The iPhone and App Store, Defining New Terms

The iPhone was such a phenomenal technological tidal wave that is was named by Time magazine as the “Invention of the Year” for 2007. Even now it is easy to see the impact the device has made with all the companies coming out with their own version. Has anyone seen the Android? People surprised to see one would most likely be made fun of. For that reason what will not be found here is a description.

As with all new ideas there comes the ever-growing world of terms associated with said innovation. One new word that came with the iPhone: App.

What are Apps? This is where the fun begins. With the iPhone come the phenomena known as “Apps”, short for ‘applications’. These are software programs custom-made by a third-party for both the iPhone as well as the iPod Touch. A lot of these software devices may be quite practical, anywhere from paying bills online or to find the definition for a certain word. Then there are the fun ones, like Starblaster that includes a phaser-like weapon and something that looks much like a tricorder, as in Star Trek.

There are also Apps for many kinds of games or Apps geared toward finding out the latest on a particular celebrity. Some of these are available for free. Others are a few cents on up to a few dollars. These Apps can be acquired online through the web on a computer or directly through an iPhone by way of Apple’s iTunes through their “App Store”, appropriately enough.

Obviously, the most fun Apps are the games. With a little looking around one can find some pretty addicting games for no cost at all, like FallDown! For those games with a price tag, there’s a game called Spore Creatures where the player can create their own denizens and watch them evolve from primordial ooze and inhabit the environment for a few bucks.

Apps have become so popular there are now Apps to find Apps, like Appfinder and Chomp. These Apps help the user through what appeals to them. A few come with reviews of the Apps available. Just like what was true about the old board games is equally true about game Apps. Some may be uninspiring or just plain boring along with the truly fun ones. Either way there is a whole new take on how to occupy oneself.

Top Smartphones and Apps of 2011 Holiday Season

When looking at what type of smartphone you should purchase, there seems to be so many options out there nowadays. Between the Android devices and the Apple devices, there are many choices tailored to your needs and willing to give you everything you could need in a phone and so much more. Gone are the days of just using it to talk. Now they are used to surf the internet, text and play games. For that reason, you have to look at specific types of smartphones but knowing the right ones can be somewhat difficult.

One option available is the Motorola DROID RAZR. Billing the phone as the thinnest smartphone around, it is both sleek and light which means it is easier to carry for you. Made of Kevlar, steel and aluminum it creates a phone that is a very good option after the original RAZR. This smartphone comes with the highly touted Android software and weights a little under 4.50 ounces. The physical size of the phone is 4.30 inches with a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels. Of the main features available you get a light sensor as well as a proximity sensor and scratch-resistant glass. One of the most important factors when one buys a smartphoneis battery life. The Motorola DROID RAZR offers an average of 12.50 hours of talk time and an amazing 204 hours of stand-by time. The camera features are also spectacular as you can take HD Video and the camera has 8 megapixels. Lastly, the system hardware comes in at 1024 MB of RAM with roughly 16 GB of built in memory. This phone should be available in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Another great option is the Galaxy Nexus. This is the first phone to run the newly created Android Ice Cream Sandwich, which is being sold as the version which puts an end to fragmentation. Powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4460 processor, it clearly is one of the fastest phones available on the market today. The weight of the phones comes in at 4.76 ounces. The physical size of the phone is 4.65 inches which continues to be consistent with most of the Android devices with how light and small they are to carry. The phone also takes HD video with the camera offering 5 megapixels. The system memory comes with 1024 MB RAM and roughly 32 GB of built-in storage. This phone should be available in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Lastly, the third most popular smartphone of those released or to be released is the Apple release iPhone 4S. Many were disappointed that it came out as the iPhone 4S opposed to the iPhone 5 but it has not disappointed. It comes with a reworked iOS 5 and introduces a really cool new feature called Siri, which is a personal assistant for you to verbally communicate with for reminders and information. It comes with a 3.5″ screen with a resolution of 640 x 960 pixels; however the inside of the phone is a very powerful and impressive dual-core A5 processor. Coming in at a weight of a little under 5 ounces, it may be a little heavier than its Android counterparts but nothing that would deter the customer. It offers HD video capture and a camera with 8 megapixels. The system memory comes with 512 MB RAM with up to 65 GB of built-in storage.

One of the most appealing features of smartphones are the apps available for download. Some must have Android apps are Google Sky Map, which allows you to see the stars in the sky by pointing your phone to the sky, ASTRO file manager which allows you to manage files on your device and Seesmic which is one of the top Twitter apps available for any phone. For the iPhone, some of the tops apps available are Amazon, PayPal and who can go anywhere without their very own copy of Angry Birds, available on both Android and iPhone devices.

Gadgets and Apps – Welcome to the Future of Travel

Travel’s facelift for the 21st century has been radical and far-reaching. Skype and wifi have replaced the ritual of calling home by feeding endless foreign coins into a phone box, updating your Facebook status is the new postcard, and travellers are increasingly likely to use ‘augmented reality’ rather than have a guidebook tucked under their arm.

If anything, the pace of change continues to quicken – exciting, sometimes mind-boggling innovations are appearing all the time, meaning how we interact with places and people keeps on evolving. Below are some of our favourite gizmos and gadgets.

iLingual

A phrasebook like no other – download the iLingual app, take a photo of your mouth, the app then has over 400 phrases your mouth can ‘say’. Cue the odd sight of travellers holding their iphones in front of their actual mouths as the screen ‘talks’. Watch a video for this app – a demo is better than any written explanation. Only a few languages on offer at the moment, but it can’t be long until iPhone-bearded travellers are pow-wowing in Swahili on the Serengeti savannah.

Word Lens

Very Star Trek this one, another app for those struggling with mastering a foreign language. Word Lens only currently translates English-Spanish, but it’s a neat idea and could be genuinely useful. All you need to do is aim your iPhone camera at some printed text and Word Lens translates it in realtime. You need never struggle over a foreign language newspaper again (or at least not a Spanish language one).

Google goggles

Google goggles may just be the biggest game-changer of all. It’s still in its infancy, but the image recognition software is looking a pretty awesome and versatile travel tool. Here’s how it works: you’re strolling around a city, or a museum or gallery, you take a snap of something you want to know more about it, if Google recognises the subject of the image it will bring up search results. Cue instant expertise and a handy tool for appearing knowledgeable about, well, everything – from sourcing well-reviewed restaurants to enabling you to wax expertly on, say, pre-Incan Peruvian art. In other words, this may be the ultimate dating tool.

World Customs

We always give people who travel with us with plenty of tips and guidance about local cultures and etiquette in foreign countries, so this app is right up our street. Pick your country and then you’ll be presented with a load of helpful info on the destination – from law & order to religious etiquette to taboos. Great for sorting out your do’s from your don’ts.

And a couple of lower-tech gadgets we like…

Solar-powered LED light and water bottle cap

This one looks genuinely good doesn’t it? Mixing water and electricity perhaps isn’t intuitively clever, but the sealing means you’ve got nothing to worry about, and the light is supposed to be decent enough for a tent lantern. The idea of a solar-powered torch may lead cynics to snipe about artificial light being a little redundant if the sun is beating down, but ignore them – this has a good charge, is cheap, light and saves space, and is environmentally intelligent.

The daddy of all Swiss Army Knives

A supercharged multi-tool that looks like it’s on steroids. 87 tools on offer, including – at last! – a golf shoe spike wrench. All that’s missing is a flux capacitor. This one kilo treat fits snugly into your pocket, providing your pocket is 30cm long. A snip at nearly $1000AUD, plus postage, which presumably bumps the final price tag up a bit, not least because the instruction manual must run to a couple hundred pages.