This week at 148Apps, writer Gianna LaPin continued the 500,000 Apps Interview Series by chatting with Colin Lynch of Freeverse. Lynch says, “There are plenty of skill-sets that are helpful in creating great apps and great games. An eye for design, an ability to analyze the market and spot opportunities, speed of thought and action to take advantage of those opportunities, great coding skills, flexibility to work around problems or change directions when events warrant.”
Over at our kid-centric sister site GiggleApps, reviewer Amy Solomon took a thorough look at Practice Book, a new iPad app that uses a familiar connect-the-dot approach to helping children learn letters and words. Solomon writes, “Because my son is new to creating letters, this is an app we work on together. I may demonstrate the correct way to connect the dots in terms of the up or down motions commonly used to make letters or give him simple instructions that he can follow by himself. Sometimes I hold his hand and together we trace over template in the hope that his muscle memory for writing these letters will develop. We often use a stylus as well to get used to holding a pencil to write.”
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2011-07-28 :: Category: Education
And at Android Rundown, Carter Dotson comments on the new that iOS superhit Instagram is coming to the Android platform…sort of…maybe…one day. He writes, “Instagram’s CEO Kevin Systrom has announced that an Android version of their photo sharing service is “on the horizon” for Android. The app is very close to being real, as they don’t even have a team assembled to develop the app for Android. That is also sarcastic.”
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2010-10-06 :: Category: Photography
Finally, here in the states, it’s the Labor Day weekend. That means scads of sales on tons of apps. Keep up to date with the latest and greatest changes by visiting our Huge Labor Day Weekend Price Drop Round-Up. There are great deals to be had, and some amazing games to play in between bites of char-broiled goodness.
That’s it for this week. Want to know the latest and greatest news about everything happening in the iOS world, including giveaways and contests? Join us on our Twitter and Facebook streams. You’ll be glad you did. See you next week!
Harold and the Purple Crayon is a wondrous and thoughtful adaptation of the classic 1955 children’s book of the same name that had been developed into an interactive storybook, now a universal application.
I remember Harold and the Purple Crayon from my childhood and have shared this story with my son as well. Few children’s books that I can think of beg to be turned into an interactive storybook as much as this one does, and I have been eagerly waiting for this to be developed into a universal app, knowing that at some point this was bound to happen.
I am very eager to introduce this app to readers who may not know of its existence. It is the perfect experience that I expected with every element thoughtfully conceived, making this book a joy to share with my son.
Jack and the Beanstalk by Mindshapes is a nicely done universal interactive storybook with wonderful animation and interactions included.
Based on the classic tale of the same name, the caliber of animation used here is very impressive. These images are bright and colorful, with stylings so great that they make me reminisce about the works of Genndy Tartakovsky, known for his brilliant cartoons shown on the Cartoon Network during the 1990s and early 2000s.
Lola’s Fruit Shop Sudoku is a very nice application simplifying the classic game Sudoku and adding a nice fruit theme which creates a version that kids and adults will enjoy. Both iPhone and iPad versions of this application are available, and there is an impressive choice of languages to choose from, specially English, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Finnish, Japanese, Korean and simplified Chinese.
I really enjoy this app and the changes made from the traditional game of Sudoku to make it easier and more enjoyable for kids as early as four years, as well as beyond in the more difficult sections. This application is part of the “Lola” series of apps starring lovable panda Lola, who keeps a watchful eye on the users, adding bits of narration about her love of fruit as well as encouraging the players throughout these games.
Kids want to participate in social networking as much as everyone else. After all, it’s fun. For young children though, it’s not always as safe as it should be on the likes of Facebook and other social networking tools hence the age limit that’s put in place. While parents can take the option of creating a heavily secured account and monitor their every move, a more fun alternative is something like Vikido.
It’s an app that allows kids to create audio, video or picture based content that can then be shared instantly with their parents. The parents can then choose exactly who gets to view such work. Close contacts from a limited list is possible or it can be shared via Facebook. Ultimately, it’s an app that allows kids freedom but adults the ability to protect their offspring.
Besides the publishing side of things, parents can also choose to ‘love’ rather than ‘like’ the creations and comment on things too.
Vikido looks like a halfway house towards allowing children to use more comprehensive social networking tools, and could be a great way of testing the water so to speak while keeping everyone happy.
It’s out now and it’s everyone’s favorite price: free.
Loopy Tunes is a very interesting universal musical application, allowing players to layer different instrumental sounds and the like together to create unique musical pieces.
It is nice how both individual sounds that play once when tapped are included, as well as many looping sounds and bits of music that play continuously until silenced with a touch.
This app opens to the lovely view of what is reminiscent of a vintage radio or television face, which includes a top and bottom row of sections that one can tap. The top row involves eight areas that play individual sounds with the touch of a finger. Note the left bottom of the screen where five small yellow knob-like button selections are offered. As one explores here, the top row of individual sounds will change from a series of milk jugs, piano notes, and different instrument options as well as a group of abstract sounds, all of which make a single sound when tapped.
Apolline & Leon is a lovely and fun interactive universal storybook app that kids and adults will enjoy. This app includes an impressive nine languages, English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Chinese and Japanese, making this an excellent app for bilingual families or for those who may want to expose their children to the sounds of a different language. One can listen to narration or choose not to, and I like that a summary of pages is also included – always a nice addition.
Doodle Grub has carved a nice niche in the market offering Snake style action with a cutesy twist on the concept, making for an ideal game for younger players. Already offering a series of different themes and musical tracks, it’s just been updated to offer even more theme songs to listen to while playing.
Action is of the tilting variety with players helping the Doodle Grub navigate around the stage in order to eat apples and grow ever larger. It’s so cutesy that there’s even just been a new comic strip blog released featuring the adorable snake within the game. The comic is available over at Doodlegrub-comic.com and is bound to entertain kids. Updates are promised on a weekly basis
Check out the trailer for Doodle Grub below. It even features a ridiculously cute kitten!
Doodle Grub is available now. It’s a free app with a $0.99 in-app purchase available to unlock all features.
Toca Boca Robot Lab is the new and original universal app and “digital toy” that kids of all ages as well as parents will enjoy.
This new Toca Boca app allows players to create their own robot from a series of creative and interesting scrap pieces or metal and other industrial materials. Although many pieces are ultimately available to choose from, kids will have a choice of three head, body, and leg selections each session, as well as left and right arms, mixing or matching, or however the player chooses.
I really enjoy that the robot lab building area takes place in a corrugated box, and that the robot pieces to choose from are recycled bits from other machines that adults will be familiar with, such as old radios, coffee machines, sinks, the electronic eye from a surveillance camera or incandescent bulb, giving the players a way of viewing these bits of scrap in a new way, transforming them into pieces of a new robot.
iOS behemoth Chillingo is at it again, announcing the release of two more potentially very addictive games.
First up is Color Bandits, a title that offers colorful shooting throughout. Players must help restore the color of their home world after an evil steam punk boss has stolen the splendour of the area. Offering frantic side scrolling shooting action, Color Bandits is set to offer a great arcade style experience. It’s out now priced at $0.99 for the iPhone/iPod Touch version with the HD version for the iPad weighing in at $1.99.
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2011-06-30 :: Category: Games
Second up is Piñata Smash, a game aimed more at the younger market with players needing to smash as many piñatas as possible as they appear on screen. Powerups and an upgrade system adds some variety. While 3 worlds with 12 levels in each provide plenty of enjoyment with this Universal game costing only $0.99. It looks set to be a great simple but addictive experience and it’s out now.
Loris and the Runaway Ball is a simple and lovely universal storybook app about the dangers of running into the street after a run-away ball.
As a parent, one of my biggest concerns is that my fearless child will run into the street to collect a stray ball or other toy and get hit by an oncoming car. As much as we talk about this in order to reinforce this important lesson, I worry that it is never enough for this utterly crucial message to sink in.
This is a sweet story, told from the point-of-view of a loving older brother Lincoln, about how one day he is playing with his little sister Loris and their ball rolls into the street, and now lincoln needs to save his sister from her horrible decision to go after the ball. Luckily the older brother does get to his sister just in time, something I have not yet had to do, and hope I never have to.
Despite not having children of my own, I know all about LazyTown. My cousins were hooked on the show when they were younger. They loved the rather quirky world it offered and its combination of puppetry, animation and real people. They’re unfortunately a little too old for it now but I’ve no doubt they’d have been thrilled by the arrival of the LazyTown BooClips app.
BooClips aims to improve your children’s reading skills while also stimulating their imagination. Using a combination of different features such as word for word narration, 3D and even picture in picture sign language intepretation, it’s bound to enthral kids. Voiceover recording is also available so that your children can become part of the storyline, no doubt boosting vocabulary skills.
The app is simple to use for all age groups and you can stop or start it wherever you like, it keeps track of where you left it.
It looks to be a great app to get your kids into reading while still feeling as interactive as any game too.
It’s available now for the iPad. The BooClips app is a free download with additional books such as Dr Rootenstain and Lazy Town Sportfake available as in-app purchases for $4.99 each. Take a look at the video below to see just what the interface is like.
Every now and then I think that I’ve finally become a proper adult, all responsible and doing away with childish things. Then I walk near a Disney store and all those allusions go out the window as I’m too busy exclaiming ‘awww’ at every single cuddly toy. A similar ‘awww’ came from me when I saw the latest update to Disney Princess Dress-Up: My Sticker Book.
It’s been updated as part of the excitement build up of the upcoming Royal Wedding at the end of the week. For those uninitiated in the app, you can use it to take photos of your children and ‘become’ part of the Princess storylines. This update adds a new Princess Tiana, 7 new stories as well as 25 new outfits and accessories that your children can dress themselves up with.
It’s a neat little idea anyhow that’s bound to be a big hit with young fans, even more so now that there are even more outfits to dress up in.
The update is available now for those who have already purchased the app, otherwise it’s $3.99 for newcomers to it. Oh and it’s an Universal app which is always convenient!
Halloween is just around the corner (you know, like this weekend), and we all know you will be carrying an iPhone with you from door to door on your candy raids. Maybe you will even have some minions with you doing all the dirty work of begging for candy. Why not put the phone in your pocket to good use and capture a few of these memories in style? A few tips to get you rolling are as simple as:
Snag pics of the kids early Before you embark out into the night, capture a few shots of everybody in their costumes early. Not only will this net you some much better lighting conditions, but it also allows you to capture photos before everybody is antsy to dive into their buckets of tasty treats. Keep the photos interesting by using various angles and remembering to keep the rule of thirds in place. Keep in mind that head-on shots of kids are ok, but children offset by the pumpkins they carved while standing in front of a big pile of colorful leaves is much more enjoyable. Bonus Tip: You can add on a bit of face manipulation with apps like Kid Face Halloween Edition for that extra bit of Halloween photo fun!
Free studio space in decorated homes Some people just love to decorate for Halloween. All these decorations mean you have plenty of fun and exciting studio space, minus all the overhead of rent and utilities. Those homes with fun décor are often prime with setups to really enhance your photographs. While you may not want to spend three hours at the same house posing and setting up various shots, you can spend a moment to capture a more intriguing shot. Put the significant other under the giant Black Widow hanging from the tree. Lay the kidlets out in a fake cemetery. People go to great lengths to decorate, why not put those efforts to good use for some memorable Halloween photos. Bonus Tip: Share your best setups with family and friends on Facebook or Flickr while you walk from door to door.
Make use of fun lighting It maybe dark outside, but you have plenty of great lighting opportunities while out and about collecting the candy tax. Orange, red, and even black lights can turn a drab photo into something exquisite. This is especially true if your child, or even yourself, is wearing something that is black light sensitive. Turn off the flash on the iPhone 4 to help keep these unique colors in your photos. Bonus Tip: you may want to consider stabilizing your phone before taking a photo to help reduce blur.
The most important tip for everything you try to snag on the iPhone this weekend: Have fun. I mean you are out getting free candy and taking great photos. If you are not having fun, you might be doing something wrong!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Posted February 18th, 2009 by Christine Morris Our Rating: :: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
This application is a singing book designed to entertain a young child. However, it is much more than that. It has multiple languages, instruments and recording support, turning it into a great educational tool.
Platform game with action and logic rolled in to one! You are Archibald, a skateboarder, who fell down a pipe. Find your way out of each pipe (level) by getting from the start position to the exit door. This door can be locked on certain levels and requires you to solve puzzles to unlock it.