YouTube has released its own iPhone app, which looks more like it’s mobile site, in preparation for Wednesday’s expected launch of the newest iPhone. Apple said in August that a license to include the pre-loaded YouTube app in iOS had expired, meaning that the app — which had been a staple since the first iPhone — would no longer be a part of the package when consumers bought a new iPhone. YouTube, which is owned by Google, said that it would release its own app for Apple products moving forward.
The move was seen as just one more knock on the wedge separating Apple and Google, especially as Apple is also releasing its own version of maps in this version of the operating system.
In some ways, this was a good development for YouTube. The new app is able to do things such as showcase recommendations for YouTube users based on their past viewing habits. That’s certainly a boost for YouTube, which is always looking for ways to increase user engagement and get people to stay with its content for longer periods of time.
In March 2012, according to comScore, users spent 424.6 minutes with Google video sites — which mostly means that they spent it with YouTube. Overall, the survey said, the average person spent 1,304.8 minutes watching online video in the month of March.YouTube would like to see that number climb even higher with the roll-out of its channel initiative. The company has been helping produce original content that will make people tune in every week. With this app, you have much easier access to your subscribed channels, making it that much easier for you to follow someone on a regular basis.
And even if you don’t get recommendations served to you, the new app makes it much easier to navigate through YouTube, with the addition of a subject-based search guide that lets you look up videos based on interests such as music, pets and animals or sports. Users can also share videos on Google, Twitter, Facebook and e-mail, and the app also allows you to save YouTube URLs to your clipboard.
Of course, you can still search for specific videos and the addition of autcomplete means that you’ll find your way to that crazy“Gangnam Style” video much more quickly than you would have in the old app, and without having to type it all the way through.
And what about your bigger iOS screen, the iPad? YouTube said in a company blog post that the app will work on the iPad as well, but a tablet-specific app is already on its way.
Perhaps the most important thing for users to know, though, is the fact that the new YouTube app comes with YouTube’s advertising. That gives YouTube a way to monetize its mobile presence — which is important, considering that the site gets 1 billion mobile views per day — but it also means that you’ll may have to endure some pre-roll to get to your favorite cat video on-the-go.
Samsung Galaxy S II The Galaxy S II is pricey without the carrier subsidies — even a good deal online is about $550 — but there's been nothing but praise for the 4.3-inch, dual-core processor, pencil-thin phone. Jin Sung-chul / Associated Press
Technology watchers’ calendars got a little fuller Tuesday, with Apple’s confirmation that it will hold a major press event on Sept. 12 — believed to be the launch of its next iPhone. But even without Apple's event, September is shaping up to be a busy month of gadget launches as companies prepare for the holiday season.
Nokia and Motorola kick off this month’s crop of events Wednesday, with announcements in New York.
Nokia is expected to take the wraps off a new flagship Windows phone Wednesday that runs the latest Windows Phone 8 software. The phones are follow-ups to the Nokia Lumia 900, the flagship phone for Windows Phone 7 manufactured after the Finnish smartphone maker teamed up with Microsoft.
The Lumia 900 — a solid, innovative phone — did well but not as well as the companies likely hoped. Its price was recently slashedto $49.99 from an original price of $99, after Nokia and Microsoft announced that the phone would not be compatible with the upcoming version of Windows Phone.
The new operating system will be more flexible than its predecessor, with the addition of customizable tiles as well as including voice control and more integration between mobile and desktop devices.
According to the Verge, the new phone will be called the Lumia 920 and have a couple of neat features such as cordless charging and an 8 MP PureView camera with software that improves camera stability.
Nokia’s press conference follows Samsung’s unveiling last week of the first Window Phone 8 device, the ATIV S.
Not to be outdone, Motorola and Verizon are holding their own Wednesday event in New York, where the companies are expected to announce the next Droid smartphone.The phone is expected to be called the Droid Razr M, Boy Genius Report said in a post on the subject, and will reportedly have a Kevlar case like its predecessors, the Droid Razr and Droid Razr Maxx.
Of course, the phone also is expected to have the same super-slim profile as its older siblings. Engadget reports that the phone could also have a 1.5 GHZ dual-core processor, a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED screen, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, an 8MP rear camera and a 3MP front-facing camera.
HTC will have its own launch event on Sept. 19, which Mashable wrote is likely also a Windows Phone 8 launch. HTC had been a prominent Android phone maker, but has been falling in recent months and may be looking to diversify its offerings as well.
Finally, Amazon is planning its own big reveal Thursday in Santa Monica, Calif. The company is expected to announce the launch of a new version of the Kindle Fire.
The event’s location could be a clue that Amazon has something big to announce on the video front — a component of its Amazon Prime service that the company’s been building out aggressively in recent months. The first Kindle Fire announcement, after all, was in New York, the heart of the publishing industry.
There are conflicting rumors, though, about what the new Kindle Fire will look like. The conventional wisdom since the first Kindle Fire came out last September is that the next Kindle Fire — or Kindle Fires — would branch out into different screen sizes to more effectively take on Apple’s iPad. Right now, the Kindle Fire is one of the only 7-inch tablets worth buying, but it hasn’t taken a real run at Apple’s larger tablet market. With rumors that Apple is planning to play in the market for smaller tablets, Amazon could be looking to diversify.
Then again, they may not. CNET reported late last month that Amazon is planning to “double down” on the smaller tablet market and will only release a higher-end version of its current tablet on Thursday. The new version of the Fire, the report said, would have more impressive specs such as a faster processor, a camera, an HDMI port (which would let you hook your tablet up to your TV) and physical volume buttons. The tablet, the report said, will also have more internal memory, but will still not be expandable.
By Hayley Tsukayama, Wednesday, September 5, 9:32 AM
YouTube is going to launch VOD-style movie rentals on TVs and connected devices later this year. The Google-owned video service will add a premium component to its TV application on various Smart TV platforms, according to an announcement by YouTube hardware partner TPVision.
The company, which is better known for its Philips-branded TV sets, said that it will be offering YouTube rentals in “select European countries” later this year. TPVision also said that “Philips Smart TV will be among the first TV platforms” to offer access to these rentals.
A YouTube representative wasn’t available to share any additional details with our readers. YouTube added rentals to its Google TV app earlier this summer, but hasn’t made VOD available on any other TV platform before. YouTube movie rentals on Google TV have also been limited to the U.S. market.
An expansion of YouTube’s VOD offerings to other connected devices could lead to YouTube competing more squarely with other VOD services like VUDU, Amazon Instant or Blockbuster. It could also lead to more engagement with YouTube’s ad-supported content, which already includes feature-length movies and an increasing number of professionally-produced shows.
By Janko Roettgers | GigaOM.com, Updated: Wednesday, September 5, 11:24 AM
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