As we’ve seen time and again, having the most overall market share doesn’t guarantee that Android gets the best apps before iOS does. If you want more examples of this, look no further than the two new mobile games that Bethesda announced at E3 this week that are coming to iOS first and to Android at some undetermined point in the future.
BACKGROUND: Here’s why iOS keeps getting all the best apps before Android does
Fallout Shelter is a mobile game set in the Fallout universe that’s meant to whet our appetites for Fallout 4, which will release in November. The game is available on iOS right now and Bethesda says it will release it for Android at some point. The Elder Scrolls Legends, meanwhile, is a Hearthstone-style card game that will be coming to Windows and iOS in the near future but not Android.
The reasons iOS gets the best apps before Android does are pretty simple: iOS users are more likely to pay for apps and microtransactions, there’s less piracy on iOS than there is on Android, and Apple has gone out of its way to make lives easier for developers with initiatives such as its Swift programming language. Add to this the extreme fragmentation of the Android platform and you can see why developers are much more drawn to release for iOS first.
If you’re interested in trying Fallout Shelter, you can download it for free right here.
Now that the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge have become the first devices with software updates not directly handled by Google to get Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, you may be wondering when this version of the OS will land on other phones.
For example, the LG G3. The G4, this year’s flagship, launched running Android 5.1, but its predecessor is still on 5.0. Unfortunately though, things may not change for a while.
According to the official Facebook account of LG’s arm in Greece, the company currently has no plans to update the G3 to Android 5.1 Lollipop.
No additional details have been provided, but it may just be that LG is planning a jump straight to Android M for the G3. Yet if that’s so, it means last year’s flagship probably won’t be getting a big software update until next year. This situation could render G3 owners quite impatient.
Hopefully this was nothing but a miscommunication from the people handling that Facebook page for LG. Otherwise, its customers probably won’t be too happy.
Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6, the flagship handsets that were launched running Android 5.0 Lollipop, have reportedly started receiving the Android 5.1.1 Lollipop update.
As per the latest report, the Android 5.1.1 Lollipop update is being rolled out over the air (OTA) to T-Mobile users in the US, but is also available through the Samsung Kies software. Samsung has not officially announced the roll-out of Android 5.1.1 Lollipop update for the flagships. However, since the latest firmware’s rollout has begun in the US, it is safe to expect the update to reach other regions including India soon.
Besides including several bug fixes for the devices, the latest Android 5.1.1 Lollipop update for Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge is said to introduce small yet useful features. The update, according to Sammobile, now comes with an easier to use exposure control system for the handset’s camera alongside a wallpaper with parallax effect, which we first saw on iPhone devices. Several other user interface changes such as option to remove S Finder and quick connect buttons from the notifications section, have also been included in the latest OS version. The overall performance of the smartphones is said to have improved as well.
Android 5.1.1 Lollipop was earlier this month rolled out to Android One smartphones in India. Android 5.1.1 is also anticipated to bring a fix for the memory leak issue, a bug that plagued Android 5.0 Lollipop users and even haunted some users on Android 5.1 Lollipop.
Meanwhile Samsung on Monday introduced the Emerald Green colour variant of the Galaxy S6 Edge in India. The smartphone until now was only present in White Pearl, Black Sapphire and Gold Platinum colour variants. The new colour variant will be available in 32GB inbuilt storage version only.
Google has quietly launched a Free App of the Week program in the Google Play store, giving Android users a little something to look forward to every seven days.
The first offering of the lot is Daniel Tiger Grr-ific Feelings, a $3 educational app from PBS with a set of games and activities for kids aged two to five. It’s buried in the Google Play’s Family section, and you’ll need to navigate there to get the offer or click here to get the app for free.
Google previously hasn’t had a mechanism to offer paid apps for free — once a developer lists their paid app as free, they can’t change it back and charge money for it again. The new deal uses an automatically applied discount code that brings the app’s cost down to zero.
It’s not yet clear how developers can opt into the program. We’ve contacted Google to find out more and will update this post when we hear back.
➤ Google Play Offers Its First Free App Of The Week—A PBS App Tucked Away In The Family Section [Android Police]
Read next: Creative Commons is building a mobile app to kill stock photos
Jagdish Shrimali asked if “it is necessary to install antivirus software on an android mobile device?”
It may not be necessary, but it’s still a very good idea. There’s definitely Android malware out there. While the level of the threat may be exaggerated, it’s really a matter of being better safe than sorry.
[Have a tech question? Ask PCWorld Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector. Send your query to email@example.com.]
You can’t go far without reading horror stories about Android malware. For instance, last fall, hackers discovered a way to hide malicious Android code in images. And just this March, Palo Alto Networks announced the discovery of an Android vulnerability that could impact half of current Android users.
Not surprisingly, Google wants to reassure users that the problem is under control. The company avoids the word malware, preferring the seemingly less scary Potentially Harmful Applications (PHA—which, when you think about it, could also stand for Perfectly Horrid Antagonist). According to Google’s first ever Android Security Year in Review report, last year only one percent of Android devices caught malware (I’m not about to start calling them PHAs). And when you count only devices that download exclusively from Google’s own Play store, the number drops to 0.15 percent.
Of course, those are Google’s statistics.
But more objective experts also suspect the danger is exaggerated. Tech journalist Bill Snyder, author of Infoworld’s “Tech’s Bottom Line” column and a colleague of mine, argues that the Android malware threat has been overblown by companies that profit from your fears. “Whether you’re hawking handguns or security software, scaring the bejesus out of your potential customer base is often a winning ploy.”
Snyder also argues that the actual number of bad actors out there is small. “You’d have to dig very, very deep into that humongous store of Web pages to find actual examples of serious mobile exploits—because there are almost none.”
I suspect Bill is right, but I still take precautions. I have Avast Mobile Security running on my phone at all times (I make no claims that it’s better than its competitors). And I only download apps from the Play Store.
apanese messaging app Line is bolstering its dominance in Japan with a paid on-demand music streaming service featuring an initial catalog of more than 1.5 million songs.
Line Music is an app and a Tokyo subsidiary that began streaming music in Japan by domestic and foreign artists on Thursday.
The catalog covers music from about 30 labels and publishers, including Sony Music Entertainment Japan, in genres including classical, dance music and J-pop, or Japanese pop. Line plans to expand the catalog to 5 million songs this year, and aims for over 30 million in 2016.
Those on iOS and Android platforms will get to try the service for free for two months, after which they’ll be charged ¥1,000 ($8.11) per month for unlimited access, or ¥500 for 20 hours. There’s also a plan for students from ¥300. A browser version of the service will begin in July so users can access it via PC.
Songs can be sent to and played on the Line messaging app and shared with friends. Users without a Line Music subscription can listen to 30 seconds of a song and share it with others.
The launch follows Line’s debut last month of Line Music Thailand, which offers unlimited access for 60 Thai baht ($1.78) per month. The Japanese service also comes days after the announcement of Apple Music, which Apple is offering at $9.99 per month, with a six-member family subscription running $14.99 per month.
Known for its cartoonish emoticon characters, also called stickers, Line was launched in the months after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated northern Japan and enjoyed skyrocketing growth.
It now claims over 200 million monthly active users, about 17 billion messages exchanged every day and the top share for messaging apps in Japan, Thailand and Taiwan. There are 13 countries where it has more than 10 million users.
The subsidiary of South Korean Internet portal Naver has diversified into offering a ride-hailing service in Japan, going up against Uber and Hailo. While Line’s new streaming service shows that it wants to bolster its base as it eyes further expansion overseas, it faces massive competition in North America from the likes of WhatsApp.
“Stickers and emoji are very popular in the U.S. and we are leveraging that position,” Line CEO Takeshi Idezawa said last month, just a few weeks after taking charge of the company. “Our biggest strategy is to look at the trends of individual markets and localize to meet those trends,” he said.
Let’s face it: some of the tasks we do every day are pretty mundane. Maybe even downright boring. Yet, we still have to do them. Whether it’s checking email and making sure we’ve responded to all of the appropriate messages, or remembering to write that daily report every single day, there’s a lot of stuff do to. But staying motivated to complete even the most tedious of tasks doesn’t have to be a chore in itself. Here are three apps that make it downright fun.
You may not think a simple string of green dots could motivate you to get things done. But that just means you’re not familiar with Wonderful Day, a 99-cent iOS app.
In some ways, Wonderful Day isn’t all that different from you basic task manager or to-do list app. It lets you add a list of tasks or activities, lets you tell the app how often you’d like them done – every day, every Monday, every weekday, or something similar. You also can tell the app what time of day the activity needs to be done, and set a reminder if you need one.
Once the task is complete for the day, you check it off in the app, and you begin building a chain of green dots. The goal is to keep building the chain without breaking it, with the idea that the more often you do something, the more likely it is to become a habit. And while green dots don’t sound terribly motivating, they actually are when you look at them – especially when you see a lengthy chain that you don’t want to break. Wonderful Day also awards medals when you create a lengthy chain.
Wonderful Day is not designed for one-off tasks, so it won’t motivate you to finish that massive year-end report. But it’s very easy – and fun! – to use, so if you’re looking for a simple way to stay on top of those daily to-dos, Wonderful Day is for you.
If building a chain of green dots doesn’t sound like enough of a game for you,HabitRPG may be just what you need. This free app for Android and iOS (with a Web version, too), turns your entire life into a game. And yes, it can help you become more productive along the way.
HabitRPG lets you add habits (both good and bad), daily tasks (called “Dailies”), and to-dos. Doing so is easier on the Web version than it is on the mobile app, which isn’t as intuitive. When you complete one of your good items, HabitRPG rewards you with experience, which allows you to level up in the game, and gold, which you can use to purchase items from the app or from your own list of rewards. The in-app rewards are items like swords for your avatar, which can give you a boost in the game, or items that you choose, like taking a break to play another video game. If you complete a bad habit – and own up to it – you damage the health of your avatar, a primitive looking figure you can customize to your liking.
HabitRPG can boost your productivity if you follow its rules, but setting it up and remembering to mark off the items you do or don’t complete can be something of a time suck. Its graphics are rudimentary, so sophisticated game players may be turned off, too. But it’s simple enough to use and offers a fun way to stay on top of all those boring tasks you need to complete.
Saving money. It’s something we all should be doing, whether we’re trying to pay down a debt or launch a new business. But, honestly, it’s just not all much fun. Saveup, a free iOS app, tries to make it more enjoyable by rewarding you for making good financial decisions.
To use Saveup, you link your various financial accounts, from credit cards to mortgage loans and savings accounts. I found this process simple, as Saveup included direct links for adding accounts from national banks, like Chase and Bank of America, as well as those from small banks, like the one down the street from my house. When you make a smart financial decision, such as paying down a credit card or putting money in a 401K account, Saveup rewards you with credits. You earn 1 credit for every $2 paid to a credit card or every $1 added to your savings. You also earn credits for adding accounts and watching educational videos.
Once you earn enough credits, you can exchange them for a chance to win various prizes, which include items like store and restaurant gift cards, money, and even cars and vacations. The games you play to win the prizes, which typically include revealing digital cards and looking for matches, feel a lot like you’re playing a scratch lottery ticket, albeit virtually. They’re fun, but they do seem slightly out of place in an app that’s touting financial responsibility. Still, Saveup is easy to use and it makes saving money seem fun and exciting.