App Friday January 5th, 2018

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Happy New Year!

Start off the new year by escaping to warmer climes (at least virtually) and build a tropical island with AR Diorama, or follow the story of a kitten moving from the North Pole to Puerto Rico with the Christmas Caribbean Cat. Plus, create flash cards with Dew Drop Academy, and build your own puzzles with Inch Maker by White Pixels. Finally, the new year is a good time to check up on the apps you have installed to ensure that they aren’t tracking you via your microphone.  

Garry Froehlich 
Jellybean Tunes

AR Diorama – Qurious Island
by Get Qurious

Combine augmented reality with DIY craft projects to create your own Tropical Island. The tide pool glistens, palm trees drop coconuts, clouds make rain, seeds grow and flowers attract butterflies. Additionally kids can take pictures, record notes and shoot videos with their diorama in open-ended play.

AR Diorama - Qurious Island
AR Diorama - Qurious Island

Dew Drop Academy
by Love to Learn

Dew Drop Academy uses advanced flashcard techniques to teach students objects, colors, shapes, numbers, letters, and simple words. The student will hear the word spoken and select the image of what that word means. With errorless teaching and positive verbal reinforcement, students are encouraged to continue to learn. The app’s artificial intelligence constantly tracks how quickly the student is learning, and adjusts the difficulty up or down so that the student is never overly challenged nor finds it too slow.

Dew Drop Academy
Dew Drop Academy
Developer: Love to Learn
Price: Free+

Inch Maker by White Pixels
by White Pixels

Inch Maker by White Pixels allows kids to make their own Inch Worm strategy puzzles. Kids solve a couple of puzzles to learn how the various blocks and critters operate. Then they start building. Positioning the walls, arrows, and homes. Adding acorns, cherries, leaves, and eventually snails, ladybugs, and dragonflies. Kids solve their own puzzles, or hand them to a friend.

Inch Maker by White Pixels
Inch Maker by White Pixels
Developer: Richard Meyers
Price: $0.99

The Christmas Caribbean Cat
by Cat On A Wall

In Celebration of the Holidays in Puerto Rico After Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria and Dedicated to the Many Brave Puerto Ricans Who Have Weathered and Continue to Weather the Aftermath of the Storms.

A little orange kitten moves from the North Pole (where it’s very cold) to Puerto Rico, thinking that the sunny weather and tropical breezes would be so much better than “ice and snow.” When she gets there, she finds that she is lonely. Missing her wintery Christmases, she decides to make Christmas cookies in the shapes of snowflakes, pine trees, and other things. Her neighbors can’t resist the smell of her cookies, so they all come for a visit. Pretty soon, she has made a lot of new friends and realizes that it’s not the place but the people with whom she spends time are what matter.

The Christmas Caribbean Cat
The Christmas Caribbean Cat

The apps on your phone may be tracking what you watch on TV

Has an app or game ever asked you for access to the microphone on your device? It turns out that it may not want to listen to you, but instead to the TV you have turned on in the background.

A company called Alphonso Inc. has software that can identify TV shows and commercials from their audio, and offers to partner with mobile app developers to include that software in their apps. Since apps can run even when you aren’t using them (if you give them that permission), that means your phone can be tracking what you are watching even when it is sitting in a purse, on a table, or in your pocket.

There doesn’t seem to be a list of apps using this software, but apparently Alphonso requires that apps using their software disclose that within the app description, such as Dream Run. They also don’t authorize its use in apps for children.

They do offer a mobile opt out guide (http://alphonso.tv/mobile-opt-out-guide/) and it is a good idea to check which apps have access to your microphone, and your location, and limit access for apps that really don’t need it.

Read more at nytimes.com.

About App Friday

App Friday highlights new or updated kids educational apps from family-friendly developers. We support independent app makers who design high quality and age-appropriate apps with respect for children’s online privacy. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to find out what’s new in children’s tech. Learn more about App Friday, and how YOU can participate, on the App Friday Info Page. We can’t wait to connect with you!

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