First ooVoo opened up four-way video chats on Facebook, and now the video calling service is doing the same for its Android and iOS apps. The company just updates both applications so that you can view up to four video streams at once, though you can carry on text chats with as many as 12 people. That’s true of both platforms, though the Android version is admittedly getting a few more changes. The newest version of the app brings deeper integration with Google services, plugging into the native Android address book to show missed calls, as well as a list of which friends are available to chat. To that end, Android users get not just the app, but also a widget that displays these tidbits at a glance. Rounding out the list of improvements, the updates introduce push notifications as well as the ability to text chat in the middle of a video call.
We’ve had some indication that podcasts would be receiving an app of their own with iOS 6, but it looks like we won’t have to wait that long after all. Apple has just released a new standalone app dubbed simply “Podcasts,” which is available for iOS devices running version 5.1 or later. It expectedly offers a variety of ways to browse and discover podcasts among the thousands available (including a new Top Stations feature that groups select podcasts by category), as well as the ability to either stream episodes or download them for offline use. The app is also optimized for the iPad in addition to the iPhone, and it’s thankfully able to sync podcasts with iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC (just be sure to upgrade to iTunes 10.6.3 first). No charge for this one, either.
Kazaa may not have exactly caught fire since it ditched its shady past and went the legit route back in 2009, but the company is still around, and it’s now finally released its first mobile app. That comes on the form of an iOS app initially (compatible with the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch), which itself is completely free and includes a seven-day trial of the Kazaa music service (including unlimited streaming and downloads of “millions and millions of songs”). Once that’s up, however, you’ll have to fork over $9.99 a month to keep the service (US-only, for now), which places it in direction competition with the likes of Spotify and Rdio. Hit the link below to try it out for yourself.
Google curiously chose not to make its iOS app for Google+ a universal app when it first released it last month, but it’s now finally letting iPad and iPod touch users in on the act as well. Unfortunately, the iPad part of the equation comes in the form of a blown-up iPhone app rather than a properly optimized version, although that’s not exactly surprising considering it’s much same situation that Honeycomb users still find themselves stuck with. Also included in the update are additional Huddle settings, aggregated circle add notifications to cut down on some of the noise, and the usual performance and stability improvements. You know what to do to get your hands on it.
Were you excited to try Spotify, only to be dismayed by the lack of native iPad support? Enter Rdio’s latest update to its iOS app, now with gratuitous support for Cupertino’s sweetheart. Just like its iPhone and iPod touch forebearer, slate fans can now stream music, cache songs, futz with playlists, all while being “social” with friends on the service. Like the company’s other mobile apps (on iOS, Android or Blackberry) — and its cross-Atlantic Swedish rival — one has to spring for the pricier $9 monthly sub to unshackle from web-only streaming and enjoy portable bliss. In our quick run-through, we found the app to be slick and fast, and searching for obscure music was painless. With most of our friends strewn across other streaming platforms, the community features fell on deaf ears — so clearly your mileage will vary. Rdio’s offering a week-long trial gratis, so go-on and give it a whirl yourself.
With nearly 350,000 apps and counting, the iPhone’s maximum capacity of 32GB doesn’t allow you to even scratch the surface of the App Store’s catalog. Throw in an HD movie, some TV episodes, hundreds of tracks and a few thousand photos, and you’ll be chewing through those available bytes in no time. Most manufacturers compensate this limitation by including a microSD slot for additional storage, but not Apple — you’re stuck with that original capacity until you’re ready to upgrade to a new device. Luckily, for those who need more storage now and don’t mind paying for it, AirStash, Seagate’s GoFlex Satellite, and now Kingston’s ultra-slim Wi-Drive allow you to boost gigs without upgrading, or switching to another platform. None of these pocket servers come without compromise, however — you’ll be spending over $100 for even the most basic option, while adding yet another device to your portable mix.
Apple’s iOS is great at displaying content already on a device, but transferring documents from your computer to your iPhone or iPad has traditionally been a tedious, inefficient process. SugarSync’s new mobile device management sets out to help change that, allowing you to send files directly to your smartphone or tablet using a simple web interface. After selecting a connected device from the sidebar, you can click to upload content, booting it directly to your handheld. A push notification will appear, prompting you to download any or all of the files you uploaded, which will also remain in the cloud — so you’ll be able to access files synched with the SugarSync app from the Web, even when your device is offline. The feature is rolling out for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch this week, and will be available for Android and BlackBerry soon. It looks like the concept of emailing documents to yourself just to access them on the go is about to follow iTunes sync and tethered updates to a permanent group home in the sky.
Thinking about upgrading your iPad or iPhone just to add more storage for videos, photos and music? Kingston hopes to save the day with its Wi-Drive, a WiFi-enabled battery-powered storage device designed exclusively for use with iOS. Several factors make the pocket-sized device a tough sell, however, including its cost ($130 for 16GB, $175 for 32GB), and the fact that this otherwise clever content sharing contraption adds yet another gadget to your already crowded portable mix. We’d probably save up for a new, higher-capacity device before accessorizing our old gadgets, but a compact media server does seem like the perfect companion for a road trip, serving up HD videos and other content simultaneously to multiple devices using the free iOS app. This is strictly a content server — while you can move move content off the drive and later transfer it back, there’s no backup tool included, and Kingston says we shouldn’t expect one in the future, either. Click past the break for our impressions of Kingston’s flash-based server, due to hit stores later this month.