updated 08:21 pm EST, Tue November 6, 2012
Air Patriot for mobile, SmartGlass for Xbox on iOS
While it is not uncommon for companies that compete with Apple to release apps for its wildly successful iOS platform (for example, Google's many iOS apps), it was still something of an odd coincidence that two other would-be Apple rivals in the mobile space, particularly in the tablet segment -- Amazon and Microsoft -- both released new apps for iOS today. Amazon has brought its own in-house game Air Patriots to iOS and Android (along with a slightly different version for the Kindle Fire HD), and Microsoft has unveiled SmartGlass for Xbox on iOS.
Air Patriots is a variation on the "tower defense" game that may remind some players of a cross between Flight Control HD and the old electronic game Battleship. The game is the first from Amazon's in-house studio, and only the second release after the Facebook children's title Living Classics. Players fly a squadron of planes in the predicted path of the enemy based on player's obstacles, bombing them but at risk of being hit by ground fire from the enemy.
The game uses the "freemium" model, meaning it is free to download but offers in-app purchases, including upgrading the three available maps to the full seven on offer (using a Map Pack for $2 that also includes all future maps) and additional plane types and weapons for optional purchase. The Kindle Fire HD version adds support for Amazon's GameCircle and cloud-based saving, allowing users to pick up the game on another Kindle and carry on from their last save point.
In addition to up to 13 aircraft, 50 achievements, 28 levels and seven maps to play, those who score high enough to receive the Medal of Honor in each of the game's three modes (Rookie, Pro and Veteran) will also unlock wave survival levels. The game is available now on the iOS App Store, Google Play and the Amazon appstore for Android.
Microsoft's SmartGlass app for iOS is intended to act as a supplement to the company's Xbox video game and entertainment system. While an Android version was released late last month, it is only just now coming to iOS. In addition to allowing users to interact with various media and games, the app also tracks user achievements, connects to Xbox friends and lets users change their avatar.
Users can navigate the Xbox, type on the app to simplify the laborious input process on a TV, control the playing of audio and video from the Xbox, browse the Internet and search the Xbox catalog. Unlike the Amazon app, the SmartGlass app is free with no in-app purchases.