Apple picks the Best of App Store for 2012: Angry Birds and WhatsApp lead the way

December 20, 2012 by sameer | Comments Off | Filed in Apps

Apple has a tradition of picking the top apps at the end of each year and with 2012 now quickly coming to an end, it is obviously time for them to tell us which apps topped the charts throughout the year. Apart from the chart topping apps, Apple always picks out a few apps as the ‘Editor’s Choice’ for the year based on the creativity and the ingenuity that they bring to the app store. It is Apple’s unique way of rewarding the resourceful developers who are willing to think out of the box. (Instead of just changing characters and environments and rolling the out cheap versions of popular titles)

The list this year saw some usual suspects along with a few lesser known names. The best seller list was led by none other than the furious feathery friends from Rovio who this time ventured into Outer Space. Angry Birds Space took the top spot followed by WhatsApp Messenger, which quickly is becoming a must have on every iPhone. Camera+ took bronze in the category thanks to the growing number of shutter bugs who fancy their photography skills, while Draw Something was fourth followed by the original Angry Birds in the fifth spot. Once again, a list Rovio would be happy about.

The free iPhone App List (which interests us more as, let’s face it, some of us are cheap) was led by Instagram followed by Facebook and Draw Something Free. YouTube came in fourth while the never ending fun offered by Temple Run earned it the last slot in the top 5. Apple though named Action Movie FX the iPhone App of the Year, while the iPad App of the Year went to Paper by FiftyThree. You can obviously check out the full list in iTunes and download any of the titles that you might have missed out on.

So what is your favorite iPhone App of the Year and iPad App of the Year?

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Houzz finally launches Android App after staggering success on iOS

December 20, 2012 by sameer | No Comments | Filed in Apps, Productivity

It has been a long time coming, but if you are an ardent follower of interior design or would love to browse through endless array of photos that portray beautiful homes, stunning décor and amazing furnishings from designers across the globe (and let’s face it, who wouldn’t!), then having Houzz come over on to the Android platform is something you have been anxiously waiting. The wait is now over with the company bringing its acclaimed app for Android users and it is available on Google Play for download.

The app has been highly successful in the iOS arena with Apple users already downloading it over 5 million times and its usage increasing by 400 percent in the last year or so. The platform offered by Houzz really does provide designers reach clients in a more direct fashion and consumers and designer enthusiasts can now not only share their own creations and home images, but can also contact interior designers and architects after seeing their work online. The interface sports over 500 million images and has acquired a perfect 5-star rating on Apple’s App Store.

Houzz says that 40 percent of its users already access the site from both iPhone and iPad devices and that percentage is expected to grow in the next few years. Considering the fact that there will be over 8 billion handheld devices by 2013, catering to the needs of the mobile platform is indeed a smart choice and Houzz is most likely to find similar success on the Android platform considering its vast resource base.

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Google Android App Helps Track Santa This Christmas Season

December 20, 2012 by sanjo | No Comments | Filed in Entertainment, X

Want to know the exact position of Santa when he starts his ride? It’s simple! Just download the app called ‘Google Santa Tracker’ from Google Play to your smartphone and you can easily track Santa’s movement this Christmas.

Every year, Google makes holidays more fun and exciting through its apps and games, so that families get to have a new adventure every winter season.

This app mainly attracts kids and parents who wish to know the exact location of Santa when he starts his trip around the world.

The app is free and works on your Android smartphones and tablets. So download the app before December 24, as that’s when Santa will start his trip around the world.

You can inform your toddlers that the app shows where Santa will be delivering the gifts next. Mind you, the app will show only the houses of good boys and girls! Once his journey begins, the apps will show his sleigh that will deliver the presents and the next destination.

That is not all guys, you can also see the number of presents Santa has delivered so far and the number of days that Santa will chose to stay in the city.

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Top Android Fitness App Noom acquires $2.6 million to perfect its product for iOS Platform!

December 19, 2012 by sameer | No Comments | Filed in Apps, Health

It is not often that app developers launch apps for the Android platform before iOS and there is good logic behind this latest convention. The iOS App Store is sleeker and the chances of making a substantial profit seem to be far greater than in the case of the Android platform. Once success, money and fame come in the iOS arena, App makers are encouraged to then move on to the Android mobile market. But in case of Noom, the top grossing fitness app on Android that seems to be the other way around and those behind the app say that it is because of the incredible respect they have for iOS.

Noom makers say that because they know how rich the Apple App Store is and the quality that is expected out of the top iOS Apps, they wish to only launch one when they are assured of its impeccable quality. Of course, that may not be a raving advertisement for the Android App arena, but it does make perfect business sense. Those who will try out Noom when it is launched on iOS will expect something really ‘special’ and its developers are trying hard to ensure that the app lives up to the hype that will precede it.

In an effort to get this done, Noom has just acquired $2.6 million funding from UK firm m8 Capital and Sangbeom Kim, co-founder of Korean game maker Nexon. There will be additional funding that should flow in at later time from the likes of Qualcomm Ventures and Harbor Pacific Capital, which will not just help in the iOS app development, but will also aid in its future ventures that going beyond app development.

Noom has been pretty popular on the Android platform and has grossed substantial amount for the makers thanks to its $9.99 premium version and its app will reportedly hit iOS in the first quarter of 2013.

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Google Maps App Launch sees iOS6 Adoption surge by a whopping 29 percent in a week

December 19, 2012 by sameer | No Comments | Filed in Apps, Productivity

If Apple wondered about how bad its own version of the Maps on iOS6 was, then this little news nugget should put any such lingering doubts to rest. It was pretty bad and that was to a point where a substantial number of users simply refused to update and switch over to the new iOS6 simply because they did not wish to lose the services of Google Maps. That though would have been a claim easy to refute for Apple before the launch of Google Maps App for iOS6. But post  the Apps launch, it not only immediately hit the top slot in the apps tore charts, but also ensured that the iOS6 adoption rate surged by as much as nearly 30 percent within the span of a week!

Data from trusted sources and the latest reports suggest that there was a clear 29 percent increase in the adoption of iOS6 post the 12th of this month and that can be no coincidence as it is the day Apple approved the Google Maps App and allowed it into the App Store. While this might be bad advertising for Apple Maps, it necessarily is not a bad thing for Apple itself. The new surge means more users are on the same platform and hence there is a better chance of development and improvements as well.

It is also good news for developers as it pretty much decreases fragmentation and more people might be now willing to buy the iPhone 5 without any qualms as it comes preloaded with the iOS6. The end users will surely not be complaining and this once again simply shows two very basic aspects of product and app advertising. One is that quality sells and two, the best way to spread the word is in a traditional fashion- from person to person.

While stats show that people waited for the weekend for the lengthy OS update, it is clear that Apple needs to throw all its weight behind a top notch Maps App if it wishes to do away with Google Maps in the future.

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WhatsApp Windows Phone 8 version is On

December 19, 2012 by sanjo | No Comments | Filed in Apps

We guess you probably have heard of WhatsApp. This popular messaging app which is available for various mobile platforms like Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, BlackBerry and Symbian based devices has appreciable number of followers all around the globe. Sadly WhatsApp missed the Windows Phone 8 platform on its launch, and was pretty disappointing for the owners bearing mobile devices running on that OS.

Now, what we heard from Nokia is that they have joined hands with WhatsApp and patched up with a version optimized for the WP8 and is now ready for download. You can use the app free for the first twelve months and then it will charge you $0.99 per year.

It seems like the version will work on other WP8 devices like HTC 8X.

While contacted the WhatsApp about any version developing for the upcoming BlackBerry 10 OS, they said they don’t have any plans right now and a “sorry”.

Installing WhatsApp on your mobile will let you message your friends with its push notification feature. The app also supports images, audio files, videos messages, notes and exchange messages. According to the developers, the new version of this app would perform six times faster than its previous version.

What do you say people, a valuable addition to Windows Phone 8 ecosystem?

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Yog iPhone App Lets You Jog With Any One in the World

December 19, 2012 by sanjo | No Comments | Filed in Entertainment

Jogging, for sure, has great health benefits. Getting your day started with a running habit will definitely fill you with charisma for the entire day. Although mobile devices have tended to reduce our physical efforts, the app world has filled in with lots of exercise apps for our fat burning process. Latest on the menu is Yog for the iPhone.

Yog’s idea is to bring all joggers around the world to get a social jogging experience. It that’s some of us hate to run alone, while some others prefer a lonely walk. Whatever is you wish, Yog will help you out with its wit.

So how do things work on Yog?  First of all it’s free; you can download it via iTunes. Once you have done that, you will become a Yogger and will be added to the in-app contact list. After that, get started with either scheduling a run or by entering the “Run now” option.

Scheduling will let you set the date, distance and time for your digital run. You can invite your friends around the world to take part in your run via SMS or social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Tapping Run Now will let you to participate in many of races conducted by other Yoggers at that particular time. When a race starts, the app will track the Yoggers running details with iPhone’s GPS system and will display the results in real time.

The app also gives you audio notifications while on the run. Since the results are real time you can keep up with the pace for a fair competition.

If you are looking for some practice before taking part in a run you can switch on the Practice Runs option. In that mode, you can track your distance and time data of your jog. For now, the app is limited to trace data on 20 runners per route. May be we can see further updates that would expand the functionality.

So who’s with us for a walk?

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Camera+ iOS App Update Adds High Image Quality Option

December 18, 2012 by sanjo | No Comments | Filed in Entertainment

Photography apps are like adding an extra lens to your mobile device. In this context we like to talk about developer tap tap tap’s Camera+ for the iOS platform as it got its latest update on its image quality option.

The version 3.7 update has beefed up its picture quality setting with a new “High” option, thus making the previously known “Full” option to “Normal”. Snapping in High setting will of course make some big sized image files, but if you are looking to obtain pixel perfection you have to compromise for some storage space.

The update has also scaled up the front flash feature that is best suited for portrait and macro clicks and added some improvements on image importing feature which they say “better handling with atypical image formats”. The update works on both the iPad and iPhone versions.

If you are still using in-built camera app on your iOS device, we truly recommend Camera+. Its way better with the image output coupled with dozens of finely tuned capturing features and a pretty good editing suit.

Simple touch-based adjust functionality on focus and exposure settings, LED flash control and 6 x digital zoom capability  are some of the notable highlights of Camera+.

A bunch of scene modes on the app will help you capture your favorite shots in varied situations. We often find modes like Night, Beach, Sunset, and Portrait very useful in certain moments.

On the Editing side, the app packs tons of visual effects, cropping and broader options.    Finally the sharing option let to take your memorable pics to your friends via Facebook, Flickr and Twitter. Pick Camera+ for $0.99 at iTunes.

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Call Conferences on Android and iOS Easily Done with UberConference

December 18, 2012 by sanjo | No Comments | Filed in Communication

Amid our webbed up life, mobile devices are becoming more and more indispensable and these portable machines have begun getting into sectors unheard of. A majority of us rely on smartphones as a solution for our basic needs. For business people, their devices have an integral role in dealing with their busy work schedules, and most importantly these sections of people are the one who makes conference calls more often.

Web world has provided us with lots of conference calling windows, and with them some of the applications have alleviated the hassles of the traditional conferencing with heavily streamlined functionality.

UberConference is one such entity. This web-based application is the brainchild of Craig Walker, the CEO of Firespotter Labs. He is a veteran in Voice over IP sphere and is also the founder of GrandCentral which later came to be as the Google Voice.

Reaching out into the mobile space, UberConference has launched Android and iOS version preserving most of the features that we saw in the web application. App initiation is very simple, tap and select your desired ones from the contact list to invite to the conference and click start, that’s it!

The app will deal with the rest of formalities. It will automatically call the contacts from your selection. The dashboard of the app put many in-call functions like we can mute a caller, hangup if we want or even block during the call session.

The interface will give the whole list of persons in the conference and we can grab their detailed information as the app has the linking feature with social network sites like Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn.

Above all this, you can record the call and stop at anytime you want and even more, the app will send you an email attached with the summary of the call.  The free app is live on iTunes and Google Play.

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Find Best Deals with Shopular for Android and iOS

December 17, 2012 by sanjo | No Comments | Filed in Shopping

Dealing with deals, especially during the holiday is season, is a bit hectic. Even though we do our home work on making a list of our favorite brands, deals and right choice of stores/malls, we often end up realizing the fact that we have missed out on a lot of offers , and even more frustrating after we have left some coupons back home.

Now that we know there is an app for everything, the app world  has brought up couponing apps as an ultimate solution for our shopping needs.

Some of the apps in this category work on geofencing technology for alerting users while they reach at particular vicinity of the store. Others like Shopkick have their own technology that syncs with sensors on the shop to get them noticed on the discounts and offers.

Shopular is one such app, but a bit more advanced in grabbing deals to us. Former Shopkick engineers Navneet Loiwal and Tommy Tsai build up the idea of Shopular.

Liowal says that we are missing out tons of our savings in shopping, so with their app we don’t even need to bother even switching on the app every time when we go to our stores.

Unlike other apps Shopular runs on background based on GPS, WiFi and cellular sensors to pop up the deals and coupons. All you need to do is to show your digital coupon to the billing section to claim it.

For getting more personalized sorting on deals the app utilizes Facebook Connect to get your likes and you can also setting your interest for more customized result. What the app does is that it crawls through brands’ websites, Facebook pages and email offers to get the news on deals.

For now, the app only supports 1000 malls across the country, with coupons from over 100 well known brand outlets.

Take it for free on iTunes and Google Play.


AroundMe iOS Update Adds An Extra Hand to Travelers

December 17, 2012 by sanjo | No Comments | Filed in Apps, Entertainment

Navigational and location-based search apps weren’t too much till 2008. In fact, until Marco Pifferi and five others came up with AroundMe app at that time, we haven’t had much of an option when it came to local establishment search apps for mobile devices. Also, it was some time after the release of AroundMe that Google brought up Places app with a similar idea.

A couple of months ago, they surpassed 6 million unique visitors and more than 1 million download per month for the app.  That’s something they can brag about.

If you are wondering what AroundMe is all about and it’s surrounding fuzz? We would like you to download to your Android or iOS device because, first of all it’s free and most importantly its user friendly.

If you are having wanderlust or simply got out of town to some new places, the app will definitely be your side kick. Based on your current location, you can find your desired point of interest through this app. Whether its hotels, ATMs, gas stations, shopping centers, pharmacies, and like, you will get the location, address and contact number for the specific spot.

It’s not like Yelp or Foursquare where you can get more extensive and additional information like review, closing and open time, ratings, user locators , online bookings and similar stuff, AroundMe is only gives you substantial guide with necessary information.

The app’s database is linked with you navigation app, Places or Apple Maps to feed you with the location display.

The interface is neat and native and with every update they are getting it to a more robust form. Some of the notable updates include improved hotel details, gas station price details, restaurant reservation and lot more. Also they added support for Navigon, TomTom, Motion X Drive and Waze navigation software.

The latest update added hotel booking for the iPad version and now has iOS 6 and iPhone 5 screen compatibility.  Free version will have ads, well that’s how they earn their money.

But if find that bothering enough, it won’t be anyway, you can jump to the ad-free version for $ 2.99.

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