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Freemium vs Premium: The Rise of Pay-to-Play Games

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Image source, Distimo Report March 2013, "How The Most Successful Apps Monetize Their User Base"

Let me start by saying, not all freemium games are bad. There are some notable titles that don't intentionally extort dollars from gamers. Freemium games rely on what has been referred to as the "friction point," the point in which a game has limited your progress and you either have to wait for your energy to recharge, pay more money to continue, or proceed to grind away at a lower, less challenging level while scraping credits together to gain a more competitive edge. The challenge for many freemium game developers is walking that line between frustrating the gamer enough that they are willing to throw down real-world money to advance and not frustrating the gamer so much that they put the game down and don't come back. Distimo released an interesting report in March 2013 showing just how profitable it is for developers to walk this line.



Review - Jongo S3 Wireless Speakers

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Pure is an audio speaker division under Imagination Technology, the wizards of low-power, high-performance SoC technology including PowerVR—the graphics capability we enjoy in our iOS devices. It might seem surprising that their tech portfolio includes a line of wireless speakers until you consider the low-power, performance, and portability of the Jongo lineup. Pure has wireless streaming speaker products ranging in the 20–100W range of output, all of which are attractively styled and innovative inside and out. The Jongo S3 ($229) is the 20W "little speaker" of the family that can be paired up with partner speakers of the same ilk. Don't let their size fool you, these scrappy little speakers produce quality sound at almost any volume!



Game Centered: Popular New Titles and a New App to Track MFi Games

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Game Centered features roundups and in-depth reviews of the best in iOS games and related gaming news. Among the App Store’s myriad games, it’s all too easy to overlook some of the greats. Each installment of Game Centered will take a close look at a select few worthy of special recognition.


Now Hear This... Better, using the Zoom iQ5 microphone!

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Apple has improved the camera in their iPhone with each iteration, but the microphone hadn't changed much. Sure, there's noise cancelation, but the position of the microphone is problematic, and it certainly doesn't pick up stereo audio.



Nommons Is a Math Game Your Kids Can Sink Their Teeth Into

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I had the opportunity to preview Nommons: Math Universe before it was released, at a press event in Los Angeles, during the App Developers Conference where I was speaking. I'm glad I got the chance, because as it turned out, my daughter was struggling with math at that very time. I knew an app ought to help her somehow, as it can be much more interactive than flash cards.



Brush Up On Your iOS Painting with Nomad

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What's better than one cool item? Two cool items. And what's better than that? Two-in-one! And that's what you get with the Nomad brush mini 2 ($35). It's a traditional stylus on one end, and on the other, a paintbrush-style tip. You can even retract the paintbrush tip, adjusting the length of the brush for the desired control.



Game Centered 2014: A New Year, a New Crop of Exciting iOS Gaming News.

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Welcome to the first installment of Game Centered 2014, it's good to be back in the swing of things after the holidays and CES! Game Centered features roundups and in-depth reviews of the best in iOS games and related gaming news. Among the App Store’s myriad games, it’s all too easy to overlook some of the greats. Each installment of Game Centered will take a close look at a select few worthy of special recognition, as well as any news stories that are particularly relevant to the iOS gaming community.

This week we’ve certainly got a lot games to cover; it's been almost a month since the last Game Centered installment and a lot of great new apps have hit the App Store since then! We've also got a new rumor stirring up interest in the gaming sector; if you’re a fan of Zelda or Mario, you won't want to miss it!



Infinity-Gate: Update Erases Thousands of Infinity Blade III Saved Games!

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Over the years I've had a strong love/hate relationship with the Infinity Blade series. It has been by turns, a highly rewarding, premium game experience and also a very disappointing one. My issues with the IB series go back to my experience with the very first Infinity Blade, which at one point refused to even open (using an iPhone 4 and iPad 2 at the time) for over six months (in fact, I was never able to resolve that issue before I moved on to IB II), to the present day’s scandal. The game series, for all of its amazing gameplay, strong storyline, and stellar graphics, seems to have been plagued with consistently recurring development problems, bugs, and glitches. But this latest fiasco takes the cake...



iGrill mini Joins the Line of Smart Cooking Tools from iDevices

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If you were hesitant to try the iGrill when it was first released at $80+, the new iGrill mini might make a believer out of you.  At $39.99, the mini is an affordable tool to monitor the temperature of your expensive steaks and could pay for itself. In fact, the iGrill mini won an iPhone Life Best of Show award at CES. Unlike the big brother iGrill and the new $99.99 iGrill 2, both of which have four probes, the iGrill mini has one probe, which should suffice for most grillmasters. Unless you're cooking significantly different kinds of meat, like turkey and hamburgers and steaks, one probe might be enough.



The CES of THINGS! The Common Thread for CES 2014

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I've attended dozens of CES (and COMDEX) tradeshows and every time I return, people ask me "what was the big thing this year?" Usually it's something straightforward like larger televisions, 3DTV, Blu-Ray, tablets, or smartphones. But this year, the big thing was "THINGS" itself! The phrase "The Internet of Things" refers to the increasing connectivity and intelligence of ordinary tools and appliances. Thanks to technologies like Bluetooth Low Energy, ubiquitous Wi-Fi, and IPv6, we have reached a tipping point where everyday devices like light bulbs, door locks, and thermostats can be connected to each other and to the Internet.



Best iPhone Apps, iPad Apps, iPod Touch Apps | iPhone Life Magazine

We review the Best iPhone Apps, iPad Apps, and iPod Touch Apps.  Whether you want to play a game (like Chillingham Manor), navigate with GPS, or discover new apps, you can easily get lost.  There are so many on the market and the number is increasing on a daily basis.  So where to begin?  The following examples are just a few of what is out there.

The Head Finder is one of the iPhone apps around. It is a task management or schedule management that helps you organize all the different things you have to do.  It has a very simple user interface and it seems they designed all the most common functions to be done with as little tapping and typing as possible which is a real time saver.  Several time management apps, in the past, have seemed to waste more time entering events and tasks into the app than you might save by being more organized.  With Head Finder you can have a new task entered in less than thirty seconds with their quick three tap process to create a reminder.

Another one of the best Iphone apps we've seen is The JumiCam. This app allows you to view streaming video from any web cam you want with ease.  It's easy to set up the software on your PC and then connect your phone to see what's going on at your house.  The JumiCam also works very well on either a 3G connection or WiFi. This app allows you to connect to as many different web cams as you want so you can monitor your entire house while you're away if you want.  It can really take the place of an entire security service if you wanted it to.  There are many ways to use this, from keeping an eye on a babysitter while you're out on a date to making sure your pet is safe at home while you're at work.

As the name describes, U.S. Traveller is made for travelers that call the United States their home and travel to countries outside their own. In opening the iPhone app, on the "Countries" tab, you are presented with a list of countries & their correlating flags. The added flags next to the country names are a nice touch, especially since most people can quickly find a country based on visual representation versus textual representation. You can travel from the U.S. to numerous countries - Chile, Argentina, Germany & Italy to name a few. This may not adequately prepare you for the countries you visit, but this will for sure help you. The amount of information and the ease of access it gives to people is incredibly invaluable.