5 iOS games you won’t want to miss!

With the success of titles like Angry Birds, Doodle Jump, Infinity Blade and the like, mobile gaming is not something that can be taken lightly these days; but with the number of games that get through the AppStore filter everyday it’s hard to keep track of the ‘good stuff’. So after some digging around here’s a list of games that’d be worth keeping an eye out for:

1) Shadowgun 

Czech developer Madfinger Games announced their latest offering with the beginning of a new game called SHADOWGUN. Designed to run on next generation mobile hardware like the upcoming Tegra 3/Project Kal-El SoC from NVIDIA, it is touted to provide jaw dropping graphics with superb performance. Deriving a lot of its gameplay style from the Gears of War franchise, SHADOWGUN puts players into the role of John Slade, a professional bounty hunter in the year 2350. Built on the multi-platform UNITY engine, the game looks visually outstanding and probably the most advanced AppStore game since Infinity Blade. If there ever was a reason to own an NVIDIA Tegra 3 device, this game would probably be it! Head past the break to see what we mean.

2) EPOCH

Developed on the Unreal Engine, this action combat-shooter comes from the guys at Uppercut Studios (formed by veteran ex-Irrational Games developers). In a gameplay style reminiscent of Metal Gear Solid, EPOCH lets you fight through the crumbling ruins of a once-thriving civilization, as a freshly-rebooted robot that finds itself caught up in a mystery from the past. Looking to blast its way onto iOS devices in the fourth quarter of 2011. You can learn more about the game over at http://www.uppercut-games.com/

Or Just check out the Video Below.

3) Afterlife: Ground Zero

The creators of Dungeon Defenders on the iOS – Trendy Entertainment, are currently working on a project tentatively titled Afterlife: Ground Zero. The game is slated to be a survival-horror third-person shooter, and should contain some sort of cooperative gameplay. Although the project is still in its nascency, an internal gameplay video of Afterlife has surfaced over the past week and even from its development run-through’s the game shows a ton of promise. Head past the break to check out the video.

4) Machine Gun Jetpack

If you’ve played the ever-popular Fruit Ninja, Monster Dash or Age of Zombies, chances are, you’ve already heard of Halfbrick studios – and rightly so, because the Australian developer has had tremendous success on the app gaming scene. The level of quality of its games to date has been consistently outstanding. Its next big title, Machine Gun Jetpack, looks to continue the studio’s hot-streak. The gameplay can be described as a touch Monster Dash, with a bit of Copter and side-scrolling ‘shmup’ gameplay thrown in for good measure. Touching the screen lifts Barry Steakfries (remember him from Monster Dash and Age of Zombies?) upwards to dodge incoming hazards, while simultaneously shooting downwards at his enemies below. That is until he gets an awesome pick-up, like the Bad Ass Hog, a motorcycle that can jump and shoot shotgun blasts. Check out the video below to see what we mean.

5) Pokemon le Tap

Although this one seems a bit shaky to start with, the Pokemon Company has announced that Nintendo’s oh-so-lovable Pokemon franchise is headed to the iPhone (and Android Marketplace) in the form of a tap-tap styled rhythm game, aptly titled ‘Pokemon le Tap’. The app/game is currently slated for release only in Japan but with some luck, may find its way into the Asian and European markets. You might be scratching your head at this point wondering why Pikachu is headed to the AppStore, seeing as Apple is one of Nintendo’s biggest  competitors; however Nintendo has said the Pokemon Company is a separate entity by itself and is free to make its own buisness decisions. I’m no legal expert, but if Nintendo owns nearly a third of the Pokemon company as well as apart of its franchise, are they really free to call the shots?

All these games should be out sometime soon!

Social Networking on Android has a new “Path”

Wherever you go, the social network follows. With the newest entry, yes even newer than Google Plus; “Path” is the latest now, available on Android. Yes, the networks seem to have gotten smaller, more exclusive and more interesting.

Path for Android is now out as a beta release. It is quite unlike the prime social networking site Facebook, which allows everyone and their uncles to see what you are doing and where you’ve been. Unlike Facebook, where people pride in their extensive friend lists , and you are congratulated for every 100 friend increases in your list, Path is more exclusive and small. It allows users to create a group of no more than 50 friends, so you will only choose the closest friends and family members who can know everything embarrassing about you.

On its official blog page, Path says that it is ‘excited’ to join the Android Market. It shares your photos, updates, videos, location and activities with a very select group of people, so there is no overcrowding or over exposure. All your friends’ updates or ‘moments’ will appear on the homescreen, where you can respond to them using emoticons and comments. Your friends and family don’t even need to be on Path, your updates can reach them directly in their inbox.

Path said in its blog post that its users will be able to, “Capture and share life’s moments through photos; stay connected to a small group of 50 close friends and family; and tag moments with people, places, and things; view friends’ moments“. The blog post further says the users will also be able to, “Have intimate conversations around each moment with chat, know when your friends have seen your moments, and publish the occasional moment on Facebook for all of your Facebook friends to see“.

Though the company launched on the iPhone first, Path claims that it has no iOS platform bias. “We launched Path on the iPhone first because many of our first employees came from Apple“, a spokesperson for Path commented. Path had managed to attract a user base of half a million under the pioneering leadership of previous Facebook employee Dave Morin.

But the folks at Path should’ve timed this event better. With Google Plus out on the web, another social networking site is not a very wise investment. Google Plus lets you be as public as you want to be without going overboard with adding every face you remotely recognise or restricting your friend list to 50 people. It lets you navigate the network faster, recommend Google search pages to friends with the help of the famous +1 button. Still, Google + doesn’t yet have an iOS app, which limits it a bit.

Morin was going for a ‘quality network’ and hence created Path as a sort of a Personal network rather than a Public network, quite the opposite of Facebook. He accounts for the number 50 with the help of a Dunbar theory which claims that the rings of our social networks ripple out in factors of three. Morin calculates 5 closest friends of relatives in the most intimate circle, fifteen or so who we have regular contact with, and around three times that in the boundary of who is truly trusted. So Moring built Path, in his own words, as “a giving network, not a taking network“. So, people who know you intimately will be happy with your achievements, big or small. And here is one social network where a dislike won’t make you unpopular, but will be shared as a private joke.

Path is currently available for users of Eclair version 2.1 and up. So go ahead, be exclusive!

Download Links:

Cross posted from VT's Tech Blog.

Drop the Pin with Nokia – Their new Ad Campaign

Have you seen the new ad from Nokia? The new campaign running asks you to “Drop the Pin, Start Connecting”. This one’s taking a straight shot at the Blackberry Messenger feature, allowing you to connect with other Blackberry users with a Pin number.  Nokia teamed with  Whatsapp, to bring a similar feature to Nokia phones minus the need exchange a PIN number.

With Whatsapp, you’re not limited to users on just one platform. Whatsapp Messenger allows you to connect to your friends who use iPhone, Android and  Blackberry as well along with Symbian phones. Whatsapp allows you to connect with your friends and  and exchange Text and multi-media messages and group chat.

If you have a data plan, you can save on monthly costs by switching and getting your friends as well on Whatsapp. We at My Portable World use this app extensively to communicate within our team since most of us are on different platforms and we need one common way to communicate without large SMS bills.

Here’s Nokia’s Drop the Pin Ad:

Red Bull Media Applications on your iOS device


Red Bull, who we know support all kinds of sports (From F1 to WRC to skiing and everything in between), also support “the arts”. I stumbled upon a Bunch of Red Bull apps on iTunes and here’s a quick run through of what’s what.

RBMA Radio:

(iTunes Link)

This is by far one of the best Internet radio apps I’ve come across, especially if you’re looking to discover new music & artists. RBMA stands for Red Bull Music Academy, which is basically, “world-travelling series of music workshops and festivals: a platform for those who shape our musical future.”

You can scroll through the Features list, Live Recordings or Mixes from the Landing Page, or Search for Artists, or scroll through Genres, or listen to Live Streams. 

The Now Playing Screen also shows a Bio of the Artist, and you can add them to your Favorites list, which you can access later. Here’s the Description from iTunes:

Red Bull Music Academy Radio is one of the largest sources for cutting-egde music on the web. Founded in 2005 as a spin-off of the world-renowned Red Bull Music Academy workshop series, it offers thousands of interviews, features, DJ mixes and live recordings from the best clubs and festivals across the globe – all available on-demand at www.rbmaradio.com. With this iPhone App, you can now pack serious music on the move, wherever and whenever you want.

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Red Bull TV
:
(iTunes Link)

This app pretty much covers everything Red Bull does, From Music to Sports to Performing Arts and everything in between. Again, the interface is simple and intuitive. You can scroll through the list of featured videos on the Main Page, or Search through the various categories, or just look for the Live Program, there’s always something running.

There are a couple of other apps you can try out too, like the Red Bull BPM series of apps if you’re into music creation. Of course, there’s the bunch of Red Bull Racing Apps that are pretty much must haves!

Newspapers through PressReader for Mobile and Desktop

Are you one of those people who can’t get enough of you newspapers where ever you go? Or do you miss your favourite newspaper when you’re travelling out of the country?

Here’s an app which can give you your news fix with your morning coffee, wherever you may be. Get the latest newspapers from around the globe at the tip if you fingers using Pressreader. This application is available on a large range of devices. All the Apple devices iPhone, iPad and iPod are covered, as are the Android, Blackberry and Windows Mobile 5 devices. Windows Phone 7 and Symbian are notably missing from the list. If you are the unlucky owners of a mobile device which is not supported, fret not! PressReader is available for the desktop as well, with both a  Windows and Mac version.

You can buy and download newspapers from around the globe using this app, if you login into the app using a pressdisplay account, you can access the same subscriptions on multiple devices. The iOS and Android app give you the option to try the service for free by giving 7 downloads free. Once you go over that, you’ll have to subscribe to premuim plan where you can pay as you go, and pay for each download, or go for a monthly subscription plan. You can take a look at the plans on their site here.

I first started using this app on my Android device and then rediscovered it on the iPad. The app allows you to search through more than 1700 newspapers from around the world. I was actually quite impressed that they had more than 60 newspapers from India, including local language papers. You can download an issue to your device and then read it on the move. If you have a monthly subscription, you can also get the app to auto-download the latest editions every day.

Personally I prefer using Pressreader on a tablet device, since the smaller mobile screens are way too cramped for a newspaper layout. If you’re busy with your breakfast and coffee, you can also have the app read out the news for you. It works fine for most of the content, but occasionally does fumble with acronyms and names in the news article.

One downside to the app is that their subscription plans may work well with International newspapers, but end up being way too costly for Indian newspapers. Their cost per issue is the same irrespective of the newpaper, so an Indian Issue costs the same as an international newspaper. An example is a subscription to Times of India costs me around Rs.100/month from my local newspaper vendor. If I wanted a one month subscription on a Pay as you go plan on PressReader, it would cost me a whopping Rs. 1335 per month. You can go for monthly subscriptions to bring down that cost. Their different plans work out if you’re looking a fast and easy access to International newspapers as soon as they’re published. I’m still sticking to my newspaper vendor for my daily fix of Indian news.

To download PressReader and try it out, click here, or just scroll down the page after the screenshots.

Here are some screenshots of the app in action on the iPad (click on the image for a larger view):

 

Press Reader on Android ( screenshots taken from a Samsung Galaxy S):



Download Links for PressReader:
iPhone/iPod/iPad users: Click here to download from iTunes.
Android mobile and tablet users: Click here to download from Android Market.
Blackberry Users: Click to download from App World.
Windows Mobile 5 Users: Download the .cab files from PressReader’s site.
Desktop – Windows and Mac users: Download the PressReader software from their site.

Google App for iPhone gets updated, Now called Google Search for iPhone

The Google Mobile App for iPhone, which was initially launched back in 2008, has finally been updated. It looks quite good, and has some pretty nifty features too. Oh, and it’s been renamed: it’s now called Google Search for iPhone.

The app, which had voice search already, and got Push Notifications for Gmail and Google Calender last year, now has a revamped homepage, from which you can easily access all the google apps with swipe gestures. It gives you access to Google Goggles, Google Voice Search, Image Search, etc, with Gestures that can limit your search to only webpages, images or locations and so on. Pretty Nifty.

 

Here’s the Post from the Official Google Mobile Blog:

Google Search app for iPhone—a new name and a new look

Tuesday, March 15, 2011 | 1:19 PM

If you need to do a Google search on your iPhone or iPod touch it’s now faster and easier when you use our redesigned Google Search app, formerly Google Mobile App. If you’ve been using Google Mobile App for a while, you’ll notice that things look different.

First, you’ll see that there are now more ways to interact with the app. When browsing through search results or looking at a webpage, you can swipe down to see the search bar or change your settings. For those who use other Google apps, there’s an Apps button at the bottom of the screen for rapid access to the mobile versions of our products.

We also included a new toolbar that will make it easier for you to filter your results. You can open this toolbar by swiping from left to right — either before you search or once you’ve got your results. If you only want images, just tap “Images,” and the results will update as shown:

Second, we’ve made it easier to pick up searching where you left off. If you leave the app and come back later, you’ll be able either to start a new search right away (just tap in the search box to type, hit the microphone button to do a voice search or tap on the camera icon to use Google Goggles) or get back to exactly where you were by tapping on the lower part of the page.

Finally, there are a number of improvements we’ve made to everything else you love in the app, including Google Goggles, Voice Search, Search with My Location, Gmail unread counts and more. There’s a lot in the app, so we’ve added a simple help feature to let you explore it. Access this by tapping the question mark above the Google logo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download and try Google Search app today; it’s available free from the iTunes App Store. You can also scan the QR code below.

Also, check out the video of the new Google Search App below:

Foursquare 3.0 (#4sq3) Goes Live

It’s been about two years since Foursquare launched, and at SXSW 2011 they launched the new and improved 4sq3. It add’s a revamped leaderboard, recommendations and much much more, and definetely makes the service less of a “game” and more of a interactive location based service. They’ve tied up with more partners, so you now have the opportunity to get more freebies, more badges and also find new places and events.

To help you find new places, they’ve added a new “Explore” tab. Here’s what it looks like, and what they have to say about it:

“You’ll see our first pass at this in foursquare 3.0′s new “Explore” tab. The idea is pretty simple: tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll help you find something nearby. The suggestions are based on a little bit of everything – the places you’ve been, the places your friends have visited, your loyalty to your favorite places, the categories and types of places you gravitate towards, what’s popular with other users, the day of the week, places with great tips, the time of day, and so on. We’ll even tell you why we think you should visit a certain place (e.g. popular with friends, similar to your favorite spots). You’ll find it’s helpful for general things like “food”, “coffee”, “nightlife” (we built in quick access to these searches) and you’ll be surprised by what you get when searching for really specific things, like “80s music,” “fireplaces,” “pancakes,” “bratwurst,” and “romantic.” The more random you get, the more interesting the results get”


They’ve also revamped the leaderboard, from the old points for checkins to the new system based on how you use foursquare:

Today’s major overhaul to the leaderboard is a big step in the evolution of that original idea. You’ll see that we’ve replaced our old leaderboard (and its simple points system and Sunday night reset) with a sliding 7-day barometer of you and your friends. Check-ins now trigger points for dozens of different types of actions – everything from discovering new places, trying new types of restaurants, visiting new cities, getting groups together, hanging out with old friends, and a few things you might not expect.

 

Last up is the new specials, which basically shows you all the businesses around your current location that have special offers for foursquare users:

“Over the past two years, many of you watched as we experimented with local merchants all over the world, working with them to build tools that redefine customer loyalty. What started with a disagreement over who spent more time at our neighborhood coffee shop (hence, the “Mayor”), quickly evolved into local merchants rewarding foursquare Mayors with special treatment (discounts and freebies, the power to cut the line, and even ordering off a special menu). As foursquare has grown, though, it’s become harder to both hold down Mayorships and win back the ones you’ve lost. We’ve long wanted to move beyond that and give merchants more ways to reward loyal customers. So, later this week, we’re rolling out six new types of foursquare Specials for merchants. Business will now be able to offer Specials to swarms, groups of friends, regulars, newbies, Mayors, or simply to everyone. And, on the Places screen in the app, you’ll now see a list of all the Specials nearby, so it’s easier to find places that reward foursquare users. With over a quarter million businesses verified on foursquare, these new tools will mean more rewards for users everywhere in the world.

You can read the full post over at the Foursquare Blog, it’s a pretty long one! The new version is available now for iOS and Android. Grab your iOS version from the App Store, here, or scan the QR Code below.

Android users, download it from Android Market here, or scan the code below:

Blackberry users will get an update sometime this week, but it won’t have all the features of the new foursquare (just yet). As for symbian and Windows Phone 7 users:

P.P.S. Lots of you have been asking in the comments about Symbian and WP7. We’re working hard to make sure that foursquare 3.0 is available on all platforms, and will have updates as soon as we can.

So get to it. Go download the update, and if you’re not on Foursquare yet, Sign up now!

Oh yeah, catch us on twitter, we’re @myportableworld. And do visit our Facebook Page.

 

Speak and translate with Google Translate app for iPhone

Google has announced that they’ve just released a new Google Translate app for the iPhone over at the iTunes Store. What’s really cool about this app is that it gives you the ability to Speak into the application and get the translation read out as well.

This is the perfect application if you’re travelling abroad and need some quick transation without hunting for a local phrase book. What’s better is that the person you are communicating with can speak into the app and it’ll translate it back to you. The voice input understands 15 languages and the app can read out the translated text in in one of 23 languages it supports.

Even if the the the language you want to translate is not in the supported 15 voice inputs and 23 read alouds, the application still supports more translations from and to more than 50 languages. The app also allows you to star a translation for easy access for later, and that can be accessed even if your phone is not connected to the internet.

The Google Translate application requires an iPhone or iPod touch iOS running on version 3 or later. Here’s the link to the app on the Apple’s App Store.

Word Lens, the magical translation app for iPhone

Word Lens for iPhoneWord Lens is an amazing translation app for the iPhone by Quest Visual. What’s really awesome about this is the fact that if translates text on the fly. No you don’t have to type, or speak out the text you want to translate. All you have to do is to open the application and point the phone’s camera towards the text you want to translate and you can instantly see the translated text in it’s place on screen. You’ve got to watch this video, at the end of this post, to see Word Lens in action.

When I first saw the video of the app in action, my first instinct was that this must be some April Fool’s joke which I just caught up with now. A mobile phone app can’t be this good! But after googling for it, other bloggers and tech review sites also had reviews of this app.

What’s even more amazing is that Word Lens doesn’t need an internet connection to work. The only drawback is that only the English to Spanish translation dictionary is available currently. According to Engadget, this app works only on the iPhone 3GS, 4 and the latest iPod touch. I can’t wait for Santa to bring me the latest iPod touch to personally try out this app. I wonder where I’ll get Spanish signs to test this once I do.

Click here to download Word Lens for the iPhone.

Update: This app seems to be available only in the US iTunes store as of now. Thanks to Renjit for pointing that out.

Google Introduces Latitude app for iPhone

The folks at Google Mobile Blog have just announced their latest offering for iPhone users. Google Latitude app for iPhone allows your to quickly find the where-abouts of your friends and update Latitude with your latest location.

The app also keeps your location updated in the background even after you quit the app. This may be a new app on the iPhone, but users of Symbian, Android and Blackberry have been using Latitude on their devices for quite a while now.

The iPhone version of Google Latitude allows you to:

  • See where your friends are
  • Share your location continuously with whomever you choose
  • Contact friends by phone, text message, or email
  • Control your location and privacy

The application’s settings menu allows you to choose privacy options for your location. You can allow the app to automatically detect your location and show it to your friends. You can also manually set a location to fool your friends into thinking you’re at work or school when you’re no, or you can hide your location totally. It’s all up to you!

In case you missed out the itunes store link at the top of the article, here it is again – Google Latitude app for iPhone. You can read more about this application from the Google Mobile Blog.

Here’s a video which shows Google Latitude for iPhone in action: