Since the removal of YouTube, and Maps as preloaded Google apps within iOS, Google has been especially adept at developing its own set of iOS apps. We previously detailed how Google wants to own the iOS ecosystem on the apps level, providing users with an alternative universe to most of the core features of Apple’s mobile operating system. It appears Google now has a dedicated iOS app team which builds cohesive apps rather than having each business unit build its own apps. Read more
A Google Zombie iPhone?
With Android now on 75 percent of all smartphones sold, and Apple and Samsung battling in and out of court for the top vendor position, the smartphone wars usually come down to units sold. Apple vs. Samsung. Android vs. iOS. Less of a focus has been Google’s steady invasion of iOS, providing users with an alternative universe to most of the core features of Apple’s mobile operating system. The importance of Google’s ecosystem of iOS apps has never been more apparent than following the recent controversy over the removal of YouTube and Google Maps as default features of iOS. Apple realized the necessity of controlling key experiences on iOS, such as Maps, but it is running into a backlash from users in the process. It is not just facing competition from Android vendors; it is also now engaged in a struggle to keep Google from creating its own layer on top of iOS.
Google’s iOS apps are not just driving iPhone and iPad users to use Google services instead of Apple’s; they are increasingly an important aspect of the iOS experience for a large amount of users. Sixty-one percent of iOS users in our own polls said they were hesitant to even update to iOS 6 because of Apple’s new Maps app, many of which are still waiting for a standalone Google Maps app that Apple has yet to approve. Some say the Maps fiasco coupled with Siri might have even led to the departure of long-time iOS chief Scott Forstall, which many think could result in a new direction for iOS. What this means for Google’s presence on iOS going forward remains to be seen, but Apple does not appear to be ignoring the control Google’s apps have over its users.
Gmail version 1.3.1: The Gmail iOS app was updated today with the ability to open web links within the Chrome iOS app instead of Safari. A handful of bug fixes were also included.
Tumblr version 3.1.0: Tumblr’s iPhone app gets a nice update that brings improvements to notifications, the ability to discover new blogs to follow via Facebook or your contacts and an option for your friends to sign up within the app itself. Other improvements included in the update: you can now track specific tags, a fast re-blog option by tapping and holding the re-blog icon and the ability to send fan mail. There are also some new sharing options when holding the “Like” button.
Minecraft – Pocket Edition version 0.4.0: A major release for the Pocket Edition of Minecraft includes a ton of new features, items, tweaks and bug fixes. A full list of what is new is below:
- Chests for storing items!
- Beds for skipping to dawn (day and nights are now longer), and set your spawn point to the bed’s position.
- Creepers and TNT (use flint and steel to ignite)!
- Added food. Eat it to restore health.
- Farming; wheat, seeds and hoe.
- Peaceful mode setting: healing and no monsters.
- Trapdoor, new dyes and a few new recipes.
+ More: close to 20 bug fixes and tweaks, e.g. monsters spawned when bright, client fall damage.
Plants vs. Zombies version 1.9.5: Along with full HD support for the new Retina iPad, PopCap updated all the Plants vs. Zombies iOS apps today with five new levels, three new achievements and new weapons and game modes:
Users can stream email threads and replies, preview aggregated attachments in a tab, quickly reply or compose inline, archive messages, and even add a to-do list with the new design concept that claims to run on any web browser.
Sparrow is a great success as a Mac-only application, and now Fluent hopes to balance the playing field and snag users whom are in dire need of a new Gmail look and functionality. Fluent’s website specifically praises its workflow ability, multiple accounts options, and “blazing” fast search-as-you-type filter.
The streaming email UI is the work of three former Googlers who quit the Mountain View, Calif.-based Company. BusinessInsider said Cameron Adams, Dhanji Prasanna, and Jochen Bekmann left because designers were “less valuable” than engineers at Google, and they felt disconnected from Google’s culture while operating from across the world in Sydney, Australia…
Google has just started rolling out an update to the Gmail app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch with a few new welcomed features. First off, users now have the ability to set a custom signature for messages as well as a vacation responder. Both of those new features will be available via the gear icon at the top of the app’s new menu. The update also includes support for nested labels and the usual “bug fixes and UI improvements”.
A new Scribbles feature allows you to open a canvas, draw a picture or sketch with multiple colors, brush sizes and line elements, and attach it to a message within Gmail. Scribbles is available now in both the Gmail iOS app and Gmail mobile web app. Another notable and highly requested change is a new notification sound on iOS 5, making it easier to tell when you’ve received an email
Google also mentioned in their blog post that they are continuing to work on some of the most requested features from users including multiple login support, banner notifications, and a “send as” feature to send mail from multiple accounts within the app.
iOS 5 includes support for China’s QQ, 163.com, and 126.com email services – in the same way that the mobile operating system for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch supports services like MobileMe and GMail. As Apple attempts to make a bigger impact on the Chinese market, adding new support for mainstream Chinese services is critical. Apple COO Tim Cook was recently spotted meeting with China Mobile executives ahead of a rumored deal to bring the iPhone to the world’s largest carrier. Read more