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GDC 2013: Pangalore Brings HTML 5 Game, ZooVale, To iPhone, iPad, Browser

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on March 26th, 2013

Pangalore, the gaming studio behind Knightly Adventures, sat down with us today to share the new game, ZooVale. Built in HTML 5 for maximum compatibility, you'll be able to play the game on desktop and mobile browsers, as well as your iPad, seamlessly across platforms and with friends. You'll build a village, collect and breed animals, and battle your way in Adventure mode. It looks like great fun, and should be out in a couple of months.

[vine bjmnD692pTP]

Grooveshark Launches HTML5 Player to Bypass App Stores

Posted by Carter Dotson on January 18th, 2012

Grooveshark has decided to try and circumvent the issue of not being on web stores by unleashing a gambit Apple and Google can't shut down: a mobile HTML5-based client. Grooveshark has had a contentious relationship with the App Store and Android Market, having pulled off the rare double whammy of being removed from both the App Store and Android Market! Some of the major music labels, like Universal, dispute the legality of the service in part because they believe that Grooveshark is willingly permitting copyright infringement, although they do have deals with some labels.

As such, the idea of an HTML5 player is to be something that will work on mobile devices without approval from companies who also have financial agreements with the record labels who oppose their service. The HTML5 player works in Safari on iOS, on browsers for Android 2.3 and later, including third-party browsers. While this HTML5 solution doesn't allow for offline listening or continuous track playing, it allows for the easy streaming of music on mobile, all without needing an app. The HTML5 player, which is still in a beta form, is available from http://html5.grooveshark.com and is currently free to access.

Spool Unravels a Service for Saving Articles and Videos for Offline Consumption

Posted by Carter Dotson on October 11th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Spool is a service that is hoping to bring the best of "read it later" services like Instapaper and Read It Later, and will apply it to other forms of media as well.It's also attempting to do more by being designed for offline use as well.

The first use of Spool is that it serves as a service to read items at a later date, presenting items in an easy-to-read format. This is similar to Instapaper on iOS, only that this is a cross-platform service. There's a browser extension for all the major web browsers. After installing the extension, the link is saved to the user's spool. Then, the user can load up a mobile app, currently available for Android and iOS, and read the content that was saved. New content can be spooled from the app as well, by either searching or visiting a URL directly from within the app.

Now, this gets to the other part of Spool's usefulness; Spool can be used to save videos for offline watching. By loading up the app once an item has been spooled, the site and video is loaded into local memory. This includes Flash videos; the Spool servers can record Flash video and convert them to a format that's viewable on mobile, and able to be watched offline. Videos from Adult Swim and Dailymotion work well with the service. MLB.com doesn't seem to work with Spool's video conversion properly. YouTube videos can't be saved for offline access at this time.

The ability to watch and view offline is a huge part of Spool's utility; by preloading content, this makes it useful for watching videos in places where internet service may be less than ideal or even nonexistent; this is perfect for cell phone users on limited data plans or iPod touch owners. Download videos and content when on wifi, and then watch them whereever. The app is not necessarily optimized for tablets yet.

This app is especially interesting for iOS users looking to easily watch Flash videos on their phone or iPod, and for Android users looking for a service similar to Instapaper for their phones. Spool is free to use, but is currently only available as invite only by registering at Spool's website.

148Apps.biz News: HTML5 Conference Set For Next Week

Posted by Chris Kirby on September 23rd, 2011

148Apps founder Jeff Scott posted this news update over at 148Apps.biz:

The first HTML5 Developers Conference is set to launch next week. And just announced they will be hosting a hackathon with a special focus on mobile gaming.

Everyone is talking about HTML5 — it’s the future, right? Developers from all over the world are getting together to learn more about HTML5 and those ubiquitous plans next week in San Francisco.

For the full story, head on over to 148Apps.biz.

VUDU Launches Browser-Based Web App For Watching Rented and Purchased Movies

Posted by Carter Dotson on August 15th, 2011

Some notable players with prominent content are starting to get in to the business of making web apps in HTML5, bypassing the App Store entirely. Amazon has launched HTML5-capable versions of both their Cloud Player for music, and Cloud Reader for reading - and (more importantly for Amazon) buying - Kindle books. However, it's entirely another thing for content from large multimedia multinational conglomerates to show up in a web app form, especially considering the DRM hurdles that Netflix has had to jump through with supporting devices on Android. However, it appears as if thanks to the power of one of the biggest multinational conglomerates of all, Walmart, movies and TV shows are showing up through the browser for iPad owners.

Walmart owns the video-on-demand service VUDU, and that service has just launched the ability to view their content through the iPad's Safari browser. By visiting http://vudu.com/movies, users can immediately browse through VUDU's entire library of content. There are various trailers and previews available to sample the content available from VUDU; sadly, all content is standard definition only on iOS, and some movies are specifically unavailable on the platform. Movies and TV shows can be either rented or bought from the service, and should be available for watching across the multiple platforms that VUDU is available on. Video watching is available in full-screen, but it does not appear to support AirPlay as of this time.

It does seem as if the web app revolution will be launched by big companies who don't want to be pushed around by Apple and their restrictions, especially when they have their own financial interests at heart. If Apple won't let them make money through the App Store, then they'll just find another way to leverage the millions of iOS devices out there, and if in doing so, they push into new frontiers of technology. That could ultimately be beneficial for consumers who don't have to be limited by Apple's restrictions to get the content they want. It could also benefit Apple in a way - they have been pushing HTML5 as a replacement for Flash, and with these new web apps not requiring Flash, they're only pushing their own agenda further along.

Source: MacStories

Vimeo launches app for iPhone

Posted by Chantelle Joy Duxbury on April 6th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

A huge announcement last week brought the Vimeo iPhone App into the spotlight as it debuted on the App Store. One of the first companies to start reencoding their online videos as HTML for iOS users, Vimeo has gone one step further and created an Official iPhone app.

The new Vimeo Official iPhone offers almost the full functionality of the website, and just a little bit more. Not happy with simply providing a browsing or uploading experience, this app offers more than just being able to upload or watch videos on your iOS device. You can edit your videos, with Vimeo's in-app editing options. Manage your own videos and of course watch, but also download your favorite videos right to your iPhone to watch offline at any time. You can manage your own personal queue, or other aspects of your Vimeo account.

You will also have the ability to monitor the statistics of your existing or any new videos. Checking the views, ratings and all other important information you'll want about your Vimeo content. A simple and elegant user interface makes it easier to browse comments, search videos and find exactly what you're looking for on Vimeo.com

What's more the Vimeo iPhone app plans to rival iMovie with its video editing functionality, Vimeo is one of the first free professional video apps that offers transitions, titles, music, volume control and other effects to be added to your video before uploading to your Vimeo account, sharing otherwise, or even saving directly on your device.

There is a host of social media integration options within Vimeos app, as well. You can share with your friends on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, send via SMS, Email or even upload to Wordpress.

Bringing the user experience of Vimeo directly to the iPhone was of utmost importance to the development team at Vimeo, who want to offer the functionality to existing users, as well as ease of use to new ones. They've created what is likely to be known as one of the most functional and well designed video apps available for iOS. It works on all post-4.0 devices, but is specifically designed to work best with the iPhone. Read more on the Vimeo Press Page.

Skyfire Slowly Making Itself Available to iOS Users

Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on November 9th, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Last week we reported on Skyfire finally launching on iOS. As was to be expected, nearly everyone with an iOS device tried to download the new browser at once, promptly crashing the company's servers and causing all sorts of problems. Now the team is ready to try again, but this time they're only allowing a few downloads of Skyfire at a time.

On the company's official blog CEO Jeff Glueck announced that Skyfire will be available "while supplies last" and that the company will continually release the browser until servers near capacity, then shut it down until things clear up a bit.

"Due to overwhelming demand, we are taking this approach because Skyfire believes a good user experience should come first, and we would rather have fewer, happier customers, and add new users as we can support them," he said. "We will open the first batches to US users only, with additional country support to follow shortly.

"Please note that there may be some initial congestion as a flood of new users simultaneously try to use the service, but try again an hour later and things should smooth out."

Glueck is recommending that those who don't get Skyfire right away keep checking the company's Twitter and Facebook pages for updates on when the browser is available. Glueck is also promising to make Skyfire available outside the US as quickly as possible.

Those who have been able to use the browser seem impressed, as previously inaccessible videos now work without issue. The key is that Skyfire takes Flash videos and converts the code to HTML5, which can be read by iOS devices.

Has anyone out there tried Skyfire yet? If so, what do you think? Has it been worth the added hassle to watch video content you couldn't see before, or is the net gain ultimately minimal?

[via Skyfire blog]

iSwifter Bringing Flash to iPad

Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on November 8th, 2010
iPad App - Designed for iPad

In a surprising move that brings us two different Flash-enabled browsers in the span of less than a week, iSwifter has launched their browser on the iPad. While at first glimpse it may seem that Apple has relented on its insistence that Flash not appear on iOS devices, the truth is a bit more complicated than all that.

First off, while iSwifter supports Flash, it doesn't support all Flash content found on the web. Rather, only portals such as Ted Talks, Muzu.TV, Jambo Media, Green TV, All Things Science, Yahoo Blogs, WatchDoIt and Ignite Show. SkyFire, on the other hand, will convert any Flash video to HTML5 so that it can be displayed on an iOS device. Thus, while iSwifter will save you possible bugs and glitches from format conversion, it's still not a magic bullet to get access to all the Flash content floating around out there.

In addition iSwifter also allows access to thousands of Flash-based games which otherwise might be walled-off from consumers. The ability to play Flash games on an iOS device is hidden via smoke and mirrors, where the game is actually hosted on iSwifter's servers and players are merely streaming it from that point. It's a similar setup to the OnLive cloud-based gaming service, just on a smaller scale.

It's also important to note that the app is currently only available for iPad. While the company plans to launch an iPhone/iPod version soon, they aren't yet ready to announce a release date.

While apps like iSwifter and Skyfire are helping folks slowly work around the iOS prohibition on Flash we won't be able to truly put this issue to bed until Apple and Adobe kiss and make up. Perhaps someday users won't have to utilize a workaround just to get access to otherwise freely available content, but until that day we continue to engineer solutions to problems that probably shouldn't exist in the first place.

[via Venture Beat]

iPad Won't Get a Dedicated Facebook App

Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on November 5th, 2010

It's no secret folks love using the Facebook app on their iPhones and it seemed like just a matter of time before a dedicated Facebook app made its way over to the iPad. Funny story - sometimes foregone conclusions aren't as foregone as you think, and it would seem that Facebook currently has no immediate plans to create an iPad app. The reason? Company CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that the iPad "Isn't mobile."

The initial response to such a statement is one of sound and fury, but it seems that Facebook's true planning is actually a bit more elegant than Zuckerberg let on. According to company Mobile VP Erik Tseng, Facebook is trying to figure out a unified strategy across all tablet devices so that there can be one tablet-optimized Facebook for Apple, Dell, HP, etc. The thinking goes that Facebook is currently tinkering with an HTML5 version of the service which will present a user-friendly, unified experience across all devices.

Furthermore, Facebook fanatics can still put up wall posts or upload embarrassing pictures via the traditional Facebook website which is easily accessible on the iPad's web browser. It may not be as streamlined or elegant as the iPhone's Facebook app, but it's still perfectly functional.

Even though there's no official iPad Facebook app on the immediate horizon things are far from dire. While it would be nice to go to an tablet optimized version of the social networking site in one click, having to navigate for a few more seconds has never killed anyone and it won't start now. I'm sure we'll all find a way to manage somehow, and we'd rather Facebook take their time and get it right then rush out a half-baked app that barely works and proves to be more cumbersome than helpful.

[via Mashable]

HTML5 Gains Ground on Flash

Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on November 2nd, 2010

A new report from MeFeedia suggests that HTML5 is gaining ground on Flash, with 54 percent of all videos online supporting the format. This is substantial growth from even January of this year when only 10 percent of videos were compatible with HTML5. This announcement is great news for the iOS community seeing as how HTML5 is the format of choice for iDevices.

When the iPhone first debuted one of the major knocks against it was the fact that it didn't support Flash, the standard format for almost all online video. Detractors wondered how a separate format could ever hope to make inroads against a larger, more-established and entrenched rival, akin to Betamax taking on VHS. Then again, technology is filled with stories of new devices driving one format over another, and it appears this may be yet another example.

The survey claims that mobile phones are indeed the primary driver in the growth of HTML5, and that while Flash remains the dominant format in desktop environments, it's on the cusp of being overtaken in the mobile space. Just like how Sony's PS3 basically drove the sale of Blu-Rays until the format established a foothold, the iPhone has blazed a trail for HTML5 to create demand and help provide for more widespread adoption. As if iPhone users aren't smug enough already, here's another feather in their cap (we kid).

Really this is good news all around. Flash isn't going anywhere, and this is just a way for more videos to be easily available for more people. One of the terms used in the survey is that video is becoming "device agnostic," which is truly a welcome trend. Feel free to celebrate the news by watching videos for the rest of the day, your boss won't mind, after all you're just celebrating a happy period in human history.

[via MeFeedia]

Yahoo Infuses Yahoo Mail With HTML5 Goodness

Posted by Chris Nitz on August 18th, 2010

Yahoo had a big day on Tuesday. Yahoo pulled the curtain back on a fresh new HTM5-optimized version of Yahoo Mail. The kicker is this newest optimization is for the iPad.

Those of you already using Yahoo Web Mail on an iPhone will feel like you're visiting your best friend. The iPad version takes the improvements made for the iPhone, spruces them up, and optimizes them for the sexy screen on the iPad

The goodies don’t just stop at pretty layouts and HTML5 optimizations though. Through the miracles of modern caching technology, Yahoo Mail on the iPad will also cache user emails. This is great for those times when WiFi is completely unattainable.

This means that if you happen to be climbing to the top of Mount Everest and you realize you forgot if you were supposed to zig or zag at the fork in the path, you have options. You can open your Yahoo Mail on that iPad and do a quick search for what Jimmy told you to do. Thanks to that email cache, you can look at the map he scribbled on a napkin and emailed you earlier in the week.

This just shows us that more companies are willing to comply with the Apple enforced HTML5 standard than consumers give credit. Of course, the umpteen trillion iPods, iPhones, and iPads that are currently in use are probably more to blame than anything else is. It is still nice to see companies providing updates to their web services to cater to everyone. Are you reading this Google?

The new Yahoo Mail is available to anyone in the world with an iPad and access to the Internet. Just open that Safari app and point it to http://mail.yahoo.com. Yahoo will take of the rest from there. It might also help if you have a Yahoo Mail account.

Why you'll never see Flash on your iPhone, iPod or iPad

Posted by Ben Harvell on May 4th, 2010

If you've ever wondered why you see a little blue Lego brick rather than a video when using Safari on an iPod, iPhone or iPad, it's really down to the personal preferences of two very rich and powerful men.

Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO, is never one to mince his words or compromise when it comes to his company or its products and has exhibited these qualities once again with an "open letter" explaining his thought's on Adobe's Flash products amid the ongoing hostilities between the two companies.

When the iPhone was first launched, many criticized its inability to play the Flash video used on many websites including YouTube. Websites created using Flash technology were also incompatible with the iPhone.

With the launch of the App Store most of these complaints were calmed and Apple's own YouTube app solved part of the web video problem, however a number of major sites such as The New York Times still use Flash and therefor cannot be viewed properly in the iPhone's Safari browser.

Adobe is "lazy"...
At a recent meeting of Apple employees, Jobs was said to refer to Adobe as "lazy" and referred to its buggy versions of Flash for the Mac as reasons not to support it on Apple's mobile devices. These comments were supposed to be behind closed doors, but Jobs' "Thoughts on Flash" posted last week on Apple's website is for the world to see. Apple has also banned the submission of any apps to the App Store that were built using Adobe's new Flash CS5 tools.

In his notes Jobs explains: "I wanted to jot down some of our thoughts on Adobe's Flash products so that customers and critics may better understand why we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads."

Running through six topics covering everything from Flash's inability to work with touch devices through security issues and battery life, all the while promoting the new HTML5 standard, Jobs concludes with this stinging sign off "Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind".

Apple's "smokescreen"...
Adobe's CEO Shantanu Narayen has, in some part, responded to Jobs' harsh words in an interview with The Wall Street Journal in which he refutes a number of Jobs' statements referring to them as a "smokescreen" as well as finding Jobs' reference to Flash being a closed standard as "amusing". The fight back from Adobe appears to be focussing on its belief that all devices are equal and its software allows developers to create apps for a number of devices while Apple wants to control and manipulate its own hardware and software platform.

In some ways, Narayen is right. Everybody wants their sites and apps to be available on these highly popular Apple devices. Security and performance issues aside, by allowing Flash apps and sites into the mix, Apple would be relinquishing some control and would provide Adobe with more power. Without Flash, app developers must stick to using Apple's own tools to create software for the App Store and web developers must take advantage of the open HTML5 standard to keep their sites compatible. Adobe is left out in the cold until it decides to toe the line.

So what's the result of all this squabbling?
Adobe will push on and allow developers to create content for all of the other devices out there while being forced to ignore Apple, the market leader. On the flip-side, Apple will feel little effect while continuing to develop its ecosystem and maintain control of its developers and platform.

For these reasons, along with Jobs' pigheadedness when it comes to quality and control, the blue bricks will remain until the rest of the world catches up to Apple's view of the future - and that doesn't include Flash.

image credit: Flickr user Ping ping