Inside these posts: Apps

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Feds probe data collection by smartphone apps

Music player Pandora's smartphone app for both iPhones (above) and Androids transmitted information about a user's age, gender, and location. (Reuters/Joe Skipper)

Federal prosecutors in New Jersey are investigating whether numerous smartphone applications illegally obtained or transmitted information about their users without proper disclosures, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The criminal investigation is examining whether the app makers fully described to users the types of data they collected and why they needed the information — such as a user’s location or a unique identifier for the phone — the person familiar with the matter said. Collecting information about a user without proper notice or authorization could violate a federal computer-fraud law. Get the full story »

Apple sues Amazon over its ‘App Store’

Apple Inc. sued Inc. over its use of the phrase App Store, accusing the online retailer of trademark infringement. In a complaint filed March 18 in the U.S. District of Northern California, Apple asked the court for an injunction stopping Amazon from using the name as well as unspecified damages. Get the full story »

Angry Birds developer plans IPO in U.S.

Rovio, the developer of the Angry Birds mobile game, said it would seek an initial public offering in the United States. “The plan is to seek an IPO in New York, but the specific timing and details are still open,” said Rovio spokesman Ville Heijari in an email on Friday. Get the full story »

Regulators probe Apple subscription plan

Regulators have begun an inquiry into Apple Inc.’s plans to take a cut of the revenue generated by the sale of online subscriptions through its App Store, according to a person familiar with the plans. Get the full story »

Apple rolls out digital subscription service

Apple is launching a long-awaited subscription service for magazines, newspapers, videos and music bought through its iTunes App Store.

The plan calls for publishers to set the price and length of subscription, marking a break from the previous practice of “newsstand sales” under which each issue of a magazine, for instance, would be bought separately. Get the full story »

Starbucks letting customers pay with cell phones

Starbucks Corp. will allow customers at U.S. company-operated stores to use some smartphones to pay for their purchases in an effort to drive sales.

Customers with Research in Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry or Apple Inc.’s iPhone or iPod touch will be able to pay using a Starbuck card mobile app at nearly 6,800 company-operated stores and 1,000 Starbucks in U.S. Target Corp. locations. Get the full story »

Social gaming market to pass $1 billion in 2011

The social gaming market is expected to pass $1 billion this year, thanks to a rising number of users and a projected increase in advertising, according to research group eMarketer.

That marks a 28 percent increase over last year’s market, which totaled $856 million.

Nearly 62 million Internet users in the U.S. — or 27 percent of web surfers — are expected to play at least one game on a social network per month in 2011, up from 53 million last year, eMarketer said. Get the full story »

Tribune rolling out news app for Microsoft tablets

Mosiac app. (Tribune)

The Tribune Co., publisher of the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, is rolling out a news-reading application that will run on a new line of Microsoft-based tablet computers.

The app, called Mosaic, creates a moving set of touchable photographs that, when tapped, reveals the headline associated with the photo and allows the user to open and read the article.

“It’s a very different, visual way for readers to sort through and personalize how they want to see news delivered,” said Eddy Hartenstein, the Tribune’s co-president. “You just touch it and it blossoms.” Get the full story »

Apple launches app store for Macs

Apple Inc. is launching an applications store for Mac computers, replicating a model that proved wildly popular on its iPhones.

The Mac App Store, similar to the iPhone App Store and linked to iTunes accounts, went live Thursday offering more than 1,000 apps, or programs. The store is launching in 90 countries with paid and free apps in areas such as games, design and education. Get the full story »

Comcast rolls out video app for iPad, eyes live TV

Comcast Corp. plans to soon roll out a feature allowing its customers to watch real-time television shows, whether a crime drama or newscast, on tablet computers such as Apple Inc.’s iPad. Get the full story »

Study: Web users willing to pay for some things

The Web may seem like the land of something for nothing. Free video. Free news. Even free tools such as word processing and spreadsheets.

But almost two-thirds of adult Internet users in the U.S. have paid for access to at least one of these intangible items online, according to a new survey from the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Get the full story »

Apple sued over privacy issues with Apps

Apple Inc. allowed personal information from users of applications for its iPad and iPhone devices to be transmitted to advertising networks without the users’ knowledge, according to a lawsuit brought against the technology giant last week, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday. Get the full story »

Apple sued over privacy of iPhone, iPad apps

Bloomberg News | Apple Inc. has been sued over claims that some of its iPhone and iPad apps, including Pandora and, transmit users’ personal information to advertisers.

How free iPhone games can get expensive

“The Smurfs’ Village,” a game for the iPhone and other Apple gadgets, was released a month ago and quickly became the highest-grossing application in the iTunes store. Yet it’s free to download.

So where does the money come from? Kelly Rummelhart of Gridley, Calif., has part of the answer. Her 4-year-old son was using her iPad to play the game and racked up $66.88 in charges on her credit card without knowing what he was doing. Get the full story »

Google takes wraps off first Chrome PCs

The first laptops powered by Google Inc’s Chrome system will hit store shelves later than expected, as the Internet company works out bugs in a family of Web-centric computers intended to take on Microsoft Corp and Apple Inc . Get the full story »