Recent App Reviews
We all want voice recognition. What could make things simpler? You just ask your iPhone to call one of your hundreds of contacts, and it does so. No searching, no flipping through the list. That's the promise. The reality is, of course, a bit short of that. Still, there are a number of applications that are trying to make this a reality. Vocalia is among them, and it claims to be the only 100% hands-free speech recognition app for the iPhone that enables speech access to your address book, iTunes library, and Safari bookmarks. Some users, seemingly the more savvy ones, find that it works really well.
There is still one day left in our giveaway of free AT&T Navigator subscriptions. Get your navigation-related comments up here or on the original post by Saturday, 24 Oct 2009 (11PM EST) for a chance to win one of 3 copies. See original post and rules here...
I don't normally write about non-game apps, mainly because I quite frankly don't do much with my iPod besides play games and listen to music. However, I recently ran into a problem with my computer where Windows Explorer won't recognize my iPod, so I cannot copy images to my computer. This usually isn't a problem except for the fact that I will often take screen shots of games that I am reviewing, and I really don't have the patience to email those screen shots to myself to get them off of my device. Thankfully there's an app for that, and it's called WiFi Photo.
The graphics on Book Reader are stunning when you first turn it on. The sample book included on the app beautifully displays on a wooden shelf and appears to have a gilt-edge, leather cover. Tap to select the book and it opens to an antique white page with easy-to-read text. It’s very pleasant on the eyes. The pages turn in a way that simulates page turning in a print book. There are even some black and white illustrations included in the sample, which adds to the reading pleasure.
I've found it surprisingly convenient and fun to read books on my iPhone. So I was delighted to see the recent release of 301+ Short Stories for $.99. The app offers hundreds of stories by 89 of classic short story writers, including Charles Dickens, Kate Chopin, Ambrose Bierce, Defoe, Joseph Conrad, Jack London, Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain, Poe, O. Henry, and H.G. Wells. Lots of my favorite writers here. And now all in the palm of my hand. Plus, you can adjust the text size for easier reading.
I've always loved the sound of thunderstorms, and now I have some great ones on my iPhone. A company called Naturespace has recorded 65 thunderstorms from around the U.S. and put them into the Thundergod app. They use stereo effectively to track the thunder across the sky so that you feel like you're actually in a thunderstorm. There's a sleep timer so that you can fall asleep to these relaxing sounds. The app isn't cheap, at $9.99, but the quality of recording is excellent.
Telenav, the developers behind the AT&T Navigator application have released an update that now incorporates landscape view and also integrates iPod controls into the application. They have generously offered up 3 one-year subscriptions, so get a related comment up here about your favorite GPS services/apps to have a chance to win a copy (deadline: Saturday, 24 Oct 2009, 11PM EST). YouTube video and contest rules after the break...
Fanboys and girls are understandable excited that EA has released Rockband for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The base game costs $9.95 and is 158 megs. Each song is reported to be between 10 and 20 megs each. People with smaller capacity devices may have to delete some content.
I think Siena Entertainment has hit one out of the park with StoryChime's The Queen Bee (.99) a 21st Century take on the Brothers Grimm 1884 Fairy Tail.
Let me walk you through why. According to the company press release, Story Chimes was created by two young fathers who were looking for a way to educationally entertain their kids while promoting a contemporary way to make reading fun.” Well if my son is any indication, they certainly have found a way to make reading fun.
DriveSafe.ly is still in Alpha and only on jailbreak at the moment. At some point they will release it via the app store, but without backgrounder, I’m not sure how useful it is. The app is simple enough; every 5sec or 1min it checks for new SMS messages. If a new message is found, it converts the sender’s name and message to voice and plays it on the iphone. Natch! The app is still a touch buggy and it does not always work for me, but in the one ‘real’ use case, it proved useful. I normally do not ride with earphones unless it a long ride and if that long ride is mostly freeway.