Google has made the decision not to release additional apps on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. The company released a Google search app on the Windows Store, but that’s as much as users are going to get. The search giant’s other apps and services, such as Gmail and Google Drive, are not currently planned for Microsoft’s latest operating systems.
“We have no plans to build out Windows apps. We are very careful about where we invest and will go where the users are but they are not on Windows Phone or Windows 8,” said Clay Bavor, the product management director of Google Apps.
Google, of course, has an incentive to not help users on Microsoft’s products. The ad-disguised-as-search company currently holds a large share of the smartphone and tablet markets, and directing PC users away from the web browser and toward apps probably isn’t ideal, both from a user experience and a revenue perspective.
Of course, while this means you won’t be able to fire up a Google-made app, does anyone really care? Bing is heavily integrated into Windows and Windows Phone, and it’s easy to set up your Gmail account with the existing Mail, Calendar, and People apps. So unless you’re really hoping for something like Google Maps or Google Drive, you’re not really missing out on much.
Skype has rolled out a fairly major update for its Android app, completely overhauling the user interface for tablets and adding a few new features and improvements. In addition to the redesigned tablet look at feel, Skype 3.0 for Android now supports Skype’s SILK technology - a wideband audio codec which significantly improves audio quality – and adds a new auto-answer option for incoming calls.
The app also supports logging in with your Microsoft account (formerly known as a Windows Live ID), and doing so will unlock additional functionality, particularly integration with the Messenger IM service. Microsoft, of course, plans to discontinue Messenger clients in early 2013, so this is just the next step in the process of merging the two instant messaging and VOIP services.
Skype 3.0 is now available for download from Google Play for “the most popular Android tablets, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, the Google Nexus 7, Acer Iconia, Asus Transformer Prime, Motorola Xoom and Sony S.”
Microsoft has released another update for its SkyDrive for Windows desktop application, the second since its initial beta release in late April. Most of the changes in this update – version 16.4.6003.0710 – affect how the app syncs your files in the background. It does, however, have a few consumer-facing improvements like an updated status window and a few visual changes such as the new logo (pictured above), as well as the ability to “view sync problems” and “report a problem.”
As part of this release, Microsoft has added the SkyDrive for Windows desktop app to the Windows Store, making it even easier to find the Redmond giant’s cloud sync service. Unlike the Metro-style SkyDrive app, this Windows Store listing takes you directly to the SkyDrive website to download the app, since it’s based on the traditional x86/x64 architecture.
Unfortunately, SkyDrive for Windows desktop will only work on Intel-based Windows 8 tablets and PCs. The ARM-based version of Windows 8 – Windows RT - doesn’t support the installation of desktop applications, so those users will be required to use the SkyDrive Metro-style app.
As expected, Amazon has announced that its Appstore for Android will open for business in Europe this summer. The Appstore will initially be launched in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, but Amazon plans to expand the store globally “in the near future.”
Developers can already begin submitting apps for inclusion in the European marketplaces, and “those already participating in the program will automatically have their apps made available for sale internationally by default.” The Mobile App Distribution Portal has already been updated to allow developers to set list prices by marketplace, select countries where apps will be sold, etc. Amazon has also changed the rules which govern how much revenue app developers take in. “Starting on July 1, developers will earn 70 percent of list price on each paid app sale,” said Amazon’s press release. ”This is a change from the prior terms under which developers earned either 70 percent of the app’s sales price or 20 percent of list price (whichever was greater).” Additionally, Amazon is giving developers better control over which apps are available to Amazon customers.
Apps like Netflix and Hulu Plus have great content libraries, but they don’t have everything. Occasionally, you have to go to station-specific apps in order to get all of your content, and no app in this category is more popular than HBO GO. The app is already available on a wide range of devices from Xbox 360 to Roku, iOS, and Android phones. Android tablets, however, were conspicuously left out–until now.
Well, sort of. At this point, HBO GO is only available on Amazon’s Kindle Fire, a heavily-modified Android tablet. But with the Kindle Fire holding approximately 50% of the Android tablet market, the app is now available for a large number of people.
A premium service available only with an HBO subscription through your TV provider, HBO GO includes more than 1,400 episodes to choose from. Not everyone is into HBO’s shows, but if you enjoy them and you’ve got an HBO subscription, you’ll want to download the app from the Amazon Appstore for Android.
Microsoft announced the availability of a Hotmail app for the Kindle Fire in a blog post on Tuesday. The company developed the free Hotmail Kindle app in conjunction with SEVEN to provide a dedicated app for syncing email, contacts, folders (including subfolders), and more via the popular Exchange Active Sync protocol. This is a huge improvement over the Kindle Fire’s built-in POP3 email app.
This news comes three and a half months after the Redmond software giant released a similar app on the Android Market. The Kindle Fire, as some people may or may not be aware, runs a heavily modified version of Android. It’s so heavily modified, in fact, that our sister site Pocketables said ”it doesn’t even resemble an Android device.” As a result, the Kindle Fire version required “some updates to [the] previous Hotmail app for Android to ensure it worked well.”
The free Hotmail Kindle app can be found today on Amazon’s Android Market.