This Week's Awesome Mobile Apps

angry birds

In this week’s rockin’ and rollin’ round up:

Shazam, improved!

Spidey’s webs, slung!

Restaurant waits, crowdsourced!

Space, explored!

iPad music making, jettisoned into the future, and more!

Click here for this week’s awesome mobile apps →

Shazam: Shazam, probably the best known app for figuring out the names of tunes you're listening to, just got a shiny update to 3.0.0, bringing all sorts of good stuff with it: iOS4 optimization, tag on startup, 30 second iTunes previews of the songs you tag, and more. There's regular old Shazam, which is free but has some ads and tagging restrictions, and Shazam Encore, which is $5 but lets you tag anything and everything you come across.

InCrowd: Rosa, who is definitely part of the in crowd, says:

What good is the slightly annoying and creepy Facebook Places feature if you can't turn it into some sort of competition? Well, with the InCrowd iPhone app, you can do just that.

The app allows you to create a little avatar who can interact with nearby friends' avatars and allow you to earn popularity points by fist bumping, winking, and high-fiving your way through the virtual crowd.

The whole thing looks silly and cute enough to lure you into using Facebook Places for at least five minutes.


TeuxDeux: Do you know about The well-designed, super simple, type it out and strike it through web-based to do list? Well, if you've ever felt distracted just looking at all the options you get with Things and Omnifocus, Teux Deux might be a good thing to put on your To Do list, and it's iPhone app, recently updated for the Retina display, is a wonderful complement to the snappy, snazzy website. $3

Spider-man: Total Mayhem: Shrinking an entire beloved comic book universe down to an iPhone game is a dangerous prospect, but that's just what Spider-Man: Total Mayhem does, allowing you to swing from buildings, battle baddies, and hone your spidey senses on your iPhone.

We haven't gone in deep with Total Mayhem yet, but Matt got a chance to try it out at E3 and says it was 'great,' and 'felt like the console games, but translated.'

Early reviewers of the massive game-almost 500MB of Spider-man goodness!-tend to agree, noting that the graphics were silky smooth (befitting of the hero himself). We'll be back with our thoughts once we're done saving New York and crouching pensively on the Chrysler building. $7

Percolator: I'm a sucker for simple apps that do simple things, and Percolator, which uses a coffee metaphor for making nice bubbly versions of photos on your iPhone, is just such an app. There aren't a ton of settings for adjusting how your shots look, but the effect is pretty neat nonetheless. $1.

Mirror's Edge: One of my first favourite games on the iPad, EA's femme fatale running game Mirror's Edge has made its way to the iPad, and it's still as fun as ever. It's like Canabalt but way more involved, including various levels and maneuvers that you can send your runner into with a flick of your finger. Looks great on the iPhone 4 and there's plenty of game play, and narrative, to savour as opposed to Canabalt's 'run as far as you can and then try again' model. $5

Waitlist: Our brothers from a different mother at LifeHacker say:

If you want to know how long you'll be waiting for your next table or how long it'll take to gain access to a club, just search for your destination on WaitList and find out.

Thank The Onion's A.V. Club for this one. If your iOS device has a GPS signal you can find all sorts of places near you. If not, you can always search for what you're looking for or just navigate to the area on the map. When you find one, if it's reporting a wait time you'll see a number in it's little map pin/bubble. If not and you head there anyway, WaitList lets you report wait times.

Clicking on a location gives you a little more information, see the wait times people are reporting, and report a wait time of your own. Probably because WaitList is pretty new (or because I checked after most places were closed), I wasn't able to find any reported wait times (at least in Los Angeles and New York). At the moment the app is more useful in theory than it is in practice. It's also the sort of app that's made useful by its users, so until restaurants and bars start reporting their own wait times through WaitList you can help make it more functional by contributing.


Blancspot: For iPhone users who don't spend the day with their nose in their RSS reader, there are some ways to check out the news that are slightly more visually appealing than, say, CNN. Blancspot takes a Pulse-esque model for news delivery--presenting stories with big, poppy pictures. There aren't many options for customisation to speak of, but the idea is a promising one. $2.

Angry Birds Beta: The ridiculously popular game that's become a phenomenon on the iPhone is finally available on Android (albeit in beta form). There's just 15 levels right now, but that's enough to build an itch that you'll scratch forever. Check out the game's trailer above to see what the hype is all about.

Bing: Bing exists for Android because I guess some people who use Google's mobile OS just aren't happy with Google's services. Joke. It's to have options of course! Gary says:

The new Bing for Mobile Android App has launched for Android users on the Verizon network, offering the company's 'infinite' image search tool, the 'Bing image of the day' and another great Microsoft innovation-voice search.

It's basically like Google Search and Maps, but Bing Search and Maps on Android. So it's 'prettier' to some people and 'not as good' to the rest. Oddly, it's only available for Verizon Android phones. It's a basic app that broadcasts whatever you record from your Android phone to It's only broadcasts, the app currently won't let you view any livestreams but will let you chat with your viewers and share your video on Twitter and Facebook. The app uses hardware video encoding and adjusts your video's bitrate depending on your connection, which mean it'll drain your battery less fast. Works over 3G and Wi-Fi.

Target: I already liked you, Target. I definitely liked you a lot more than Wal-Mart, that's for sure. And with the new Target app for Android, I like you even more now. Shoppers can check Target's weekly ads, see clearance items, and look up items to see the price and if it's available at their local store. It'll help you locate the item in the store (to the aisle) and gives you a barcode scanner to check the prices. I don't know if it's the kid in me, but I love scanning barcodes and have it pop up the price.

Yahoo! Fantasy Football: Football season is only a week away which inevitably means legions of folks will be playing Fantasy Football. Yahoo released their fantasy football app for Android and it'll let players set their roster, add and drop players, check their matchups and give real-time fantasy scoring updates (if you use Yahoo, that is). I use Yahoo to play my Fantasy Football, so it's useful enough for me to keep my team in championship order while I'm on the go. Check it out.

Twitter: Holy hell, the official Twitter app for iPad is finally here. Here's the essence of what Matt had to say:

If you're a serious Twitter user, you'll probably love it. It's designed to be a complete tweet-and-browse-and-tweet-some-more package, so you can consume what people are tweeting and everything they're linking to, inside of a single app. The tradeoff for the added complexity is that more casual Twitter users might prefer simpler-feeling apps like Twitterific.

It is indeed powerful, perhaps unnecessarily so, but it's free and official and worth checking out to see if it suits you. Free. Big PIcture:'s Big PIcture--a regular collection of awesome, large photographs of various subjects--is one of those things that you can't help returning to after you come across it the first time. The recent 2.0 upgrade of the iPhone app brought iPad support, which mostly works great. There's still some room for improvement, like, say, loading the next picture automatically for a smoother scroll through, but even as it stands now, the app's a great way to digest Big Picture's great content. $3

NASA App HD: Gary, blast us off:

NASA's new iPad app lets space-fans catch up with all the latest happenings, track satellites, watch NASA TV, leaf through its archive of fantastic imagery and much, much more.

It's been possible to stream NASA TV on Apple devices for quite some time, but now there's more to play with between broadcasts. The app lets iPad users browse NASA's image database, read up on current missions and future launch data, or track satellites-with a specific section telling you when to open the window and look out for the International Space Station passing overhead.

NASA's App HD for iPad is out now on iTunes, for free.

The vastness of space! On your futuristic tablet! For free!

Seline HD: Hot damn. I played with Seline HD, a gorgeous, futuristic music making app, for about half an hour and I still don't know what I'm doing (I skipped the help documentation), but I can already tell that this, moreso than 90% of the other music apps I've used, sees the potential for the iPad as a music making device. Very interesting UI and a huge variety of options, including an ergonomic, split playing surface, a selection of 20 odd instruments and several drone sounds, and the ability to overdub recordings on top of yourself--it's pricey, but as one of the most ambitious apps I've seen on the iPad, period, it's allowed to be. $9

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