All Posts By Kevin Stout
HGTV (Home & Garden Television) has just released a new app called HGTV SHELF. The app will provide users with information from the HGTV and DIY Networks in the form of interactive magazine issues.
The app contains a mix of both free and paid content for users to access on popular topics from the websites. Sites associated with the app include HGTV.com, HGTVRemodels.com, DIYNetwork.com, and FrontDoor.com. The app currently contains three issues, two free and one paid. The free issues include Closet Cases (dealing with home organization) and HGTV Color Guide (dealing with picking the perfect colors). The paid issue is Fast Fixes Outdoors (packed with DIYs for outdoor projects).
The issues are built specifically with a tablet in mind and look great with Retina display graphics on the third-gen iPad. HGTV SHELF itself is free and, therefore, it’s free to obtain the free issues within the app. The only available paid issue is currently set at $0.99.
The tower defense and castle defense genres are quite popular on iOS. Touch devices work perfectly for that type of game and, as a result, it’s hard for a new defense game to distinguish itself from the others. Battles and Castles has just been released and seems to have some interesting features that sets it apart.
The game seems to combine elements of traditional tower/castle defense games with building elements (that have become recently popular with games like Minecraft) and RPG elements. Users actually build their castles before defending them and then recruit units, find treasure, and explore mines. It seems to have elements that fans of nearly any genre can enjoy: strategy, simulation, action, and role-playing. The game has over 20 units and 20 buildings, three levels of technology, two campaign modes, multiplayer vs AI, local multiplayer on the device itself, and Game Center support.
Battles and Castles is a universal app and is available for $2.99.
New Balance has just released a sort of workout-based social game. Make Your Move allows friends to compete with each other to complete physical challenges while earning points and medals.
Make Your Move tracks users’ performance for their challenges with the phones sensors like the GPS and accelerometer. Friends challenge other Facebook friends and can make new friends to challenge as well. Players will choose their physical challenges and complete them for points. The harder the task, the more points the player will earn. The app also encourages friends working together to complete challenges – team challenges are worth more points than solo ones. The players will be expected to complete the challenges in a certain time frame. And players will be able to play multiple challenges with multiple friends at a time.
The game is free. So head on over to the App Store, pick it up, and start challenging your Facebook friends to some heated physical challenges.
Late last year the PostSecret app was removed from the App Store. PostSecret allowed users to submit their posts to the PostSecret art project (where users send in anonymous postcards with their secrets). The volunteer moderators were unable to keep up with the abusive and threatening submissions, so the app was removed. A new app has just been released with a similar objective, but with security measures in place to prevent the inherent problems with that kind of app. Whisper is being advertised as the “anti-Facebook,” where users can hop on and tell the truth without the “look at me” feel of Facebook.
The app allows users to express themselves with photo filters and fonts, uses a real-time stream (similar to Facebook), and even allows users to share things over other social networks (including Facebook as well as Twitter and Tumblr).
Since the app has been released, the average user of Whisper visits the app ten times a day and spends a total on an hour or more on it. The popularity of the app is rising and it’s free to download. Whisper also has a website to check out as well.
It’s quite frustrating to be the owner of older generations of iOS devices. iPhone 3G and 3GS (and sometimes even 4!) owners or original iPad or iPad 2 owners are often kept from using certain apps (mainly games) that require more powerful devices. But now, for some users that were upset that they couldn’t play the 3D audio adventure, BlindSide, that’s no longer a problem. BlindSide now supports older devices for their game.
The game used to only be playable on the iPhone 4S, iPad 2, and the third-gen iPad (this left quite a few iPhone users out). The game has now added the iPhone 4 and iPod Touch (fourth generation) to its list of supported devices. Though, epicycle still highly suggests using one of the original three supported devices for the game as the two new devices are supported using a lower quality mode. So for optimal performance, use a new device.
BlindSide is a 3D audio adventure from epicycle. Players never actually see the world that they explore. The game requires uses to put headphones on and navigate around in the darkness based on what they hear. BlindSide detects where players are in the world based on their movements using the device’s gyroscope.
BlindSide is available for $2.99. Check out the new trailer for the game below.
Axon Z, a free test version of Axon Runners, has just been released with a few levels and limited options for new players wanting to give Axon Runners a test ride before they choice to buy the full game.
Axon Z will feature four levels and two boards for players to choice from in the cityscape hoverboarding game. Players navigate their hoverboards through the cityscapes of Persepolis. The full game includes 10 different hoverboards and fifteen levels. Each hoverboard has different attributes that help players collect more orbs and get past the obstacles in the various levels.
The game is available for the iPad 2 and up and the iPhone 4 and up. Axon Z and Axon Runners were developed the Coca-Cola Content Factory and Streamline Studios. Check Axon Z out for free before you take the $1.99 plunge into Axon Runners. But don’t wait too long, that $1.99 price is half of the original price ($3.99) until the 28th.
Where To?, Editor’s Choice winning local search app (reviewed years ago by our Editor In Chief, Jeff Scott), has just released its next major version of the app Where To? 5.0. In this fifth major release, new features are added in the favoriting and navigation area.
Specifically, the app has four new major features. Two of those features have to do with favorites. Users can now favorite places to come back and access them later. In addition, those favorites as well as the apps settings can be synced over iCloud. And now, when searching for restaurants, hundreds of thousands of the US restaurants in Where To? include menus for users to search through before they decide to make that tough decision of where to eat. And the app now supports three more navigation apps when users decide to visit a location (iGo Prime, VZ Navigator, and Gokivo). The details pages for places also have a new design.
Where To? is a location-based search app that brings up points of interest in the area around the user. The app is also known for its augmented reality (AR) technology which can be added to the app for an additional fee. Where To? is $2.99 and made for the iPhone. An additional $0.99 will earn users the 3D and Augmented Reality features.
Released: 2009-06-23 :: Category: Navigation
Stitcher Radio, the on-demand talk radio service, has just been updated with several new features. Back in April of last year, 148Apps’ Blake Grundman called Stitcher Radio “music to our ears” and stated that “Stitcher may be the cure for the common podcast.” Now the popular radio service will include some great new features including a personal recommendation service.
Users will create a Stitcher Smart Station to receive personalized recommendations out of the 10,000+ shows available on Stitcher. According to statistics taken from the app, average listeners discover five new shows within their first month of using the service. Stitcher Smart Station is an easy to use way to get recommendations for those new shows. The recommendations take into account the listeners’ history, favorite shows, and thumbs ups.
Other features included in the new update are lock screen album art (like the Music app, listeners will see the shows cover art on the lockscreen), a sleep timer, and the ability to share shows over Twitter easier.
Stitcher Radio is a free app. With these new updates, Stitcher may be the ultimate replacement to traditional car radio.
A new maze game has been released by bladibladibla.com (an interesting and humorous name) called Draw Maze. In addition to working through mazes, players can also use this app to create their own mazes.
Players will challenge themselves in this difficult maze game to work their way through a series of complex mazes. After finishing these mazes that come with the app, players can then go on to create their own mazes and challenge their friends to overcome their self-drawn madness. Not only can players send mazes to their friends to play against one another, they can also compete for the high score on the mazes that come with the app and become the “World Record” holder. The developer is even adding the trickiest designed mazes sent in as featured new levels.
While the game is universal and can be played on any iOS device, the developer’s preferred platform is the iPad. Considering the significant increase in screen real estate on the iPad compared to the iPhone, this is no surprise. Draw Maze is a free app. So grab it and start trying to stump your friends.
While the internet may complicate business and allow for quite the distance between working team members, that distance doesn’t always have to be a hinderance. New and intuitive collaboration software is quickly popping up on many platforms. Pride is a new work collaboration solution on the iPhone by events and enterprise-focused developer DoubleDutch.
DoubleDutch Pride keeps teams up-to-date on current customers and projects being worked on, creates an atmosphere of openness for the team, and reduces the time and energy spent with meetings and constant emailing. Users can post updates with tagged customers, projects, or locations. Users can sort the feeds by customer, project, or the entire team’s feed. The app also has a sort of game mechanic were users can earn trophies and badges, view their productivity analytics, and see a leaderboard with their own statistics stacked up against their co-workers.
DoubleDutch Pride is free, so there’s no reason for you and your team not to give it a try.
Well-known Mac developer FileMaker (popular for personal database apps, FileMaker and Bento) has just released a new version of its database software for the iPad, Bento 4 for iPad. The new version includes new features to the app related to templates, the new iPad’s retina display, and more.
This update seems to rely heavily on how Bento is displayed on the iPad. One major upgrade is a one-tap linking to the Bento Template Exchange. This will give users access to hundreds of free templates to use on their own databases. Keeping up with the template theme, the new version has added design tools to let users customize their own templates, create forms, and organize their information. Since the new iPad has a brilliant, Retina display, this new update also includes 40 different themes that are optimized for the new display. New screen views (Table, Split, and Fullscreen), calculations, encrypted fields, and GPS locations have also been added.
Like previous versions of Bento, Bento 4 for iPad can be synced with Bento 4.1 for the Mac. Until the end of July, Bento 4 for iPad will be available for $4.99. After that it will raise to its regular price of $9.99.
Recently, almost every iOS user has become an amateur photographer or videographer. Instagram is probably to blame for the rise in interest in amateur photos and videos. New apps to manipulate photos and video are popping up on a daily basis. PyroPainter is a photo and video app that allows users to add special effects to their pictures and videos.
Users can quickly put together clips with effects such as shooting fireballs, huge explosions, or shark attacks. The app comes with 40 effects for free with an additional 40 spread across two in-app purchases. Animated elements (like butterflies or sea-life), markers (like arrows and circles), and weather elements (like rain or fog) come with the app for free. WIth additional purchases, users can unlock magic (fireballs and more) and action (explosions and weapons) elements. Each in-app purchase pack is $0.99.
The developer also seems interested in user feedback for updates; an in-app feedback system is included in the app where users can vote for new features. The app is free and made for the iPhone.
I covered a social trivia game a couple months ago named TriviaPad. That particular game provided a trivia experience on the iPad only. A new trivia game, Trivie, has recently been released that provides a social trivia experience on the iPhone (and is playable on the iPad). Players can play Trivie with their friends by challenging them over Facebook, by contact list, or by username.
The asynchronous system for multiplayer games has become the go-to method for playing games with friends. Like most of those games, Trivie gives players a push notification when their friend has completed their turn and it’s then their turn to participate. Trivie is built to look and feel like a game show (reminding me slightly of my favorite game show-like trivia game, You Don’t Know Jack).
The game has over 75,000 questions in over 60 categories. The game also users slot machine mechanics and wagering to add to that game show feel. Trivie may also have real-time multiplayer in the future; the MMO infrastructure has already been built to handle it.
Trivie is available now for $1.99.
Keeping track of your contacts isn’t as simple as keeping a Rolodex anymore. We have contacts in our phone’s contact app, on LinkedIn, and on various other sites and networks. For those of us with tons of contacts across these platforms, an app like Savi People can be incredibly useful.
Savi People allows users to quickly organize, view, and communicate with their contacts on their phone as well as contacts on social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter). The app includes grouping and filters as well as some advanced features like batch operations. The app will let users import information from social networks into the contacts on their phones (like pictures, notes, and more). The goal of Savi People is to keep users from constantly hopping between apps to check statuses, send messages, and look up info; now all of that can be done in one app.
Savi People is currently on sale at an introductory price of $0.99. Grab it while it’s cheap!
Released: 2012-06-12 :: Category: Social Networking
In celebration of Universal’s 100th anniversary, Fuse and Beach Cooler Games (with licensing from Universal) announced a new content update for its simulation game about the movie industry, Universal Movie Tycoon. The update includes new movie content, gameplay enhancements, quests, and better controls.
The new movie content added to the game is Snow White and the Hunstman. Players will be able to build and explore the set of the movie along with the 35 other blockbuster films available in the game.
Universal Movie Tycoon, like other “tycoon” simulation games, give players control to build and supervise over a particular setting, the movie industry in this case (specifical Universal Studios). Players work on building sets and creating movies like ET, The Mummy, and Jurassic Park. Players add buildings to the sets (over 15 studio buildings to use) and add decorations, roads, and more.
Universal Movie Tycoon is $0.99 and is a universal app.
The social gaming giant, Zynga, just released the next app in their casino gaming line on Friday, Zynga Slots. With little marketing at all, the game rose in the free iPhone game rankings from #105 (Sunday) to #6 (Monday night). BTIG Media‘s Rich Greenfield, an analyst for the company, made some interesting observations on Zynga’s casino gaming line and what it may do to their valuation.
Greenfield observed they incredible and lasting success of Zynga Poker. The game was released in 2007 and continues to be the #7 top grossing app on iOS and accounted for 16% of Zynga’s revenue in Q1. He see slots as another easily monetized game and notes how Zynga competitors are already fairing in that space,
“Both the monetization and staying power of poker is intuitive. For slots games, it is a little less intuitive. However, Zynga competitors have been very successful in the space – illustrating the addictive nature of the game.”
Greenfield also noted that the demographic Zynga is going after with a slots game is a demographic it knows well – women over 35. For Farmville, two-thirds of its player base are women and 50% of those players are over 35. Slotomania, a slots competitor, has similar numbers (two-thirds women and two-thirds over 35).
BTIG Media and Entertainment Research believes that there’s option value in Zynga right now in terms of the legalization of online gambling,
“We continue to believe that there is significant option value in Zynga for the legalization of online gambling, which is not reflected in ZNGA shares…We believe there will be gambling potential on nearly all of Zynga’s games. However, the most immediate traction will be in traditional casinos games.”
We like unique finance apps, like CoinKeeper. Now another interesting finance app has popped up called ImpulseSave. ImpulseSave allows users to save money by literally taking it out of their accounts and putting it into an ImpulseSave savings account.
Users setup goals to save up money for (like a new iPad). The purpose of the app is for users to get the same experience of spending their money when they’re actually saving it. Instead of an impulse buy, they save impulsively. Users can use the app anytime they feel like saving some money (perhaps when they stop themselves from making an impulse purchase). The funds are transferred to a bank account with no fees and users can access that money whenever they’d like (although the common 2-3 business day wait for bank transfers apply). Money in the accounts even gather interest!
ImpulseSave was already established prior to the app at ImpulseSave.com. And non-iOS users can even use ImpulseSave on any other mobile phone through their SMS service.
An exciting release for iOS fantasy gamers and Magic: The Gathering fans alike is slated to come later this month. Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013, an installment of Magic: The Gathering games, will be available for the iPad (and other platforms) starting on June 20th. This is the first iPad release for a Magic: The Gathering game.
Within the game, players fight against Magic‘s evil mastermind, Planeswalker Nicol Bolas with ten new decks added to the game, new puzzle challenges, and an integration between the digital and paper product (cards and the video game). There’s even a muliplayer mode in the game on all platforms. Although, multiplayer for the iPad version is slightly limited in the iPad version compared to other platforms (according to Touch Arcade’s hands-on with the game at E3). iPad, Game Center-powered multiplayer is limited to two players while other platforms get up to four (four player multiplayer available vs. AI).
We look forward to the release of the game later this month. Imagine looking at those detailed cards on the new iPad’s retina display! Check out the gallery below with the game’s first screenshots.
Magic has an estimated 12 million players around the world in over 70 countries. It was released by Wizards of the Coast in 1993. Since then, over 12,000 cards have been created (around 500 per expansion pack).
Taptu, the social news reader for the iPhone and iPad (also known as the service “DJ-ing the news”) has expanded its service to be usable on any browser. The new HTML5 Taptu app will let users create and share their personal Taptu streams just like they can on their iOS devices.
Even if a user has Taptu on both iOS devices and wants to view it on the web, all of those streams will be synced across every device. Taptu even has plans to update the service with a mobile web app so that nearly any mobile user can be in sync with the Taptu service on nearly any device.
In an update to both the iOS, Android, and new web platforms, Taptu has added the ability for users to create a stream based on a search term. So if a user wants to keep up on “Justin Beiber” news, they can make a stream for that.
Taptu is a social news reader app that aggregates all of a users important streams (like Facebook, Twitter, RSS feeds, and more) into one, visually focused app. Like most news readers, users can save articles to read for later on their favorite services (like Instapaper and Pocket).
Taptu is a free, universal app.
Andrew Harper, the popular travel expert and reviewer, now has his own iOS companion app for travelers specifically taking a trip to Paris. Andrew Harper’s Paris: A Personal Guide to the Best of the City, includes his opinions of hotels, dining, shopping, and touring.
The app includes over 350 favorites of Harper. There are 14 different of Harper’s favorite hotels in the app ranging from “grand palace addresses to intimate Left Bank alternatives.” Each hotel has information about the rooms, dining, and features within the hotels. There are 83 different restaurants with menu recommendations and contact information. And it includes over 100 shopping locations with maps, contact info, opening hours, and recommendations.
Andrew Harper’s Paris is a free app. Any of you readers planning on taking a trip to Paris in the near future should give this one a look.
Andrew Harper has been traveling and reviewing hotels and travel experiences for over 30 years. He’s a respectable reviewer that pays all of his own traveling expenses and travels anonymously so that he gets the same experience any other traveler will receive.
Check out a video for the app, highlights, and a FAQ about the app at the Andrew Harper website, here.
In late April, we posted on 148Apps.biz (the 148Apps site for the development community) about the third edition of the Appsfire App Awards. The contest is a way to highlight great upcoming apps before they’re released. And 148Apps Founder and Editor in Chief, Jeff Scott, is one of the mobile expert judges who are narrowing down the submissions. Just a few days ago, the finalists for the contest have been revealed.
There are currently 16 finalists for the awards, three of them will receive a free ad campaign for their app and a new iPad. The finalists have apps ranging from a guitar app that takes no guitar skills to a kid’s game about eating dinner to a Clear-like to-do app.
Check out the finalists on Appsfire. The post includes video demonstrations of all of the finalists’ apps. The winner will be announced on June 5th. One of my favorites after seeing all of the demonstrations is QuizBoard a multiplayer trivia game. Which app is your favorite?
Sometimes it’s easy to forget the functions our smartphones can provide past entertainment. But I remember my first cellphone. The reason I received it when I was younger was for emergency situations. HELP MY FRIEND is an app that helps expand that emergency aid that an iPhone can provide.
HELP MY FRIEND has users create an “SOS” of sorts for various situation (being attacked, car accident, diabetes situation, etc. Users setup those messages ahead of time and if an emergency occurs, users can easily send their prerecorded messages to as many friends and family as they’d like to receive emergency help. The messages send location data as well so close ones can get quick directions to wherever the person in danger is. The app also has one-tap calling for emergency services (police, fire, etc).
Group E. F. C. is a three man team consisting of two accountants who came up with the idea for this emergency app and a programmer. The app is available for $0.99. It can’t hurt to have an app like this just in case.