Dec 22, 2010

SmartPhones Aren't Just For Adults

My Husband and I have a disagreement about a Christmas present for our 9 year old son. I think an Nintendo DS is an appropriate gift. Or even a 2nd generation iPod Touch we have laying around the house that was never opened. I envision him listening to his own music (mostly Micheal Jackson), audio books (Magic Treehouse), YouTube videos (stop motion homemade Lego movies) and games. Yes, both are expensive gifts for a child his age, but I think it will teach him responsibility and will be a very special gift.

The Husband is set on selling the iPod Touch on Ebay. (He had won it in a contest at work, and being the Android Family we are, we never even opened it.) We came up with a comprise of sprucing up our old G1 instead and wrapping it up for him. A cool new cover (what boy doesn't love skulls) and headphones, his favorite free games and a few paid (Hello, Pocket God!), his music, links to and his favorite sites. The phone will not be enabled, so no cell phone usage yet, just wifi. He already has a gmail account that we encourage family and friends to contact the kids with (and we monitor) so he can really start using it. I suspect the Husband thinks it will spark a bigger interest in coding in the little guy too.

Whenever we are on a road trip or waiting anywhere, the kids constantly ask for our Android phones to play with. Usually they are in use for GPS Navigation, Music player or just plain old phone so they don't get it. One morning I couldn't find my Nexus One as we left the house and I asked the kids. The 6 year old pulled it out of his toy box "Oh, here it is". So I think this will solve several problems for us.

What do you think? Is that too much for a young child or do your kids already smartphone?


Dec 12, 2010

App Review: Pocket God

Pocket God on Android is the most exciting thing to happen in awhile, as far as my kids are concerned. This was their last remaining regret with the family's upgrade from iPhone to Android last Christmas. So it is the perfect gift this year.

Pocket God lets you control the lives of five cute little island Pygmies. You can be a nice caring God and supply food and bathroom breaks, or you could feed them to the volcano and sharks. It's all up to you! There is no "winning" this game, it is all discovery and experience. Tilt your phone to the side and they simply slide off their island, into the sea and awaiting shark. Tap the screen a few times and they begin a ritual dance. Swirl your finger and start a Hurricane. And the list goes on...

Adults may get bored quickly with this game, but my kids (aged 6 and 9) can play it for hours. Just about when things get old a new update will come out or they will discover a hidden mini game and respark their interest.

Pros: Most fun my kids have ever had on a smartphone. Period.

Cons: The install is really large - the largest app I have ever installed. There are also reports of it crashing on lots of different phones. But this is version 1.0 and the folks at Pocket God are good about continues updates. Check the link below to see if you version is officially supported.

Price: .99
Developer: Ngmoco via Bolt
Tested on: Nexus One