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Apps and updates worth downloading: Facebook Poke and Flipboard for the holidays

It’s the last weekend of the year, meaning it’s best you rest up as much as possible for the madness that is about to ensue over New Year’s eve. Before you head to all your parties with friends, family, and co-workers, make sure to fill up your phone with all of the newest and best apps available. Best case scenario: they will serve as a talking point to fill in during those awkward lulls. Worst case scenario: you play with them with your head down as you avoid conversation with uncomfortable acquaintances and odd relatives. Here are the best apps and updates worth downloading for the last two weeks in 2012.

Updates

Tumblr (iOS, Android)

No longer just for phone users, Tumblr’s latest update brings an expansion to the tablet. The popular blogging platform brings it’s love of .gifs and memes to both the iPad and the Android tablet family. To make infectious spreading of content even easier on the go, Tumblr also now features an Explore tab and markdown support. But you don’t care about any of that. You need to keep your friends updated with your “Moustaches on things that don’t need moustaches” blog.

Evernote Food (iOS)

The iPad gets to add another app to it’s repertoire thanks to Evernote Food getting optimized for the tablet. This will make pictures of your favorite recipes and best culinary creations even bigger and more tempting. The app also features a new design that encourages you to turn to it for all your food-related needs. Save recipes, build your own cookbook, and check out restaurants and their offerings, for ideas for your next night out. Evernote Food really serves one purpose: Make you hungry.

Wunderlist (iOS, Android)

One of the better apps for staying on track in the past, Wunderlist has been rebuilt from the ground up to look better and work smarter. While it was a great option before, it’s now making a case for itself as one of the best to-do apps around. Reoccurring tasks make their first appearance in the update, as does a new collaborative list function that will keep groups of people on task at all times. Email reminders and push notifications are available to make sure you never miss a deadline or forget what you’re doing.

Flipboard (Android)

Flipboard keeps getting bigger. We’re not just talking user base – it’s now available on Android tablets. The favorite option for social readers makes it debut on the bigger screen with a bang. A gorgeous looking layout that puts content in a virtual magazine, you’ll be flipping pages for quite some time before you lift your head up from the screen. It features everything you’d expect from Flipboard, just a bit bigger. Bigger may not always better, but in this case it definitely isn’t hurting.

New Apps

Rise Alarm Clock (iOS)

Need to make sure you’re awake as early as possible on Christmas day to open presents from Santa? Rise is probably your best bet. A new alarm clock option for iOS, Rise is simple, easy, and elegant. Fall asleep to an iTunes playlist and wake up to a custom melody or tone. You can also modify your snooze options and alarm volume so your routine can be tweaked for your needs. A simple app that fills a basic need and does it well.

Facebook Poke (iOS)

Facebook Poke totally has nothing to do with the popularity of SnapChat, though it does essentially the same thing as it. Recreating the once-iconic Poke option on Facebook with a new multimedia catch, Facebook Poke allows users to get in touch with friends by sending them a quick message, photo, or video with an expiration date. Location data will let them know exactly where you’re sending it from. If your friend takes a screenshot to keep it longer, you’ll be told about it.

YouTube Capture (iOS)

The perfect app for holiday happenings, YouTube Capture simplifies the YouTube upload process. Easily record with the tap of a button, then make some quick edits like color correction and image stabilization. You can also add music tracks to the video with a couple quick taps, making this app a great option for quick and easy video sharing. Pass around your film to family that couldn’t be there or send it out to the public as a cry for help. Depends on how well you get along with your family.

Beanstalk (Android)

Keeping your files on multiple cloud storage options because you can’t fit it all in one? Beanstalk will stretch across the platforms and give you a unified cloud experience. Allowing you to log in to Dropbox, Box.net, and Microsoft Skydrive in a single app, Beanstalk gives you control over the files in all of them. Move your information to and from different storage locations and keep track of all your data no matter what cloud it calls home.

New Games

Penny Arcade The Game: Gamers vs. Evil (iOS)

No one knows gamers quick like Penny Arcade. The company branched out to card games, creating a unique universe and adventure that takes place on the flimsy but familiar game piece. Not content with the physical offering, the game is now also available to play digitally on your iOS devices. Build decks based on your favorite Penny Arcade characters and use their abilities to master your opponents, be they computer or human controlled.

Pudding Monsters (iOS, Android)

The makers of Cut the Rope created a new franchise, and we won’t be surprised if it’s just as successful as the first. Capitalizing on the cuteness factor that made Om Nom in Cut the Rope so popular, Pudding Monsters brings a whole cast of bouncing blobs of dessert to the table. It’s up to players to bring these piles of pudding together to create – what else? – a pudding monster. A sliding puzzle style game with people of appeal that you’d expect from the makers of a hit game, Pudding Monsters‘ gameplay is just as delicious as its main character.