Posts Tagged ‘appstore’

Pebble Appstore Comes To Android, Alongside New Partner Apps From eBay, Evernote And TWC

Smartwatch maker Pebble has finally released its full version 2.0 app for Android devices, following a public beta originally brought the software and the Pebble Appstore to smartphones using Google’s mobile OS last month. The update, if you haven’t used the beta or if you’re not an iPhone owner, offers the ability to search for, install and manage new apps and watchfaces for… Read More

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Pebble Steel And Pebble Appstore Review: The Smartwatch Grows Up

pebble-steel

The new Pebble Steel (which starts shipping today) has a lot in common with its predecessor, but it also comes with a software update that makes any and all Pebbles into essentially new devices, so the overall experience of owning one is actually quite different, and (spoiler alert) much improved.

Basics

  • 5-7 day battery
  • 144×168 e-ink display
  • 56g (1.97 oz)
  • Waterproof to 5ATM
  • RGB LED
  • Metal case with leather and metal band
  • MSRP: $ 249
  • Product info page

Pros

  • Glass-covered display
  • Improved looks
  • LED light has lots of potential uses

Cons

  • Expensive, given functionality is the same as the $ 149 original Pebble
  • Proprietary lug design, incompatible with standard watchbands

Design

  1. pebble-steel-doge-wrist

    Pebble Steel on wrist with watchface
  2. pebble-steel-doge

    Pebble Steel with watchface
  3. pebble-steel-watch

    Pebble Steel with watchface
  4. pebble-steel-back

    Backside of Pebble Steel
  5. pebble-steel-other-side

    Pebble Steel side button
  6. pebble-steel-side

    Pebble Steel magnetic charging port
  7. pebble-steel-vs-pebble

    Pebble Steel next to Kickstarter Edition
  8. pebble-steel-pebble-original

    Pebble Steel size comparison with Kickstarter Edition
  9. pebble-steel-charging-light

    Pebble Steel charging with orange notification LED

There’s no question in my mind: The Pebble Steel is heads and tails a better designed device than the original Pebble. The steel construction feels much more durable and substantial when worn, and yet also manages not to add too much weight to the device overall. Both color options are attractive (though I prefer the PVD-treated matte black colorway) and the decision to include both steel link and leather bands (only the leather was included with the review device) in the box is a very nice touch that provides options for dressing the Steel up or down depending on your needs.

Both bands are comfortable and have a quality feel, and the case for the Pebble is much-improved too, thanks to a smaller surrounding bezel and the upgrade to materials, including a Gorilla Glass face that makes the display easier to read and also better protects the screen itself. Also, the LED is completely hidden on the bottom left of the bezel when not in use, which makes for a nice and clean look.

If there’s a failing to the design, it’s that Pebble has opted to go with a proprietary three-pronged lug design to hold the watchstrap, which means that you can’t use off-the-shelf standard bands. Swiss watchmaker Swatch does the same thing, which limits your choice to only what they offer. It’s annoying, but it also provides a potential revenue source for Pebble down the road so I can understand why they opted to go that route.

The vaguely eighties retro vibe the watch gives off is reminiscent of Braun and Sony ID from a heyday of steel and angles, however, and it marks the first time I can honestly say I’d wear a Pebble without the smart features, which is no light praise since I’m a bit of a watch snob.

Features And Software

pebble-appstoreUsers of the original Pebble won’t find much new here in terms of features, but the addition of the Pebble appstore with SDK 2.0 marks a huge improvement in the software ecosystem. Many of the apps available were out before, but now they’re centralized in the appstore, which appears on both the iOS and Android Pebble companion apps.

Browsing and discoverability in the software store reminds me of what it was like to find apps for iOS and Android in the early days of both of those software marketplaces: there’s a lot of scrolling, and some limitations in terms of organization of content, but overall it’s still much better than the process has been. An app manager for shuffling software to and from your device, and for inputting login credentials and altering other settings also makes a big difference in terms of improving usability of third-party software.

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    Notification archive on Pebble Steel
  2. pebble-steel-yelp

    Pebble's Yelp app
  3. pebble-steel-4sq

    Pebble's Foursquare app

The new method for viewing past notifications is excellent, and the archive strikes a good balance between fitting a number of updates on screen and providing enough info that you recall the full missive. Apps are listed under the main menu, which isn’t entirely painless in terms of navigation, but the limit of eight apps/custom watchfaces means you never have to scroll too far to find any. That eight app limit is a pain, however: It’s like Sophie’s Choice trying to figure out whether you want the app that controls your Philips Hue lighting system or the one that offers on-wrist package tracking.

It doesn’t help that there are new partner apps making their debut today, too. The Foursquare, Yelp, GoPro and ESPN apps were available for testing, and while I don’t have a GoPro and I don’t care all that much about sports (which is good because I couldn’t get the ESPN app to load anything beyond a sample screen), the other two location-aware apps really demonstrated how much potential Pebble has for app developers.

Click to view slideshow.

Foursquare allows you to view nearby spots and check-in directly from your wrist, with a refresh feature triggered by flicking your wrist. The Yelp app uses a wrist flip to trigger discovery of a single local spot to recommend, but it also provides listings of nearby places organized by venue type, complete with star ratings and up to three reviews you can actually read through on your wrist. Both are great examples of how to intelligently build software for Pebble (or any smartwatch), by focusing on features that make sense on the wrist and leaving the rest to the smartphone.

Other highlight apps for me include Huebble, which provides wrist-based control over your Philips Hue lighting system, and Twebble, which is a full-featured Twitter client on your wrist. The Pebble appstore has around 1,000 apps currently, with over 6,000 devs registered, and overall I was impressed at the quality of software. Other platforms have launched with an abundance of throwaway apps, but those in Pebble’s marketplace seem to at least mostly attempt to provide genuine utility.

Performance

The Pebble Steel had performed well, basically as I’ve come to expect from my original Kickstarter edition Pebble. Sometimes the Pebble pre-release software and appstore crashed, but that’s to be expected, and it’s probably the reason Pebble says the appstore is still “coming very soon” rather than launching today. It’s early to tell with absolute certainty, but battery life seems to be in keeping with its predecessor as well.

If you haven’t picked up a Pebble in a while and you’re an iOS user, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how infrequently it asks for renewed permission to communicate with your phone. The LED notification light isn’t currently being used for much, but it does change from orange or red to green while connected to the power cable to let you know when the device is fully charged. The cable is another minor annoyance, since it’s proprietary and magnetic like the one that shipped with the first version, but also features a different connector design that nullifies any chance at backwards compatibility.

Overall, though, the Pebble Steel improves on the original in all the hardware aspects where it felt like it could’ve used a bit more time in the oven, and leaves relatively untouched the software stuff that the startup got right.

Bottom Line

The Pebble is most definitely an evolutionary product; in many ways, it’s like the iPhone 5c to the iPhone 5, except with an upgrade to materials rather than a move somewhat down market. But that might also be just what Pebble needs in terms of spurring more mass market interest, while avoiding the perception that they’re punishing early adopters by putting out massively updated hardware.

In the end, the Pebble (Steel or otherwise) is still the best smartwatch available. After using the Steel, it takes the crown as my new favorite device in that category, however, since the materials used and the construction quality really make it feel like a brand new piece of equipment. Pair that with the appstore and quality software from marquee partners, and I’m confident Pebble can keep its smartwatch crown for at least a little while longer.

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Pebble’s Official Appstore Coming “Early 2014,” Will Be Built Into Android And iOS Pebble Apps

All Devices (Full Size)

Pebble is finally getting around to creating an official app marketplace for software devs build for its platform. The Pebble Appstore, as it will be known, is going to debut sometime early next year according to the company, and it’ll be integrated directly into the existing iPhone and Android applications for the smartwatch.

Third-party app and watchface discovery tools have existed for Pebble basically since it became available, including MyPebbleFaces.com. Those will continue to exist, Pebble says, and will be able to distribute Pebble software just as before. At the same time, however, the company notes in a blog post today that “[for developers, the Pebble App Store is the best way to promote and distribute your Pebble applications to users.”

The new official Pebble app store doesn’t support paid apps at launch, though devs can obviously still charge for their companion apps on iOS and Android (and theoretically offer Pebble support as a paid upgrade via in-app purchase. Developers will be able to publish apps to the Pebble App Store via a web-based portal, which is completely free to use, and apps will be chosen as featured by the dev support team. There won’t be any advanced screening of apps published to the Pebble Appstore, but Pebble does reserve the right to take down any apps that violate its developer agreement.

At launch the Pebble Appstore will feature seven different categories for apps: Daily, Remotes, Games, Notifications, Tools & Utilities, Sports & Fitness and Watchfaces. These are a little different from what we’re used to seeing in mobile software marketplaces, of course, but that’s to be expected from a device that has been a pioneer in the wearable computing category, and which is essentially working without a model to build from.

Pebble only just revealed its 2.0 Software Development Kit, which adds a lot of functionality but also requires that 1.0 apps get updated before they can be compatible with the 2.0 firmware. The pre-announced storefront, along with the ambiguous consumer launch, is probably designed to give the Pebble team and its developer partners time to update the existing library and get a good crop of new apps available so that the Appstore isn’t a ghost town when it arrives.

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Does the Amazon appstore get their apps latter than the Google playstore?

Question by Joshua: Does the Amazon appstore get their apps latter than the Google playstore?
Like today, Modern Combat 4 came out tonight on the Google Play store.But I have an Amazon Kindle Fire but the app isn’t on the appstore for amazon.Can anyone give me a educated prediction on when this app may come out on Amazon?
@black angel.ok I know that,but amazon has had the first three Modern Combats in their appstore,like google play.Now that MC4 has come out on Itunes and the Google Play store don’t you think Amazon would try to compete with those markets to get some money off their kindle fire users?

Best answer:

Answer by Black Angel
The educated prediction is no fing idea.

It’s COMPLETELY up to a game publisher on when/if to publish something in a given app store. Amazon is under no obligation (that’s been publically disclosed) to replicate what’s in the Google AppStore.
Answer:

Yes it’d be a good idea but you’ve got to understand the economics behind the scenes. When a game is made you can go one of three directions. Make your own engine, use someone else’s, or a blend of the two. Each has its advantages with the largest being: If it’s someone else’s engine then I just need to write code for the engine and NOT the platform. Writing for IOS is expensive as you’re SUPPOSED to have a Mac and Android is simply painful because of the variations in the platform (over a thousand different flavors and the most common one (1.6.x last time I checked) is very old). WP7/8?… don’t even get me started. You’ve got to pay licensing costs on these and the costs for an IOS version can be very different from one for Android. Additionally there may be additional certification processes that can change things. What if Amazon added a new testing rule that raised the cost of publishing an app there by 30 percent? You’ve got a smaller user-base that’s VERY different from the great cross section you get in the Apple and Google stores. Why would you even begin to take that chance?

Now where do the AppStores come in?
Let’s take someone like Epic. You can license the Unreal Engine for your use as a for-profit for $ 99… provided you give Epic 25% of every penny you make over $ 50K.
Add in publishing costs (Putting apps up isn’t free and once you hit a certain point it gets VERY expensive.)
Then advertising overhead and paying devs?
Now you’re looking at a spreadsheet saying where should I put my money?

IOS – High barrier for entry but hands down the most profitable. (most paid apps are Games)
Android – Low barrier for entry but hands down the hardest to develop for, and easily the least profitable (most paid apps AREN’T games but productivity apps).
Windows Phone – Easy to work with tooling and a very well know codebase… but not very popular. (I’ll be nice… MS is late to the game but honestly… everyone said Xbox was a suicide mission… how’d that work out?)

Bottom line is that each AppStore costs money and unless it’s the next ‘Angry Birds’ there’s little reason to believe your sequel will be as big a hit as your previous one. You’ve got to balance those things out.

Add your own answer in the comments!

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Kindle Fire HD 7 and 8.9 now available for pre-order in ‘over 170 countries’ (update: Appstore open in ‘nearly 200′)

Kindle Fire HD 7 and 89 now available for preorder in 'over 170 countries'

Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD 7- and 8.9-inch slates have only seen limited shores since they were formally announced, but today the company said they’re now available for pre-order in more than “170 countries and territories around the world.” We could try and list all the new tablet markets, but it’s easier to say that until now, they’ve only found spots in Amazon stores in the US, Europe and Japan. We’re not surprised to see the hardware get a much wider release, given that the e-tailer revealed its plan to take the Appstore global last month. The only other nugget in the PR is an expected shipping date of June 13th. Head over to your local Amazon portal to confirm if your region is one of the lucky 170.

Update: Amazon’s issued a second PR saying those international plans for the Appstore are no longer plans — it’s now up and running in “nearly 200 countries.”

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Source: Amazon

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Amazon Appstore launches in China, continues its world tour

Amazon Appstore launches in China, continues its world tour

Amazon let its world domination plans be known last month when it asked developers to start submitting apps to line its virtual displays in more countries. While China was notably absent from immediate expansion plans, Amazon launched its Appstore there during the weekend, opening the doors to one of the biggest mobile device markets. As Reuters notes, the Google Play store is available in China, but only serves up free material, whereas Amazon’s Appstore has a selection of both free and paid software available for users. While the company launched its e-book store and e-reader apps in China last December, devices are still waiting for their ticket over. Now, with the release of the Appstore, we suspect it’s only a matter of time before the Kindle and Fire ranges make fashionably late appearances.

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Via: Reuters

Source: Amazon

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Amazon’s Appstore prepares for international availability in ‘nearly 200 countries’

Amazon has big plans for its incredibly successful (we guess?) Appstore on Android, which include expansion to “nearly 200 countries,” — after rolling out in Europe and Japan — but it’s asking for developers to get on board first. So that its store shelves aren’t empty when they open up in places like Brazil, Canada and Papua New Guinea, it’s securing app submissions and making sure devs opt-in to international distribution. Peter Sleeman, Director of P2 Games, is quoted in the press release claiming his company saw 4-5x sales of a recent app on Kindle Fire compared to Google Play. That feat is echoed by several others quoted, citing Amazon’s in-app purchasing system and features like GameCircle. There’s no word whether this global rollout will be followed by wider distribution of its other media services and branded hardware, but given the predictable path it’s followed so far that seems like a safe bet.

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Source: Amazon

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Amazon’s Appstore prepares for international availability in ‘nearly 200 countries’

Amazon has big plans for its incredibly successful (we guess?) Appstore on Android, which include expansion to “nearly 200 countries,” — after rolling out in Europe and Japan — but it’s asking for developers to get on board first. So that its store shelves aren’t empty when they open up in places like Brazil, Canada and Papua New Guinea, it’s securing app submissions and making sure devs opt-in to international distribution. Peter Sleeman, Director of P2 Games, is quoted in the press release claiming his company saw 4-5x sales of a recent app on Kindle Fire compared to Google Play. That feat is echoed by several others quoted, citing Amazon’s in-app purchasing system and features like GameCircle. There’s no word whether this global rollout will be followed by wider distribution of its other media services and branded hardware, but given the predictable path it’s followed so far that seems like a safe bet.

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Source: Amazon

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Amazon’s Appstore prepares for international availability in ‘nearly 200 countries’

Amazon has big plans for its incredibly successful (we guess?) Appstore on Android, which include expansion to “nearly 200 countries,” — after rolling out in Europe and Japan — but it’s asking for developers to get on board first. So that its store shelves aren’t empty when they open up in places like Brazil, Canada and Papua New Guinea, it’s securing app submissions and making sure devs opt-in to international distribution. Peter Sleeman, Director of P2 Games, is quoted in the press release claiming his company saw 4-5x sales of a recent app on Kindle Fire compared to Google Play. That feat is echoed by several others quoted, citing Amazon’s in-app purchasing system and features like GameCircle. There’s no word whether this global rollout will be followed by wider distribution of its other media services and branded hardware, but given the predictable path it’s followed so far that seems like a safe bet.

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Source: Amazon

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Amazon Appstore update gives its UI a facelift and fixes a list of annoying bugs

DNP Amazon Appstore update remedies Android 42 logout bug, while giving the UI a slight facelift

The Amazon Appstore updated to version 4.3.14.3 C today, mending an account switching over logout problem tormenting Android 4.2 users. Other brand-new software highlights consist of: long press removal of applications from My Apps, a battery drain bug fix and a Kindle Fire HD inspired remodeling for the Appstore’s UI. Don’t have Amazon’s alternative to Google Play, but would like to provide it a spin? Struck the source link below for a total installment walkthrough of its newest version. Incumbents, don’t hesitate to pull down the update from within the application itself and wave bye-bye to those irksome bugs.

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