apps stories

 
As Facebook Inc. prepares for its initial public offering in a few weeks, it has just announced plans for its own App Center. The center will allow the online service with over 900 million members to generate new forms of revenue and add an additional social dimension to the popular online platform.
 
If you've played Draw Something on your Android or Apple product, then you know it isn't very easy to create a great picture. My Yoda's and Terminators robots and Zelda's are passable, but nothing like these works of art. Check 'em out below and install the app for free to see how you stack up against these Draw Something prodigies.
 
Editor's Note: Troy Dreier told me about this iOS game he was hooked on, and the rather weird character who seemed to be at the center of it all: "GiantDong." It's interesting to think about the people behind the games we play. In World of Warcraft, say, players might get to know one another a little more, but in the mobile space such connections are fleeting, and yet here was a public, constant figure, greatly changing the shape of the game. Troy reached out to Dong, and this is what we found out. They call him GiantDong, and the Architects fear him. He is one of the master strategists of Shadow Cities, an addictive MMORPG for the iPhone and iPod Touch. In a game where many players seem to be focused only on the immediate mission at hand, GiantDong plots far-sighted strategies that ensure the Animators (the green team) triumph over the Architects (the orange team) every time. A streak of campaign victories for his New Jersey battle group stretching back months speaks of his success. Read on to meet a player who not only helped define the fun for a whole group of players, but who contributed to changing the very rules of the game.
 
An app is being developed for the deaf community to translate sign language into text. The plan is for this software to be available on smartphones and tablets, allowing for instant, on-the-go translation.
 
Have you ever heard of "proximity" marketing? Probably not — that's because the trigger for this new marketing technology is inaudible to the human ear. The technology involves a beacon sending out a high-pitched audio signal that triggers an app on your smartphone to push you a video, ad, text message… or anything that could possibly pop up on your phone.
 
A funny thing happened at Toy Fair this week. Not funny as in funny toys or funny games, but funny as in a sudden but fundamental shift in how we will play from now on. Toy giants such as Hasbro and Mattel, middling companies trying to find profitable new niches and new companies all are creating a new type of product — apps (some Android, most Apple iOS) combined to interact with some sort of physical real-life objects to create a new virtual play experience. For instance, Hasbro has its Lazer Tag blaster, into which you clip an iPhone or iPod to create a heads-up display. Mattel has Hot Wheels designed to roll over a course right on top of an iPad screen. WowWee's AppGear games include ZombieBurbz, little collectable figurines that are set on a table and "seen" in the virtual iPad game. These new app-based toys relates to the on-going controversy about conditions in Apple's Chinese factories, including the pending iPad 3. As part of the conversation, many critics are asking why, with Apple's enormous profits, isn't the company bringing these manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. What's not being discussed is all the perhaps millions of jobs Apple already has produced for the U.S. economy.

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