Archive for May, 2010

Review: Words With Friends HD

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

We admit it. We’re addicted to Newtoy’s Words with Friends. If you like Scrabble-like word games and playing with friends or random strangers at your own pace, then you might suffer the same fate as well.

Words with Friends has been around for a while, becoming available for the iPhone last summer. In March, Newtoy had announced that an HD version for the iPad would be forthcoming and it hit the App Store right as the iPad became available. If you’ve been playing on the iPhone, you’ll be happy to know that you can play active games on both your iPhone and iPad – the app automatically syncs the game status through Newtoy’s servers so you don’t have to worry about playing out a game on one device or the other.

How do you play? If you’ve played Scrabble, you already know how. In short, there are 104 letter tiles and each player gets seven to start with. Each tile has a point value assigned to it. You must create words on the game board using your tiles and you accumulate points based on the values of the tiles you’ve placed. You earn bonuses by placing letters over specially-marked tiles. That’s it in a nutshell. Newtoy has posted a rulebook here.

In order to play Words with Friends, you must first create a new account. Once you create an account, you must designate a unique user name – this user name is how others can easily find you to start a new game with you.

Once you’re set up with an account, you can start a new game in a number of ways. You can search through your contact list and the app will automatically look to see if the selected contact is already playing Words with Friends using their email address or mobile number. If the selected contact does not have a Words with Friends account, you have the option of letting the app send an invitation to play via email.

If you already know another player’s Words with Friends user name, you can enter it to start a game with him or her right away. Or you can choose to play a random opponent and Words with Friends will find someone for you to play with. If the person you want to play with is right next to you, there’s a pass-and-play option that allows you to just hand your iPad back and forth to play the game.

Words with Friends is explicitly about playing with others, so if you’re looking to play against an AI system, you’re out of luck and Electronic Arts’ official Scrabble game ($4.99) would be a better option since it offers this.

Words with Friends lets you play at your own pace with a generous window of about three weeks before a game is ended if no moves have been made. You can receive push notifications to let you know when it’s your turn, which is handy if you like to keep games moving along. In the early days of Words with Friends, we encountered a lot of delays for the server to register moves, though this has been addressed and we find playing on our iPads and iPhone to be pretty smooth for the most part.

Words with Friends also has an in-game chat feature that will let you send short messages to an opponent in an active game, which is entirely suitable for taunts about your skills or lamentations about the letters in your tile rack.

We love Words with Friends and how easy it makes it to play this well-known word game with just about anyone around the world. We have one tiny gripe about the game – you can only play in portrait orientation on the iPad (and iPhone, for that matter, though it’s particularly noticeable with the iPad given its larger screen). But that’s it. If you love word games and want to play live people instead of a computer using your iPad, Words with Friends HD will let you do that easily.

  • Games

    Words With Friends

    Last Changed:
    8 months ago
    4.50 (3166)
    iOS iPhone

    Unleash your vocabulary and play Words With Friends, the world’s favorite crosswords puzzle game! PLAY the word-building puzzle game you know and love USE your wits and strategize to make the...

CoPilot Live for iPhone On Sale Through Memorial Day

Monday, May 17th, 2010

ALK Technologies, the developers of the CoPilot Live apps for the iPad and iPhone, let us know that its CoPilot Live North America iPhone app is currently on sale for $19.99, down $10 from its regular price of $29.99. The sale will continue through Memorial Day.

ALK Technologies started offering navigation apps last year and CoPilot Live North America has been a regular in the Top 100 Paid Apps in the Navigation category. The CoPilot Live apps have always been priced aggressively compared to competing apps like TomTom U.S. & Canada ($69.99) and Navigon’s MobileNavigator North America (currently on sale for $49.99). ALK Technologies was the first to put out a full-featured navigation app for the iPad last month, CoPilot Live HD, and it appears that the company is working hard to dominate the navigation category for the iPhone and iPad.

  • $1999Buy Now

    CoPilot Live North America

    Last Changed:
    38 months ago
    3.50 (1975)
    iOS iPhone

    We recommend checking out our new CoPilot Live Premium app that is now available for iPhone. It brings some great new navigation features. Just search for “CoPilot Live Premium” in iTunes. ... Comes to iPad, Offers iPads in Giveaway

Friday, May 14th, 2010, the first company to bring speed dating online a few years ago, announced today the availability of its iPad app, SpeedDate (free). A version for the iPhone/iPod touch – SpeedDate for iPhone (free) – debuted in early 2009 and has been a regular in the Top 100 free Social Networking apps list.

Much like the in-person version of speed dating where people meet others in multiple “mini-dates” that last a few minutes each and decide whom they’d like to see again afterward, SpeedDate allows members to go through almost the same process online through live chats.

Image courtesy of website

The company’s apps offer members the option to take their online speed dating anywhere. Also, for a limited time only, the iPad app will allow members to contact all members for free – this ability normally requires a Premium membership that costs $15.99 per month.

SpeedDate for the iPad allows singles to browse photos and profiles in great detail, search for matches and quickly connect while on the go. The application is tailored to the iPad’s unique user experience taking advantage of its large 9.7 inch high-resolution screen and touch navigation interface and is an extension of SpeedDate Mobile, the market’s number one online dating app for the iPhone and iPod with over one million unique downloads.

To celebrate the release of its iPad app, SpeedDate is giving away iPads and other prizes over the next couple of weeks:

iPad Givaway:  From May 14 to May 28 SpeedDate will give away new iPads along with full year subscriptions to its premium membership service to two lucky registered users who will be chosen at random.   To have a chance to win simply create a free account by visiting

  • Social Networking

    SpeedDate - Date Local Singles -...

    Last Changed:
    64 months ago
    2.00 (258)
    iOS iPad

    LIMITED TIME OFFER!!! Right now, iPad users can contact ALL MEMBERS for FREE within the iPad App... Hurry, this special offer ends soon! Want to meet great local people? Download SpeedDate's...

  • Social Networking

    Speed Flirt – Dating Local...

    Last Changed:
    51 months ago
    3.00 (41)
    iOS Universal

    The World's best Real-Time iPhone Dating App just got better! *** New in this release *** - NEW & IMPROVED Real-time Chat with over 10 Million available singles! (FREE for a limited time) -...

Navigon MobileNavigator Going on Sale for $30 Off

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Navigon just let us know that its popular MobileNavigator for North America app will go on sale starting May 14 for $49.99, down from $79.99, a whopping $30 discount. The sale will last until June 11. Navigon also said we should expect some news about promotions for its latest MyRegion navigation apps, which provide lower-cost options for those who don’t need navigation guidance for the entire U.S., around WWDC in June. These apps, MyRegion U.S. West, MyRegion U.S. Central, and MyRegion U.S. East, each currently cost $29.99.

MobileNavigator has been a very popular app, staying within the Navigation category’s Top 100 Paid iPhone Apps list consistently for the past several months. With an average overall rating of 4 stars, there are plenty of happy users of the app out there and this sale will be a great time to get it if you’ve been looking for a full-featured navigation app.

  • $5999Buy Now

    NAVIGON North America

    Last Changed:
    3 weeks ago
    2.50 (10)
    iOS Universal

    With NAVIGON you can turn your iPhone or iPad into a fully functional mobile navigation system. Thanks to a faithful adaptation of the menu functions, the app fits in seamlessly with the iOS...

Apple Updates iWork iPad Apps

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Updates just hit the App store for Apple’s iWork apps for the iPad. The suite of productivity apps was announced at the same time as the iPad in January and became available in the App Store right as the iPad was released in the U.S. While feedback on these apps has been mixed, they currently all have 3-star or higher overall ratings in the App Store and have consistently appeared in the list of Top Paid iPad apps from the start.

Pages ($9.99) goes to version 1.1 with the following changes to add support for more languages, fix tools not previously available in landscape orientation, and more:

- Support for French, German, Japanese, Dutch, Italian, Russian, Simplified Chinese, and Spanish
– Toolbar and ruler are now available in wide-screen landscape view
– Documents automatically fit to page width in landscape view
– Enhanced Back/Front slider in the Arrange panel

This update also:

– Improves reliability when exporting Microsoft Word documents
– Addresses issues with exporting documents previously imported from Microsoft Word
– Fixes an issue with text wrapping in Microsoft Word after exporting a document with a frame around an image
– Addresses a chart font size issue when exporting documents previously imported from Microsoft Word
– Resolves an issue with scrolling after inserting and playing a movie

Numbers ($9.99) and Keynote ($9.99) also get similar language support and landscape-orientation changes to Pages. Additionally, Numbers 1.1 gets the following fixes:

- Improves reliability when importing Numbers ’09 spreadsheets
– Addresses a chart font size issue when exporting spreadsheets previously imported from Microsoft Excel
– Fixes an issue when formatting a table pasted from Keynote or Pages
– Addresses an issue where formulas did not properly update when dragging and dropping cells
– Fixes an issue with applying a new style to a table in a template after an Undo

Last but not least, Keynote also gets some fixes of its own:

- Improves reliability when importing Numbers ’09 spreadsheets
– Addresses a chart font size issue when exporting spreadsheets previously imported from Microsoft Excel
– Fixes an issue when formatting a table pasted from Keynote or Pages
– Addresses an issue where formulas did not properly update when dragging and dropping cells
– Fixes an issue with applying a new style to a table in a template after an Undo

Comcast Xfinity Remote iPad App Will Control Your Cable Box

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Engadget points out that Comcast showed off a prototype of an iPad app at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association show today that can control your Comcast cable box.

The app will pair with a cable box through the internet. Once paired, the app will be able to change the channel on a cable box and allow remote programming of a DVR, as well as letting users browse and search the channel guide and On Demand offerings. Users can invite friends to watch shows within the app and when a friend accepts an invitation, the app will change the channel automatically on his/her cable box.

As to when the app will be available, the Comcast blog states:

We’ve got developers working now to finish and launch this application. We’re building in some pretty cool social features like chat and the ability to invite friends to watch what you are viewing.

The app is demonstrated in a YouTube video:

Comcast already offers the Comcast Mobile App (free) for the iPhone in the App Store. This app also lets users browse the channel guide and On Demand offerings and schedule DVR recordings remotely. It also provides access to Comcast email and voicemail accounts. As functional as that app is, we are definitely looking forward to the Xfinity Remote app.

Pulse News Now in App Store

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Pulse News, the unique news reader we previewed yesterday, just hit the App Store less than an hour ago. Pulse News is for the iPad only and costs $3.99.

From the app’s description:

Tired of opening multiple tabs in your browser to read your favorite news? Getting distracted by the flashy advertisements on every article? Welcome to PULSE, a clean and elegant visual news reader for the iPad. Pulse takes all of the news sources that you follow, and voila! it creates a visual mosaic of your news. Tap on an article, and you’re presented with a consistent view of articles.

Preview: Pulse News for iPad

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Pulse News is a news reader app for the iPad developed by Alphonso Labs, a company founded by two Stanford graduate students. They developed the app in just four weeks for an entrepreneurship class. Pulse is intended to be a news reader unlike other RSS or news aggregating apps out there, eschewing regular RSS feed links and other traditional ways of adding news sources for browsing. Pulse is currently awaiting approval to get into the App Store and we took a quick look at the latest build.

When you first open the app, you’re greeted with a helpful tutorial screen overlaying the main view. While the app doesn’t have so many controls or settings to make it confusing without this tip screen, we still appreciate a little direction up front to get to know an app.

Tapping through brings you to the news view, which works in both landscape and portrait orientations, of course. A few sources are pre-loaded for you so you have some content to browse right away, though you can remove and edit these to suit your tastes.

Adding a source is differently than on any other RSS feed reader app we’ve encountered. All you do is enter keywords to find sources and you’ll be presented with some search results. This is where things get interesting. Entering a URL will  get you nowhere and prompts a “no results found” error.

When we entered “Apple rumors” as keywords, we were presented with search results including some of our favorite related sites, though not nearly as many as we expected.

Adding a found source is as easy as tapping on it. The order of sources can also be changed easily to change what you see first as you scroll through news stories.

Articles from selected sources are shown in horizontal strips that can be scrolled through with the flick of a finger. Sources are stacked vertically and you scroll up and down through all sources to find the one you want.

Tapping on a news story slides the news list panel to the left and shows the selected piece on the right side, and this can be toggled between text and web views.

There’s a handy pop-up menu when viewing an individual story that allows you to share it via Facebook, Twitter, or email.

We found that Pulse is definitely different from RSS reader apps like NewsRack that we checked out a little while ago. Alphonso Labs describes its intended purpose:

While a traditional RSS reader is usually about consuming as much content as possible, Pulse is all about leisurely enjoying your daily news, with a cup of coffee.

We certainly found this to be the case. Pulse News is visually appealing and lends itself to a more relaxed news reading experience. If you’re hardcore about getting as much news as you can find and reading it as quickly as possible, Pulse will probably frustrate you. Though if you have some time on your hands and want to enjoy your news in a “no pressure” fashion through a pleasant and appealing interface, Pulse will do you just fine.

Alphonso Labs has posted a demo video to show how the app works:

Pulse – news reader for iPad from Alphonso Labs on Vimeo.

Pulse News will cost $4 when it becomes available in the App Store.

Square Payment App Optimized for iPhone

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Square, a mobile payment service, now has an updated app compatible with the iPhone/iPod touch. The first version of Square (free) that released in early April was compatible with the iPad only.

The Square app allows users to accept cash and credit card payments and can generate email and SMS receipts. The service requires a free Square account and physical credit card payments require a separate card reader accessory that plugs into the iPad’s or iPhone’s headphone jack. Once a user obtains a free Square account, the card reader accessory is mailed to the user at no charge.

A Square account can be obtained by signing up through the app. Fees are only charged for credit card transactions and there are no subscription or other fees.

A demo video is available on YouTube:

Solar Walk Now Available for iPad

Friday, May 7th, 2010

We’ve always been fans of Vito Technology’s Star Walk ($4.99 for iPad and $2.99 for iPhone) and another lovely educational app by the same developer is now available for the iPad: Solar Walk ($2.99). The app debuted in the App Store yesterday in universal format and the update is free to those who had previously purchased the app when it was for iPhones only.

Solar Walk provides a unique way to explore the solar system, allowing you to view the sun and planets from any angle and view the orbits of each planet with a nifty time manipulation scale to go forward or backward to see their relative position at any point in time.

Vito Technology has posted a demo video of the app in action on an iPhone:

Tapping up on a planet zooms you in close, showing the planet in its current actual position. Tapping on an information button in the top left reveals a pane showing information about the planet, such as its mass, density, internal structure, exploration history and more.

Solar Walk could be a very useful tool for students learning about the solar system, though we find it to be much lighter on the sheer amount of information it contains compared to Star Walk. However, at $2.99, it’s not a bad buy to augment a child’s learning experience or get reacquainted with the planets yourself.