Most Banned Apps

Blacklisted AppsZenprise, a mobile device management company, recently looked at devices connected to its cloud and put together a list of apps most commonly blacklisted or whitelisted on business phones. Angry Birds came out on top of the most banned apps. Surprisingly, Skype made an appearance on both lists. Here’s a few more apps that are commonly red or green lighted (from PCWorld):

Other mobile apps that companies blocked their employees from using at work include Facebook, Google Play, Dropbox, YouTube and Skype, Zenprise found. Interestingly, Zenprise also found that Skype was the most whitelisted app among its customers, thus making it the top app to appear on companies’ blacklists and whitelists.

And the trend of companies controlling which apps you can and cannot have on your work phone is growing.

Zenprise also notes that companies have gotten a lot busier when it comes to blacklisting apps, as the firm reports “seeing more than three times as many blacklisted apps in Q1 than in our last report” released earlier this year. Zenprise says that companies have been a lot more proactive in blocking apps that pose potential security threats over the past quarter, including Dropbox, Evernote and Cydia.

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Coming Soon: Beta Test of Skype for WP7

Exciting news from Microsoft: Skype for Windows Phone is coming soon – and the beta test is coming even sooner. For all you beta testers out there, this is one project you might want to get involved with. Here’s a nice recap from LiveSide.net:

Microsoft first revealed the Skype for Windows Phone app back in MIX 2011 last year, way before Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype. It had almost been a year without further news about the app, and finally during CES 2012 in January, a Microsoft representative mentioned during a video interviewthat the Skype for Windows Phone app will be “coming soon”.

Well according to reports from WP7Lab (via WMPU), Microsoft had just begun dogfooding (internal beta testing) the Skype for Windows Phone app. Furthermore, the website received an anonymous tip indicating that Microsoft will soon be sending out invitations for a beta version of the app. Here’s an excerpt from WP7Labs:

Skype for Windows Phone is just around the corner and we’ve teamed up with the Skype folks to help with beta testing. If you are receiving this newsletter directly, look for an invitation in the coming weeks and be on the inside track for what is sure to be one of the hottest new apps on the Marketplace!

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Skype On Mango, WP7

Another reason to give WP7 another look:

Future Microsoft phones running the Windows Phone Mango software will have front-facing cameras and be supported by Skype’s video calling service. News of the new hardware and software feature comes from a Microsoft TechEd conference in New Zealand, where the information was tweeted by an attendee. The first phone with Mango to ship is actually available today from Fujitsu, but does not have a camera on the front of the phone, although the rear-camera sensor uses a class-leading 13.2 megapixel sensor.

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Will Skype Save Windows Phone 7?

Lots of speculation as to what the Microsoft-Skype deal will mean for the Windows Phone 7 operating system. Here’s an excerpt from an article on CNN.com today titled Five things Microsoft may do with Skype:

Improve the Windows Phone

Let’s be honest: Windows Mobile phones aren’t selling like the iPhone or the growing cascade of phones running Google’s Android system.

The Windows Phone 7 system really hasn’t had an answer for the iPhone’s FaceTime app or Google Talk’s newly added video. Now it will, with the best-in-breed video and voice chat app at its disposal.

“It’s pretty obvious today that not everyone is doing video, particularly from their phone,” Ballmer said. “That’s an opportunity where there are a lot of things that could be done.”

Of course, Apple and Android products can already run Skype apps. So it will be interesting to see how that plays out. (Ballmer assured current Skype customers that those platforms will still be supported.)

“Given that Skype has been in use for more than a half-dozen years and has a growing user base, it would be difficult for Microsoft to begin eliminating Skype support for other mobile platforms,” Kevin C. Tofel wrote for tech blog GigaOM.

“But future features and other value-add services could be offered exclusively or first on Windows Phone 7 devices going forward, giving consumers a ‘killer app’ to consider when making a smartphone purchase.”

What do you think?

What Skype Buyout Means For Windows Phone 7

When I heard the news this morning that Microsoft is buying Skype for $8.5 billion, the first thing I thought of (aside from, “wow, that’s a lot of money”) was the impact this would have on Windows Phone 7. Specifically, the impact this will have on video chat.

Until now, Apple has held a virtually monopoly in the area with its “facetime” application. One has to expect that with the MSFT buyout, Skype on Windows Phone 7 will become a huge draw for new users…right?

Here’s BusinessInsider with some reasons why:

Now that Skype is part of Microsoft, WP7 will get a huge advantage when it comes to the popular VoIP and video chat service.

Imagine integrated Skype calls at no extra cost. And this will easily be WP7′s answer to Apple’s FaceTime or Android’s video chat via Google Talk.

Skype is already on millions of computers, making the network instantly larger than anything FaceTime could hope to achieve. (For now, FaceTime is limited to iDevices and Macs.)

It’ll take a while to implement Skype into Windows Phones, but when it comes to mobile video chat, it looks like Microsoft has a huge advantage over the competition.

What do you think? Is Windows Phone 7 starting to look a bit more appealing?

Skype Fixes Android Security Bug

Skype announced last week that it had fixed a security bug in its Android application that enabled evil-minded third-parties to access user names, phone numbers and chat logs. Here’s DigitalTrends.com with the scoop:

Skype has repaired a major security bug in its app for Android mobile devices that could have been used to expose users’ private data. The updated version of the app is currently available for download on the Android Market. Once the new version of the app is installed, the problem is fixed, the company says.

“We have had no reported examples of any 3rd party malicious application misusing information from the Skype directory on Android devices and will continue to monitor closely,” writes Skype’s Adrian Asher on the company blog. “Please rest assured that we do take your privacy and security very seriously and we sincerely apologise for any concern this issue may have caused.”

The hole in the Skype for Android app was exposed last week by software developer Justine Case, who first reported the vulnerability on the Android Police smartphone security blog.

The authors also made note of the tumultuous week that was in the field of mobile app insecurity:

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Got An iPhone 4? Here Are The Apps You Need To Have

Even though there are some built-in applications available with a phone, we also have the option of loading it with our favorite apps. A fantastic thing about  iPhone 4 apps is it that they can be synchronized with your iPad from Mac or PC. The App Store has a wide collection of mobile apps and the following are some of the most popular iPhone applications.

Movies

You can know all about the latest movies using the ‘Movies’ which is a location based free application. Using this application, you can know a lot about reviews, trailers, ticket information and ratings including the directions to your local theatres.

Pandora

Music lovers will find the Pandora feature extremely attractive. Pandora Radio is a free music application that can keep i4 phone users upbeat. You can listen to your favorite songs easily using this feature since it is coordinated with the web. By just naming the song, you can hear it instantly!

Loopt

With Loopt, you can easily understand what is happening around you. Using this application, you can know where your family and friends are and keep in touch with them easily. Loopt in short is a very useful geo-social application that can be of great use to i4 phone users.

Twitter

Another great application that can be used for free is Twitter originally known as Tweetie. You can easily stay connected with your near and dear ones any time of the day using this free application.

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iPhone Exodus: Mobile Usability Testers Take Notice

It could be the string of lost calls, the lack of multi-tasking functionality, the non-removable battery – but for whatever reason, more and more users are switching to, well, anything but the iPhone.

Newsweek tech blogger Daniel Lyons is the latest to jump ship. He’s switching to Android. Here’s why:

I used to think that would be enough, that if I could just run my iPhone on Verizon, I’d be happy. Well, no more. The new version of Android—version 2.2, a.k.a. Froyo—blows the doors off the iPhone OS. It’s faster, for one thing. It also will support Flash, something Apple refuses to do, mostly out of spite.

The new Android OS will support tethering, meaning you can use your phone as a portable Wi-Fi hotspot, connecting your computer to the Internet. Apple and AT&T say they’re going to offer tethering—someday. It’s just not clear when. Which is why, just to be mean, Google showed an Android phone tethered to an Apple iPad at Google’s developer conference this week. Big laughs all around.

Lyons’ criticisms are of course nothing new, as thousands of users have expressed similar frustrations. Though they might not agree, it’s important for mobile testers to keep this type feedback in mind when reviewing applications on these devices.

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Can You See Me Now? Mobile Video Chats Coming Soon

From The San Francisco Chronicle:

Mobile video chatting, that fixture of forward-looking movies and pop culture entertainment, appears ready to finally become a reality. While the service has been available in Europe and Asia on phones for years, it’s been a no-show in the United States due to carrier restrictions and other hurdles. But the pieces are falling into place to bring video conferencing to mobile phones.

HTC and Sprint recently announced the upcoming EVO 4G, a new phone riding on Sprint’s 4G network that will feature a forward-facing camera, a necessary component for video calling.

Another Android phone, Motorola’s Backflip, which launched in March, also has a camera that faces the user. And if you believe the Gizmodo report about the upcoming iPhone, that too will have a forward-facing camera.