This Week's Awesome Mobile Apps

reviews of iPad apps

In this week’s wacky wild app round up:

UFOs, videotaped!

Photographs, shared!

Google, goggled!

Your friends, all text messaged at once!

First person shooting!

Assassinating real life opponents!

recipes, collected!

tranquil text editing, achieved for free! And more!

iPhone

UFO On Tape: A simple but compellingly packaged new game in which your iPhone acts as a camera (thanks, gyroscope) with which you have to film a UFO fly-by. That's the whole game--keeping the little UFO in the frame--but the presentation and the production of the app make it different than pretty much anything in the App Store. $1

iPhone

Google Goggles: Talk to us, Barrett:

The wait for Google Goggles-the crazy good visual search app-to hit the iPhone was shorter than we thought. Today, it's finally been added as part of the Google Mobile App.

Once you're in the Google app, just click the camera to activate Goggles. From there, you can identify and search for info on landmarks, logos, books, DVDs, etc. And as Google continues to tweak the function-it's still in Google Labs-you'll eventually be able to identify animals, foods, and whatever else Mountain View's mad scientists cook up.

Free

iPhone

Meebo: Meebo, the king of iPhone messaging apps, just got a new update bringing fast app switching and support for the iPhone 4's Retina Display. And it's still free! So go chat with someone already.

iPhone

Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus: The latest from the Willy Wonka app megafactory Gameloft, Modern Combat 2 is basically Modern Warfare 2 on your iPhone. So while they lose points for creativity, they gain points for generally awesome terrorist-hunting gameplay, gorgeous graphics, customisable controls, and some of the most fun, comprehensive multiplayer modes you'll find. $7

iPhone

Nike+ GPS 2.0 The 2.0 update for the Nike+ GPS app brings a unique new feature called 'Cheer Me On' that lets you make a Facebook post when you're about to go for a run and doles out encouragement every time someone comments on your status. Useful if you, like me, don't have enough personal conviction to work out but have been known to respond to the shame and scrutiny of others. Also it's still a pretty fantastic fitness app all around, well worth the $2.

iPhone

iPhone

Cut the Rope: A charming and addictive new physics puzzler in which you must slice ropes to feed candy to a little green monster. Some are hailing it as a successor to Angry Birds--need I say more? $1

iPhone

Fast Society: A slick new app for organising teams of friends, who you can then easily text message en masse; conference call; view on a map, etc. It's easy to set up and nice to look at, though it's a bit strange that there's such an emphasis on the temporariness of the groups. In any event, pretty useful if you want to group text, very useful if you and your crew are engaged in a large-scale scavenger hunt this weekend. Free, friends not included.

iPad

PlainText: A Dropbox-enhanced text text editor from the makers of the inimitable WriteRoom, PlainText takes the same minimalist approach as apps like Writer and Elements but does it for a minimalist price: Free.

iPad

Paprika Recipe Manager: The iPad is a chef's best friend, and all it was missing was a simple, dedicated way to pull in recipes from disparate sources, organise them, and present them in a clean, nice-looking way. Well, that thing I just described is Paprika Recipe Manager, a beautiful, simple app for pulling in recipes (from your collection or the internet), sorting them into useful categories, and pulling them up when it's time to cook. Noted food-related iPad app critic My mum says it's great, and that's gotta be good for something. $10.

iPad

Esquire: Esquire, a magazine with a rich visual history, makes a pretty splashy debut into tabletland (and one that shows that Hearst isn't going to just settle for the tablet vision laid out by Popular Mechanics). There's nothing too radical here--some inline footnotes, some video content, some photos you can move around--but it seems like playing it safe isn't the worst thing an established mag can do when they're testing the waters here. $5

iPad

Across Age HD: Zelda fans will find plenty of familiar elements in Across Age HD, a cute new adventure/puzzle RPG, and there are a lot worse sources you could draw inspiration from than Zelda. A nice mix of puzzles, combat, and narrative that made me long for my Genesis for the first time in a while. A little bit crashy for now, though, but not enough to be a dealbreaker. $8.

Android

Skype: Skype is now available on all Android phones, well, all Android phones running Android 2.1+. That's loads better than being Verizon only though! With Skype on Android, you can make Skype to Skype calls, Skype calls to landlines, receive calls from your Skype number, and IM but in the US, Skype calls only work over Wi-Fi. But! If you hack it up with a simple download, you can make Skype calls over 3G.

Android

Universal Androot: It's a one-click root option available in the Android Market. Insane, I know, but that's the beauty of Android. And though it does work with a lot of Android phones, it doesn't work with most Droid branded phones (which are popular, I hear). You can check if your phone can be rooted through the program. Image from Android Police

Android

Firefox 4 beta: Firefox for Android is finally in beta (after toiling in alpha for forever), and you can easily grab it on Mozilla's website. Kat, a fiery fox, says:

It includes Firefox Sync (for desktop-to-phone favourites, like Firefox Home will be); add-ons and even the Awesome Bar. Forgetting shiny new functions for now, it will also run faster and be more responsive, and include pinch-to-zoom for multitouch phones.

I don't use Firefox on my desktop, but for some reason I'm insanely curious on using it on my phone. Image from Nexus404

Android

Adobe Air: The Adobe Air app doesn't really do anything other than allow future Air apps to be downloaded to your Android phone. But that's huge! When devs start a building, they'll be a flowing. In fact, Air apps are already on their way, as it's sorta easy to bring apps cross platform via Air. Image from Android Central

Android

WolframAlpha: WolframAlpha, the place you go to find out the true meaning of mathematical life or ask really mind numbing questions, now has an app for Android. It's only 2 bucks and you can solve balance life's equations and have it expertly compute lovely answers. WolframAlpha for Android also supports voice input. $2

Android

Sensorly: 4G, fo gees, super human speeds. It's all supposed to exist somewhere but how do you know for sure? You can't let the carrier fool you, you need Sensorly, an app that uses crowdsources data to find where Sprint 4G really exists. It uses information from other users to display it all nice and tidy on a Google Maps Map. Green is where you'll find the speed.

Android

Instant Heart Rate: I'm not sure how accurate it can be, but I love that I can 'theoretically' find my heart rate with smartphone now. With Instant Heart Rate, I just place my finger on the phone's camera for 10 seconds and it measures my heart rate. How does it work? It supposedly measures oxygern saturation changes in your blood. Every heart beat makes your blood richer with oxygen which causes a slight change in the colour of your skin, the camera tracks those changes and calculates your heart rate. Good enough for me!

Android

Star Wars Empire Strikes Back: It's an app that any self respecting Star Wars fan would get. According to Kat, a wookie lover:

It's celebrating the 30th anniversary of Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back, and while the app itself is free to download it costs $3 if you do want to make the most of it. Revolving around the Empire Strikes Back movie, there are live wallpapers, movie clips, photos, soundboards and widgets.Not to mention a Bounty Hunter scavenger hunt and Star Wars news feed, for staying up-to-date on all cursed 3D-related nonsense.

It's only available for Verizon Android phones and the purchase will be billed to your Verizon account rather than Google Checkout.

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