If you are going to compete with FaceTime, Skype, and Google Hangouts, then you had better have something unique to offer. Net Power & Light’s (NPL) new app Spin is attempting to do just that with a different approach to the design and implementation of mobile video communications.
Category: App Reviews
I’m writing today from an extremely wet Denver where it hasn’t stopped raining for two days. There are floods all over the state and it has been a scary day so far for a lot of people. Denver isn’t known for this type of weather but the people here are resilient and they will make it through.
Under the circumstances it is somewhat appropriate to highlight the new app from Chipotle Mexican Grill, which is a food chain that started in Denver some twenty years ago. The app is a game called The Scarecrow and is game with a message about the sources of our food.
Electronic Arts Inc. has outdone themselves with the release of Plants vs. Zombies 2 and it’s clear from playing it that EA has made a really great a sequel. Busineswire.com has reported that in its first weekend the game was downloaded over 16 million times and after just 5 days it was #1 in 137 countries around the world.
Out of nearly 64,000 ratings 44,295 are 5 stars which means that not only has it been downloaded a lot but it is being very well received. The majority of negative comments focus on the in app purchases which have the potential to bring the money you spend to easily $10 or more. As with most free-to-play games you can play the game without spending money but there are quite a few options that cost money.
I spent an hour picking up my sister at the airport yesterday for an afternoon layover in Denver and then suffered through most of it when my car battery died and had to be replaced. On the way to drop her off last night, huge piles of railroad construction supplies caught my eye and I remembered that Denver is building a new rail-line from Union Station to the airport. It seems trains are back in style.
Lionel Trains has been around since 1900 and it seems they are making plans to be around much longer. In July they released an iPad app that can control their model train systems and this week they released their first game called Battle Train. It’s more than that though, because Lionel Trains is active on social media and their app website is brand new with all of the bells and whistles. Instead of relying on the past 100+ years of business they are trying to remain relevant in a digital world.
It’s a breath of fresh air when a family friendly game is released and certainly a follow up to Joining Hands is something that is anticipated in my family. I certainly don’t mind it when my older kids play games like Infinity Blade or Minecraft, but I am always on the hunt for games that they enjoy which are both fun and clean.
This sequel is scheduled for release this month and promises more of the same puzzles as in the original version but with a number of enhancements and expansions. The game is made by 10tons Ltd., who also have released Sparkle 2, Azkend HD, and 21 other iPad games.
Toon Hero is a beautiful and easy to use animation app with high quality content from the likes of Jim Henson Company and National Geographic. Users of all ages can create animated scenes that can be intuitively shared using social media.
Characters, both free and paid, are animated using simple gestures to move, resize, and change their position in the pseudo ‘3D’ backgrounds. Perhaps the most intuitive part of the animation process is adding dialog which is accomplished when character recording is enabled and any sound the microphone captures triggers a mouth animation.
Shutterfly has released a free iPad app called Shutterfly Photo Story which can create photo books using 10 included templates. Photos can be easily imported from Facebook, Instagram, Shutterfly, and your iPad photo library and finished books can be shared to social media sites and as hard copies.
The primary difference between Photo Story and the book feature in iPhoto is that in Photo Story you can add audio recordings which can be accessed online when the book is shared on Facebook or through a QR code printed on the book’s cover when printed as a hardcopy.
Linden Lab has announced the release of Blocksworld, a new app which mixes fun puzzles with lego style designs and Minecraft type virtual worlds. Instead of just listing the features of this app and presenting a typical release, I decided to put it in the hands of the experts and see what they thought.
I interrupted my eight year old twins playing Infinity Blade II, installed Blocksworld, and let them loose with it. The first bit of good news is that they didn’t close it immediately which would have made this post quite short and instead they found it engaging. After 30 minutes of playing, one of them even came over to me and said thanks for the new game. Let’s look at what they found enjoyable.
Bret Taylor and Kevin Gibbs have announced the release of Quip, a modern word processor with a lot of mobile and social offerings. These guys have spent years in the trenches at Google and FaceBook and this release is a curiosity to see if Quip can succeed in a ‘Microsoft Office’ world.
At first glance Quip looks like a very capable mobile word processor and in fact some of the features certainly promise to be very useful but it represents a transition to a mobile paradigm that many companies aren’t ready for. This would be fine except that it appears the earning model for Quip is aimed at businesses and not with the free version anybody can download.
PLAY-DOH is a timeless childhood toy that just debuted on the iPad. With PLAY-DOH Create ABCs, children can take PLAY-DOH practically anywhere and enjoy a mess-free virtual version of the real stuff.
While this app doesn’t replace the tactile experience of making noodles with the Fun Factory, it does a very good job of translating PLAY-DOH to iOS. The app is the first in a planned series of kid’s edu-apps from Hasbro and developer PlayDate Digital, and, based on the strength of this app, I look forward to seeing what else is forthcoming from this partnership.
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