Best Halloween Apps & Gadgets

It’s handy that someone invented Hallowe’en to fill that awkward gap between the end of the school holidays and Christmas – and if you want to get a few chills and thrills before the festive season here’s a few ideas for you.

For grown-ups
If you want to be able to find your iPhone 4S in the dark, then pick up one of these glow-in-the-dark cases from iLuv. Black and yellow would be my colour of choice for the spooky holiday, but you can also choose white and yellow or pink and blue. Made from silicone, they cost £19.99 from iluv.co.uk. They are currently on sale with 75% off so they can be picked up for just £5 for a limited time only!

While you’re at it, upgrade your boring old white earphones with a range of gothic-inspired earphones from Quarkie. Choose from rusty bolts, glittery blue cat eyes and vibrant yellow snake heads – more interesting than a witch’s hat or vampire teeth!
There are seven designs in all, and Quarkie has promised that it has paid as much attention to ensuring the sound is high quality as it has to making the designs as unusual as possible.

Quarkie’s Audio Art range cost £69 each from quarkie.com

Or make your own spooky thriller movie trailer featuring your Facebook friends at http://www.biotechthriller.com/

For kids

If you’re taking the kids to see the film ParaNorman over half term, they might be interested in the new games Spil Games has produced in conjunction with the film at paranorman.girlsgogames.co.uk/

The web app, which can be accessed via iPad and iTouch as well as other mobiles, features a number of Halloween-themed games – the top-rated of them is ‘Devilish Dress Up’, which lets players experiment with different Halloween costumes (Search ‘Devilish Dress Up’ on www.girlsgogames.co.uk).

Online, from the ParaNorman collection, ‘Mix a Monster’ is particularly good fun – players combine ingredients in the magic cauldron to create terrifying monsters:

Young children will enjoy searching for Nicky the friendly ghost using a ghost-shaped UV torch in the cute book Ghost Hunter. Nicky is hiding in 11 exciting scenes – and the torch reveals him and the other invisible ghouls lurking on each page.

It’s a cute book, with a nice story with a moral ending, and the added attraction is that UBV torch, which may attract children who are not so keen on books. It certainly worked on the six-year-old reluctant reader in our house. Available from Top Hat Publishing and it costs just £7.19.

Halloween-Countdown

..and for big kids!

Halloween – 12 Tricks or Treats lets Android and iOS users celebrate the haunted holiday early by recommending the best and most chilling paid for Halloween-themed games – for free.

Launching on October 19, a new free game will be delivered through the app every day until Halloween. The app is the brainchild of MagicSolver, and the company tells us it has assembled an expert editorial team to search the app stores to find the best and most chilling games available, so Android and iOS fans don’t have to. Expect spine-chilling animations, hair-raising graphics and creepy sound effects

Halloween – 12 Tricks or Treats is free to download from Apple iTunes App Store and Google Play.

If you like your Halloween monsters a bit cuddly, take a look at these Annoying Monsters. Scare and annoy colleagues and friends with these monsters and their loud screams! Choose from Pestering Percy who makes everyone jump out of their seats, Aggravating Alfred who loves to scream – and loves to be poked in the eye – try it, he’ll give you the shock of your life.

Finally there’s Infuriating Egor, If you leave him too long he’ll start to snore. Press his hand to record a spooky message and he’ll repeat it in a squeaky Each large monster costs £15 – see www.annoyingmonsters.com for more.

Squash drop and knock damage with tough iPhone cases!

I often look on in horror at anyone who doesn’t have his or her iPhone tucked safely inside a case. Although my dismay at ‘caseless iPhones’ probably has a lot to do with the fact that my iPhone, despite being only six months old, has been dropped by my two young boys on several occasions, only to bounce back unscathed, protected by a superduper rubber Tech 21 D30 case.
iPhone and iPad cases, unlike the hordes of superfluous and ineffectual gadget accessories littering the world of tech at present, are a much needed, if not mandatory, accessory and thankfully there are literally hundreds of such products to choose from.

To help you sieve through the surge of iPhone and iPad cases that have arrived on the scene in 2012, we’ve located some of the best of the recent arrivals and an old favourite.

Touch-iPhone-Cases

The Incipio Le Deux

If a practical, no-nonsense and inexpensive protective iPhone case is what you’re after then look no further than the Incipio Le Deux. Combining a polycarbonate bumper with a polished, stainless steel backplate, this newly released smartphone case offers a stylish and sturdy plain-speaking protection against those inevitable drops and knocks your treasured device is subjected to, for just $30.

Proporta Microbial Case

Did you know that the average toilet seat festers approximately 49 germs per square inch while the average mobile phone has over 25,000?

Pretty disgusting hey? hence the arrival of the Proporta Microbial Case. Containing an anti-microbial agent, this case wards off 99% of germs. Not only this, but the Proporta Microbial Case is ultra-tough and features a comfy grip panel, which in normal circumstances are place for germs to thrive but not with anti-microbe accessory. And for just £19, you could do a lot worse in your quest to keep your iPhone and in this case yourself protected.

I’m surprised this case wasn’t unveiled when the swine flu ‘pandemic’ of 2009 was wreaking havoc across the world and everyone was wearing masks just to go about their daily lives!

Case-Mate recycled plastic iPhone cases

Made from 100% recycled plastic, Case-Mate’s new range of iPhone cases will go a long way in reducing the carbon footprints of iPhone owners.

Not only do these environmentally conscious cases encourage more sustainable practices – a desirable and trendy feat of modern tech culture – but they also look pretty cool. Being available in white, black, blue, green, orange and pink these eco-friendly cases will help protect your iPhone as well as the environment – not a bad double conquest for just $30!

Schreer Delights Retro iPhone Case

Retro-inspired tech never fails to turn a few heads and no more so than with the Schreer Delights Retro iPhone Case. From ‘Walkie Talkie’ looking cases to ‘Assorted Donughts’, from the ‘Breakfast Club’ to the ‘Rainbow Apple Tree’ case, Schreer Delights have a huge range of retro cases to suit all ages and tastes and, for $45, will guarantee that your iPhone will ‘stand out from the crowd’.

The LTD Tools range of iPhone and iPad cases

If you’ve got quite a lot of money to blow on an iPhone case you might want to take a look at LTD Tools’ ‘cool’ range of tough cases.

Made from aluminium – I personally prefer rubber – these smartphone cases certainly have a ‘machine look’ and are offered in two different styles, both of which have flip up lids that protect the screen. The LTD Tools cases also wrap around the smartphone to protect the whole device.

The 180 iPhone 4 case costs $45 and the 360 iPhone 4 case costs $75 – reasons behind the heftier price tag of the latter are not elaborated upon.

Case-Mate TANK: Klutz-proof iPhone casing

I know I’m somewhat of a klutz, but I’d like to think my clumsiness doesn’t inflict weapons grade levels of damage. Naming no names, the same cannot be said for some of you. If you are *extremely* butterfingered then perhaps it’s time to invest in a rugged case to protect your smartphone. Whilst there are many already on the market, iPhone case experts Case-Mate have decided to add to the beefcake brigade with the new Case-Mate TANK. And it’s spelt will ALL CAPS so you know it’s tough.

TANK

“Sixty-seven percent of damaged iPhones are due to cracked screens and the current market does not provide users with an effective solution,” said Erik Attkisson, Chief Marketing Officer at Case-Mate. “We saw this as an opportunity to engineer a tough case that has the high-design aesthetic our customers expect while providing critical protection for both the screen and the phone.”

Designed using the principal theory that guided motorcycle helmet engineering, Case-Mate constructed TANK with a hard, impact resistant exterior and a shock absorbing interior. The textured hard shell covers the dual layer case and, like a motorcycle helmet, disperses the initial impact over a wide surface area. The interior layer absorbs the weakened impact; further safeguarding the phone against bumps and shocks. The interior is made of a soft silicone and features plugs over the phone’s ports to keep the inside free of dust and dirt. Color matching holsters complete the case. Wanna watch a video? Of course you do.

My favourite thing about TANK is the sliding screen cover that swipes across to defend your precious iPhone screen from the outside world. It smacks a little of overkill but then again I’ve scratched my iPhone 4 and 4S with keys in my pocket to perhaps it’s not so silly. It’s obviously a little bulky so the TANK is something I’d pop on when cycling, or perhaps running rather than sitting at my desk.

TANK is available for £44.95 at http://www.mobilefun.co.uk

Golla’s Special Year-End Edition of Hard Covers for iPhone 4S

With the cost of purchasing an iPhone being terribly high, an almost boundless number of cases and covers for the iPhone available, amidst a seemingly relentless iffy economy, you would have thought the last thing we needed was the arrival of yet more iPhone cases. Although the thought of design and accessory companies not attempting to cash in on the immediate success of the iPhone 4S, which has already sold more than 4 million handsets worldwide, would surely be a little naïve.

Golla-Hardcover

Alongside the launch of Apple’s latest smartphone has been an influx of iPhone 4S accessories, including a ‘special year-end edition’ of Golla hard covers for iPhone 4 and 4S.

Offering six hip, brightly-coloured, uniquely designed covers for the iPhone 4S, the Finnish design brand has certainly excelled in the ‘funky’ stakes. Although I can understand why kids may want to brighten-up their iPhone by sheathing it with a florescent pink and orange case with random letters arbitrarily sprawled across it, I cannot really understand those with more ‘mature’ tastes attempting to ‘glam up’ an already ultra-glamorous iPhone 4S. Although despite my scepticism of iPhone cases, they do, Golla assure me, have a useful function.

Made from a durable, shatter-resistant and lightweight polycarbonate, the Golla hard covers will offer protection for an iPhone 4 or 4S, which I suppose it you’ve forked out £499 on a gleaming new iPhone, making it as well protected as possible has to be desirable. Not only are the covers highly durable but their soft touch finish gives them a good grip and, according to Golla, a ‘classy matte look.’

Golla’s six new designs will be available to purchase worldwide from the beginning of December, just in time for Christmas!

For more information head to Golla

STM Velo Laptop Shoulder Bag: The ultimate laptop thief deterrent!

A laptop bag that doesn’t look too much like a laptop bag – now there’s a novelty. Although on second thoughts, being one of the most ‘nickable’ items in existence, perhaps owning a more inconspicuous-looking laptop bag would be a wise move. The Velo is a laptop bag designed by laptop bags, iPad case and laptop sleeve makers STM, with the aim of looking cunningly unlike a bag for a laptop. Although whilst it may not be the conventional rectangular-shaped, unmistakably designed for a laptop, we now take for granted, the stylish, durable and pocket-frivolous Velo is a far cry from being ‘inconspicuous’.

Velo-STM

I suspect that the Velo laptop bag will be a popular choice of laptop carriers among cyclists, as being made from a durable, water-resistant nylon, the bag is ultra-lightweight, will keep its contents dry in a downpour and is unlikely to rip after the first journey to work. Possessing multiple organiser pockets, the Velo enables for quick and easy access for all of life’s essential items, such as an iPhone, keys, coins, credit cards, and, of course, a laptop. Although having said this, I often find that carriers that feature a multitude of pockets can end up leaving you more infuriated than ever. The amount of times that I have cursed my faux Prada handbag for its mass of pockets as I am unable to locate my ringing phone and by the time I have found it, the answering machine has kicked in!

Jibes aside, the Velo laptop bag certainly looks stylish and may prove to be a provident deterrent to any laptop thieves that may be luring. And with the growing number of people trading the Tube or the car for the bike to get to work, the STM Velo could be a common and convenient accessory to carry all those office essentials to work.

STM’s Velo fits most 13” and 15” laptops and will set you back £69.95.

Kenzo and Proporta team up to make smartphone cases

For all the disappointed raging nerds on the internet, furious about the lack of external change in the iPhone 4S, there were many more relieved iPhone case manufacturers delighted that they didn’t need to suddenly scramble to revise their product lines over night. And with good cause, as the case market for the iPhone 4 is pretty strong, with a range of offerings for varying groups of customers.

Kenzo-Holster

For the fashion conscious amoung you, Proporta, the Brighton-based mobile device and gadget accessory manufacturer, has launched a new range of cases for Smartphones, inspired by the Japanese art form of origami and Far Eastern floral patterns with fashion brand, Kenzo.

How can a smartphone case be influenced by Origami? Well the influence is twofold. I jest, but the Kenzo Origami Leather Case is inspired by the elegant simplicity of origami and is a protective leather pocket for your phone. Available in red, it offers protects your phone from bumps and bruises (whilst in transit – it does nothing for your phone when you remove it to take a call), is slim enough for clutch purses of skinny jeans, fastens securely with a magnetic tab and is finished with a stylish floral print lining.

Not a fan of origami? The Kenzo Patent Leather Case is s similar sleek, patent leather exterior embossed with the Kenzo logo, so you can broadcast your brand loyalty. Like the Origami, the case protects against scratches, knocks and scrapes, and is finished with a pretty floral lining you can glimpse when you pop your phone in.

Tough guy? You’ll probably be more into the Kenzo Leather Tokyo Pouch, which offers a more robust feel. Matte leather, an embossed Kenzo logo and six eyelets make for something a Hell’s Angel would be comfortable sporting and the interiors are finished off with unique floral prints so you can still have an outlet for your softer side. The red pouch comes with a wrist strap, whilst the black pouch comes with a handy belt clip and both feature a magnetic closure

Out now

Kenzo Leather Tokyo Pouch – £44.95 / $59.95 / €54.95
Kenzo Patent Leather Case – £24.95 / $33.95 / €29.95

Ted Baker and Proporta Kindle 3 Covers

As aphorisms go, “You can’t judge a book by its cover” is a classic. Until aphorisms catch up with the more age, you can however judge a Kindle owner by their cover, so for the fashion conscious book lovers among you Ted Baker have once again teamed up with accessory experts Proporta, this time to release a set of swanky Kindle covers.

Proporta-Kindle-3

We’d looked at one of their previous collaborations here where they had formed a tag-team to make fancy looking iPhone cases.

This time they have more literary aspiration and protect your Kindle 3 from the elements. The case is faux-leather and we saw in in both black and white. There’s a discreet metal button on the bottom right hand corner that serves not function other than to look cool.

On the inside cover is a little sleeve for random scraps of paper but it’s very tight so it’s literally just for a scrap or two.

In contrast with the wrinkled inner lining, the inside has a smooth lining that is very, very shiny and a little like a house of fun mirror. The black case has a purple inner lining and the white case has what I can only describe as pink gold.

There’s also a lovely unique designer Ted Baker floral lining that looks fabulous but that will be hidden 99% of the time by your Kindle 3. But it is very pretty.

Your kindle is held snugly in place and the case adds very little weight to your reading experience. All the ports are also free and unobstructed so it’s easy to charge your Kindle with power or books.

Want to get your hands on one? Yours for about £45 from Proporta or Amazon

New iPad 2 keyboard cases

Like Oliver Twist, the iPad has been a runaway success and has slowly helped transition the consumer tech industry towards the post-PC era. People laughed when the iPad was announced (I took a break from the internet for a few days as the venom spat on Twitter and comment threads was insane) but it’s hard to dismiss a device that’s shifted 30 million units and created it’s own little industry as a fad. However, even the most ardent iPad fan would admit that iPads are far from perfect, and one of the main drawbacks for serious work is the lack of a proper keyboard. I’m writing this article on an iPad (I’m a method journalist) and despite help from the excellent IA writer app, a dedicated hard keyboard would clearly be better. We thought we’d take a quick look at some of the iPad keyboard cases out there.

sd-case

One of the cheaper keyboard cases out there is the SD Tabletwear rotating iPad 2 case. At about £45 it’s not that much more than some conventional iPad cases and has many of the features that have become derigeur, such as a magnetically lined flap on the edge of the case to allow the iPad 2 to automatically wake from sleep and the ability to rotate the case between portrait and landscape. Obviously the case includes a keyboard, which uses active Bluetooth pairing and has actual hard keys instead of silicon.

Crux-case

For almost triple the price you can go all out on the Crux Clamshell iPad 2 case. Some high-end engineering and ingenuity transform your iPad 2 into an ultra portable laptop. The case protects the iPad 2 via its tough case design, which covers both the front and back of the iPad 2. You can also use it as a stand for movies or photos.

For more on these or other iPad 2 Cases with Keyboard check out gearzap.