Editor's App Picks January 2014 - Best of SYAP

We recently launched the "Share Your App Project" on the Intel Developer Zone as a way to encourage developers to share emerging and innovative app projects with our community.  Each month we will recognize standout apps for being innovative, creative and effectively using technology and tools.  If you'd like to get recognition and community feedback on your best projects in concept, under development, in testing or published, follow this link and let us know what you are working on.

This month, we take a look at 5 projects, all which stand out by leveraging new technology and developer ingenuity to deliver amazing computing experiences.

Published Projects

  • Beautify: get on Google Play  
    App Description: "Look your best! Create the most flattering possible photo for Facebook, Twitter, or online dating sites. Beautify will automatically find a face in a photo, detect its features, and give you an instant makeover. Additionally, the complexion control lets you accurately match your skin tone, or experiment with tanning and lightening. Beautify will help you to look good and project the image that you want to create.  It uses the latest facial attractiveness technology to enhance your portrait photos. It does so by analyzing the face to locate features such as eyes, nose and mouth; and compares this with a model derived from the world's most attractive people. It applies these characteristics to your photos and yet retains all the features that make a person unique. The result is usually a pleasing improvement with better skin tone, brighter eyes, lips and teeth and enhanced facial symmetry."

    Editors Notes:  Beautify is an amazingly simple app on the surface, but under the hood sits a sophisticated set of computational algorithms and complex facial detection models that musters all the CPU horsepower of a modern mobile device.  The result is a fun and entertaining app that allows us to realize a more beautiful images from not so flattering photography . In addition, this app was originally compiled for ARM-based devices then recompiled with x86 libraries to run on the latest Intel-powered Android devices.  This app truly symbolizes how powerful processing combined with ingenious coding and business-minded development can deliver everyday value in the palm of your hand.

  • Babylonian Twins: get on Google Play   
    App Description: "Solve difficult puzzles and find hidden treasures in one of the most challenging puzzle platformers. Babylonian Twins takes you to 576 BC in ancient Mesopotamia with beautifully reconstructed historic environments, authentic original Middle Eastern music and innovative two-character control."

    Editors Notes: This app stands out for a couple of reasons. This app has a LONG history going back to Commodore Amiga days.  Many of us have a fondness for Commodore systems, however when you consider an game that old that has new life and is as relevant and entertaining to play today as it was back in the day, you have to have respect.  The cooperative character play and platformer puzzle scenarios are very familiar for us today however WAY ahead of its time for an Amiga game.  The other stand out aspect of this game is how it was ported from ARM to x86.  Some ports are easy and some require some work. This was the latter. Like many challenging ports we often find a bug in the code that was not fully realized until running on a different architecture.  With some code sleuthing the developer found an error in the PNGLib file and corrected. So kudos for the new work done on PNGLib and for the old work done to allow us to experience Babylonian Twins on Intel powered Android devices.

Projects In Testing

  • Nika Digital from Studio Mercato  
    App Description: "Nika is an abstract strategy game closely modeled after accurate ancient Greek battle tactics. / / Two to four players race to reach their allied city’s gates, positioned across from them. The first player to reach their victory area across the board wins.

    Editors Notes: Nika is a new kind of retro modern app. It is modern in that it is leveraging the latest in HTML5 technology allowing a common code source to be used and optimized for various platforms. It is also a retro experience in that it is a digital board game, but you can do so much more than you can with the typical board game, allowing you to move troops in groups. Nika then stands out when played on the right device.  We've played Nika on a number of devices and while it is a great experience on both handhelds and laptops we found that Nika is something special when played on All in One tabletop PC devices.  Here members can sit around the device in family style boardgame play.  This experience is unique, bringing newer digital age technology back to a more traditional face to face multi-player scenario.  Developers: take note of what Nika is doing well here.  We suspect there is much more to this.

Projects Under Development

  • askMama
    App Description: "A social good app that allows expecting mothers with any type of cell phone (dumb or smart) to subscribe to text tips from MAMA or ask MAMA volunteers questions about their pregnancy."

    Editors Notes:  askMAMA was developed during our NYC Hackathon, and won the Best Social App category. This app has gotten the attention of the UN Foundation and looks to be moving further than our event. The app has a lot of potential to help new mothers get access to quality medical information from the most basic of connected feature phones, while at the same time allowing those with knowledge and information to connect with those around the world in need of their help.  

  • Hammerfield
    App Description: "Can you break the record for the longest spacewalk? Strap yourself into a jetpack and cruise around the space station! Smash asteroids and debris with your hammer to protect the ISS and maximize your fuel. Guard the resupply capsules as they deliver more fuel to you. How will your spacewalk stack up against humanity's best?"

    Editors Note:  This app also was developed during the hackathon at the NYC Android Codefest.  This app stood out because it was clear the idea was just formed during the Codefest then rapidly prototyped using Construct 2 then packaged and tested using the Intel XDK. As the day progressed we saw the game take shape from simple game play using basic primitives to being fine tuned with polished graphics. After one day they had a very good demo of the game working at the hackathon.  This app is a great example of quality rapid development pairing a developer and artist.  We hope to see the work on Hammerfield continue.
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