Automobile makers have been making it easy for drivers to talk in phones, and receive text messages and do various other smartphone related activities through various apps. They have been trying to make driving much simpler and easier.
As it is not the best decision to Google the nearest gas station while you drive or compose an email, Ford has commissioned ideas from app makers to help make driving much more easier as well as safe.
If you want to choose your favourite tune, then you just need to simply say the song’s title or turn your vehicle into a smartphone Wi-fi hotspot or simply change the radio channel without moving your hand from the driving wheel.
At the international Consumer Electronics Show held in Vegas, General Motors and Ford launched a new program that opens their design to app developers. They have officially invited them to create software applications for future car models.
The program helps automakers from constant innovation by tying the functionality of their cars’ internal systems to advances in smartphones. For example if you want to hear a song in your car, saying “Bruno Mars” to your Ford car won’t get you what u asked for but typing it on your smartphone will do the trick.
There are still plans to improve the car’s ability to respond to voice commands that cover a wider range of search terms and speech. AppLink 2.0 is expected to be released by September this year.
One of the ways in which most of us often make a choice about buying an app or giving it a miss is the user reviews and comments that come with it in the respective app stores. Seems like Google has understood this simple consumer choice and is now allowing, android developers to reply to comments, reviews, questions and suggestions that are posted on Google Play by the many android users. Of course, this feature was already available developers with the ‘top developer’ badge since June of last year, but now it seems like it is being opened up for more and more developers on a daily basis.
While Google has made no official announcement that says it is a feature now available to absolutely all app developers on the android platform, it seems like mere matter of time before that happens as more developers are now able to respond to user comments in the past few days, despite not being one of the ‘top developers’. Google though has said that they are indeed opening up the feature to additional Google Play developers and this might also be another way for the company to quickly expand its Google + base.
Google has done away with anonymous comments on Google Play by ensuring that users can now post comments and reviews only using Google+ accounts. With the latest developments, it hopes the interactivity between users and developers will ensure that quality of the apps in Google Play is genuinely improved and user concerns addressed, so that both developers and users benefit simultaneously. Of course, a higher quality of apps in its apps tire would help the android OS as well.
All the brands these days are starting to accept and adapt the wearable activity tracker, which has become a trend these days. First Nike took on the product, and then Jawbon and now we have Fitbit trying their luck with the product.
The company has designed the Fitbit Flex to track your daily activity as well as to pair up with the Fitbit smartphone app. Fitbit flex is the coach you need to get you into shape as it helps you keep a check on your weight and health.
A little more exercise in your daily routine wouldn’t hurt and this little wearable tracker device helps you get started early as it is a constant reminder of your health condition. The wristband was shown at the CES 2013 and we had an up-close and personal encounter with the device.
It sports a colourful pedometer, which is able to monitor the distance you walk daily, as well as your sleeping period. On a final note, we can say that it is a very useful device in your life considering that it tracks steps, distance, calories, and how many minutes you’ve been active.
It is also equipped with a silent alarm to wake you early and equip you for the day. The user can set daily goals in the device that he or she wishes to complete and as you progress towards your daily tasks, the device flashes an LED light.
It is also water resistant so there is no need to think twice before jumping into a swimming pool. The device is awaiting the spring sale for just 99$.
If you are a fitness fanatic, then getting yourself motivated for a workout session is something that might not appear like a big deal. But ask all those hundreds and thousands of people who each year take a New Year resolution to get fitter and stronger and then only waste away their gym memberships and you will realize that motivation is the single biggest problem. Well, if you are having such problems, then Fitocracy, an iOS app that has already over 750,000 registered is a wonderful solution as it merges real-life workout sessions with a social network and video-gaming environment to keep you motivated to get back to your fitness regime.
The app designed by Brian Wang and Dick Talens is now available for android users as well and uses the highly addictive format of online games and social network to design an interactive platform where points and badges are awarded for workouts well done and a ranking system is in place to ensure that you are spurred on in a competitive atmosphere.
The idea is similar to the many highly successful online games like Call of Duty, where virtual achievements are rewarded and hence users have a sense of achievement and satisfaction. In case of Fitocracy, it is the real achievements that are rewarded and you get a healthy makeover as well.
The app obviously encourages people to share images and its makers have been careful to ensure no hateful or overly critical comments fly around by the use of moderators as well. The new android version of the app can be downloaded from Google Play right now and while some of the features like leader boards and group challenges are currently missing, they could very well be on their way very soon.
Tying shoelaces is an easy thing to do but now thanks to shoe hickeys you won’t have to take the time out of your life to do that. Everyone knows how to tie their shoelaces but if you have the habit of waking up late in the morning and becoming late for work or school regularly, then this new invention could save you a split second and might be able to save you from the routine.
The HICKIES Elastic Lacing System helps you forget the trouble and bore of tying a shoe as these bands are made of a “special blend of elastic copolymers that stretch to accommodate any shoe of any size.
And they have taken comfort as their number one priority so that you won’t have to worry about a tight shoe.
Not only do you get a set of 14 HICKIES of your selected colour, you get two in a “surprise” colour, so you can choose your favourite colour, which matches your shoe. This is not only useful but also a fashion accessory; you can even say they turn your shoes into slip ons.
You can purchase them for just $19.99 from Brookstone and choose wisely between the different variety of 16 colors that they offer you.
If you do so, you will also receive a free app for Android and Apple users that gives you a preview on the shoes and their matching Hickeys.
There was an announcement made by JVC at the CES convention, which says that they have decided to expand app and smartphone compatibility for 2013 head units. That’s right guys, they have promised that the company is going to introduce the new arsenal high-end line up with smartphone connectivity and that brings to the table advanced multimedia features.
So we are sure to see compatible applications as the year moves forward and JVC promises to release more Android compatible apps too in the future.
Though now the company is concentrating on kicking off the year with the MotionX GPS-Drive, which promises to deliver functions like live speed limit updates, navigation tools, maps and turn by turn commands.
The Android compatible apps are expected to offer the JVC Smart Music Control and users will also be able to utilize 12 gestures and voice commands to tweak EQ settings. Now you need not look at your smartphone to control the head unit.
JVC ensures a more pleasurable driving experience as they have also incorporated an eye pleasing function called 5-Zone Variable Color. You can now manipulate through 30,000 different colors with variable brightness in each of five separate zones to create different light effects.
That is sure to make your car’s interior much more brighter and you can also customize them to your taste and moods. When you receive a call the zone suddenly changes to Green, and Red if you are to reject the call.
Additionally, the volume level knob also changes color from Blue to Red as the volume is increased. Altogether a vibrant color fest inside your car!
Scottish government is so concerned about the growing problem of alcoholism among women in the country that it has decided to launch a specific android app that will try and ensure that they put down a glass or two and cut on the alcohol intake. The new ‘Drinking Mirror’ app has been designed by the Scottish authorities as a part of their campaign to ensure that women in the country reduce alcohol intake considerably as the government feels “Scotland has an unhealthy relationship with alcohol”.
Those concerns though seem to be backed by solid statistics as the number of alcohol-related deaths among women aged between 30 and 44 has doubled in the last 20 years, while the chronic liver disease and cirrhosis death rate has gone up three times in the same year according to official government figures. The app tries to dissuade drinking by asking one upload their current image and then alters it according the data you enter regarding your weekly alcohol intake. The higher your intake figures are, the more garish the output image is!
The idea is not really bad and while some might shout out about how it typecasts women, there is a certain degree of truth to the fact that women obviously would be more worried about poor looks down the line when compared to the typical guy who probably would not care much for the same. Having said that, there is nothing stopping the guys from using it and no matter where you live in the world, you can still give it a shot to see if it convinces you to give up on that extra glass of booze. Drinking mirror is available for download on Google Play.
It is one thing to find pirated apps on some of the less well-known sites on the net and a whole different proposition when they make their way into legitimate app stores of various mobile platforms. While Android and Apple may not have much of a problem with this for now, the guys over at the BlackBerry App World might have to stay a bit more alert to ensure this that does not happen more frequently in the coming days. The concern comes after a developer found 10 of his apps on Google Play being simply repackaged and sold as official BlackBerry PlayBook and BlackBerry 10 apps in the App World.
App developers though are not too surprised with the phenomenon and say that this was an expected event as the new BlackBerry OS was designed to largely support Android apps and that they can be easily repackaged for the BlackBerry App World using simple online tools. This obviously gives new headaches to the folk at RIM and while they would like to kick-start the release of Blackberry 10 smartphone with as many apps as possible, the prospect of pirated apps in the official app store does not make for good PR at all.
RIM have stated that they would look into the specific complaint and would take necessary swift action, but this leaves the BlackBerry App World with a possibility of seeing a ton of apps that might be stolen copies in the months to come. For now, the only way to avoid these ‘stolen and repackaged’ apps might be for original developers to keep an eye on their apps and maybe offer an alternate to BlackBerry users themselves.
Basis, the makers of a new health tracking watch, first unveiled its product in 2012 last year. During the launch, the band looked promising although the company hadn’t launched the mobile app for the device.
But yesterday at CES, Basis moved a step forward and gave a short indication of its app for Android devices. About the product, this band and dashboard allows its users to monitor their health such as skin temperature, heart rate, motion, calories burned and even their sleep patterns.
The watchband is also equipped with an LCD display to show the date and time. The device supports Bluetooth and is loaded with sensors.
To measure the sleep patterns of its users, the watchband includes a 3-axis accelerometer and an optical scanner to track blood flow and heart rate. The equipment uploads all the collected information into the cloud so that the users can view them later.
The Android app for the watchband includes automatic syncing that allows the users to sync data from the band to the dashboard. The dashboard is always up to date, and above all, the users can view their health habits from their mobile phones.
According to Basis, the app will be available by the end of March 2013. The company is also planning for an iOS version of the app and it is believed to reach this summer.
Back in October last year when Microsoft launched its new Operating System Windows 8, we first saw the Dropbox app. But now this app is available via the Windows Store and runs on windows 8 or Windows RT devices.
Dropbox for Windows 8 brings the ability to sync Windows 8 devices to the cloud. It also enables to browse and preview all files on Dropbox along with the option to open, edit and save Dropbox files from other Windows 8 apps.
The app comes with Metro-style UI and Share Charm. The Share Charm lets users to share and search files, folders and photos across their Dropbox files by using the name or extension of the file.
You can share the file via e-mail or a social networking sites. Dropbox is a popular file-sharing service that has currently over 100 million users until November 2012.
This file sharing service is available on almost all mobile and desktop platforms such as Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, BlackBerry and Android. The Dropbox for Windows 8 is a pretty good move from Microsoft, but in our opinion, the app still needs a few modifications to make it appealing.
Each year, when the annual Consumer Electronics Show kicks off you can pretty much rest assured that there will be some sort of headline-grabbing news from Apple as well. There is absolutely no coincidence in that and it seems Apple has once again made it a point to make its presence felt around the same time CES 2013 is in full swing. Apple has always stayed away from CES, but it is sharing the spotlight with the event as the company has announced that the Apple App Store has crossed the 40 billion mark when it comes to the total number of downloads.
That obviously is news that should surprise people very little as it was only a matter of time before the numbers added up. The success of the iPhone 5, the new iPad and even the iPad Mini along with holiday season frenzy has allowed Apple to reach the 40 billion landmark by the first week of 2013. Having said that, the important thing to note is how the App Store came in with figures of 20 billion app downloads in 2012 alone, which means half of all the App Store downloads happened last year alone!
This number is expected to grow exponentially in the next few years as well and considering there were 5 billion app downloads between October 2012 and January 2013; one should not be surprised if Apple get more or less close to the 100 billion mark sometime next year. While that looks like a long shot for now, factoring in the growth rate, the increasing number of Apple devices and predictions by research firms like Flurry Analytics that say there will be over 2 billion downloads each week on iOS and Android platforms combined, that seems like a pretty possible landmark.
Currently the App Sore has 775,000 apps available for download with over 500 million active accounts and last month alone Apple saw the download of over 2 billion apps thanks to holiday shopping and Christmas festivities. Things are looking more upbeat than usual for sure!