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Bolt, new instant messaging app from Instagram, now available in select countries

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We talked about the Bolt service a few days back. The app is now officially available on iOS and Android, but only in New Zealand, Singapore, and South Africa for now.

Bolt lets you have a group of close friends that you can instantly send photos or videos to. Just tap on their contact name and it takes a photo and sends it. You can press and hold on the contact name to send a video. Just like with Snapchat, the photos and videos are not sent and are removed from your device when you swipe them away. Read more »

Premium life – iPhones to work as room keys in Hilton

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Starting next year Hilton will allow iPhone users to use their phones as hotel room keys. That means that you’ll be able to bypass the front desk of the hotel completely.

Currently as is iPhone users do have the Hilton app but upon walking into a hotel they’d still need to get a physical key with the app handling online check-in, reservations and such – Android users have the same deal going on but there’s no word on using your droid to unlock Hilton doors, although it should happen as well. Read more »

Cortana beats Siri in new Microsoft ad

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Microsoft has a new ad out and it pits Windows Phone 8.1′s virtual assistant Cortana against Apple’s own Siri in a fight to prove which is the best.

The assistants battle on the grounds of a Lumia 635 and iPhone 5s. Microsoft naturally picks its strong suits asking Cortana for things it knows it can do like set up a reminder for the next time a contact calls. Read more »

Instagram readying Snapchat competitor in the form of ‘Bolt’

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Snapchat’s incredible popularity has its competitors scrambling to come up with an equivalent service to engage the masses. Despite several attempts, no one has really managed to match Snapchat’s success.

After failing to acquire Snapchat, Facebook came up with the godawful Slingshot app, which I’m sure even Facebook employees aren’t using at this point, leave alone the average users. But Facebook has an ace up its sleeve in the form of Instagram, and so now they are using Instagram’s popularity to take on Snapchat. Read more »

The OneNote team made a parody ad celebrating Surface 3 integration

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Microsoft’s OneNote team has made its own ad, spoofing LMFAO’s Sexy and I Know It and transforming it into Click it an I Note it.

The video is not professionally made but it’s still fun to watch and does a good job of getting the attention the OneNote app wants. Underneath it all, the ad celebrates the fact that OneNote now has integration with the Microsoft Surface Pro 3. Read more »

Facebook to monetize its Messenger app, but how?

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If you have Facebook installed on your phone, then you’ve been harassed, at least once, to install the Facebook messenger application.

After you’ve caved in and gotten used to the intrusive chat heads feature, prepare for Facebook’s eventual monetizing of its popular app. Read more »

Explore Nearby sneaks into latest Google Maps

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Google is currently updating its Maps app on Android devices to version 8.2. Upon release we saw the changelog and it had biking elevation info, voice actions in navigation, better My Places menu but Google didn’t say anything about the Explore Nearby page.

Explore Nearby has been sighted by a couple of users and it manifests via a shortcut right next to the GPS button in the Maps interface. When you select it you’re taken to a separate menu that gives you information on where you are, what’s the weather and lists points of interests, broken down by the time of day. Read more »

Amazon unveils Kindle Unlimited subscription for $9.99 per month

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Amazon has made a new service official today. It’s called Kindle Unlimited and it provides all-you-can-read access to 600,000 books in the retailer’s portfolio, and it also lets you listen to thousands of audiobooks.

All of this costs $9.99 per month, hence why many people are calling it a ‘Netflix for books’. Read more »

Snapchat introduces geofilters

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Snapchat has added a new filter setting in the app called geofilters.

Now when you take a picture, just slide right and you will see a bunch of text filters that correspond to your location. You’ll only see filters for your location and it’s mostly just colorful text in fancy fonts and some images overlaid on your photos. If that’s something you’re into, then you have that option now. Read more »

Google rolls out updates to Maps, Play Games, Gmail, and more

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Following its announcement regarding the new Play Services 5.0 API update last week, Google is now delivering the goods with a plethora of updates to its services and applications.

Not only is the new Google Play Games 2.0 with level-up notifications and quest support being pushed out to users, but new updates to Gmail and Google Maps integrate Google Drive support and let you measure between map locations. Read more »

BBM arrives on Windows Phone, sort of

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BlackBerry has released their BBM application for the Windows Phone platform. After being exclusive to the BlackBerry OS since its inception, the app was released on iOS and Android last year but it took its usual time to arrive later on Windows Phone.

But even though the app is on Windows Phone now, you may not be able to download it. BlackBerry, in its infinite wisdom, as decided to keep it a private beta for now, so you will need an invite to be able to use the app on your Windows Phone device. Read more »

South Korea’s FTC forces Apple and Google to allow refunds for paid apps

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South Korean’s Fair Trade Commission has ordered Apple and Google to establish proper and user-friendly refund policies for the AppStore and the Play Store. This decision will probably impact many other regions as well.

The only way to get your money back from an AppStore purchase was through contacting Apple directly and opening a case. Google on the other hand allows you a full refund for an app within 15 minutes of purchase, but after that contacting Google through the proper channels is the only way. Read more »

Google Play Services 5.0 now live

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Google announced a major update to its Play Services API last month at Google I/O, and now it is being being rolled out to devices worldwide.

The new updates include services for Android wearables, security, Google Play games, Google Cast, Wallet, and many more. Read more »

Twitter “Buy now” buttons likely marks the arrival of Twitter Shopping

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Twitter could finally be incorporating its long-time-coming Shopping integration, as starting yesterday several tweets with “Buy now” buttons have surfaced.

Although pressing the buttons doesn’t yet do anything, it’s expected that full implementation with Fancy is right around the corner. Read more »

Android more than doubles app revenue in a year, narrows gap to iOS

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Android’s Google Play store has been slowly gaining ground to iOS, which has historically been the leader amongst all mobile app marketplaces in app revenue.

Quarterly app revenue has seen the most drastic improvement, with a 2.4x growth for the first quarter of this year compared to Q1 2013. Read more »