It's nearly that time: the biggest awards show in movies—and in media in general—is set to begin in a little more than a month from now. The Academy Awards will take place on February 24th, but you can download the official Oscars app right now. The surprisingly-well-made-for-a-TV-network piece of software comes loaded with features, including news, photos, videos, and a comprehensive list of nominees for all categories. You can even view the trailers for each movie directly within the app.
As promised, we've got another set of roundups for you this month. This time, though, we're not just looking at last month's best apps and games – we've got a short list of the very best apps and games from all of 2012.
To be sure, poring over all the apps we've covered in the past year was an arduous task. We've picked three entries for each category (in no particular order), but there were certainly more than four new apps worth talking about.
A few days ago, Facebook quietly released its Pages Manager app for Android to the Play Store. The app, which had been making iOS-toting page managers' lives easier for quite some time, was a welcome addition, save for one thing: it could only be installed in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, leaving US users in the dark.
It appears that's changed today. The Pages Manager app, in an update too small to warrant a change log, opened up to those in the US.
Hi, my name is Eric Ravenscraft and I'm an addict. I have a weakness for trying out new online media services. I've signed up and, where applicable, paid for Spotify, Rdio, MOG, Rhapsody, Pandora, Last.fm, Jamendo, Grooveshark, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Epix, Crackle, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, and virtually every other movie and music streaming service on the internet. So it bugs me that I haven't yet been invited to add Redbox Instant to my collection of collections.
The browser wars have seen a strange resurgence in the mobile world, as each platform brings its own-branded browser (Safari for iOS, Chrome for Android, IE for Windows Phone), and competitors see this as a new opportunity to gain more relevance after the desktop arena begins to settle. Mozilla certainly seems to think so as it starts to tease some new features it's currently working on for its Android-based Firefox app.
Amazon's AWS (Amazon Web Services) is a hugely important web service that is responsible for much of Amazon's functionality, and plenty of content you look at every day (remember that time Reddit, Flipboard, Netflix, and others simultaneously stuttered in part of the US?). Looking to keep AWS account holders connected to their services and abreast of service health while on the go, Amazon released its official AWS Console app to the Play Store today.
Move over SwiftKey. A challenger has appeared and it's aiming to bring even better predictions than we've seen before. This one, named Fleksy, touts predictions that are so accurate, you can type without looking at the screen. In fact, the company says that even if you get every single letter wrong, it can still tell what it is you meant to type. This is pretty impressive. Of course that means the developers need to take it one step further...
There aren't many things in this world that can be as purely amazing as LEGO. The only people who aren't fans of the world's best creativity toy are people who (mistakenly!) think the company has sold out and encourages kids to follow pre-made instructions instead of building something new. To that I say: Mindstorms EV3. With Android compatibility out of the box. Your argument is invalid.
The main part of the new kit, the Intelligent Brick (seen above as a glowing torso with a QR code on its chest) will have more processing power, more memory, and more on-brick programming capabilities.
Who knew that keyboards could be so competitive? After SwiftKey released its new Flow feature, and even included the ability to fly through space, Swype had a pressing need to escalate. Well, how's this for handy: now you no longer need to register in order to download the new Swype beta! In times past, Swype's distribution model has been a little cumbersome. Of course, this will only help people who want in on the beta, but it's still a great thing.
Whether you use Windows Phone or not, chances are at some point you're going to have to get used to the concept of tiles. Microsoft's putting them everywhere. On your Xbox, PC, tablet... They're unavoidable. If you like the idea of tiles over icons, though, here's an app you might want to try out: Tile Launcher Beta. While it's not quite a clone of the MS-borne smartphone interface (for example, you can still have a custom background), it does place brightly colored squares on a continuous scrolling homescreen.