Recent App Reviews
There has never been a better time for fans of smart watches and fitness bands. The Apple Watch validates the market, yet has enough shortcomings that it leaves room for competitors. I've worn a Pebble since they were available and I appreciate many of the features it offers, but it's getting a little long in the tooth. It doesn't offer any of the health sensors that are so popular these days.
Google has changed Gmail again.
This time, I had to wait a few weeks to get invited to the "Inbox" club—Google's new app for Gmail—which has turned my email on its head. Once I got the invite, I was finally able to log into the app with my Google account.
The iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 are only about a month old, yet you can snag some serious discounts this Black Friday, thanks to Best Buy and Target. If you don't want to join the crowds the day after Thanksgiving, or even Thanksgiving evening, you might be able to get the same deal using their websites.
One of the great features of iOS 8 is the opportunity to use third-party keyboards instead of Apple's onscreen keyboard. Swype (free until 11/14/14) had long been extremely popular in the Android world, and many users rejoiced when it became available on the iPhone and iPad. It greatly speeds text entry. Instead of tapping individual characters, you simply make a continuous swipe around the keyboard. In addition, the more you use it, the more it becomes familiar with the words you use — and anticipates the words you're entering. Whether you swipe or type, your text entry will likely be faster.
Last Wednesday, Google announced a new version of Google Maps (free) that gives it a new design and a more intuitive interface. Google refers to the new style as their "Material Design" with brighter colors, bolder textures, the use of surfaces and shadows to emulate the real world. Their announcement says that "layers and buttons come to life so you know just where to touch to get directions, recommendations, and imagery."
I first witnessed the MyScipt Calculator at the Mobile App Showdown a couple of years ago at CES. Iwas frankly blown away by the fluid math solving prowess of this app, and it was not surprise when it won the top honors that year. MyScript did not stop there. They kept right on creating innovative extensions of this technology, particularly the hand-writing recognition now baked into a number of MyScript apps. I do not exaggerate when I say that MyScript Smart Note (free), is an amazing note-taking application for iPad See it in action in the embedded video following the break.
Amazon may have stumbled with the Kindle Fire Phone, due to pricing missteps and other issues, but they're not done innovating and working on integrating their technology into our daily lives. Today, Amazon preannounced the Echo, an unassuming speaker that does a lot more than play music. The cylindrical device sits in your home and is always listening for verbal commands. Similar to Siri, you can ask Echo for weather reports, to play music, etc. The gadget has omni-directional speakers and microphones that can listen to commands even if they come from far away.
Whether you are stuck in traffic, anticipating a long wait in the dentist’s office, or simply bored while lining up to pay for your groceries, this new puzzle game can help you kill time.
I try not to generalize, but when folks besides Big Fish Games or G5 put out hidden object games they tend to be not much more in-depth than moving from scene to scene to find a list of objects. Lost Civilization ($4.99) fits right in with the best titles from the two aforementioned companies, with a strong storyline, interesting characters, and game play that goes far beyond simply uncovering a bunch of items in a few panoramic scenes. Phoenix Online Studios already made a strong stand in the iOS adventure game world with the Cognition series, and now they’ve shown that they know a good hidden object game when they see it as well.
If you know about Tilt to Live ($2.99), well then I need not describe the pulse-raising pleasure of endlessly dodging morphing blobs and armies of dots. The name says it all. If you don't know, then by all means go check out these original and popular games from One Man Left Studios (we have reviewed both here at iPhoneLife). If you think you are ready to take on toughest Tilter yet, then Gauntlet's Revenge ($2.99) is waiting in the app store (with an attitude) for you to try.