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Verizon considers opening another Android app store, this time with help

Posted by wicked August - 20 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off


Despite shuttering its previous attempt at providing an app store for Android and Blackberry users, Verizon appears to be eyeing the possibility of opening a new one to challenge Google’s dominance for Android users. This time though, sources indicate Verizon is talking with other players and carriers in an effort to put together an “industry coalition.” With Android installed on over a billion devices around the world and the operating system continuing to grow in dominating the market, it should be no surprise that a company wants to get in on the action of selling apps to users.

It is difficult to assess how Verizon thinks they would be able to entice buyers away from the Google Play store. The report indicates they plan to include “specific features of wireless-carrier networks” that would aid developers trying to get apps out to market. They also indicate their platform would offer “consumers new ways of discovering the mobile software they might want.”

Although the Google Play store is probably the biggest source of apps for Android users, other options do exist. Notably, Amazon operates their own app store for their devices although it can be accessed by any Android user. Likewise, major smartphone manufacturers like to create their own app stores for owners of their devices.

Do you think Verizon could lead a successful effort to create an alternative to Google Play for Android app buyers?

source: The Information

Come comment on this article: Verizon considers opening another Android app store, this time with help

In the wireless industry, apps are still a pretty big deal. I wouldn’t necessarily say that the app ecosystem is young, but you get the feeling that we are only scratching the surface when it comes to potential, not only for the types of tasks they accomplish, but also the amount of money they can make everyone involved. According to a report out of The Information, Verizon wants in (again) because it isn’t exactly thrilled that Google and Apple control the app industry by themselves. In other words, Big Red wants another revenue stream. 

This new report claims that Verizon is talking to industry friends about creating a “coalition” that would eventually launch a global online store for mobile applications. The goal here is to create an app store that would “balance the ecosystem” and hopefully, make them all lots of money outside of Google and Apple. According to this report, Apple currently takes home 30% of App Store profits, with 70% going to developers. Google, on the other hand, gives developers 70% and now takes home 15%, before distributing the rest of the pie to carriers and manufacturers. The Information states that Google used to give carriers 15%, but recently dropped them to 5%.

By creating their own app storefront, carriers could in theory allow developers to use their network technologies to potentially come up with new use cases for apps. They could also create new ways for developers’ apps to be discovered, like through incredibly intrusive measures involving your location, what your friends are downloading, and what time of day it is. Now, there are apps that already do this type of thing, but the idea that a carrier could do this whenever they like is a bit scary to me. Carrier billing could be another selling point. Finally, someone involved in the idea mentioned that “There are unique capabilities of the networks that aren’t being utilized,” that could be used through this coalition’s app store.

If you aren’t seeing any reason there for developers or you and I to jump on board with this new app store, I wouldn’t be shocked. Carriers, including Verizon, have tried a handful of times to create their own app stores. None of us care. We consider it bloatware and typically disable it.

On a related note, when I hear “Verizon” and “coalition” in the same sentence, the first thing that comes to mind is the failure that is Isis Mobile Wallet. Everyone remember the mobile wallet application that Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T were creating to take over mobile payments? You probably have it installed on your phone, yet you have probably never used it. The app failed to launch in a timely manner out of testing, but even since hasn’t given many a reason to switch over to it. Also, the name is now being associated with a militant group, so the company has tried to rebrand. Google Wallet is the mobile payment application of choice for most, even after the carriers in that coalition tried for years to block it, without actually “blocking” it.

Verizon has already failed at least once with their own app store, yet for some reason, I am not at all surprised by their need to get back into the game.

Update:  Verizon has denied that it is working on another app store.

Update 2:  Shortly after Verizon denied that they plan to launch a new app store, The Information came back to say that they stand by their report and have even heard from additional sources with knowledge of the plans.

Via:  The Information (subscription)

Report: Verizon to Create Wireless Coalition Who Aims to Take on Google Play, Apple App Store (Updated) is a post from: Droid Life

Tom Hanks launches typewriter passion project for iPad

Posted by Tom August - 19 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

Hollywood star Tom Hanks loves typewriters. He can’t get enough of the click-clacky manual machines. Not one to be outdone in the digital age, Hanks has launched Hanx Writer – a writing tool app for iPad that replicates classic typewriter tones and layouts.

The app shot to number one in the App Store and is available for free but offers in-app purchases for additional features and themes.

Hanks wrote about his love of typewriters in the New York Times last summer and thanks to the App Store, we can all share his passion.

Via pocket-lint

Nokia Store Android app unofficially available for sideloading

Posted by wicked February - 28 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

Those rooting for Nokia’s new Android romance might be happy to know that they can now install the Nokia Store app on their devices. While it doesn’t really let you install Nokia-specific apps, it could signal the start of Nokia‘s apps getting ported to other devices, whether they like it or not.

Love it or not, and some manufacturers probably don’t, one of the things the Android community is skilled at is getting brand-specific features or apps available to other devices, at least when technically possible. It does sort of level out the playing field a bit, but in some cases the apps don’t fully work on other devices anyway.

Such is somewhat the case with Nokia’s own Android store app. Since Nokia’s shiny new Nokia X and XL Android smartphones aren’t Google-certified, the Finnish company had to make do with providing users with an alternative app marketplace, not an unusual practice among some device vendors. In any case, the Nokia Store app has now been ported, unofficially of course, to other devices and curious users can test out the Android app economy from Nokia’s eyes.

Of course, not everything in the Nokia Store catalog will be working. The absence of Google Mobile Services will definitely leave out some apps that make use of Google’s API. But Nokia has also introduced its own framework and APIs on the Nokia X line, so apps that make use of those won’t work either. Hopefully we’ll see further efforts in making those, as well as some Nokia apps, available in the future as well.


Nokia tries to attract developers with claim that 75% of Android apps already compatible

Posted by wicked February - 25 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off


When Nokia announced their new Android-based smartphones yesterday at MWC 2014, they revealed that they had in fact forked Android for their devices. Immediately the company started fielding questions about how users could get existing apps onto their new devices if they decided to go the Nokia route. While sideloading apks is a possibility, Nokia is hoping developers will submit their apps to Nokia’s proprietary app store. To help move that process along, they are encouraging developers to submit their apps for inclusion and they are indicating that 75% of apps should be compatible with no modifications.

Nokia is making their SDK and porting tools available, which they claim will handle the chores related to “retouch”-ing apps to make them compatible. They also indicate that apps needing access to Google Services will be redirected to Nokia/Microsoft replacements. According to Nokia, apps that need some additional work should take no more than 8 hours to be modified and ready to go on the new devices. Nokia is even offering a tool that will test an app for compatibility with their new devices which is available on-line at

Do you think Nokia will be able to succeed with a forked version of Android and their own app store? Let us know in the comments while you are keeping an eye on TalkAndroid for more MWC 2014 news.

source: GSM Arena

Come comment on this article: Nokia tries to attract developers with claim that 75% of Android apps already compatible

Pebble releases beta version of app store for Android users

Posted by wicked February - 4 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off


Earlier today Pebble released an app store for their smartwatches for users mating them with iOS devices. Not wanting to leave out Android users, Pebble’s developers have released a beta version of the Pebble Android mobile app that includes code for the app store for the first time on the Android platform. The app is intended for developers, so access to the app store even on a beta basis means having to register as a developer. You will also have to know how to sideload apk files to get it installed.

As a beta release, Pebble’s development team is aware of problems. The good news is the beta works, along with the app store component, albeit it runs slow. Users do have to contend with Pebble’s limitation of 8 apps installed at any one time as well. Hopefully Pebble will be able to attract enough testers to provide some solid feedback so the app can move out of beta and to an official release for all users in a short period of time.

source: @PebbleDev

Come comment on this article: Pebble releases beta version of app store for Android users

Pebble Appstore for Android released for beta testing

Posted by wicked February - 4 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

As promised, smartwatch maker Pebble launched its new appstore but, rather unfortunately, only for iOS. The Android version is, of course, still coming but for now the developers are releasing a beta version as an appetizer and tester of things to come.

The app’s interface should be familiar with any user of any app marketplace today. You have several sections devoted to apps as well as watchfaces and notifications. There is even a special Daily section that calls attention to daily deals and updates that might prove interesting for users. In terms of app categories, you have, of course, fitness apps, tools, remote controls, and even games that you can conveniently play on the smartwatch’s small screen.

Given that this is just a beta version, there are a few caveats that the Pebble development team wants everyone to know. First is that the pairing process from within the Pebble appstore isn’t working, requiring users to use the long route of manually pairing via the phone’s Bluetooth settings. It is also currently impossible to configure an app or watchface while it is running, so users will first have to exit the app before clicking on settings. And lastly, Javascript apps cannot be configured, no matter how many times you tap on the Settings icon for them.

The Pebble Android appstore beta 8 is available for anyone to download and install. Users and developers are, of course, encouraged to report bugs as much as they can in order to hasten the process of releasing a final stable version of the app.

SOURCE: Pebble


Amazon now allows Developers to charge for HTML5 web apps

Posted by wicked January - 28 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

As HTML5 fast becomes the standard for more things than just websites, monetization becomes a point of interest. With Google’s important move to bring HTML5 apps in the Play Store,  the move away from a web-only existence for HTML5 is rounding into shape. While HTML5 isn’t the silver bullet, it does provide a good avenue for development, and Amazon is making their App Store an attractive avenue for Developers to potentially strike gold.

Amazon has now made it possible for Developers to set pricing for their HTML5 web apps in the App Store. While this sounds a lot like the Google news from earlier, it’s really a touch different. The Google news had to do with repackaging HTML5 web apps for use on Andorid and iOS, essentially bringing them to mobile. With Amazon, they’re taking web apps and monetizing them, much like Google allows with the Chrome Web Store.

In the spirit of clarity, we’ll keep in mind that Amazon also doesn’t have two app stores. Their singular App Store hosted both Android apps for Kindle devices as well as web apps. The web apps were automatically set to be free, but now Amazon is letting Developers set a price. The upside for Developers is big, but could lead to confusion for consumers.

Web apps can be a murky field to navigate, as some really are robust apps while others are little more than dressed-down web pages. Games and productivity apps will likely do well via the App Store for Amazon as HTML5, with others perhaps cheapening the effect. Amazon, in their announcement, heavily promote the “Free App of the Day” as being open to HTML5 Developers, now that they can charge.

It’s an odd situation, really. By offering to promote the apps as free for a day, Amazon is gently asking that Developers start charging. Amazon, of course, gets a piece of all app sales. It’s not sneaky or devious by any means, but is actually a slick monetization strategy for both Amazon and Developers. Luckily, Amazon is typically good with refunds, so if you should find yourself having paid for an app that was just a mobile version of a website or something, they’d likely do the right thing.

Pebble Steel smartwatch shipments begin today

Posted by wicked January - 28 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

Pebble was doing a bit of teasing before CES. They were showing the Pebble appstore back in December, and then mentioned they had “something special” to announce during CES. That something special turned out to be the Pebble Steel, and as of today — the second-generation Pebble is shipping.

The Pebble Steel is priced at $249.99 and is being sold alongside the original Pebble. The original model remains priced at $150 and available in a variety of colors to include black, grey, white, orange and red. Pebble Steel isn’t available with as many color options, but those considering a purchase will be able to pick from Black Matte or Brushed Stainless.

Pebble Steel is described as being made from “premium watch components.” That basically means the watch is milled stainless steel and sporting Corning Gorilla Glass to protect the display. Similar to the original model Pebble, the Pebble Steel battery life is rated between 5-7 days. The watch is also waterproof to 5ATM, which is to say you can wear it while swimming, in the rain, or while showering.

This second-generation Pebble is actually a bit smaller than the original. Measurements for the Pebble Steel come in at 46 x 34 x 10.5mm, while the original measures in at 52 x 36 x 11.5mm. Not surprising given the material used, the Pebble Steel is a bit heavier at 1.97 or 3.49 ounces depending on the watchband you choose.

That brings another point for the Pebble Steel — it ships with two watch bands, one metal and one leather. The leather is the 1.97 and the steel is 3.49 ounces. In comparison, the original Pebble weighs in at 1.34 ounces. Otherwise, the Pebble Steel will be compatible with all current Pebble apps, and will also have support for both Android and iOS devices.

That all having been said, the folks at Pebble have said the Pebble Steel is currently available in limited quantities. Aside from news teasing of the Pebble Steel shipping from today, there is also some further news on the Pebble appstore and four partner apps. The appstore is said to be “coming very, very soon.” With that, make sure to check the video included in this post for a bit of hands-on time with the Pebble Steel as well as those four partner apps.

Google Play Movies & TV no longer limited to Android, makes it onto iOS

Posted by wicked January - 15 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

Google Play Music and Movies has come to iOS. Rather than keeping to Android, Play Music and Movies have made their way to the App Store. This is another in many steps for Google to become agnostic about OS, and more concentrated on services.

Play Movies & TV iOS

While Play Music and Movies pale in comparison to media content from others, specifically Apple’s own ecosystem, it offers up a compelling reason to make it an option for iOS users. With the new app comes Chromecast suppport. Like third party apps on iOS, Play Music and Movies offers the ability to stream to a Google product.

Google has long maintained they are concerned more with services than operating systems, and this move — maybe more than any other — highlights that. The app itself is pretty much like the Android version, so those who use both operating systems will see little difference between the two. Of course, as mentioned, you can Chromecast with this one.

Aside from Netflix and HBO GO, we’re unaware of another Chromecast app for iOS. This could be the first media rental/purchase service which allows Chromecasting on iOS, so groundbreaking in its own right for that. The app is available for download now, bringing the mobile world that much closer together.
VIA: Google

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