News ▶ Software
Google Play downloads overtake Apples App Store

Overtaken Apple

It's been long coming, but the moment all Android fans have been waiting for is finally here! USA Today reported the total number of app downloads for the second quarter of 2013 for the biggest two app stores - Googles' and Apples'. Up until now it's always been dominated by Apple, but that's all changed now as Google leapfrogged it for the first time. And (blush!) it's so nice being able to say told you so!

In fact the margin is an impressive 10%, which bears out the recent market share stats showing Apple dropping to 13% of the smartphone market share over the same period whilst Android rose to almost 80%.

While the U.S. spends the most money on apps overall, Japan and South Korea contributed the most to Google Play’s revenue. Android has been highly successful in emerging markets - the trend can be see in the top five revenue generating apps for Google Play as four out of five are from either South Korea or Japan.


Amazon's Cloud Player

Amazon Cloud Music

Pawn to Kings Bishop four. At least, that's how industry observers see the relentless march of the mighty Amazon and its various hardware/software/online activities. This time we see the Cloud Player coming to the UK, the software which has been available to the US on Android, iOS, macs and PCs for some time now. With the free versions, imaginatively called Cloud Player Free, you can store 250 music tracks for, err, free. From then on its a not-too-bad £21.99 per year.

Check out the full details at www.amazon.co.uk/cloudplayer.


CoolNote 1.5 has been released with lots of sparkling goodies just in time for Christmas. It was always capable of downloading extra content in the form of backgrounds and fonts, so appropriately enough this new version sees a whole bunch of new Christmas-themed backgrounds with everything from snowmen, santas and presents right through to the Christmas bunny. There are lots of other improvements too, most of which revolve around polishing the look and feel whilst retaining the smooth interface CoolNote has become known for. There's also a nice price drop to 0.99p/~$1.50 for the rest of the year. But back to those Christmas notes - they in fact serve a dual purpose, since they can not only be used as cool Christmas to-dos (e.g. present lists) on your home screen, but the rich notes are now sent as an image with the text when the note is shared via email to any non-CoolNote using buddies - yes it really is a poor mans Christmas card solution :-)

Arriving in good time for the Christmas festivities is an update to DrinkMinder for Android - and this time things get social. Yes, you can now set up a Twitter account and automatically tweet each drink so that even those without DrinkMinder can now keep an eye on things ;-) The full DrinkMinder write up is here, but there are some other minor improvements relating to usability, performance and compatibility. DrinkMinder is a FREE Android app which will keep you informed with its instant unit/calorie reckoner or its drink session recorder, where with a carefully designed 1-tap drink logger you can track your sessions over time. Get it from the Android Market now!

CoolNote just got a huge update - you spoke, we listened! The focus is on great looks, power and simplicity. New features include the widgets now being optional, the notes now having two sides (text and check item), the abiity to set a notes background color from an infinite pallette, a new "micro" note size and the ability to password protect the whole app. Check out the video below, take a trip to the CoolNote website or get the Free or Paid versions from the Android Market.

 

The latest official figures from the android developers blog show that Android 2.3, Gingerbread, is now running on almost 1 in 3 Android handsets. This information is essential to app developers and it's great to see Google keeping them up to date this way. The breakdown is important when considering how much effort to put into supporting the older versions, and conversely how much they can rely on the newer features of Android being available in the real world. For example, C2DM (Cloud to Device Messaging), the Android push messaging system, is only available to Android 2.2 and later devices. With this news we can see that now represents around 75% of all handsets, which is great news compared to a year ago when it probably wouldn't have been relied upon for use in a mainstream app.

Android developers can now upload multiple APK files for their apps to the Android market. There will still be one listing, reviews still apply to the single version, and for the most part developers are encouraged to try to create a single APK for their apps as before. However, with such a huge range of target devices it increasingly became clear one distribution size won't always suit all. For example, say there is a game with all the graphics bundled up in the various resource locations and you want to target both ldpi (low dot-per-inch, or small) form-factor handsets like the Sony Ericsson X10 Mini) and tablets like the Motorola XOOM. You have to bundle all those large image files used only on the tablet along with the ones for all the other platforms. So your small screen audience gets a bloated APK filled with multi-megabyte image data they'll never use. The same is true for optimised hardware builds - the code taking advantage of, say NVIDIA Tegra 2 chipsets is shipped but never used unless that hardware is present.

A fantastic joined-up-media initiative from upmarket UK supermarket Waitrose sees the QR code for their Android app broadcast directly to viewers TV screens. This means Android users can simply point their handsets at the screen to directly install the app with no fiddly typing, searching the market or browsing websites. With way over 100,000 apps available the need to stand out by integrating cross-media marketing campaigns becomes increasingly important. Combined with Androids phenomenal growth during 2010 its clear this is something Waitrose embrace wholeheartedly. The app is no gimmick either - it offers Christmas recipes, seasonal food ideas, gift inspiration cooking tools and planners to help you plan, organise and enjoy your perfect Christmas.

Cyanogen has done it again - following the SDK 2.1 release he's put out a swift little mod to enable pinch zoom on the browser. Even better is the way its been done - this isn't your usual full-on ROM overwrite which still scares a few folk (;-)) but a simple file replacement patch which just involves sending 3 files over to your live N1 then rebooting. His release notes say it will be in an upcoming N1 ROM image, so we can only stand back in awe at what else this will contain. He hints at this by commenting that the feature is in a common library, so its not just the the usual suspects such as the image browser - animated wallpapers anyone?