Facebook Rolls Out Messenger App For Kids

Children ages 6 to 12 years old can now communicate with their families and friends.  Facebook announced on Monday that an app will be rolled out in the United States.

Called as the Messenger Kids, this app is  a parent-controlled that allows children to use the messaging and video chat features.

Facebook has recognised the need to have a messaging platform for kids. The app was a product of a series of consultation to parents and parenting experts in the US.

The social media giant took several years to develop such app for kids. Why? Because federal laws prohibit companies to collect information from minors. Unless, of course, companies obtained permission from parents.

In a Facebook blog post, Loren Cheng, Product Management Director said Facebook has consulted the National PTA to discuss the Messenger Kids as a parent-controlled app.

“Messenger Kids opens up a new world of online communication to families. This preview is available on the App Store for iPad, iPod touch and iPhone,” Cheng said.

NTA conducted a study which involved more than 1, 200 parents in the US. It selected parents who have children under the age of 13.

The result of the study revealed that 3 out of every 5 American parents surveyed claimed that their children under 13 use a social media app.

Furthermore, the NTA study disclosed that 81 percent of  American parents reported that their children—between ages 8 and 13—are using social media app.

Children under 13 can install the Messenger Kids either in their tablets or smartphones. The parent’s Facebook account, however, controls the Facebook messaging app.

Messenger Kids will not be showing any ads. In addition, the app wouldn’t collect any data for marketing purposes.  The social media giant also added a facility that can detect sexual content, nudity or violence.

 

Facebook’s Messenger Kids is now available on Apple’s App Store for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

Google Drive and Chrome now available for iOS

Users of iOS devices such as iPad, iPhone and iPod can now use Google’s cloud storage service, Google Drive, and Google’s browser, the Google Chrome.

During the annual developer conference of Google, the company announced that both the Google Drive and Chrome are going to invade Apple devices.

Vice president of Chrome, Briand Rakowski, demoed the Chrome browser on iOS devices. This includes synching settings from a multiple devices.

Google also announced that the Google Drive, which enables individuals to store files and share documents via cloud, is now up and running for iOS devices.

Director of product for Google Apps Clay Bavor said, “We brought many of the best features of Drive to mobile.”

According to CNET, Bavor presented during his keynote address was the ability of images to be scanned and stored as PDF files in Google drive and the best thing is that they are searchable.

Google’s browser, the Chrome, is considered by many as the best browser out there in the market. Being a light on your system, it doesn’t slow your PC or laptop.

If Google can bring this to the Chrome for iOS devices, then this would be surely a hit to Apple fanatics!

Image Source: engadget.com

AppMyWorld simplifies app hunting to a breeze

There are millions of apps out there that choosing one app that would suite your needs will be a strenuous task. Although there are a number out there that has already made a name for themselves, up and coming developers have blossomed from everywhere creating apps that sometimes are fantastic but most of the time ridiculous.

So how can the average Joe find a quality app in the sea of apps?

Well AppMyWorld thinks that they could do the job for your iPhone, iPad and iPod.

This app makes it easier for us to choose an app that is specific to our needs. AppMyWorld scours the Web for reviews of apps then aggregates their review scores into an AppScore.

The AppScore is a measure of quality that enables users to see how professional reviewers rate their experience with an app.

 AppMyWorld founder Will von Bernuth says, “At AppMyWorld, we believe aggregating professional reviews results in an objective measure of an app or game’s quality and helps users determine the top apps and games. It’s a model that has worked well in other industries such as movies and console games.”

There are about 30,000 reviews and 5,000 apps and games with an AppScore with numerous numbers being added daily.

Image Source: twimg.com

Free apps drain smartphone battery faster

Saving a few bucks by downloading free apps have been very ideal for spendthrift individuals. Unfortunately, your free app downloading hobby may turn your device into a battery eating machine.

Researchers from Microsoft and Purdue University teamed up and used a special profiling tool to find out the connection between free apps and a smartphone’s battery life. In one case, 75 percent of an app’s power requirement was spent not on gameplay but on operating third-party ad services.

Those pesky ads are the culprit for this.

The research team used six smartphone applications to study. These include Angry Birds and Facebook. They compared the results on three HTC handsets the Android powered Magic and Passion, TyTN II running on Windows Mobile OS. The iPhone wasn’t tested due to the restrictions built into the OS.

With free versions of the Angry Birds, only 20 percent of the power is being consumed by the game. Forty-five percent of the power is being consumed finding out the player’s whereabouts so that a specific ads can be served.

They also found out what they call a “3G tail”. This is when a battery’s energy continues to be sapped even after a particular action. They found out that this “3G tail” accounts to more than 25 percent power consumption.

So don’t be frugal and spend some hard earned bucks for your favorite apps.

Cinemagram brings animated GIFS to the iPhone

Move over Instagram. A new sheriff is in town.

A lot of buzz was created after Cinemagram was launched Friday. This app lets you do what used to be a tedious process of editing your photos on a software and a ton of patience before you can convert you can turn the latter into an animated GIF image.

Photography is now not exclusively for the “can afford” individuals which used to be. With the influx of starter DSLR’s and inexpensive point and shoot cameras, this hobby can now also be enjoyed by the masses.

Cinemagram is pegged at $1.99 for iOS and enables you to create animated GIF files for you to share and enjoy. Not only can it create GIF files, but it also has filters though not the complete line but at least a handful that you can use.

Though the quality is not as great as those that are created with photo editors, the results are fine considering that you use your phone for taking photographs. The idea here is simple. Creating a GIF file fast and cheap.

What better way to share your photos with your friends by putting a little life into them.

Gadget transforms hard surfaces to speakers

A portable speaker that is unlike any other. This device uses a conductive gel “to transform hard surfaces into attention-grabbing woofers”.

According to Roger Arnold, “the gel serves as an acoustic coupling that is actually resonating the table.” The device basically turns any inanimate things into a huge boom box just by placing the WOWee on top of it.

He added that, “if you are looking for a really good, pocketable speaker for your music this is it.”

The WOWee One Pro is retailed at $150 and is available in Apple Stores by March as an add-on to your iPhones, Ipods and iPads.

This device can be connected to any gadget using its onboard bluetooth.

The WOWee also serves as a hands-free speaker for calls.

The company also gave audience a glimpse of the “Vue”. The latter is a small projector that fits in your pocket. It uses an enery-sipping green light to display video on any surface.

WOWee sales director Andrew Caddick said that, “if you are a businessman you can just turn up at a meeting and do a presentation. If you are a family man and your kids are really annoying you, you can pull this out and your kids are watching a move’ hopefully nice and quietly.”

The “Vue” is projected to be released this February.

Bob Marley’s son launches House of Marley headphone line

Bob Marley was and still is a great musician that has contributed a lot to his native land and at the same time in music. Known for reggae tunes and fashionable dreds, the icon has turned a lot of haters into followers because of his musical genius and beliefs. After Marley’s death, all you here from that popular surname were his iconic songs and the memory of the late legend.

Fast forward to the 2012 CES show in Vegas and that popular surname is back on the limelight. Rohan Marley, son of Bob Marley, was at the convention promoting his headphone line that are supposed to embody his dad’s beliefs and life.

According to Marley, “we don’t fall into the celebrity movement, we’re more in the sustainability movement. This is what I interpret my father’s message as, the ideals and responsibilities of life and how we see the earth.”

The Marley line would eventually expand this year with the release of their portable iPod and iPhone speaker system that is made from sustainable wood and cotton. They are also planning to sell earphones that are made with recycled plastic.

A cut from the company’s sales goes directly to 1love.org, a non-profit group that helps people from all over the world.

Rohan Marley also noted that, “there’s nothing wrong with being an innovator. But how do you innovate, are you destroying the place or are you protecting the place?”

Image credit: ubergizmo.com

Apple shirts coveted in Grand Central Store opening

People will be lining up at Apple’s newest store on Grand Central Terminal this Friday not because of the latest gadgets and gizmos. Instead individuals will be lining up for a much more different type of Apple product.

Apple fans will be piling up at the Grand Central Terminal to have one of only a thousand shirts that the company is giving its first 1,000 customers, a tradition they first started in 2001.

Apple afficionados collect these one-of-a-kind shirts like trading cards.

Christopher Harrington, a 40 year old software designer, has stayed all night enduring freezing weather and long lines full of Apple fanatics just to have a piece of this garment from New York’s Fifth Avenue store opening, in Greenwich, etc. Though what Mr. Harrington truly wants is the shirts being worn by the employees of this new Apple store.

Apple forbids its employees from selling, donating or giving away this employee shirts.

Two of his most-treasured Apple shirts are shirts worn by Apples retail employees who happen to be his friends. He says that his friends are willing to spare him the shirts as long as he doesn’t wear them.

Apple is known to be a company that is insistent in tight controls and complete secrecy. This also extends to the uniforms that their sales people wear. The shirts are unlike your typical garments you can purchase in your department stores. These shirts are designed by Apple’s Graphic Design group. They are also the ones responsible for marketing the iPhone box and their TV ads.

Not only does Apple build secrecy in their gadgets but they also keep mum on their shirts manufacturing. Some recent employee shirts comes with a tag that says “Made in Vietnam” on one side while the word “Apple” is printed on the other with no identifiable company printed on it.

The Grand Central Store is one of the largest Apple stores in the world. Apple plans to give away 4,000 black shirts with the words “Apple Store, Grand Central” printed on it that looks live a train arrival board.

These grand opening shirts are packaged just like any Apple product out there in the market. Full of care and wit. These shirts will roll out in a tightly rolled white box that unfolds into a flowerlike piece.

Apple names top apps for 2011

Since 2011 is coming to a close, the Cupertino-based company has released the lists of  best apps, TV shows, movies, music and podcasts.

The biggest winner of the year in terms of number of downloads and sales is Angry Birds which took the top spot for both iPhone and iPad. Its spinoffs, Angry Birds Rio and Angry Birds Seasons, also made it to the top    ten.

For the Game of the Year, Apple chose Tiny Tower for iPhone and Dead Space for the prestigious spot.  Apple also chose their favourite apps with Instagram being named iPhone App of the Year  and Apple’s editorial pick went to Snapspeed for iPad.

Want to know the rest of the apps who made it to Apple’s top picks? Here’s the complete list as reported by TechCrunch:

Top Paid iPhone Apps:
1. Angry Birds
2. Fruit Ninja
3. Angry Birds Seasons
4. Cut the Rope
5. Tiny Wings
6. Angry Birds Rio
7. Words With Friends
8. Camera+
9. Doodle Jump
10. Plants vs. Zombies

Top Paid iPad Apps
1. Angry Birds HD
2. Pages
3. Angry Birds Seasons
4. GarageBand
5. Angry Birds Rio HD
6. Penultimate
7. Fruit Ninja HD
8. Cut the Rope HD
9. SCRABBLE for iPad
10. Keynote

Top Free iPhone Apps:
1. Facebook
2. Pandora Radio
3. Words with Friends Free
4. Angry Birds Free
5. Skype
6. Netflix
7. Angry Birds Rio Free
8. Groupon
9. Fruit Ninja Lite
10. Twitter

Top Paid iPad Apps
1. Angry Birds HD
2. Pages
3. Angry Birds Seasons
4. GarageBand
5. Angry Birds Rio HD
6. Penultimate
7. Fruit Ninja HD
8. Cut the Rope HD
9. SCRABBLE for iPad
10. Keynote

 

 

New Apple store to open in Grand Central

If you think Grand Central Terminal is crowded enough with passengers and tourists alike, then wait till Apple’s newest shop starts selling.

Previously occupied by knick-knack shops and ticket machines, the Apple Store will take up 23,000 square feet of space in one the biggest tourist attractions in New York City. It is set to open tomorrow, December 9, 2011 at 10 am.

In a press release, Apple describes the place that was built in a matter of months despite facing some logistical difficulties. “”Beyond the balcony overlooking the expansive Main Concourse, the Apple Store Grand Central offers rooms dedicated to some of our most popular services, including the largest area in the world dedicated to Personal Setup. In the Personal Setup room, customers who buy an iPad, iPhone, iPod or Mac can get up and running before they leave the store.”

So how much did it cost the Cupertino-based company? The rent for the space is rumoured to be $1 million or more. Not only that, it is said that Apple also had to cash out an additional $5 million to purchase the remainder of the previous tenant’s lease.

Pretty steep rent right? Maybe so, but with the world’s highest concentrations of consistent year-round pedestrian foot traffic found in  Grand Central, Apple won’t be having any problems in attracting customers. 🙂