Archive for December, 2010

Flipboard Gets Google Reader, Flickr Integration, More

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Flipboard, the social magazine app that debuted in July, has received a major update this week adding Google Reader integration, the ability to browse Flickr and more. Flipboard is a free app created by a start-up company founded by entrepreneur Mike McCue and Evan Doll, a former Apple iPhone engineer, and was recently named iPad App of the Year by Apple in its 2010 iTunes Rewind feature.

The full list of the new features and changes in version 1.1 is as follows:

★ Be informed. Sync with Google Reader to read your feeds, folders and friends’ shared items. Star, share and comment on stories.

★ Be amazed. Browse all Flickr has to offer, including photostream, favorites, groups, your contacts’ photos and interesting photos of the day .

★ Be fulfilled. Read full content right away with more beautiful layout. Flip through gorgeous Flipboard Pages from Washington Post, Bon Appetit and more.

★ Be social. Flip through your Facebook groups, fan pages, and photos from your feed. Browse your tweets, Twitter favorites, @mentions and lists.

★ Be expressive. Post photos, status updates and even Flipboard pages across Twitter, Facebook and Google Reader.

★ Be faster. Switch between sections faster using our instant section selector. Enjoy faster performance throughout your Flipboard.

The company has posted a new video highlighting the app’s new features:

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‘Word Lens’ Translates Text Viewed Through iPhone Camera on the Fly

Friday, December 17th, 2010

While there are several apps in the App Store that can translate spoken or written text into the language of your choice (we most recently reviewed Trippo VoiceMagix that does speech-to-speech language translation), there’s a new app by developer Quest Visual that will translate text seen through the iPhone’s camera lens on the fly. Word Lens hit the App Store yesterday and has been the topic of much conversation on the internet already.

The Word Lens app itself is free though actual language translation functions require an in-app purchase. For now, only translations between English and Spanish are possible though more languages are coming soon. These in-app purchases currently cost $4.99 each, a temporary reduction of 50% off the regular price which will last until December 31, 2010.

You can get a feel for how the app works without purchasing anything first. The app will demonstrate its capabilities by reversing words or erasing words framed by the iPhone’s camera. You can also enter text using the on-screen keyboard in a manual translation function.

Quest Visual has created a video demonstrating the app’s language translation capabilities:

We briefly tested the app’s Spanish to English translation with our iPhone 4 and found that it does work as shown in the video above, though it can be hard to hold the camera still enough to read translations since the translated text can continually shift around otherwise.

You’ll need an iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, or 4th-generation iPod touch to use Word Lens. An auto-focusing lens and a flash will help the app’s functionality under certain conditions, so an iPhone 4 will be your best bet to use the app to its fullest. Say good-bye to undecipherable menus and signs while traveling abroad!

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Sony Announces Official PlayStation App for iPhone in Selected European Countries

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Sony, the consumer electronics giant, has announced that it will be releasing an official PlayStation app for the iPhone and Android operating systems. For the iPhone, the app will be compatible with iOS 4 and above only and offer the following features:

  • Check out your PlayStation Network trophies and keep up to date with your friends’ games and online status.
  • Discover all the latest games, news and hardware for your PlayStation 3, PSP and PlayStation 2.
  • Read all the announcements on the European PlayStation.Blog.
  • Share your favourite products or news with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or via e-mail.

The app will be free and in its first iteration it will only be available in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and The Netherlands. Sony has not indicated when the app will be available in the U.S.

Massive $.99 Sale on EA Games

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

As our sister site TouchArcade has pointed out, Electronic Arts has a massive sale going on in celebration of the holiday season with prices down to just $.99 for most of its games. EA hasn’t been stingy here, dropping the price of several its iPad games as well, which are usually priced higher than their iPhone/iPod touch-only counterparts.

We’re listng the games with the biggest price drops but head on over to TouchArcade to see the complete list:

Down from $6.99 and higher to $.99 for the iPad:

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Down from $4.99 and higher to $.99 for the iPhone and iPod touch:

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For a full list of all EA’s apps in the App Store, click here.

Microsoft’s ‘Bing’ App Gets Facebook Integration, Streetside Feature, More

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Microsoft has updated its Bing search app to include several new features, including the ability to check in to Facebook and Foursquare within the app and the addition of Streetside, a virtual map feature similar to Google’s own Street View. Version 2.0 of the free app hit the App Store yesterday.

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

  • Quickly find the perfect restaurant based on your price range, cuisine, atmosphere, or location.
  • Easily find great movies by name, location, or theater.
  • Use the Plans feature to plan a night out, a dinner and a movie, or any event you want. See what plans your Facebook friends like and read their comments.
  • More transit directions to help you plan your commute. Real-time transit updates for Boston, San Francisco and Seattle (more cities to come), show you if a bus is on time, early, or delayed, with predictions for arrival times. Standard transit routes for 11 cities including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New Jersey, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC, and Vancouver BC, with more to come.
  • Familiarize yourself with a location before you go, using Bing Streetside. Streetside, a new mapping feature, gives you a multi-street level panorama of a location so you can take a virtual walk through the streets with a view of a location and its landmarks. Slide the street level imagery sideways, and the view of the sidewalk is seamlessly constructed, including an overlay of business listings, street names and store fronts.
  • Use reminders to get a notification when you’re nearby a business or location where you have an errand. Add a reminder and you’ll stop forgetting to pick up the dry cleaning.
  • Check in to Facebook, Foursquare, and Windows Live Messenger, without leaving Bing.
  • Improved homepage layout and design for easier navigation and discoverability.

Bing faces a lot of competition in the mobile search field in the App Store from Google, Yahoo, Yellow Pages, and even augmented reality search apps like Layar and Junaio. Despite this competition, Bing remains a regular in the Top 200 Free Reference apps.

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Mac App Store to Open on January 6, 2011

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Apple announced today that the Mac App Store will open on January 6, 2011. First announced at Apple’s media event in October, the Mac App Store will operate much like the iOS App Store on the iPad, offering app descriptions, user reviews, and one-click downloads. At launch, the Mac App Store will be available in 90 countries and will offer both free and paid apps in a number of categories.

Developers were invited in November to start submitting apps to be included in the Mac App Store. Like the iOS App Store, developers will yield 30% of all sales to Apple and keep the remaining 70%. Apple has provided guidelines to developers as well, stipulating that the Mac App Store will not accept beta or trial versions of apps. Additionally, promo codes will not be available for the Mac App Store for developers to distribute at their discretion.

When released, the Mac App Store will be a free download for Macs running Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6).

Navigon Update Adds iPad Compatibility and Zagat Guides

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Navigon, the maker of personal navigation devices and apps for multiple smartphone platforms, has released a major update to its line of iOS navigation apps adding iPad compatibility and access to the famous Zagat (U.S.) and Michelin (Europe) guides via in-app purchase. Version 1.7.0 of Navigon MobilenNavigator for the various regions covered hit the App Store this morning in conjunction with sale pricing for several areas.

The complete list of changes and updates in version 1.7.0 is as follows:

☞ Active Lane Assistant

Provides a realistic display of the actual course of the road including curves in a dynamic travelling animation. It not only shows you in good time which lane you need to change to, but also when.

☞ Additional Travel and Restaurant guides (available through In App Purchase)

If getting from A to B is not enough for you a variety of additional guides will assist you in choosing the best restaurants, hotels and travel destinations.

☞ Universal app for iPhone and iPad

Use NAVIGON MobileNavigator iPhone in an optimised version for your iPad.

☞ Sharing stored Favourites between iOS devices

Do you use NAVIGON MobileNavigator on more than one Apple device? Then you can simply transfer saved Favourites from one device to the other, quickly and easily, via email.

☞ MyReport

Have you come across a change in traffic, such as a new roundabout? MyReport allows you to report changes in the road network simply and directly, by making an entry in your iPhone or iPad. Once they’ve been thoroughly checked by experts, your reports will be incorporated into one of our latest map releases.

Navigon notes in its press release that the update to 1.7.0 is already available for its MyRegion apps covering the U.S. and that the update is coming soon for the USA and North America versions.

In the U.S., the in-app purchase of the Zagat guide currently costs $5.99, on sale from its regular price of $7.99. Additionally, MobileNavigator North America is on sale for $44.99, down from $59.99 while MobileNavigator USA and MobileNavigator Canada are both on sale for $34.99 each, down from $49.99. The MyRegion apps (East, Central, and West) are on sale for $24.99 each, down from $29.99.

MobileNavigator apps covering other regions are also on sale with the release of 1.7.0 – see a full list of all Navigon apps here. Navigon’s apps will be on sale until January 6, 2011.

While Navigon isn’t the first to bring turn-by-turn navigation to the iPad (CoPilot Live HD by ALK Technologies debuted in the App Store in May), it is the first major navigation app developer to provide universal versions of its apps, upping the value to those who own both an iPhone and an iPad. Navigon is clearly working to stay at the top of the heap in the Navigation category of iOS apps with this latest update.

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‘iBooks’ Updated to Display Illustrated Books, Organize and Print PDFs

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Apple has just released an update to iBooks to add new features augmenting the app’s abilities to display illustrated books and organize and print PDF files. iBooks is an ebook reading app and the portal to Apple’s own ebookstore that debuted with the release of the iPad in the U.S. earlier this year.

The list of changes and new features in version 1.2 is as follows:

  • Experience fully illustrated books, from children’s picture books to beautifully designed art books, available for download in the iBookstore.
  • Organize your books and PDFs into personal Collections. Swipe left or right to jump between Collections.
  • Print PDF documents and notes you’ve written in iBooks using AirPrint.
  • iBooks now fits more words per page by automatically hyphenating text, available only on iOS 4.2 or later.

Airprint, a new feature that debuted with iOS 4.2, allows users to print directly from an iOS device to a compatible printer. The list of compatible printers, all made by HP, is fairly limited at this time.

iBooks gained the ability to play audio and video in ebooks in its last major update in July and this update expands the app’s ability to work with ebooks that contain more than just text.

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Apple Releases ’12 Days of Christmas’ App [Updated]

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

To celebrate the holiday season, Apple has released an app that will offer a free song, video, or app from the iTunes store on each day between December 26 and January 6, 2011. The 12 Days of Christmas is a free universal app that is currently available in the U.K. App Store as we write this post.

The free download offered each day will be available only for 24 hours. The app’s brief description encourages users to enable push notifications to be automatically notified of the free download on each day:

The 12 Days of Christmas app will allow you to download a free gift from iTunes every day from 26 December – 6 January direct from your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.

Like the music, TV, iBooks, apps and films you receive? The app also offers recommendations of other content that you might like.

Download this free app now and be sure to turn on Push Notifications when prompted. You’ll receive an alert every day when your new gift is available.

UPDATE: This app was available last year in Europe only and it’s likely that it may again be restricted to European countries this time around. We no longer expect it to make an appearance in the U.S. App Store.

Google Voice App Updated to Support iPad and iPod touch

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

The official Google Voice app, which debuted in the App Store last month after a protracted approval period that purportedly began in the summer of 2009, has been updated to add support for the iPad and iPod touch. The update adds the ability to initiate calls and make use of the service’s free text messaging to these devices that lack native phone capabilities.

The complete list of changes in version is as follows:

  • Support for iPod Touch
  • iPod Touch and iPhone can now make calls using Click2Call
  • Do Not Disturb setting
  • Text forwarding is automatically disabled when registering for Push notifications
  • Added Text forwarding setting to the app
  • Easier to make calls from the phone Address Book
  • Removed annoying OK dialog every time you send an SMS
  • Fixed crashes caused by text messages that begin with a space character
  • Fixed bug that caused the entire Inbox to load
  • Fixed bug that caused Contact pictures to get mixed up
  • Improved access to Contact groups
  • Improved speed of Contact search

Note first that you need a Google Voice account to use the app – accounts are free and can be requested here (Google Voice is currently only available in the U.S. only). If you’re not familiar with Google Voice, Google provides a number of overview videos on a special Features page. In short, Google Voice is a free service that provides users with a phone number, advanced call management features, voicemail transcription, and free text messaging. Contrary to what those unfamiliar with the service might think, it is not a VoIP service.

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