Weekly mobile wrap: Coca Cola phones and how we pay too much for data

 The mobile market may be entering a brave new world in the coming years. New phones that improve upon old technology come out all the time, but those are little changes. We’re talking big things here — massive movements. There’s a lot of cases where companies stay within their own borders or region, whether it be with a service or a product. But not anymore. This week saw one of the biggest moves to unifying the global market. Our world will be rocked thanks to a cell phone that is powered by Coca-Cola. Take that, everyone who said corn syrup isn’t a viable fuel source. Oh, also Sprint was purchased by Japanese carrier Softbank, creating the world’s third largest mobile network. But seriously: Coke phone. This week: Apple’s looking forward to the future because it’s present isn’t going so well, Microsoft is hoping the near future holds lots of tablet sales, and current cell users just want to stop getting shafted now. All that plus the best apps and games from the week of October 14-19, 2012.

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Apple can’t win…

Apple might be the most profitable company of all time, but man has it been missing its target lately. The iPhone 5 is a full month old now, but there are still people with their pockets filled with nothing but promises. International customers have it even worse than the American market, as Apple has halted its international rollout in countries not named in its initial launch. Until MacGyver makes his way into the Foxconn facility and starts putting together phones with paperclips and glue, we get the feeling the rollout won’t pick up, and Apple probably won’t talk about it either. It’s pretty fitting, as Apple’s been quiet about a lot of things lately. Most notably, the court-ordered statement that the Cupertino company has to make to inform consumers that Samsung did not copy the iPad. We’re going to go ahead and assume Apple’s October 23 announcement isn’t going to be a public apology. Even the latest acquisition of Apple is a bit of a blunder. Purchasing the remnants of Color Labs will bolster the Apple patent portfolio, but that company just has bad mojo.

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Phone owners can’t win either

Early adopters of mobile technology are often the first to experience some of the fastest-changing advancements in consumer tech. The mobile industry moves fast, but some things might not be changing quick enough. For example, anyone with a smartphone or tablet that has 16GB or less of memory is probably starting to notice their device flash “System memory full” quicker than usual. We can thank the growing size of apps and games. While their functions are often improving, the size of these downloads has increased by 42% over the past 6 months. That takes a toll on memory. For Americans, it hits the wallet hard, too. Studies reveal that Americans pay a significant amount more for LTE networks than most countries. Sweden’s service costs 1/10th what U.S. providers charge, but their version of Siri is the Swedish Chef so it’s a trade off. 

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Microsoft tries not to scratch Surface

Microsoft is doing its best to gain back some ground in the mobile game, and so far it appears to be working. The tech giant has been doing its best to make a case for its Surface tablet, and customers may be buying in. With a price tag comparable to the the iPad and an operating system that looks like it may be hip to be square, Microsoft executives may spend launch day doing more dancing than the Surface ads. Of course, not everyone is impressed. While the basic 32GB pre-order is now delayed three weeks, the models that come with the Touch Cover case are still available for the October 26 launch. Apple’s doing its best to rain on the parade with a press conference that is likely to be tablet related a few days before the Surface surfaces but other consumers just aren’t sold on it. Microsoft may be hoping that a voucher that reserves a Surface tablet on launch day will incentivize potential buyers, likely by showing them just how much more functional a tablet is in comparison to the piece of paper. Whatever it takes, guys.

Fresh New App of the Week

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Muse Me (Free, iPhone) – Got a question about an outfit your putting together or a a purchase you’re going to make? Let your friends be your better judgement with Muse Me. This app allows you to take a picture of anything that you’re trying to decide between — shoes, brands of yogurt, paintings — and put them to a vote. Assuming your friends don’t lead you astray, this app will help you make those tough choices that may require a second opinion…or third, or fourth, or fifth.

Ever2Drop ($2, iPhone) – Get the full potential out of EverNote and DropBox by combining their functionalities with this helpful tool. 

BeatBang (Free, Android) – An interactive map that takes users through the history of electronic music with samples, stories, and in-depth backgrounds of the popular genre.

Fresh New Game of the Week 

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Carmageddon ($2, iOS) – Carmageddon skips over all the waiting and teasing that comes with normal racing games and gets right to the heart of what we all truly want: giant, explosive crashes. Based on a PC game from the late ’90’s, Caramgeddon makes a come back on the portable screen of your iOS device. With tons of cars and environments to totally destroy, you can experience every part of the game that was once banned around the world. Like you need a bigger selling point, you rebel.

Hum This (Free, iOS/Android) – Part Draw Something, part name that tune. Hum a song and send it off to a friend to see if they can guess it. 

Cracking Sands ($3, Windows Phone) – Take the road less travelled with this off-road racer. There are no laws or rules on these roads–just do what it takes to win.

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