Amazing Alex is a Fun Physics Game for Android and iOS [Game Review]

amazing alex

Rovio, the team behind Angry Birds, has come up with another interesting game — Amazing Alex for both the major mobile platforms, Android and iOS. It is a physics based puzzle game that features several fun filled challenges.

Rovio is known for creating very simple yet addictive games and Amazing Alex is no different. If you’re among those people who love playing games such as Cut the Rope, Where’s My Water, Apparatus, Sprinkle and other physics/puzzle games then you’re surely going to love Amazing Alex as well.

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The basic idea of the game is to create a complex machine by arranging items from a given collection such as balloons, scissors, cardboards, toy cars, etc. to perform an utterly simple task like putting a football in a basket or popping balloons with a scissor.

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The items are limited and they can be arranged or rotated anywhere in the space in order to achieve the level’s goal.

People who’re familiar with a very old game, The Incredible Machine (TIM) will find the gameplay of Amazing Alex strikingly similar. Both the games have a similar goal of creating a Rube Goldberg machine with the only difference being that TIM was more complex.

the incredible machine
The Incredible Machine game (Photo credits).

where-is-alexInterestingly, Amazing Alex doesn’t justify its name — there is no character as Alex present in the gameplay, unlike what I had expected since there are several angry-faced birds present in Angry Birds. Anyway, this physics-based game is fun to play.

Amazing Alex comes in three different versions — Free, Full and HD. The free version has only 16 levels and the gameplay in very limited which won’t last longer than twenty minutes. On the other hand, the full and HD version feature 100 different and more challenging levels.

The free version is.. obviously free while the full and HD version of Amazing Alex come with a price tag of $0.99 and $2.99 respectively.

Grab Amazing Alex for Android — Free, Full ($0.99), HD ($2.99) and for iOS ($0.99).

iOS and Mac AppStore Deals: Tons Of Popular Games and Apps Go on Sale!

If you own an iOS running device, consider this to be your lucky day. Thanks to Independence Day, all iOS developers have put their games and application on sales. This includes all the gaming titles from EA, and other popular games like Real Racing 2 etc.

Here is a list of quite a few popular games for iPad that are up for sale. Their iPhone versions of the games also up for sale, so head over to the App Store to download them.

There are tons of other games that are also up for sale. Use an application like AppZapper HD to track deals on these apps. Apart from the iOS AppStore, quite a few applications have gone for sale on the Mac App Store or are even available for free. Two lesser known RSS apps – Monotomy & Moka – are now available as a free download, while Fantastical, an outstanding calendar app for the Mac, is available for only $9.99 compared to its usual price of $19.99.

For Mac gamers out there, Call Of Duty Modern Warfare is also up for grabs for only $19.99 instead of its usual price of $39.99.

Apple Releases New Podcast App for iOS

Earlier this month, it was rumored that Apple will be launching a standalone podcast app in iOS 6. Turns out, instead of waiting for the next version of iOS, Apple has released a brand new Podcasts app on the App Store today. The app is available for free and it is designed both for the iPad and iPhone. The app requires iOS 5.1 or later. [App Store]

“Podcasts app is the easiest way to discover, subscribe to and play your favorite podcasts on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch,” Apple’s official description reads. “Explore hundreds of thousands of free audio and video podcasts from the Podcasts Catalog, and play the most popular podcasts, organized for you by topic, with the all-new Top Stations feature.”

Apple has highlighted the full list of features in the Podcasts application:

  • Enjoy all of your audio and video podcasts in a single app
  • Explore hundreds of thousands of podcasts including shows in over 40 languages
  • Try the innovative new Top Stations feature to find new podcast series in a variety of topics, including arts, business, comedy, music, news, sports, and more.
  • Browse by Audio or Video podcasts, or see what’s most popular in Top Charts
  • Tap subscribe for your favorites and automatically receive new episodes for free as they become available
  • Stream episodes or download to listen while offline
  • Skip forward and back using simple playback controls
  • Turn on Sleep Timer to automatically stop playing a podcast while listening in bed
  • Share your favorite episodes with friends using Twitter, Messages and Mail
  • Optionally sync your favorite episodes from iTunes on your Mac or PC
  • Sync your episode playback for seamless transition between devices

Apple also noted that in order to  optionally sync episodes of podcasts, users must be running iTunes 10.6.3 or later on their Mac or PC. Also, streaming or downloading episodes requires Internet access over Wi-Fi or a cellular data connection.

The app is really well done and makes listening to podcasts in iOS much easier.

With Waze Enjoy Social Navigation, Discounted Gas Prices, Voice Control And Lots More

Have you ever got stuck in traffic and hoped you could simply check in to a social map where someone has suggested an alternate route? Even better, if you had an early information about the roadblock, you could have avoided the route? Waze, an Android and iOS based startup, can help you get all the necessary traffic information and help you reach your destination without much frustration.


The Android and iOS based startup backed by Kleiner Perkins is aimed towards crowdsourcing traffic information. The app can be used to notify(and get notified as well) traffic information like roadblocks, police traps, jams, accidents etc. The app lets you take advantage of the data fetched by other fellow drivers(also using Waze) in your locality to outsmart traffic. Powered with voice control(initiated by a simple hand gesture) the app can be a great way to stay connected to the traffic updates and report necessary changes that you might encounter during your daily road trip.

The app has recently launched a new feature that will enable users to refuel gas at a lower price. So apart from finding (and reporting) traffic information one can now locate a gas station that’s offering lower prices. GasBuddy, already a market leader in this segment is already doing a great job. Users will have to wait for some time to find out the accuracy of Waze’s information and how it is planning to take up the challenge of competing with Gasbuddy. Waze has partnered with vendors that will offer discounts to Waze users at nearly 2000 stations currently in US. The service will gradually be rolled out globally so that the community can also report a gas station in their daily commute.

Along with other behemoths in the mapping scenario, Waze is also confirmed to be a part of Apple’s new turn-by-turn mapping services that is being implemented in the latest iOS6. This will definitely take the numbers up for the Waze users thereby producing more information for the service. However it is still unsure to how far Apple is planning to integrate the service in its maps, we will have to wait for that too.

Other notable features that has been dispensed includes search by category(for locating restaurants, ATMs, coffee shops etc), waypoints(to add a stop in your proposed route, helpful for car poolers) and text-to-speech.

To be candid, with what Waze professes to be offer, will eventually grow into a complete tool for car navigation. Now to be true, crowdsourcing, in terms of usability, offers both sides of a coin. Information generated by users help keep thing updated and grows at a steady pace as well. On the other hand, the accuracy of the information is questionable. Nonetheless, Waze has grown into a massive database, thanks to the (17million plus) community and doing great so far (else the Apple deal might not have happened). If things goes this way, Waze has all the mettle to change the face of turn-by-turn navigation by so-called social (storytelling) reporting of traffic.

Apple AppStore Has 650,000+ Apps; Expands It To 32 More Countries

Apple’s 23rd World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) has just kicked in and the company has announced some staggering new figures related to the AppStore and WWDC itself. Apple states that WWDC, which is currently in its 23rd year,  the oldest running developer conference in the world. Apart from WWDC, Apple also announced that the AppStore is the world’s biggest digital application download store with more than 30 millon user accounts.

The AppStore is big not in terms of user accounts but also in terms of applications, the total number of downloads and revenue. The Apple AppStore has an astounding 650,000 apps of which 225,000+ are specifically made for the iPad. This is in stark contrast to the Google Play market for tablets, which barely has around 1000 apps optimized for it.

Overall, Apple users have downloaded more than 30 billion applications from the AppStore and the fruit-named company has paid developers more than $5 billion in total until now. Apple also announced that it is expanding the AppStore to 32 new countries, thus taking the total tally to 155.

Tim Cook at D10: Hints at Facebook Integration, and Siri Improvements

Last month, we reported that Tim Cook was to kickoff the D10 conference. That occurred today in which Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher interviewed Apple CEO Tim Cook about a range of topics. MacRumors has a transcript of the entire interview. During the interview, Cook hinted at two upcoming feature for Apple’s customers.

The first one suggested that Facebook integration into iOS maybe on its way. In the past, it has been rumored that negotiations between Apple and Facebook have been tough. As a result, Facebook integration in iOS has been absent while Twitter has been integrated.

When Cook was asked about Apple’s relationship with Facebook,  he suggested that there will be news in the near future:

For us, we want to provide customers simple and elegant ways to do the things they want to do. Facebook has hundreds of millions of customers. So, anyone that has an iPhone or iPad, we want them to have the best experience with Facebook on those platforms. So stay tuned.

Cook was also asked regarding Siri and reported that customers love the voice assistant feature on the iPhone 4S, and that its one of the most popular features on the device. He went on to say that they have a lot more coming:

But, there’s more that it can do. We have a lot of people working on this. You’ll be really pleased with the things you’ll see over the coming months. The breadth that you’re talking about — we’ve got some cool ideas about what Siri can do. We have a lot going on on this.


Google Chrome Might Be Coming On iOS Soon

Macquarie Equities Research released a report stating that Google’s Chrome browser might be coming to iOS device. The report does not state when it might arrive on the Apple’s app store, however, it states that  it could be as soon as Q2 of 2012 and if it doesn’t land on the app store by that time, it is definitely arriving by the end of this year.

As much as we would like to see the Chrome browser on iOS devices — iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, Apple doesn’t allow third party browser app to be set as a default app for the device which limits the usability of the app. For example, any links within an email, text messages will open on default browser (Safari) on any iOS devices.

Chrome browser on desktop is highly successful browser with about 18.57% of browser market share falling only slightly behind Mozilla Firefox. Google, also, recently released Chrome Beta for its own mobile operating system, Android. With the release of Chrome on iOS Google also might be able to get away with the huge chunk of money it spends on Apple for Google search on Safari browser. With Chrome browser, all the money that it will earn from the search, Google will be able to keep them with themselves.

However, we do not think Chrome for iOS will make it big for a simple reason that Apple does not allow third party apps to be set as default browser.


Apple To Drop Google Maps In iOS 6; Will Debut Homebrewed Mapping Solutions

Apple is ready to ditch Google Maps in favor of home brewed mapping solution on its iOS operating system that powers iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, reports 9To5MacContinue reading Apple To Drop Google Maps In iOS 6; Will Debut Homebrewed Mapping Solutions

Apple Releases iOS 5.1.1

Today, Apple has released iOS 5.1.1 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users. The update offers bug fixes and improvements for HDR, AirPlay, and Safari syncing.  iOS 5.1.1 is available for the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS, third- and fourth-generation iPod touch, and all iPad models.

iOS device users can download the update through iTunes, or access the delta update directly on their iOS device through the Settings application. Go to -> General -> Software update. The build number for the update is 9B206.

The full list of changes in iOS 5.1.1, as noted by Apple, are:

  • Improves reliability of using HDR option for photos taken using the Lock Screen shortcut
  • Addresses bugs that could prevent the new iPad from switching between 2G and 3G networks
  • Fixes bugs that affected AirPlay video playback in some circumstances
  • Improved reliability for syncing Safari bookmarks and Reading List
  • Fixes an issue where ‘Unable to purchase’ alert could be displayed after successful purchase
Download links for the updates are listed below:
– Third-generation iPad: Wi-FiAT&T/GSMVerizon
– iPad 2: Original Wi-FiNew Wi-Fi (with A5 die shrink), AT&T/GSMVerizon/CDMA
– Original iPad– iPhone 4S
– iPhone 4: GSMCDMA
– iPhone 3GS– iPod touch: fourth-generationthird-generation

iPhone 4S Used by a Windows Phone User: Screen

iPhone 4S

For an introduction and background to this series, please refer to my first post on the topic: New Series: iPhone 4S Used by a Windows Phone User.

After looking at the setup experience, the first thing I wanted to look at is the much talked about Retina display of the iPhone 4S. I had heard a lot about how fantastic it is, and read a lot about the technical stuff like pixel density on that screen, but hadn’t experienced it outside of using my friends’ phones for a few minutes. The few minutes I spent with my friends’ phones did not impress me much but I attributed it to the fact that I had spent so little time with the display.

So, having used it constantly for a few days, what was the verdict? Frankly, I don’t see what the big deal is. Yes, it is clear and crisp. It is very, very clear and crisp. However, the Super AMOLED screen of my Focus and the ClearBlack AMOLED on my Lumia are both equally clear and crisp. In fact, I love the deeper colors on the base Lumia screen much more than what the iPhone 4S produces. It could be a result of bigger tiles on my Lumia compared to the many folders (with tinier icons) on my iPhone, but in “real world” use, the Lumia comes off as being as clear and crisp as the iPhone and the colors richer/deeper than the iPhone.


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Yes, I could zoom into a specific icon and see how there is virtually no pixelation, but I never zoom to that level with my normal eyesight. Under normal circumstances, I look at the Lumia screen (with the dark theme enabled), and I look at the iPhone 4S with the normal brightness, and I must say, the Lumia screen comes out looking better.

(Please excuse my screenshots – I tried to make sure the brightness levels on both the phones were similar, and also, it looks like screenshot tools on *both* the phones seem to be just average?)

The other area where the Retina display is supposed to do better is reading. The claim — web pages, books, etc. are much better to read on that display compared to the Lumia? Here too, I did not see a tremendous difference.

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Perhaps my expectations were raised really high? Maybe. Perhaps I should have tested it with long periods of reading? Maybe, but I don’t read pages and pages of books on the phone. The most I read is a multi-page web article, some part of books/magazines, and of course emails. I have provided some samples of the same above, and the Retina does not come off as being vastly different from the Lumia.

I would like to state emphatically, the iPhone screen is fantastic. However, in comparison to the Lumia, it does not seem to be dramatically superior. The Lumia holds its own despite “lower specs” across the board. The ClearBlack AMOLED on the Lumia “pops” the colors very well and the text renders quite well too. Oh, and a completely personal takeaway: when I turn on the Lumia, there is an immediate “wow” factor; maybe because of the colors, the brightness, the curved glass screen, or a combination of these and other factors that I can’t really pinpoint. Whatever it is, it makes the Lumia screen feel better than the iPhone screen, to me. Some friends on Twitter said that I need to give the Retina display some time and I will realize the beauty of it. I have seen it is a good screen, but after 4-5 days of extensive use, I really don’t see a huge upside in that screen.

Also, since I promised to talk about size as well, let me say that strictly speaking, the Lumia 800 that I am using now and the iPhone are not too different in size. However, my previous phone, the Samsung Focus, was 4″ diagonally and I really, really like that size. When I started using the Lumia after the Focus, I felt that the Lumia itself was a bit small (it is 3.7″ diagonally) and the iPhone is even smaller. So, compared to my ideal screen size of 4″, the iPhone seems smaller. However, for this experiment, I will not bring it up since the Lumia 800 and the iPhone are comparable in size.

Do you have any feedback on this comparison? Have you seen something I did not? I would love to hear from you!