New York State Fish & Wildlife releases app just in time for summer

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Summer is practically around the corner, and if you live in New York State, enjoying the great outdoors just got easier because Fish & Wildlife just released a Pocket Ranger App to bring you to Nature.

“New York State is home to a vast array of fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation locations, providing unmatched opportunities to enjoy the outdoors while supporting local economies statewide,” Governor Cuomo said. (more…)

Issuu launches updated content discovery platform on Android

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Digital publishing company Issuu has announced the launch of its new Android app, bringing over 15 million global publications in 30 languages to users on any Android device. While the Issuu platform was previously released on Android a few years ago, the original app hasn’t been recently updated, and is being replaced by this new experience.

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Xbox SmartGlass reaches 10M downloads, integrates with Xbox One

Xbox SmartGlass app iconAt today’s Microsoft unveiling event for the new Xbox One game console, corporate vice president of Xbox Live Marc Whitten revealed that its second-screen companion app Xbox SmartGlass reached the 10 million downloads mark and that it integrates with the Xbox One, calling it a “native” part of the Xbox One.

Microsoft first revealed Xbox SmartGlass at the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo and its currently available on smartphones, tablets, Windows 8 PCs, for use with the Redmond, Wash.-headquartered corporation’s Xbox 360 game console, displaying companion content for entertainment content like films and games.

With the Xbox One, users can now watch live TV via an HDMI pass-through, meaning a cable or satellite box or similar device can connect directly the Xbox One. An HDMI-out port acts as a middleman for the signal between the cable device and TV. Since users can now watch live TV, the SmartGlass can be turned into a remote control of sorts that will allow any other input device a user desires to use SmartGlass for. Fore example, a user can change channels with a no-look flicking motion. The Xbox One will also let multiple users connect to the console with SmartGlass for multiplayer and shared experiences.  Aside from that, not much else was mentioned about Xbox One and SmartGlass integration.

Disney Interactive launches storytelling app Story for iOS

Disney Story app iconDisney Interactive today launched Story for iOS, a storytelling app that accesses a user’s camera roll of photos and videos on their mobile device and automatically organizes their media into stories, which can be personalized, saved and shared.

Disney senior director of engineering Scott Gerlach told Inside Mobile Apps that “We realized that parents were collecting media on their phones at a rate even greater than the typical smartphone user. They were drowning in this sea of personal media and feeling pressure from their family and friends to share that.”

Gerlach, who works for Disney’s parent-oriented group called Women and Family, explains that although Story is geared toward moms and parents, the app is for everyone.Disney Story screenshot

Story is broken up into two sections — Moments and Stories. Moments are pieces of media from a user’s camera roll that is automatically pulled together based on a piece of media’s time stamp and location tag by Disney’s proprietary algorithm. The developers classified a moment as something that can’t span more than a calendar day, and no piece of media in a series collected within that time span can have a gap of more than a certain amount of time or distance. Once a moment is collected, a user can turn it into a story. Users can drag and drop media around, edit a title, add captions, and give their story a theme, which consists of fonts, colors, backgrounds and photo treatments. Gerlach says Disney will later allow users to add vocal annotations, music and other forms of media, to their stories. (more…)

Piddas21 launches RemotePlay for iOS, allows cross-platform content streaming

Piddas21 logoPiddas21’s today launched RemotePlay on iOS, an app that allows users to instantly stream and share videos, photos, music or documents in real-time with other users.

“We’re very excited about launching RemotePlay on iOS as it allows us to truly demonstrate how disruptive peer-to-peer broadcasting of content across multiple platforms can be,” said Piddas21 founder and CEO Joe Lin, in a statement. “RemotePlay gives people a new way to share their favorite content and dramatically enhances the way they interact socially through technology.”

Piddas21, a subsidiary of the worldwide leader in notebook original design manufacturing Quanta Computer, released the Android version of RemotePlay in early March. Now with the launch of the iOS version of RemotePlay, iOS users can automatically import their music and videos from iTunes as well as share content from third-party apps like Dropbox, Microsoft SkyDrive, Google Drive and others (including email attachments), with other users who also have the RemotePlay app installed on either an iOS or Android device.Piddas21 RemotePlay iOS screenshot

The Taipei-headquartered mobile app company Piddas21 claims RemotePlay is the first mobile app that allows users to instantly stream content to another user who also has RemotePlay installed on their device. Users can instantly stream content to one person at a time or multiple people at once. The app doesn’t allow for users to select a certain group of people — it’s either one person or everyone. Each user who’s a recipient of the shared content can independently pause, replay and view the content as they please.

For additional information about the app’s user interface, how users share content or the technology behind the app, refer to our previous coverage for the Android launch of RemotePlay.

RemotePlay is available now on the Apple App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and on Google Play for Android smartphones and tablets. The app will release for Windows Phone 8 in the coming months.

Angry Birds Toons to be accessible within Angry Birds games, will begin airing March 16 to 17

Rovio logoMobile game developer Rovio today announced that Angry Birds Toons, an upcoming cartoon series based on the company’s popular game franchise, will be accessible within all Angry Birds mobile games.

After installing an update, any of the Angry Birds apps will be able to get access to a new channel button in each game’s home screen, which is where users can watch episodes of the show.

The cartoon series is scheduled to begin airing this upcoming weekend (March 16 for broadcast TV and March 17 for on-demand services) on a dedicated channel within Rovio’s game portfolio, and on Comcast’s U.S. video platforms like Xfinity on Demand, Xfinity.com.tv and in the Xfinity TV Player app on Samsung Smart TVs. Rovio plans to add support for Roku and other platforms in the future. In other parts of the world, the Angry Birds Toons will air on FOX8 in Australia, JEI TV in South Korea, ANTV in Indonesia, Cartoon Networking in India, MTV3 Juniori and MTV3 in Finland, the Children’s Channel in Israel, 1+1 networks in Ukraine, Gulli and Canal J in France, SUPER RTL in Germany, TV2 in Norway, Canal 13 in Chile and Gloob in Brazil. Rovio has also partnered with Activision, Paramount Pictures, BlackBerry and Sony Pictures for the launch of the Angry Birds Toons channel.

So far, Rovio has planned 52 episodes for the cartoon series, with a new episode scheduled to air every Sunday. Rovio hopes the cartoon show will help with increasing installs as well as its engagement and retention rates for its Angry Birds games.

Comics subscription service Marvel Unlimited releases for iOS

Marvel Unlimited app iconMarvel Entertainment today released Marvel Unlimited on the Apple App Store for iPhone and iPad, a digital comics subscription program.

Marvel Unlimited already exists as a browser-based service, but now its coming to mobile devices, with access to 13,000 back issues as of today and syncs all downloaded comics across all devices. If a user is already paying for a subscription for the web-based version, they can use the same subscription for the mobile app. Marvel Unlimited’s subscription is priced at $10 a month or $60 a year, for a limited time.

Marvel Unlimited isn’t without limitations. At launch, users can only make available six issues for offline reading, according to Gizmodo. Also, the comics available for reading in Marvel Unlimited are at least six months old, from its original printing. Some major titles such as the entire Iron Man collection aren’t available for the service either. Technology-wise, the app is built in HTML5, and not in an native format such as Objective-C for iOS or Java for Android.

Marvel Unlimited will be competing with other comic reading apps available for both iOS and Android such as Comics by Comixology, DC Comics by DC Entertainment and Marvel’s own Marvel Comics.

Marvel Unlimited will be coming to Android soon.

Quanta Computer subsidiary Piddas21 launches RemotePlay app, allows instant peer-to-peer streaming of content

Piddas21 logoNew mobile app startup Piddas21 today launched Piddas21 RemotePlay, an app that allows users to instantly share videos, photos, music and documents in real-time across multiple mobile platforms with any other user.

“We like that people can interact on their mobile phone or tablet,” says Joe Lin, founder and CEO of Piddas21, a subsidiary of the world’s largest notebook original design manufacturer (ODM) Quanta Computer. “You can instantly broadcast any media [type], and then you could push it to other devices instantly.”

Piddas21’s RemotePlay app is said to be the first mobile app to allow users to instantly stream content to another user that has the app installed, Lin says. He adds that a few scenarios where RemotePlay is useful includes sharing a video with friends at a cafe, a document between students in a college lecture hall or a family expense document between a husband and wife. The content a user can share can come from photos and videos on their device’s camera roll as well as from other apps like documents stored on Dropbox or a pictures stored on Facebook.

Breaking down the app’s UI, at the top, a user will see a list of devices that are connected on the same Wi-Fi connection. On the bottom, users will see a breakdown of the different media types such as pictures, videos, music, Flickr pictures and documents that can be shared instantly. To share content, users simply drag-and-drop the content either to one person at a time or multiple people simultaneously. Once content is shared, a control panel pops up, which allows each user to play, pause, replay or sync the content in real-time on all devices.Piddas21 RemotePlay screenshot 1

The app also enables users to see what apps and devices other users are using. Piddas21 calls this “presencing information.” Once a user is done sharing a piece of content through RemotePlay, it disappears from the recipient’s device, which keeps the original content in the possession of the sender while not taking up any storage space on the recipient’s mobile device. There are privacy settings implemented into the app so a user can specify whether or not they want to be promoted if someone requests to share content with them.

The technology behind the app allowing the Taipei-headquartered Piddas21 to identify devices who are using RemotePlay on the same Wi-Fi network is a lightweight protocol with HTTP. RemotePlay doesn’t use existing media sharing standards like DLNA or UPnP because those standards can’t discover devices well, Lin says.

RemotePlay is offered in two flavors — free with ads and a pro version for $1.99 with no ads. The app is available now for Android, in a few days for iOS and in a few weeks for Windows Phone 8.Piddas21 RemotePlay screenshot 2

Enjoy some jazz with It’s Showtime!

It's Showtime!It’s Showtime! is a new iOS app from SoulandJazz.com. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store and does not feature in-app purchases or advertising, but does link to the SoulandJazz.com Web store to allow fans to purchase physical albums and other merchandise. The app is currently featured in the New & Noteworthy section of the App Store front page.

It’s Showtime! is primarily intended as an app to showcase both SoulandJazz.com’s various radio-like shows as well as music from the labels the website supports. There are several main components to the app — a music player, an artist search facility, a means of quickly and easily accessing the SoulandJazz.com website and access to the SoulandJazz.com shop.

The main focus of the app is on a series of hour-long mixes on a selection of themes. These may be streamed directly to the app, and the built-in music player shows users details of the track they are currently listening to on the show, including the artist, track, album and year of release. Tapping on the album art while listening in the app takes the user to the iTunes Store to buy the album if it is available. Facebook and Twitter buttons on the music player also allow access to social features — though all the Facebook button does is open SoulandJazz.com’s Facebook page in Safari. The Twitter button, meanwhile, uses iOS5+’s Twitter connectivity to allow users to share the track they are currently listening to. The Tweet mentions the It’s Showtime! app, but doesn’t provide an App Store link, which seems like a missed opportunity.

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The Artist Search function, meanwhile, allows users to browse through the artists featured in the currently-available mixes — it’s actually not a true “search” function at all, though it does make use of the “phone directory”-style alphabet bar on the right side of the screen to allow quick jumping to specific letters. Tapping on an artist name in the Artist Search function takes the user to a list of the mixes in which they appear, but it does not jump the playback position to where the artist in question appears. Tapping on the track’s details on the music player screen does allow for quick jumping to the point in the show where the track/artist appears, however.

On the whole, It’s Showtime! is a great means of discovering new music in a specific genre, though the app could do with a few tweaks here and there. It’s an attractive app with a distinctive aesthetic, but one piece of core functionality is a little frustrating — there’s no way of browsing the rest of the app’s content at the same time as listening to one of the shows. Instead, switching away from the music player display stops it playing altogether, though playback may optionally be resumed when the user goes back to the same show. The app does allow background playing through iOS multitasking, however, which means that other apps may be used while one of the shows is playing.

Ultimately, It’s Showtime! is ever only going to appeal to a specific audience of music fans, but it’s a good example of how to cater to such a specific audience and coule be very easily adapted to other genres of music. It’s straightforward to use, simple to navigate and offers a good selection of content for free, and also provides the opportunity for users to find out more or to purchase merchandise to support the service. With a bit of spit and polish here and there — particularly better Facebook connectivity and the ability to browse the rest of the app while a show continues playing — it will become a great mobile service for fans of soul and jazz music.

You can follow It’s Showtime!’s progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.

Frima, Moonscoop to produce animated TV series based on mobile game Squids

Canadian independent game developer Frima and entertainment company Moonscoop today announced a partnership for the production of an animated kids show based on the mobile game Squids from developer The Game Bakers.The Game Bakers logo

“With Squids among the first titles created for mobile gaming and now heading towards television and other screens, we’re pleased to offer a cutting edge transmedia experience for our fans,” said Audrey Leprince of The Game Bakers, in a statement.

The show’s premise will be based around the adventures of four octopus characters who travel from one underwater kingdom to another in an effort to stop the evil Baron’s infection.

The Game Bakers, a French game studio, first released Squids in October 2011 for iOS, and have acquired more than 1.5 million players across iOS and Android.

Quebec, Canada-based game studio Frima, who also provide animation and special effects services with its Frima FX service, is known for its mobile games including Nun Attack, A Space Shooter for Bucks! and Zombie Tycoon.

According to our traffic tracking service AppData, the turn-based action RPG Squids isn’t ranked on either iOS or Android charts.

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