In this week’s super duper app round up:
Trains, made exciting!
Excellent New York pizza, catalogued!
Basketball, played in space!
The New York Times, expanded on the iPad!
Sonic the Hedgehog, spin dashing all over your iPhone, and more!
True story: when I'm out shopping, before I make an impulse by I compulsively check what Product X goes for on Amazon. Which is why being able to scan bar codes from the Amazon app is a major time-saving win.
I know, I know, there are bar code scanning apps that I could use to price compare. But Amazon's consistently as or less expensive than just about anywhere, and more importantly I trust them, as a vendor. No more typing in product names! Lots more pointing my phone at random objects in stores.
Real Pizza of New York: Jeff Orlick knows pizza. (If you don't believe me, check out his 5-boro pizza test; if you don't want to check out the test, just trust me.) Now he's distilled that pizza knowledge down into a bite size pizza app that has all the best New York pizza joints--both classics and some under the radar spots--and lets you sort through them with a number of filters, including the ever-useful 'nearby.' $1
Sonic 4 Episode 1: Having a real hedgehog in your pocket would be uncomfortable. Thankfully, the first episode of the long-awaited Sonic 4 is now available, letting you spin, dash, and spin dash your way across some heartwarmingly familiar levels.
Sonic 4 Episode 1, the first of four installments, has four zones, each with three acts and a boss. After mashing on that d-pad all those years back, the virtual controls take a little bit of getting used to, and sometimes I found that I had to be pretty deliberate about, say, sliding my thumb over to move Sonic mid-jump. Generally, though, things are just as you remember them--familiar levels, familiar music, familiar hectic Sonic action--aside from a new jump attack that locks onto targets when you're in mid-air and a new kinda-nauseating flourish of rotating the camera when you're going through a loop.
TouchArcade says the app holds up pretty well on older devices, though it'd be nice to see Retina Display support and an online leader board to see how my Time Attack times stand up against others. Probably not very well.
Sonic 4 is downloadable with some extra levels for Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360, and the iOS version is live in the App Store now for $10, so spin dash to it.
GyroSynth: The iPad's expansive touch screen has made for some very neat music-making apps, but the iPhone 4's gyroscope adds an interesting new element to the mix. GyroSynth follows your iPhone's roll, pitch, and yaw and translates them into squeaky synth giggles and gurgles. It's not an exact science--I'm not sure you'd be able to play Stravinksy--but with a little practice you can get some semblance of a melody going. And it's a hell of a lot of fun. $1
Menu Pages 2.0:
MenuPages, the excellent complete-menu app for New York, San Francisco, LA, Philly, Boston, Chicago, DC and South Florida, now allows those menus to luxuriate across your iPhone's entire screen and lets you save favourites to your MenuPages.com account. Yum.
The app is free, the lunch, unfortunately, is not.
Playing basketball in space is not a new idea, with Jordan's Space Jam and Futurama's space globetrotters already exploring the concept of weightless dunking quite well. But have you tried it?
The video shows what the gameplay is like. The concept is similar to Fruit Ninja, another game we love. There's basically one thing you do in the game, and the trick is that you want to do it well for more points. You can also compete against other people online in a global (universal) contest. There's no Jordan mode, like in 2K11, but, in a sense, the whole game is a Jordan mode.
Sure, there are plenty of painting apps for iOS already, but Remote Palette has a neat twist--it connects an iPad and iPhone so the iPad can be used as a canvas, and the iPhone as the colour palette.
The video above will be pretty awkward for anyone who's not seen this video from 1982 of Andy Warhol eating a hamburger, but the digital agency Dare does successfully show how the iPad and iPhone (or iPod Touch) can sync up for some fun painting, for just $1.
NY Post: The New York Post is available on the iPad. That means Page Six is available on the iPad. The future of gossip is here! You get 30 days free with your $2 purchase. After that subscriptions run $6.99 per month, $39.99 per six months, or $74.99 per year. Never miss another hi-larious headline! $2
Angry Birds: If you're the only person on the planet who has yet to play Angry Birds, you no longer have an excuse. Why? Because it's completely free on the Android Market right now. That's right. The full, complete version is fuh-fuh-free. The joy of crashing wood and concrete to destroy green pigs for free? Unmeasurable. My god, why are you still reading this. Go download it.
GrubHub: When I don't feel like cooking or going out (pretty often), I'm on GrubHub. GrubHub is a service that tells you what food joints deliver to your apartment and gives you access to their menus too. With the Android app (which is still in beta), you can see reviews and ratings, order online, or place a call. Unfortunately, you can't save past orders and your credit card info with the beta version (like you can on the iPhone), but I'm sure they'll figure out how to implement that in future releases.
Tweetdeck: It's finally out of beta and that should be great news for all you Tweetdeck fans out there. In addition to updating and viewing your Twitter account (obviously), Tweetdeck offers support for Facebook, Foursquare and Buzz too, so it's a ton of location-y apps rolled into one. It's a free and there's a widgets, too:
MessagEase: Admittedly, the keyboard looks weird as hell. But! MessagEase swears that by placing the most used keys in a big button arrangement, that you can type faster. It's optimised for one handed use and if you can spend some time to learn it, MessagEase sorta does speeds things up.
WalkyTalky, which reads out not only the directions as you walk, but also the intersecting streets that you pass by. Not only will it help with your bearings, but it'll give you a greater understanding of the city-the next time someone mentions meeting on King Street, for example, you may well remember passing it previously.
Does sound pretty helpful.
Babylon2Go Translation: I took four years of Spanish in high school and am still no bueno at it. Thankfully, I can use Babylon2Go to flip a bunch of languages (over 75) to English. It doesn't do voice translation (only text) but in my experience Bablyon2Go is pretty good at spitting back accurate translations.
Lego MINDroid: If you have one of those Lego Mindstorms NXT robots, you can use your Android phone as a remote to control its movements. We've seen hacked methods before but this app is an official solution from Lego. Kat, a robot lover, says:
You'll need to own one of the robots of course (they cost around $250), and have an Android phone running Eclair or Froyo, but once the MINDdroid app is download you'll be able to use the phone as a remote, wirelessly controlling the 'bot just by tilting the phone and taking advantage of the inbuilt accelerometers.
A droid to control a droid. Awesome. Android 2.1+
CoPilot Live USA: It's a pretty solid turn by turn navigation app, with everything you've come to expect like a good voice guide, weather forecasts, POI's and maps that are stored locally on your phone (which means you don't have to worry about having a cell phone signal like with Google Maps). CoPilot Live USA is only a one time fee of 5 buckaroos, so you don't have to break the bank if you need a GPS guide and for some reason can't use Google Maps Navigation.
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