Entrenched in iOS gaming and productivity and a mobile office conformist, Greg Dawson offers a unique take on app reviews from the angle of an independent consultant as well as a daddy, husband and professional photographer.
DeepSketch, a 2D and 3D sketchbook app for iPad, recently updated to version 1.4 adding the ability to zoom and pan around the user’s canvas to be able to add better detail into their work. The new version also adds more ink-like brushes with tapered ends, twitter integration as well as better save and export options. Created by Norway-based indie developer Mattis Folkestad, DeepSketch is known for its 3D sketch capabilities. Users only need to wear a par of 3D glasses to get the third dimension. Users are able to use automatic or manual control of depth with brush strokes to create customized art. Additional features include photo import, a large amount of export options and 3D control for the digital artist. This app requires colored, anaglyph 3D glasses (purchased separately) to create and view 3D images and does not work with polarized 3D glasses or with active 3D glasses used on 3D TV’s.
Known as Death Sword in the US, the 1987 Commodore 64 classic is coming to PC, Mac, iPhone and iPad as early as February 15, 2012. Also previously known as Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior, the new title will be Barbarian – The Death Sword and is developed by Microids and published by Anuman Interactive. Gameplay will be similar to the original one-on-one fighting style as well as will integrate cross-platform multiplayer. It’s not clear as to if Mac warriors will be able to compete against PC warriors or if it will only be Mac versus iOS. I’m sure there would be a lot of happy fighters if one could fight against PC, Mac, iOS or Android. And it’s very nice to see that it will still feature the ability to sever opponent’s heads and celebrate the ensuing shower of blood. Of course, this time it will be in updated 3D graphics. And yes, there are still scantily clad women involved, if that’s something anyone cares about.
Jackthread, the members-only men’s online shopping club, is launching an app developed by Fueled Mobile Design and Development on Tuesday to make it a bit easier for its members and the 20 percent of them who already come through their mobile devices to shop. The online and now mobile shopping club features top-tier street, skate, surf and contemporary men’s fashion brands as well as offer daily sales of up to 80 percent off. The Jackthread app will be available as a free download in the iTunes App Store as well as the Android Marketplace.
The site had yet to be optimized for mobile device users despite their 8 million page views per month, but with the new apps the company anticipates a drastic increase in the number of mobile shoppers. The users who download the app are given the option to sing up for daily reminders for exclusive announcements about curated sales as soon as they go live as well as special sales available only for mobile users. New users will also be given instant access to the daily deals and will not have to wait for an invitation.
The Nike+ GPS app is not only one of my favorite running partners, but its predecessor Nike+ was crucial in getting me across the finish line of my first marathon. For first-time and veteran runners, Nike+ GPS is a great addition to their workout as it features a simple interface, tracks all the good stuff such as calories, distance and pace as well as includes various half and full marathon training guides on its companion site.
As for my first 26.2 mile adventure, I finished the 2007 Chicago Marathon with a heat index of 92 degrees and the only thing that got me through to the finish line was my playlist and my running tracker, the original Nike+ that had the sensor in the shoe and one connected to my now old school iPod Nano.
These days, I use the Nike+ GPS app and if I pull the app dashboard up it has a total of 801.2 miles, 9’43” average pace, 129:43:19 duration, 110,245 calories burned in a total of 226 runs. That doesn’t include a lot of the other runs I have on other apps or 2007-2008, but still shows how much I’ve used it. I also finished the Phoenix Marathon in 2010.
Why I choose to use the Nike+ GPS app is mainly due to being able to get slaps on the back by famous athletes such as Lance Armstrong and others via the in-app feedback function. I remember way back in the day when I ran my fastest mile and Lance came over my headphones and said congratulations. I was hooked.
A few updates later and now it features a slew of other voices as well as one of the coolest features I’ve seen in an app: the ability to challenge friends. My nephew (who is in the Air Force) and I use it quite a bit. Even better, it offers a blind challenge option where the challenger can create the challenge with or without the other person being able to see how far or fast the other person ran.
The reason why Nike+ GPS is a great marathon training partner is that it is very easy to track weekly runs, check that my pace was on track during and after my runs as well as set goals for myself be it running farther, longer or fast. And again, the elite athletes giving a verbal pat on the back is pretty sweet. Pair the app with its companion site Nike+ and the runner can also take advantage of training programs for 5K, half marathon and full marathon among others.
The app and the site are an essential part of my running training schedule. I give all credit to it for the two marathons and half marathons I’ve run and continue to use it to challenge my nephew on a regular basis. I highly recommend it as a running partner and or coach.
Conservation International (CI) and Disney are using the free version of Where’s My Water? in an awareness campaign to education people on the value of fresh water. Disney Friends for Change and the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund are making a $50,000 donation for the “Every Duck Counts” campaign. Now through the end of February, anyone playing the free online or mobile versions of the physics-based puzzle game featuring Swampy the Alligator will learn about fresh water facts, water saving action items, and species that depend on fresh water in CI’s project areas. They will also be encouraged to collect as many ducks as possible within the game to to raise awareness for the accessibility of clean water and its importance on a global scale. The tally of the number of ducks collected so far can be found on Disney Mobile’s Facebook page.
The donation is specifically for supporting freshwater ecosystems that support more than 126,000 species as well as more than 500 million people. This isn’t the first time Disney has been involved in such a program. In 2009, they teamed up to fund two forest projects in Peru and the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as supported CI freshwater projects in South Africa and Cambodia. More information about the programs can be found here.
The award-winning KooZac game, which has racked up 15 million plays online and picked up a Channel 4 “Best International Interactive Viral” award, is coming to iOS and Android according to a recent statement from Square Enix. A cross between Tetris and Sudoku, KooZac is a puzzle game that has players position falling blocks on top of each other to hit the target number and complete the set amount of combinations to finish each level.
The mobile version will include new ways to play, including Puzzle, which brings the player through 60 levels of destroying silver blocks and cleaning the board by completing the targets, Endless for no level and no stage parameters and the ability to compete against the world as well as Blitz for completing targets and using boosts to achieve even higher scores within one minute. The game’s creator Ben Cusack was hired by Square Enix to head up its expanding mobile division.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Posted January 20th, 2012 by Greg Dawson Our Rating: :: NEXT TOP CHEF
Order Up! To Go is a solid time-management game for those looking to become the next "Top Chef." Despite the freemium version's ad-stricken gameplay, there's a lot of addictive potential to be unlocked.
Fandor, an online indie film streaming service that caters to both independent film fans and the mainstream movie crowd, released an iPad app today. This move comes shortly after announcing a partnership with the Roku streaming set-top box back in November. Going mobile brings one of the web’s largest collections of entertaining films that celebrate cinema to iPad users. The films within the collection include the likes of FILM SOCIALISME from the Legendary director Jean-Luc Godard. A magisterial essay on the decline of European civilization, the film was an official selection of the Cannes Film Festival. Fandor offers its users great films such as this as well as others not found anywhere else.
The app features a unique way in which to discover new films via the “Spinner” which offers members a way to have a film randomly picked for them or to select criteria such as era, genre or length before spinning. Members can also take advantage of integration with Twitter, Facebook and email to recommend their favorite movies with friends. The company supports indie filmmakers by sharing a portion of its subscription fee with them as well as with distributors. New members can sign up via a seven-day unlimited free pass on Fandor. Subscriptions range from $2.99 per week or $99.99 for the year.
The award-winning Scosche MyTrek Pulse Monitor is an arm band that communicates wirelessly with the free myTREK health and fitness app. The app displays real-time pulse, target training zone, calories burned, distance and speed of run, total workout time and provides voice prompts during the workout. At $129.99, the pulse monitor works exlusively with the above mentioned app and seems to greatly reduce the bulkiness of the many chest and watch combinations.
With accurate pulse monitoring, the user can easily assess the intensity of their workout and adjust which training zone they’re in by using the five color coded options to quickly identify the desired intensity level. Based on personal health information, each workout zone is represented in a different color, including Resting Zone (White), Weight Loss Zone (Green), Fitness Zone (Yellow), Performance Zone (Orange) and Red Line Zone (Red). Each training session can be customized by adjusting the type of activity, target training zone and type of workout all within the app. It also includes motivational voice prompts to get the user to the finish line as well as makes it easy to control music via the integrated buttons on the Scosche myTREK Wireless Pulse Monitor.
Niko, a new game slinging its way onto the App Store on January 19, unleashes the fury of a new unlikely superhero that looks like a Mogwai and has the stealth of a ninja. The gamer’s mission is to help Niko rescue his friends who have been captured in a mysterious Otherworld. To do so, the player must use sling shot action through the platform design to race through challenging game levels, dodge traps, flip over monsters, and collect achievements on his way to saving all his friends.
Developed by Sulake, the parent company of Habbo Hotel, one of the largest social game and online community for teenagers at 10 million monthly unique users, Niko is a freemium game that is free to download and play for the first six levels. The full game, with three versatile worlds and 28 total levels can be unlocked for $1.99. The app will be available on iPhone (3GS, 4 and 4S), iPad, iPad 2 and iPod touch.
Tate Gallery, developers of Tate Trumps, has released Race Against Time for iOS. The game features the evil Dr. Greyscale who has stolen the world’s color. Yes, it’s basically the end for us in 2012, especially without our colorful colors. But fear not as gamers can guide a quirky little chameleon throughout the game to stop the evil Dr. Greyscale from turning the world into a lifeless monochrome void.
The user plays as the chameleon, traveling through the history of modern art in order to defeat evil Dr Greyscale’s plan to remove all the color from the world. As the gamer races through time from 1890 back to the present day, the background, platforms and enemies change to reflect major art movements and works from the last 121 years of modern art. The company’s aim is to introduce the iOS crowds to new ways of discovering art. Race Against Time is one of a series of apps that Britain’s most famous art institution has commissioned and will be releasing over the next few months.
Historically, Christmas is one of the biggest days of the year for entry of new mobile devices and the apps that make them more productive and entertaining. This year is no different with mobile analytics company Flurry reporting record-breaking mobile growth for both Apple and Google. Apple is on pace to exceed a staggering 10 billion downloads. This would double the overall downloads earned across 2008, 2009 and 2010. With multiple Android operating systems available with multiple carriers, it’s no surprise that the Android Market also set records, more than tripling its life-to-date downloads of 3 billion, reached in May 2011, to now over 10 billion cumulative downloads reached this December.
With an average of 1.5 million mobile activations from December 1 to December 20, Christmas day hit 6.8 million, a 353 percent increase. And with all of those new devices there was a surge of app downloads with an increase from 108 million to 242 million, or 125 percent. That’s a lot of mobile presents and rightly so as they’re no longer a way to only make calls, but to access social sites, video, music, games and much more. The full report is available here.
The wait is over. Skitch for iPad is finally here. Evernote purchased Skitch and launched the first app for Android in August and “iUsers” have been jealous ever since. As of Thursday, the popular Mac desktop app is now available for mobiles devices on the App Store. Sure, I could have used an annotated screenshot to tell the audience in fewer words, but then I’d be out of a job.
The goal of the app is to tell more with less. If a picture is worth a thousand words then Skitch is worth that and then a few more as it allows the user to use shapes, arrows, sketches and text annotation to get their point across quickly. They can mark up photos, screenshots, maps, and webpages then share them with anyone they’d like to. Web site developers might find this useful for when showing off their design to clients and instead of asking them what their changes are they could just ask to draw them.
The top gift on most holiday lists this year is undoubtedly a new iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. To celebrate, Disney Mobile’s very popular rhythm music game Tap Tap Revenge is running its biggest holiday deal yet. Leading up to New Year’s Eve, Tap Tap Revenge is giving away a song a day, including a few holiday favorites, Grammy nominations, and hit singles from the world’s biggest music acts, including Cold Play, who’s hit new song “Hurts Like Heaven” is Sunday’s free track. Lady Gaga’s “Marry The Night” was Thursday’s free track.
As for holiday cheer, they’re also giving away Bootsy Collins & Snoop Dogg’s “Happy Holidaze 2012” on December 26. Other hit songs being given away for free in the holiday promotion include, “Feel So Close” from Calvin Harris, “Body Work” from Morgan Page (ft. Tegan & Sara) and The Band Perry’s smash hit “If I Die Young.” Other bands include Alkaline Trio, She Wants Revenge, Coleman & Chris, Ivy, Chancellor Warhol and The Outfield.
There’s no question that the iPad has changed, or at least begun to change, the way we create and consume media as well as organize our personal and professional lives. One app new on the App Store that promises to help with this is Forms by PBF. The company has pegged it as the personal database for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch with the ability to create custom applets without writing a line of code.
It features an in-app function called Forms Builder, which makes it extremely easy to create highly customized forms. Easy to setup, the app allows the user to define the data that they’d like to organize and create a custom form for projects such as a recipe list, sales charts, workout schedules or even an inventory manager. It also allows the user to share their database between multiple devices by simply exporting and then importing or over-the-air with use of a URL that can be clicked on the additional device for instant access. The Forms app is universal and available on the App Store for $9.99.
SampleTank, a professional quality sound and groove workstation, recently announced a new update, which now makes it a universal app for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. More importantly, it now features a built-in 4-track MIDI recorder, which is an essential tool for any music enthusiast or professional as it enables the mobile musician to record beats, grooves or complete songs anytime and everywhere. The new recorder features quantize and loop functions, export to audio and integration with the built-in pattern player making it a full-featured mobile sound and groove workstation.
Additionally, its drum pads interface was enhanced for easier use and now includes a total of 136 instruments as well as an another few hundred available as in-app purchases. The update also added more than 1,000 patterns as well as made the app compatible with any audio dock. The SampleTank music app is available for $19.99 on the App Store.
With over 1.8 million reviews with an average of four stars, the Facebook app for iPhone continues to be one of the most popular in the App Store. However, there are a few gripes and groans on the review board in regards to uploading pictures as well as being able to access Timeline, which launched earlier this week globally. The Zuckerberg-run company pushed out their Facebook 4.1 update for iPhone a few days ago to combat some of these issues as well as offer access to friend lists, subscribers and subscriptions.
Overall, the application seems to be faster at executing all the various tasks such as status updates, uploading and tagging photos and zipping through different news feeds. This, I’m sure, is a welcomed update to the 99.5 million monthly active users of the iPhone app. For those interested in the update for iPad, stay tuned as that is still in the works. Hopefully, it’s not a long wait. As for the iPhone update, the most significant update is how quickly photos load. It’s extremely fast, which for most, provides a better user experience as they won’t have to wait those extra seconds. Also, the layout of a friend’s profile is a lot easier to navigate as when clicked the user can now quickly add them to specific friends lists. Their about, photos and friends lists are above the fold for easy access as well. Facebook 4.1 is available for immediate download as a free app update on the iPhone.
MyStream, the mobile to mobile music sharing app that launched earlier this year, has announced a recent update that adds additional media file type support, fixed a few bugs within the MyPlayist function and improves the loading screen behavior. The app, created by entrepreneur Richard Zelson, acts as a virtual earphone splitter and allows users to share their music via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Now, the app features social networking integration and a new expanded playlist sharing functionality, which allows the full song to be played by turning on “Access MyPlaylist” and selecting a top 10 list of songs to be made available for others to enjoy. This was a major point of feedback from users of the previous version. Previously, the app only allowed full playback of the host’s song in real-time while others could only be played as 30-second samples. MyStream is available as a free download in the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
Zynga has a lot going on right now, especially with its IPO hitting the main stage on Friday. To give potential stockholders another reason to buy is the company’s latest installment, ForestVille for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. Available for download on the App Store, the game positions the player in a magical forest where they can build, doctorate and play with an ensemble of animal characters including such cute little furry friends as Daisy the fox.
Pegged as the weekend escape for CityVille urbanites, ForestVille is sure to provide an unforgettable weekend escape of exploring a lust forest where players can enlist the help of beavers to enhance their new outdoor community. As must Zynga titles, this one allows the player to design their own forest with homes, landmarks and decorations all while enjoying the liveliness it brings to the area. Skewed heavily towards the cute side of gaming, the game is one of the seven launches this quarter for Zynga, including Words with Friends HTML5, Zynga Poker Mobile Web, FarmVille Express, Mafia Wars Shakedown, Dream Zoo and CityVille Holidaytown.
With the Web eventually came gobs of written material and sifting through it has become a chore to find the good information. Sure, using RSS feed readers is nice, but they’re sometimes clunky and take time to curate and setup. Nick D’Aloisio, a 16-year-old kid from London, might have an answer in his new app called Summly. The app works to simplify the way people browse and search the web by automatically summarizing search results, webpages and news articles.
The interface seems easy enough in that the user simply enters a search term or enters a URL and the app automatically provides the top information from the source in a bulleted list as well as the link to the full article. And Summly seems to be onto something as researchers from MIT tested the company’s patent pending summarization technology and found that it indeed was accurate in providing precise results. Best of all, it can produce results in any language, but is optimized in English, French, German, Dutch and a few more. The app is available now on the App Store for free.
There is a new player in the photo-morphosis game and it’s called Artifact. The app allows iPhone and iPad users to alter their photos fairly quickly as the clone stamp tool works extremely well with iOS. This is a much welcomed app since its cost of $2.99 is dwarfed by Adobe Photoshops CS5’s $699 price tag. Ok, there is a bit of a features difference between the two, but the app is a powerful tool for those photo fans who enjoy adorning their dog Skippy with a magnificent mustache or their darling newborn with a pair of angel wings.
Artifact features two useable layers, one for the original image and the other for the image the user will be taking from. As soon as the image has been pinched into place, the user simply pants the image from the second image onto the first image for a new, unique photo. The app also allows a video frame to be used, multi-touch painting support, different brush shapes and painting modes and masking tape to block off and protect parts of the image from painting. And with the latest update, the user can undo multiple times, uses less RAM, takes images from Facebook and the opacity can be customized.