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It Looks Like Apple is Expediting Apple Watch Delivery for Developers

Posted by Rob Rich on April 21st, 2015

It seems that over the past few hours a number of iOS developers have been getting emails from Apple, explaining that they have the chance to order themselves an Apple Watch and skip the inevitable wait.

For Better, or for Worse? How the New App Store has Started to Affect Developer Submissions

Posted by Rob Rich on September 29th, 2014

With the release of iOS 8 (finally), Apple has made some noticeable changes on the App Store - bundles, videos, and Testflight integration, to name a few. Many of these additions will make things friendlier for App Store shoppers, but how has it been affecting developers? I asked George Ko (Quantum Sheep), Brandon Pollet (F5 Games), and Nadav B (NAFNA) what they thought of Apple’s changes to the developer submission process, and their answers were rather illuminating.

Surprise! The Rules Have Changed!

George Ko
With all the changes to the App Store that had been announced back in June when Apple officially revealed iOS 8, it’s not all that shocking to think that there might be a few more boxes to check off when submitting a new app. However, it seems as though there wasn’t a whole lot of forewarning.

According to Pollet, “I didn’t have any real warning about the submission changes. I’m sure the information was out there but I just happened to log into iTunes Connect last week and the entire interface was different.” Nadav had a similar story, and said, “we have been given access to iOS beta 2 as of June 20, yet, as to submission guidelines, I can find no info.”

“I think that, while Apple transitions from the old system it had, there will be some mistakes and oversights made,” Ko offered, “This is understandable, but it kinda sucks to be uncertain about things when trying to get a game out!”

Tanuki Forest: The Struggles of Being Free to Play for an Up and Coming Indie Developer

Posted by Jennifer Allen on April 4th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: CUTE RUNNINGS :: Read Review »

Sometimes it doesn't feel that great to have made a correct prediction. One of those times is last month when I questioned just how the developers of cute endless runner, Tanuki Forest, expected to make any money given its very friendly nature towards encouraging one to buy any in-app purchases.

While the folks at Mighty Mill explained how they thought going freemium without hassling players would "maximize potential users and only those that would love it would pay something", they've found themselves in an awkward situation. Last week, the developer announced that Tanuki Forest in its free guise had achieved 8.72k downloads but a mere $65.52 before Apple took its cut. With not much chance of being able to survive on such low earnings, the firm took the difficult decision to increase the asking price for the game to $1.99, I chatted more to Jake Gumbleton to see just how they felt about how things have turned out.

148Apps: What do you wish you'd done differently with Tanuki Forest's initial release?
Jake Gumbleton (JG): If we were doing things over we would research F2P a lot more carefully and had a more informed decision about the relative merits of indie premium vs F2P monetisation. As you (and a few others) pointed out in your review of TF, the game was very unaggressive with its freemium monetisation. It basically never asks you for money and everything in it can very easily be acquired without ever spending actual money. We went free so that we would have no barrier to entry and achieve the largest possible amount of players. We hoped those players who loved the game would buy the currency doubler as a thanks. This behaviour is true of forum users etc. but maybe not so true of the wider, more casual games player.

148Apps: Did you consider adding more intrusive in-app purchases at any point?
JG: Not pre-release, no. We really did not want to taint the experience of Tanuki Forest. The game has an immersive, absorbing style and we did not want to harass players to make purchases. After the hard truth of seeing that the game was basically only going to make enough money to buy us lunch we, of course, discussed potential changes and improvements to the in app purchasing.

We would never want to take our games to a very aggressive place with monetization but I do think there is a lot of potential to improve the ‘retention game’ of Tanuki Forest. We have consulted a few F2P experts and have a list of things that we would love to implement in TF that would give the players much more reason to return to the game for more from one play session to the next.

148Apps: Do you think going on sale upon first release would have helped?
JG: I think it might have made us slightly more money but not enough to really change our circumstances. The only real potential benefit would have been that the game would have been perceived as more premium than it was? I think the same elephant in the room is still there whichever way a small indie dev chooses to go, free or paid: Getting meaningful amounts of visibility with the App Store players is extremely difficult indeed.

148Apps: Why did you opt for $1.99 rather than $0.99?
JG: Two reasons: to give us room to go on sale if we want to at a later date and also, in my reading up of F2P monetisation since release, I have read a few times that at the low end of price points it makes very little difference to the number of purchases that get made. The difference in units bought at $0.99 or 1.99$ is pretty negligible. $0.99 does not have the relevance that it did before the dominance of free games since there are so many free games now.

148Apps: Have things improved financially yet?
JG: We are making more money than we were as a free app but still virtually nothing. The big problem now is that Tanuki Forest has dipped in to obscurity just like all apps do after a few weeks on the app store if they don’t go viral. All of our coverage through reviews etc. happened while we were paid. Once an app dips in the charts it submerges in the million other apps and that’s pretty much that!

148Apps: Has there been any kind of backlash?
JG: None at all. People have been incredibly supportive. Ultimately, gamers can’t really be angry for being early adopters and getting the game for free. If it was the other way around I can see reasons for people to be annoyed.

148Apps: What do you think you've learned for future titles?
JG: To push ourselves to have enough originality and content to ensure we can confidently go indie premium up at $5 or so. If Tanuki Forest had been something bigger than a runner we would have just gone the indie premium route straight off the bat. Our next game will be more original and idiosyncratic of us as developers and we will ensure it has enough content to be a real premium indie app like Sword & Sworcery et al.

148Apps: What do you think of the App Store economy? Does it work for developers or is it a consumers' market?
JG: It works just fine if you are Supercell! As a small developer unless you go viral or make a masterpiece then you are in a pretty impossible position. Obviously the guys at the App Store submissions department must face a deluge of content every day. From their point of view I can see why they go for more known quantities. The only games that break the trend and get the features are pretty much the very best games. So my rather obvious advice to indie devs out there is to make sure your game is utter brilliance.

Thanks to Jake Gumbleton for taking the time to answer our questions. Remember folks, if you love playing a free game, sometimes it's a good move to buy an in-app purchase or two from it. Not all games are so desperate for your money that they'll push you into it. That doesn't mean that the developers behind it don't need to be able to eat!

To learn more about the making of Tanuki Forest, check out our earlier interview with the team.

Apple WWDC Scheduled for June 2 - Application for Tickets Opens upToday

Posted by Tre Lawrence on April 3rd, 2014

Apple has announced the time and location for this year's Wordwide Developer Conference, which is scheduled to be held from June 2 through June 6 in San Francisco, California. Interested parties can also apply for tickets starting today through April 7, 2014.

WWDC is a well-regarded conference that gives developers insight into the future of OS X and iOS, as well as giving them the tools to create apps for these systems. The conference looks to present plenty of technical sessions and more than a 1000 Apple engineers, as well as design awards for apps from the past year.

"We have the most amazing developer community in the world and have a great week planned for them,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Every year the WWDC audience becomes more diverse, with developers from almost every discipline you can imagine and coming from every corner of the globe. We look forward to sharing with them our latest advances in iOS and OS X so they can create the next generation of great apps.”

Tickets will be assigned via random selection, there are also opportunities for students to enter for free tickets.

GDC Next and App Developers Conference Announce Call for Papers, New Dates and Venue

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on April 30th, 2013

The folks behind the ever-amazing Game Developers Conference, held each year in San Francisco, are expanding their offerings with two new conferences to be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center November 5th-7th, 2013. The App Developers Conference (ADC) will focus on more than just game apps, bringing together developers for iOS, Android, and other mobile platforms for workshops, presentations, and seminars. The GDC Next conference, taking place simultaneously, is the spiritual successor to GDC Online. GDC Next will focus on the future of gaming experiences across all platforms.

Both conferences are looking for presenters from now until May 29, 2013, with the ADC looking for submissions in the areas of Entertainment, Enterprise, Health/Wellness, Lifestyle, Brand Marketing, and Education. Submissions for the ADS are open now at http://adc.callforsubmissions.gdc4p.com.

GDC Next is looking for presentations in the areas of The Future of Gaming, Next Generation Game Platforms, Free-to-Play & New Business Models, Smartphone and & Tablet Games, Cloud Gaming and Independent Games, with a submission form available at http://gdcnext.2013.gdc4p.com.

We spoke with Executive Vice President of GDC, Simon Carless (pictured, right), to find out a bit more about the impetus behind the two new conferences as well as the change in venue. The main reason to have the conferences in Los Angeles is one of logistics. "We're finding a lot of the top game and app developers are on the West Coast - or can easily travel there thanks to the excellent airport connections Los Angeles has," said Carless. He continued, saying that the lack of direct flights to Austin, TX, where GDC Online was traditionally held, made an otherwise successful conference tricky to get to.

A secondary reason, especially for the App Developers Conference, is that Los Angeles is a hub for many of the topical areas the conference will focus on, like entertainment, enterprise, fitness, and lifestyle apps.

As far as how GDC Next connects to the now-defunct GDC Online, Carless said, "We're calling GDC Next the 'spiritual successor' to GDC Online, in that a lot of the advisory board from GDC Online are transitioning to this new event, but we've discovered that as their focus changes (to tablets, free to play, and beyond!), our focus for the show changed as well." The resulting new conference and focus is more about the future of games, he said, to bring the conference up to date.

Carless is excited about the ADC, as its an area the group has never covered before, though he does mention that there will be a gaming apps track at GDC Next. "So what we found," he said, "is that there are a LOT of apps being produced that are not games, and people were asking for a much more learning and takeaway-focused event around enterprise, entertainment, lifestyle, and other apps." And that's what the group is doing.

If you're a developer of gaming or other apps and want to present at either conference, be sure to head to the respective pages, linked above, to submit your presentations to the committees who handle that sort of thing.

Image: Serious Games

This Week at 148Apps: December 10-14

Posted by Chris Kirby on December 16th, 2012

This week at 148Apps.com, site editor Rob LeFebvre examined why mobile games just don't seem to have as much depth as their console brethren. He says, "Should gamers expect the same experience on mobile devices as on console? Probably not–but that may be changing. Michael de Graaf, the producer for the mobile version of Need for Speed Most Wanted, feels that the difference between console and mobile is narrowing. “At the moment, consoles still have an edge when it comes to raw power but that gap is narrowing,” he told us, “and we’ve seen possibilities continue to expand on mobile. The current quality of screens we are seeing and new form factors are increasing the quality and diversity of experiences that gamers can now have on a mobile device.”

Nick Rish, vice president of mobile publishing for EA, believes that comparing the two is futile. “There is something very immersive about holding a device 10 inches from your face,” he said, “putting on headphones and enjoying a game like Need for Speed Most Wanted while on your lunch break … It’s tough to say one platform provides a better consumer experience than the other; gaming is in the eye of the beholder.”

“Mobile gaming grew from very basic flash games we all’ve been playing on web browsers,” said Przemek Marszal, art director at 11 bit studios, the developer behind the Anomaly Warzone series. But that’s changing, he said, noting that even a hard-core indie developer like John Carmac sees the potential of iOS gaming.

Read the full post at 148Apps.

Over at GiggleApps.com, writer Amy Solomon got back to nature with her review of Scholastic First Discovery: The Forest: "Scholastic First Discovery: The Forest for iPhone is an impressive adaptation of the printed non-fiction title “In the Forest” A First Discovery Look and Learn Book from Scholastic. A version of this app is also available for iPad.

The Forest is an impressive application about nature, with wonderfully bright colors and robust details on each page bringing the sights of forests to devices. Instead of text that one would read, this app consists of very good narration that leads children through interactive exercises that will teach them a lot about the forests of North America.

Six chapters are included that cover a lot of ground, such as learning about both deciduous and coniferous trees, tapping leaves or branches to learn about the trees they belong to, also allowing children to drag these realistic bits of foliage around the screen."

Read Amy's full review at GiggleApps.

Last up, AndroidRundown.com writer Carter Dotson was happy to announce that one of our favorite games, Punch Quest, is coming to Android: "Android, get ready to start punching. Punch Quest is coming to Android very soon. The culprit? Noodlecake Games, who have made a habit (or a business model) out of releasing and supporting iOS-to-Android ports. Punch Quest combines and endless runner with beat ’em up gameplay, as players run through a dungeon, punching and uppercutting the foes they come across. Coins can be earned to be spent on new skills, power ups, and hats. Sweet, sweet hats."

Read the full story on AndroidRundown.

And we've cleared yet another week in 2012. Join us next weekend for another recap of the latest and greatest news from the week that was - and make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for the latest info on the hottest apps. Now go get the rest of your holiday shopping done!

This Week at 148Apps: Dec 3-7

Posted by Chris Kirby on December 9th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

This week at 148Apps.com, site founder Jeff Scott took a closer look at the new studio and game from Aurora Feint co-founder Danielle Cassley: "It’s been a long time since we’ve heard from Danielle Cassley. Please indulge me in this short trip down memory lane. Ms. Cassley is one of the co-founders of Aurora Feint. Aurora Feint was our first app review way way back in 2008 here at 148Apps. Sadly, the Aurora Feint games have been removed from the App Store probably due to their reliance on the soon to be shutters OpenFeint. They were and interesting part of the App Store history and will be missed. Aurora Feint the games company eventually became OpenFeint the social game network service as the demand for the social backend built into Aurora Feint became the focus. A couple years later, in April 2011, after great success, OpenFeint the company was purchased by GREE.

Ms. Cassley has always struck me as a superstar seemingly held back by other forces like corporate structure. Much like her co-founder of Aurora Feint, Jason Citron who started his own company recently, she has now started a new game studio to help build the games she wants to see made. The first game from her new company, Red Bird Studios is a joint venture with Velvet Architects and is titled Avengees.

Want to know more? Read the full article on 148Apps.

GiggleApps.com got revolutionary this week, with a review of Ansel & Claire: Paul Revere's Ride. Amy Solomon writes, "Ansel & Clair: Paul Revere’s Ride is a splendid educational app for iPad 2 and beyond that does a thorough job of explaining the American Revolution and the details of Paul Revere’s ride.

Ansel & Clair: Paul Revere’s Ride is a new app in a series of Ansel & Clair apps that revolves around intergalactic travelers Ansel, a travel photographer from planet Virtoos and Clair, the Virtoosian robot who accompanies Ansel to Boston at the start of the American Revolution to take historical photographs used to teach other Virtoosians distant history."

Read the full review at GiggleApps.

And finally, AndroidRundown's KickStarter Spotlight this week was for iGloLED. Joseph Bertolini says, "While it may not be the cheapest, probably the fastest and easiest way to spice up any basement or outside area is to add colored lights. We’ve looked at KickStarter projects in the past that are WiFi enabled smart LED lightbulbs, but these are very expensive per light and only illuminate a small circular area. The other solution is to use LED strips, those long single row ropes of LED’s that can easily be hidden under a bar or inside an entertainment system. Now, I have looked around the internet before for these and buying one is actually a lot more expensive then it initially seems because they have to include their own power adapter and most of them cannot be wirelessly controlled or change color. As you can probably guess, this is exactly what this weeks project, iGloLED does. Like most of our KickStarter projects this operates via WiFi and includes a host of options for customizing the color. If that is not enough there will also be an available SDK which means that this bad boy is open to the public and all of their programming brilliance."

Find out more about this potential product at AndroindRundown.

Another week down, and only 15 shopping days remain this holiday season. Before you give the gift of apps, check all of our sites for the latest news, reviews and more - and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, and Like us on Facebook to get the latest updates right when they happen. See you next week!

This Week at 148Apps: November 5-9

Posted by Chris Kirby on November 12th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

This week at 148Apps.com, we got into the holiday spirit with a review of a gadget that might be on many people's wish lists this year - the iRig Keyboard. Site editor Rob LeFebvre writes, "IK Multimedia might be trying to take over the music peripheral world. The company has a wide range of apps, instruments, and support items that could, in theory, be used to build a band entirely out of iOS instruments. The latest offering from this prolific manufacturer is titled iRig Keys, a super portable iOS keyboard with 37 velocity-sensitive keys, modulation and pitch wheels, low power consumption, and core MIDI compliance. The iRig is aimed at the portable musician, the composer on the go, the backpack virtuoso, and as such, it succeeds brilliantly."

Think you might ask Santa for this? Check out Rob's full review at 148Apps.

The upcoming holidays were also on our minds at GiggleApps.com, as Amy Solomon reviewed Ice is Nice: All About the North and South Poles. Amy says, "As the name may suggest, Ice Is Nice does indeed give a lot of great information about the earth’s North and South Poles, as well as animals found in these areas that children and their adults will enjoy a great deal.

As with the other titles from this series, go on an adventure with The Cat in the Hat, Dick and Sally as well as Thing One and Thing Two, who are all here to learn such topics as the harsh temperatures found at the Poles or why there are six months of darkness or perpetual sun."

Learn more about the poles in Amy's review on GiggleApps.

Finally, 148Apps.biz writer Carter Dotson explored the improvements made in Tapjoy's latest SDK: "Mobile advertising service Tapjoy has announced version 9.0 of their SDK for iOS and Android. The purpose of this update is meant to expand out and improve their current set of features to improve user engagement with their ads, and to integrate daily rewards, a popular feature that developers can now easily implement. These are meant to provide advertisers ways to developer targeted ads in a better way, and for developers to generate revenue even from non-paying users through incentivized ad viewing, service signups, and app installs."

Want more info? Read all about it at 148Apps.biz.

And that sets us up for a week of pre-Thanksgiving hysteria here in the States. Join us on Twitter and Facebook to keep track of holiday app sales, news and reviews across all of our sites...and do yourself a favor and start thawing that turkey now.

This Week at 148Apps: October 8-12

Posted by Chris Kirby on October 14th, 2012

This week at 148Apps.com, Eli Cymet plumbed the depths of difficulty with his interview of Super Hexagon creator Terry Cavanagh: "Talking to Terry Cavanagh (pictured, left), the first thing that jumps out at me is how pleasant he is. How soft-spoken and thoughtful he comes across as. Particularly for somebody who tortures people.

An award-winning independent developer from Ireland, Cavanagh has become known for wonderful, mercilessly difficult games like VVVVVV and Super Hexagon. The latter is Cavanagh’s first iOS game; a low-fi arcade gauntlet that challenges players to move left and right to survive an incoming barrage of lines and shapes for as long as possible. It bent our brains in circles and became a surprise cult-hit on the App Store, moving about 72,000 copies since release, according to Cavanagh’s last look.

Wonderful. Mercilessly difficult. The two don’t quite go together, do they? Against all odds, however, it seems that driving people mad is what’s driven sales for Super Hexagon. It’s a phenomenon that beckons the question: why is a game that’s so hard so very easy to love? What makes difficulty so satisfying?

Read the full conversation at 148Apps.com.

Meanwhile, over at GiggleApps.com, reviewer Amy Solomon explored Magic Forest HD Pro, a physics-based game for kids: "There are many variations of this style of game in the iTunes store such Cut the Rope, but I enjoy the look of this app, with backgrounds reminiscent of water color or batik artwork and include forest motifs that I find appealing and a little different from what is commonly found in a game such as this. Here, one is looking to help these pets into their basket, breaking glass bricks or other obstacles that prevent these animals from typically falling into where they belong."

Read Amy's full review at GiggleApps.

And at 148Apps.biz, Carter Dotson reported on the growing need for native language support in apps geared for eastern audiences. He writes, "It’s easy to think about the App Store as largely a western, and largely American phenomenon: it’s one of the largest revenue drivers, and success or failure there often means international failure. English is thus the most supported language in apps, particularly as it is such an international language as well now. But Distimo has put out information in their latest report that suggests while English may be the dominant language in the western world, success in the east requires apps to speak the native tongue."

Want to know more? Read the complete story at 148Apps.biz.

This Week at 148Apps: September 17-21

Posted by Chris Kirby on September 24th, 2012
iPad App - Designed for iPad

This week at 148Apps.com, iOS 6 and the iPhone 5 were never too far out of our collective consciousness, as evidenced by site founder Jeff Scott's discussion of changes in the iOS App Store: "Take exposing the top paid, free, and grossing apps at the same time on the landing page of the Top Apps list, for instance. It seems like a small change, but it promotes free apps to the front of the page and lowers the exposure of the top paid apps past the first three. Michael Zaletel of i4software notes, 'This gives MUCH MORE prominence to the Top Free Apps and so I predict Free apps and Freemium apps will see a big boost after today.'"

Read more of Jeff's commentary at 148Apps.

Meanwhile, back in the GiggleApps.com cave, reviewer Amy Solomon had this to say about Superhero Comic Book Maker HD: "Comic Maker allows one to choose from 27 backgrounds, a blank page and a chance to access photos from one’s device to work on. I really enjoy these backdrops, each bold and colorful, as there are wonderful choices to stimulate creative thinking and superhero or monster themes, such as the POV from a spaceship, industrial setting with robots and a conveyer belt, as well as other more natural scenes including a farm, saloon, or desert, which allow these characters to visit Earth. It is worth noting that although the theme here includes monsters, every image included within is utterly family-friendly, as is the included classical music based on classic nursery rhymes that Duck Duck Moose is known for."

Intrigued? Read Amy's full review at GiggleApps.

And staying on the 'Super' theme, 148Apps.biz writer Carter Dotson solicited some marketing advice from Supercool Creative: "Social media is often an enigma to developers looking to promote their apps. It’s a tool that can be incredibly powerful for getting more downloads and driving revenue, but just how to succeed with it is a mystery to many. Facebook integration, especially with the App Store, has been anticipated by developers as a way to help their games spread through social media, but these features won’t be doing all the work to make an app gain users through social media usage. However, David Murdico has written an interesting blog post for Supercool Creative entitled “5 Ways to Promote Mobile Apps and Games with Social Media” that covers many ways to best utilize social media to developers’ advantage."

Want to know more? Read the full article at 148Apps.biz.

That's it for this week, but with fall...um...falling, there's sure to be a huge amount of new content about to drop before the holidays. Keep up with the latest by following us on Twitter and Liking us on Facebook. We'll make it worth your while! See you next week!

This Week at 148Apps: September 10-14

Posted by Chris Kirby on September 15th, 2012
iPad App - Designed for iPad

This week at 148Apps.com, everything was about - what else? - the iPhone 5. Site founder and all-around iPhone guru Jeff Scott provided some much-needed advice for anyone interested in switching carriers when upgrading: "So you, like many, have decided to switch carriers with the iPhone 5? You could go data only but perhaps you still need the phone part of the iPhone. Let’s say for instance you are tired of the customer-hostile management at AT&T and want to move to Verizon. Just, you know, as an example.

Let’s rundown what you will need to make the switch and any pitfalls you might hit. It’s a fairly simple process, but there are some things you should know first, before starting."

Read all of Jeff's great advice at 148Apps.com.

Meanwhile, GiggleApps headed to the Great White Way, courtesy of Amy Solomon's review of Broadway Barks: "Broadway Barks is a lovely interactive story, written, narrated and sung by Tony-winning actress Bernadette Peters, based on the previously published children’s book with CD of the same name. Versions for both iPhone as well as iPad are available.
This is a cute and charming story of a dog who no longer has a home and is all alone in the park until he is discovered and given a chance to be seen at Broadway Barks – a charity event in New York City to promote the adoption of animal, ultimately finding a new home."

Read the full review at GiggleApps.com.

Finally, 148Apps.biz featured a how-to for creating a better mobile app from Prince Arora: "You just came up with a great idea for a mobile app or you are working on a new feature to add in your existing app. You have laid out all the screens, primary & secondary actions, and interaction flow in your head and you get down to write the code.

Great! However, this scenario is the same as starting to build a house without a blueprint. Wireframes are like blueprints and visual design is like interior decoration for an app.

So before you start writing code, work on a blueprint — this includes writing down the features/user stories, designing the flow charts, defining the primary & secondary action and designing the wireframes. These sounds like a lot but I’ll walk you through each step to show you how simple it can be."

Read all of the steps at 148Apps.biz.

And that, my friends, brings us to the end of a very busy and exciting week. Stay abreast of the latest news, reviews and contests by following us on Twitter and Liking us on Facebook, and be sure to meet me back here next weekend for a rundown of what you might have missed. See you next week!

This Week at 148Apps: August 27-31

Posted by Chris Kirby on September 2nd, 2012

This week at 148Apps.com, we got ready for some much-deserved rest with a comprehensive overview of all major Labor Day app sales. Site founder Jeff Scott writes, "It’s another holiday weekend here in the USA. Burning Man, end of summer, Labor day — pick your favorite. And that means it’s time for another huge sale on iPhone and iPad apps. These apps are on sale and they have to go!"

See the complete list at 148Apps.

Over at GiggleApps.com, reviewer Amy Solomon dug deep into the earth and discovered Auracle-Fossil. She writes, "Fossil tells the story of a girl finding a fossil on the beach, and the story of where her mind goes as she imagines this dinosaur alive long ago, as well as the process that this bone must have taken to be transformed into a fossil.

Fossil is beautifully illustrated with striking water colors, as these original illustrations found in the published book work quite well in terms of translating these paintings. Here, the double page spreads from the book are formatted to fit the screens without losing much real-estate, allows readers to see both these pages together without the need to pan and scan, a feature that works in other apps, yet is simply not necessary here."

Want to know more? Read on at GiggleApps.

Finally, 148Apps.biz writer Carter Dotson reported on an unusual trend in the world of free apps: "Fiksu has released its latest Indexes tracking how much it costs for brands to acquire loyal users, and how many downloads the top free iPhone apps are getting.

The Fiksu App Store Competitive Index tracks the average combined volume of the top 200 free iPhone apps. For July, the Index indicates that daily downloads decreased month-over-month by 5.6%, down to 4.37 million downloads from 4.63 million in June. The number has remained relatively stable after a drop from 6.35 million in February. This may be due to a residual after-effect of the holiday season, which saw steady increases after the launch of the iPhone 4S."

Need more information? Follow this story at 148Apps.biz.

More big stories are on the way from the App experts at 148Apps! Follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook to keep track of the latest sales, reviews, news items and more. See you next week, football fan!

This Week at 148Apps: August 20-24

Posted by Chris Kirby on August 26th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

This week at 148Apps.com, Carter Dotson asked the question that so many iPad owners have thought to themselves: "Why can't I work from just my iPad?"

"I’m sick of desktops, laptops, and netbooks. The iPad is lightweight, has great battery life, and I don’t have to take it out of my bag when I’m flying. Most of the work that I do is writing, covering iOS and Android, so it seems appropriate to primarily do this work from mobile devices, right? That’s what I want, but there’s still just so many shortcomings that keep it from being a regular reality.

"What I find is that for basic tasks, the iPad is great. I like the focus that the iPad’s limitation of running a single app on screen at a time provides, especially for writing. I use a portable Bluetooth keyboard, and while it’s not full-size, the benefits I get from being forced to focus on what I’m writing is a huge benefit. As well, with the customer support job I work with that uses Zendesk, I discovered that it’s actually quite easy to do it efficiently through Safari and the Zendesk mobile app. I didn’t feel like I was any less productive in working from the iPad than I do when I work from my Mac in this case. But it’s the exception to the rule."

Read more of Carter's home-to-work manifesto at 148Apps.

Meanwhile, Amy Solomon at GiggleApps.com took a trip to the zoo via ABC ZooBorns: "My son, a fan of these other apps, was excited to hear about ABC ZooBorns, asking me about a list of his favorite animals, all of which are included – much to my son’s excitement. I too enjoy the list of animals included – be it more traditional zoo animals, such as tigers or zebras, but also including some unique choices such as Ural owl, wombat or quokka. We do love to look at these animals as babies, especially those are simply precious to look at such as baby Gorillas or Elephants."

Read Amy's complete review at GiggleApps.com.

Finally, AndroidRundown.com featured a story about a fascinating new KickStarter project named InstaCube. Joseph Bertolini writes, "It streams photos directly from any user’s Instagram account and displays them on a large 6.5″ LCD touchscreen. Display those photos from the park yesterday or randomly check in on some friends, because what good are those photos if they are stuck on a tiny phone screen all the time. Probably the greatest element of InstaCube is its ability to stay away from being one dimensional by including full access to Instagram. Doing this allows for photo browsing, ‘liking’ of photos, and InstaCube will even display live photos of sunrises and sunsets from around the world."

Sound intriguing? Read more about it at AndroidRundown.com.

Summer's heading to a close, but we still have so much more to offer across the 148Apps network. Keep track of all the latest happenings, as well as reviews and contests, by following us on Twitter or liking us on Facebook. You'll be glad you did.

This Week at 148Apps: August 5-9

Posted by Chris Kirby on August 11th, 2012

This week at 148Apps.com, we gave the Editor's Choice award to Organ Trail: Director's Cut. Reviewer Rob Rich had this to say about the game: "There’s something timeless about The Oregon Trail. Gearing up and heading west across the country in order to settle in some promising new territory, braving all manner of hardships and diseases along the way, it’s a game that just about everyone loves. Wait a second, the “E” is missing. It’s not Oregon Trail? It’s actually Organ Trail? Well I don’t see what the big difference-OHMYGOD ZOMBIES!!!

Organ Trail: Director’s Cut is a throwback to the classic era of computer gaming. Back when we had to load these things using floppy disks, and in-game sounds consisted entirely of varying forms of *BOOP*. Much like its pioneer era inspiration, the game tasks players with preparing for a cross-country road trip and naming party members after friends in order to make them feel bad when they inevitably die in horrible ways. Only this time it’s during a modern zombie apocalypse, and instead of hunting for food and fording rivers they’ll be scrounging for meager supplies while fending off the walking dead and creeping through zombie hordes."

Want more of this Editor's Choice review? Find it at 148Apps.

Everything was about back to school at GiggleApps.com, where reviewer Amy Solomon had this to say about Murky Reef 1st-2nd Grade Reading, Science and Math: "Parents will appreciate how this app incorporates the Common Core standards for Grades 1 and 2 while keeping children engaged and entertained, especially as children prepare for school to start again soon and need to begin to get back to the business of focusing on school work.

Murky Reef is a collection of 22 interactive games which teach a great deal about the animals of the coral reef as well as include math, logic and language exercises."

Dive into Murky Reef at GiggleApps.

Finally, on 148Apps.biz, Carter Dotson reported on the rise of the app developer middle class, saying, "While there’s often much pessimism among developers as far as the challenges of money making on mobile apps goes, analytics firm Flurry’s latest report discusses how the revenue among mobile apps is being distributed. With it, there’s evidence that an app developer ‘middle class’ is forming, as with more revenue being spent on mobile apps, developers do not need to reach the kind of high ranks that they did in the past to make the same kind of revenue. As well, the ‘long tail’ of revenue is getting longer."

Want more of this report? Head to 148Apps.biz.

Another week down, but a new one is just around the corner. Join us on Facebook or Twitter to get the jump on the latest news, reviews and contests. Until then, get back to class.

This Week at 148Apps: July 23-27

Posted by Chris Kirby on July 29th, 2012

The Olympic flame was fanned to extreme levels at 148Apps.com this week, as Jennifer Allen explored PlayUp's socialization of the London games. She writes, "We’ve covered PlayUp before, appreciating its ability to bring sports fans together in their love of their chosen sport. Just in time for the London 2012 Olympics, a major update has been released geared towards keeping users informed during the summer Olympics.

The app offers users all the latest information on their favorite teams and athletes, as well as the latest news on the medal tally. That’s 17 days worth of coverage, across 26 sports, 39 disciplines and 302 medal events. Content is geared towards the geographical location of the user, ensuring that the most regionally relevant content is brought to the forefront when first launched."

Want to know more? Read the full article at 148Apps.

Giggleapps.com got Disney-fied with a review of Minnie Bow Maker. Amy Solomon writes, "Minnie Bow Maker is a cute and enjoyable application for kids – part craft experience – as well as including story and fashion show elements. Having a son, I have not had to deal with a daughter who wants to dabble in the world of fashion at a young age. For this reason, I consider myself fortunate as I could easily be a killjoy when it comes to many action figure dolls geared to fashion-conscious girls that to me, send inappropriate messages.

For this reason, I think many parents, especially those of girls, will enjoy Minnie Bow Maker as this app touches upon fun accessories that may satisfy young children who have shown an interest in the world of fashion."

Read Amy's full review at GiggleApps.

Finally, 148Apps.biz featured a story about 6waves' WaveX. Carter Dotson says, "Mobile publisher 6waves has announced WaveX, a new advertising tool for developers to drive traffic to their games. This serves essentially as a traffic exchange, where developers can display advertisements for other games, and get more opportunities for traffic by helping to drive new installations of other games. Developers can upload graphics for both portrait and landscape games, and the service is completely free to use."

Read all about WaveX at 148Apps.biz.

The week is over, but there's more ahead across the 148Apps network. Follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook to gain access to the latest news, reviews, and even a contest or two. Until next week, game on Olympians!