Week in review: Google and BlackBerry go iOS, 50 billion app downloads, and more!

It's been a busy, busy week on iMore, and this time the iOS headlines have been dominated by news from ostensibly competing conferences -- BlackBerry Live and Google I/O. The main conversation topic this week was cross platform messaging from BlackBerry and Google both, though also making the headlines was Google's answer to Game Center, Amazon taking on iTunes on the desktop, and the App Store finally hitting 50 billion downloads. Read on for the recap!

The big story early in the week came from BlackBerry Live in Orlando. While we may have expected some news of the enterprise kind that affected iOS devices, we weren't quite prepared for what came next. CEO Thorsten Heins took to the stage and announced that their signature messaging tool, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) would be coming to iOS this summer. Some see it as too little, too late, but there seems to be a healthy early interest in the product. We'll be looking forward to putting it through its paces later this year. It also now means, as Rene pointed out, that each competing platform owner now makes apps for iOS. Apple by contrast, makes squarely nothing for any of its competitors.

Messaging was the talk of the town over in San Francisco too, at Google I/O. Much-rumored leading up to the conference, Google debuted their new, cross-platform, Google+ Hangouts messaging service, now available on iOS as well as Android and the web. Hangouts seems to amalgamate the existing Hangouts experience of group video chat, with the existing Google Talk instant messaging service. Early impressions are good, but for the complete run down be sure to check out Leanna's full review.

Also coming out of Google I/O was news of an iPad version of Google Maps heading our way this year, updated Google Now cards and Google Play game services. Google's answer to Game Center, the game services API's are going cross-platform and are available to developers of iOS games too. Our own Peter Cohen gave his take on Google's new services following the announcement, so be sure to give it a read.

The third competing platform announcing a move to Apple products this week was Amazon. Until now, Amazon's Cloud Player music service has only been available via the web browser, but the launch of a desktop version takes on Apple's own iTunes. Initially, Cloud Player is only available for Windows PC's, but there is a version for the Mac in the works. This is great news for Amazon MP3 Store customers however, as getting your music onto your Mac and into iTunes isn't the most user friendly experience as it stands.

  • Amazon taking the fight to iTunes on the desktop with new Cloud Player client

One piece of big Apple news this week, was the App Store finally reaching its milestone 50 billion downloads. The lucky winner was one Brandon Ashmore, who downloaded Say The Same Thing to win the $10,000 App Store gift card. Congratulations to Brandon!

Elsewhere this week, the iMore staff gave us their thoughts on a variety of subjects. Leanna gave us a sterling round up of the best photography apps for the iPhone, while Peter weighed the pros and cons of all three (!) of Apple's current 13-inch MacBook offerings, and also gave us the arguments against touchscreen Macs . All excellent items well worth reading if you missed them the first time round.

Rene, meanwhile, is still pining on a better way to surface files on iOS. Four years of that and counting. Will Apple finally put him out of his misery?

There you have them, the best of iMore for week. What stood out for you in everything that went on in the last 7 days? What do you still want to comment about? Have at it below!