Nokia to Rebrand all its Navigation & Mapping Services to “HERE.” [NEWS] #MWC2013


Nokia Here and Now

MWC, Barcelona:

Nokia is taking one more step to push its mapping and devices services as a standalone business. Today, the company announced during the handset maker’s press conference at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that it would be rebranding all of its Nokia-branded mapping and navigation services as “HERE” going forward.

The Here suite comes pre-installed on the Lumia 520 and includes HERE Maps, HERE Drive and HERE Transit — a public transport guide “that you can use even in unfamiliar surroundings” Nokia’s design chief Marko Ahtisaari said today. You can pin your home location on it as well — and use that as the base for all the data. “These personal experiences are meant to help you spend more time engaging in the world around you rather than navigating your smartphone,” he said.

The company is also adding more functionality and integration into HERE, by integrating it with Sight — an augmented reality service that lets you take pictures of places to help you initiate maps and navigation functionalities. “We want to bring Sight and Location to more and more applications,” he noted.

The move is a sign of how Nokia continues to keep advancing its mapping business as a standalone effort, and as a revenue stream that may grow through partnerships with others, while it continues to exist as a suite of services for Nokia devices themselves. It could also be a sign that so far that effort has not had as much traction as Nokia would have hoped — perhaps because of the association with Nokia.

[ Image Credit: Engadget ]

Yesterday, Nokia was revealed as one of the launch app makers for the Firefox OS platform. Mozilla and its partners are taking a route (a gamble, some might argue) not focused on native apps but HTML5-based web apps to fill out content for the new smartphone platform.

This also follows along with Nokia’s intention, when it first launched the HERE brand for maps last year, to make the service available via APIs both for other Windows Phone handset makers as well as developers on Android and other platforms.

In an Interview yesterday, CEO of Nokia Stephen Elop noted the importance of Nokia’s navigation and mapping efforts and how it’s part of Nokia stepping back from being a strong brand in all cases — quite a sea change for the company.

“Instead of hearing us talk about Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive, you’ll here us talking about HERE Maps and HERE Drive but we’ll also be talking about those capabilities, or some of those capabilities being taken across a broader collection of Windows Phone devices, beyond Nokia devices,” he said.

Lets see Do we Hear about HERE in Future or will or still be called Nokia Maps, Nokia Drives. Post your opinions as comments below.

[-via TechCrunch]

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 which comes with a Hovering S Pen ! #MWC2013


Samsung-galaxy-note-8

MWC 2013, Barcelona:

Samsung’s newest Note, The Galaxy 8.0, an updated, larger Galaxy Note from Samsung was inevitable. Given the undeniable popularity of mid-size tablets it’s no surprise the Korean electronics giant would want to strengthen its grip in a category it helped create. It was just three short years ago that Samsung introduced the Galaxy Tab and now, three Notes later, it’s ready to perfect the one-handed experience. With this new Note, the company’s culled the best of what’s around its Galaxy into an 8-inch form factor, housing a 1,280 x 800 TFT display, Exynos 4 Quad with 2GB RAM (clocked at 1.6GHz), TouchWiz-skinned Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2 OS, S Pen (and suite of associated apps), as well as radios for HSPA+ and WiFi into that familiar, lightweight plastic body.

Hardware View:

But that extra inch alone isn’t the Galaxy Note 8.0’s main attraction. Samsung’s wisely made use of the additional screen real estate to bundle two extra features. Building upon market research that indicates over 80-percent of tablet use takes place within the living room, the company’s partnered with Peel for its Smart Remote app, a visual programming guide with remote control functions baked-in that comes pre-loaded on the tab. And, in keeping with its portrait oriented design, the Note 8.0 also incorporates what the company calls “reading mode,” effectively optimizing the slate’s display for comfortable e-book use.

If you’ve spent any amount of time with the Note II, you’ll know what to expect from the Note 8.0 as its external design is incredibly similar. You get the same all around plastic build — ringed here with metal — ports for microSD and micro-SIM, 3.5mm headphone jack and physical home key. But where the Note 8.0 strays is one of its key improvements: users can now effect the capacitive menu and back buttons using the S Pen.

Admittedly, it takes a bit of retraining to get used to — you’ll want to use your finger out of habit — but it’s a wonder Samsung took so long to implement something so crucial. So, you can officially hang up that gripe right now. The S Pen comes with a functionality which can be named as “Hovering.” Samsung’s S Pen stylus has been upgraded to work both on the touchscreen of the Note 8.0 as well as with the physical navigation buttons, and Samsung is also extending the functionality of the pen in other ways. And the Air View feature, where users can initiate previews by hovering their pen over something without touching the screen, is now getting expanded to third party apps. The first of these is a new version of the Flipboard social newsreading app, where users can select and expand a tile by hovering the pen over a selection.

At 338 grams (11.9 ounces), the Note 8.0’s not much heavier than the iPad mini and as it’s made to be held one-handed, you shouldn’t feel much wrist strain with extended use. We were able to comfortably grip the entire back of the 7.95mm thick tablet, which measures 210.8mm x 135.9mm (8.3 x 5.4 inches), in our hand while navigating with the S Pen in the other. The Note 8.0’s back is non-removable, but that bit’s rendered moot by the accessibility of the microSD and micro-SIM slots on the tablet’s left edge and a sealed 4,600mAh battery.

With a 1.6GHz Eynos 4 Quad CPU and 2GB RAM under the hood, you’d expect the Note 8.0 to showcase nothing but brisk performance. Unfortunately, that didn’t appear to be the case as there were occasional moments where the tablet seemed toslightly hesitate before executing actions — things like dual window view for multitasking or simple app launches. This being the tablet’s official unveiling, it’s quite possible the model we handled could still benefit from software optimization. So, we’ll refrain from passing definitive judgement until a final review unit is in our hands. Apart from that, viewing angles held up well and display brightness shouldn’t pose a major issue outdoors in bright sunlight. Though, it is weird to see a Samsung product without an AMOLED screen — this one’s TFT.

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Reading mode and Smart Remote are clearly the Note 8.0’s two biggest software features, but to make the tab just a bit more alluring, Samsung’s pre-loading two other applications suited to the Note 8.0’s form and function. Out of the box, users will have access to an S Pen-optimized version of Flipboard which enables Air View hover functionality and headline previews from the main tile page (up to three, in our experience). Also, as a first for Android and Samsung, Awesome Note (a cloud-based annotation app previously available only on iOS) has been integrated into the device as a free service, exclusive to the OEM for one year.

With the Note 8.0, Samsung is also ushering in a couple of new developments on the apps front, in addition to the new version of Flipboard.

In keeping with Samsung’s original vision of the Note acting as a kind of organizer and productivity device — more screen than a phone for planning; but smaller than a tablet to make it portable — Samsung has scooped an exclusive on a new Android app launch. Awesome Note, a note-taking that lets you track progress and make lists across different categories, has up to now only been available for iOS devices, where the full edition of the app for iPad retails at $4.99.

Now developers Bird are releasing an Android version, and while this will also be sold as a paid app in the Google Play store, Samsung will be bundling it as a free app on the Note 8.0 “for at least a year,” according to Michael Lin, marketing manager, Samsung Electronics.

Other apps that will be preloaded on the device include the newest version (2.0) of Chat-On, Samsung’s cross-platform, cross-media group and direct messaging service; Reading Mode that modifies the screen brightness for reading; and Smart Remote, Samsung’s universal remote control and electronic program guide, playing into the fact that nowadays a lot of consumers (80% in the U.S., claims Samsung) use a second device like a tablet while watching TV

We’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that the global version of the Note 8.0 also packs HSPA+ 21 connectivity (850/900/1900/2100MHz). So, yes, you will be able to hold it up to your head and make voice calls however silly that may look. Of course, it’s more likely that prospective users will want to pair the tab with earbuds and thus reduce the risk of public humiliation. But this voice call perk won’t be heading stateside. Samsung’s confirmed to us that, as of now, the US market will see a WiFi-only variant and its specs could change slightly, too. An LTE variant is also on deck.

Details on pricing and regional release dates are still be announced. Just don’t hold your breath for that news to come this week. What we do know for certain is that there’ll be two storage configurations — 16GB and 32GB — for the global unit’s launch sometime this second quarter. So while you wait for the Note 8.0 to make its slow crawl to market, check out the demo video and feel free to drop in your comments below.

[via Engadget, TechCrunch]

Nvidia Announces “Project Shield” Handheld Gaming Console Running Android : [CES 2013]


Project Shield is a handheld gaming console running pure, unmodified Android. At its core is the newly announce Tegra 4 ARM chip, but that’s not all.

1-6-2013 9-40-04 PM

The device looks like a standard wireless controller with a flip-up screen. Around the back are I/O ports, and there’s no proprietary nonsense here. HDMI, USB, microSD, and and audio jack. Jen-Hsun Huang even used Project Shield to push a 4K video over HDMI to a 4K TV. Both the gamepad controls and the touchscreen can be used to navigate the Android UI.

Because this is running a full version of Android, all the games you see in Google Play (and more specifically Tegra Zone) will be available on Shield. This is looking like a killer product.

Now Whats the Surprise Pack??

Nvidia slipped a surprise into their CES press conference this evening: a short and sweet look at Dead Trigger 2. As the only technical demo for the screaming Tegra 4 platform, it looked mighty impressive – based on the streaming video, the graphics look just a little behind the Xbox 360/Playstation 3 level. The short demo video showed live game video of the player wielding an M4 machine gun to dispatch an enormous building-sized zombie.

Unfortunately, Madfinger wasn’t on hand to elaborate, so anything beyond the brief look here is speculation. Based on the success of the original zombie shooter, they’ll probably be using the same free-to-play model as before. Expect to hear more about Dead Trigger 2 at the very latest.

BlueStacks – Rumored to bring Android Apps To WindowsRT Devices, Hits 5Million Installs.


new-bluestacks-logo

It appears that BlueStacks isn’t just a flash in the pan. The Silicon Valley-based start up, which makes software that allows users to run their Android apps on Macs and PCs, said today that it has passed 5 million organic installs through its homepage. Vanity stats like this are annoying, yes, but what’s notable is that BlueStacks hit this milestone in under eight months. And the news comes on top of its recent partnerships with AMD and Asus, which have announced their intention to pre-load BlueStacks’ technology on over 100 million units.

In September, BlueStacks announced a partnership with chipmaker AMD, which brought its app catalog to AMD-powered Windows 7 and Windows 8 machines through the launch of its new app store, AppZone. As Sarah pointed out at the time, much like AppUp, Intel’s app store for PCs that “has been optimized to run on Intel-powered Ultrabooks,” with AppZone, the chipmaker optimized BlueStacks’ technology for AMD GPUs and APUs.

Of course, it was only a matter of time before the chipmakers began implementing the startup’s technology, as AMD was the lead strategic investor in BlueStacks’ $6.4 million series B raise in October of last year. The round brought the company’s total investment to $15 million and saw AMD join investors like Andreessen Horowitz, Ignition Ventures, Citrix and Qualcomm.

It’s unusual for software makers and manufacturers like Citrix, Qualcomm and AMD to show up on the same roster of investors, yet, as Sarah said, it was a demonstration of an eagerness among investors to leverage the Windows ecosystem as a platform to run Android apps.

The partnerships with AMD and Asus and its backing from Qualcomm also set the stage for BlueStacks to team up with additional manufacturers to pre-install its technology on PCs. The big-picture goal for the startup is to help bring the some 750K Android apps to each and every one of the billion-plus PC users out there. It’s a sizable opportunity, another part of the reason investors (and chipmakers) are eager to test the waters.

BlueStacks’ technology allows users to run graphics-intensive Android apps on desktop PCs via its patent-pending “Layercake” technology, which initially enabled Android apps to be compatible with x86-based PCs, followed by Macs, and now includes those developed for ARM processors — Angry Birds Space and Fruit Ninja being two familiar examples. (More on this below.)

The company has been looking to build a developer platform, as well, and has been partnering with the makers of apps like Fruit Ninja, SliceIt!, Townsmen, Evernote, StumbleUpon and Barnes & Noble (Nook). The main selling point being that developers don’t have to modify or port their apps to run them on PCs, which means less heavy lifting for those who have already developed apps for Android.

Screen shot 2012-12-06 at 3.08.44 PMTo this point, HandyGames CEO Christopher Kassulke let it slip last night at Mobile Gaming Europe that HandyGames will be launching their uber popular Clouds and Sheep as a PC game using BlueStacks. And the more big app development houses begin signing on, the more BlueStacks thinks that it’s helping to create a crack in the wall between mobile and PC gaming.

But here’s what could be most exciting for developers (and users) looking at developing for (or buying) Windows mobile devices. The newly released Windows RT, for those unfamiliar, is a special version of Windows 8 built for mobile (specifically ARM) devices — so, really, tablets. If somehow you haven’t noticed, Microsoft has been pushing its new Surface tablets pretty aggressively since their initial release in late October, partly manifesting through that snappy, percussive ad campaign you’ve probably seen by now on the tube. The main mobile OS being offered by the Surface? Windows RT.

As of now, consumers can buy a number of ARM-powered Windows RT devices, and there are more coming. But Surface currently has the highest profile among these tablets and devices, yet, the problem is that they’re not selling as well as Microsoft would have hoped. According to Tech Report, MSFT’s initial order of 4 million Surface devices has been cut in half thanks to slow sales.

Leaving the device itself out of it, probably the biggest reason for this boils down to apps. Compared to iOS and Android, few developers have built native apps for Windows 8. Even if consumers want to buy the Surface, many would rather opt for an Android or iOS device, because they offer far more access to the apps we’ve all grown accustomed to using on a daily basis.

So, naturally, rumors have begun to mount that BlueStacks’ next project will be to make its tech available to Windows RT users. As evidenced in this forum, hilariously, it appears that Microsoft salespeople have even begun to suggest using BlueStacks if users want to buy a Windows device and get access to Android apps.

The Droid Guy was one of the first to pick up on the BlueStacks, Windows RT rumors, as a BlueStacks team member recently divulged in a separate forum that the company was in the process of bringing those 750K+ Android apps to Windows RT. BlueStacks Engineer Deepak Sharma, via The Droid Guy: “We are considering offering BlueStacks for Windows RT next year.”

BlueStacks team members approached by TechCrunch would not confirm that this is in fact happening, but from what we’ve been able to gather from other sources, it seems there’s a good chance this could happen in early 2013.

However, as The Droid Guy points out, Microsoft’s Windows Defender could pose problems in this regard, as it could force BlueStacks to release its own app on the Windows Store, which, knowing Microsoft, would likely be disapproved. Until then, BlueStacks works well with Windows 8 Pro-based tablets and devices, but if BlueStacks is able to produce an ARM version of its technology, this could be a big boost both for the startup and for those looking for access to a viable app platform on their new Windows device.

With support for both ARM and Windows 8 Pro, developers could significantly increase their distribution without having to develop native apps for Windows devices — great for them but, again, not something that Microsoft is likely to get too jazzed about.

For more, find BlueStacks at home here.

Screen shot 2012-12-06 at 3.10.26 PM

(-via TC)

Wave I, II Get Android 4.0 [ROOTED] [COMPLETE] :


Its Raining Android

For all the ‘Wavers’,here’s a good news. We here have brought Android 4.0 to your Wave Devices. By not wasting more time, Below Are The Steps For Rooting Your Phone:

How to ROOT a Wave:

1) Copy and/or replace the given “zImage” in your phone memory with this one here >> Click zImage
2) Use the Unlock Root tool to root your wave >> Click Here
3) Download Unlock Root tool from above link and install it.
4) Connect your Android on Samsung Wave to your PC and make sure the USB debugging is switched on.
5) Click on root.
6) It will ask to install a driver, click on install driver anyway , it should be the second option (in Win 7)
7) Wait for root to complete and Done

For Latest Android 4.0 CFW Firmwares for Wave I & Wave II Click here

Polish Blood Android 4.0 Alpha Release.

If you are UNABLE TO ROOT your Wave from the above process then follow the steps below:

UPDATE

The steps below are for 64bit Systems Windows 7

If you are UNABLE TO ROOT your Wave from the above process then follow the steps below:

1. Download the SDK from android website : CLICK HERE

2. Now open the Android SDK Manager, then only tick at Google USB driver and Uncheck everything else

3. Click on the  “Install 1 package.” button. Wait until finish.

4. Now go to device manager. Search for Samsung.

5. Right click then choose update driver. Choose Manual instead of automatic.

6. Browse to C:\Users\\AppData\Local\Android\android-sdk\extras\google\usb_driver

7. Click Ok and wait until the installation is finished.

8. If you haven’t downloaded the UnlockRoot tool CLICK HERE

9. Download and Install the Unlock Root Tool.

10. Open Unlock Root program on your PC. Click “Root” button. Then there will be pop up. Click on Samsung Wave Android ICS 4.0.4

11. Wait again until the program boots your Wave.

12. Your wave is now rooted.

For Android Firmwares for Wave I and Wave II Click here

(via DK, badahub)
(NOTE: processes told , downloads from this site should be done at your own risk. Neither MobileGameroids nor the authors, the sources will be responsible for any loss.)

Google Nexus 7 tablet, a 7 inch HD Gaming Engine with Quad Core.


n e X u s 7

All Gamer’s and Tech Savvy’s, here’s good news for you all as Google’s Nexus 7, Developed and Branded by Asus is out !!

In Detail :

Just as Google’s developer conference was getting started, details of the company’s rumored Nexus 7 tablet emerged. As previously reported, it is a 7-inch tablet powered by a Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor that will run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and come in 8GB ($199) and 16GB versions ($249).

The display is true high-def — 1280×800, so a bit better than 720p — and there’s a front-facing 1.2-megapixel camera and microphone for video chatting, though there’s no rear-facing camera. It also has a micro USB port, GPS, near-field communication and both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. There’s no mention of an SD card slot for expanding the memory, however.

Not surprisingly, it was built by Asus, the manufacturer that had already made the most headway with quad-core gamer-friendly Android tablets.

Clearly, at a starting price of $199, the Nexus 7 is positioned to compete with the similarly 7-inch Kindle Fire, rather than taking on the 9.7-inch iPad (and the 10.6-inch Surface tablet from Microsoft). And because, with all of those tablets, content seems to be the biggest incentive, Google is playing up the Play store, even granting early buyers $25 in Google Play credit and “some great free content” including “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.” Even if you don’t think any of the “Transformers” films is truly “great,” it is nice to see Google aggressively pushing content, even adding TV shows and magazines to their lineup. This is how Tablet buyers  get their reason to buy a tablet.

Quick Screens Shots Of The Above Video on Nexus 7:

Google
Google

Update:

1) The leaks are coming fast and furious — Google’s Nexus Q A / V streamer has just been unveiled, and a short video that came along with it showed a white Nexus 7 device. While it might just be white for the style of the video, it wouldn’t surprise us to see the Nexus 7 come in two colors today.

2) The Nexus 7 page on Google Play is now live — we can confirm that the 8GB Nexus 7 will be priced at $199, while the 16GB model will cost $249. Both models should be shipping within two to three weeks.

3) Modaco.com just pulled up what looks to be the final Nexus 7 specs — as expected, the device will come in 8GB and 16GB variants, with a 1280 x 800 IPS display. It’ll also have a 1.2-megapixel, front-facing camera, 1GB of RAM, and a 4,325mAh battery. Unfortunately, the price didn’t leak, but we’re betting the earlier $199 / $249 rumors hold true here. It’s running a Tegra 3 processor, as rumored — and, of course, it’ll have Jelly Bean Android 4.1. Unfortunately, it looks like the Nexus 7 will be US-only, at least at launch.

Nexus 7 Video Shots:

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 -(via Verge, msdn blog, TechCrunch)

Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ to get Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.


Did Google just out the HSPA+ Galaxy Nexus as the first device to get Jelly Bean (which is apparently coming “soon”), confirm that it will indeed by Android 4.1 (not 5.0) and give us a small, blurry look at what to expect with the next major update? Yes, yes and it looks like yes.


Thanks to the checkout page for the HSPA+ Galaxy Nexus sold on Google Play, we now know that the next major release of Android, Jelly Bean, will be 4.1.

Below is the screenshot showing Jelly Bean in association with Android 4.1. We confirmed the HSPA+ when purchasing the Galaxy Nexus, the final confirmation page lists the device as, “the latest smartphone from Google, soon the first phone with Android 4.1 Jell…”

I was able to view a new icon for the Galaxy Nexus showing a modified Google search bar (the same one featured in the listing for the I/O 2012 app), assumed to be a part of Jelly Bean, lending even more credibility the the accuracy of today’s discovery.

At this point, we had already assumed that Jelly Bean would end up being Android 4.1, and that the HSPA+ Galaxy Nexus would be the first device to receive the update. If anything, this is just a little bit of confirmation that we were thinking in the right direction.

Will we see Android 4.1, Jelly Bean unveiled at Google I/O next week? I think we can confidently say yes. As for when the update will actually reach HSPA+ handsets, “soon” could mean anything. Could be during the announcement, could be a month from now. Verizon and Sprint users, who knows how long it could take for your device to finally get the update. Hopefully it won’t be another six months like last time, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the wait extend into the 4th quarter of the year. Either way, we should know more in just a couple more days now.

More on Google’s Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ :

The phone showed up briefly on Google Play before Google took it down. The blog Droid Life took a screen snap  of the listing, which placed the price at $409.

The listing in Google Play also may confirm reports that Google plans to sell the next Nexus directly, a la Apple. That was also the game plan for the Nexus One in 2010, but Google eventually pulled the plug on that effort because of lack of demand for the $529 model.

Facebook buys Instagram for $1Billion.


Instagram_logo

Facebook has just finished a deal to acquire mobile photo sharing app Instagram for approximately $1 billion in cash and stock. Instagram will remain an independently branded standalone app that’s separate from Facebook, but the services will increase their ties to each other. The transaction should go through this quarter pending some standard closing procedures

Last year, documents for a standalone Facebook mobile photo sharing app were attained by us. Now it seems Facebook would rather buy Instagram which comes with a built-in community of photographers and photo lovers, while simultaneously squashing a threat to its dominance in photo sharing.

At 27 million registered users on iOS alone, Instagram was increasingly positioning itself as a social network in its own right — not just a photo-sharing app. And it was clear that some users were doing more of the daily sharing activities on Instagram rather than Facebook’s all-in-one mobile apps, which had to be cluttered with nearly every feature of the desktop site.

With the Instagram for Android launch last week, Instagram was going to get to 50 million registered users in a heartbeat after racking up more than 1 million in the first 24 hours. And with that kind of momentum, Facebook felt like it had to move — fast. After all, photo sharing and tagging are arguably what *made* Facebook.

Whatever you think of the price given the fact that Instagram had no revenues, the reality is it was going to be worth whatever Mark Zuckerberg felt like paying for it. Both Google and Facebook had approached Instagram several times over the past 18 months, but the talks clearly didn’t result in a deal. So Facebook was going to have to offer a huge premium over the last valuation for Systrom and the board to take any deal seriously.

[Instagram’s founders from left, Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom. Portrait by Cody Pickens]

With the deal, Instagram will gain massive design and engineering resources by joining forces with Facebook, a big change after running as a famously lean company with just a handful of employees. Still, the deal seems to let Instagram stay somewhat independent and maintain some of its company culture. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom writes in a blog post, “It’s important to be clear that Instagram is not going away.”

This is a really big departure from the way Zuckerberg has historically run Facebook as asingle product. He has always been insistent that everything feed back into Facebook itself. Keeping Instagram as a separate product and brand is reminiscent of what Google has done with keeping YouTube and Android as separate fiefdoms within the company following their acquisitions.

Instagram’s investors included Benchmark Capital, Greylock Capital, Thrive Capital and Andreessen Horowitz, along with angel investors including Quora’s Adam D’Angelo, Lowercase Capital’s Chris Sacca and Square and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey.

The early investors must be thrilled with the price. From our understanding, the later investors, who put capital into the company at a $500 million valuation, seem happy with basically getting a 2X in a few days after the money was wired last Thursday.

Mark Zuckerberg posted the following letter to his Timeline about the purchase:

I’m excited to share the news that we’ve agreed to acquire Instagram and that their talented team will be joining Facebook.

For years, we’ve focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family. Now, we’ll be able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests.

We believe these are different experiences that complement each other. But in order to do this well, we need to be mindful about keeping and building on Instagram’s strengths and features rather than just trying to integrate everything into Facebook.

That’s why we’re committed to building and growing Instagram independently. Millions of people around the world love the Instagram app and the brand associated with it, and our goal is to help spread this app and brand to even more people.

We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience. We plan on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks, the ability to not share your Instagrams on Facebook if you want, and the ability to have followers and follow people separately from your friends on Facebook.

These and many other features are important parts of the Instagram experience and we understand that. We will try to learn from Instagram’s experience to build similar features into our other products. At the same time, we will try to help Instagram continue to grow by using Facebook’s strong engineering team and infrastructure.

This is an important milestone for Facebook because it’s the first time we’ve ever acquired a product and company with so many users. We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all. But providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.

We’re looking forward to working with the Instagram team and to all of the great new experiences we’re going to be able to build together.

Instagram on Android now. [PHOTOGRAPHY]


Instagram

Hello folks. It is a very good news for Android users, namely because photo-sharing darling Instagram is now available in the Android Market. If you want to hurry up and try it out without having to read the rest of this (it’s that intuitive), you can download the app here. And go ahead and skip to Paragraph 7 if you already use Instagram on iOS, and don’t want to have to sit through a noob explainer.

For Beginners

For those of you who are new to the entire Instagram experience, the app is pretty simple, and that’s what makes it amazing. To use Instagram just open it up and either capture a photo or choose an existing one from your photo library. Once uploaded, the app allows you to move and scale your image. After you’ve selected a composition, you can run the image through the ‘Lux’ feature by pressing the Sun icon in the far left of the next screen (Lux, similar to Camera+’s ‘Clarity,’ amps up photos by boosting their contrast).

While on this step, you can either add a border or go sans, rotate an image,  or cancel out of the navigation screen by using the icons in the app’s top navigation bar. At the bottom of the screen, you’re met with Instagram’s famous filters, including the SF-inspired Valencia, Sutro and Brannan and the one I always end up using, X-Pro. Because we are all idiosyncratic little snowflakes, everyone has their unique preferences.

Once you decide on the exact specs of the photo you’re going to post, you click on the green check mark provided, and the app’s flow allows you to input a description and a Twitter-like hashtag for search, geotag the photo, and share to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Posterous, Foursquare or via email. In addition to sharing, clicking ‘Done’ will post the item to your Instagram feed, where it will be enjoyed by your followers if you have them. You can see the photo in addition to photos from the people who you follow by clicking on the Home icon.

Clicking on the Star icon will bring you to the Instagram Popular page. I’ve never actually figured out how to get a photo to ‘Popular’ on Instagram, so if you do it please let me know. I think the trick is to have a lot of followers (Isn’t that always the trick!?) — And I’m still not convinced mere mortals can do it.

Aside from the Popular page, the main Instagram navigation screen allows you to view ‘News’ by selecting the ‘Heart Comment’ icon and your profile by selecting what looks like an ‘Index Card’ icon on the far right. This is where you can find people to follow, view all your photos in either grid or chronological list view, and edit your profile.

For Everyone

Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom tells me that the Instagram iOS app has now hit 30 million users after about a year and a half on the market, and with Android at 500 million activations (for comparison, Apple is at something around 180 million iPhones sold, total) the startup has a real chance of hitting 100 million users across both devices soon enough to matter.

Facebook took about four years to reach its first 100 million; The idea of Instagram becoming the world’s first formidable, mobile-only social network is extremely compelling.

Systrom tells me that a major concern of his is consistency across both platforms, and that the same 13 people who built the iOS app also built Android, which can run on any camera phone with Android 2.2 or above with support for OpenGL ES 2 (a technology needed to power the Instagram filters).

“The Android app offers an extremely familiar Instagram experience when compared to the iOS app,” Systrom writes, “You’ll find all the same exact filters and community as our iOS version.” iOS features like Tilt/Shift, Flickr integration and inline posting didn’t make the cut this time but will hit future versions. The app is also available in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish.

So what took them so long? Well, the whole “Lean Startup” mentality may have had something to do with it. “Launching on a single platform allowed us to focus on the product and the user experience,” Systrom says. “It’s given us the ability to stay small and nimble, and we’ve been able to respond quickly to user feedback.”

The company is rumored to be raising $40 million at $500 million from the usual suspects of top-tier VC firms. Perhaps we’ll see more expansion in the future? Systrom wouldn’t comment on what platform it would launch on next, and ignored my questions about an iPad app or website.

I’m guessing the team will have their hands full with scaling Android. An early sign up page thrown up a week ago has accumulated over 430k people on its waiting list! And while Android already has apps that essentially have Instagram’s functionality, Systrom isn’t thrown by the competition, “There are plenty of clones on iOS as well – but at the end of the day it’s the community people want to be part of. We’re excited to see the community grow with even more perspectives all around the world.”

-(via TechCrunch)

Rovio’s Angry Birds Space- No Gravity (Video) [an update for Angry Birds Seasons]


Angry Birds Space

Curious how Rovio planned on dealing with physics in the forthcoming Angry Birds Space? I have been, too. If we presume that Rovio is playing by the physical laws of space, a lack of gravity fundamentally changes the game. But apparently, that’s the point.

Rovio took us to the international space station, courtesy of the video below of course, to show us a little bit about how the new version of the game will work. An astronaut, Don Pettit, did a little demo flinging a plush red bird in a zero gravity environment. It should go without saying, but that little red bird flew straighter than an arrow through the space station.

“We’re seeing all of this in a weightless environment, which is what Angry Birds Space will look like, with gravitational fields from planetary bodies,” said Pettit.

But then we got to the really cool part: the first time any of us have seen Angry Birds Space in action. And boy, does it look awesome. Those planetary bodies he mentioned pull the bird in, and change the course of the trajectory. And if you’re paying close enough attention you’ll notice that some of our favorite birds, Big Red and Yellow, have changed outfits. Big Red is now Big Green, and Yellow is now swathed in a lovely shade of purple.

It’s worth considering the meaning behind Angry Birds switching things up so drastically. All three versions of the game — Angry Birds, Angry Birds Rio, and Angry Birds Seasons — have gone on to be monstrously successful. But are people getting bored?

Angry Birds Space will be significantly more challenging than previous versions of the game, and after years of success not fixing what isn’t broken, I think we can all agree a refresh is in order.