on Tuesday unveiled its new “Google Drive” cloud storage solution, taking direct aim at Microsoft’s SkyDrive, Dropbox and other similar services. The new offering includes 5GB of free cloud-based storage and allows users to store, collaborate on, and share documents and other files. At the same time as its new Google Drive service was rolling out across the Web, Google also quietly gave Gmail users a capacity boost of more than 35% according to reports. Gmail launched in 2004 with 1GB of free storage and that figure has been increasing steadily to just over 7GB as of earlier this week. On Tuesday, Gmail’s free storage climbed to 10GB according to a report from Engadget. We haven’t seen the storage boost hit our inboxes yet, but a number of users reportedly have. Google has not formally announced the update. More →
Spotify is the darling of tech blogs, but the overwhelming media hype leading up to the service’s U.S. launch has seemingly not carried over to end users. According to a recent report from the New York Post, paid subscriber growth in the U.S. has failed to meet expectations thus far. Spotify launched stateside roughly nine months ago and the service amassed 250,000 paid subscribers in its first three months. According to the Post, Spotify is now home to 3 million users in the U.S., but only 600,000 are paying either $4.99 or $9.99 per month for premium service while the remaining 80% enjoy free basic service. “People aren’t 100 percent happy,” the Post’s source said, noting that Spotify plans to remove the limit of five plays per month on individual songs for free subscribers in an effort to bolster user loyalty.
One of the most popular photography applications ever to hit Apple’s iOS platform is now available for Android. Instagram allows users to capture photos and edit them using a number of filters that give images a unique retro look. Pictures can then be shared with other Instagram users, and also shared on Twitter, Facebook or via email. Filters can be applied to images imported from a handset’s camera roll as well, and the app supports devices running Android 2.2 or later. Instagram announced during the annual South by Southwest conference that its Android app would be better than Instagram for the iPhone in a number of ways, and now Android users can find out exactly how the new build stacks up. Instagram is available immediately for free in the Google Play store. More →
Microsoft on Thursday announced a new round of challenges for its “Smoked By Windows Phone” contest series. If users with non-Windows Phone handsets can perform a variety of tasks faster than a Microsoft Windows Phone, they can win a limited edition Hunger Games PC (HP Folio 13 Special Edition) valued at $1,049.00. Even those who lose the challenge can still win, however, as Microsoft will be handing out unlocked Windows Phones to those willing to trade in their current smartphones. It should be noted, however, that this is a skill-based competition and has nothing to do with benchmarks. “The object of this Contest is for You to come into the Microsoft Store and try to beat the Microsoft Windows Phone in a series of five (5) “Smoked by Windows Phone” challenge scenarios selected by Microsoft at its sole discretion including: (1) Pocket-to-Picture-to-Post, (2) Real-Time Information with Live Tiles, (3) Using the People Hub to Stay in Touch with the People You Care About Most, (4) Updating Your Status Across Multiple Social Networks, and (5) Local Scout (“Challenge”).” The contest runs from March 22nd to March 29th in Microsoft’s 14 U.S. retail locations. More →
Adobe on Thursday released its Photoshop CS6 beta with a new, faster and more modern user interface, re-engineered design tools and content-aware patching. “Photoshop CS6 will be a milestone release that pushes the boundaries of imaging innovation with incredible speed and performance,” said Winston Hendrickson, vice president products, Creative Media Solutions, Adobe. “We couldn’t wait to share this beta of Photoshop CS6 with our customers and are looking forward to hearing from them and seeing the ways they are incorporating the beta into their daily creative workflows.” The download is roughly 1GB and comes with “all the features in Photoshop CS6 and Photoshop CS6 Extended.” PC users are required to have a 2GHz or faster processor with at least 1GB of RAM, while Mac users who have a multicore Intel processor and 1GB of RAM should be fine. The Photoshop CS6 beta is available as a free download from Adobe’s website and the release version is expected to launch in the first half of 2012. Read on for Adobe’s press release. More →
A settlement has been reached in a class-action lawsuit targeting the iPhone 4’s antenna and reception problems, reports CNET. U.S. residents who bought the handset will be offered either $15 or a free bumper case, however the offer is only valid for those individuals who did not take advantage of Apple’s previous offer. The settlement comes from 18 separate lawsuits that were consolidated into one, all claiming that Apple was “misrepresenting and concealing material information in the marketing, advertising, sale, and servicing of its iPhone 4–particularly as it relates to the quality of the mobile phone antenna and reception and related software.” Original buyers will be notified via email before April 30th, or they can visit http://www.iPhone4Settlement.com, although the site is not yet live. After the notifications are sent, the claims period will last for 120 days. More →
Earlier this month, Research in Motion began to offer free BlackBerry PlayBook tablets to any Android developers that repackaged their apps for App World. Due to overwhelming interest, the Monday deadline for registration has been extended to February 15th and all developers will have until March 2nd to submit their apps. As of last Friday, there had been more than 1,500 app submissions and over 6,600 new developers registered in the BlackBerry App World according to RIM. According to a post on its blog late Monday, the company is “working around the clock to approve vendor registrations and app submissions.” More →
Vonage on Wednesday unveiled a new mobile app for the iPhone and Android smartphones that affords free calling and messaging along with cheap international calling rates. Vonage Mobile allows users to make free “high-definition” voice over IP calls among each other over Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G data connections, and low-cost calls can also be placed through the app to any landline or cell phone globally. The New Jersey-based Telco says its international calling rates are 70% lower than rates from major carriers and 30% lower than Skype. “Vonage Mobile consolidates the best features of our prior applications, while adding important functionality, better value and improved ease of use,” Vonage CEO Marc Lefar said in a statement. “It combines the best of free high-def voice and messaging along with incredible value for traditional international calls, all while using the existing mobile number and address book for unsurpassed ease of use.” Vonage’s full press release follows below. More →
At last month’s Consumer Electronics Show, Research in Motion previewed the company’s upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 update, which we exclusively reported would land in mid-February. The anticipated update will give PlayBook users the ability to use Android apps that have been compiled for RIM’s platform, but getting developers on board remains the issue. RIM is taking steps to get the attention of developers, however, and one of the first is to offer free BlackBerry PlayBook tablets to any Android developers that repackages their apps for App World. The promotion was announced by Alec Saunders, the company’s VP of developer relations, with developers having been given until February 13th to submit their applications.
Mozilla on Tuesday released the latest version of its Firefox browser. In addition to allowing users to run full-screen apps, Firefox 10 offers the following enhancements:
- The forward button is now hidden until you navigate back.
- Most add-ons are now compatible with new versions of Firefox by default.
- Anti-Aliasing for WebGL is now implemented.
- CSS3 3D-Transforms are now supported.
Mozilla also made some HTML5 changes and noted two bug fixes. The company said that it has fixed a Java-related crash, which Mac OS X users experienced in earlier versions, as well as a crash related to moving bookmarks. Firefox 10 is available immediately as a free download. More →
Your prayers have been answered if you’ve been looking for a 4G LTE without having to empty out your wallet. Verizon’s first 4G LTE phone, the HTC ThunderBolt, is now free with a two-year contract through January 26th. The ThunnderBolt was first announced last year during the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show and it’s a bit slower than the high-end smartphones on the market today. It offers a 1 GHz Snapdragon chip instead of the dual-core 1.4GHz processor that’s included in top-of-the-line Android devices. However, it’s also equipped with an 8-megapixel camera, a 4.3-inch display with an 800 x 480-pixel resolution and more. With Mobile World Congress right around the corner it’s tough to commit to a two-year contract with a year-old smartphone, but users on a budget might be happy to forgo the bells and whistles in an effort to save a little cash. More →
Nokia’s first Windows Phone-powered smartphone to launch in the United States is already available for free on contract. Nokia and T-Mobile unveiled the Nokia Lumia 710 last month and confirmed that while the handset is certainly not a flagship device, it will play an important role for Nokia as it re-enters the U.S. market. The 710 can’t hold a candle to the Lumia 900 Nokia and AT&T will be launching in March, but at $50, the Lumia 710 is an excellent entry-level smartphone. And at $0 on contract, the price Walmart is currently asking from new customers, the 710 is an unbelievable value. BGR reviewed the Lumia 710 earlier this month and we thought the phone could indeed be a great tool for Nokia and T-Mobile as they tries to convert feature phone users into smartphone customers. More →