Apps of the Week: NPR One, Crazy Taxi: City Rush, Interactive Alphabet 4.0 + more
Beehive (free) — Beehive - The Social Network Filter from Kendall Innovations is that rare thing: a new social networking app that should be useful to certain people. The app takes your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds, and lets you narrow them down to the friends you care about most. All of those updates can then be viewed from the single Beehive app. Most appealing to those who would be interested in this sort of thing is the app’s anonymity. You never have to worry about deleting or unfollowing friends — just pick who you want to follow within Beehive, and they’ll be none the wiser. Additionally, Beehive doesn’t require an email address, or even the creation of an account. It’s also ad-free. Not all users will find such an app necessary, of course, but for those looking to cut down on their social networking time without missing anything important — or without offending people — Beehive might be the perfect answer. Right now the app is built for iPhone, but an iPad version will be coming soon.
NPR One (free) — NPR’s new NPR One app curates a stream of public radio news and stories for the listener. The app’s bizarre, meandering description describes NPR One as “a handcrafted experience” while noting the app also delivers the big stories of the day. Basically, it’s a different way of accessing public radio through a somewhat personalized set of recommended stories — users must sign in using their Facebook, Google, or NPR accounts.
80 Days ($5) — 80 Days by inkle is a new game based on a steampunk version of Jules Verne’s classic novel, Around the World in Eighty Days. It’s an expansive, text-heavy adventure with plenty of twists, turns, and choices. We’ll have a full review tomorrow.
Angels in the Sky ($9) — Angels in the Sky from AImToG is an impressive-looking air combat shooter. Powered by Unreal Engine 4, the fantastic graphics can currently only be seen on the iPhone 5s — iPad support for the game won’t come until a future update, and less powerful iPhones aren’t supported. iPhone 5s users in the market for a marquee game might jump at the chance to blast away in this world. But if you have an iPad, be sure to check back later, as a graphic heavy game like this would best be seen on a bigger screen.
Crazy Taxi: City Rush (free) — Crazy Taxi was always a favorite of some of our editors, with its fun and frantic pick-up-and-play style. You can still get an iOS port of the original game for $5, but the new City Rush version from Sega is designed for touchscreens, and it’s free with IAP. The game now offers one-touch controls, and the ability to customize your cab. It’s definitely not the same as the full game — you’re mostly driving on rails, with the ability to change lanes and make turns with a touch — but all in all, it’s a fun little diversion with decent controls. We do wish they’d tone down the in-your-face IAPs, however.
Beats Music (free) — The Beats Music app has been updated to version 2.2.0. The app now lets users change their favorite genres and artists with the Tune Your Taste feature. A history of The Sentence feature is now included, and new verified badges have been given to profiles which have been certified by Beats. Beats Music is a free download, but a subscription is needed after a 14-day free trial.
Interactive Alphabet ($3) — Piikea St. claims its Interactive Alphabet app is the “best alphabet experience from crib to kindergarten,” and while that’s a bold claim, the developer has been steadily adding new features to its app over time. The most recent update, version 4.0, adds sing mode, in which 26 dancing letter robots sing the alphabet song. That’s on top of the app’s baby, explore, type, trace modes, and the ability to add your own photos and words for learning letters. We loved this app when it was first released in 2010, and it’s still going strong four years later.
Kindle (free) — Amazon’s Kindle app has updated to version 4.4. The new update automatically syncs to the most recently read page now, whether you’re using the iOS app or another Kindle device. Readers can also make use of placeholders, which let you skip through the book without losing a particular page. Other new features include a way to export notes and highlights, and Wikipedia Smart Lookup, which offers a Wikipedia Info Card about a selected word.
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