Google's I/O developer conference kicks off today in San Francisco, and perhaps as a preview of things to come, The Verge reported yesterday that freemium apps on Google Play now account for 98 percent of worldwide revenue for the Android platform. Curiously, Japan is billed as "the world's biggest spender" on in-app purchases thanks to "addictive mobile games," but here's hoping this trend doesn't absorb the iOS App Store as well. Here's a handful of other tidbits you might have missed on Tuesday...
Apple's Siri voice assistant received a new challenge Wednesday as Microsoft debuted a similar long-rumored feature for Windows Phone 8.1 called Cortana. Powered by Bing search, Cortana (named after a virtual character from the Halo video games) appears to have a lot of Siri's personality, but will only be available to U.S. users as a beta when Windows Phone 8.1 launches in the next month or two. Sound familiar?
Anyone who’s ever been stuck at a nightclub, concert, or sporting event with spotty wireless connectivity knows the frustration of being unable to ping friends or family waiting nearby. That no longer has to be the case thanks to FireChat, a free messaging app for iPhone that takes advantage of the Multipeer Connectivity framework introduced with iOS 7. This service allows nearby devices to discover and communicate with each other using peer-to-peer Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, even in areas where an Internet connection is unavailable.
A big week for stories about Apple competitors. There's a real rogues' gallery of names here from Google to Samsung from Microsoft to Amazon. And if you're a fan of the actor Christian Bale, then you're in for a treat. Meanwhile, it's not too early to start thinking about your summer vacation. All that and more beneath the fold.
Mobile chat services are great, until you don't have an internet connection and the conversation goes dark. That's where FireChat could potentially come in, tapping into the power of iOS 7 to offer chat with other users near and far.