Besides putting the finishing touches on Windows 7 and Office 2010, what else has Microsoft been up to lately? Perhaps gearing up to open an app store for its Zune HD media player, if trademark application 77775625 for the trademark "ONEAPP" is any indication. The application covers:
"Computer software for allowing mobile device users to send messages, make payments and access and play music, games and videos on mobile devices; computer software platforms for developing mobile applications; computer software, namely, software development tools for the creation of mobile applications; computer software for runing retail store site for purchase and download of mobile applications over wireless networks."
It's all speculation at this point, but in one part of the filing, Microsoft specifically mentions "media players," which points squarely at the Zune HD. But if that is what Microsoft's up to, the company has a lot of ground to make up with Apple announcing its App Store surpassing the 1.5 billion download mark just three months after it recorded 1 billion downloads.
It was a little under three months ago that Apple's App Store recorded its one-billionth download, a milestone that took just nine months to achieve. If you thought that was impressive, Apple today announced its App Store downloads now top 1.5 billion. Not bad for a one-year-old service.
"The App Store is like nothing in the industry has ever seen before in both scale and quality," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "With 1.5 billion apps downloaded, it is going to be very hard for others to catch up."
And at the current pace, Jobs is probably right. The App Store shows no signs of slowing down, recording more than 500 million downloads in under three months for its more than 65,000 apps available to consumers in 77 countries. There have been more than 40 million iPod touch and iPhone devices shipped so far, along with 100,000 developers churning out applications.
The Palm Pre App Catalog currently features only thirty apps and excepting one all others are in beta mode. A lot of people are eagerly waiting for a deluge of Pre apps to overwhelm them. But apps will only dribble in for a few more months as the official SDK (software development kit) isn’t available as yet. Palm has announced it intends to have the SDK fully ready by the end of the summer.
"We've been working very hard on the SDK and are eager to open access on a wider scale, but the software and the developer services to support it just aren't ready yet,” Palm wrote rather apologetically on its developer blog. It is believed that since the Palm Pre doesn’t still have a huge installed base a la the iPhone, many app developers may stick to developing apps for more popular platforms like the iPhone. But who knows the number of Pres sold during the months leading up to the release of the SDK might allow Palm to woo some of the dithering developers.
If you've been following my articles as of late, you'll notice that I've been exploring (obsessing over) the world of Windows-based package managers. It's an interesting concept that the Linux world gets to enjoy to great success--the ability to download and install applications via a single program, much like how you would grab a song on iTunes or an application off its App Store.
In last week's Murphy's Law, I postulated that this exact combination of one-button glam plus a functional, community-driven application repository would be a surefire way to increase open-source awareness amongst average computer users. That, and it would offer power users a better way to grab, install, and manage large bundles of applications on any number of individual or networked PCs.
A number of you seemed to agree. That's great. But as we all saw in this week's freeware roundup, the state of the package manager market for the Windows operating system is tragic at best. It's difficult, if not impossible, to find a working package manager that fulfills the three main criteria for usefulness: updated applications, minimal downloading errors, and a halfway-decent GUI.
What's the holdup in Windows Package Manager development? Are they really that tricky to create and maintain? And why should users ultimately care about these kinds of applications? To get the answers to these tough questions, I turned to BennyP--creator and sole maintainer of the WinPackMan package manager application. He's currently caught up in bringing this once-popular piece of software back from the dead, making him an ideal candidate for learning more about what's going on in the trenches of third-party Windows package manager development.
If you're ready to discover the dark secrets that separate Linux and Windows package managers... click the jump!
iPhone users beware. According to TheiPhoneBlog.com, some users running the 3.0 Beta firmware are finding out they're unable to redownload already purchased apps without paying for them all over again.
"You've already purchased this. You can redownload it for free on your computer, or tap Buy to buy it again," a message reads when attempting to redownload.
Coming to the iPhone (and available in the 3.0 Beta firmware) is the ability to manage and switch between iTunes accounts. Charging for redownloads might be the company's way of ensuring purchased content doesn't get shared between accounts. For example, logging into your account on a co-workers iPhone and 'redownloading' an app that was never purchased for it.
We'd like to know how you feel about this potential new policy. Hit the jump and sound off!
Sure, Apple’s app store has been known to make its fair share of senseless moves, but this one just about nears the top of the list. Recently they rejected Maza Digital’s Drivetrain, an app that would allow users to control the Transmission Bittorrent client from anywhere. Why? Because those that use it are infringing upon rights, of course!
Apple’s reason for denying the app was because “this category of applications is often used for the purpose of infringing third party rights.” So, while there are millions of legal torrents available and it’s quickly become one of the most popular ways to download files, those that use it are (and I’m paraphrasing here) criminal.
Well, at least you can still get Ze Frank’s free iPhone app. I wonder if they’ll try to deny it too?
In a flooded smart phone market, Google’s open source approach was a refreshing change, especially given the state of martial law many iPhone user’s live under. But with the removal of the tethering application from the mobile store, many users are starting to question just how open the platform really is. In defense of its actions, Google was forced to cite a passage from its distribution agreement with T-Mobile.
“Google enters into distribution agreements with device manufacturers and Authorized Carriers to place the Market software client application for the Market on Devices. These distribution agreements may require the involuntary removal of Products in violation of the Device manufacturer’s or Authorized Carrier’s terms of service”
When you pair this up with T-Mobiles terms of service which forbids tethering, Google suddenly appears to be legally bound to ban the application. This does however make us wonder what the future of Android will look like on other carriers. Will this lead to carrier specific app stores in the future? Users who purchase unlocked phones and use them on other carriers which permit tethering will probably want access to these types of applications. The big question is will they be able to?
With Google having opened Android Market to paid apps, users of the fledgling mobile platform are eagerly looking forward to an inevitable rise in the number of apps. Google, on its part, is trying its best to offer more reasons for Android users to exult.
And exult they will on hearing that the Android Market will let users return any application within 24 hours from the time of purchase. Google has stolen a march on Apple’s App Store by espousing an application return policy.
Also, users will be allowed unlimited reinstalls by Google. If any dispute arises - including billing issues - between a user and a developer, the two parties will have to settle it directly as Google is not interested in playing arbitrator. Another thing Google is not interested in is porn. The Android Market policies expressly prohibit “nudity, graphic sex acts, or sexually explicit material.”
Microsoft seems to have finally taken a cue from its competitors in the cellphone market and is planning to roll out an online marketplace – similar to Apple’s App Store – for the distribution of Windows Mobile applications, according to The Wall Street Journal. The online marketplace will allow developers to directly distribute their applications to Windows Mobile users.
The company is also on the verge of offering a new service called My Phone. It will let users store backups of their Windows Mobile phone’s data on the internet. The company won’t be charging any subscription charges, although iPhone users have to shelve out $99 per year for a similar offering. Other companies are dictating terms to Microsoft in the cellphone market and the company will have to make some changes to turn the tide.