Can a casual numbers game be fun? You bet

Editors' Note, March 13, 2014: This review was updated to include impressions of the Android version of Threes.

Threes (Android|iOS) is a part-math, part-matching game as you slide numbers to make multiples of three while trying to get the highest score possible. At first blush, it doesn't seem very exciting, but once you hear the music and sound effects, and get into the flow of the game, it can be incredibly addictive.

What's amazing about Threes is that it came out only one day before this review, but it's currently sitting at No. 1 in the … Read more

The Room Two takes puzzle solving into a mysterious world

The Room Two is the hotly anticipated sequel to one of the most celebrated puzzle games on iOS, and after playing through a few levels, I can tell you it raises the bar that was already set high with the original game. This made-for-touch-screen puzzle adventure includes incredible graphics, a mysterious storyline, eerie atmospheric sound effects, and complex puzzles that will have you pulling out your hair trying to figuring out your next move.

The original The Room won Apple's Game of the Year for 2012, along with several other awards, and the sequel gives you more of the … Read more

After upgrade hiccups, Alcatel will skip Firefox OS 1.2

The Alcatel One Touch Fire, one of the inaugural phones to sport Mozilla's Firefox OS, won't get version 1.2 of the browser-based operating system -- but it will get 1.3.

That's the word from Mozilla and Alcatel. And although it's an inauspicious start for the browser-based operating system, it's likely a relief to those who feared Firefox OS 1.1 would be the end of the line. One unpleasant aspect of low-end Android phones is that they often don't get OS updates, but Firefox OS hasn't been around long enough to … Read more

Future iPhones, iPads could be more touch sensitive

Mobile devices don't always interpret touch gestures correctly. A new patent application from Apple, which CNET also reported about here, suggests one way to improve their accuracy.

Published Thursday by the US Patent and Trademark Office, a patent dubbed "Gesture and Touch Input Detection Through Force Sensing" explains a way of adding force sensors to a touch screen. Such sensors would recognize certain types of swipes and better distinguish accidental gestures from the real thing.

As envisioned by Apple, three or four force sensors would be outfitted with a device's touch screen. But the sensors would … Read more

Moshi SenseCover for iPhone 5/5S has touchy new feature

The one issue with flip-cover or "folio" style smartphone cases is that while the front cover offers good screen protection, it can be a little cumbersome when you're answering a call or have the phone held up to your ear.

Moshi's answer is the SenseCover, a new faux leather flip-style case that has a built-in window, along with touch sensors which allow you to answer phone calls, check the time, or turn off alarms without opening the front of the case.

The case looks similar to Samsung's Galaxy S4 S-View Flip Cover Folio Case and … Read more

Apple on mobile payments and Touch ID: 'A big opportunity'

Apple may indeed be working on a mobile payments feature to rival services like PayPal.

On a conference call on Monday to discuss quarterly earnings, CEO Tim Cook said that the company was intrigued with the idea. He added that part of the thinking in implementing the iPhone 5S's Touch ID feature was its possible use in payments.

"It's a big opportunity on the platform," said Cook.

To be clear, Cook said there was nothing to announce, but definitely did not close the door to the feature. He specifically pointed to users enjoying the ability to … Read more

Samsung Galaxy S5 may sport fingerprint sensor, says analyst

Samsung thinks the Touch ID feature in the iPhone 5S is a pretty nifty idea worth including in its upcoming Galaxy S5, if a note from a Chinese analyst with a pretty solid track record of predicting upcoming smartphone features (including Touch ID) turns out to be accurate.

KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is predicting that the Galaxy S5 will also debut with a fingerprint sensor, according to a research note obtained by AppleInsider. … Read more

Fingernail-shaped stylus is manicure-friendly

If you have fingernails that extend beyond your fingertip and have ever used a resistive touch screen -- like the one on the Nintendo 3DS, for example -- you know that the index nail can provide a lot more accuracy than just tapping with your fingertip, and using it's a lot easier than taking out a stylus every time.

Elektra Nails has taken this principle and transferred it to the much more popular capacitive touch screen employed in smartphones and tablets. The company has created a false fingernail -- like the kind you can buy in pharmacies or have applied in manicure studios -- out of capacitive material, so that you can use it on your screen. … Read more

Never shoot a vertical video with your iPhone again

Horizon is an app we all wish had existed long ago. The premise is simple: no matter how someone is holding their phone, the app will only record horizontal video. I originally discovered the app while reading a post on TUAW.

Some might even view this app as a cure for Vertical Video Syndrome. I know I do. Not familiar with VVS? Here, watch this video and then come back. I think we can all agree, VVS needs to stop.

There are three modes to the app:

The first mode keeps the video framed horizontally and at the same size. … Read more

Logitech PowerShell Controller + Battery review: iPhone game controller missing a few buttons

Do you need buttons to play games on your iPhone? Certainly not. And yet, iOS MFi-certified game controllers are here, giving you the promise of full game controller-like support for games and letting you theoretically use your phone or iPod Touch like a little Nintendo 3DS or PlayStation Vita.

The Logitech Powershell Controller + Battery is one of those accessories. As its name suggests, it's a case that adds physical gaming buttons, and also has a battery pack. It also costs $99.99. For most people, that's where the train skids off the tracks.

Whether you want an iOS … Read more