The Download Blog

Star Apps: Cody Simpson

Star Apps: Cody Simpson

Australian singer-songwriter Cody Simpson first found fame performing an acoustic mix of original songs on YouTube, among the Jason Mraz and Justin Timberlake covers. For his new "Surfboard" single, he takes inspiration from Elvis and the Beach Boys, urban dance music, and his model girlfriend Gigi Hadid, daughter of Beverly Hills "Housewife" Yolanda Foster. I chatted with Simpson about his change in musical direction, working with Justin Bieber manager Scooter Braun, making his long-distance relationship work, and his favorite apps.

What's your new "Surfboard" single about? It's a real reflection on a … Read more

Star Apps: Jon Favreau

Star Apps: Jon Favreau

Fear inspired "Iron Man" director Jon Favreau to produce his latest film, "Chef," a smaller-budget affair than the usual Favreau fare. After working on three "Iron Man" films, "The Avengers," and "Cowboys and Aliens," he was nervous that he'd never make another "Swingers." His fear was unwarranted -- "Chef," out today, shows just how much he's matured artistically since the 1996 cult classic. "Chef" is a warm, well-written comedy starring Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, Oliver Platt, Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, … Read more

The software week in review for May 16

The software week in review for May 16

Welcome to week two of our recaps of recent software news, opinions, how-tos, new releases, and coming attractions. For the latest reviews from our editors and new products, subscribe to our newsletters.

Apple's playbook

Cupertino fans are playing Fantasy Apple in advance of June's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Rumors are circulating that Apple will announce the iPhone 6, though it may not be available 'til August or September. The long-rumored iWatch and Apple TV appear to be no-go for this conference, according to Re/code's sources.

Which means -- apart from that possible iPhone 6 -- that … Read more

12 apps for 12 days of Cannes

12 apps for 12 days of Cannes

From May 14 to 25, celebrities and critics take to the French Riviera for the 67th Cannes Film Festival. This much-anticipated annual event draws thousands to special screenings and VIP parties. Not going? Let Download.com soften the 400 blows with our 12 top movie apps, one for each day of the festival.

Festival de Cannes app The official Festival de Cannes app ( iOS, Android) is the closest thing to being there. Get a front-row glimpse at all the action with up-to-the-minute news, photos, and video, and share your finds on social media.

IMDb Ever wonder what year Palme d'… Read more

Top 4 VoIP apps for Android

Top 4 VoIP apps for Android

Today we lament the shutdown of Google Voice support for third-party apps. For businesses and products that rely heavily on the XMPP protocol, that cutoff has practically spelled doom.

However, this move by Google doesn't necessarily mean the end of Google Voice (which may soon get integrated into Hangouts) and certainly not the end of VoIP calling. Here are some of our favorite VoIP apps for Android.

Bolt

Bolt is relatively new, has a modern design, and combines all your messaging and calling utilities into a single app. Bolt automatically switches your phone to VoIP mode when dialing other … Read more

Star Apps: Phil Keoghan from 'The Amazing Race'

Star Apps: Phil Keoghan from 'The Amazing Race'

Phil Keoghan has always looked outward to new adventures in foreign lands. The Emmy-award-winning producer and host of CBS's "The Amazing Race" credits this to growing up on an island nation, New Zealand. He became a world traveler who shares his passion for globetrotting through "The Amazing Race." I chatted with Keoghan about the upcoming "Amazing Race: All-Stars" finale on May 18, the secrets to winning the highly competitive show, his favorite and least favorite contestants of all time, learning to seize life by the horns, and his favorite apps.

From having a … Read more

Microsoft offers $399 Xbox One, opens apps to all Xbox owners

Microsoft offers $399 Xbox One, opens apps to all Xbox owners

Today Microsoft announced a cheaper, $399 model of its Xbox One system, which will be available June 9. The price cut comes from removing the Kinect, previously thought to be a required accessory. As to why Microsoft made this sudden change, the company said: "Since the beginning, we have focused on delivering great games and entertainment experiences for you. Your feedback matters to us and it shapes the products and services we build."

In another big policy change, all Xbox owners will get access to entertainment apps previously available only to Xbox Live Gold subscribers for a $60 … Read more

Star Apps: Zynga's Jonathan Knight

Star Apps: Zynga's Jonathan Knight

Jonathan Knight is not a new kid on the block or a New Kid on the Block. Zynga's VP of games is a 20-year veteran of the games business, leading development of CastleVille (iOS, Android) and recent release FarmVille 2: Country Escape, available on iOS, Android, and (as of May 13) the Kindle Fire. Besides offering a fresh setting, FarmVille 2 enables gamers to play on the go, with or without a connection, socially or solo. I chatted with Knight about his career, his first gaming experience, the enduring appeal of farming games, and his favorite non-Zynga apps.

What … Read more

Star Apps: Gia Coppola

Star Apps: Gia Coppola

With Gia Coppola, the grape doesn't fall far from the vine. Francis Ford Coppola's granddaughter, partially raised on the Coppola Family Vineyard in Napa Valley, is also in the other family business: moviemaking. Her directorial debut, "Palo Alto," is based on James Franco's first book, became a film-festival favorite, and opens nationwide on May 16. The movie, starring Franco and Emma Roberts, illuminates the underside of the high school experience -- sex, drugs, recklessness, and a desperate need for approval. I chatted with Gia Coppola about transforming the book to a film, which character she … Read more

Star Apps: Devo's Gerald Casale

Star Apps: Devo's Gerald Casale

Devo co-founder Gerald Casale dates his wine interest to 1978, after the band signed to Warner and moved to Los Angeles, during California's food and wine revolution. There the new-wave band member met and befriended many of the new-wave chefs -- Michael McCarty (Michael's), Bruce Marder (Brentwood Restaurant), Wolfgang Puck (Spago), Piero Selvaggio (Valentino), and Jeremiah Tower (Stars) -- as well as a new breed of sommeliers and winemakers. These soon-to-be culinary superstars often invited Casale to home dinners and encouraged him to try everything.

Devo went on to produce hits like "Freedom of Choice, "Whip … Read more