Facebook App Center Launches With Nearly 600 Apps

Facebook has unveiled App Center today: an “App Store” for iOS and Android that features both native and web apps that utilize Facebook integration in some way. The App Center features about 600 apps, and Facebook will offer personalized recommendations, presumably based on its social knowledge of each user. App Center will be featured prominently in mobile on iOS and Android, Facebook’s full desktop site, and on Facebook’s mobile site.

Facebook is adding a top-level “App Center” link to the lefthand sidebar of every desktop Facebook page. Once there, users can browse for apps in categories or search — and having found an app, they’ll see your standard screenshots and descriptions. On mobile, you can directly launch the appropriate app store for installation. From the desktop, you can click a “Send to mobile” button to get a link for installation as well.

It should go live for U.S. users at www.facebook.com/appcenter and within Facebook app updates soon.

Watch Dogs Movie Domains Revealed

Ubisoft is, at least, considering a Watch Dogs movie based around the theme of every computer being dangerously connected.   Recently, they registered domains for WatchDogsmovie.com, WatchDogsthemovie.com, Watch-Dogsmovie.com and Watch-Dogsthemovie.com.

Watch Dogs was unveiled to positive press reception during their E3 2012 press conference and is scheduled to release in 2013 for PS3, PC and Xbox 360. While nothing is confirmed about any sort of Watch Dogs movie project, it would not be surprising if Ubisoft was already talking to studios to get the ball rolling on their hot new IP.

Source: Fusible.com

Microsoft Tablet Surfaces

Microsoft revealed their Surface and RT tablets during an event in Los Angeles. Built on the Windows 8 architecture, they are designed to counter the growing popularity of Apple and Google OS tablets.

“We believe that any intersection between human and machine can be made better when all aspects of the experience — hardware and software — are considered and working together,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said at the invitation-only event here. “Today we want to add another bit of excitement to the Windows 8 story.”

“It raises the bar on how Microsoft executes on this because now Microsoft’s name is on it,” notes IDC analyst Al Hilwa. “They’ve got to get it right — they’ve got to really hit it out of the ballpark.”

Microsoft Surface will feature a 10.6-inch wide display with Gorilla Glass, its own stand, a full-size USB port, dual Wi-Fi antennae, a multitouch keyboard, a trackpad and come with either 64 gigabytes or 128 GB of storage. The tablet will only be about a half-inch thick, says Windows chief Steven Sinofsky.

“With Windows 1.0, we needed the mouse to complete the experience,” said Ballmer. “We wanted to give Windows 8 its own hardware innovation. Something new, different, a whole new family of computing devices from Microsoft.”

This comes at a key time for Microsoft, as Windows 8 is a touch-friendly operating system built around dynamic tiles that are supposed to work equally well on more traditional PCs and tablets. “There’s a lot of change coming in this version of Windows, some of it very exciting,” says Michael Cherry, analyst with the independent Directions on Microsoft research firm. “I think it’s going to take time to cope with the level of change that’s occurring.”

Worldwide tablet sales are forecast to rocket 54.4 percent to 107 million units this year compared with last, while the worldwide PC market is expected to grow just 5 percent to 383 million PCs shipments in 2012 compared with a year ago. IDC forecasts that by 2016 there will be 221 million tablets shipped worldwide, and 61 percent of those will be sold by Apple.

Apple also has over 225,000 apps on their side. “The bar is pretty high to outshine the iPad,” says Hilwa. “It’s going to be a tough act to follow.”

While Microsoft has relied upon licensing out their Windows OS in the past, these new tablets carry issues. “If (Microsoft is) successful, your licensees resent you [for competing with them],” Gartenberg says. “If you’re not successful, than you resent them. One way or another it’s a problem, like trying to play both sides.”

Of course, between Microsoft’s two different tablet versions and others running Intel chips out in stores, it may confuse customers. “Too many choices will overwhelm consumers,” says Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps.

Microsoft has already incorporated the feel of Windows 8 in its products from Window Phone to Xbox. They could integrate the Kinect camera to tablets in an unusual twist — voice and motion controls.

“They could create some great synergy with Xbox,” says Hilwa.

Source: USA Today

Clang Kickstarter Reaches $300,000 Raised

Writer Neal Stephenson’s Kickstarter project has managed to rack up over $300,000. The project accumulated more than $150,000 during its first weekend after its announcement and is 60 percent of the way to his goal with a little less than three weeks to go.

The project, focusing on recreating realistic sword combat in a game, uses Sixense motion control technology. They are currently working with Razer in order to optimize the game using the Hydra controller.

Source: Kickstarter.com

Epic Sees Investment By Chinese Game Company

Tencent has acquired a minority stake in Epic Games. The stock acquisition by the Chinese internet and mobile operator should not affect the day to day operations of the developer and middleware maker.

“We’ve developed a huge amount of respect for the Epic team for many years now, as dedicated players of Epic’s games and as licensees of Epic’s Unreal Engine technology. Epic’s deep commitment to quality across all of its games and technologies inspires us. They’ve been raising expectations in gaming for two decades now and they’re just getting started,” said David Wallerstein, SVP of Tencent. “We have a lot that we can learn from each other, and we look forward to supporting the Epic team as they embark on their next phase of gaming innovation across both emerging and familiar platforms.”

“Tencent’s investment will empower Epic to help us do even more of what we do best, which is making great games and game technology,” added Mike Capps, president of Epic. “Their expertise in the global online gaming market is second-to-none, and the opportunity to work with them to bring richer experiences to players all over the world is irresistible.”

Paramount Hit With Suit Over License Fee

ProCloud Media is claiming that Paramount violated a development agreement. The Swedish development studio says that they paid $500,000 for the license for five films, with two more licenses coming with a further $500,000 being paid later on.

They said that Paramount agreed to pay 50 percent of the development costs of each game, with a total combined budget for all games being estimated at $8.75 million. However, the Paramount Digital Entertainment division’s head was fired shortly after the deal was struck and the division was quickly disolved, leaving them with little recourse.

ProCloud is claiming $10 million in damages, on charges of breach of contract and unjust enrichment.

Source: Courthouse News

Twitter’s Expanding Postings

Twitter is going to give you more if you post links to other sites. At least, users will be able to see an expanded view of content from new partner sites, such as the Wall Street Journal and MSNBC.Twitter said the expanded postings will show video, photos and longer excerpts of news stories from a broader list of media partners. The service begins rolling out to website and mobile users today, Michael Sippey, product team director at San Francisco- based Twitter, said in a blog post.

“This is going to cause people to stay on twitter.com, because all of the sudden you have a little bit more information,” said Brian Blau, an analyst at Gartner Inc. “You can read the next tweet and stay on the site, being a more valuable consumer of the site.”

The service will be available on Twitter for Apple’s iPhone and for devices that use Google’s Android soon, Sippey said. The company, with more than 140 million users, expects to generate at least $1 billion in sales in 2014, two people with knowledge of the matter have said, based on advertising demand.

Source: BloombergBusinessweek

Instagram Your iPad Or iPhone Case

Casetagram is a company that wants to make your photos into a unique iPhone or iPad case. Simply log into the site with your Instagram account and choose your base color: black, white, or transparent. Then pick the photos you’d like to use on your case, and the company will make a case using your photos. The iPhone case is $35, and the iPad case is $55. There are several different templates to choose from, so it’s time to unleash your creativity!