QuizUp Social Trivia App Draws More Than Twelve Million Users

Icelandic startup Plain Vanilla Games announced that the recently released Android version of its QuizUp trivia app drew one million downloads in the week after its launch, and is now averaging about 100,000 new registered users per day. The iOS version launched four months earlier and has attracted more than 10 million users. QuizUp pits users against friends and strangers worldwide, testing general knowledge across topics such as sports, TV, movies, music, books, science, geography and history. Continue reading QuizUp Social Trivia App Draws More Than Twelve Million Users

Android Wear: Google’s Move to Become Key Name in Wearables

Google announced its first operating system for wearable technology yesterday. Android Wear will initially be introduced in smartwatches to feature Google Now reminders, fitness trackers, app notifications from smartphones, and voice capabilities that offer interaction with multiple screens. The company is working with Android partners such as Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung. LG’s upcoming G Watch and Motorola’s Moto 360, for example, will be two early smartwatches featuring the OS. Continue reading Android Wear: Google’s Move to Become Key Name in Wearables

Retail Giant Walmart to Offer Store Credit for Used Video Games

Starting next week, the country’s largest retailer Walmart will allow customers to trade in used video games for store credit to spend on other products in more than 3,100 Walmart stores nationwide. The plan is an expansion of Walmart’s program that provides customers with credit for used tablets and smartphones that can be used toward new devices. The plan also represents a potential threat to game retailer GameStop, the biggest seller of used games in the U.S. Continue reading Retail Giant Walmart to Offer Store Credit for Used Video Games

Chromecast Adds Plex Features for Casting Music and Photos

Google’s Chromecast continues to add new services. When it launched nearly a year ago, the $35 streaming media dongle was limited to a handful of apps such as HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Netflix and YouTube. In December, it added 10 new apps, including the ability to stream cloud-based content from personal catalogs. The popular Plex Media Server was one of those additions. Last week, Plex added free casting of users’ content to Chromecast, and the ability for iOS users to share music and photos. Continue reading Chromecast Adds Plex Features for Casting Music and Photos

Startup Develops Secure Method to Access Data on Your Phone

Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint reader, released with the iPhone 5s, includes a sensor the thickness of a human hair, a sapphire crystal button, capacitive tech and complex data analysis. Alabama-based startup IDair believes it can replicate the quality of the Touch ID with a simpler approach that uses existing smartphone cameras to capture images of users’ fingers. IDair’s tech uses an algorithm the company has patented to convert the image into a means of identification. Continue reading Startup Develops Secure Method to Access Data on Your Phone

Glassware App Plays Trailers When You Look at Movie Posters

A new Glassware app called Preview allows Google Glass users to view a movie’s trailer just by looking at a movie poster. After the app is manually installed, if a Glass wearer looks at a poster, the film’s preview will automatically play from YouTube. The app was created by Takahiro Horikawa, who debuted the software in January, and has been making minor fixes since then. The idea behind the app is to allow users to go to a movie theater, view trailers, and then decide which film to see. Continue reading Glassware App Plays Trailers When You Look at Movie Posters

Cartoon Network Anything App to Experiment with Micro-Content

Cartoon Network plans to launch a “micro-network” later this year that will feature 15-second content bites that only play through a smartphone app. The purpose of these videos, polls, games and trivia is to deliver device-specific content. Unlike the current Watch Cartoon Network app, which requires a cable subscription, Cartoon Network Anything will be accessible to everyone. The short form content will be updated regularly to match consumers’ reduced attention span common during smartphone use. Continue reading Cartoon Network Anything App to Experiment with Micro-Content

Samsung Enters the Music-Streaming Market with Radio Service

Samsung launched a free radio-streaming service in the U.S. last week, which aims to attract customers for its Galaxy-branded smartphones while taking on the likes of Pandora, Spotify and Apple. The initially ad-free “Milk Music” combines content licensed from Slacker Radio’s catalog of about 13 million songs with music obtained exclusively for Samsung. It differs from other services in that users do not need to log in or even register. The application can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. Continue reading Samsung Enters the Music-Streaming Market with Radio Service

SXSW: Google on Chromecast Sales and SDK for Wearable Tech

During his SXSW keynote in Austin, Texas yesterday, Google SVP of Android, Apps and Chrome, Sundar Pichai said that the company has sold “millions” of its $35 HDMI Chromecast devices since the product’s launch last summer. Pichai’s comments mark the first time anyone from Google has publicly addressed Chromecast sales. Pichai also told the crowd that Chromecast will be available for “many more countries” in the coming weeks, and Google will release an Android SDK for wearable devices. Continue reading SXSW: Google on Chromecast Sales and SDK for Wearable Tech

Instagram Flexes its Muscles with E-Commerce and New Ad Deal

Social photo- and video-sharing site Instagram has signed its first major advertising deal with an agency. Instagram is launching a paid ad program with Omnicom Media Group, which agreed to a year-long commitment of up to $100 million that will deliver ads from brands tied to Omnicom’s media and creative agencies. Instagram, which launched in October 2010, was acquired by Facebook in 2012. Today, Instagram says its 150 million active users upload 55 million photos daily. Continue reading Instagram Flexes its Muscles with E-Commerce and New Ad Deal

Augmented Television: InAIR Layers Web Content with Your TV

A $99 device called InAIR from startup SeeSpace hopes to combine the best of your laptop, smartphone and TV all in one place by layering social media and Web content inline with the programs you are watching. Billed as “the world’s first augmented television,” the project exceeded its $100,000 goal on Kickstarter by nearly $78,000 a few days ago. InAIR plugs directly into the TV through its smart HDMI cable, connects to the set-top box, and pulls data from the movie or TV show currently airing. Continue reading Augmented Television: InAIR Layers Web Content with Your TV

K-Glass: South Korea Developing Alternative to Google Glass

South Korean researchers at public university KAIST have developed an alternative to Google Glass called the K-Glass. Although similar to Google’s electronic eyewear, KAIST’s wearable alternative is equipped with a special AR chip that enables the device to recognize objects without relying on barcodes or other markers. While currently bulkier than Glass, KAIST explains that its processor “duplicates the ability of the human brain to process visual data.” Continue reading K-Glass: South Korea Developing Alternative to Google Glass

Threat Report Indicates Mobile Malware Increase for Android

Security firm F-Secure released a 40-page Threat Report this week for the second half of 2013, which shows that Android receives the most malware attacks. Mobile malware on the Android platform increased 18 percent from 2012 to 2013, from 79 percent to 97 percent. Three fourths of the malware detections came from Saudi Arabia (42 percent) and India (33 percent). The United States and Finland are next on the list at 5 percent each, followed by Germany, Great Britain and Hong Kong. Continue reading Threat Report Indicates Mobile Malware Increase for Android

Microsoft Working on Free Version of Windows 8.1 with Bing

Microsoft is said to be experimenting with a free version of its Windows 8.1 operating system in hopes of increasing the number of users. Sources familiar with the plans say “Windows 8.1 with Bing” will bundle key Microsoft apps and services. The company aims to introduce Windows 8.1 with Bing as a free or low-cost upgrade for Windows 7 users. The new Bing-powered software may also be offered to computer manufacturers as part of recent license cuts for sub-$250 devices.

Continue reading Microsoft Working on Free Version of Windows 8.1 with Bing

Update: Ellen and Samsung Stir Up Oscars with Tweeted Selfie

Ellen DeGeneres helped the Oscars take over Twitter on Sunday night, with her selfie taken with several Hollywood celebrities. Overall, there was a 75 percent jump in tweets related to the Oscars since last year. Although Samsung sponsored the Oscars, and spent an estimated $20 million on ads, the company may have gained its largest promotional value from DeGeneres’ pre-planned selfie with Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Lawrence and others. Continue reading Update: Ellen and Samsung Stir Up Oscars with Tweeted Selfie

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