Archive for December, 2010

Skyfire Web Browser for iPad Debuts

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Skyfire Web Browser, the wildly popular app that allows iPhone users to view Flash video content on the web, has arrived for the iPad. The California start-up that developed the app promised an iPad version last month, describing that the app was a work in progress via the company’s official Twitter account.

Skyfire for the iPhone and iPod touch hit the App Store in early November and became so popular at its relase that the use of the app overloaded the company’s servers, prompting the company to temporarily withdraw it from the App Store. We got our hands on the app before it was removed from the App Store and reviewed it. Skyfire eventually returned to the App Store in batches as the company beefed up its capacity.

Skyfire for the iPad sports some interface tweaks to make it easier to use on the device’s larger screen. Most notably, there is a toolbar across the bottom with 8 buttons that offer easy access to several functions, including some enhanced social networking features with Facebook as well as Google Reader integration.

While the iPhone version of Skyfire works on the iPad, it of course lacks the interface that takes advantage of the device’s larger screen. While we’re a bit disappointed to see Skyfire for the iPad arrive as a separate app instead of a universal version, we can understand how the company would want to capitalize on an opportunity to sell another product to the growing iPad user base. It was reported that Skyfire earned about $1 million in its first weekend in the App Store and the company arguably stands to keep raking in more cash with its new iPad version.

Skyfire for the iPad costs $4.99 while the version for the iPhone and iPod touch holds steady at $2.99.

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Apple’s ‘Remote’ App Gets Airplay Support, More

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Apple has just released an update to its free Remote app, adding AirPlay support, the ability to control internet radio playback, and more. The last major update to Remote came in late September when the app became universal for use on both the iPad and iPhone and gained the ability to control the most recent Apple TV device.

The complete list of what’s new in version 2.1 of Remote is as follows:

  • AirPlay video support to control iTunes on your computer to stream videos to an Apple TV
  • Internet radio control to play thousands of internet radio streams in iTunes on your computer
  • The ability to control iTunes on your computer to play Movies and TV shows that are rented from the iTunes Store
  • Addresses issues connecting to an iTunes library or Apple TV
  • Includes stability and performance improvements

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Camera+ Now Back in App Store

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Camera+ by tap tap tap is back in the App Store now following a 4-month hiatus after the developer revealed a hidden feature that was previously rejected by Apple.

In August, Apple had rejected a version of Camera+ that included VolumeSnap, a feature that allowed the use of the iPhone’s volume buttons to trigger the camera’s shutter. tap tap tap had re-submitted the app without the feature but then made public a way to enable VolumneSnap by entering a special URL in mobile Safari, prompting Apple to remove it from the App Store for violating its developer guidelines.

It was just yesterday that tap tap tap had mentioned in its blog that Camera+ would be returning to the App Store and the app made its second debut there yesterday evening. Over 50 changes have been made in version 2.0. Most notably, the interface has been redesigned to make it easier to use from the start and multiple new effects, scene modes and borders have been added. It’s also possible to purchase effects packs within the app.

Camera+ is one of our favorite camera apps for the iPhone and while we miss the VolumeSnap feature, the number of new features in the latest version more than makes up for that. If it included a video capture mode, it would completely replace the stock Camera app on our iPhones.

Camera+ is currently on sale for $.99 down from its regular price of $1.99, so now is the time to buy it if you’re into taking photos with your iPhone even a little.

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AT&T Releases Facetime-Capable Video Relay Service App for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

AT&T, the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in the U.S., today announced the release of a free app that makes use of the iPhone 4’s Facetime feature for deaf and hard-of-hearing users. AT&T Video Link for iPhone 4 allows users to communicate with sign language using Facetime which is then converted to spoken language for the person called by a certified sign language interpreter.

AT&T describes how to use the app as follows:

The AT&T VRS app is simple and easy to use. Users launch the app, log-in, and then can either choose to place a VRS call by selecting someone from their contact list or by manually dialing a number. The app contacts an AT&T ASL interpreter who then initiates a FaceTime video call with the user. The interpreter will connect the ASL user to the hearing person they are calling, and relays the conversation between the two parties through ASL.

While this service from AT&T is not new (AT&T has offered this video relay service for several years now), it is new to the iPhone. Since it uses Apple’s Facetime technology, it can be used only when an iPhone 4 is connected to a Wi-Fi network. Since AT&T offers free Wi-Fi access at all of its public hotspots (AT&T’s public hotspot locator tool is here) to iPhone users, the new app offers good access to this service for deaf and hard-of-hearing customers with an iPhone 4.

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‘Verizon FIOS Mobile’ for iPad Released

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Verizon, the New York-based telecommunications and broadband giant, announced today that it has released an iPad app for its FIOS customers that offers remote DVR management and more. Verizon FIOS Mobile is free and hit the App Store early this morning. It complements Verizon’s existing DVR Manager and Mobile Remote apps for the iPhone and iPod touch.

With the app, FIOS customers can program DVRs remotely as well as control playback and change channels. Verizon also promises an upcoming “photo flicking” feature that will allow users to flick photos from the iPad to a TV for display.

Verizon lists the following requirements to use the new iPad app:

  • A Verizon FiOS-provided router
  • A My Verizon User ID and Password
  • At least one Set-Top Box for Guide Data, Video on Demand Browsing and What’s Hot viewing
  • A DVR for Remote DVR Functionality and Video on Demand Bookmarking
  • An HD Set-Top Box for Remote Control functionality

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Gameloft Games On Sale for $.99 through December 22

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Not to be outdone by EA and its current massive $.99 sale, Gameloft has dropped the price of several its titles through December 22. As listed in the company’s blog, several titles for the iPhone and iPad are down to $.99 from prices as high as $6.99. We appreciate that developers want to spread holiday cheer like this and will definitely be taking advantage of this sale ourselves. Since these prices are only valid for a short time, you should get to it if any of these apps have been on your Wish List.

For the iPhone and iPod touch, these Gameloft games are on sale:

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For the iPad, the following titles are on sale:

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‘Textie’ for iPad Now Available

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Textie is now available as a universal app with an interface specific to the iPad. Textie is a free messaging app developed by Borange, the app development company co-founded by Loren Brichter of Tweetie fame. Borange had teased this upcoming release earlier this month via its Twitter account and the update just hit the App Store a few moments ago.

The full list of what’s new in Textie 1.1 is as follows:

  • Run Textie on multiple devices
  • See who else has Textie in the new Social Networking settings
  • Customize notification text preview and formatting
  • Customize bubble colors and font sizes
  • Preview photo attachments before sending
  • Start FaceTime calls when phone is not available
  • Take advantage of iOS 4.2 multitasking and background sending capabilities
  • Enjoy many other small fix-ups and refinements

Textie is our favorite iPhone-to-iPhone messaging app that helps us avoid text messaging overage fees with AT&T. As on the iPhone, Textie provides a clean and straightforward interface. You can use Textie on both an iPhone and iPad at the same time under the same account and send and read and respond to received messages on either device. Textie is free and contains ads, which can be removed with a $1.99 in-app purchase.

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Camera+ to Return to App Store

Monday, December 20th, 2010

In a blog post announcing the release of an update to its Voices app, developer tap tap tap also announced that its popular Camera+ app will be returning to the App Store. Camera+, a camera app with multiple filters, effects, and sharing features, disappeared from the App Store in August due to what appeared to be a violation of Apple’s developer guidelines.

The company added the following note to a blog post today:

Camera+ news

On a side note, for those of you who’ve been clamoring to hear some news on the ultimate photo app, Camera+, we’ve got some great stuff for you… our newest version is now finished and in review in the App Store, so it should be available anytime now.

What’s new in it? Well, we’ll save that as a surprise for you, but it’s our biggest update yet. I promise that you won’t be the least bit disappointed with it, so get ready for it…

The last version of the app had included a hidden feature called VolumeSnap that allowed users to modify the app’s settings to use the iPhone’s volume buttons to trigger the camera’s shutter. Users could enter a URL in mobile Safari that would modify the app’s settings to enable this feature, which had caused Apple to reject a previous version of the app since it used the volume buttons in a “non-standard way.” tap tap tap had apparently revealed the workaround in a tweet which was subsequently deleted.

We’re glad to learn that Camera+ will be returning to the App Store and look forward to the new features teased, though we’ll be disappointed to see VolumeSnap disappear since it’s pretty much out of the question that Apple will allow it at this point. We’ll be sure to let you know when Camera+ is back in the App Store.

‘fringOut’ Low-Cost International Calls Now Available

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Fring, a free communications service available for a number of different mobile platforms that brought 2-way video calling to the iPhone 4 earlier this year, announced that its low-cost international calling feature announced in September is now available. Through fringOut, international calls starts at $.01 per minute or even lower with special holiday rates currently in effect. An update to the company’s iPhone app to version hit the App Store yesterday and is required to use the new fringOut feature.

In the latest version of the app, users can purchase credits to use the fringOut service. Within the app, users will be brought to fring’s site where packages of $10 or $20 of credit can be purchased via PayPal, credit card, or cashU. Calling rates for fringOut can be found here.

Because of the recent weather-related travel issues in Europe, fring is offering a free $5 fringOut credit to users stranded at affected airports. Taking advantage of this offer requires a valid ticket at one of the specified affected airports and a Twitter account. Full details are available on fring’s blog.

For AT&T customers in the U.S. fringOut is definitely a compelling alternative given AT&T’s international calling rates that start around $.15 per minute (mobile to mobile) for most European countries and go up to more than $4.00 per minute for other countries under the company’s WorldConnect add-on plan that costs $3.99 per month.

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‘Tango Video Calls’ Now Compatible with Latest iPod touch

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Tango Video Calls, the free video calling app that makes use of the iPhone 4’s front-facing camera that hit the App Store in September, was updated this week to add compatibility with the most recent iPod touch model. The app has also received a minor interface make-over and some additional improvements.

The full list of changes and new features in version 1.4.5248 is as follows:

  • Just in time for the holidays, we’ve included support for the fourth-generation iPod touch! Use your email to register with Tango
  • New look and feel for Tango Contact list that takes advantage of retina display for iPhone 4 and iPod touch
  • Simplified registration process
  • Audio quality and connectivity have improved
  • Improved notification system if there is a problem with your account
  • You will see more of your friends on Tango, including those who used email to register
  • Tango now works on Wi-Fi networks with firewalls

Despite its limited device compatibility to date (prior to this update, Tango only worked on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS), the app has been a regular in the Top 200 Free Social Networking apps and has earned an overall rating of 3.5 stars.

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