Samsung has yet another music streaming service to deliver the latest hits to smartphones. In addition to its internal music app that ships with every phone and its former Music Hub powered by 7digital, Android's leading manufacturer today unveiled Milk Music, a Slacker-powered streaming music app that is exclusive to Galaxy devices in the United States.
Google Play Music has a new feature that allows users to create radio stations based on their current playlists. The new radio station tool appears to allow for a shortcut to having a more diverse and accurate station than the typical artist or song based tools that take time to learn the best songs to play based on feedback. A quick comparison of my DMX stations shows the playlist-sourced station did a better job playing the hits. Users can create a station by navigating to Playlists and tapping the column of three circles and selecting "Start radio." The tool works only with handcrafted playlists, so auto-created playlists for Recently added, Purchased, or Thumbs up will not work.
Google is quick to throw up a sale in celebration of certain milestones, and the latest promotion is to commemorate Google Play turning two. Google has lowered the price on several apps, games, and media its storefront, including free in-app bonuses or discounts in games like Badland, FIFA 14, and The Sims FreePlay. Several Dr. Seuss books can be had for only $1, movies like Star Trek: Into Darkness and The Great Gatsby are $9.99 or less, and an annual subscription to Entertainment Weekly is now at half price. The full list of deals are viewable in Google Play.
Google has announced plans to end its support for using Google Apps services on BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES). The change affects only customers still using BlackBerry OS 7 or older, which happens to be the bulk of BlackBerry users. Google gives the following reason for the end of support:
Despite the underlying BlackBerry QNX operating system, CarPlay still looks and moves like something one might expect from Apple. Here's a look at the feature formerly known as iOS in the Car.
Windows Phone 8 users now have a dedicated Facebook Messenger app rather than the old solutions of using the Facebook app or the Messaging Hub. The switch to a standalone app includes new support for stickers and photos, and lets users jump right to messages rather than rely on the app. More importantly, it makes it easier to distribute updates when new features are added. It's far easier to issue app updates than it is to issue firmware updates when the messaging client is updated. Redundancies are created in notifications, so users will need to turn off message notifications in Facebook and Windows Phone if they were previously enabled.
One of the marquee features from Microsoft's upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 is the rumored voice search assistant, Cortana, which is expected to have some the context-aware features that make Google Now so attractive.
In-app purchases represent a major revenue source for mobile game developers, and those developers can thank a very small number of people for funding their efforts.
Google Hangouts on iOS has replaced its outdated and counterintuitive design. The latest update also adds some new features to give it parity with the Android version of Hangouts, and even adds the ability to post videos, something that Android version cannot yet do.
Despite frequent headlines to the contrary, Android does not pose a significant security risk for users who have the slightest bit of sense. An update to Google Play Services will soon provide even more security.