As nice as it was to see such a strong representation of mobile games and devices at E3 this year, it also means more work when trying to figure out which were the most noteworthy. Seriously, there was a lot of great stuff on display and picking just a few to highlight wasn’t easy. With that said, here are our notables from E3 2014 in no particular order.
I stumbled upon the Phonejoy completely by accident, but I’m very glad I did. It’s nice and compact, well-made, and easily attaches to iOS devices of any size and in any orientation. Unfortunately the version that’s available now isn’t MFi, but one is in the works – and you can be sure that once we find out about a release date we’ll be sharing that info with you. Until then, the current Phonejoy model will still work just fine with other games that still support third party controllers like the iCade.
Final Fantasy VII G-Bike
Square Enix has apparently been developing an iOS game based entirely around that Golden Saucer mini-game from Final Fantasy VII without bothering to tell anyone about it. For shame, Square Enix. But while Final Fantasy VII G-Bike seemed to pop-up out of nowhere, it’s definitely looking like a badass runner/driver/whatever you want to call it. Would that other 3D runners had this game’s sense of style and production values!
Monster Hunter Freedom Unite
I’m a Monster Hunter nerd, sure, but the reason Freedom Unite has made the list is because it genuinely impressed me. It looks like a fantastic port, plays very well, and even manages to add a couple of elements that the original PSP release was missing – namely legitimate online play and a lock-on feature. As someone who’s already sunk hundreds of hours into the original Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, I simply can’t wait to get my hands on this one when it officially comes stateside.
I’ve yet to get my hands on the final version of the Gamevice, but the “beta” version I was able to play around with last week was definitely cool. It’s uses are sadly limited to only the iPad Mini, but the combination of controller and iOS device make for a great handheld gaming setup. And because the Gamevice is essentially in two separate pieces that attach on either side of the Mini, it should also be pretty easy to tote around. Just in case.
Between Hitman Go [GET LINK] and now Hitman Sniper, Square Enix Montreal is definitely a developer worth keeping an eye on. What could have been something as basic as a first-person shooting gallery with a Hitman theme is actually a very clever (and unorthodox) approach to something sort of like a puzzle game. It isn’t just fun to play around with the various interactive elements in each level, either. The constant competition with other players who are close to your rank on the leaderboards also acts as a great incentive to keep aiming (*rimhot*) for the high score.
Just Dance Now
I don’t dance, and there’s about a 99% chance I’ll never play Just Dance Now when it comes out, but I couldn’t help but be impressed by what I saw at Ubisoft’s booth last week. The game is being developed with accessibility as its main focus, which is something I wish more developers took the time to consider. And not only is it being made to work with older iOS devices, it’s also supposed to take it easy on your bandwidth. So it’ll run on your old clunker and won’t double your phone bill if you end up playing over 3G/4G. Seriously, big thumbs-up to Ubisoft for this one.
I can’t name names, I can’t mention developers, and there’s a good chance I can’t talk about genre. But if I’m obscure enough I don’t see the harm in saying that this thing I played that I can’t go into detail about was actually a whole lot of fun and probably the biggest surprise for me personally at the show. I know that’s not much to go on but it’ll all make sense in time. Suffice it to say, when a developer really cares and knows what they’re doing just about anything can be a hit.
[Please note that the game in-question has nothing to do with Futurama. I just like Futurama and needed an image.]
It’s easy to look at mobile and see it as a wasteland for content; particularly with all the casual, free-to-play games, and especially the ones that seem to de-emphasize actual gameplay in favor of stronger monetization. That’s only if you’re not paying attention. Serious, core games – some even free-to-play – had a great year on iOS.
Oceanhorn was hyped for a good reason: it was beautiful and ambitious. That ambition didn’t entirely pay off in my opinion, but for the game to have succeeded financially is a huge step forward for gaming on mobile.
It also felt like the barriers between mobile and PC/console games started to blur a bit. Frozen Synapse, Mode 7’s highly acclaimed PC strategy game, landed on iPad at last. Limbo received an excellent port. Leviathan: Warships brought cross-platform online play – and the best trailer of the year. Space Hulk was not perfect, but it made for an exceptional transition.
But perhaps few did it as spectacularly as XCOM: Enemy Unknown. That game proved that it was possible to take a massive console and PC title – a fantastic modern take on one of the greatest strategy games of all time – and put it on mobile without losing any of the experience. Firaxis also absolutely stuck the landing with Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol and its Pacific Skies followup; original games that went to PC later.
Village Voice publishing recently launched an app to help you find the Best Of… anything, in one of thirty major cities in the US. If you’re looking for the best pizza, best art gallery, best spa, best ice cream, best music venue. All in, there are more than 10,000 listings for in the Best Of, like having the yearly rundown for each city published right in your pocket.
Unlike other apps that offer users opinions, and the possibility of ballot-stuffing scoring, each and every entry in the Best Of app is selected from the writers and editors from the publications from which these entries were taken. You’re getting the top opinions as researched by Houston Press, LA Weekly, Village Voice, Miami New Times, and many other cities weekly publications. You’re going to receive expert opinions based on years of experience and familiarity with these locations.
Search for the Best Of near you, the app offers a location based searched based on your location. You’ll be able to find what’s been recommended as The Best Of nearest you, as you never know what might be just around the corner! Perhaps you’re only steps from the Best Cupcakes in Denver, or the best Sushi in Chicago. You’re also going to be delighted to find quite a few unique and surprising lists too within each city, like Best Hangouts for Lefties or Best Winter Golfing.
Facebook check-in is integrated so that you can share your findings with your friends, and have your say about where you’ve been or would like to go. Earn badges for your check-ins, and take pride in your travels from city to city. Perhaps you’ll want to try the Best Coffee in every city you visit? Especially if you travel a lot, for business or pleasure.
The app is completely free, while it is ad supported. You should check the iTunes description page before downloading as there are only 30 major cities included at this time, however Village Voice boasts of not only adding to each list, but adding additional cities in the future as well.
Well, it was a long, strange, Vegas-y week for us here at 148Apps. We took to the Las Vegas Convention Center to check out all the latest gadgets and apps that we could stand. Here’s our roundup of the best, the worst, and the just plain WTF of the whole conference.
Best of CES
iCade: iPad Arcade Cabinet
We were so excited by this thing turning out to be real, we dropped a post on it right away. It does indeed look to be real, and has many a geek excited. Starting out as a April Fool’s joke on Think Geek, ION Audio picked up the idea and ran with it.
iHome iW1 – Airplay Enabled Rechargeable Home Speaker
If you haven’t been under a rock for the last several years, you’ll have seen iHome speaker docks, for your iPod and iPhone. The latest speaker boast some impressive features, most notably Airplay compatibility and a rechargeable battery, leading to within-network mobility. Imagine playing Slacker Radio or Pandora from your iPhone to a speaker in any room in your house, or, better yet, a speaker you can take with you from room to room while playing from the iPod touch in your pocket? Now THAT’s the future. [iHome]
Dexim iPad Bluetooth Keyboard/Leather Folio Combo Case
This is the one that Engadget posted about – you know, the one with the iPad 2 prototype in it? We were more impressed with the foldable folio-style iPad case with the thin, magnetically attached bluetooth keyboard as part of the unit. Easily removed, as well, for those non-keyboard moments in your travelling life. Slick design abounds here, and we can’t wait to get our little hands on one. [Dexim]
iConnect MIDI to iPad/iPhone
If you’re a musician, you’ll appreciate the fact that while there have been great music creation apps on the iPad and iPhone, but not many ways to use them with hardware controllers like keyboards or drum machines. That could change with iConnect, a new hardware box that utilizes the connector on your iOS device to connect MIDI and USB devices that use the MIDI standard. Hooray for us!
Eton Crank-Charged Emergency Box with USB Power Dump
There you are, in the middle of a natural disaster and the power is out. Your iPhone is dead, and you need to call your Aunt Mary to make sure she’s ok. Never mind that her power is probably out, too, but should you need to charge your various devices on the go, you’ll want one of these hand crank power units from Eton. The pictured model even has a “power dump” feature, so you can build up a charge with the hand crank, then let it do its thing all on its own, so you don’t have to sit there cranking until the wee dark hours of the morning just to play that last ound of Canabalt. Throw in the built in radio, flashlight, and more and you’ve got almost everything you need to survive the next power outage. And yes, that IS in fact Jeff’s handsome hand and iPhone modeling for you.
Sennheiser Digital Noise Canceling Headphones with iPhone Compatibility
Sennheiser is known as a maker of high-end audiophile headphones, and at CES, we found out why. Boasting many different lines of headphones, from Adidas special additions to digital noise canceling headphones with pass through mic systems in place (when you need to hear the stewardess on the plane, for example) and iPhone remote buttons.
Worst of CES
iPhone and iPad Cases
Seriously, folks, how many cases do you actually need? From shiny be-dazzled iPhone cases to every bizarre iPad stand/case/kiosk thing, the one thing that CES had in plenty was cases. Look, we appreciate a well designed case as much as anyone, but do we really need four dozen of each type? Don’t answer that — it was a rhetorical question. Color us sick of iPhone and iPad cases, with only a few notable exceptions.
“iPad Killer” Tablets
This was the year of Android at CES. Everyone and their mother’s brother had a tablet, from tiny little companies to ginormous world-spanning companies, and everyone in between. With the Samsung Galaxy Tab (sweet form factor and solid design) and the Blackberry Playbook (amazing looking OS, but still waiting to see full functionality) at the show, not to mention LG’s offering, it’s hard to want to see any other “budget friendly” tablets. You get what you pay for, folks.
Streaming TV Products
File this under “Things That Do What Airplay Does, Only Less Well and More Kludgy-y Looking.” We saw WAY too many little black or white boxes that will “STREAM TV FROM YOUR SMART PHONE!!!!” We aren’t adding the exclamation points here. Look, electronics makers, Apple already did this, and we don’t need to snap on some poorly made plastic doo-hicky to our “smartphone” in order to do it. Plus, AppleTV just works. Honest.
WTF of CES
We’re still wondering why this product exists. The makers claim that we all need a bluetooth enabled meat temp probe. The only thing we MIGHT concede is that having an app on the iPhone or iPad that tells us how long a given piece of meat will take to be done could be handy. Otherwise…err…huh? We’re men, see, and we burn meats on grills. We don’t need no fancy pants meat probe to tell us when it’s done!
We don’t want our oven to download recipes. Seriously. We can do that with the BILLION APPS DEDICATED TO JUST THAT! We don’t want our refrigerator to send us targeted advertising email, either, thank you very much. Plus we don’t want to have to pay for an extra data plan for our kitchen. There is, however, a Whirlpool Washer/Dryer with an app to tell you when laundry is done. That could be handy, we suppose. Maybe. Like when the huge buzzer sound our dryer makes just isn’t enough.
Ok, we were a bit intrigued with these earbuds that allow multiple magnetic connections for music sharing, even before the hot booth babes with teh “You Wanna Hook Up” T-Shirts and short shorts showed up to demo them. We reserved this WTF special mention for the Director of Communication at the booth, who invited us to a press conference “in 20 minutes” but she didn’t know where it was. Nor could she find out. Neither could we. Marketing Fail, guys.
Did you go to CES? See anything you’d consider the best, the worst, or WTF? Let us know in the comments below!
This last week, Chris, Tony and I made the trip to CES to take a look at some of the best new gadgets and accessories for the iPhone. After walking 743.9 miles, shaking 16,984 hands, and trading business cards with 3.5 gajillion people, here’s are some of the highlights of what we saw.
FloTV Mophie Battery Case – Mophie announced an interesting new version of their great juice pack. This new version will include a FloTV receiver allowing you to watch broadcast TV right on your iPhone. They include the FloTV receiver yet the unit is only 2mm thicker than the usual Juice Pack. So far the only downside we’ve heard is the price of the FloTV service which is expected to be about the same as it is for other devices. Full details are still short, but we’ll let you know more as soon as we find it out.
Tunebug – Tunebug is a tiny little interesting speaker for your iPhone. Not much larger than a couple matchbooks stacked on top of each other, this isn’t a normal speaker. Tunebug uses a patented technology called SurfaceSound that turns anything you set it on into a speaker. The coolest implementation is a Tunebug that straps to you bike helmet and connects to your iPhone using Bluetooth allowing you to listen to music while riding your bike without plugging up your ears and tuning out all of the sounds around you. Obviously a huge breakthrough for biker safety. The other implementation connects to your iPhone (or any device) with a normal speaker wire and sets on your desk, turning your desk into the speaker. The Tunebug will be available soon at $119 for the Bluetooth version, $69 for the wired version.
Zoll PocketCPR – As amazing as the iDevices are, they really don’t do much in the ways of saving lives. Sure, there are some apps that are probably helpful in the medical community, but life saving isn’t quite the iDevice’s forte. The Zoll PocketCPR changes this with an app that shows how to perform CPR with accuracy by using the accelerometer to judge compression depth. At the booth, we heard a story or a doctor who used the app and was complimented by a nurse who hadn’t seen proper CPR done by a doctor in a long time. The app hasn’t been officially approved by the FDA yet, but Zoll expects the approval to come shortly. [More Info]
Blio Reader – we got a chance to get a demo of the iPhone version of the much talked about Blio Reader. A multi-platform ebook reader announced at CES. Blio does a few things that other ebook readers don’t do. For one, there’s text to speech technology. Also included are some pretty good options for different ways to read text on the device including both as printed and text versions. Obviously this will be a much more interesting app if the rumored tablet/slate is released. Blio is still a few weeks off, but it looks to be a great platform. We’ll bring you more as soon as we can.
L5 Universal Remote – The L5 Universal Remote, while not quite as universal as the Logitech Harmony due to its lack of bluetooth connectivity (PS3), but is quite an amazing remote replacement unit. With the included IR attachment, the L5 Universal Remote instantly learns your remotes features without needing to plug in those pesky product codes. To me, there’s really nothing that excites me quite as much as the prospect of controlling my entire house with my iDevice. The L5 will be available soon. Continue reading The Best and Worst of CES for iPhone Lovers »
When taking photos on the move, sometimes it pays to have photo editing apps. After all, you’re not going to tweet that picture without a bit of increased contrast, or brightness – right? It’s a well-known fact nowadays that the majority of photos we see on the web have being edited in some way in a graphics package such as Adobe Photoshop. But what if you can’t get to your computer and need reliable and feature filled editing applications on the move?
Being a keen photographer and designer, I thought it’d be fun to give you my low-down on the photo editing apps I personally think you should have on your phone. I’ll explain why I think you should have them, and what features and benefits I like most about each application. Here we go!
Definitely one of the more fully-featured photo editing App Store offerings, PhotoForge (in my opinion) should have you pretty much covered for your mobile editing needs. Just like all the editors I’m about to feature, the app will allow you to open, edit and save a photo to your iPhone’s camera roll. What makes PhotoForge a great pick for this over it’s competition is it’s feature set. As well as allowing you to rotate and crop your photo, the app also offers a wide range of both adjustment and visual effects which are comparable to Adobe Photoshop on a mobile level. Continue reading Four Of The Best Photo Editing Apps For Your iPhone! »
All of us here on team 148Apps were very honored to find out last week that we were named to PC Magazine’s Top 100 Web Sites of 2009. It’s an amazingly huge honor and a great validation of what we’ve been trying to do here at 148Apps. You’ll find us on the list under Undiscovered Tech sites.
We’re proud to be the only iPhone dedicated site on the list. We won’t let it go to our heads though. We are going to do our best to continue to lead with a goal of being on the list again next year. Just hopefully we’ll be in the discovered section by then.
Thanks to all of our fantastic writers and our passionate readers. We couldn’t have done it without each of you.
This is probably a good time to ask — what do you want to see added / changed / removed from 148Apps. Let us know in the comments, or send me an email. We’d love to hear from you.
148apps.com is proud to announce the launch of the 2008 Best App Ever Awards. A new site to allow you to nominate the apps and games you best love for over 30 awards including the title Best App Ever. We want to honor the best in iPhone apps and games, not just the best selling.
The awards are now open to receive nominations for apps and games. Nominations end on December 30th.
Once all nominations are totaled, verified, and calculated, we’ll take the top 5 nominated from the site and combine those with 5 nominations from the list of bloggers, developers, and industry people we have been contacting about these awards. That will give us 10 nominations for each category. In addition, the 10 apps that get the most votes across all categories will compete for the title of Best App Ever.
On December 31st we’ll post the nominees for all categories and voting will start. Winners will be announced on January 7th, 2009 at the MacWorld Expo.