Free-to-play is a divisive topic in the games industry right now. Some developers and publishers, especially in the mobile gaming world, love it - free games get downloaded more, and they have the potential to bring in more revenue. Gamers used to the "pay once, pay forever" model of games and software in general over the last 30 years think it's changing the industry and damaging both the economics and the mechanics of gaming itself.
Phones have gotten smarter over the years, but managing contacts remains a pretty tedious affair. Syncing information saved on Android devices with a Google account prevents having to manually transfer them every time you move to a new gadget, but this does nothing to stop the periodic Facebook status updates informing mass numbers of people at once that you or your friend's phone has gone for a swim or jumped off a roller coaster, and as a result, the number has changed.
The Google+ app has long had a number of annoying UI quirks, but a leaked redesign last month gave us hope big changes were on the horizon. Today is the day we finally get out hands on that new UI. Google+ head honcho Dave Besbris has kindly provided a complete changelog for the update, and it's a big one.
Klout has undergone some changes since the social impact tracker was acquired by Lithium Technologies a few months ago. The new mobile app is less about tracking your Klout number to carefully gauge your self-importance. It's basically another way to share content. The difference – this stuff is totally 100% guaranteed to resonate with your unique audience, or your money back.**
LifeLock is a company that claims it can protect consumers from identity theft, but it found recently that its own apps might be part of the problem. The company bought Lemon Wallet late last year, gaining control of its mobile wallet apps on iOS and Android. Now those apps have been pulled from their respective app stores after concerns over the safety of data stored in them. Oops.
Gmail just got an update to version 4.8, an update that brings with it some refreshing UI changes, and a few other features too. First, we'll take a look at the UI tweaks.
First up, the pull-to-refresh animation has been brought into line with the Google Search app - it now cycles through Google's red, yellow, blue, and green brand colors rather than using a simple blue animation. The length of swipe necessary to trigger a refresh has also been shortened.
There's still no standard for connected devices around the home, but Belkin's WeMo home automation system is a pretty popular option. The Android app hasn't wowed users in the past, but it's getting an update today that might (I hope) address some of those issues.
Since his departure from Cyanogen, Inc., Koush has been a pretty busy guy. Yesterday, he released AllCast Receiver to the Play Store, an app that essentially turns any Android device into a casting target, a la the now-extinct CheapCast. Today, he pushed an update to AllCast that brings a couple of new features, including Google Play Music streaming and the previously-teased headphone mode. Check out the latter in action:
This is essentially a jab at Roku's remote, which includes a built-in headphone jack for private listening while watching content on the TV.