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Oh no! The evil pigs of purchase inhibition taken the valuable eggs of smartphone desire and captured them within a complex structure. Fortunately, there are a number of powerful birds that can be slung through the air, space or various sets of children's movies to smash down the structure. Why can't they just fly through the air since they're birds, you may ask? Gee, you sure ask a lot of questions. Just plunk down your $0.99 and gear up for in-app purchases for these valuable premiums.

The BerryBird
Once, this bird seemed pretty mighty, but newer breeds have left you looking for something new out of your playbook. The developer of the native launcher hasn't created one for the BerryBird, but another developer offers to create something like it for you for $15. After positioning your cursor over the BerryBird and scrolling the trackpad to the left, you let go and are greeted with a terms of use dialog box that you must scroll through. After agreeing to the terms, the bird flies through the air and knocks down a bit of the structure, freeing a few eggs, but knows that it really needs a major update.

The WinBird
The WinBird notes that it is very different from the other birds. Most of the other launchers don't work well with the WinBird, so you import a clear black one from Finland. As you load the WinBird into the launcher, it gives you a preview of what the flight is going to look like. It uses Bing Maps to plot its course, which is right between the Birdroid and the iBird. The WinBird doesn't free many of the eggs, but using it was a great experience. Achievement unlocked.

The Birdroid
Before you launch the Birdroid, the WinBird insists that you pay it $15. OK, fine. At least you'll get to customize this bird any way you want it. It seems to be in fine shape despite a habit of gorging on desserts. The bird hops into the launcher upon recognizing your face. After launch, though, the bird fragments into 300 other birds. Relatively few of these birds wind up killing most of the others, but the ones that are left collectively knock down most of the structure and free most of the eggs. The Birdroid shares the accomplishment on Google+, which you don't remember ever signing up for.

The iBird
Fortunately, it is the one time per year that a new iBird hatches. The iBird doesn't look much like a bird at all but is rather a perfect metal and glass sphere. You swipe to the left to place the iOS bird in the launcher, a gesture that is covered under a U.S. patent. "Siri," you command, "schedule an appointment to launch the bird now." Siri replies, "The weather doesn't look good for launching birds but Wolfram Alpha has calculated the optimal distance and angle needed to apply to the launcher." 'After launching the iBird, it uses the exclusive Bird Fly app to make its way toward the structure. Rather than knock it down, though it builds its own structure -- a geometrically perfect birdcage of steel and glass featuring a spiral perch and its own birdfeeder that dispenses expert technical support. The remaining eggs enter the iBird's building of their own accord after a few hours of waiting in line.


Ross Rubin (@rossrubin) is executive director and principal analyst of the NPD Connected Intelligence service at The NPD Group. Views expressed in Switched On are his own.

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