PlayStation’s redesigned phone app focuses on socializing

If you've ever used the PlayStation App on your phone, you know how dodgy it has been since launch. Never mind the dated looks -- its interface was a hodgepodge that was never particularly helpful in any one area. At last, though, it's getting a makeover. Sony has released an overhauled PlayStation App for Android and iOS that not only drags the look into the modern era, but borrows more than a few cues from social networking apps. It's dominated by a Facebook-style "what's new" feed that puts your friends' PS4 activity front and center, and clearly does much more to encourage comments and sharing. Even profiles have a more social look, and you get quicker access to your friends list and notifications.

Source: PlayStation Blog

Google’s Pixelbook is my new favorite travel buddy

 The Google Pixelbook is a bit of an odd duck among notebooks, or among tablets – or even among notebook/tablet hybrids. It’s a Chromebook, which by now is an established category, though one with very specific appeal; and it runs Android apps, which makes it feel very much like an iPad competitor. It’s a great device in terms of hardware build and general performance, but… Read More

D&D Reader app brings paper reference books to your tablet

Dungeon Masters can rest a bit easier now that the library of Dungeons and Dragons core rulebooks will soon be available in an easy-to-lug digital edition. Instead of a stack of heavy paper-bound volumes, you'll be able to take your iPad or Android tablet to your next gaming session loaded up with the upcoming D&D Reader app, which should be available this fall.

Microsoft improves conversations and searches in its Outlook apps

Microsoft's mobile Outlook app can be helpful if you want an alternative to your phone's built-in email client, but it doesn't always nail the tasks you handle every day -- say, following an email thread. Thankfully, Microsoft knows it. The company just unveiled updated Android and iOS apps that tackle some of Outlook's navigational issues. It's decidedly better for back-and-forth conversations, for starters. You'll see more of the conversation at once, and tapping on a conversation will jump to the first unread message to help show what you missed. Also, you only need to tap a quick reply box to start a message to everyone in the thread without losing track of the previous conversation.

Source: Office Blog, App Store, Google Play

The ‘Futurama’ crew returns today in a new mobile game

Good news, everyone: after no small amount of hype, you can revisit the Futurama universe on your phone. Jam City's TinyCo has released Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow for free on both Android and iOS. It's clearly another not-so-subtle attempt to cash in on a much-loved TV series, but this title promises to do more than trade on a familiar name. It has a relatively rich story created by Matt Groening, David X. Cohen and a writing team from the show, and the original show cast is on tap for dialogue. However, the most intriguing part may be its extremely varied gameplay -- it's more ambitious than many console or PC titles in some ways, even if it's not necessarily as deep.

Source: App Store, Google Play

Google Maps is getting better at helping you avoid crowds

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Google Maps for iOS just became a whole lot more useful. A new feature in "Popular Times" in the most recent update (version 4.27.0 on iOS, version 9.44.3 on Android) gives you a rough idea of how crowded a specific store or restaurant is right this second. Google Maps has had Popular Times, which uses "aggregated and anonymized data from users who have opted in to Google Location History" for some time. It displays how busy (or not busy) a business is, hour by hour, on a bar graph. With the update, a live pink bar shows how busy a place is in real time; it appears as an overlay on the bar graph so you can compare to how busy the venue is on average (using collected location data Continue reading "Google Maps is getting better at helping you avoid crowds"

Louis CK’s app gives you direct access to his comedy shows

Louis CK helped prove that artists can make good income by selling videos directly to fans, but getting his comedy shows to your phone can be a bit of a headache if you're unfamiliar with the intricacies of local file syncing. As of this week, though, you don't have to bend over backwards. The entertainer has released apps for both Android and iOS that let you buy, watch and listen to shows right on your device -- there's no sideloading required, and no third-party studios getting in the way. As Louis explains in a newsletter, this is really a mobile version of his website, just optimized to make your life easier. Source: App Store, Google Play

Vudu’s upgraded mobile app brings offline rental viewing

                    <img src="http://o.aolcdn.com/hss/storage/midas/1e313ebe72146ea35f8d4112aa10104b/204580550/vudu-ios-5.jpg" />Unlike <a href="https://www.engadget.com/2016/11/02/netflix-offline-playback/">some big streaming video services</a>, Vudu isn't sitting on the fence when it comes to offline playback.  The Walmart-owned provider has <a href="http://blog.vudu.com/?p=12001">revamped</a> its Android and iOS apps with several big features, most notably an option to download your rentals -- you can watch that movie in mid-flight even when the <a href="https://www.engadget.com/2016/02/22/american-airlines-drops-lawsuit-against-gogo/">in-air WiFi is lousy</a>.  You'll also have access to movie extras for supporting titles, and iOS users now get both higher-quality <a href="https://www.engadget.com/2015/10/11/vudu-1080p-hdx-movies-android/">1080p HDX streaming</a> as well as AirPlay.  And if you're still attached to hard copies, you can buy discs inside the app instead of heading to the web.  So long as you live in the US and like Vudu's <em>&agrave; la carte</em> approach to movies and TV, you can check out the upgrade right now.
                                                <strong>Source: </strong><a  href="http://blog.vudu.com/?p=12001">Vudu Blog</a><!--//-->, <a  href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/vudu-movies-tv/id487285735?mt=8">App Store</a><!--//-->, <a  href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.com.vudu.air.DownloaderTablet&amp;hl=en">Google Play</a><!--//-->

iPad regains share in a shrinking mobile tablet market

                    <img src="http://o.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/GLOB/crop/1600x1200+0+0/resize/1600x1200!/format/jpg/quality/85/http://o.aolcdn.com/hss/storage/midas/aa6ec35672d39fd49c552c61bf68b70d/203609653/201623iPadPro_9_7+43JT.jpg" />Apple's share of the tablet market has been <a href="https://www.engadget.com/2015/05/14/white-box-tablets-outship-ipads/">sliding for a while</a>, but it's making a comeback... if not for the reasons the company might prefer. Strategy Analytics <a href="https://www.strategyanalytics.com/strategy-analytics/news/strategy-analytics-press-releases/strategy-analytics-press-release/2016/10/31/apple-follows-microsoft's-lead-on-2-in-1s-to-rebuild-ipad-growth#.WBdnrOErL-o">estimates</a> that the iPad climbed from 19.1 percent of the market in the third quarter of 2015 to 19.9 percent a year later. However, that's mainly because the market as a whole shrank 10 percent. The analysts believe that many tablet manufacturers' shipments dropped year-to-year, and that Apple simply experienced a <a href="https://www.engadget.com/2016/10/25/apples-iphone-sales-keep-falling/">smaller decline</a> than most. The one major exception is Amazon, whose $49 <a href="https://www.engadget.com/2016/04/21/amazons-fire-tablet-16gb-colors/">Fire tablet</a> helped its shipments more than double.
                                                <strong>Source: </strong><a  href="https://www.strategyanalytics.com/strategy-analytics/news/strategy-analytics-press-releases/strategy-analytics-press-release/2016/10/31/apple-follows-microsoft's-lead-on-2-in-1s-to-rebuild-ipad-growth#.WBdnrOErL-o">Strategy Analytics</a><!--//-->

The great tablet gold rush is over

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Last week, Dell announced it will no longer sell Android tablets and will focus on developing Windows-powered 2-in-1 machines — a category that includes the Microsoft Surface and Lenovo Yoga — instead. "The slate tablet market is over-saturated and is experiencing declining demand from consumers, so we’ve decided to discontinue the Android-based Venue tablet line," a Dell spokesman told PCWorld. That shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.  Tablets sales have fallen greatly in the last few yearsAccording to IDC, when looking at sales in the first quarter of 2016, pretty much every major tablet maker's growth fell year-over-year. Apple's iPad and Samsung's Galaxy Tabs, the two most popular brands of tablets, were down 18.8% and 28.1%, respectively. Read more...

More about Highlights, Fad, Dell, Ipad, and Android

2016 To-Do App Showdown: Wunderlist vs. Any.do 

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from some of our favorite to-do apps, Wunderlist and Any.Do, which means it’s a perfect time for a fresh look at both apps. Both are still some of the best, cross-platform, free to-do managers available, but let’s see how far they’ve come.

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AirJamz is a wristband that turns air guitar into wear guitar

                    <img src="http://o.aolcdn.com/hss/storage/midas/880f600aaa569897a3a4ccdcfd04de3d/203541987/DSC04380_800.jpg" />The <a href="http://www.air-jamz.com/">tagline reads</a>: "AirJamz is the wearable Air Guitar that you have to see to believe." To be fair, you probably <em>can</em> believe it, especially if you're familiar <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2015/07/21/zivix-puc-plus-midi-bluetooth/">with Zivix</a>. The company is best known <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2015/04/04/jamstik-plus-backpack-friendly-smart-guitar/">for Jamstik</a>, a small wireless guitar that helps you <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2013/01/11/jamstik-portable-midi-guitar-lets-you-play-and-learn-on-the-ipad/">learn to shred</a>, or play more than just axe-sounds, with your iPhone and iPad. AirJamz is for those that want to forego the whole playing part altogether, and just pretend they're slaying. Imagine <em>Guitar Hero</em> boiled down into a $50 wristband with an accelerometer and an app that "plays" guitar if you strum along in time and you've basically got it. We got to see it in action at SXSW, demoed by some of the world's finest fictional fretboard aficionados.
                                                <strong>Source: </strong><a  href="http://www.air-jamz.com/">Air-Jamz</a><!--//-->

AirJamz is a wristband that turns air guitar into wear guitar

                    <img src="http://o.aolcdn.com/hss/storage/midas/880f600aaa569897a3a4ccdcfd04de3d/203541987/DSC04380_800.jpg" />The <a href="http://www.air-jamz.com/">tagline reads</a>: "AirJamz is the wearable Air Guitar that you have to see to believe." To be fair, you probably <em>can</em> believe it, especially if you're familiar <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2015/07/21/zivix-puc-plus-midi-bluetooth/">with Zivix</a>. The company is best known <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2015/04/04/jamstik-plus-backpack-friendly-smart-guitar/">for Jamstik</a>, a small wireless guitar that helps you <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2013/01/11/jamstik-portable-midi-guitar-lets-you-play-and-learn-on-the-ipad/">learn to shred</a>, or play more than just axe-sounds, with your iPhone and iPad. AirJamz is for those that want to forego the whole playing part altogether, and just pretend they're slaying. Imagine <em>Guitar Hero</em> boiled down into a $50 wristband with an accelerometer and an app that "plays" guitar if you strum along in time and you've basically got it. We got to see it in action at SXSW, demoed by some of the world's finest fictional fretboard aficionados.
                                                <strong>Source: </strong><a  href="http://www.air-jamz.com/">Air-Jamz</a><!--//-->

Google app for iOS gets 3D Touch and multitasking

        <img src="http://o.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/GLOB/crop/8000x5333+0+0/resize/1400x933!/format/jpg/quality/85/http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/midas/9fa3cd61d328d2b53fee721f4fa8b035/201542312/499479387.jpg" />Google has <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/google-app-search-made-just/id284815942?mt=8">updated its iOS app</a> to include three new features, <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2015/11/18/google-ios-app-update/">two of which</a> are not available to Android users. First, the company has integrated 3D Touch functionality. Hard-press the screen to pull up shortcuts for standard, voice or image searches. Second, the new iPad edition offers multitasking so that users can pull the Google app up next to whatever else they're working on in a split screen. Finally, the app now also includes holiday hours and data on the busiest times of local businesses you search for so you can get your shopping done with minimal crowds.
                                <strong>Source: </strong><a  href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/google-app-search-made-just/id284815942?mt=8">iTunes</a><!--//-->

Review: Google’s High-End Pixel C Tablet

pixel_c_header Until now, the Pixel brand was all about Chrome OS laptops. But in September, the company surprised us all when it announced its Surface competitor, the 10.2-inch Pixel C Android tablet with its optional Bluetooth keyboard. Unlike its Nexus line of tablets, this is the first time Google has built its own tablet. Read More