Tag Archive: IOS

Dropbox acquires Mailbox – battle for the mobile cloud begins

Fast moving cloud player Dropbox revealed a new acquisition that indicates its destiny lies in the direction of the mobile cloud with the purchase of mobile mail startup Mailbox. This is in addition to other recent acquisitions that include mobile cloud music service Audiogalaxy, tablet advertising platform TapEngage and photo service Snapjoy.

Dropbox, which counts over 100m users worldwide and which plans to create up to 40 new jobs in Dublin is assembling many of the components it needs to become a next generation IT giant.

Dropbox is a free cloud service that lets users bring all photos, docs and videos into a folder that can be accessed on any PC, Mac, iOS, BlackBerry or Android device and across a variety of web browsers.

MIT graduates Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi began work on Dropbox in 2007, as a Y Combinator start-up. It emerged in April last year that U2’s Bono and the Edge took part in a US$250m second-round funding of Dropbox. Read more here: http://bit.ly/15aOFgq

The mobile cloud is the cloud

Writing in the Dropbox blog, founders Houston and Ferdowsi said not had they fallen in love with the Mailbox app, they said they felt it actually was one of the few mail apps to actually deliver on the promise of helping users with their overflowing inboxes.

They said that Dropbox and Mailbox were a natural fit.

“We all quickly realised that together we could save millions of people a lot of pain.

“Dropbox doesn’t replace your folders or your hard drive: it makes them better. The same is true with Mailbox. It doesn’t replace your email: it makes it better. Whether it’s your Dropbox or your Mailbox, we want to find ways to simplify your life.

“We’re all looking forward to making Mailbox even better and getting it into as many people’s hands as possible. There’s so much to do and we’re excited to get started,” Houston and Ferdowsi wrote.


Whether you’re running Android or iOS, 2012 was a great year for the advancement of apps. With the return of some old favorites on iOS (Google Maps: distance indeed made the heart grow fonder…) and some amazing newcomers like my new personal favorite, Paper, we’ve taken the time to rank our 10 favorite. List yours in the comment box below.

10. Simplenote
This is a cloud-based note-taking app that’s elegant in its simplicity. It syncs with a number of different desktop/laptop note-taking apps (I sync mine with the minimalist Notational Velocity), and ensures that whatever notes you take on the road will be there for you when you return to your home computer, and vice versa.—George Howard

9. Phraseology
A tablet would never be my first choice for writing or editing, but when I’m in a pickle Phraseology makes it work. It’s a smartly designed word processor app that lets me shuttle words, sentences and paragraphs around with ease. It also lists more stats than a baseball card, running down my word count, my total characters, my average number of words per sentences, and more. It’s still awkward typing on a virtual keyboard, but even without a keyboard attachment Phraseology is a useful little writing app.—Garrett Martin

8. Viggle
If you love getting punch cards at restaurants and coffee shops, you’ll love Viggle. Viggle is a television loyalty-rewards app that “checks-in” users to shows. Once Viggle magically confirms that you are indeed watching a show on your television, you’ll immediately begin to rack up Viggle points that you can eventually spend on rewards like gift cards and even a free month of Hulu Plus. It seems a bit hokey at first, but in the era of television streaming, Viggle is a noble attempt to get people back in front of their TVs and watching their shows together in community. Plus, who else has ever offered you free stuff just for watching TV?—Luke Larsen

7. Pocket (Formerly Read It Later)
Pocket is a complete revamp of the now-familiar Read It Later service, complete with a name change and a new interface that allows video and photos to be saved for later. And we’re not talking about simply aggregating a list of virtual bookmarks; Pocket caches all your content (outside of video) so it’s all available offline. This handy service works across Android and iOS devices, as well as computers. It’s easy to use and it’s got an interface that makes Instapaper feel a little dated. But Pocket isn’t interested in competing with Instapaper; one is for text and one is for multimedia. Pocket is great at what it does, and comes highly recommended.—Luke Larsen

6. The Magazine
The Magazine, developed by Marco Arment (who also created Instapaper and kicked off the read-it-later trend), finally gave me a good reason to use the Newsstand feature of iOS. It’s an entirely digital magazine, covering topics from achieving the perfect wet shave to the Tour de France, with an issue every two weeks. Originally written for geeks by geeks, The Magazine continues broadening its scope and embracing more and more variety as it grows. Subscribing costs $1.99/month, and each issue comes with four to six articles for your perusal. The user interface is beautifully intuitive; it’s so easy to use that many people have suggested the app is re-inventing what a digital magazine should look like. 8-ball says that might be true!—Nathan Snelgrove

5. Clear
Clear is nothing more than a to-do list. You can make tasks, rename them, reorder them, and delete them. That’s it. However, the success of Clear speaks to the real purpose behind these things we call “apps”—especially the things we call “productivity apps”. Clear doesn’t just make tasks fun—it has actually made me more productive. In the most intuitive and beautiful way possible, this app does exactly what it promises: cuts out all the extra baggage that most productivity apps pile on and leaves you with a clear view of your tasks at hand.—Luke Larsen

4. Flipboard
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Flipboard didn’t debut in 2012, but it did expand its wings this year to devices beyond its iPad and iPhone origins and embrace Android devices. Flipboard has been the killer app for news aggregation on the go for two years ago, and that claim has only solidified this year. Integration with Facebook, Twitter, and yourRSS Feeds make it the perfect way to get news. Beyond that, though, the Flipboard team started experimenting with in-app advertising. At this point, you’ve probably noticed the full-page glossy-style advertising that seems like it’s been ripped straight from a real magazine. But beyond that, Levi’s was the first to take advantage of a Flipboard catalogue in September, a first for a mobile app. Flipboard’s approach to advertising may be in-your-face compared to some of their competitors, but it’s working for them and users seem to actually enjoy it. And those pageflips!—Nathan Snelgrove

3. Paper
It’s always the apps that are built from the ground-up with a specific device in mind that feel the most intuitive. In that way, Paper for the iPad seems like a no-brainer. Paper is the simplest painting app imaginable. No menu of tools and brushes — just a single brush and the blank white canvas to start off with. Paper’s limited tools will definitely force you to use your imagination but in a world dominated by software like Photoshop and Microsoft Word, the limitations are a breathe of fresh air. With Paper, less is definitely more — and we couldn’t be happier about it.—Luke Larsen

2. Figure
Media consumption dominates so much of what smartphone and tablets users do on their devices. That’s why when an app as beautiful and fun to play with as Figure comes around, we should all pay attention. And who better to make a miniature synth sequencer than Propellerhead, the creators of the industry standard MIDI sequencing software Reason? But Figure is more than just a bite-sized Reason. It is simplified, but it’s also an incredibly satisfying new way to create beats and loops. Hit record and you might just be a few swipes away from your next big single.—Luke Larsen

1. Google Maps
Under the direction of Tim Cook and Scott Forstall, 2012 was going to be the year that Apple would finally release itself from Google’s hold on map and GPS services on their devices. Instead, Apple ended up making of their biggest software blunders in recent memory and left iPhone users wondering if Android users really were better off. Fortunately, Google released Google Maps—the best iOS app they’ve ever made. It features a superb UI, turn-by-turn voice navigation, and some very snappy new vector-based maps. If you still need proof that Google knows UI just as well as it knows algorithms, look no further. Most importantly though, iPhone users will no longer be driving around completely lost screaming into their phones.—Luke Larsen


— articles by tyler kane for pastemagazine.com

20 Best Mobile Games of 2012

A good mobile game understands the power of impulse. It should be cheap enough to rack up impulse buys, like a candy bar or tabloid in a grocery store check-out line. It should also be quick and easy enough to pick up, plboyfrienday and then put away at a moment’s notice. Our list of the best mobile games of 2012 is full of games perfect for brief patches of free time, but with unlockable perks or deeper mechanics that will keep you engaged past those fleeting moments.

Our list was voted on by a number of regular freelance contributors to Paste’s games section and then tabulated and compiled by Paste’s games editor Garrett Martin (aka me). Ballots were cast by myself, Simon FerrariRyan KuoJ. P. GrantRichard ClarkStu HorvathMitch KrpataJoe BernardiDan CrabtreeLuke Larsen and Casey Malone. Here are the 20 best mobile games of 2012.

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20. Pocket Planes
Developer: Nimblebit
Platform: Android / iOS
Pocket Planes buzzes like a good pop song. The gameplay is repetitive, catchy and best in small doses. It’s pure and simple pop gaming—addicting, sweet and crunchy, but sure to leave you with a mouth full of cavities.—Luke Larsen

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19. Hero Academy
Developer: Robot Entertainment
Platform: iOS
Since the success of 2009’s Words with Friends, developers have been eagerly trying to find a way to implement its turn-based multiplayer format into other games and genres on mobile devices. Hero Academy is one of the first games to make that multiplayer format work in another genre—in this case, the strategy board game. Excellent use of multiplayer matchmaking aside, Hero Academy is a surprisingly deep tactical strategy game that forces the player to think, overthink and agonize over every move they take. That alone is the mark of a compelling strategy game.—Luke Larsen

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18. Uplink
Developer: Introversion Software
Platform: iPad
Imagine the ’90s cyber-crime movies Hackers or Sneakers in videogame form. That’s Uplink, a remastered version of the 2001 PC hacker sim. Few games effectively exploit the balance between power and vulnerability. Uplink does. Hacking a well-defended mainframe makes you feel like a superhero, but you never stop looking over your shoulder.—J. P. Grant

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17. Call of Cthulu: The Wasted Land
Developer: Red Wasp Design
Platform: Android / iOS
It’s fitting that the grim setting of World War I should figure prominently in a game about unimaginable horrors. Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land is the latest videogame foray into H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos. Primarily a turn-based strategy game, The Wasted Land adapts some of the tabletop Call of Cthulhu RPG’s systems. In both its mechanics and its aesthetics, The Wasted Land demonstrates keen reverence for the source material. It’s a striking debut from a promising small studio.—J.P. Grant

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16. Angry Birds Star Wars
Developer: Rovio
Platform: Android / iOS
Angry Birds Star Wars takes the best of classic Angry Birds and Angry Birds Spaceand puts it in a setting that automatically conjures warm fuzzy feelings. It’s the level design here that makes this an undeniably well-refined product—it’s balanced, varied, and all-around delightful to play through. One star is easy enough to figure out for casual gamers, but achieving three stars still feels like a true accomplishment.Angry Birds Star Wars is the video game equivalent of going on vacation—even if for just minutes at a time.—Luke Larsen

15. Boyfriend Maker
Developer: 36 You Games
Platform: Android / iOS
Sure he was a bastard and a racist, ELIZA’s evil son, but he was taken from us far too soon. Boyfriend lived in our pockets for only a little over a week before being virtually jailed for his sexy crimes against users aged 4+. We cooked for him, we dressed him, and we chatted him up for five-minute spurts before he reminded us that he was out of energy. Some said it was our curiosity, or our loneliness, or the last gasp of our obsession with Asian culture. We were probably only bored, but Boyfriend was slightly less awful than most of the people who live in our computers.—Simon Ferrari

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14. Super Crate Box
Developer: Vlambeer
Platform: iOS
There’s a primal appeal to Super Crate Box’s basic set-up for anybody who ever spent time in arcades or played the 2600 or Nintendo Entertainment System. Simple controls and self-evident goals help Super Crate Box tap into a wellspring of nostalgia, and, like Angry Birds and other easily grasped mobile games, those aspects also welcome the non-enthusiast into the fold.—Garrett Martin

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13. Bad Piggies
Developer: Rovio
Platform: Android / iOS
Functional successor to Amazing Alex and spiritual successor to Angry Birds, Rovio’s Bad Piggies offered mobile gamers some creative license in the developer’s winning three-star physics-puzzle formula. Though not met with as much critical success, the swine’s mechanical misadventure has every bit as much charm as its feathered cousin, and a dash more ingenuity.—Dan Crabtree

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12. Monsters Ate My Condo
Developer: PikPok
Publisher: Adult Swim Games
Platform: Android / iOS
Monsters Ate My Condo, with its single-swipe gameplay and seizure inducing neon aesthetic, kept me up at night. Sitting in bed, lit only by my iPhone, I tried to keep the monsters happy while growing my tower ever higher. But like the best endless puzzlers, it beat me again and again. Deleting it was the only way to get a good night’s sleep ever again.—Casey Malone

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11. Angry Birds Space
Developer: Rovio
Platform: Android / iOS
Angry Birds Space transports all the unpredictability, frustration and addiction of Angry Birds to outer space. It takes the basic foundations of the original and supplements them with various gravity effects. It’s not too dissimilar to Super Mario Galaxy in that way—the basics of an old favorite reinterpreted with new physical twists. It tweaks the formula enough to justify its existence and to send even the most reformed Birds fanatic into a time-devouring relapse.—Garrett Martin

A good mobile game understands the power of impulse. It should be cheap enough to rack up impulse buys, like a candy bar or tabloid in a grocery store check-out line. It should also be quick and easy enough to pick up, play and then put away at a moment’s notice. Our list of the best mobile games of 2012 is full of games perfect for brief patches of free time, but with unlockable perks or deeper mechanics that will keep you engaged past those fleeting moments.

Our list was voted on by a number of regular freelance contributors to Paste’s games section and then tabulated and compiled by Paste’s games editor Garrett Martin (aka me). Ballots were cast by myself, Simon FerrariRyan KuoJ. P. GrantRichard ClarkStu HorvathMitch KrpataJoe BernardiDan Crabtree,Luke Larsen and Casey Malone. Here are the 20 best mobile games of 2012.

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10. Cool Pizza
Developer: Secret Library
Platform: iOS
Cool Pizza is an auto-runner, but it avoids the been-there, done-that by changing the perspective. The action happens from a three-dimensional third-person view like the old classic Space Harrier. Instead of running left to right our heroine runs straight ahead. And instead of running she’s on a skateboard, albeit one that never needs a kick. The art style also distinguishes it from the typical mobile game: It’s not a bright cartoon or a navel-gazing 8-bit tribute, but a stark piece of black-and-white line art with sparse color accents and a great Tettix score that sounds like Jan Hammer jamming chiptunes.—Garrett Martin

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9. Letterpress
Developer: Atebits
Platform: iOS
Word game Letterpress is a shining example of minimalist game design that is incredibly easy to pick up, but deeply layered in strategy. Players take turns choosing from the group of 25 randomly-generated letters to create words. When you make a word, the tiles you use turn light blue, adding points to your score. As players claim the board for their own, deeper levels of strategy arise. Resources become increasingly scarce and competitors are forced to become more and more creative in their word-making. It’s as different from Scrabble or any word-puzzle game as could be, while still keeping the knowledge of a large vocabulary at the center of the game’s required skillset.—Luke Larsen

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8. Fairway Solitaire
Developer: Big Fish Studios
Platform: iOS
Big Fish Games’ Fairway Solitaire isn’t exactly a new title—it was originally released five years ago for PC and Mac, and only made its way to iOS in March of 2012. But the wait was worth it. This ingeniously simple hybrid of solitaire and golf is perfectly suited to mobile platforms. With its quick-fix gameplay, high production value and varied challenges, Fairway Solitaire is a bite-size gem that’s as tightly designed as it is polished.—J.P. Grant

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7. Super Hexagon
Developer: Terry Cavanagh
Platform: iOS
In Super Hexagon, you control a small triangle trying to survive in a world full of shapes, sounds and colors that would love to engulf you. Rotating left and right around a hexagon is the only action possible, as patterns and obstacles moving in sporadic motions come hurtling toward you. The first time you play you’ll probably make it through 10 games in 30 seconds. The game is that hard and sessions are that short. One thing is for sure, though: That 30 seconds will quickly turn into hours if you’re not careful.—Luke Larsen

6. 10000000
Developer: EightyEight Games
Platform: iOS
At this point, match-3 games are like zombie games: There’d better be a damned good hook if you want me to pay attention. Fortunately, the strange hybrid 10000000 has several. A fusion of the match-3, RPGand endless runner genres, 10000000 employs a surprisingly effective combination of common mechanics to keep players coming back.—J.P. Grant

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5. Beat Sneak Bandit
Developer: Simogo
Publisher: Simogo
Platform: iOS
Rhythmically-challenged gamers beware: Beat Sneak Bandit‘s environmental puzzles bounce to the beat of the music and you can only move by tapping the screen correctly on beat. Beat Sneak Bandit is another refined achievement from Simogo and perhaps their most successful game yet. It’s intelligently designed and it works marvelously with the iOS interface. Most importantly, though, Beat Sneak Bandit has cured me of my habit of cringing at the sound of the phrase “rhythmic puzzler,” which is saying a lot.—Luke Larsen

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4. Punch Quest
Developer: Rocketcat Games and Madgarden
Platform: iOS
“Endless runner-slash-something-else” may as well be its own genre. After the success of Jetpack Joyride, it wasn’t surprising to find clever hybrids popping up. Punch Quest adds the brawler to that growing list of endless runner mash-ups. Button-mashing brawling action takes center stage here, and for the most part, it feels great.—J.P. Grant

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3. Waking Mars
Developer: Tiger Style
Platform: Android / iOS
Thousands of video games ask you to take life, but very few ask you to create it. Waking Mars is one of the rare creatures in the second camp. It’s also the rare mobile game that excels in all phases of its execution, elegantly integrating story, mechanics and aesthetics. As the story quietly unfolds—as you, well, wake Mars—you may find yourself more emotionally invested than you’d thought. That’s the thing about making life instead of taking it: eventually, you remember how to care.—J.P. Grant

2. Ziggurat
Developer: Action Button Entertainment
Publisher: Freshuu Inc.
Platform: iOS
The one-finger shoot-‘em-up Ziggurat‘s unique greatness only becomes clear once you get sort of good at it. Like most good iOS games, it’s defined by an extremely focused shallowness, targeted entirely towards getting you to dive back in. Keeping the action set minimal while providing a wide variety of gameplay situations forces the player to get creative. Even in a short burst of play, it’s pretty easy to discover a permutation of the action that had previously gone unnoticed. Ziggurat has a great knack for creating itches and then permitting you to scratch them, if you can.—Joe Bernardi

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1. Rayman Jungle Run
Developer: Pastagames / DotEmu
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform: iOS / Android
There’s very little to complain about with Rayman Jungle Run, a downsized iOS version of Rayman: Originsthat effortlessly simplifies its mechanics without losing an ounce of playability or character. Without even mentioning the incredible art direction and sound design, it’s a game that raises the bar for big franchises trying to make some extra money moving to the touch screen. It’s the kind of game that could easily stand on its own apart from the popularity of the successful franchise and will undoubtedly shape the future of the genre.—Luke Larsen

— article and image made by george graham for pastemagazine. 

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