Angry Birds Friends: Finally, competition
The Angry Birds franchise has taken us plenty of places. We've flung birds in Rio and in a galaxy far, far away, but now game-maker Rovio is attacking an entirely new frontier: the competitive arena. "Angry Birds Friends" taps your into your network of Facebook friends to offer a new dimension to its familiar game. Users can play weekly tournaments with their friends with three levels per week. At the end of the tournament, the game lets you know how each of the four players have fared in their levels and ranks them. The addition of a social, competitive element is fun -- users should know the game must be granted Facebook access to work -- but it's really easy to blitz through your levels fast and have the app sit dormant for the rest of the week. If you like trying to best your friends, then feel free to pick up this title. But if you want a game with lots of playing time, give this one a miss. Free, for iOS and Android devices.
Tempo: A smarter calendar
The Tempo calendar app attempts to improve on the default calendar program for the iPhone -- and largely succeeds -- by pulling information from multiple accounts, adding relevant information such as meeting locations from email accounts and letting users text or call contacts from within the app. Having all of that information centralized in one location is incredibly useful, and the app is designed to pull in email attachments from your accounts to make items like meeting agendas or presentation materials easy to reach from your calendar.
It remains, however, a work in progress. Users can't, for example, add the names of attendees to events -- one of many features developers promise are coming soon. Also, sometimes the app does things like pull the wrong similarly named contact from your phone book into your calendar. Still, the app gets better the more you use it and is an elegant alternative to Apple's baked-in offering. Free, for iOS devices.