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Review: The New Star Wars App

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On July 8, Star Wars and Disney announced the release of the official Star Wars app for Android and iOS. Why this didn’t happened years earlier, is one of life’s great mysteries. Nevertheless, let the world rejoice!

I own a Samsung Galaxy S6. So this review is based on my experience using the app on android. That said, I did download it on my kids’ iPad and tested it as well.

Initially, I had an extremely difficult time downloading the app. It’s large, by most app standards – 118 MB at last update.

I used my own data for download. It failed twice. I forced the issue and, after the third try, I found success. So the app is huge, I can accept that. After all, I’m accessing a world of features that in most cases require hours of Google searches and visits to possibly unsafe sites to download content that I found suitable.

I wasn’t disappointed.

The app’s initial screen requested age validation, and then brought me to a login page. Considering I haven’t accessed my Disney/ESPN account in quite some time, this was a hurdle I wasn’t prepared to jump over at this point. I proceeded to the app, bypassing the login.

What I found blew me away.

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Remember the scene on Yavin, where the rebels viewed data screens and holograms, to help guide them in their mission to destroy the Death Star? Well, that has been compressed into a little screen for our viewing pleasure. The interactive features and graphics of this app are incredible. Sound effects that make you feel like you’ve just stepped onto the prison cellblock of the Death Star. The app has a sound for everything.

Features include: Ability to change themes – Dark Side, Light Side, and Droids, take and share selfies in custom scenes with characters, themed weather, animated gifs, sounds and quotes, to name a few.

The most recent update to the app saw the integration of emojis. You have a plethora at your disposal to use when messaging.

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All of the features seemed accessible for anyone with or without an account. That said, you’ll find, for the casual user of the app, you are limited on what you can do without an account. For example, I enjoy a good animated gif to drop into a response or conversation with someone I text or tweet. It’s great to have so many readily available. However, if I chose to download or share the animated gif, it did so as a static image, no animation. In reality, to enjoy the full functionality of the app, you need an account and must be logged in.

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Setting up an account is easy, and free. If you already have a Disney or ESPN username, just login. You’ll find it much easier to use. One additional feature that is fun to try is the Augmented Reality. I had to point the camera of my phone at a predetermined image a menu appears with options to unlock characters. Currently there are two available: a Storm Trooper and the droid, BB-8. When you select one, a 3D holographic-like image appears. You can select options to make it talk or move. You can also save the image to your device. It’s pretty fantastic. The graphic image is crisp and clear. It made the app worth my time.

I have a few minor caveats. Some, I hope can be addressed in future updates. It would be nice if the emojis and soundboards were able to be downloaded to my phone’s keyboard and notification libraries and settings. I am glad that they are downloadable, but if they were made available on that platform, Disney could control their own destiny with phone features. Users wouldn’t have to download ringtone or emoji apps to personalize their phones. Instead it would all be found in one location. Keep in mind, when talking of the emojis, I should mention that the download options are a bit different for iOS vs Android.

Disney’s ability to develop, market and provide an interactive environment for its fans is second to none. What does this mean going forward? The sky is the limit. If this is a taste of things to come, there is promise.

Download it and enjoy. And when updates become available, apply them. Disney will constantly update and unlock new features. Download the Star Wars app for Android or iOS and unlock your inner child.

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