We know a lot of our international readers have been eager to get their hands on the Play Store's content ecosystem. It turns out Google is just as eager for that as you are. In addition to movie rentals, users in Canada, the UK, France, Spain, and Australia will be able to purchase movies outright and watch them forever.
Said Google on the matter:
We’ve recently added a ton of great new entertainment to Google Play, such as movies and TV shows from Twentieth Century Fox. Earlier this year we expanded our service beyond movie rentals and now you can purchase movies and build a library of your favorites in Google Play.
One of the things that makes Fraps so popular among PC gamers is its ability to capture frames per second info in the corner of just about any game, allowing users to monitor and benchmark performance.
Bringing similar functionality to your Android device, FPS Meter shows just how many frames per second any app is running at, and by extension allows you to capture video of that performance with the recording app of your choice.
The interface is as straightforward as possible – a few options like text size, location, and transparency, and a giant button to activate the fps counter.
Orbitz.com, one of the top online travel/booking resources around, has just released a new app – Hotels by Orbitz, meant to help users find, book, and enjoy hotels in thousands of destinations world-wide, whether you need a room tonight, or want to book a future stay.
The app, which has a somewhat slick – though not strictly holo – interface, not only lets users search for and book hotels, but also provides access to Orbitz Mobile Steals – "exclusive mobile-only discounts of up to 50%." The app also allows you to find hotels based on your current location, and sort search results, like with Orbitz's online interface, by best value, lowest price, or by distance.
The American Red Cross has been releasing a series of apps to help people deal with disasters. We've already seen apps dedicated to hurricanes and earthquakes, as well as one for first aid. The fourth app in the series just hit he Play Store, and this one's designed to keep people safe during a wildfire.
Much like the Hurricane and Earthquake apps, Wildfires can alert users of nearby fires and offer quick ways to stay safe:
Features Step-by-step instructions let you know what to do even before/during/after an wildfire, even if no data connectivity. • Get notified about current wildfires or wildfire-conducive weather.
You'd be forgiven for not knowing exactly what Color is or does. The sordid history of this app, and its parent company Color Labs, is a complicated one. Headed by Bill Nguyen, famous for founding Lala, the incredible music streaming service that was purchased by Apple and promptly closed down, Color Labs received $41 million in funding for its initial app Color for Facebook. Several fundamental changes and a year and a half later, the company is reportedly going to close the books on itself. And I still don't know what it does.
According to VentureBeat, the following is part of an email that was sent to employees of Color Labs late last night:
I hope is all well with you. As you may or may not have heard, Color is going through a number of changes. Last week, the Board and major shareholders voted to wind down the company.
When it comes to streaming subscription services, Spotify has stolen the spotlight in the US, where companies like Rdio have struggled to get the attention and acclaim they used to enjoy back before the Swedish invasion. With Xbox Music looming on the horizon, promising to install 30 million free, ad-supported tracks into every computer running Windows 8, the market has never been more competitive. Which makes Rdio's newly announced overhaul to its Android app all the more timely. It's even better that it looks fantastic.
One of the biggest drawbacks to buying apps on things like the Play Store is wondering if it does what you need it to do before you put your money on the line. AppSurfer, an India-based startup, is building a platform to alleviate this concern and give developers a web-based tool to let users test drive their apps before they buy. If this sounds familiar, it's because Amazon allows customers to do this very thing on its Appstore. The advantage here is that it would be open to the entire web and not just one market. You could even embed your fully-functional app in a website.
It seems like you can't go a day anymore without something new being added to Google+. Today, the mobile app is seeing an update that brings some much-requested features, including the ability to manage Pages from mobile. The method is a little wonky. Unlike on the web version, you can't just hop over to a page you're managing. You have to manually log out then log back in, at which point you will be asked what profile or page you want to control. It's bothersome, but at least it works.
The new app also brings an updated widget that looks a bit nicer than the old one.
According to a Czech press release unearthed by The Verge, Microsoft may be readying native Office apps for Android. As of right now, the only programs that have mobile versions on the Play Store are OneNote and Lync. Otherwise known as "the ones very few people care about." If this report is to be believed, though, we may see native versions of the entire Office suite.
According to the Verge's translations, Microsoft said this:
"In addition to Windows, Office will be also available on other operating systems, Windows Phone, Windows RT, Mac OS, Android, iOS and Symbian"
Redmond, by way of the Czech Republic, also pointed out that there would be new versions of its Office Web Apps.
There are no shortage of keyboard replacements on the market. Between SwiftKey, Swype, and the various manufacturer-skinned versions, you can't help but have three or four options on your phone. Today's latest entrant, iKnowU, still manages to stand out with the ability to predict entire phrases and highlighting of the next letters it thinks you're going to type. Pretty impressive.
Of course, the feature that catches our eye most of all is phrase prediction. SwiftKey is widely known for its next-word anticipation engine that aims to guess what you want to write next. iKnowU take this one step further, recognizing that words are just one building block of language.