Friday, October 26, 2012

Google Android vs. Apple iOS

Google App Store
Google's App Store has more free Apps than Apple iOS
Many of my friends turn to me as their all-knowing source of knowledge concerning mobile devices, apps, games, etc.  Admittedly, I don't know a lot more than most of you. A friend comes to me with a question: "Who has the better app store: Google Android or Apple iOS?"

I'm sure many of you have an opinion.  Your opinion probably lines up with the device you own because as consumers we love to justify our purchases.  I'll give you my opinion in a second, but first let's look at some facts that can help you form an opinion if you don't have one.

Google Android has more Free Apps
67% of the apps on the  iOS App store are paid apps compared to only 34% paid apps on Google.

iOS App Developers make more money
Apple iOS Developers made 700M in Q4 2011, whereas Google App developers made 210M. 

Google has higher Market Penetration
Google has a 2:1 market penetration lead right now over Apple, while Apple is only making about 30% more revenue. However, this ratio may be shrinking as the number of Google customers intending to purchase another devices is shrinking compared to Apple (47% Android, 42% Apple).

iOS 6 app Store
Apple and iOS Developers make a lot more money
Apple's Proprietary Stranglehold
Google's Android is available on far more devices including PC, Tablet, and mobile device.  Apple's iOS is closed and often apps are for specific devices.  I can play my Google apps on any computer by logging into a browser.

So it's obvious that Apple and its developers make more money.  At first glance you might think "so what?" because who cares if they're making money when all you care about are games?  Well the answer is simple:  Innovation will follow the money.

While the best games and apps will be available for both platforms (because they can be), in the off-chance that something new an innovative only comes to one of the stores, chances are it's coming to Apple.

This is why I believe that Apple has the better app store from an ideological standpoint.  I'm always thinking about the future and weighing the factors that will influence future app development.  However, right here and now, if you care about the most popular apps then you can't go wrong with either.  If you care about free apps, and being able to take them to other platforms easily, Google's Android is for you.

- Doug

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Star Wars Angry Birds Already A Hit

You've been living under a rock for the past few years if you don't know about Angry Birds.  It was only a matter of time before a major licensing deal was struck, and what better way to start than with one of the biggest properties ever.

Star Wars Angry Birds

Star Wars Angry Birdslaunches across the world of November 8th for iOS, Android, Mac, and PC.  The actual game itself, however, is only the tip of the monetary iceberg.  Angry Birds merchandise accounts for a massive portion of their revenue, and Star Wars + Revenue = $$$.

Star Wars Angry Birds Plushies

Star Wars Angry Birds Hasbro Toys

From plushies and toys to clothing, Halloween costumes, and board games, Star Wars Angry Birds merchandise will be a best seller.

At this point, the app has already achieved pop-culture icon status. It's going to be a must-buy, and the merchandise is looking awfully tempting right about now.  I have a feeling we won't even need to review this one to know it's going to be a huge hit.


MapMyRun Review

MapMyRun Review

Price: Free

Located: iPhone and Windows 

Overview: MapMyRun app is owned by the MapMyFitness Company. The MapMyRun app allows users to create a profile that records, and tracks the progress of, your weight, workouts, and nutrition to enhance their health goals. Not only can you log those accomplishments, but you can also share that information with your friends and family on Also, the tracking of your workouts is real time meaning the app will tell you how far you've gone on a run and how fast your pace is. This is helping people achieve goals by celebrating successes and sharing with your friends and family.

Pros: Allows users to celebrate health successes and share with friends and family in one central location. The user interface is very simple and easy to use. This provides the much needed boost for those striving to live a healthier lifestyle. 

Cons: The app tells the user the progress of the workout during the workout, which is nice; however, if one is listening to music, or a book, then the voice disrupts the book or music. 

Store Rating: MapMyRun Review 4 stars out of 5

Blog Rating: MapMyRun Review 4.5 stars out of 5

- Josh Benson

Windows 8 Minesweeper

windows 8 minesweeper home screen


Price: Free

Located: Windows Platforms Exclusively


Minesweeper for Microsoft has been around since 1985. We all remember playing it at work or school to help kill time. Today, Microsoft has unveiled their new and improved Windows 8 Minesweeper and is now officially launched in the Windows 8 Store.


The New Minesweeper features more than just the standard version of the game. In this version, a player can change the theme of the layout, keep track of their personal stats, and see how they compare with their friends. Like Wordament, Minesweeper uses gamer tags to help connect everybody. This can be used to keep track of achievements and to see how you compare against your friends.


The only major con I see is that the Windows 8 Minesweeper takes up your entire screen, making it tough to conceal your enjoyment of the game during work or school hours.

Store Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars

new minesweeper for windows 8
Blog Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


While the new Minesweeper has many "ooo's" and "ahhhh's" it failed to meet expectations. While it makes sense to keep it relatively the same, there could have been more theme modifications they could have offered. Otherwise, the Windows 8 game is a classic and will continue to be played by just about everyone.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

SongPop Review

App Review: SongPop 

Price: Free

Located: iPhone, Google, and Windows Phones

Overview: Song Pop is a new Facebook game from FreshPlanet that challenges players to prove who has the best song-identification skills. SongPop is very simple, multiple choice game. When beginning a new challenge the player can pick from three categories (90's Alternative, Classic Rock, Modern Rap, 80's Alternative, etc.). Once the player chooses the category he/she goes through five rounds listening to songs from that category and try to guess the song faster than his/her opponent. These rounds continue for 20 rounds. 

As the game progresses you can unlock new categories and new songs that make the game more challenging.

This is entirely social, based on Facebook, and encourages interaction with the other opponents. According to AppData SongPop currently has over 18 million Facebook users and 4.2 million daily users.

Pro: One of the pros of this app is the competitive nature of it. You can challenge friends, or random people, for a fun, addicting game. The accomplishments along the way encourage people to continue to play.

Con: One specific con for me is that I can't play SongPop at work because it requires listening to music. Since I play most of my quick games during work breaks this feature makes it very difficult.

Store Rating:  SongPop Review 4 1/2 stars out of 5

Blog Rating: SongPop review 4 3/4 stars out of 5

- Josh Benson


a screenshot of the windows 8 game wordament


Price: Free

Located: Windows Platforms Exclusively


The hit Windows 7 Phone app has made its way to the Windows 8 Store and will soon become one of the top Windows 8 games. Wordament is a game app that features a 4x4 grid featuring single (sometimes double) letters each square. As long as the square is touching an adjacent square, you can swipe your finger to create 3-16 letter words.

The neat thing about the game is that your score is compared nationally with other people playing the game. At the end of each round, scores are sent to Xbox Live to be ranked. After 10 seconds, you can see how you rank next to 300 to 1,000 people and more.

The game offers "Achievements" to unlock. Anyone familiar with the Xbox Live platform knows that Achievements are an integral part of the Xbox Live social experience.


Wordament is a fun, addicting, and guilt-free-time-wasting game to play. It is also fun to beat friend scores and see where you rank against the world. Like the Sticker Tales app, Wordament makes great use of the finger-swipe function.


Available on Windows platforms exclusively. This game would catch fire rather quickly. The only issue for other platforms is to find a way to centralize the scores and then post them in a centralized way.

Store Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars

Blog Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars

This app is fun for people who REALLY like a challenge. However, unless you are an MIT or Harvard Graduate with a degree in English (or even Wordament) and a 5.0 GPA - you may never see your gamer-tag in the top 10 - heck - even 50 slots.

The saving grace is the connectivity it gives you to friends and family and how you rank against them. Thus I give it almost a perfect score and regard it as one of the best Windows 8 games.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review: Kingdom Rush for iPhone

Kingdom Rush for iPhone

The immensely popular tower defense flash game is now available for iPhone!  The goal in Kingdom Rush for iPhone is simple: Defend your kingdom against hordes of orcs, trolls, evil wizards, and other baddies in a medieval fantasy setting.

Kingdom Rush iPhone
Enemies spawn and follow a path from their spawn to your kingdom.  As they travel down the road, the player is given the ability to create towers -- each with their own unique abilities -- to stop the enemy's efforts.

Kingdom Rush features highly strategic gameplay.  Four basic towers, eight specialized towers, eighteen tower abilities, and over thirty tower customizations give the player plenty of options to create a very dynamic tower defense experience.

Game Center is fully integrated into Kingdom Rush, giving players the opportunity to earn plenty of achievements and vie for a position on the leader boards.  in a game like Kingdom Rush, achieving a high score and being competitive with others is half the fun.

The app size is huge to achieve the gorgeous, fully illustrated levels.  Coming in at about 150MB, you will need a wifi connection in order to get Kingdom Rush up and running. 

Unlike the flash version, and iPad version for that matter, on the iPhone it can be hard to see the units and details of each map.  I found myself squinting and wanting to always zoom in in order to enjoy the experience.  The hectic nature of the later levels can also be frustrating on such a small screen.  This is not necessarily a fault of the game, rather the device, but it impacts this apps performance nonetheless.

Average User Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Blog Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Kingdom Rush for iPhone is easily one of the best tower defense games out there.  The production quality has always been phenomenal, and the ease of which it has been translated to the iPhone makes it the perfect app to play whenever you have those few spare moments between a class (or during!), waiting for an appointment, or simply wanting to have some great tower defense fun.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Face Juggler Review

App Review: Face Juggler

Overview: I discovered this gem of an app from my sister. She sent me a picture of my niece and nephew with their faces switched. There have been other apps that are similar to this that are funny but you can tell when the pictures are messed with. There is only one word to describe this app: HILARIOUS!!!

Pro: If you are looking for a fun afternoon, or a couple of afternoons, this is a fun app to download. You can mix multiple people's faces, two people's, or even your face and your dog's. If you can laugh at yourself then this is perfect.

Cons: The only set back to this app, from a business standpoint, is the fact that after you've mixed everyone's face that you care about it starts to become not very funny and you stop using after one weekend. You may continue mixing celebrities but it does get old.

Try looking at the picture of me and my wife below and not laugh. All I can say is I pray we don't have a daughter!!

Blog Rating: In rating this app I give it five stars for what it is...a funny laugh or two for the weekend.


p.s. If my wife sees this picture posted to the internet I am going to tell her Professor Hoopes hacked into my email and posted it.

Friday, September 14, 2012

ABINE: Stop trackers!


Most people don't realize that many sites can continue to monitor their internet activity, even if they are no longer logged into the site. Abine is a browser add-on that will permit you to stop the trackers!

Price: Free
Located: Windows 7 and 8

  • The pro of this app are:
  • Prevent peering.
  • Keep private your information
  • Keep your search history private
Maybe you want to be track. You want that the sites and company know more and more on you, until they can target you with products that could be tailored on you!

Average User Rating: 4 out of 5

Blog Rating: 4 out of 5

Similar browser add-on that will help you to stop tracker are GhosteryChrome Disconnect  and 



Thursday, September 13, 2012

Windows 8 Store Review

Windows 8 Store Review

This is a view of the windows 8 store main page
With the advent of Windows 8, young Windows 8 apps have begun to spring up in every category ranging from Entertainment to Sports to Education. The number of apps in the Windows 8 App Store is only a fraction of what you would see in the Apple and Android stores. There are well over 1,000,000 apps between Android and Apple Markets. The Windows Store has about 1,000. The Windows 8 store is less than that.

The success of the launch of Windows 8 will largely depend on if there are any good Windows 8 games and apps for users to enjoy.

The store is the first to have a main, desktop computer attached to it. You can reach Android and Apple Markets through an internet browser, but you can't use these apps with the desktop operating system (OS). With Windows 8, however, the store can be accessed through the OS and has games that are enjoyed on the OS, like Wordament. This means Windows 8 games will dominate the gaming world.

In addition, there is a strict design standard and rigorous submission process before an app can be published. This means clean, top-tier apps for Windows 8 users. It also unifies the apps across the board which makes learning a new app more intuitive.

This is the Windows 8 store load screen
By the same token, it is hard for companies to get their apps in the store which may prove to be a barrier to entry. Barriers for great apps can lower the value of the store thus lowering the value of Windows.

Windows 8 programs are typically written in C#. This language is not as easy to learn than say PHP or C++. This is another barrier for app developers.

The good news for Windows 8 app developers is that this is their chance to stand out among relatively few competitors. The bad news for them is that each app will be under tough scrutiny. Windows 8 is definitely worth having. The top apps  are already in the store. The main question is what does Windows 8 offer that is different than what we already have? Don't quote All Things Apps, but I would say that cheaper tablets are about to be everywhere.

Note: There will soon be a hefty market for Windows 8 App Developers. Many companies will want their app on the OS but won't have the in-house know-how for the job.


Preview: Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition


Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition Preview

I am a huge fan of the Baldur's Gate series.  I can remember getting it for the PC back in 1998 and being completely absorbed into one of the best RPG experiences ever -- yes, Baldur's Gate is still one of the best RPGs to this day.

Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition iPad
Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, an upgraded, added to, and improved version of the original Baldur's Gate, was announced about a year ago. Not only is it being released on PC and Mac, but an App version is coming!

The developers have completely retooled and even improved the Infinity Engine (the engine BG runs on) for the iPad.  It just makes sense, doesn't it?  On the PC you click to move your characters, and on the iPad you will simply tap the screen.  The intuitive nature of the iPad controls integrates seamlessly into the pinch, swipe, and tap mechanics of these devices.

Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition in-app purchaess
The Black Pits in-app purchase
Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition for iPad contains the following enhancements:
For the uninitiated, these additions are pretty huge.  You're going to want to drop money on those in-app purchases because they will greatly enhance your gameplay.

It's also worth noting that the iPad version costs $9.99 compared to the $19.99 price tag for the PC.  This gives you $10 to spend where and how you want on in-app purchases without paying more than other platforms.

Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition launches on iPad, Mac OSX, and PC later this month.  Android date TBD.


Thursday, September 6, 2012


Price: Free
Located: Android

First things first:you need an antivirus!

The crime is more than ever on-line and we need to protect our data at the best. This is the reason why I've start speaking of an antivirus application such as Lookout. It was the first application that I have installed in my Android smart phone.

It's a free application.
It's a leader on the market, as consequence it has more resources to have an apps updated with the most recent Threats.

PC Magazine:Slick, intuitive interface. Unobtrusive. Excellent antivirus protection, according to Mom-friendly. As far as security companies go, Lookout has perhaps the best grasp of its Android user base by creating a simple, effective, intuitive app that you'll hardly notice running in the background.

Because is so popular there is the risk that any serious Hacker could test the effectiveness of his creation on Lookout before use it. Something comparable with the leading antivrius products for Windows. Also, with the fact that is free, only a minority of users is willing to pay the price of a full protection and that keep the app not at is best.

PC Magazine:No alerts if SIM card is changed. Annoying screamer.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Blog Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Download Lookout and please up grade for $29.99 just to be sure. And if you don't want Lookout evaluate Norton, Kaspersky or McAfee Mobile Security.



App Review: Viggle


Price: Free

Located: iOS, Android

Overview: Viggle is an app which offers you gift cards, coupons, electronics, and more for watching TV and/or clicking in-app ads.  Simply download the app, register an account, and check in to a featured show using a simple check-in button.  Your device's mic will automatically detect that you are watching the show and begin to give you points.

Unlike most rewards programs, Viggle actually pays out quickly.  During the two weeks of the Olympics I was able to earn over $20 off various video game downloads as well as gift cards for restaurants. 

Tune into shows with Viggle to earn points
Once you check in, you can ignore your device completely and Viggle will assume you have watched the entire show; If you check into a different show, Viggle will prorate your earnings.  If the show you're watching happens to be a featured show for Viggle Live, you can earn points for participating in surveys, answering questions about ads, or correctly answering trivia about the show you are watching.

One of the best features of Viggle is that it recognizes and credits you for watching DVR'ed or recorded content up to one day after the show to earn the bonus points and 1pt/minute.  Note: I have been able to check in to shows roughly two days later and it still works.

Some of the shows Viggle wants you to watch aren't necessarily shows you'll always want to watch. I'm not jumping at the opportunity to watch Project Runway or the Democratic National Convention, but I can always check in quickly tonight and turn to something I would rather be watching.

During periods of heavy use, Viggle can get bogged down and not show you your point updates for several hours to a day.  There is also a point limit, and a general consensus that you shouldn't check in to more than 12 hours of shows per day or you risk Viggle banning you for unusual activity.

Average User Rating: 4 out of 5

Blog Rating: 5 out of 5

For the effort this app requires (next to none), the rewards are simply too good to pass up for regular TV-watchers.  Viggle is quick to use and rewards you for essentially doing what you're already going to do anyway.  Allowing you to earn additional points for interacting with your favorite show or ads can actually be a lot of fun.

The rewards are amazing.  I've earned over $100 on iTunes, $50 on Amazon, restaurant coupons, free video games, and enough Red Box rentals to last me until I graduate.  You're leaving money on the table if you don't use Viggle.




Android and Apple Stores

AllTrails App is one of the leading apps for outdoor enthusiasts across the nation. Over 1 million people use AllTrails information and tools monthly to discover/research top trails near them. Created in 2010, AllTrails has partnered with major players such as: National Geographic, The Clymb, and others to provide nature enthusiasts with information for hiking trails, skiing routes, and others.

My wife and I recently visited the North Rim of the Grand Canyon over Labor Day weekend. Besides the picturesque overlook neither one of us knew which of the 20+ hikes were popular and which ones weren't. We downloaded the first app that would give reviews and details and it happened to be the AllTrails App. It is very easy to use and can determine hikes for you based on location, skill, and environment.

Although the app is very helpful for areas that you are unfamiliar with, it doesn't allow you to search for specific trails that you know of. It also allows you to download everything in your state; however, if I was planning a trip to Arches National Park I would have to wait until I got there to find the trails near me. In other words you can't search by park or canyon.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Blog Rating:
3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

The idea of the app is really cool and applicable to outdoor enthusiasts. The compass, weather, and lists of trails near you is very helpful. The major setbacks are the navigating through the app to find trails and the inability to help you plan for trips in advance.