Like it or not, in this digital world where news is constantly streaming in at a difficult pace to keep up with, it helps to concentrate info into more compact and digestible capsules so it can be consumed more quickly. Thus, from here on out we’re going to do a short review each month of new developments worth highlighting in the world of software, focused mainly on app releases that are directly available here on Uptodown.
Windows 10 Technical Preview (O.S.)
Undoubtedly one of the most talked-about releases of the month has been the free trial version of Windows 10, Microsoft’s new Messiah that, after the company’s recent missteps, aims to return the operating system to the place it occupied during the era of Windows 7. We’ve already talked on this blog about the urgent necessity of bringing back the Start menu as the cornerstone of the Windows experience, and have even listed the various new features it includes, comparing them with already-existing services to apply them to your current version of the O.S.
Ubuntu 14.10 (O.S.)
Coincidentally, this month has also seen a new version of another widely used operating system, at least within the small niche occupied by Linux at the global level. Ubuntu 14.10 is not the long-term support version, but rather an update of the basic installation package for both the kernel and the preinstalled programs. There are no new features that must be highlighted, nor any need to embellish the interface to make it look “fresher”. Plus, its release has as usual come hand-in-hand with an update to each of Ubuntu’s various flavors: Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Studio, and the rest of the family all have new versions, too.
HERE Maps (Android/Web)
Although an early version leaked ahead of time, the official arrival of the maps service for Android from Nokia also happened this month. Given how colossal Google Maps is with regard to its content history, HERE Maps’ aspirations are quite different, offering a clear and direct GPS navigator to help you geographically orient yourself. Still, since it’s our job, we’ve done a comparison of both services for you so you can better understand their ins and outs.
Google Fit (Android/Web)
Seems like everybody “goes running” these days, and using devices to keep track of your exercise has gone from being a trend to practically a requirement, to the point that ‘wearable’ gadgets are now being marketed for that purpose. Google Fit is an aggregator for all your exercise info, bringing all the data collecting by athletics apps together so you can view your long-term results in custom statistical graphs. Google Fit can be used via either the web version or the recently released official client for smartphones.
Qik/New version of Skype (Windows/Android)
Microsoft has given a push to its Skype ecosystem with several new developments. One is the release of its new Qik app, a messaging service based on the exchange of short videos. No text, no photos, just interaction with your contacts using mini-videos. On the other hand, the official Skype client has also undergone a facelift in its Windows and Mac versions.
Rovio can’t be stopped. Although its destiny has already been fixed and is based on living off the income from the Angry Birds license until the end of time, it can’t be said that they’re not at least trying to innovate new products. Retry is a skills game for Android that revisits the (rather frustrating) concept of the famous Flappy Bird, in this case offering you a little pixelated plane to control as you get around obstacles, usually having to repeat a level several times before you manage to master it. It’s not quite as frustrating, though, as the game it’s based on, and actually is terribly addictive. Also, two for one this month with the release of Angry Birds Transformers.
Star Wars: Galactic Defense (Android)
Disney hasn’t been left behind when it comes to squeezing juicy licenses. In recent months they’ve completely shaken up their strategy for exploiting the Star Wars brand in the gaming world. While a few months ago they launched a Clash of Clans clone for Android, Star Wars: Commander, now they’ve come back with another tried-and-true formula for success. Star Wars: Galactic Defense is, as you probably guessed, a tower defense game where you have to choose between the Dark Side and the Light Side to get through missions while your troops advance automatically through levels protected by enemy troops.