Major new app store to take on Apple, others

AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and others to create app store to rival Apple’s
Store was announced Monday at the GSM World conference in Barcelona, Spain
Store would sell apps for iPhones and for smartphones like BlackBerry, Google Android
Until now, Apple has had control of all apps that go on the iPhone
(CNN) — Some of the world’s largest telecommunications companies have teamed up to create an apps store of sorts that they say will rival Apple’s and those of other smartphone makers.

AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and 24 other companies have formed what they’re calling the Wholesale Applications Community, they announced Monday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

The store will be designed to encourage developers to create mobile and online applications for all smartphones and operating systems, according to a written release from the GSM (Global System for Mobile) Association, which hosts the conference.

The group aims to create an open platform.

“For customers this means a broader choice of innovative applications and services available on a wider choice of devices than ever before,” the group said on its Web site, which was online Monday morning.

Samsung, Sony Ericsson and LG Electronics also are part of the group.

The groups said their site will give app developers a simple route to publishing and marketing, and will offer smartphone customers new apps quicker and a wider selection than anyone else.

“This is tremendously exciting news for our industry and will serve to catalyse the development of a range of innovative, cross-device, cross-operator applications,” said Rob Conway, CEO of the GSM Association.

As of now, Apple has had control over all apps that officially run on its iPhones, offering them through the company’s official online store. Users with the ability are able to “jailbreak” the phones to run other apps, but the overwhelming majority of them come through Apple’s store.

By creating a new platform, the Wholesale Applications Community would theoretically let developers write programs that would be usable on multiple smartphones instead of just one.

Currently, Apple apps must be written specically for the iPhone, making them unusable by other phones.

Many application developers have complained that Apple is sometimes slow to approve their work and has rejected apps for what they call arbitrary and confusing reasons.

Systems like Google’s Android have been more open, but the project by the mobile companies will be the biggest push yet to lure developers away from official outlets to a third-party distributor of apps.

Other global companies in the group include China Mobile, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Vodafone and Wind.

The group says that combined, the companies have access to more than 3 billion customers worldwide.

There was no word Monday on how long it will be before applications become available from the consortium. But it’s expected to take a while.

Source: CNN

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Quiz: Are You Addicted To Technology ?

Like other substance addicts, tech-crazed geeks live in a state of denial. Let’s face it, if you’re reading Gizmodo, you’re probably addicted to technology to some degree. But just how addicted are you? Take this simple test to find out.

Answer each of the 50 questions below and give yourself one point per question you answer “yes” to. At the end, score yourself. Be honest, this is just for your own benefit… until you report your shocking score in comments, that is.

1. Do you eat most of your meals while at the computer or in front of the television?

2. Do you sometimes bring your laptop when you sit on the toilet?

3. Do you check your feeds more than 1x per hour?

4. Do you make a nervous habit out of refreshing your inbox over and over, just in case someone emailed you in the last 45 seconds?

5. Can you not remember the last time you didn’t check online reviews before eating at a new restaurant?

6. Do you freak out if you’re in a car and there’s no GPS?

7. Does the verb “tweet” come up regularly in your real-life conversations?

8. Have you ever changed vacation plans based on wi-fi availability?

9. Are there more than two portable electronic devices within reach right now?

10. If your house were on fire, would you run in to rescue your laptop?

11. Are you closer with some online-only friends than people you actually see in real life?

12. Are you pretty sure you’d have killed yourself if you lived in the days before Internet?

13. Do you buy things online that you could easily drive across town to get in person?

14. Do “electronics” have their own category in your monthly budget?

15. Are you a member of any sort of online “guild?”

16. Do you answer questions in support forums when you’re bored?

17. Do you bring your smartphone with you to church?

18. Do you own 3 or more video gaming systems? (Oh come on, portables count.)

19. Do you have multiple t-shirts with references to Internet memes, linux, or webcomics?

20. Do you know what the word “meme” means, for that matter?

21. Has your significant other (or mom, if applicable) ever banned you from your smartphone?

22. Do you spend more time on Facebook than you do in the presence of actual people?

23. Are you currently in a virtual relationship? (WOW, Second Life, etc)

24. Do you have 3 or more active social media accounts?

25. When something happens in your life, is your first thought usually “How can I fit this into 140 characters?”

26. Do you need multiple wall outlets to charge all your stuff at night?

27. When you sit down in a coffeeshop, do you tend to position yourself close to a power outlet “just in case”?

28. Do you generally spend most of your day looking at a computer screen and then go home… only to look at a computer screen for the rest of the night?

29. Have phrases like “BRB” and “ROFL” worked their way into your real vocabulary?

30. Do you often skip meals because you’ve lost track of time in front of the computer?

31. Do you call people by their screen names when you see them in real life?

32. Do you have more than five tabs open in your browser right now?

33. Are there more than three screens of some kind in the room you’re in right now?

34. Are there more computers in your house than there are people?

35. Do you tweet or read blogs while watching movies at home?

36. Do you put your phone on vibrate at the movie theater rather than turn it off, even though you’re not expecting anything important?

37. Have you ever turned down a romantic encounter in order to play video games?

38. Does your Internet usage cut into the time you should be spending on personal hygiene?

39. When you see the last names Cerf, Otellini, Ballmer and Berners-Lee, do you know who is being mentioned?

40. Do you ever leave your laptop open in social settings, even though you aren’t actually doing anything on it?

41. Have you ever had a dream where you were surfing the Internet?

42. Can you type text messages faster than you can handwrite the same words?

43. Have you ever left an event or date early so you could get online?

44. Would you classify yourself as an “expert” multitasker?

45. Can you read machine code?

46. Do you regularly have to put blocks of ice, portable fans, or frozen packages of hash browns on or near your computer to keep it cool?

47. Do you have carpal tunnel syndrome?

48. Do you keep multiple webcams around your house?

49. Are you up on the computer past 3am at least once a week?

50. Did you make it all the way to the end of this quiz?

Scores:

0-1: Clean as a Whistle – You are either 95 years old, or you lie compulsively to make yourself feel better about your internet addiction. Sorry to call you out like that.

2-9: Social Drinker – You’re not great with technology, but dabble. You probably play sports and actually have a significant other. Either that or you’ve recently been released from Internet rehab and haven’t slipped back to the old ways yet.

10-19: Coffee Fiend – You’re about as plugged in as the next person—but you gotta have your daily fix. Let’s face it, gadgets are everywhere nowadays, right? That’s what you tell yourself at least, but what you don’t know is everyone calls you “nerd breath” behind your back.

20-29: Chainsmoker – You recognize that you’re a little too plugged in, and you’re trying to quit. Your tech addictions are starting to ruin your social interactions, between signing out of the real world every 10 seconds and stinking up the room when you enter. Take this as your cue to shower.

30-39: Pothead – You’re addicted, but you have no desire to quit. There’s a box of Ho Hos on the desk, and you had to brush Cheeto dust off the keyboard to log into your computer, which you keep password protected with heavy encryption. You hurried through this quiz because your guild is waiting for you in the other window. You really should consider counseling.

40-49: Crackhead – You get all shaky when you think about technology, always searching for your next fix. You’ve considered constructing a biotech bathtub for your body to lie in, so you can plug your consciousness permanently into the Internet. Family members are planning to stage an intervention and check you into a clinic. You look forward to the shock therapy.

50: Permafried – There’s no higher brain activity going on anymore. Doctors should prescribe you video games and/or marijuana for medicinal purposes. Just to keep you from flat lining.

Based in New York City, Shane Snow is a graduate student in Digital Media at Columbia University and founder of Scordit.com. He’s fascinated with all things geeky, particularly social media and shiny gadgets he’ll never afford.

Source: Gizmodo.com