Best apps of the week: Angry Birds Friends, Google Search, Swype Keyboard, and more

apps of the week 05_03_2013 headerDo you find yourself completely uninspired when browsing through your current apps? Do you reluctantly use the same apps over and over, not because they provide you with what you need but because that’s just your routine now? It sounds like you need some new hotness to mix in with those old, washed up options that you have now. Lucky for you, that’s exactly what we have here. We’ve collected the biggest updates and best new apps of the week in one place so you can download them and add a little spice to your mobile device. 

Everest (update for iOS)

apps of the week 05_03_2013 everestEverest is an app designed to help you achieve your dreams. It’s a lofty goal for a smartphone app, but you can’t knock the ambition. In its most recent update, it has made it easier for you to add your dreams. The Steps tab has gotten a remodel to remove a few unnecessary taps, adding content has become easier with a simpler “Add” menu, and new functionality added within a dream lets you color in more detail about your goals and moments on the way to meeting them. If your life goal is to download Everest, now is a good time to cross that one off the list. 

Swype Keyboard (new app for Android)

You probably already have a version of Swype Keyboard on your Android phone as it is one of the most used alternative keyboard options available. However, it has never been in the Google Play Store until now. Officially available through Android’s marketplace, Swype Keyboard allows users to simple drag their fingers across the keyboard while it figures out the word they’re after. Built on a crowd-sourced dictionary, so it always has a good grasp of language, Swype makes typing out texts and emails easier and quick.

Sorcery! (new game for iOS)

apps of the week 05_03_2013 sorcerySorcery! has been brought back to life, taken from it’s original gamebook form from the 1980’s and given a modern makeover to fit on to iOS devices. Developed by the writer of the original gamebook, Sorcery! is packed with thousands of unique choices that players can make. It all takes place on hand-drawn 3D world maps and the story is told based around how you decide to play through different scenarios. Learn spells, duel with monsters, and change the tale to be your own personalized experience.

Toy Story: Story Theater (new app for iOS)

Your kids are probably always trying to get your mobile device from you to play some game that you didn’t even know you had installed or to just cause havoc in all the apps you don’t want them messing with. Safer than any password on your device is a sure-fire app that will keep your kid distracted from all the other temptations on your phone. Toy Story: Story Theater lets kids use characters from the Toy Story universe to make their very own movie starring the characters they love.

Songza (update for iOS)

apps of the week 05_03_2013 songzaWe all have had that experience where a situation is thrown off by some tunage that doesn’t match up with the moment. Songza eliminates that issue because it is all about setting the right mood with music. With the latest update to Songza 3.0, you can now search for specific artists, get faster performance, shake the device to activate its Concierge service, and more. It’s making it easier to make sure your life has the perfect backing track.

Angry Birds Friends (new game for iOS, Android)

We trust you’ve heard of this Angry Birds game before, yes? Shockingly, the game never had much of a social element to it. That is, until now. Angry Birds Friends has arrived for iOS and Android. It allows you to face your friends to see who can get the highest score. Tournaments take place every week, and a leader board is kept between you and your Facebook friends so you can see who is on top and what score you’re going to have to beat. As if Angry Birds wasn’t addicting enough, now there’s a competitive element.

Google Search (update for iOS)

apps of the week 05_03_2013 google_searchGoogle Search for iOS was updated this week with the biggest addition being integration of Google’s voice search tool, Google Now. Making its debut on iOS, Google Now allows users to ask questions of Google verbally and have the search engine fetch answers. It doesn’t sound that different from just typing a search, but with Google Now’s ability to process sentences and retrieve relevant data to your area, it can keep you up to date on traffic, the weather, news, and find that obscure factoid that you’re looking for. (Read our full hands-on review.)

Weebly (new app for Android)

You might think that not everyone needs their very own website. Weebly disagrees with you. Built on the idea of making Web design easy and accessible, Weebly is expanding its Web empire by invading Android. Weebly users can manage their site from their phone now: they can update their blog, manage the content on their site, check visitor statistics, and more. Users will also get push notifications when something of note, like receiving a comment, takes place on their site.

Better than Portal (new game for iOS)

apps of the week 05_03_2013 better than portalIf you’re going to make a bold and unsubstantiated claim, you might as well go all out with it. Better than Portal decided to put such a claim right in its title. Whether it’s true or not is likely in the eyes of the player, but it’s clear where this game got its inspiration from. Better than Portal is an iOS-ified version of the popular puzzle game from Valve. Players use portals to travel throughout levels and access areas that they would otherwise not be able to reach. It’s packed with sixty different levels, plenty of traps and tricks, and it’s probably the closest thing to Portal that mobile has.


Ditch your smartphone for a year and win $100k from Vitaminwater

Vitaminwater is willing to part with $100,000 if you're willing to part with your smartphone partner for a year. Could you last for a year armed with only a 1996-era phone? Here's your chance to find out.

How to connect AirPods to your MacBook

If you have new AirPods, you may be looking forward to pairing them with your MacBook. Our guide will show you exactly how to connect AirPods to MacBook, what to do if they are already paired with a device, and more.
Smart Home

Facebook Portal and Portal+ video-calling devices gain new content and features

Facebook's Portal devices are video smart speakers with Alexa voice assistants built in that allow you to make calls. The 15-inch Portal+ model features a pivoting camera that follows you around the room as you speak.

Best deals for smart home plugs that control your lights and appliances

Smart hubs and speakers play central communication and management roles in your home, but smart plugs let you add lights and appliances to your system. Any smart plug you buy must support one feature or anything you plug in stays dumb.
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best true wireless earbuds around.

Apple is spending $1 billion to hire up to 15,000 new employees in Austin

Apple has announced a series of expansions across the U.S. -- including a massive expansion to the company's Austin campus that will see it spending $1 billion to accommodate for up to 15,000 new employees.

Leave the laptop at home, the iPad Pro is the travel buddy to take on vacay

The iPad Pro is a powerful tablet that's perfect for creatives and professionals. How does it fare when traveling with it as a laptop replacement? We took it on a two week trek in Japan to find out.

Google Maps makes it easier than ever to find a Lime bike or scooter

Google Maps has added a new feature that helps you find a Lime bike or scooter in just a few taps. The feature currently works in 11 U.S. cities served by Lime, with more coming next year.

Quirky smartphone accessories you never knew you needed

Looking for a few accoutrements to make your smartphone even better? If you, or someone you know, is a sucker for accessories, you'll want to check out our collection of quirky smartphone accessories you never knew you needed.

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.

Walmart drops prices on Apple Watches and other fitness trackers

Smartwatches, fitness trackers, and wearable heart rate monitors from Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, and Garmin are popular gifts. Wearables are smarter and more capable than in earlier years. We found the best wearables deals on Walmart.

The best Wear OS watches

There are a ton of different Wear OS watches out there, but which one's right for you? No matter what you're looking for from a smartwatch, here are the best Wear OS watches out there.
Emerging Tech

Capture app saves money by 3D scanning objects using iPhone’s TrueDepth camera

Capture is a new iPhone app created by the Y Combinator-backed startup Standard Cyborg. It allows anyone to perform 3D scans of objects and share them with buddies. Here's how it works.
Home Theater

How to master your equalizer settings for the perfect sound

You may know what an EQ is, but do you know how to adjust equalizer settings for the best possible sound? We go through the basics of the modern EQ and lay out some guidelines for how to achieve tip-top sound from your system.