At the just concluded ChinaJoy Expo 2011, Rovio Mobile Ltd. announced a slew of Angry Birds merchandises in China – namely, shoes, hat, bags and also, mooncakes (reported by a China-centric tech site M.I.C. Gadget). The Angry Birds creator will be using the mooncakes to celebrate the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival (or Moon Festival) with Angry Birds fans in China. In addition, there will be a “Mid-Autumn Festival” theme edition on Angry Birds Season, which will be released in early September 2011 (Moon Festival falls on September 12th this year).
Today, SkyGrid unveils the latest version 2.0 of its news aggregation app and introduces some significant enhancements. Changes include a more streamlined topics following and introduction of ads. The Following button on the app is much more prominent (and useful) now. On Twitter, you follow your interests – people and lists. You follow your interests too on SkyGrid app, but in the forms of news topics (people, teams, politics, etc.) and/or websites. Whatever you follow will be listed in the Following page. Whenever there are updates, the Following buttons will display number of available updates.
Another update is the display of interactive ads. Among the high-profile news apps, SkyGrid is one of the first apps (another is Flipboard) to introduce ads. Quite surely, ads strategy will be adopted by most (if not all) mobile news aggregators.
Broadband provider YTL Communications today launches Yes Life for iOS app and making its voice/SMS services available on Apple iOS devices. The app turns iPad and iPod Touch into mobile phones and users can make and receive calls. When someone calls your Yes 018 mobile number, all your iOS devices will ring simultaneously. Quite nifty! Yes Life app is also available on Mac OS and Windows platforms.
Apple will release free iOS updates next week, responding to the ongoing iPhone tracking fiasco. Specifically, the updates will fix some bugs and alter the way iOS functions, with regards the use of location services:
- reduces the size of the crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower database cached on the iPhone,
- ceases backing up this cache, and
- deletes this cache entirely when Location Services is turned off.
These upgrades are mostly invisible to end-users. Apple also released series of Q&A to address some of the concerns raised during the past 1 week, since the discovery of iPhone tracker.
Android smartphones are becoming more desirable than the iPhones in the US smartphone market, according to the latest survey report by The Nielsen Company. 31% of the respondents in the latest January-March 2011 survey they are planning to get an Android smartphones as their next smartphone, an increase from 26% recorded in July-September 2010. Both RIM and Microsoft came in distant third and fourth, with 11% and 6% respectively.
Imagine a room, a command center of sorts, illuminated by dozens of monitors in front of which nameless observers sit scrutinizing the data displayed before them. On the room walls are bigger displays; one showing the map of the country, some showing overhead views of several cities while others track the movements of selected individuals, identified only as numerics. On the door we see an emblem; not the crest of the Central Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency… but an Apple.
This imagery is not from Tony Scott’s Enemy of the State, but rather it was what came to my mind when I read about the discovery made by two security researchers – Pete Warden, Founder of Data Science Toolkit and Alasdair Allan, Senior Research Fellow, University of Exeter, that the Apple’s iOS 4.x mobile operating system records the user’s location for iPhone and iPad into a hidden file on the devices, named “consolidated.db”.
Terato Tech, one of the hottest startups in Malaysia, rejected a grant offered by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), in a rather strong-worded letter. The Reza Razali Managing Director of Terato Tech wrote: we at Terato Tech are not serial grantpreneurs. The grouses mentioned in the letter include lengthy application processing (MCMC took 14 months to process the grant application) and below-than-expected grant amount. In the letter, the also suggested to MCMC “to do away with commission members/chairman who are active members of the business community.”
The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is the regulatory body for the communications and multimedia industry in Malaysia, under the provisions of Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission Act (1998) and the Communications and Multimedia Act (1998).
The whole tech world is abuzz with excitement about the upcoming iPhone 5. But Malaysian communications provider Celcom, which incidentally clinched the Service Provider of the Year Award for the third year running at the recent 2011 Frost & Sullivan Malaysia Excellence Awards, is only now jumping on the iPhone 4 bandwagon, 7 months after Maxis and DiGi rolled out their respective packages. One wonders if Celcom’s ever heard of the saying “early bird catches the worm”, considering the fact that by now, almost everyone and their grandma’s got an iPhone 4 already. Let’s just hope the company is going to be offering super low plans to compete with the ones offered by Maxis and DiGi.
Color Labs just released a new version of Color, its location-based photo sharing application for iPhone and Android smartphones. Noticeably, the latest version 1.0.2 comes with a much better set of primary navigation buttons.
When Color was launched on March 24 2011, many complained about its confusing user interaction design. Version 1.0 of Color was indeed overly minimalistic. The release of this latest version is addressing some of the design shortfalls.
Twitter introduced the QuickBar in early March this year. In less than a month, Twitter announced the removal of QuickBar in the upcoming update of Twitter app today.
Quick Bar displays Promoted Tweets and trending topics. According to Twitter:
The QuickBar was originally conceived to help users discover what’s happening in the broader world beyond people they already follow. The bar was also seen as a potential means of in-app notifications for new mentions, DMs, and other important activity.
We are witnessing an explosion of diversity in the surging apps economy. There are myriad of social apps to stream life experiences, be it beautiful photos (i.e. Instagram), food (i.e. Foodspotting), thought nuggets (i.e. Twitter), so on and so forth. The newly released Soundtracking app by SchematicLabs allows you to soundtrack your life moments and share them with your friends on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. It’s the right-here-right-now experiences, expressed and encapsulated in soundtracks.
The iPhone app is elegant in its simplicity and most importantly, it works! Search by Artist and the app will retrieve song titles by that artist. You can also auto-ID song. Let the app listens to a song and in less than 15 seconds, it will automagically display the song title / artist of the song. The application uses audio waveform fingerprint technology developed by Gracenote.
You can see soundtracks shared by your friends. You can Like, Love and/or comment on any SoundTrack. You can see trending soundtracks, based on total Likes. There is a web version of SoundTracking. On the website, users can see own soundtracks, trending soundtracks, like/love/comment soundtracks, and accounts settings. However, users cannot create soundtracks on the web.