The Best Children’s Apps For Your Tablet

Many thanks to Ken Embechebe, owner of UK based gadgets site Universal Gadgets, for this insightful article on Apps for Children.

Nowadays, many children grow up in a world where access to touch-screen internet connected devices is common-place. Millions of people use smartphones, tablets and computers every day.

Whereas the previous generation had Nintendo Gameboys, and handheld consoles, this generation have powerful tablet computers. As many adults will know, giving a child unmonitored access to the internet can lead to potentially dangerous situations. This is where apps come in handy. Utilising apps allow your children to enjoy their tablet experience whilst you can rest easy knowing exactly what it is they’re doing.

Understanding how to best engage, entertain and educate our children through the use of these applications is vital. The below collection of tablet apps manage to be fun and educational; a mix that’s quite often incredibly hard to master.

Learn:

International Children’s Digital Library – (Free) iPad

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The ICDL app puts an entire library of children’s books onto your tablet, including tales from the early 1800s right through to modern stories. This fantastic (and completely free) app gives users the ability to search, access and read thousands of child-friendly books in various different languages. Perfect for all ages, this app means you’ll never be stuck for ideas when it comes to story-time.

Meerkat Math – (Free) iPad

meerkat math

What do you get when you add mathematics to an addictive running game? Hours of educational fun, that’s what. Meerkat Math will have your kids teaching themselves by answering various maths equations in order to try and catch up with that pesky meerkat.

The game itself is built by a company run by teachers, and is a perfect example of how education can be fun. It’s even got a multiplayer mode (made safe by prohibiting communication between players) where your children can show off their maths skills by competing against others.

Barefoot World Atlas – (£2.99) iPad

barefoot world atlas

Recently voted one of the top ten best apps by Apple, this immersive tablet app is perfect for budding explorers. Let your children embark on an adventure with the Barefoot World Atlas. Journey across the sprawling 3D interactive globe and discover a world of information; from facts about the great oceans to bios of exotic animals and plants. This is the ideal digital atlas for the digital age.

 

Create:

Magic Piano – (Free) Android, (Free) iPad

magic piano

Kids will love this magical musical app. With new songs released for free every day, there’s plenty to play around with. Kids can tap along to the bars of light or get competitive and play the built in-game mode to level up and earn songs.

Whilst it certainly won’t teach your children how to play piano anytime soon, it’s great to see them play along to recognisable tunes and develop a sense of rhythm.

Kidomatic Camera – (Free) iPad

kidomatic camera

Social camera apps are all the rage at the moment. Whilst they do allow children to express their creativity and document important moments, they also have the potential to expose children to dangerous situations. If you’re interested in introducing your kids to photography, but don’t want them to access apps like Snapchat and Instagram, then Kidomatic Camera is the picture-perfect solution.

With over 120 icons, frames and brush types to enjoy, kids will love having the ability to snap and edit every moment.

Lego® Movie Maker – (Free) iPad

lego movie maker

A perfect combination of digital technology working seamlessly with the real world, the Lego® Movie Maker app gives children the chance to bring their Lego® sets to life. With loads of different editing tools and soundtracks to add to your homemade films, this app helps add a whole new dimension to playtime.

Android users needn’t feel left out either, as Lego® have a wide range of fun applications available on the Google Play Store as well.

Doodlecast for Kids – (£1.99) iPad

doodlecast for kids

Introduce your children to the joy of animation with this fantastically creative app. Doodlecast for Kids records your child’s drawings and captures audio at the same time, allowing children to create their own animated videos that are up to three minutes long.

It’s not just fun, it’s also great as a teaching aid, letting you and your children communicate in an incredibly creative and relatable way.

 

Play:

Gingers Birthday – (Free) Android, (Free) iPad

gingers birthday

This family-friendly app puts a festive birthday twist on the usual talking animal app. Invite your kids to Ginger the super-cute cat’s fun-filled birthday party, where they’ll have the chance to feed Ginger snacks, help blow out candles and play a whole range of party games.

What will adults love about this app? The parental filters, meaning that whilst in-app purchases can be made to get more items and snacks, parents can preserve their wallet’s safety and disable this feature if needs be.

Max’s Pirate Planet – (£0.62) Android, (£1.99) iPad

max's pirate planet

Fill your child’s thirst for adventure in this adventurous race across the seven seas. Join a merry mix of characters, including Finn the Shark and Emma the Pirate, in this swashbuckling digital board game.

From battling sea monsters to uncovering chests full of pirate treasure, there’s plenty here to keep kids entertained. With up to four players being able to join in at one time, the whole family can get involved, and with no in-app purchases, there’s no need to worry about your wallet.

The article was written by Ken Embechebe, owner of UK based gadgets site Universal Gadgets, which specialises in supplying accessories for all your favourite devices.

 

New NARR8’s ‘STORYBUILDER’ Editing tool.

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If you haven’t yet heard of NARR8, allow us to introduce you. 

NARR8 is a free mobile app available on for iOS (iPad and iPad Mini), Android 4.0+, and as of Mon. June 24, Amazon Kindle Fire. A digital publisher of motion comics, interactive novels, and educational nonfiction series in a slew of genres, NARR8 boasts stories for all tastes: horror, mystery, action, science fiction, and more, bringing all original content to life with fluid animation, HD effects, interactive and gamification (games within the digital content) elements and full music soundtracks.

 What’s most exciting about NARR8, however, is that as of early June, NARR8 is allowing you, the reader, to write the stories. Enter StoryBuilder, NARR8’s new user generated content editor tool allows for anyone – indie artist, aspiring writer, hardcore fan, to create his or her very own fan fiction with the help of a single tool. A web-based program with supplied graphics, animations, word processor, sound effects, and more, StoryBuilder is easy-to-use, designed to allow users to focus on the assembly of their very own masterpiece. Soon, StoryBuilder will allow artists to upload their own graphics, as well!

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Once complete, user stories will face a review period of up to 72 hours (things such as unnecessary profanity, lewd or crude content will not be admitted). After the review period, users creations will be uploaded directly to the NARR8 platform, alongside NARR8 original series, shared with the app’s 800,000+ users.

 “It has always been important to NARR8 to be able to assist talented artists and creators, most importantly our readers. By implementing ‘StoryBuilder,’ we are allowing our creative fans who wish to share their stories with our 800,000+ users all over the world. We’re excited to continue evolving the NARR8 product and look forward to what this great addition will bring,” said Founder Alexandr Vashchenko.

 StoryBuilder will also include a payout for the user, eventually. NARR8 shared with Geeks Have Landed that although user generated content will be available for free, their eventual plan is to license popular fan fictions to their platform, giving creators a cut of the proceeds once monetization of the series begins (monetization will begin if and when the user title reaches over 1,000 downloads).

 StoryBuilder is available to all registered NARR8 users, who will need their account login information to access the website.

 As mentioned, NARR8 is free to download, and can be downloaded on the Apple Appstore, Google Play, and the Amazon Appstore.

 Check out the StoryBuilder tutorial videos.”

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If you love Puzzles you will love the free app “Can You Escape”

can you escape

If you love Puzzles you will love the free app “Can You Escape”

It’s available for Iphone, Ipad and Android users which will keep everyone happy.  This is currently a free app with constantly updating rooms.

The purpose of the game is to break out of the room you are in.  This is done by solving the puzzles and finding the hidden objects which are used in the room to help you leave and advance to the next floor.

For instance in the first room you have to solve a picture puzzle which opens a cupboard to give you a handle for the draw, in the draw is a screwdriver to open the vent, behind the vent is a safe, solve the combination open the safe and there is a key to unlock the door to access the next level.

You get the idea, look around the room and click on objects to enlarge them and look for clues.

There are 10 levels at the moment with another 5 promised soon

can you escape room

Positives

  • Free to install and play
  • Fun and challenging game that will sharpen your powers of observation.
  • Increasing difficulty with each level.

Negatives

  • Not enough levels only 10 at the moment which is very quick to finish although more promised soon
  • Like most apps they are funded by adverts which I suppose if you can live with them lets you play the game for free (a payment of will remove the adverts) but it does give you the chance to try before you commit.
  • Adding more levels will also incur a cost but if you like the game this shouldn’t be too bad.

Overall an excellent and addictive app but they need more levels as it is completed quickly and once you have lost your players it’s hard to get them back. Candy Crush have the right idea keep the interest by having many levels although probably too many.

As its free give it a go if you like solving puzzles you will love “Can You Escape”

Why the iPhone 5 is great for gaming

apple iphone 5

Why the iPhone 5 is great for gaming

The mobile phone is something that many people cannot live without these days because they do nearly everything on them from looking up information to talking to their friends and family. With full internet access you can research nearly anything on a mobile phone without having to change to PC, as well as this you can also watch films and listen to music never having to touch another device. What is most impressive is their ability to play games; the App Store on most modern phones is filled to the brim with thousands of games that you can download and play at any time. Online casino games have become incredibly popular with mobile phone gamers due to just how easy they are to play and how entertaining they can be.

One company that is a leader in mobile phones is Apple. Many people like their phones because of how intuitive they are to use, and Apple have continued to create many of the ways in which we use our phones these days such as the touchscreen, swiping or multi-finger inputs – before this touchscreen phones had always been clunky and hard to use. Since then many game developers have found that making games with touchscreen controls is a better way to import player commands.

Apple recently released their latest iPhone – the iPhone 5. This is the best iPhone to date due to the technology inside of it, as well as the updates to the operating system. With a 1.2 GHz dual core it has the power of a small laptop, with all this power behind it, everything on the OS is set to run smoother than ever. The stunning visual display and high sound quality make the iPhone 5 a great platform for gaming, this coupled with the app store back tracking and making online casino sites such as Jackpot City legal means there are now more games than ever available at the touch of a button.

Android vs. iOS: 3 Reasons Why Android is in the Lead

Apple vs Android

Android vs. iOS: 3 Reasons Why Android is in the Lead

By Andrea Fisher

Remember the board game, Monopoly— where you buy different properties, charge rent and slowly watch your empire skyrocket and grow? The purpose of the game is to develop faster than the competition; ultimately taking over and…monopolizing.

For the past six years, since the launch of the first iPhone in 2007, we have watched Apple make revolutionary advancements in digital mobile technology.  From Apple’s highly evolved processors and touch screen features, to their introduction of the iPhone App Store, Android and Windows phones simply couldn’t keep up.

There were cell phones and there was the iPhone—the only smart phone of its kind. But every winning streak ultimately comes to an end. For the iPhone, that time is now; and Android has slashed its way to the top.

Let me ask this, ‘What is an iOS device without its Apple name?’

Apple’s ingenious marketing campaigns keep them as a leading contender in the mobile world; however, they have become too cocky during their time at the top. User loyalty can last only so long— before being outweighed by competitive technology.

Already, according to http://cnet.co/14WXnBU, the number of Android devices activated outnumbers iOS devices— 750 million Android to 600 million iOS.

Mobile users are finally seeing the outdated methods of Apple— flocking over to Android devices for a customized and extensive user interface.

Let’s take a look 3 Reasons why Android is in the lead:

  1. The iOS 7  is mimicking features long used by Android’s Interface

Apple has recently released the new iOS 7 interface, which uses a couple of Android-like features in its latest design. An iOS Control Center, which is brand new to Apple mobile devices, has been long used on Android devices. It gives users fast access to Bluetooth/ WiFi settings, screen adjustment settings, and the rear LED flash as a flashlight.

The iOS 7 still has the same basic grids of shortcuts. The home screens, still all feature the same four docked shortcuts at the bottom. The bookshelf has been stripped away— the wooden bookshelf with books and magazines that you can fill is no more.

Instead, Apple gave their home screens a larger, flatter, less cluttered appearance. This new look aims to step up to the popular look of Android’s Jelly Bean interface.

2.  Widgets and Home Screens

It all boils down to cell phone customization. Do mobile users want to have more personal options or do they want standard features that are upgraded from time to time? Want options; choose Android. Want standard features; go the iOS route.

What is truly distinct about Jelly Bean is that widgets can be placed on the home screen—something that iOS still lacks.

Android operating systems are based on the idea of utilizing a fully customizable user interface. Wallpapers, widgets and desktops can all be modified to suit the individual. Android widgets, which are downloaded from Google Play, provide a flexibility that the iOS 7 interface cannot match.

These widgets allow important information (like social feeds, email, etc.) to be stored at the heart of the device. In the contrast, iOS 7 users must use Apple’s standard icons over the pre-designated desktop pages.

When forking over several hundred dollars on a mobile device, it might be nice to be able to place and locate items as you like— just a thought.

  1. Non-Market  Apps

 Adding to Android’s flexibility, its users have the freedom to download and install apps from virtually anywhere. Android may as well be synonymous with word choice; the opposite seems to be the case with iOS devices.

iOS only allows self-made apps with a developer’s license or those that have been evaluated by Apple’s App Store censors.

Apple has helped shape and mold today’s smart phone; however, it also sparked a digital mobile race— one which drives Android to constantly step up and utilize innovative features. Apple has had a good run, but if they don’t address some things soon, they will fall further down the wayside.

All in all, Android platforms have come a long way since 2007. Their fast operating systems, boundless apps, and their individualized interface are nothing short of astonishing. In the race to catch up to the iPhone, Android devices now lead—taking the forefront.

 

Guest contributor Andrea Fisher is an online marketer and content specialist for  Detection Security Systems.

 She is a published journalist & blogger with an English degree and political science minor from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

 

FaceTime Voice: The Biggest thing you didn’t hear about in iOS 7

Hello again,

If you’re anything like me, you spent 2 hours of your life plastered to a screen listening intently to a keynote speech, trying to make sure to catch every detail. Luckily, since I have a day job and can’t actually pay $1600 + airfare to GO to WWDC, Apple live-streamed the thing so that wasn’t necessary. I could talk about how the new version of iOS is a huge departure, and how it’s great, and how it’s awful, and you could probably justify all of those points. However, instead I would like to tell you about the biggest feature that Apple really didn’t spend any time on.

FaceTime (and iMessage) was really the first time a non-SMS based messaging system that integrates with regular text messages was released. BBM and Google Talk may have come first, but neither replaced SMS without users having to do work. Once iMessage was announced, it was just a matter of time until free iOS to iOS voice calls were introduced as well. Now that Apple has such a huge level of pull with carriers, they are free to experiment and introduce whatever they want. With iMessage, people were sending text messages that didn’t cost $0.15 a pop without even realizing it, every time they sent a message to another iOS user. With FaceTime Voice, it will be possible (in the fall, possibly in a later update) to have phone calls you make to other iOS users be handled entirely through VOIP. People will be able to make phone calls without using their minutes, and without even necessarily realizing they are doing it.

This is going to kill carriers, who are suddenly going to be inundated with customers who are noticing that they use a lot fewer minutes, and unlimited SMS is fairly cheap, but regular phone minutes are quite a bit more expensive. These people will want to downgrade their plans, and perhaps add more data to compensate for the added usage (although VOIP is very light on data).

I look forward to the consumer release of iOS 7, which will undoubtedly focus more on the average person’s needs, and will likely highlight this as a reason to buy iPhone.

ps. For the record, I did install the iOS 7 beta, and no, I am not a registered developer. I did this for free, and legally, and have been doing it since the second beta of iOS 5. If you want to know how, ask me @RobAttrell. If you just want to know my thoughts, feel free to leave a comment and we can discuss it, but I’m liking what they offered so far (most of which was successfully predicted here).

Best MacBook Air cases and covers

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When a hot Apple product hits the market, it has a tendency to spur a cottage industry of accessories. The MacBook Air is no exception, with several companies making MacBook Air 11 cases and covers.

Since the Air’s design hasn’t really changed in the last couple of years, most of the cases, covers, and sleeves that worked for the older 11- and 13-inch 2010 and 2011 models should work with the updated MacBook Air versions.

The first MacBook Air launched in 2008 and since then Apple has made each Air iteration slimmer, more powerful and more difficult not to want one. Whether you are planning to treat yourself to one or to make it a present for someone else, one of the key Mac accessories you will want to also grab is a case to keep it protected and out of sight. Whether it’s durability or sleekness that you are after, stylish MacBook Air 11 cases are here protect your investment.

As always, feel free to make your own suggestions for cases and covers you like and we’ll consider adding them in the next update.

GETINCASED | Custom phone cases.

Madi_Pattern_iPhone_4s_case-273x400

I’m now very excited to announce that custom phone cases are available from GETINCASED! Yay! There are lots of different designs available for a range of phones – iPhones, Samsungs and Blackberrys!

I was very excited as my phone case was delivered super quickly, and i’m very pleased with it. The quality of the cases are lovely – they seem fairly flexible but also feel very durable and strong. The cases themselves fit my phone perfectly and were very easy to fit, and the image quality is very high, which means the design is beautifully clear, even all the tiny details! I’d definitely recommend them.

10% Discount Code for our readers: geekshavelanded

WWDC 2013: What to expect

 

WWDC 2013

I won’t claim to be an expert when it comes to the tech world, but after several years of reading blogs and tech sites, watching product launches and keynotes, and generally maintaining an interest in all things digital, I can see patterns emerging. Rather than being able to tell you what Apple will do, I think it is much easier to start with a list of what they almost certainly won’t do at the WorldWide Developer Conference on June 10th.

  • No “cheaper” iPhone. (You can already buy a cheaper iPhone, they still sell a product launched almost a full three years ago, the iPhone 4)
  • No third-party app defaults (at best, you might eventually be able to choose an email client, or browser, for example, in the share menu of a productivity app, but more than that is probably wishful thinking)
  • No iPhone with vanilla Android Jelly Bean (it’s just not going to happen, so stop asking!)
  • No widgets (MAYBE a bar in notification centre for settings…maybe)
  • No fingerprint scanner (I really don’t see this coming any time soon, not enough of a reason for expensive, space wasting tech)

I’m certain that they will announce new tech at next week’s keynote, and perhaps even some new services (iRadio, anybody?…although I think iTunes Radio is a more likely name). The event will likely focus on Mac hardware and perhaps show some demos of the next iteration of Mac OS X (although we are running out of room in the 10.x naming, perhaps at some point that will need to be rebranded). There will definitely be a beta version of iOS 7 released, which is sure to be widely panned but extremely easy to use and understand.

The fact that Apple is considered boring is a testament to how hard they work to hide all the interesting tech and software that goes into their products. I believe there will always be “low hanging fruit” not dealt with in many Apple products, simply because there is no market for a perfect product, and the perfect product (Chromebook Pixel, Retina MacBook Pro, *Insert PC name here*) will never truly be attained when everybody’s view of perfection is different.

Apple has a history of justifying it’s premium “Apple tax” because it marries great hardware with software that just works, and services that aren’t perfect, but are good enough for everyday users, with some very bright shining spots. Odds are, this year’s WWDC will not render the other tech giants’ products obsolete, but it will provide more than enough to hold off many consumers until they are ready to release the next big thing, whatever that is.

Why the iPhone 5 Lightning to 30-pin adapter costs so much

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If the thought of buying an iPhone 5 and then having to shell out a further £25 for the Lightning to 30-pin Adapter – just to use your own speaker dock – has left a bitter taste, prepare for some sweet news.

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Geeks Have Landed have just had a chat with Apple about the steep price of that Lightning connector and it’s been revealed to us why. As you may have noticed the Lightning port is purely digital, but the old 30-pin connection in your car or on your speaker dock uses an analogue signal. Apple’s Lightning to 30-pin Adapter has its own DAC (Digital-to-Analogue Converter) allowing the iPhone 5’s digital signal to be understood by your analogue dock – which isn’t a cheap or simple piece of kit.

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With the cheapest DAC on What Hi-Fi starting at £150 and topping out around the £500 mark, the £25 price and compact body suddenly don’t seem so bad. Of course if you just want to charge your iPhone 5, or attach via USB, there’s a Lightning to Micro USB Adapter for just £15, but that may not help much with your Apple speaker dock.

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