The biggest news this week is the announcement by Google that they have created the Nexus 7 Tablet, which will be available for $199 by July 4, in the Google Play market. The tablet will ship sometime in the middle of July.
The Nexus 7, built by Asus, is a seven-inch tablet, and is designed to compete with the Kindle Fire, and will feature content such as books, magazines, and movies. There is a bookmarking feature called “My Library,” which allows the user to stop reading and pick up from the stopping point. The Nexus 7 is two ounces lighter than the Kindle Fire, and has a richer HD screen and faster chips for graphics.
The Royal Bank of Scotland announced an app called Getcash. The app will allow users to withdraw up to a hundred pounds at a time at an ATM. The app will work at RBS, Natwest, and Tesco stores throughout the UK.
The user chooses the amount to be withdrawn, and receives a six-digit code via smartphone. The number is good for three hours, and is entered into the ATM to receive cash. This can also be used to text the code to a friend or relative, who can then withdraw the money. The app is free, and works on Android, iPhone, and BlackBerry.
Apple just announced the release of a free iPad app called SportStream. SportStream curates twitter feeds for sporting events based on what they call a “credibility database.” Users can follow their favorite sports teams and events live whether or not they can get the games on TV, and can communicate with friends or other fans during the games.
The app was produced in response to a Perform Sports Media Group study which indicated that 26 percent of US fans use social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook to follow their favorite sports teams and events. Users can get expert commentary on events from ex-officials, ex-coaches, and ex-players.
According to developer Will Hunsinger, “The concept is to enhance the live sports viewing experience rather than replace it.” Hunsinger goes on to say that being able to communicate and socialize with friends and fellow fans does, indeed, enhance the viewing experience.
ABC News and the ABC-Owned Television Stations Group recently announced major updates to both their ABC News and ABC Owned Television Stations local news apps for iPad. Highlights include a morning, afternoon, and evening edition of the news, available 24 hours a day, with exclusive interviews and videos.
The eight stations owned by ABC will provide customized editions with local news, weather, and traffic, with custom, city-themed screen designs. The Los Angeles app is already available in the iStore, and the remainder of the ABC Owned Television Stations group plans to release their apps sometime in the next few months.
ABC News created the first broadcast news app in 2010, and it was shortly followed by the local apps. Analysis of the usage indicates that apps are used at approximately the same time news programs are scheduled for television, and that the peak time is from 7-10 p.m.
The local editions are tiered with most “hard news” and local weather in the morning, with lifestyle and feature stories during the afternoon, and a “Primetime Edition” during the evening, that combines the best of the day and afternoon in a package that includes top world, national and local news stories.
The ABC News App also has exclusive content, including “5 Things to Know This Morning,” in which Josh Elliot features five top news stories. Other features include a “Lifestyle and Fun Section” and afternoon video updates. The free app is available at the App Store.
A team of scientists from the University of California at Berkeley has created an app called Carat, which helps the user improve the life of his or her mobile device battery. The team is composed of PhD and MS scientists from what UC Berkeley calls the AMP Lab (Algorithms, Machines, and People).
The app, which is free for iOS and Android, works with data complied from many apps and devices. The user gives the app permission to hack the device. The app sends the information back to computers at the AMP Lab. The computers then compare the information with that from their database, and then sends a report back within a week.
The report tells which apps are using a lot of battery power on everyone’s devices, called the “hogs,” and which apps are just using too much power on your device, called the “bugs.” The user can then decide to replace the apps that draw the most power, or use them in a limited capacity. Sometimes, simply rebooting the app or upgrading the OS fixes the problem.
The app sends estimates of how much power the user will save, and how much more battery time it will produce. It also provides graphs for users who are more visual, and provides what they call a “J-score,” which compares performance to that of other users.
A company out of Boston called Noyo has created an app for Kindle Fire called “Noyo Spanish Travel App.” The app, which costs $3.99, allows users to practice conversational Spanish and phrases they will need to navigate in Spanish-speaking countries. The app also doubles as an English-Spanish dictionary for quick translations.
The app combines colorful graphics with built-in test questions and interactive elements. It contains over 700 essential words for extended vacations, and even covers multiple pronunciations of words. Phrases and words cover things like directions, transportation, and ordering food in restaurants. The app provides the user enough background that he or she can communicate with locals on a basic level.
Facebook has announced a new Find Friends Nearby app. The app allows users to see others in their vicinity who are using the app. The app, abbreviated “FNN,” works with the phone’s GPS system to find people within a specified radius. The app is free for iOS or Android, and can be accessed by going to http://fb.com/ffn from your phone’s browser. It can also be accessed by going to Facebook’s menu and going to “apps,” then “find friends,” then “other tools,” then “find friends nearby.”