Video Rating: 0 / 5
Video Rating: 0 / 5
I recently purchased a Sphero robot for my iPhone/iPad, now I want to preface this by saying this is not a sponsored post I paid all $130 with my own cold hard cash. I was instantly intrigued by the Sphero when I first heard of it as I am with just about anything iOS related. I knew that with all the technology packed into the little ball and the ability for open programming Sphero would go a long way. Hit the break for my review.
My first impression was more than I expected as I unboxed Orbotix’s Sphero. The packaging is tight and clean, very Apple-esque and includes everything you need. One Sphero Ball, charging dock and power cable. After downloading the app and syncing Sphero up to my iPhone it automatically prompted me to standby as Sphero was due for a firmware update. That was my first wow of many as I researched the update to find out the group over at Orbotix was able to send over a Firmware update that greatly improved the maneuverability and turning radius of the ball. After the update and a quick tutorial I was ready to go and so was my son who was beyond curious now after seeing all the flashing colors. Though not as agile as a RC car it was extremely responsive to the directions I gave it and after a few minutes of playing around with it I had it racing all over the place as my 9 month old chased after it in his walker.
However running the little ball around with your iPhone is just the tip of the iceberg. Sphero has over 20 different available apps for it though two of which really stood out for me. One is The MacroLab App which allows you to set up a list of commands for Sphero to autonomously execute. Each command can be as detailed or basic as you want it to be. You can put in a command for Sphero to turn at a certain angle for x amount of time. I did one setup that allows me to place Sphero on my desktop and he moves forward, strobes his lights, spins in place and then circles back to his starting point. It’s fun to watch and the more you play with it the more advanced commands you can learn.
The other App is SpaceParty with Nyan Cat oh yes that’s right are favorite PopTart, Rainbow Farting cat now has bacon blasters to shoot dizzy sheep and drooling ghosts in space. Best part is you completely control your Nyan Cat with Sphero. Full control functions take a little getting used to but is very similar to a Wii controller.
Sphero has a long road ahead of it, I believe with app developers working on projects to use it with and the group over at Orbotix not only creating new software and firmware but Sphero accessories to. One rumored accessory is a cage with a camera that Sphero can troll around, though Sphero is both durable and waterproof I’d love to see some type of tight fitting clear rubber, shock absorbing shell that would maybe allow Sphero to battle with other Sphero’s or just make it more durable. No matter the case Sphero is a great product, at a $130 it’s pricey but well worth it! You can grab yours now from the Geeks over at ThinkGeek.
It’s been a long time coming, but Facebook has finally pulled the switch to release its official iPad app onto the App Store. The Facebook iPad app has been rumored to be in the works for a very long, the latest rumor being it possibly launching during Apple’s iPhone 4S event, which of course didn’t happen. Thankfully, we Facebook / iPad users didn’t have to wait long as the app has officially been released.
If you’ve been using Facebook on your iPad in the past, you know you either had two choices to get your social media fix: use the iPhone app or just go to the website in order to get your daily dose of Facebook goodness. Now the iPad app allows you to get the full Facebook experience straight from the app itself. Wall posts, messages, and notifications can all be viewed from within the iPad app.
We went ahead and did a walkthrough video of the app in action on an iPad 2 below. Check it out. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll watch a grown man eat Doritos and drink Sprite while Facebooking.
Poor Apple Maps. While we see very minor improvement from Apple’s year-old Maps application, Google continues to improve its world-class offering pretty rapidly. Why, Wednesday, in fact, Google launched an update to the Google Maps for iOS app, adding support for the iPad, indoor maps, and a slew of other features that were released with the recent Android Google Maps update. Google Maps 2.0 now fully supports the larger screen sizes of the iPad and iPad mini, as well as offering indoor maps with walking directions for transit stations, airports, malls and other large buildings. Past that, you’ll also notice that the Google Maps iOS app now offers better navigation with live traffic updates and incident reports. Meanwhile, Apple Maps still hasn’t figured out transit directions.
Read the full story at TechCrunch.
There’s an emerging view among iOS developers that both the amount of work involved and value created by app development merit higher prices for apps. But a new study shows that developers test pricing tend to lower the price of their apps – or even charge nothing at all. New research published Thursday from mobile analytics firm Flurry, which looked at app pricing over the past four years for 350,000 apps using Flurry’s mobile analytics service, found that developers are charging less for their apps over time, and many times, end up going completely free. (The results are weighted to account for number of users for each app.) The result is more ad-laden apps. But Flurry says purchase habits show that user demand is higher for apps that will cost them nothing, even if there are ads as a result.
Read the full story at Giga OM.
If you’re in the market for a new iPhone or iPad, Black Friday (Nov. 29) is the day to take the plunge. Actually, many of the great deals start as early as Nov. 28 and continue through the weekend. In a previous post I mentioned two websites tracking Black Friday deals and summarized the best deals. I wanted to also point you to the continuously updated comprehensive roundup posted on MacRumors. Plus, they summarize the best deals in a chart at the top of the page. Some remarkable deals are to be had: iPad Air for $379 at Target, iPad mini (first generation) for $199 at Walmart, iPad 2 for $299 at Target, and iPhone 5s for $114 and iPhone 5c for $0 at Walmart. MacRumors also offers shopping tips, such as which online retailers charge local sales tax in which states.
In addition, eBay has posted their Black Friday deals, a convenient listing of which can be found on The Verge. The deals are available at specific times on specific days, and include the first-generation iPad mini for $239, the fourth-generation iPad for $399, and the iPad Air for $469.
Also, note that Walmart will match any Black Friday deal. You can read more on Techno Buffalo. According to the post, they started this price matching on Nov. 22. This is amazing. You can get Black Friday deals early without having to fight Black Friday crowds on Nov. 29.
If you’re interested in tablet computers, but not necessarily the iPad, Latin Times is tracking the best Black Friday deals on the most popular tablets.
Toymail is a cute, child-safe toy that can send and receive wireless audio messages. There is a ton of coolness about this idea. Imagine tucking the kids into bed from anywhere in the world, or enjoying an impromptu playtime while taking a break at work.
Toymail is the brainchild of Gauri Nanda, an MIT entrepreneur who designed and marketed a runaway toy clock called Clocky. She has partnered up with her best friend Audry Hill (a mom of three), to come up with a fun and safe messaging system for little ones. The Toymail toys (which come in five characters) aren’t just simple sound recording boxes. There’s an integrated iOS app that let’s you record, send, and receive messages to and from your little ones. You can even apply funny voice filters.
But the effort needs your help to get funded on Kickstarter. Even chipping in a dollar could bring Toymail to market, so go check out how you can help here. Only six days left to meet their campaign goal, so hurry!