Weekly Mobile Wrap: Election hangover edition

The 2012 Presidential election is finally over. We can all finally go back to Instagramming pictures of food like a civilized society. No more talk of red states or blue states. We’re back to being one nation united under our love for mobile devices. This week was packed with political stories, so it’d be pretty easy to miss all the excitement that happened in the world of mobile tech. Don’t worry because we’ve lined it all up and counted it down for you. And don’t forget, we’ve got the newest apps and games worth checking out, all in our summary of the news from November 4-9, 2012.

5. The Xbox Surface tablet surfaces

Microsoft is easily one of the most recognizable names in technology, but it just can’t make Microsoft synonymous with mobile. Even with Windows 8 out and running on PCs, tablets, and phones, Microsoft can’t get the love it believes it deserves. Instead of sitting back and letting others play with the OS, the Redmond based company might take matters into its own hands — and it’s bringing out the big guns to do it. Microsoft has reportedly begun development on an in-house tablet that will sport Xbox branding and focus on gaming. Now gamers can be insulted by sassy 9-year-old kids on Xbox Live even on the go.

4. Apple keeps holding court

We’re starting to think Apple never wanted to be a computer company. It truly wanted to be a law firm but just could never pass the bar. It’d explain why the fruit-themed tech company was back in court on two different cases this week. Not satisfied with a victory over Samsung earlier this year, Apple went after the Galaxy Note 10.1 and Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). The official lawsuit could include up to 17 more devices that either have a stylus or could use a stylus but didn’t ship with one. While we’re sure there’s some reason for this suit, it seems like Apple is suing Samsung for not including an accessory that Apple devices also don’t have. Given that Apple just had another case against Motorola dismissed in which the Cupertino company accused Motorola of abusing the patent system, it seems Apple is suing people for doing what it does. We wouldn’t be shocked if Apple had a patent on how to abuse patents.

3. Consumers can’t get enough, Foxconn can’t make enough

Even though Apple is spending much of its time in court, consumers are too distracted by the pretty looking products the company produces to really care about its extracurricular affairs. The first weekend they were available, the fourth generation iPad and its smaller sibling, the iPad Mini, sold more than 3 million units. Don’t expect those numbers to curb down too quickly, as everyone’s holiday wish list appears to have an Apple product on it. With the iPad Mini’s LTE model set to come out soon, it’s up to Foxconn to meet the demand. That’s something the manufacturer had difficulties with when it came to the iPhone 5.

2. New uses for your phone

The great thing about mobile technology is there are always new ideas that change and improve what you can do with your handset or tablet. Take, for example, the iPhone case that shoots pepper spray. It’s meant to be a defense method to fend off potential attackers. This is an improvement over the previous method of simply bludgeoning the would be criminal with your phone. Another new way to take advantage of tech on the go came from a mom that wrote an entire novel on her Blackberry phone. Finally, someone has found a use for Blackberry.

1. The week of app updates

You can skip down to the next section to take a look at the best new apps that came to market this week, but sometimes you just want your old trustworthy apps by your side. Some very highly regarded downloads got upgraded with an update this week. Among the old dogs learning new tricks are Tumblr, Evernote, Foursquare, Pinterest, and Pulse News. Another app we expect to see an update roll out for soon is Mitt Romney’s campaign app, which will now simply display unemployment numbers for Mitt Romney (currently at 100% unemployment).

Fresh new app of the week

365Scores (Free, iPhone) — Amazing moments in sports are something you have to see, not just read or hear about. 365Scores understands that and is here to score with sports fans. Not only will you get aggregated updates about your favorite teams, complete with real time updates of scores and stats, but you’ll also get video of every score just minutes after it happens live. This is instant replay on demand for sports fans.

Flitto (Free, Android) — Learning a new language can be easier if it’s a little more relatable. Flitto takes your Twitter feed and translates it to the language you’re trying to learn so you can compare English to what will soon be your second language.

Udemy (Free, iPad) — Udemy has been producing top quality online courses for people interested in all parts of computer programming. Now yo ucan take those lessons with you with this mobile app.

Fresh new game of the week

Angry Birds Star Wars ($1, iPhone and Windows Phone/$3, iPad and Kindle Fire/Free, Android) — This is the app you’re looking for. Use the force to bring Angry Birds Star Wars to whatever mobile platform you’re using. It’s the same game you know and love with a new skin that doesn’t skimp on the insider references. Star Wars fans are sure to love it, and even those that have no interest in visiting a galaxy far, far away are sure to enjoy a new installment in this fan favorite series.

Skylanders Lost Islands (Free, iOS) — Adding to the already extensive world of Skylanders, this game takes you to a whole new landscape where you can build and evolve your own village. 

World at Arms (Free, iOS) — War. What is it good for? Well, it makes for a pretty decent game. World at Arms puts you in the President’s seat after a war breaks out on U.S. territory. Stop the evil empire before it takes over.

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