2K Mobile Games Sale Begins Today

2kmobile sale

Get ready for some impulse purchases. 2K Mobile is discounting many of its top games beginning today with the sale price available through August 5. Titles such as NBA 2K13, Civilization Revolution and Sid Meier’s Pirates! are all getting some heavy price slashes.

The sale is only for iOS titles. The following is the complete list – links will take you to their download site on the App Store:

 

Flayvr Brings Order to Chaos of Photos

Flayvr Image 4Organizing and editing photos are quite the rage these days. So before you give them all to Google, take a look at the more independent-minded flayvr.

The iOS/Android app attempts to sort your images into albums, making them easier to share with others or look back at for those fond memories. It is designed to eliminate the constant scrolling and hassle that comes with trying to find that particular image.

“flayvr redefines the way we consume and share our favorite life moments by magically organizing photos and videos. flayvr is instant, hassle-free and allows for a seamless shareable interactive experience across all Android devices,” said Ron Levy , flayvr’s Founder and CEO, in a statement. “Launching on Android is an opportunity for us to share the best of what flayvr has to offer with new audiences across the world and help them bring back to life millions of photos and videos that are stuck on devices.”

While many of these tools can be found in other applications, flayvr does a good job of creating a pleasing interface. It also may be a welcome replacement on Android devices for some of the rather annoying add-ons that manufacturers add to the gallery (I particularly dislike how HTC Sense wants to fill your gallery with Facebook photos). [Read more…]

Sonic the Hedgehog Launches on Android

Sonic 1_Screenshot 1The 16-bit masterpiece that stole many hours of my childhood is now on Android. Sonic the Hedgehog can be had for $2.99 on Google Play; it is still available for that same price on the App Store.

The classic has been remastered for mobile devices, complete with 60 frames per second graphics. The memorable characters are there, as the gameplay is virtually the same with touch controls rethought for mobile devices.

Given the game’s excellent reception it furthers the mystery as to why Nintendo has not jumped on board with a mobile edition of its popular games. Super Mario Brothers would likely garner millions of downloads, as Sonic has done rather well on iOS with multiple four- and five-star ratings from users. [Read more…]

Nova Launcher Prime Review

nova-launcher-primeDespite’s Android’s work to clean up its interface with recent versions hardware manufacturers continue to ship flagship devices with custom User Interfaces. The two newest Android flagship devices, the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4, both run the company’s latest custom skins.

While some of the add-ons are helpful (there is much about Sense 5 I actually like) they all carry some annoying baggage that can muck up the Android experience. So what to do?

Sure, you can root your device. Yet that path isn’t for everyone, and is fraught with potential issues for those not experienced enough to manipulate the inner workings of their device. A stock Android experience can be found in the Nexus 4, yet that means sacrificing LTE and dealing with abysmal battery life.

Nova Launcher is the right fix. It brings a Holo-like feel back to your device, along with an extensive list of customizations. Users can add in specific gestures, customized icons and folders, along with unique themes to put your own stamp on the device.

For $4.00, the Prime upgrade brings worthy enhancements. While some (wrongly) may balk at the cost, it is well worth paying for something that will optimize your device.

After downloading Nova Launcher, your phone will ask which launcher to use when accessing the home screen. Set Nova as default and you are ready to go. [Read more…]

WordPress, LinkedIn Revamp UI

WordPress-for-android

Updating an app’s user interface has been rather popular lately. WordPress and LinkedIn are the latest to jump on the design craze, giving their apps a more consistent look across iOS and Android.

LinkedIn

For LinkedIn, the newest version brings a consistent design to its iOS and Android options.

Gone is the awkward home page that broke everything from the app into four different categories.

Outlook.com

Outlook.com has emerged as a strong alternative to Gmail. However, outside of Windows Phone its mobile component has been lacking, especially on Android.

The new UI in the latest update mirrors the Windows 8 interface and looks great on its own platform, but feels out-of-place on Android. Also the folders found on the desktop to not sync across to the mobile app.

While Outlook.com is a substantial improvement from Hotmail, Gmail power users who rely on labels and the strong integration that Google has built into its Android app are unlikely to be satisfied with Outlook. Nonetheless, grab the updated app to check out one of the alternatives out there in Google Play.

 

Blogsy is Superior Blogging App for iPad

wpid-Photo-Apr-21-2013-936-PM.jpg

For many, blogging from the iPad is a great alternative to doing so from a computer. Some love the iPad’s singular focus on writing by keeping you dedicated inside of one application at a time. Also, the tablet’s portability and all-day battery life make it very tempting to leave behind a laptop.

However, others find trying to perform this kind of productivity stifling. Writing any long-form content from a virtual keyboard and pulling together links from the web can feel laborious from an iPad.

I have tended to lean closer to the latter camp. Given that I can type 85 words per minute on a real keyboard and how good blogging requires adding a substantial number of links I have felt trying to do so regularly from am iPad would be stifling (of course a Bluetooth keyboard would mitigate some of this).

So for this review I challenged myself to compose the entire post within Blogsy – even using the iPad onscreen keyboard. In all it was a pretty good experience based on how powerful and extendable Blogsy is. Most impressive is the number of blogging platforms supported: WordPress, Joomla, Blogger, TypePad, Tumblr and several others are present. [Read more…]

Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution for iPad Review

civilization-iPadFor those looking for a game with more depth and strategy check out Sid Meier’s Civilization for the iPad. A product of 2k games, the traditional PC game is smartly recreated for the iPad interface. It offers an excellent array of strategy combined with the immediacy of a touch-friendly tablet game.

The goal is to take one’s tiny village and transform it into a mighty empire. The path to accomplishing this is a slow one, requiring skillful decision making and smart allocation of resources.

Single-player mode presents several options for beginning a game – either play through some prescribed scenarios or start a new empire from the beginning of civilization. The game allows one to choose a specific leader, such as Abraham Lincoln, Queen Elizabeth I, or Napoleon Bonaparte (the Queen appears to be wearing an outfit a bit more revealing than what was likely acceptable in her era).

Much of the game centers on the discovery of technologies. You will often be presented with where to focus your energy; discoveries begin with relatively simple matters like fire before moving on to the more complex. [Read more…]

Google Keep for Android Review

2013-03-20 21.06.56If there has been one major hole in Google’s ecosystem it has been the lack of a native note-taking app. Google Play is filled with the likes of Evernote, Catch, and others built around idea saving. It would appear that Google saw a lot of information that was going to other services instead of its Google Drive.

Enter Google Keep – the company’s effort at recording one’s thoughts or short lists. The content in the Android app syncs in real time with Google Keep on the web (full integration isn’t there yet, but Google says it is coming). It has a clever interface that is built to mimic post-it notes without the excessive skeuomorphism of the iOS Notes app.

What I like best is how it is built for rapidly launching a new note. It is perfect for that confirmation number, address, phone number, or other snippet of information that you quickly need to take down. For example, when opening the app it is only one tap to begin writing a new note.

Another clever trick – when you click “show check boxes” it will transform the current text into a list with boxes. Feel free to tick them and clean out the to-do list.

Change the color of notes by tapping the color palette icon on the top right corner. Also, tap and hold a note to rearrange its position within the application. Each app can also be shared with Android’s excellent sharing feature, deleted, or archived. [Read more…]

Feedly Cures Google Reader Blues

wpid-Screenshot_2013-03-17-22-46-51.pngAfter spending some time using Feedly I began to think all the weeping and gnashing of teeth over Google Reader was overblown. Feedly is a robust, cross-platform RSS tool that all Google Reader nomads should consider as their new home.

In fact, the developers have smartly included some guidelines for customizing Feedly to look and act much like Reader. This is because Feedly has enough flexibility to give a Flipboard-like magazine experience or the utilitarian look of a traditional RSS reader.

While some have argued that RSS is past its utility, for many it still has an important function. For example, I subscribe to several product feeds from Google, Apple, Microsoft and others that aren’t designed for an imaginative layout. Such posts are short and designed for quick updates.

Power users will also want to learn Feedly’s keyboard shortcuts, which will help transition to zipping through a large number of sources.

Feedly looks great in the browser and has apps for iOS, Android, and Kindle. While Reeder and Press are both excellent apps and will likely recover from Google’s decision, Feedly has an inherent advantage with its cross-platform appeal and free price tag (the browser version has occasional advertising.) [Read more…]

Haiku Deck Builds Image-Friendly Presentations

20130309-150350.jpgHaiku Deck is an iPad-native presentation application designed to mesmerize an audience with eye-popping images. It has several advantages for those looking for a simple, straightforward way to build a powerful slide show.

In many ways it is the anti-PowerPoint. It gets the excessive number of tweaks and design decisions out of the way, allowing the user to focus primarily on the text and images for each presentation (they are called decks in Haiku-speak). It also is share-friendly: with just one tap users can share through a social network, e-mail, posting to a blog or placing it in .ppt format. (Below is a quick deck I created on the subject of hyperbole).

Haiku Deck has several themes, such as origami or cinematic, to give each presentation an original flavor. Along with those stock themes are eleven premium options available for $1.99 each. After using the application for a while it may make sense to increase the available features for a couple of dollars. For those who start building several decks some extra flexibility might be welcome. [Read more…]

Doceri Desktop Empowers iPad-Using Teachers

doceri-iPad

As more school districts begin deploying the iPad to teachers and students it has created a small industry focused on how to best engage one’s class.

Doceri has become one of my favorite applications for doing this. Its strength relies on its good set of whiteboard-style tools combined with the flexibility to connect remotely through a computer. This solution is ideal for those who can not connect wirelessly to a projector or have a school network that blocks AirPlay.

While an interactive whiteboard is a powerful tool, the flexibility of being able to walk around the room is equally beneficial. It can create a more compelling classroom presence for monitoring behavior and engaging more directly with students.

Beyond the connection solution is the strong set of tools for enhancing lessons or other presentations. You can annotate over the desktop and use the iPad as a mouse to control a Windows or Mac computer. [Read more…]

ESPN Bracket Bound Feeds March Madness

2013-03-01 09.42.24

Anyone who is a dedicated or casual fan of college basketball should grab the 2013 edition of Bracket Bound. While it had a few too many bugs for my taste, it offers a great resource for staying on top of the season as we head towards the NCAA tournament.

For maximum performance log in with your ESPN credentials or via Facebook. I had to restart the app to get my ESPN account to take and had similar difficulties getting Facebook Connect to work on my Nexus 4. Once this works, any of your favorite schools saved elsewhere with your ESPN account will appear within the application. You can then

Bracket Bound 2013 also includes access to the Tournament Challenge, which is a pick-em style event for those who want to test their college tournament prediction skills.

By default push alerts will notify you of important game scores and down-to-the wire events. It may be overkill for some, but I appreciated the updates on a recent Saturday to how the Top 25 were faring against the competition.

My only lament is that it took all season for ESPN to update a dedicated college basketball app. While the college football app was ready for the entire season, college basketball again only seemed to pick up interest as the tournament approaches.  [Read more…]

The Pope App is Conclave Ready

the-pope-appSo there may not be a Pope right now (Sede Vacante for those who want to touch up on their Latin), but there still is an app.

The Pope App is a good resource for those who want to follow the ecclesiastical sweepstakes soon taking place at the Vatican. For an institution as ancient as the Roman Catholic Church, it has an impressive amount of multimedia contained in its mobile app for iOS and Android.

The sidebar menu contains links to the articles, videos and radio broadcasts from news.va, which is an official Vatican news source. There are also a number of live webcam feeds from locations such as St. Peter’s Square.

The recent events of Benedict XVI’s resignation triggered a number of articles and videos, which make for interesting content for anyone interested in modern religious trends. The pope’s final days include video of his last address as well as the helicopter journey to the Papal version of Camp David. There is also a link to an archive of the @pontifex Twitter account, which has now been wiped clean and contains the icon used for a vacant papacy.

For those looking for further news on all things Pope, there are several other official and unofficial applications for one’s perusal. [Read more…]

ClassDojo for Android Launches

ClassDojo Android AppClassroom behavior management app ClassDojo has arrived in Google Play. Like its iOS counterpart it allows teachers to award points or demerits based on a customized list of student behaviors.

By all accounts it should work across a wide range of Android devices. It does not have a native tablet version, but should work fine on smaller devices, such as the Nexus 7.

ClassDojo for Android is a very stable and solid release, allowing me to easily award the little monsters, complete with the same sounds found in the desktop and iOS versions. If you want the app to stay silent, simply turn off the sounds in the settings.

The main screen lists your classes – just tap on the one you want to use. The search bar can be used to find any of your classes faster is there is a larger list.

Also, like many Jelly Bean apps just slide to the right from the left edge to pull up the sidebar menu. Other options include sharing the app with others or changing how student names are sorted. There is no ability to edit or begin a new class – those must be handled from the desktop view. [Read more…]

Falcon Pro Petitions Twitter

falcon pro androidFalcon Pro was one of the top Twitter apps for Android, offering far more robust features and expandability than the stock client. It has essentially been taken out of commission, however, due to a Twitter rule restricting the number of user accounts.

As such, developer Joaquim Vergès has created an online petition asking Twitter to extend what is known as the token limit (these give the developer access to Twitter).

In the interim, Vergès has raised the price of Falcon Pro to $132.13 in order to dissuade others from buying it. The reason? In order to maintain the application with updates for current users it must stay in the Google Play store. However, more buyers would only further the problems – so along with the excessive price is a warning to potential buyers to not purchase the app.

Vergès told The Verge that he has been unsuccessful in asking Twitter to change it

“They refuse to extend the token limit because Falcon doesn’t provide any features that their app doesn’t have already,” he told The Verge. [Read more…]

SnipSnap for Android in the Works

snipsnap-ios

The popular digital coupon-sharing app SnipSnap is coming to Android. I have been testing the beta for a couple of weeks, which has made me eager for a final, polished version.

It was one of the few apps I missed when moving from iOS to Android. For those unfamiliar with it, SnipSnap digitizes paper coupons, eliminating the need to carry most of them out shopping. While not all grocery stores or other retailers have jumped on board with scanning your phone, a number of larger retailers have done so. This makes redeeming coupons just as easy as paying for that Starbucks drink by showing your phone.

SnipSnap has also evolved into a coupon-sharing social network, with users able to share deals and connect with social networks. SnipSnap CEO Ted Mann said the social community has grown exponentially with a large amount of sharing happening.

“People are snipping and sharing coupons like mad. The idea of a coupon community has really taken off,” he said.

The iOS version of SnipSnap also exhibits deep integration with Apple’s Passbook feature, which helps alert users with location awareness. The app pings you with coupon reminders when entering specific stores. [Read more…]

WeVideo Launches Beta Android App

WeVideo Android

Online video creation tool WeVideo is using Mobile World Congress to debut its Android app.

The beta version emulates some of the basic features found in the desktop tool, providing a simple-to-use interface for video novices. It does not have the extensive polish of more established video editing apps, but this is an impressive debut for a tool with large ambitions.

WeVideo has the potential to become the app of choice for Chromebook users, as it has built what it calls a “full featured” subscription option for those who want to do more extensive video editing in the cloud.

I am being treated to a preview of the full suite courtesy of WeVideo. My impressions will be available in a later, more extensive, review.

Installing the beta on an Android device is pretty easy, even if you have not yet done this before (note: it currently only works on a Samsung Galaxy Note, Note II, Galaxy S III, Galaxy Nexus or LG Nexus 4). Head to the Launchpad site which hosts the WeVideo apk (Android Package file). Be sure your device is set to install non-Google Play applications. [Read more…]

Google Now Widget Disappoints

Google Now is one of the strongest components of the current version of Android. The read-your-mind service now includes a home screen widget which brings forth some of the information previously only available when launching the application.

The widget can expand to fill one’s screen or be reduced down to the 4×1 size. It provides quick updates on weather, stocks, traffic, or sports information.  [Read more…]

Mailbox Rethinks iPhone Email

swipeMailbox has an ambitious goal: rethink mobile email. The free iPhone app, which is generating considerable buzz with its launch this week, is designed for streamlining one’s Gmail into a manageable workflow.

It arrives at a time when larger numbers of iPhone users seek an alternative to Apple’s uninspiring Mail app. This once sent people flocking to Sparrow. However, that app is now essentially retired given that the developers have joined Google. Plus, it lacked push notifications, which always was a major drawback to its utility as a go-to mail app.

After many lackluster attempts, Google has a solid Gmail app, though it still lags behind its Android counterpart. The timing is perfect for an application like Mailbox to finally create a benchmark mail client for the iPhone.

First, iPhone users should realize Mailbox only works with a Gmail or Google apps account. They will also need to sign up on the company website for a reservation. This is a good thing, however, as it allows the startup to manage server access and provide push notifications.

The design may be jarring if you are just looking for a Gmail clone. Instead, Mailbox includes four options to perform with each message, all based on gestures. Messages are snoozed or deleted based on swiping to the left or right. There is also some categorization customization available depending on if the emails contain content to be read or watched. The animations pop nicely – the current version feels more like a 2.0 release instead of a first effort. [Read more…]

Falcon Pro is Top Android Twitter Client

The official Twitter app for Android has long languished behind its iOS counterpart. Instead of waiting for it to catch up, invest $0.99 in Falcon Pro. It is the app Twitter should emulate as it more deeply applies Android design principles with more a more powerful feature set.

The biggest downside is it currently does not support multiple Twitter accounts. For those who manage an account for their business, blog, or other social medium this will be disappointing. Nonethless, given the rapid development pace I would expect to see such a feature soon. [Read more…]