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When a week starts off with New Year's Eve, it's bound to be a good one, and this week was no exception at 148Apps.com. Site founder Jeff Scott started us off with a bang by saying, "We are proud to announce the nominees for the fifth annual Best App Ever Awards. The awards that celebrate the best apps available, not just the best selling. This year we saw an amazing response with over 715,000 nominations submitted for 6,755 unique apps!
Voting is now open and will remain open through January 31st, 2013. Winners will be announced in February and details on that are to come."
Over at GiggleApps.com, Amy Solomon took a closer look at Hansel & Gretel: Lost, saying, "Hansel & Gretel: Lost is a well crafted re-telling of this classic story for iPad, wonderfully illustrated with animations as well as including top-notch narration, music and sound effects. Auto-play is also an option as well as silencing the narration to read this book by oneself.
It is easy to tell from the first page that this app is something special. The illustrations are lush with color and beautiful to look at with a marbled textured style that I always find appealing. Every element in this book is at a superlative level of quality that adults will greatly appreciate, as will their children."
Finally, AndroidRundown.com writer Carter Dotson took on the establishment and challenged the conventional wisdom about "iPhone Killer" hardware: "Well, it took a bit longer than expected, but it seems like Google is finally going to use their Motorola acquisition to actually make a standout phone for themselves, the “X Phone.” Or whatever the next Nexus device will be called.
The immediate speculation swirling around is that this is finally Google’s “iPhone Killer.” You know, like the other Nexus devices that were iPhone killers. I don’t think that anything at this point will be an iPhone killer. It just isn’t going to happen."
And so begins 2013! Keep track of all the latest happenings, including developments in the Best App Ever Awards, by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook and following us on Pinterest. And from all of us across the 148Apps network of sites, have a Happy New Year!
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.
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."
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.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."
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."
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.com, we got to known iOS developer Lady Shotgun. Jennifer Allen writes, "Doing things a little differently from the rest, Lady Shotgun considers itself as a co-operative of freelance game developers, with the team working remotely from each other rather than through a central office. It might be unorthodox but this team is made up of folks with some extensive experience in the game industry. Uniqueness continues through the fact that Lady Shotgun is made up, predominantly, of female game designers and coders with men forming the minority here."
GiggleApps.com headed to work for a review of the unique Grandpa's Workshop. Amy Solomon says, "Grandpa’s Workshop is a fun interactive app which teaches about the tools found in a workshop as well as learning about simple math concepts.
I really enjoy how this app works, as a fun older gentleman walks children through workshop-related activities such as identifying tools, painting different projects or mending broken objects jigsaw style.
Simple math-related activities are also included such as using a tape measure to measure boards, cutting boards into fractions such as halves or quarters, choosing the correct number of screws or other parts grandpa needs as well as a spot-the-difference section involving tools that may be similar or different."
Finally, AndroidRundown.com's KickStarter spotlight this week was for the BlueTube Amplifier. Joseph Bertolini writes, "Being a sort of audiophile I appreciate the sound of a classic tube amplifier and I recently just started re-downloading my favorite albums as lossless FLAC files to preserve that original sound quality. Looking around the market today, it is really a sad time for those who really care about the quality of their music as cheap parts are appearing from overseas and there is a resulting flood of bargain Bluetooth speakers and docks on the market. These sound terrible, and combined with the super-compressed audio files that the average user has in their music collection music really has taken a technological step backward at a time when there has been nothing but technological advances. Well, audiophiles and smartphone owners rejoice because I have discovered our savior and it does not come from the likes of Sony or any large corporation. Meet the BlueTube Bluetooth Tube Amplifier, and built out of solid cherry and walnut hardwood it promises to look as great as it sounds."
This week at 148Apps.com, we turkey trotted our way into Thanksgiving and the holiday season with a tremendous list of apps for sale, courtesy of site founder Jeff Scott: "Black Friday is the biggest sale day of the year for the big box stores. And the same is true for the App Store. But the good thing about the App Store is there’s virtually 0% chance of getting trampled while trying to get that $39 laptop everyone is racing for.
This week and into Monday we’ll likely see hundreds of iOS games and apps on sale at some really great prices. We’ll be updating this post frequently through Monday with the best of the sale apps and games."
Want to know more? Read our full Price Drop list at 148Apps.
The holiday spirit continued at GiggleApps.com, with Amy Solomon's review of Wombi Toys: "Wombi Toys – a toy workshop for kids is a new interactive app that my son is really enjoying.
My son always get so much out of immersive role-playing apps, be it mini-games or more open-ended adventures which allow my son to cook for animals, plant a garden, pretend to be a doctor, fix a car or play tea party.
For those parents who know exactly the genre of app I am talking about, it is worth getting to know Wombi, a Swedish developer with a wonderful sense of style.
They have developed a series of really fun jigsaw puzzles of different themes and other apps that I have also enjoyed, so I was super-excited for the release of Wombi Toys – a toy workshop for kids which allows children to play toy-themed mini-games, building or fixing a very nice variety of toys such as wind-up car, painting alphabet blocks or using a hand pump to inflate a ball as each of these games are cute and fun, tactile as well as intuitive."
Finally, AndroidRundown.com writer Carter Dotson shared some unfortunate news: One of the biggest names of the early days of touchscreen mobile gaming is about to finally fade away: parent company GREE is shutting down OpenFeint, effective in December.
OpenFeint may not be as fondly remembered on Android as it is on iOS. It was the first real service to provide leaderboards and achievements, a much-desired feature. However, the platform failed to expand upon that core functionality once Game Center kicked in and became ubiquitous; while features like cloud saves were implemented by OpenFeint (and seen in games like INC which provided cross-platform saves) they never took off with developers or the public. However, the service was still purchased by GREE, and has been languishing recently as it transitions in to the GREE Platform."
And, as the tryptophan kicks in, we bid you a fond adieu this week. But make sure you keep track of all the latest sales, contests, reviews and news items by following us on Twitter and Facebook. See you next week. Gobble gobble.
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."
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."
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.
Timehop is an interesting idea. It goes through your social history, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Foursquare, and even the photos on your phone and looks for events. It will then show you what you were doing on this date a year ago, or more. It's your own personal "This day in history" app.
This week at 148Apps.com things got a little bizarre, as Jennifer Allen spotlighted the various iOS projects that have risen since Bizarre Creations was disbanded: "In January 2011, British games developer Bizarre Creations was closed by Activision. Looking through the games that Bizarre were responsible for, it’s no surprise that many fans were hugely disappointed to see its closure. Racing titles such as the Project Gotham Racing series were seen by many as the pinnacle of racing games, with similar successes coming from the retro shooter Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved and the cartoony Fur Fighters. Unfortunately, despite the release of arcade racer Blur and James Bond 007: Blood Stone in 2010, it wasn’t enough and Bizarre Creations was dissolved.
What happened next, though? And why am I talking about console games on 148Apps? Because a number of new gaming studios rose from Bizarre’s flames, many of them iOS focused. Recently, I got the chance to see how things are progressing for a few of them.
Want to know more? Read the full article at 148Apps.
GiggleApps.com got all mathematical on us this week with a review of Squeebles Fractions. Writer Amy Solomon says, "Squeebles Fractions is an interesting app to help children to understand fractions, creating a bright, colorful world in which to practice their math skills. I admire the cake theme found throughout this app, as players are able to, within the first section of this app, serve pieces of a cake to waiting monster-like Squeebles characters which correspond to a fraction seen on the screen, really helping children visualize the fractions they are working with."
And on AndroidRundown.com, Joseph Bertolini focused his KickStarter spotlight on iMpulse Game Controller. He writes, "Welcome, iMpulse, a tiny rectangular controller that is small enough to comfortably fit on any keychain. iMpulse was specifically designed to go onto keychains because they are with the player constantly. Anytime they leave the house their keys must go with them along with the phone; meaning that at anytime, gaming with a controller is possible. At about the width of an average palm iMpulse is small but it does not seem too small where it would be frustrating or unusable. Oh, and did I mention that it will help locate lost keys? For me, as forgetful as they come, this is almost more than worth the price of the whole device, gaming notwithstanding."
With that, we're done with this week's wrap-up. Join us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news, reviews and contests, and check out this post every week for a recap of the stuff you need to know. Ciao!
If you aren't sure what App.Net or ADN is, don't be surprised. It's a still fairly underground social network modeled after Twitter, but without the restrictions Twitter has started putting in place. The folks at Tapbots seem to be fans of the new network and have re-purposed Tweetbot for ADN. It's $4.99 for the iPhone/iPod touch version and another $4.99 for the iPad version.
This might provide a nice boost for ADN, but it's still a barely known service mainly filled with super-early adopters who cross-post to every service under the sun and those with a grudge against Twitter. Hopefully that will change.
This week at 148Apps.com, we pondered life after the change from Google Maps to Apple Maps. Carter Dotson took a look at his Favorite Four alternatives to Apple's built-in guidance system: "So, there’s a bit of a brouhaha over iOS 6 switching its maps provider from Google Maps to TomTom and other Apple sources. Yes, the 3D flybys in the maps are pretty, but the lack of details once had in Google Maps and loss of transit directions is a backbreaker for some. Sure, Google Maps has a mobile website that can be added as a web app, but maybe it’s time for something all new. Unless or until a separate Google Maps application is released, here’s four fine alternatives for mapping and directions."
GiggleApps writer Amy Solomon got cooking with a kids' game called Dr. Panda's Restaurant: "My son and I are thoroughly enjoying Dr. Panda’s Restaurant as this app has so much to offer in cooking fun for children of all ages. This app consists of a two-story restaurant, each containing a two-person table to be filled with the animals who get welcomed by Dr. Panda, now the chef of this restaurant as well as the one who greets these animals before they are sent to their table. Eight animals are included, as are ten recipes to cook."
And finally, AndroidRundown.com featured a KickStarter Spotlight on Lifx. Joseph Bertolini writes, "Lifx is an LED light that connects to any home wireless network and is controlled by a smartphone. It would have been easy for the developers to just simply stop at changing the color, and I, frankly, would have been satisfied. But seeing as this is a KickStarter project, it is a safe bet that these developers did not become complacent. Some simple additions, such as dimming and batch operation are included, but the one that I am most impressed by is the ability for the light to deliver phone notifications. Imagine every time a text message comes in the room blinks green or blue for Facebook notifications. There is also an option to program lights onto specific actions and cycles, such as dimming over a period of time or turning on every day at 8 am."
And that about covers it for the week that was. Joins us every day for the latest news, reviews and contests - and keep track of it all by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook. See you in 7.
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.'"
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."
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."
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!