Backdoor (free), which works with Facebook and Google+ sign-in, is a social-messaging app created by Daniel Singer, the teenage co-founder of YouTell. YouTell is an anonymous web service that allows you to invite friends to comment, without revealing their identity, on questions you present to them. The idea is that they can answer your questions truthfully while remaining anonymous.
Backdoor provides a similarly anonymous messaging service that your friends can use to text you. The hook is the unknown identity of your texters, with in-app purchases required to unlock clues to their true identity.
It's great to have an awesome tech idea. It's also awesome to have education, background in the industry, years of experience, and perseverance... Uh, by the way, none of which guarantee you have a snowball's chance in a very-hot-place of selling a successful product. So, how do you turn your game-changing tech idea into reality in the already overcrowded iOS/Android accessory market? I had a chat with Jason Fass, CEO of Zepp Labs, and co-creator of the amazing GolfSense
swing analyzer appcessory ($129.99)
to find out.
I sometimes review fancy wireless speakers that cost a load of cash, have slick AirPlay capabilities, as well as multi-speaker/room playback. I never dreamed that my iPod and iPhone coupled with some old 30-pin speaker docks could create an immersive music experience. The secret is TuneMob, a free app that works with Bluetooth. So next time you throw a party, you and your friends can string together as many as seven iDevices to amp up the sound.
Cases for iDevices are like functional fashion accessories from past eras (hats, canes, dueling pistols, etc.). A case says you care enough to protect your investment, while allowing you to express your individual style. A heavy duty protective case might say, "I have trouble getting close to people, so I use a titanium robot of a case!" Seriously though, a bad posterior case could prove to be an ice breaker at a party, might get you out of a speeding ticket (never know?), or distract your mom from noticing you forgot to take out the trash yet again (definitely a long shot).
Few video games measure up to the visual standard set in Sky Gamblers: Cold War ($4.99): the detail, the excellent battle effects, the array of modern and vintage aircraft, and game tutorial levels that are more refined than many whole games. Cold War is a game that keeps you spellbound for hours, so make sure to clear off your calendar before you dive into this amazing air combat experience. You won't want to climb out of the cockpit for awhile!!
Godzilla has to be my all-time favorite monster! Nothing could be scarier than a massive, towering beast rising from the ocean to breath fire down on unfortunate subway commuters riding to work. I love the monster-on-monster battles, the military standoffs, and especially the fun of two obviously suited actors rolling around and crashing into miniature buildings. Pacific Rim ($4.99) is bringing giant monsters to the big screen this summer, and the small screen game version puts you in control of a Jaeger to battle them with!
I may make this a new category of review: Games so addictive and interesting I can't stop playing them. And this week's winners are LIMBO ($4.99), and BADLAND (Currently free), two fabulous horizontal-scrolling games I could not seem to stay away from. LIMBO is not just a game, but a true work of art, immersing your adolescent character in a realistic, dark and very scary world (I was flinching and jumping in my seat playing this game). BADLAND offers similarly superb backdrop scenes, but with bouncy, full-tilt maze-style action that is just ridiculous fun. The polar opposite of the foreboding LIMBO, you use BADLAND for a spot of cheer! Uh, you'll need it...
I have a couple of great apps for review this week and some news about an exciting new 3D action/adventure and puzzle-solving game coming soon, called Abducted.The first app I played this week was Cubemen 2 ($1.99). Cubemen is an engaging real-time strategy and tower-defense game that puts you in command of a squad of blocky soldiers. You can vector them to protect your base, or move them out to attack and destroy the enemy. The second app I played (though "playing" is not really the right word) this week, is the new, improved, and simply astounding Solar Walk ($2.99)! I used it to research earthly and extra-terrestrial satellites and to follow the beautiful and inspiring Cassini mission to Saturn!
Many states are cracking down on the use of cell phones while driving. In fact, just across the state line where I live, using a cell phone while behind the wheel can get you stopped by the State Police and fined (no matter what you are doing with it). Wheeltunes ($0.99) aims to make at least the act of accessing your playlist or controlling your player safer with a fully gesture-based player control UI. However, it is important to note that it still likely can't protect you from a fine. You should make sure to know the cell phone driving laws in your home state or anywhere you may be traveling this summer, and follow the law. If you must drive and play with your music player, you certainly should do so with an app that has a simple, stark interface and allows you to change tracks with a swipe.
If you have traveling geeks in your life (or are a geek traveler yourself) and are looking for two very cool tech products released this year, check out the booq Boa squeeze ($129.95)
and the FAVI Bluetooth Keyboard ($39.99)
(both plenty cool for non-geeks as well).