Tech review: Be mobile and merry with apps
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While smartphones, tablets and an assortment of other mobile toys and contraptions figure to make their way under the tree this Christmas, the apps that you download to them will entertain and organize you throughout the holiday season.
Whether you're looking for fun games and interactive storybooks for the family, want an easier way to send out holiday cards, or would like to use healthier ingredients in your eggnog, here are five apps you should unwrap right away.
How the Grinch
Even a killjoy will appreciate the interactive version of this classic Dr. Seuss tale. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is available in three modes designed for different age levels. The "Read to Me" mode narrates the story as soon-to-be readers virtually turn the page. The "Read it Myself" mode is similar to printed books, with a few interactive features scattered throughout the story. Perfect for bedtime, the "Autoplay" mode will go through the whole story with one tap. A recent update allows users to record their voices and then share those audio tracks with others who own the app. There are also new sound effects and educational word association tools.
Haven't had the time yet to send out personal, professional or family holiday cards? No worries with this app developed by Apple. Cards comes equipped with a number of attractive templates. You can customize your cards with pictures and text, and even personalize different versions of the same card to specific recipients. Once all of your information is entered, the app provider will print and mail cards on nicely crafted cotton paper to your recipients. There is a $2.99 charge, postage included, for each card sent within the United States.
Cut the Rope: Holiday Gift
This holiday-themed companion to one of the most popular mobile games of all time features the same mechanics and game play that you may already know and love. For the uninitiated, here's the premise: You need to get a hanging piece of candy into the mouth of your monster friend, Nom Nom, by cutting different pieces of rope.
First Words Christmas
(iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad; $1.99)
If you have a toddler on the cusp of learning how to read and write, the First Words series of iOS applications serves as an invaluable tool to teach associations between letters, words and sounds. There are also features to engage older learners.
Holiday festivities come with temptations, particularly of the caloric variety. If you are trying to at least maintain your weight this season, or perhaps prepare meals and snacks filled with more nutritional options, download this app to get the lowdown on all of the ingredients you choose to include in your recipes. This app is a gift for health-conscious users that keeps on giving throughout the year.
Tribune Media Services