Handmark(R) today announced the release of Astraware Casino – a fun, easy-to-use pack of 11 of the most popular casino games from around the world – on the App Store. Astraware Casino is the first new game release from Handmark to use the iTunes Library Integration feature of iPhone OS 3.0. Users with iPhone OS 3.0 compatible devices can select My iPod Music from the game’s Options menu and choose individual songs from their collection to create the perfect casino-themed playlist!
Handmark will be incorporating iTunes Library integration into a range of their existing and forthcoming iPhone and iPod touch games, allowing players to create their own soundtrack for each game. Updates to existing titles with this great new feature will be rolled out over the summer.
“We are excited to be able to use these new APIs to enhance our games offerings,” said Cassidy Lackey, vice president of Handmark Studios. “It’s great to be able to design your own playlist to accompany Astraware Casino – there’s nothing like a bit of relaxing lounge music when you’re enjoying a game of Poker!”
Astraware Casino includes all the usual games you’d expect to find in casinos – Texas Hold ‘Em No Limit and Limit Poker, Blackjack, Craps, Roulette and Slots, as well as some more specialist games like Baccarat, 3 Card Poker, Video Derby, and Keno. Astraware Casino gives players $1,000 virtual dollars to begin playing with and also includes a fun trophy system – the Souvenir Suitcase – with awards given for a range of achievements in the game.
Astraware Casino is available at the introductory price of $0.99 for a limited time from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch or at the iTunes App Store.
You can read my review of Astraware Casino here. In addition to the iPhone/iPod touch edition of Astraware Casino, there is also versions available for the Palm Centro and Windows Mobile-powered Palm Treo smartphones. For more details on other editions of Astraware Casino, please visit the Astraware website.
Iconology Inc., at the San Diego Comic Con, has launch of its Comics by comiXology app on the iTunes App Store. The Comics by comiXology App is a digital comic store, library and reader for iPhone and iPod touch that is launching with over 100 titles available from twenty popular comic publishers and many independent comic writers.
“The stunning display and innovative multi-touch user interface of iPhone and iPod touch have finally made comics appealing in a digital format,” said David Steinberger, CEO of Iconology, Inc. “By combining great comics with iPhone OS 3.0’s In-App Purchasing and location awareness features we are creating a revolution in the way comics are sold and read which could only happen with iPhone and iPod touch.”
Comics by comiXology heralds an entirely new comic book publishing and connected commerce model. Comic book enthusiasts can now not only read their comics in a format designed to preserve the comic book experience on an iPhone or iPod touch, but also locate and connect with local retailers to purchase the printed version of the titles. Through relationships with comic book retailers, Comics by comiXology will increase both digital and print sales of comics and deliver a powerful mobile marketing tool for comic book publishers and retailers.
Comics by comiXology offers a “guided view” that keeps the entire page of a comic intact, unlike other solutions where the page is cut into individual pictures the user browses like a photo application. Comics by comiXology is a reader app that contains all a user’s comics and offers its own digital comics store that supports multiple publishers.
Among the twenty publishers that have already signed up to deliver their titles through Comics by comiXology are many well-known industry icons including:
* AdHouse Books
* Arcana Comics
* Asylum Press
* Bluewater Comics
* Creative Impulse Entertainment
* Digital Webbing
* First Salvo
* Image Comics
* Red 5
* Th3rd World Studios
Additionally, popular comics writer Robert Kirkman has agreed to deliver his titles exclusively through Comics by comiXology making it the only place to get “Walking Dead” and “Invincible” for iPhone and iPod touch.
The Comics by comiXology App is now available, including over 30 free comics, for $0.99 from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch or at www.itunes.com/appstore/.
On Thursday afternoon, Palm released the webOS 1.1.0 update for the Pre smartphone. There is a laundry list of fixes and enhancements that are delivered in this update, including a patch that “resolves an issue preventing media sync from working with latest version of iTunes (8.2.1).”
In addition to correcting the iTunes, um “issue,” Palm has also baked in updates for calendar, camera, clock, contacts, email, messaging, phone, system, web, and YouTube. As with all Palm webOS updates, the package can be downloaded and installed to the Pre, over the air, by using the Updates application. The webOS 1.1.0 update runs just under 90MB and will take a few minutes to download and verify before the update can be installed on your phone.
I installed this update first thing on Friday morning and I did notice some improvement in cellular coverage while I was at the office. I’m not sure if that just happened to be a coincidence or due to the software update. I’ll have to keep and eye on the phone over the next few days to see for sure.
I’m also excited to see that Palm has restored the ability to sync the Pre with iTunes. I know that doubleTwist is a great free option for doing the exact same thing as the Media Sync feature with iTunes, however, I’d rather sync my Pre to my Mac without having to install any extra software. This situation is probably temporary as I’m sure Apple will try to counter Palm’s counter move. So I’ll be sure to enjoy it while it lasts. And when Apple does finally pull the plug on Palm’s iTunes sync ambitions for good, I’ll make the jump to doubleTwist.
To read all the details about Palm webOS 1.1.0, check out the Pre webOS update page.
I was talking to a fellow Palm gearhead the other day and we were talking about how well the slider on my Palm Pre was holding up. The answer was “very well.” The next question, as you can probably guess, was: “How often to you use it?”
I didn’t know. So I started searching the Internet for an answer to this question. I didn’t have to wait long as PreCentral.net forum member furreverdad posted a way to find the answer.
Open the Device Info application on your Pre and tap the More Info button at the bottom of the page. Once you do, tap the Preferences pull down menu, and select Interactive Tests. Run the Hardware buttons test. Skip the keyboard test. The next test, Keyboard Slider, will show you how many times the slider has been cycled, or opened and closed. At this point, you can press the center button and dismiss the Device Info application.
So, how many times have you used your Pre’s keyboard slider?
UPDATE: the Hall sensor refers to the number of times the slider was fully extended and closed. The Optical sensor refers to the times the slider was not opened fully.
Apple, with the release of iTunes 8.2.1 earlier today, has blocked the Media Sync feature in Palm webOS on the Pre from syncing with the popular jukebox software.
Dieter Bohn writes for PreCentral.net:
“According to Apple’s surprisingly forthcoming release notes:
iTunes 8.2.1 provides a number of important bug fixes and addresses an issue with verification of Apple Devices.
We were wondering if this day would come after the back and forth between Apple and Palm on the issue. It’s as-yet unclear exactly what method Apple is using to block Pre sync, but we suspect is wasn’t easy. …Which means we also suspect it might not be easy for Palm to turn it back on.”
As a long time Apple fan and customer (I received my first Apple computer, the Apple //e, back in 1984) I’m really put off by this move. Just last night I was purchasing more iTunes Plus music (new tracks and upgrades from previously purchased Fairplay DRM tracks) so that I can put more content on my Pre. I’ll also mention that I’m not clueless to what is going on either: Apple makes little to no money from music sales. The really money made from the iTunes music store is the sale of iPhones and iPods. I get it, really I do. But I’ve purchased three iPods already. I really don’t need a new iPod and I really don’t want an iPhone, because, unlike what Mr. Jobs said at the iPhone announcement, I really do want a physical keyboard on my device. Soft keyboards are terrible in my opinion.
So now the stand off starts. How long can I hold back on the previous version of iTunes before I’m forced to upgrade to a newer release that prevents my Pre from syncing? I do purchase a lot of TV shows from the iTunes store to watch on my iPod touch, my MacBook, and my Apple TV. I may be forced to upgrade iTunes on my Mac, but I’ll be disabling the Apple Software Update feature on my Windows Vista Ultimate box.
Pre users, what are you planning on doing? Are you going to hang back with me, or are you going to upgrade and use one of the third-party solutions to sync iTunes to your Pre such as doubleTwist or the Missing Sync for the Pre?
Click the comments link below and let your voices be heard!
PreCentral.net is reporting that Palm is working on the next update to the Pre’s operating system which will bring webOS to version 1.1. The updates to webOS that Palm has released today have been bug fixes and security updates targetted at fixing specific issues leading up and immediately following the commercial release of the Pre in the United States on June 6th.
UK website Palm webOS Blog is also reporting that they have looked at a Pre running web OS 1.1, further confirming that Palm is currently working on this update.
What is not entirely know, aside from the information about Microsoft Exchange specific information in the slide that was obtained by PreCentral is what, if any, other software updates will be included in the webOS 1.1 update.
We’ll have to wait until this update gets official to see what other goodies Palm might add to the update.
At some point this week, smartphone accessory maker, Seidio will begin selling a 2-pack version of their Ultimate Screen Guard for the Palm Pre.
Our Ultimate Screen Guard is usually a one time purchase for many of our customers. Because of its quality, most people find themselves replacing their device before their screen protector.
- Designed precisely for your device for a perfect fit
- Made from high quality materials that won’t scratch or tear easily
- Protects the screen without hindering touchscreen capability
- Very clear and barely noticeable once applied to your phone
- Simple peel and stick installation – no messy liquids or glue required
- Two pack for backups, or share with a friend!
I’ll be ordering the screen guards for my Pre later this week. If you want to order a set for yourself, check out the Seidio website for more details. In the past, I have used Seidio’s OEM-sized extended batteries and screen protectors with my Treo 700p and 755p and I have been very happy with their performance over the years. I’m expecting the same high quality products for my Pre.