This week for smartphone add-ons I have some new apps, some apps that are popular on some platforms and newly ported to others, and some apps that have been around for a while but have received noteworthy updates. Sorry I missed last week, I had some big events going on that sucked up all my time and attention. This included me having to give a little speech....I hate microphones...I tried finding an app to speak for me, or one that would take away stage fright and remind me to breath while I spoke but couldn't find any. But anyway, on to this weeks featured apps!
Android users now have a new streaming TV app available in the Market, SPB TV. This app allows users to watch streaming TV channels on their devices. There is no subscription, simply a one time fee of $9.99 which is very reasonable in my opinion. You can watch from a selection of over 100 channels from 17 different countries around the world. It has an integrated TV guide, channel previews and more. Check out their site for more details and device compatibility.
There a a fairly popular app for iPhone called Yelp, it has recently been released for both the BlackBerry and WebOS Palm Pre platforms. Yelp uses your location to help you find food, gas, restaurants, shopping and more. I had high hopes for this but initial testing is proving very disappointing. I was going to boot it out of this weeks feature but maybe it works better in some areas than others. Along with location of businesses it also provides mapping, phone numbers, reviews where applicable so there is potential...but the databases for their info is severely outdated. A search of Drugstores brings up Osco pharmacy which was bought out and converted to a CVS a couple years ago. That search also doesn't list my nearest Walgreens which is the busiest in the area and the only 24 hour pharmacy for miles. I am going to test it further as I work on my review, which at this point will not be good. If you want to try it out get it at http://yelp.com and let me know how it works for you...at least it's free!
IM+ for iPhone has recently submitted an update to it's IM+ application that added speech to text capabilities. It is currently waiting approval so is not in the App Store yet, but hopefully soon....you never know with Apple. I use vlingo on my BlackBerry for speech to text and it generally works pretty well and there are times when speaking instead of typing comes in handy. From the review on cnet it seems to work much like vlingo, you speak your message, it get sent, processed to text and returned a few seconds later...hopefully without too many errors. Here is a video that was posted here a few days ago. Palm Pre
Palm Pre users have hit the app jackpot the last couple weeks with 10 new apps added to the catalog since my last add-ons feature. Pre Central.net has posted about these new additions here and here. Half of these new apps are games including some classics like a Tetris game, yatzee, and a bubble popper. There is also an ESPN title where you must find the differences between two images, maybe fun for the sports fans. In addition to the games there is a mileage tracker, Yelp, and for all the new Pre users up north, The Canadian Press Mobile. There are also some apps specifically targeted towards those of the Jewish faith. I couldn't pick just one, it was so nice to know that Pre users are starting to see an increase on the number of apps being released that I had to mention them all! Now lets hope I don't have a hard time finding one for next week!
Windows Mobile Smartphones Windows mobile users with touch screen devices may want to check out this new list app called Thumb Shopper. It's on sale right now for only $3.75 at the mobihand store and has some interesting features. "Thumb shopper was written to provide a checklist application (focused on shopping lists but usable for more) that is truly optimised for thumb/finger usage - that is to say, not just "OK" for finger usage in some parts more than others - but 100% finger friendly. It allows you to setup and maintain user-defined preconfigured lists of categories, items and units. Once configured, you can create a list very quickly with practically no keyboard usage. You can immediately add a new category, item or unit to the user-defined lists from the new item entry screen. Maintaining your user-defined fast entry lists can also be done through their own seperate maintenance forms." Check it out here for the full features list and device compatitbility. I spotted this app on pda24/7.
This week I ran across something interesting that Nokia is working on rolling out in select markets beginning in 2010, Nokia Money. Here's some info from the press release:
"Nokia today introduced Nokia Money, a new mobile financial service offering consumers with mobile device access to basic financial services. For many consumers, this will be the first time they have had any access to such financial services. Nokia Money has been designed to be as simple and convenient as making a voice call or sending an SMS. It will enable consumers to send money to another person just by using the person's mobile phone number, as well as to pay merchants for goods and services, pay their utility bills, or recharge their prepaid SIM cards (SIM top-up). The services can be accessed 24 hours a day from anywhere, meaning savings in travel costs and time. Nokia is building a wide network of Nokia Money agents, where consumers can deposit money in or withdraw cash from their accounts."
"We believe mobile financial services offer a market opportunity with long term growth potential. In many countries, mobile phone ownership significantly exceeds bank account usage, suggesting that many mobile phone users have very limited or no access to basic financial services. With more than 4 billion mobile phone users and only 1.6 billion bank accounts, global demand for access to financial services presents a strong opportunity to combine mobile devices with simple but powerful financial services such as Nokia Money."
Some of this sounds great, easy mobile bill pay, money transfers, and purchasing. But I also wonder about the security of it if being used as your main payment/banking source which is what it looks like they are hoping to be. I'm curious to see how well this gets embraced and learn more details about it.
The Android TV streaming for a one-time $10 - what a deal. I want it for BB, even though it would ruin my eyes to use it. Yelp sounds like a bummer - if the info is outdated in your big city, I suspect it's outdated period.
Is the IM+ for iPhone the "all in one messenger" app? I wonder if it stays connected on the iPhone better than it does on my Curve? I've almost moved that one to the "attic" of my applications. I have licenses for both and I never have the problem of staying connected with Jivetalk. ?
It IS good to see Palm Pre get more apps and the app market appears to be fairly active in general - that's good too. It at least appears that the cell phone market is strong and in this economy any market that's strong is a good thing. As you stated, I too wonder about using financial apps from your cell phone of any kind. Having experienced ID theft 3 times, as cautious as I have always been, I don't think this is an app (or any like it) that I would ever use. As an aside I see that Nokia is coming out with a laptop and some new phones - they've been a little depressed as a company but they're still kicking too make a comeback.
Thanks for taking the time again for a great update!
For every complex problem there is a solution, that is simple, neat, .....and wrong! (H. L. Mencken) jblackfish(at)pinstack(dot)com