In its past life as My Xbox Live, Microsoft's companion app allowed Xbox 360 users to lightly interact with friends, view their created Avatars and Achievements, and have a mobile way to stay looped in on the home console gaming service. Following a radical transformation, the new Xbox SmartGlass goes beyond mere surface-level synergy to become both a touchscreen input device for the console and a second screen for expanded game and media experiences.
Amidst a hectic day, you may only have spare moments to catch up on the latest world headlines and developments. Rather than serve as another gateway to point you towards lengthy web stories, Circa News does the heavy lifting for you, scouring through various news sources' pieces to deliver brief and carefully curated summaries that share only the essential bits.
My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic shines right out of the gate, but it loses its gleam when you hit the inevitable paywall. The core of the game -- building and expanding a town -- is fun and compulsive, while the repetitive mini-games are short enough to be only slightly annoying after prolonged play time, plus Gameloft pulled out all the stops in presentation. But your progress gets heavily stilted if you don’t shell out for in-app purchases, and it appears impossible to finish the story without spending big money.
One of the more successful services in the “freemium” category, Evernote has thrived since its 2007 debut, managing to keep up with almost every new mobile or desktop platform launched ever since. Most recently, the company reinvented its popular iOS and Mac apps with the lofty goal of accessing notes in as little as two taps. But has anything been left behind in the transition?
On consoles and PC, Need for Speed: Most Wanted recently returned the enduring racing franchise to glory, delivering a huge open-road experience in which players can explore, compete, evade police chases, and test out dozens of licensed rides. Expectedly, the universal iOS take is less robust; it finds the middle ground between its much larger (and pricier) brethren and the series' past mobile entries, delivering a portable racer that impresses on many fronts, yet doesn't fully satisfy.
The iPhone was a tipping point for social media, enabling immediate sharing of life events with loved ones. But with so many different networks now drawing our attention, what we really need is an app to pull them all together in one place. That’s the concept behind Moment.me, which tries to be an aggregator for photos, videos, and tweets pulled from Facebook, Twitter, and other services, presenting them in a real-time, multi-point of view layout, neatly organized by event. Or rather, that’s what it’s supposed to do.
With a wide array of turn-based iOS titles likely taking up your time, it can be difficult to find a chunk of time large enough to sit down and play through an entire game of Madden on your iPhone or iPad. That’s where Madden NFL 13 Social hits its stride. Taking the simplistic style of other asynchronous turn-based titles, Madden NFL 13 Social tasks players with completing a game in alternating bursts. Each turn consists of one offensive drive, however long that may be, and you don’t ever play defense, as that wouldn’t really work for the style of play here.
Facebook started on a college campus, but has since become a familiar part of nearly everyone's online life around the world. OOHLALA Mobile Campus Community aims to create something closer to Facebook's roots, centering on university-centric activity, but is it really necessary in this day and age when we're already so well connected? In shades of Facebook's past, users must register with a college or university email address to gain access to OOHLALA. What students will find within includes everything from campus maps and events to games, chat, and additional ways to socialize with fellow classmates -- at least in theory. The execution has less chatter and more echoes.
Atlas by Collins is a very attractive app. It doesn’t hope to compete with the amount of data you can unearth by searching Google, but you’ll find much more than just the essentials, presented in an easy-to-use, self-contained app. Offering access to seven different globes grouped into three collections, the app covers everything from standard atlases to people, energy consumption, and production, as well as our impact on the planet -- with more promised in the future.
NIt's almost certainly not pulling in as many users as Words With Friends, but the App Store's buzziest word game right now is Letterpress, an elegantly designed asynchronous experience that even loops in territorial control elements. And it's a slick freebie that actually lives up to the hype. Spawned by Tweetie creator Atebits, Letterpress is a marvel of minimalistic design.