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Apps this Week for Android, Apple and windows

Published:Monday | August 18, 2014 | 12:00 AM

SwiftKey Keyboard + Emoji for Android

The third-party keyboard is a personalised touch-screen keyboard that is built for smart autocorrect, text recognition and faster typing. The Emoji is just an additional feature that not only gives users over 800 expressions and picture icons but, by using key words in a typed sentence, can predict the symbols of the expression the user would like to add. There is also an option for multilingual typing for over 60 languages. The SwiftKey Keyboard app has received a 4.5 star rating on Google Play from approximately 800,000 user ratings.

Grid Player for Apple (iPhone)

Grid Player is an alternative augmentative communication application designed for persons with speech disabilities. It is a touchscreen keyboard with icons that may be used to create sentences that may be typed or spoken by the built-in male and female Grid Player voices. It has been noted to be a useful application for persons who have suffered from traumatic brain injury, dyslexia, deafness among other language and speech disabilities. The app has touch-type word prediction for faster typing and word recognition. Version 1.6.2 only takes up 15MB of the phone's memory and requires iOS 7.0 or later.

Read Aloud for Windows

This voice-based application for Windows phones has been rated one of the best on the platform though there are few apps. The Narrator is simple compared to the Read Aloud application as it allows users to change the pitch and control the speed of the speech. With Read Aloud, persons that struggle with vocabulary, grammar and speech can listen to the pronunciation of words while following the highlighted text. There is an auto-save feature so that users can start from wherever they left off and start reading from anywhere in a document. The ad-supported version is presently available for free in the Windows app store, but an ad-free version is being developed for Windows phone users that are interested in purchasing Read Aloud.

PlayStation 4 tops US video game console sales

The lean summer software line-up has done little to deter consumers from scooping up video game consoles, specifically the PlayStation 4.

Sales of video game hardware doubled in July, approaching $200 million for the month, according to the latest retail sales data from NPD Group.

Life-to-date sales of Microsoft's Xbox One and the PS4 during its first nine months of availability were up nearly 80 per cent, compared to the same period of sales during the opening months of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, says NPD analyst Liam Callahan.

For the seventh consecutive month, PS4 was the top-selling video game console in the US. Earlier this week, Sony revealed the device crossed 10 million in global sales.

Microsoft did not release sales figures for Xbox One. Meanwhile, Nintendo revealed sales of its struggling Wii U console are up 60 per cent from last year, bolstered by the launch of racing game Mario Kart 8, which topped one million in sales in the US.

Software sales dipped 15 per cent compared to last year, largely due to the absence of Electronic Arts' (EA) college football franchise NCAA Football. Last September, EA announced it would cease publishing a NCAA Football video game amid a larger dispute between the NCAA and student-athletes over the use of their likenesses in the series. Last year's NCAA Football 14 was July's top-selling video game.

"As that title is no longer being produced, new launch sales declined steeply by close to 70 percent in July 2014," said Callahan.

The post-apocalyptic action game The Last Of Us, which Sony re-released as a remastered edition for PS4, was the best-selling game last month, followed by Minecraft and soccer title FIFA 14. The complete top 10 (publisher in parentheses):

1. The Last of Us (Sony)

2. Minecraft (Mojang)

3. FIFA 14 (Electronic Arts)

4. Watch Dogs (Ubisoft)

5. Mario Kart 8 (Nintendo)

6. Call of Duty: Ghosts (Activision)

7. Grand Theft Auto V (Take-Two Interactive)

8. Sniper Elite III (505 Games)

9. NBA 2K14 (Take-Two Interactive)

10. Lego Marvel Superheroes (Warner Bros. Interactive)

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.

Tech Poll of the Week

How likely are you to upgrade the operating system software for your phone, tablet or computer when a new version is presented?

Very likely - 53%

Not Likely - 21%

Undecided - 22%

Only if compatible/necessary - 4%