The Gmail app for iPad and iPhone got an upgrade. [Gmail Blog]
Despite the cluttered app market, half of all revenue from the app store goes to just 25 developers. [The Register]
Techstars company Karma has launched its $79 4G mobile hotspot that rewards users for sharing their connection. [TechCrunch]
If the Curiosity Rover can last eight more years, it will get a friend. NASA plans to send another rover to Mars in 2020. [BBC]
Why walk or drive to work when you could trampoline? [The Guardian]
App for That
We’ve all been there: stuck in the middle of a terrible first date with a boring or psychopathic or worse–luddite!–companion, with no way out. If you’re a terrible liar or none of your friends is available to make that fake emergency call to your cell, eHarmony is here to help. The Globe and Mail reports that the online dating service now has a mobile app in the iTunes store called “Bad Date Rescue” that will help you make your getaway, stat.
The whole system is surprisingly detailed. You can choose an interval of time at which to schedule the fake phone call, which purports to actually have a real voice on the other end. You can also specify which emergency you want to fake: your mom calling to say your sister is in labor, your neighbor to tell you your apartment is flooded or your boss to say there’s a work emergency.
U Mad Bro?
Earlier this week, Apple rolled iTunes out to 12 Asian nations, including Singapore (Eduardo Saverin, sans Snoop Dogg singles no more), Vietnam and Cambodia. However, several big countries did not receive invitations to the iTunes par-tay, including both China and India. Understandable, since adding a couple billion new users is probably something of a logistical challenge.
But of those that were left out, it’s Apple-crazed Indonedia that’s the most devastated by this insensitive act of neglect, reports the Wall Street Journal, resulting in widespread “disappointment and confusion.”
What must Indonesia do to prove its love, Apple? Fans have:
Apples and Androids
Damn, we feel old: Did you guys realize that iTunes debuted in 2003, which is now almost a decade ago? That’s practically a glacial age in technology, and in the era of Spotify, the software is starting to show its age.
Lest the program find itself suddenly in the dustbin of cultural history–Winamp-style–Apple reportedly plans to do a bit of sprucing up. Bloomberg says a major overhaul is scheduled to debut sometime before the end of the year.
At its I/O developer conference today, Google introduced a new hardware device that streams music and video to a variety of Wifi-connected devices. A black orb with a glowing blue stripe, the Nexus Q is not just pretty, it’s Apple-quality pretty. In fact, as AllThingsD reports, its two main developers boast Apple design pedigrees.
But design isn’t everything. Functionality and already-established technology habits could derail the Nexus Q’s goal of catching up to the success of Apple’s iTunes store.
Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart
The Global Mail, a non-profit news site, had a big break this week: a feature about wormholes in iTunes that have let hackers abuse accounts as far back as 2010. In a typical scenario, an account is accessed without permission, any remaining gift card credit is used to buy apps and the user’s personal information, such as a PayPal account, is abused or altered.
“Those holding iTunes gift cards appear to be the most vulnerable. Once the theft had occurred, forum users say the solutions provided by Apple aren’t up to scratch,” said the Global Mail, noting than more than 1,000 instances have been reported on Apple forums.
Although the theft tends to range from just a couple dollars up to $500, the more troubling aspect is Apple’s lack of transparency about the problem. Apple appears to be taking the stance of issuing refunds, but (as is company protocol) not acknowledging the possibility of a systemic problem until they have a solution.
We’ve already seen artists like Diplo drop unheard singles on Turntable.fm, and run quickly for cover when the crowd decided to lame it. But Matthew Santos, of the New York-based chamber pop orchestra Ra Ra Riot went one step further today, and debuted an entire album using the viral music service.
It would easy to dismiss this a a cynical marketing ploy in which a band leverages the music app du jour in order to get the biggest response on their new album’s first day. But Ra Ra Riot’s Matthew Santos saw it differently.
“It’s an important thing, you know? To be open to discovering and enjoying new music as an activity with both friends and other people whose taste you appreciate and trust,” Santos told Mashable’s Brenna Ehrlich. “This is basically the same thing, except it’s not limited to you and your friends’ record collections, and you guys don’t have to be in the same physical room.”