We've come to the end of another year, and as we wave goodbye to 2010, we figured it was only fitting that we share the most popular stories published on Gear Live in 2010, as determined by our readers (we've also got the top ten most read stories regardless of publish date!) These are the ten stories that were read the most, and when you consider that fact, it's pretty surprising to see what made the list. Let's kick it off with our most read story of the year:
Fring App Brings Skype Video Calling to iPhone 4 over Wi-Fi and 3G:
Sure, Skype just formally announced video calling in the Skype 3.0 iOS app, but Fring brought us Skype video calls months ago! The thing is, Skype pulled that feature from Fring with the quickness, but that didn't stop this from being the most read story we published in 2010!
Fred Wilson, a known venture capitalist, put up a post this week arguing that magazine and newspaper apps are not a viable strategy for content publishers. It's no secret that the print industry has been in decline, with print companies shutting down. As information moves to the web, some of the core principles they could rely on before, exclusivity and scarcity, are no longer available to them as anyone can easily blog about everything in this link economy. The arrival of the iPad made many magazines and newspapers jump on board, because with apps, there's an illusion that these core principles exist again.
Whereas it soon became clear that most people were not willing to pay to have access to a web site, they thought that it would be easier to get these same people to pay to download an app which has basically the same content, with some 'pretty' layer on top of it. With recent figures showing that sales of those types of apps have been declining recently however, Wilson argues that this is only temporary. Instead, he sees the mobile space heading more towards the web model, where information want to be free, and with billions of devices accessing mostly free content.
Read More | AVC
This time last year, the tech world was holding its collective breath for the "slate" device Apple was heavily rumored to be releasing. A few weeks after CES, we had the Apple iPad, and a new product category with a clear leader was officially born. Since then, it feels like someone poured water on the tablet category or fed it after midnight. The sheer multitude of tablets seems to multiply like gremlins, and many of the products are equipped with operating systems that have a few gremlins of their own. CES 2011, nonetheless, will be remembered as the opening bell for the year of the tablet. Thus far, only two true contenders, Apple's iPad and Samsung's Android-based Galaxy Tab, have emerged as viable, enviable tablets. In about a week, that will all change…maybe.
Flipboard, one of the best iPad apps for reading through your Facebook and Twitter feeds in a magazine format, just received a major update that brings a bunch more features to the table. You can now view your Google Reader subscriptions, Flickr feeds and groups, and the app also boasts more features for Facebook and Twitter as well. You can use the app not only to check out all the content that's out there, but now it's easier to add your own updates, photos, and articles back into your social networks as well. Hit the video for a look. Flipboard is completely free.
Read More | Flipboard
Microsoft, along with various hardware partners, entered the tablet market a decade ago, but it was never a big success for them. Now that the iPad has taken off, and with Android tablets also looking strong this Christmas, the New York Times has an exclusive report saying that Microsoft is about to release a series of new tablets at CES early next year. According to inside sources, Steve Ballmer will introduce devices from Samsung, Dell and others, and try to get Microsoft back in the race. However, unlike the iPad and Android tablets, they will run Windows 7 or 8, a full desktop OS, and include a slide out keyboard.
Of course the fact that they will run a full OS brings questions like how much battery life they will have. Also, some of the marketing points will be for people to "work on Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint while doing work”. This seems very similar to what the UMPC and previous Windows tablets were about, and it seems like a repeat of previous attempts--including last year at CES where Ballmer announced their new tablet initiative.
Read More | New York Times
If you're looking for some inexpensive-yet-functional items from our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide, today we've got some gloves that any owner of a smartphone with a touchscreen might appreciate. Freehands makes gloves that allow the wearer to use their touch-enabled device, which keeping their hands warm. They have some models where the gloves have fingertips that can be pulled back for the thumb and forefinger, and others where the gloves have material in the fingertips so that you can tap away while keeping all your digits nice and toasty. Prices start at just under $20.
Read More | Freehands gloves
As everyone knows, Trucks are good and Skulls are evil. And when they get together…it's smashing. I'd read a comic book called Trucks & Skulls; I'd watch a movie called Trucks & Skulls; and I'd give my kids a bunch of toys called Trucks & Skulls.
What Trucks & Skulls is right now, though, is a game app for the iPhone and the iPad.
It hasn't been out for much longer than a month and already it's racking up the awards, the great reviews and the downloads.
The reason I pimp for this (again!) is that the game comes from Appy Entertainment and its Secret World Headquarters north of San Diego.
Read More | Appy Entertainment
When the BBC launched it's iPlayer service, a way for people to listen to shows from the BBC radio and TV stations from the past 7 days, it was hailed as a great step forward. With more than 139 million requests in October, it's currently the largest VoD service in the UK, comparable in scope with Hulu in the US. Unfortunately, the iPlayer service has been limited to UK citizens only. Now, the BBC has announced that it's coming to the US with a subscription based model, initially as an iPad app. The iPlayer app will allow people to watch popular BBC shows on demand like Dr Who. So far, the only way people outside of the UK has been able to get some of the BBC shows was through third party services like iTunes, or from networks who bought the rights to redistribute shows on their channels. Now, a single app will allow the BBC to provide that content directly to users for a monthly fee. The service should be live at some point next year.
Read More | PaidContent
The new iPad-only magazine entitled “Project” was launched yesterday. Helmed by Richard Branson, Project is available as an iPad magazine where issues cost $2.99 each. A subscription option through iTunes is thought to be the next step for the magazine, and may be announced December 9th at a media event.
The cover of the inaugural issue loans the talents of Jeff Bridges, toting an exclusive story on Tron 2. Project uses features such as “Spine”, “Action Buttons”, and “Plus Panels” that make the magazine more than simply a print-to-digital carbon copy. As such, the iPad-only magazine has the potential to be a new form of media. However, whether it lasts or not is a question we will see answered over the deciding next few months.
Read More | Project Magazine