Google looking for a few good mobile-app developers

Google is recruiting developers to work in-house on mobile apps for its Android operating system, a report says, as the tech giant continues its challenge to Apple's iOS and the popular devices that run on it.

Benjamin Ling, a Google product-management director, has been supervising an attempt to coax software engineers, user-interface specialists, and product managers into the Google fold, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources.

The Journal added that some current Google workers have shifted their positions at the company to join the app project, which will be spread across Google's global offices and cover … Read more

Cheap texting and extreme jogging: iPhone apps of the week

An interesting news item over at AppleInsider caught my eye the other day, but I'm not sure how I would feel about this particular rumor if it turned out to be true. Apparently Apple is investigating the use of hover gestures on its devices as an alternative to multitouch. A few of the ideas include the ability to make the OK gesture with your hand or use hitchhiker thumb gestures to navigate around. As a tech writer, I can't wait to see how something like this would be implemented, but as an iPhone user who will be using … Read more

Microsoft hasn't ruled out Office for Mac App Store

Microsoft might not be selling Office in the Mac App Store now, but that doesn't mean it never will.

"It's something we are looking at," Microsoft's Amanda Lefebvre told All Things Digital's Mobilized blog in an interview yesterday. "It's something we haven't ruled out. We just have to see how that relates to our business."

The Mac App Store, which launched earlier this month, could provide Microsoft with another viable outlet to profit on its productivity suite on the Mac. However, there would be consequences to such an action.

For … Read more

I don't need Google to tell me that the Android Market is still broken

Google thinks you and I should be paying for more applications from the Android Market.

Speaking recently at the Inside Social Apps conference in San Francisco, Android manager Eric Chu admitted that Google was not happy with the number of applications purchased by users. Apparently all of the recent changes to the Android Market haven't been enough to convince people to open their wallets a little wider.

In the future, Chu expects to roll out a few alternative payment methods, hoping that one will catch on with users. Expect the ability make purchases within apps and more carriers offering deferred billing.

Already, AT&T customers are able to have app purchases added to their monthly bills, rather than using Google Checkout. PayPal has been expected to get Market integration for months now, but nothing has materialized.

With in-app purchases, I suspect that this might usher in a host of apps that are free up front, with add-on features costing users. This model could get expensive fast--think cheap razors and costly blades and you get the picture.

Don't get me wrong here, I think the Market is considerably better than it was just six months ago. Looking back to when it launched with the T-Mobile G1, it was a bare-bones, pitiful repository compared with today's model.

However, as much as I love the bigger descriptions, additional screenshots, and revised layout, I am still anxiously awaiting an Internet-based model, content ratings, and YouTube integration. … Read more

Windows Phone 7 devs get long-awaited pay day

Microsoft this week began the process of paying Windows Phone 7 developers for their work. For some, this comes three months after their apps appeared on Microsoft's new mobile applications marketplace.

According to some of the top downloaded game and app developers CNET talked with, their experience developing for Microsoft has been entirely positive, short of the wait to get paid and what those amounts have been. Developers were eager to gush about Microsoft's development tools and the back-and-forth communication with the company--both before and after their apps had been launched onto the marketplace. They also said that … Read more

Sony bringing PlayStation games to Android

Sony, apparently eager to profit from the still relatively immature Android gaming market, announced a program to bring older PlayStation games to Android devices--phones and tablets--that pass the company's certification tests.

The new PlayStation Suite initiative "will not only deliver the PlayStation experience to a wider base of users around the globe, but will also be able to offer game developers and publishers the potential to further expand their business opportunities to these devices," the Sony Computer Entertainment division said today. Also announced is an accompanying developer program to make it easier for programmers to create suitable … Read more

Gartner: Mobile apps to generate $15 billion in 2011

Three years ago, we didn't know what a mobile app store was. Or how popular the concept would become in a very short period of time.

Since Apple's App Store opened in July 2008, however, mobile app sales have skyrocketed as app stores have popped up everywhere. Is it just a passing trend? Research firm Gartner says no way.

In a forecast of what's to come, Gartner released a study today that says more than 17.7 billion apps will be downloaded in this year alone, up over 100 percent from the 8.2 billion downloaded in … Read more

Report: Google 'not happy' with Android purchasing

Google apparently isn't too pleased with Android Market purchasing, and it plans on addressing that problem this year.

At the Inside Social Apps conference in San Francisco yesterday, Google's Group Manager for the Android platform, Eric Chu, told those in attendance that Google is "not happy" with the number of paid apps purchased in the marketplace, but he stopped short of offering figures to elaborate on the company's concerns, according to a blog post by Oliver Chang on Forbes.

In order to address lackluster purchasing, Chu laid out a handful of strategies that the company … Read more

Mopar app acts as electronic owners manual for Dodge vehicles

Dodge is launching a group of free apps for Android, iPhone, or BlackBerry smartphone platforms. Boasting a feature set similar to that of the Hyundai Equus' iPad app, the Mopar apps act as a digital owners' manual, as well as offering access to owner services.

After downloading the app for their smartphone platform of choice, users will be given access to all of the vehicle operation, warranty, and maintenance information that one would normally find in a paper manual, as well as video demonstrations of features. The smartphone's data connection also allows access to 24-hour roadside assistance, customer care, … Read more

Fire dept. has an iPhone app for citizen CPR (podcast)

"Biology gives us about 10 minutes to survive if our heart stops beating," said Richard Price, chief of the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District. "We have a goal or arriving within seven minutes which is pretty close to that 10 minutes...We need to suspend time and that's what CPR does."

The district, which is located about 35 miles east of San Francisco, is updating an app called "Fire Department," which will now be used to alert CPR-trained citizens in the event of a nearby cardiac emergency. The idea, according to Price, … Read more