Rakuten is often referred to by western media as "the Amazon of Japan." That description seems more and more apt given some of the mega-retailer's recent purchases, including Canadian e-reader company Kobo. Yesterday Rakuten announced that it had purchased Viber, an up-and coming voice-over-IP company with apps on Android, iOS, and Windows, among others, for a whopping $900 million.
Viber is primarily a Skype competitor, though it also offers text and picture messaging, group chat, and cross-communication between mobile and desktop operating systems.
Klinker Apps is on a roll lately. In addition to debuting the excellent Talon for Twitter and EvolveSMS apps last month, they've been consistently updating their portfolio with new features like Pebble integration. Yesterday Talon was updated to version 1.4, and there's a new version of EvolveSMS in the pipeline for the next few days as well. But perhaps most interesting is the way that the small developer has issued a secondary support app, Klinker Apps Portal.
If you're a dedicated gamer who's wary of the ever-present freemium model (or an Android blogger who's tired of reaching for his phone for every app in the roundup), there's good news tonight. A recent adjustment of the Google Play Store website will let you know whether an app features in-app purchases or not. It appears just below the Install button, right next to the drop-down list of compatible devices.
There's a holiday of sorts coming up tomorrow, but there's still time to get something special for your significant other. There happen to be some apps and games on sale. That'll do it, right? Actually, that's terrible advice – don't do that. You can still check out these sales for completely unrelated reasons, though.
Say what you will about BlackBerry's viability as a company, but the Canadian smartphone firm's messaging app is quickly shaping up into a powerful client. Today, BB announced that BBM 2.0 for Android is out now, and it adds a whole lotta stuff to the app's growing feature resume.
Of most interest to users is probably BBM Voice, which is exactly what it sounds like - you can now call BBM contacts directly from the app (still no video chat, though).
The Ouya's Tegra 3-based innards are getting a little old, but the console is finally starting to get a respectable game library and the controller has been tweaked since launch. Okay, maybe you don't want to spend $99 on it, but how about $85 with some free games?
Square Enix's Deus Ex: The Fall was a major entry in the Deus Ex franchise tailored for touchscreen devices. It may not have the complexity of its console brethren, but it made a very valiant effort. Now the company has announced Hitman Go, but this time, the mobile version of the game is going to be quite a bit different from the AAA one being developed for televisions. You see, Hitman Go is going to be a turn-based strategy game.
Much of the commerce that takes place on the web goes through PayPal, so if you're accessing the service from a mobile device, you should take extra precautions to secure your account. With the latest version, you can now link your phone to your account so that the service can better verify that you are indeed the person trying to access it. The app has a new SMS permission that is necessary to link up your number.
One of the most consistently awesome games on Android is The Room. However, once you've beaten it there isn't much replay value in solving the same puzzles again. Well, clear your schedule – The Room 2 is now available in Google Play.
The Room 2 presents you with a a series of beautiful 3D environments that you must explore to solve the puzzles left by a mysterious scientist known only as "AS." The design of the game makes it easy to start playing – just tap on things, zoom in, rotate knobs, and so on.
Who's ready for a new Angry Birds game? If you're not, you might just want to ignore the gaming news for the next month or so. After a tepid critical response from kart racer Angry Birds Go, the next entry in the series was revealed as a short social post leading to a small sub-site of AngryBirds.com. The title will be Angry Birds Stella.
According to the Angry Birds Wiki (of course there's an Angry Birds Wiki), 'Stella' is the name of the Pink Bird whose only real job before now was playing Princess Leia in Angry Birds Star Wars.