Apps and updates worth downloading: Facebook Messenger, Cycloramic, Final Fantasy II, and more

With the holidays over and the malaise that comes with it slowly shaking off as we all return to our normal routines, there are no doubt plenty of new mobiles devices that found new homes this holidays. Going from being used almost obsessively out of the box to being left behind or in pockets and purses during the daily grind can get lonely for a phone or tablet. But fear not! There’s no better way to keep your new mobile device company than with a few new apps on its internal storage. Start the new year out right with all the best apps and updates to make their way to market since the start of 2013.

Updates

apps and updates worth downloading rdio 

Rdio (Windows Phone)

Music knows no bounds – and that goes for operating system as well. Rdio knows this, and has updated its popular app to include support for Windows Phone 8. Aside from making its appearance on Microsoft’s latest mobile OS, Rdio also features some new improvements that improve the search features and makes online playback better. Rdio explains a new look in the Metro style that Microsoft has been working to wipe out of the vocabulary of its users. While Microsoft likely doesn’t care for the description, it and its users will be sure to enjoy the actual interface.

apps and updates worth downloading skypewindows8

Skype (Windows Phone)

Windows 8 users are getting all kinds of new treats to start 2013. When they’re done listening to music, they can now chat with their friends about their favorite tracks, or anything else, on the newly updated Skype. Following through on Microsoft’s plan to retire MSN Messenger and switch over to Skype, the newest version of Skype for Windows Phone 8 allows users to chat with people from their Messenger buddy list. It’s worth taking note, however, that the update also kills functionality with People Hub. It’s planned to return in a later update, but don’t be shocked when it disappears in the meantime. 

apps and updates worth downloading facebookmessanger

Facebook Messenger (iOS)

The latest version of Facebook Messenger includes the ability to send voice messages and complete VoIP calls. You’ll be able to share the voice messages in the same way you can with media or text messages, sending it over the chat service built into the social network. The VoIP calls is in beta for Canadian users only at the moment, likely because Canadians never have anything negative to say and are most likely to provide positive feedback. We hope we’ll all have a chance to try out the free call feature soon.

New Apps

 apps and updates worth downloading cycloramic

Cycloramic (iOS)

Take a step closer to making your phone sentient with this app. It turns your iPhone 5 into a hands-free panoramic video recorder. To make this possible, the app uses the phone’s internal sensors and vibration mode to turn the device around 360 degrees and record video from every angle. We’re not sure what exactly sure what you’d do with this app, aside from enjoy the novelty of it while watching your phone spin around on its own, but it’s definitely something worth playing with.

apps and updates worth downloading sing

Sing! Karaoke (Android, iOS)

Sing! Karaoke turns your phone or tablet into a portable karaoke machine. Scroll through a wide variety of tunes that you will inevitably butcher, pick your favorites, and pass the phone around so you don’t have to experience the embarrassment alone. Turn any bar into a karaoke bar, and then get yourself kicked out for singing too loud for everyone’s comfort.

apps and updates worth downloading zime

Zime (Android)

Your daily regimen has a flow to it, so why shouldn’t your schedule and task list? Zime gives your entire calendar a clever and unique 3D view that puts your plans on an easily manageable scroll. Sync your calendars and to-do lists and turn them into one continuous stream that will catch you in its waves and carry you through your daily routine. You can set priorities and manage all of your tasks in an easy way that will make your tasks come and go with ease.

apps and updates worth downloading kiikeyboard

Kii Keyboard (Android)

Ok, there’s no shortage of alternative keyboard options for Android, but that doesn’t mean the best method has been discovered yet. After all, the first typewriter design had keys all in one row like a piano. Perhaps Kii Keyboard will be the next big breakthrough. Taking cues from gesture-style keyboards like Swype and prediction-style keyboards like SwiftKey, Kii Keyboard is trying to put the best of both worlds together for one great offering.

New Games

apps and updates worth downloading wordament

Wordament (iOS)

Too many word games limit the way you play. It’s either you against one other player or competing against time. Wordament makes the experience more universal. Take two minutes to try to find every word you can on a game board – the exact same game board that every other player in the world is looking at as well. Play with certain stipulations and rules or just try to find as many words as you can and then see how you rank, in both score and percentile, against the rest of the world.

apps and updates worth downloading ff2

Final Fantasy II (Android)

The classic RPG from Square Enix has made its way onto Android devices. Telling the story of the second installment of the classic series,  Final Fantasy II gives the old game a new home without costing it any of its charm or replay ability. You’ll get even more adventure than you got in the original versions, with new dungeons that extend the length of the game experience. Not that you’ll need it, really. This is a Final Fantasy game, after all. 

apps and updates worth downloading metalslug

Metal Slug (Android)

Even more classics are finding mobile devices to be comfortable homes to relive their glory days. Metal Slug, the shooter/platformer that will have players fighting through various terrain and blasting away baddies with a variety of weapons, brings back the challenge that is too often lost in modern homages to the genre. This game returns to show its successors how things were done back in the old school, and it holds up just fine. 

Cars

Rock out in the carpool lane with Singing Machine’s Carpool Karaoke microphone

Carpool Karaoke fans can count down the days till summer. That's when Singing Machine's Carpool Karaoke microphone will be available. Connect the Carpool Karaoke Mic to your car radio to make your next road trip a mobile karaoke party.
Gaming

How to keep a PS4 in your pocket with the PlayStation Mobile app

Sony built the PlayStation 4 with smartphone and mobile integration in mind. Take a look at our guide for connecting your smartphone or tablet to a PS4, so you can get the most out of the system while on the go.
Mobile

Short on phone storage? Here's how to delete apps in Android

With everything we tend to use our phones for, it is all too easy to let your Android device get filled up with apps. Time for a clean out? Then check out our simple guide on how to uninstall apps in Android.
Computing

Give your eyes a break with these handy blue light filters

Filtering blue light from your monitor is a great way to make long days of work easier on your eyes, especially when it gets later in the day. You can use ones built into MacOS and Windows, or one of the third-party options.
Mobile

Xiaomi Mi 9 will be one of the first phones with monster Snapdragon 855 chip

Xiaomi's next major smartphone release will be the Mi 9, and the company hasn't held back in giving us a good look at the phone, revealing the design, the camera, and a stunning color.
Wearables

Galaxy Watch Active isn't official yet, but you can see it in Samsung's own app

Samsung may be about to resurrect its Sport line of smartwatches under a new name: The Galaxy Watch Sport Active. Leaks and rumors are building our picture of the device at the moment.
Wearables

Focals succeed where Google Glass fumbled (but do we really need smartglasses?)

It’s been seven years since Google took the wraps off Google Glass. Now, we’re finally getting a modern-day equivalent we want to wear. North’s Focals combine subtle style with an intuitive interface to craft smartglasses you’ll…
Mobile

Stop buying old tablets, says Samsung, buy the new Galaxy Tab S5e instead

Samsung has launched the Galaxy Tab S5e -- the E is for Essential -- a reasonably priced tablet that includes many of the features we like from the Tab A 10.5, and the Tab S4. Here's what you need to know.
Mobile

Bag yourself a bargain with the best budget tablets under $200

The battle for your budget tablet affections is really ramping up. Which tablet, costing less than $200, should be commanding your attention? We take a look at some different options for the budget-conscious.
Computing

What is Wi-Fi 6? Here's a look at the next evolution of the wireless standard

We're exploring the new naming convention for wireless standards, how it affects the devices you buy, and what the upcoming Wi-Fi generation is changing for the better.
Home Theater

Samsung accidentally leaks its new Galaxy Buds ahead of launch

It's been all but certain that Samsung would launch a successor to its Gear IconX wireless earbuds soon, but a newly leaked photo and recent FCC certification document seems to indicate that the debut is very close.
Home Theater

Hi-res streaming audio service Qobuz arrives in U.S., threatens Tidal’s monopoly

For several years, Tidal enjoyed a monopoly on hi-res music streaming in the U.S. Now, French company Qobuz is here to offer some competition with a variety of monthly plans starting at $10 a month.
Mobile

These 13 gadgets walk a fine line between ingenious and insane

The annual avalanche of devices and gadgets is astounding, but how many will succeed? A few are destined to spark new trends, while the majority fade deservedly into obscurity. We look at some gadgets on the border of brilliant and bonkers.
Mobile

OnePlus 6T vs. Honor View 20: We compare the cameras in these ‘flagship killers’

For less than $600, you can buy either the OnePlus 6T or the Honor View 20, two extremely capable smartphones with plenty of exciting features. But which one has the best camera? We found out on a recent trip to France.