Las Vegas! is a popular dice game that Ravensburger put together last year. It’s not exactly the most complicated board game on the block (you roll dice, and then can place them into certain numbered slots that represent stakes in money-making casinos), but it’s fun for families especially, and provides a nice relatively casual mix of luck and skill.
The sun is one of the most important stars in our galaxy. It gives us light, enables the growth of plants, is a source of energy and is the cornerstone of our calendar. To learn more about this spectacular star, you should check out the Sun By Kids Discover app.
The iPad app features interactive 3D models as well as audio and HD video to teach you about the sun. You’ll learn the difference between the solstice and the equinox and follow the steps as a star is born. The app is packed full of stunning photos, clever animations and easy-to-read trivia about the sun. Think you are an expert ? Then test your knowledge using the puzzles, quizzes and games included in the app. There is even an activities section that teaches you how to study the sun in real life.
The Sun By Kids Discover app is available for US$3.99 from the iOS App Store. It is compatible with the iPad and requires iOS 5.0 or later.
Brandon Ashmore, a 21-year-old from Mentor, Ohio, has a lot to smile about as the winner of a US$10,000 gift card from Apple for being the person who downloaded the 50 billionth app from the App Store. Ashmore told NewsChannel5 in Cleveland that he had saved up five apps to download onto his iPhone 5 to try to win the contest, and thought he was being pranked when an Apple rep called him to relay the good news.
Ashmore finally believed the caller, saying that the Apple employee had “too much information” about him. The winning app was Say the Same Thing by SpaceInch, LLC, a free word game that has been floating around the Top Free Apps list since it was released in April 2013.
So what’s Ashmore going to do with his $10,000 gift card? He refers to the credit as “free music, movies and books for life.”
App analytics firm App Annie has released a new report about portable gaming, and announced that iOS gamers are now spending more money on Apple’s platform than on traditional handheld titles. The light blue above is last year’s fourth quarter, the dark blue is this year’s first quarter, and as you can see, both iOS and Google Play spending is up, and has actually topped spending on traditional handheld devices like the Nintendo 3DS and the PS Vita.
Apple had a bit of a head start when it came to mobile software sales, since it launched its App Store earlier than the Android Market — now called Google Play. The gap between the two, which was more pronounced in terms of initial downloads, has begun to close. Today both Play and the App Store announced very similar milestones.
Apple has been counting down to its 50 billionth app download for a while now. In fact, the assets were leaked via the Apple website backend code earlier today, so we all knew it was coming. Coincidence that it would land on a Google keynote day? That’s hard to tell, but Google had its own milestone to announce: 48 billion downloads announced onstage at I/O today.
The announcements give us a unique opportunity to compare download numbers from both stores on as equal footing as possible, and the result is a snapshot of two app stores that are neck and neck — at least in terms of straight downloads.
That doesn’t take into account paid vs. free apps, or how much revenue each makes from ads and other sources. But as you can see from the graph, it marks one area at least where Google used to trail considerably but is now catching up. Also the fact that Google’s Android OS now accounts for a majority percentage of global smartphone sales means it shouldn’t be surprising that there are a lot of people downloading apps.
Google+ is getting a big update for its photos experience, which is rolling out to users now. Initial impressions show a work flow that makes it easier to tweak pictures quickly and even automatically, without requiring that you learn a huge amount about Photoshop or other editing software.
It’s something that’s designed to be mostly a non-destructive, light-touch product by default, just tweaking things like vignetting, skin smoothing and color balance to make elements pop. If you do a lot of volume image editing, bringing in lots of photos and essentially running the same few tweaks on each, this could be a simple way to replace that with something better, especially since Google+ allows for full resolution uploads to its cloud-based image locker service.
I’m so far pretty impressed with the Google+ image tweaking experience, particularly the Motion feature that stitches together images taken in quick succession to make GIFs. If you’ve ever dug into creating your own shareable GIFs, you probably know that it’s not as straightforward as it appears to be. Motion takes the hassle out of that, deliverying on a very specific need that could help fuel the next generation of BuzzFeed writers and Redditors.
For Google, bringing an improved photos experience to Google+ is a way for it to compete with other social networks like Facebook and their media-focused add-ons like Instagram. It’s also going to be trouble for startups like Shoebox that are also looking into cloud photo organization and management. Will it help the social network from Google become more social? We’ll see.
Google isn’t about search, apps or devices. Those are just vehicles, and there’s no destination. That’s because Larry Page’s Google is on an unending pursuit of the future, not just next quarter’s earnings. The scattershot of projects Google revealed today at I/O had just one unifying factor: They further that pursuit, or empower the curiosity of others.
Google is lucky. It takes a lot of fuel to shoot for the moon. Fuel that most tech companies don’t have or are unwilling to burn. But Google has ads that pay for everything the company does. The armies of employees, the seas of servers, and the laboratories for experimenting in both the digital and physical worlds.
I talked to a Google Chrome engineer the other night. He described his job as almost academic. No one ever talks about money — how much things cost or how much they would make. His job is simply to let people access information as quickly and efficiently as possible. That’s the future, and a browser is just the by-product.
Leviathan Warships is a turn-based naval strategy game. Your job is to guide a series of ships through watery battlegrounds, leading them turn by turn against your opponents. The game is similar to Bungie’s Crimson: Steam Pirates, in that you guide ships around by dragging them, but it’s much more complicated.
You can aim each ship’s guns separately, upgrade your ships as you see fit and take on co-op and multiplayer battles in addition to the main campaign. The whole package is impressively thorough, and in that sense, the trailer is dead on.
In fact, there might be a little bit too much here to play with. Those looking for a casual title will find Leviathan Warships overwhelming. But the $4.99 price is fitting — enough to signify the game is substantial, but still cheap enough for anyone interested to jump right in. Leviathan Warships is highly recommended for sure.
Facebook today updated its iOS app to version 6.1. Overall, the update is rather minor but it does add some welcome enhancements to the way photos are handled within the app.
Under the previous version of the Facebook app, users were only able to comment, like or tag a photo. With the new update, however, users can now make a photo their profile picture with a single tap. Even more exciting is that users can now share photos they stumble across on their own timeline or on the timeline of friends. Other additions to the update include improved places editing when checking in on the iPhone and faster loading of events.
Here’s a quick run through.