Weekly mobile wrap: Hurricane and Halloween edition

weekly mobile wrap halloween edition hurricane sandy

After a week that was filled with more events than a Billy Joel song, it’s nice to be able to relax and look back at it all with a clear mind and a bag full of candy. What did you dress up as this Halloween? I went as an adult that can just buy candy and doesn’t have to walk door to door and beg for it, but I’m sure your “binders full of women” or replacement refs or other topical costume was a huge hit. I’m kidding, of course, as there’s nothing wrong with dressing up for Halloween. Heck, even some of the biggest companies in mobile donned costumes. We’ll tell you what they were while reviewing the biggest news from the week of October 29 to November 2, 2012.

Sandy knocks out power grid, can’t stop mobile

Citizens on the east coast of America had more to worry about this week than Halloween, though they’d sure think it was a treat to have power restored. While the main power grids may have been knocked off by the Frankenstorm, mobile tech knows no bounds. Some were able to utilize apps on their mobile devices to stay safe during the hurricane. Others, like the brilliant 11-year old Lucy Walkowiak, were able to use the little power they had to provide others with mobile charging stations. Three of the largest service providers dressed up as one happy family as they attempted to bring power and connections to people affected by Hurricane Sandy. If you’d like to help, head over to the Red Cross Disaster Relief page and donate your time, money, or blood. You can’t give them five bars of mobile network coverage, but it’ll definitely help.

weekly mobile wrap halloween edition windowsphone 8

Google duels Microsoft’s press conference with a blog post

Microsoft dressed up a little early this year, on Monday pretending to be a power player in the mobile industry. After Google had its press conference knocked out by Hurricane Sandy, Microsoft owned the stage as it unveiled tons of features for its Windows Phone 8 devices. The conference left a lingering buzz that Microsoft hasn’t felt for some time when it comes to portable options, but it very well may have just been a sugar high. Not to be outdone, Google came out dressed as the Grinch to Microsoft’s Christmas, releasing its upcoming line up in blog post form. Excitement surrounding Android devices grew, with a contract-less Nexus 4, an operating system update, and exponentially-growing app options. Microsoft had planned to go trick-or-treating with Acer, but the company backed out of plans after bad Windows 8 tablet reviews and delayed its own offering until Summer of 2013. Microsoft responded by, reportedly, starting work on an in-house made device, but all its Windows 8 plans may go awry if SurfCast, a company that has been sporting a troll costume since 2000, wins its patent-based lawsuit against the tech giant. You should have dressed up as an affordable alternative to your opposition, Microsoft. Consumers would have filled your pillow case candy bag with cash.

weekly mobile wrap halloween edition apple judge

No one wants an Apple on Halloween

Apple spent all week dressed as a spoiled sport. After being ordered by a judge in the UK to issue a public apology to Samsung, the Cupertino tech manufacturer followed through in a typically snarky way by providing a PR spin after the admission of wrong doing. The judge was not satisfied and has told Apple to amend its apology. We knew judges in the UK sometimes had to wear robes and a wig, but we never thought they’d have to play mom between two companies feuding like siblings. Consider it another pile in Apple issues that are stacked higher than most people’s leaf piles, including a corporate shake up and Tim Cook doing his best Steve Jobs impression during an earnings call. But hey, the iPad Mini launched. Like the “fun size” version of a real candy bar, we’re not sure why you’d choose it, but we’d still eat one if you put it in front of us.

Fresh New App of the Week

weekly mobile wrap halloween edition nike kinect

Nike+ Kinect Training (Free, iPhone/Windows Phone) – Fitness freaks are likely aware of the workout-related apps that Nike has released. Now Nike wants to capture the cross section of gamers and fitness gurus that get workout plans from their Kinect. This app is designed to work along with the Xbox 360 title Nike+ Kinect Training to give users a more complete workout experience. Track your progress, customize your training efforts, and compete with friends — all in the name of improving your health. It’s probably a much-needed app after a haul of Halloween candy.

Timelapse Studio Pro ($1, iOS) – Put together extended shots into one, quick clip with this app. Just set up the shot and let Timelapse Studio Pro capture the image and create your video.

Amazon Cloud Drive Photos (Free, Android) – Another cloud-based drive option, this one with a photo focus from the folks at Amazon. Check out our hands-on with the app.

Fresh New Game of the Week

weekly mobile wrap halloween edition airpatriots

Air Patriots (Free, iOS/Android) – While Amazon still holds that its tablets are the best, it didn’t want iOS users to miss out on this new twist to the tower defense genre that takes you to the air. Design the flight path of your defense systems and do your best to set up the perfect trap for enemy aircraft. With over 100 waves of survival, you’ll put in more hours in the air than most flight school attendees. Change your tactics at any time by giving your planes new orders and flight patterns.

Borderlands Legends HD ($7, iPad) – The PC and console hit comes to your tablet. It’s got everything you’d expect from the franchise — like ridiculous amounts of guns — but can come with you anywhere.

Heads Up! Hot Dogs (Free, iOS) – Another can’t-miss title from Adult Swim, this game puts players in a role that requires them to carefully place hot dogs on the heads of passersby. It’s a game you have to play to really understand.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: 1-handed drone control, a pot that stirs itself

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

Check out 30 of the best iPhone games you need to be playing

The iPhone has some of our favorite games available for any mobile platform. Here are the best iPhone games for every big-name genre, whether you're into puzzles, strategy, or something else entirely.
Mobile

These 100 best iPhone apps will turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

The iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want to bring out the best in yours. Behold our comprehensive list of the best iPhone apps, from time-saving productivity tools to fun apps you won’t be able to put down.
Gaming

‘PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ is free to try on Xbox One right now

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is currently available to try for free on Xbox One. The game typically costs $30 on the platform, and is also available on PC. A mobile version is available as a separate release.
Cars

Lime’s first carsharing service motors into Seattle this week

Lime may be better known for its app-based bike and scooter rental services, but in Seattle, Washington this week it's launching its very first carsharing service, similar to Car2go and Zipcar.
Photography

Golf ball-sized Lume Cube Air is a pocketable LED for photos and video

Off-camera lighting for smartphones and GoPros just got even smaller. Meet the Lume Cube Air, a smaller portable LED light designed for photos and videos that weighs only about two ounces.
Mobile

Taking shots in the dark with Night Sight, the Pixel’s newest photo feature

The Google Pixel range has always been the home of some of the mobile world's best phone cameras. That performance is now getting even better with the introduction of the low-light Night Sight mode.
Deals

Black Friday 2018: The best deals so far

Black Friday is the biggest shopping holiday of the year, and it will be here before you know it. If you can't wait until November 23 to start formulating a shopping plan, we've got you covered.
Mobile

Best Google Pixel 3 XL screen protectors

It's tough to find good screen protectors, but the 6.3-inch OLED screen in the Google Pixel 3 XL definitely demands to be protected from scratches and impact damage. We've picked out the best options and included insight into the downsides.
Mobile

Pocket Casts adds more cross-sync, curation, and Siri Shortcuts

Pocket Casts is a pocket staple for many podcast fanatics. But it's about to get even better with the introduction Pocket Casts 7.0 that adds intelligent curation, Siri Shortcuts support, and a streamlined UI.
Product Review

Mediocre battery and a big notch slight Google's otherwise perfect Pixel phone

Google’s Pixel 3 XL has two big flaws: The gigantic notch on the front, and mediocre battery life. That being said, this is the best Android experience you can find in a smartphone today.
Mobile

Upcoming Galaxy S10 may support 8K video and have Neural Processing Unit

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Music

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.
Mobile

Netflix is testing a cheap mobile-only subscription tier in some markets

Netflix is trying to reach potential subscribers in emerging markets. To that end, the company has begun rolling out a cheaper, mobile-only subscription tier, which comes at around $4 per month -- half the price of the Basic subscription…