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In Brief

The team behind the open source video player VLC released an updated iOS version through the iTunes app store on Monday that brings an iOS 7-optimized look to the app. The new version 2.2 also includes a number of new features, including support for streaming media directly from Dropbox or Google Drive, multi-touch gestures and improved UPnP support, which should make the app a better companion for network-attached storage drives. As always, VLC is free and ad-free.

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In Brief

Google brought its Google Play Movies and TV app to iOS Wednesday, making it easier for users of the service to watch rented and bought videos on their iPad or iPhone. The app also includes Chromecast support, making it possible to beam titles to Chromecast-equipped TV screens. However, there’s one thing amiss: Users won’t actually be able to rent or buy any movies or TV shows through the app — Google apparently wasn’t willing to send Apple checks for its 30 percent cut on in-app purchases.

On The Web

Apple’s sales of the iPhone continue to do very well domestically, with the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c boasting record numbers last year, but the Cupertino company struggles to bring its products to countries that are just now embracing smartphones. A feature in the New York Times on Sunday showed the intricacies of Apple’s iPhone sales in India, employing monthly plans and special discount deals to sell phones — key in an area where incomes can be just a few hundred a month. It’s a good glimpse into the brand’s attempt to crack developing markets and gain crucial users.

Duck Life

A quirky little racing game where you have no control over your duck during the actual race, you instead train your duck to be the best little athlete it can be before each race begins. Read more »

On The Web

Microsoft is the “most trusted and essential tech brand,” according to 4,551 U.S. adults recently surveyed by Forrester Research. But all is not lost, fanboys: Apple had the highest overall ranking for being unmistakeable and remarkable. It’s just that Apple  is not viewed as essential as Microsoft. The survey gauges customer preference of one brand over others, their willingness to pay a premium and other factors.

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