Football Frenzy – Apps for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone

With the UEFA Champions League and Europa Cup Finals just around the corner and with the FIFA World Cup just a month away, here’s a few apps that are must haves to keep track of the news and updates.

 

Forza Football

Forza FootballForza Football recently underwent a transformation, with a new name (it was formerly called Live Score Addicts), new icon and with a news section added in. It’s the app that I use, and it’s a brilliant, must have app.

You can control the update rate, from an addict friendly 5 seconds to a battery friendly 180 seconds. You can select leagues, teams and tournaments to follow, and it’ll even suggest the league and teams based on your location during initial setup. This includes almost every league and tournament in the world along with international competitions. You can customize what updates you want: Cards, Goals, Game start/half-time/full-time notifications and other events. You have league tables, player stats and much more. But the best part has to be the fact that you can mute notifications for a preset time period or during the nights.

Check them out over at footballaddicts.com

Get the app for iOS and Android (sorry Windows Phone folks):

Download from iTunes

‎Forza Football
‎Forza Football
Developer: FootballAddicts
Price: Free+

Download from Google Play

 

ESPN FCESPN FC

ESPN recently launched an updated app for the World Cup and certain leagues and clubs. It also has video highlights, which unfortunately, is US only.

The Leagues that are supported so far include the top English, German, French, Mexican and American leagues (and a few more), along with the top tournaments. You can get play-by-play updates, match analysis, transfer news bits and more.

Download from iTunes

Download from Google Play

Sorry Windows Phone users. You could try out ESPN Sportscenter:

 

FIFA

When in doubt, get the official app from the governing body itself: the official FIFA app. You get coverage of pretty much all the leagues and cups. I was quite surprised when the app turned out to be actually nice.

Apart from the news, game schedules and scores, the app also has a section outlining FIFA’s various initiatives.

Again, sorry windows phones fans, the app is iOS and Android only. For some weird reason, they don’t have an universal iOS app.

FIFA for iPhone

‎FIFA - Fussball Nachrichten
‎FIFA - Fussball Nachrichten
Developer: FIFA
Price: Free

FIFA for iPad

FIFA für iPad
FIFA für iPad
Developer: FIFA
Price: Free

Download from Windows Phone Store

ScoreMobile FC

ScoreMobile FC, so far at least, has been the only app that I have found that exists on almost every platform. It’s available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone & Blackberry (10 and OS7). It even used to exist on Symbian, until Nokia shut down the Ovi Store (you could probably search for a .sis file, I haven’t linked to one since I am not sure which is the right forum to look at for Symbian nowadays). While the standard features (score updates, game events, match schedules, etc) are present on all platforms, there are limitations on some platforms, primarily when it comes to push notifications.

Get the apps:

Download from iTunes

Download from Google Play

Download from Windows Phone Store

For Pre Blackberry 10 Devices, get the app hereBB10 users, the app has been renamed and is now called theScore. Get it here.

LiveSoccer World Cup Edition

A relatively new app on Android, one that I have not extensively used, is LiveSoccer. Honestly, it’s Football, not Soccer. But the app works pretty well and has the main functionalities that one would expect, with notifications, match details, schedules & news.

Download from Google Play

Are there any apps on your platform of choice that should be here? Let us know in the comments below.

 Image Credit: Wikipedia

TimesCity launches their Restaurant, Movie and Events App for Android, iOS and Blackberry

TimesCity.com has just launched their  new lifestyle app which allows users to look up Restaurants, Nightlife, Event and movies from their mobiles. The app has an easy to use interface to look up information in your city or switch to another city as well. Timescity app is currently available for users in Mumbai, Delhi NCR, Bangalore, Goa, Jaipur, Kolkata, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad, Chandigarh and Ahmedabad.

Speaking about the launch of Timescity App, Siddhaarth Jalan ,Business head,Timescity.com & Times Food and Nightlife Guide, “said, “  We are happy to launch the Timescity app on Android,iOS & Blackberry 10 to let the users discover the best of going out in their city in an intuitive, easy-to-use format.  We will be launching the app on all other platforms shortly”.

We had a sneek peek of the app yesterday and here are some details on what you can see in the app. We also have screenshots from the app at the end of the this post.

Restaurant & Night Life

The location-based app brings up interesting places to eat or spend an evening with friends, allowing users to sort the listing based on distance from their current location, cost and ratings of the establishments. The app also features Critic reviews of establishments by renowned critics like Rashmi Uday Singh, Marryam Reshii, Karen Anand, Suresh Hinduja. These are available in the restaurant reviews section of the app.

Apart from reviews, you can directly call the place to book your tables from the app by just tapping on the green call button or share details about a restaurant you plan to visit on Facebook, Twitter, Email or SMS. Great to arrange a meet with your friends. You can also leave a rating directly from the app.

Movies and Events

The Movies section shows you the latest movies playing in your city, along with the Showtimes at the various locations which are playing the movie. You can also look up reviews of the movies  and watch the movie trailers from the Times City app. It’s a good way to find a movie to watch or make up your mind if you haven’t made up your mind on which one to watch.

The Events listings shows you various plays, music shows, workshops and other events in the City. You can add the event to your calendar, look up their locations on the map and  call the event organizers for passes or information about the event.

The app is available for download on the Google Play store,iTunes store (iOS) & Blackberry World.

Download Times City from Google Play

Download Times City from iTunes

Screenshots from the TimesCity App

 

The Giant List of Text Messaging Replacement Apps – OTT Messaging

Depending on where you are and who your mobile service provider is, text messaging is either so cheap that you don’t worry about it or so expensive that you barely use it. Texting is still one of the most popular methods of communication though , which means someone somewhere is always on it. Of course, sending texts across continents and countries is still expensive.

There are ways around that though, if you’re willing to use your data connection of course. The benefits? Lower cost (especially if it’s an international message) and added features like pictures, videos and more. Of course, that requires an Internet service, and a mobile device that has the app available on it. Oh, and you need to have other people that use that app.

So here’s a list of quite a few of the so called OTT (over the top) text messaging replacement services, with the pros and cons of each.It isn’t a review of the app or service though, and it isn’t a complete list by any stretch. Let us know what we missed and we’ll get around to adding them to this list.

Whatsapp

Whatsapp is one of the oldest ones out there, and as such it’s got a wide base that it works on.

Pros – multi platform (available on everything except Bada. Oh, and Symbian UIQ). Yes, it supports S40 too (and they aren’t smartphones). Media transfer (photos, videos, contact info, Location Data). Group Messaging (upto 20 users per group). Simple setup and use (linked to your phone number, no other login needed).

Cons – Photos are down scaled. Videos have to be under 12MB. There is no confirmation of Message Read status (One green tick-mark is for sent, two is for delivered). Group messaging needs more features/controls (Quiet time for the really talkative groups, Better management of users in that group).

[button style=”5″ caption=”Whatsapp” link=”http://www.whatsapp.com/”][/button]

Kik

Kik was the app whose service supposedly pulled blocked by RIM and then got back onto the Blackberry Platform. It’s simple to use, it’s fast, it’s almost like BBM. And now it’s available on most major smartphone platforms.

Pros – Fast. Really Fast. Login with user created account, so the same account can be used simultaneously on multiple devices. Sent, Delivered and Read status (for those who want to track that). Available on iOS, Android, Symbian, Blackberry and Windows Phone. Has plugins (like sketchee) for more functionality.

Cons – User Created account (now that’s another thing you have to remember). Group Messaging controls. The Symbian app is quite limited at the moment, and there is no S40 app.

[button style=”5″ caption=”Kik” link=”http://kik.com/”][/button]

Ebuddy XMS

Ebuddy has been around for a while as a web and mobile based IM client. XMS is their take on the OTT messaging service.

Pros – Multi Platform (Windows Phone, Symbian, iOS, Android, Blackberry & J2ME). Group Messaging. Media Sharing. Facebook Login to setup the account and pull in contacts. Web version available.

Cons – Broadcast option is missing.

[button style=”5″ caption=”Ebuddy XMS” link=”http://www.ebuddy.com/”][/button]

PingMe

 PingMe is another messaging service that seems to focus more on interaction (Media Content) and on meeting new people.

Pros – Neat interface that brings Media content up front and centre. Group Messaging. Registration with just your phone number.

Cons – iOS and Android only (they dropped Blackberry and Windows Phone support a little while ago).

[button style=”5″ caption=”PingMe” link=”http://pingme.net/”][/button]

Hookt

Hookt has been around for a couple of years now, has a few common features present in the other platforms (Group Chat, Stickers, Emojis), but it has two “features” that kind of set it apart. A) It syncs across platforms (send a message on one device, platform, it’ll be there on all the others that have your account). B) Desktop and Mobile Web Support (handy for platforms that aren’t supported)

Pros – Unique ID. Syncs across Platforms (Supports iOS, Android and Blackberry (Not BB10), desktop and mobile web.

Cons – No Windows Phone Support.

[button style=”5″ caption=”Hookt” link=”http://www.hookt.com/”][/button]

ChatON

ChatON is Samsung’s own cross platform messaging service, that has a lot of the features that other services have, including cross platform sync. It also has the ability to create an animated message or picture. It seems to have a little bit more detailed profile management, kind of like a Social Network (no it isn’t one)

Pros – Unique ID. Syncs across Platforms (Supports iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, Certain Samsung Non-Smartphones, and desktop. Animated Messages.

Cons – No ability to actually manage notification tones (I could not find a way to turn off the tone!). Clunky interface (there are a lot of features, you just have to find them).

[button style=”5″ caption=”ChatON” link=”https://web.samsungchaton.com/”][/button]

Wechat

WeChat is one of the newer entrants. It’s developed by Tencent. The service has grown massively of late, mostly in China and South East Asia.. It has apps on most platforms (No BB10 yet) and a couple of things that it has over the others are Video Chat and what it calls “Drift Bottle” – you literally throw your message out there and wait for someone to pick it up. It’s also one of the fastest growing services, in Asia at least.

Pros – Sign in using phone number of Facebook Connect. Find Friends from FB. Symbian, Android, Blackberry (no BB10 yet), iOS, Windows Phone and Web clients.

Cons – No timestamps, delivery notifications & read reports.

[button style=”5″ caption=”Wechat” link=”http://www.wechat.com/en/”][/button]

Line

Line is a service by Japanese company Naver and it’s got everything but the kitchen sink! It’s available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry (No BB10 yet), for the Mac, Windows and Windows 8. Apart from the usual messaging, it has other services available (some as in-app purchases), like audio calling, video and audio messages, social gaming, stickers and more. In Japan, it has more active users than facebook!

Pros – Sign in using phone number or email. Android, Blackberry (no BB10 yet), iOS, Windows Phone, Mac, Windows/Windows 8 clients, Sync’chats across clients. Free calling, Audio and Video messages, Stickers, games

Cons – Only one smartphone can be used for a registered user (you can use it on one device and on a Mac/Windows computer).

[button style=”5″ caption=”Line” link=”http://line.naver.jp/en/”][/button]

Kakaotalk

Kakotalk is like a Korean version of Line, and it’s been around for a long time now. Just like Line, in Korea, it has more active users than Facebook. It has clients for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry (No BB10 Yet) and Bada. It also has other add on services like Kakaopoll, Kakaolink, etc, adding even more modes of interaction. It does not have a desktop client however.

Pros – Sign in using email. Android, Blackberry (no BB10 yet), iOS, Windows Phone, Bada clients. Free calling, Audio and Video messages, Stickers. Pin lock for chats.

Cons – No Desktop Client. Only one mobile number per account.

TU Me

TU Me is an example of a service created by an operator (Telefonica) to catch up with the rest of the OTT service (which operators supposedly hate because of the loss of revenue from text messaging). And on first glance, they’ve done a good job of it. It looks good, has quite a few features and most importantly, you do not have to be a Telefonica customer to use it. It’s iOS and Android only for now, but hopefully it’ll soon get on other platforms. They let you store your chats for a year, after which you have to pay to keep your chat history.

Pros – Sign in using phone number. Audio Calls, Voice and Video messages.

Cons – Android and iOS only. Pay for storage and usage after a limtied period.

Viber

Viber isn’t specifically a messaging service; it started off as a VOIP service which you use to call other Viber users over WiFi or your devices’ data network (kinda like skype). It has had messaging for a while now though, and it doesn’t have much (Group chat for instance), but it does work well with what it’s got. It has clients for iOS, Android, Bada, Windows Phone, Blackberry (no BB10), Symbian and even s40 (like whatsapp).

Pros – Sign in with phone number. Free calling to viber users, messaging & stickers.  iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, Bada, Symbian and s40 clients.

Cons – No Group Messaging

Moped

Moped is a startup from Berlin thats aims to rethink instant messaging from the ground up. Moped lets you send IM’s over phone as well as your computer. Available on both Android and iOS platforms, Moped allows you to share messages and pictures privately or in a group in a very twitter-y fashion. You’ll need a twitter account to sign up and and can incorporate #tags, and @’s in your messages. Users can receive messages on their mobile devices, desktops or by e-mail. Moped also comes built in with a very instagram type  functionality –  a series of photo filters for for enhancing photo sharing. With dropbox integration and a chrome extension, Moped is trying very hard to cover all bases between mobile and the desktop.

Pros – Access IM’s over mobile, desktop & email, hashtag and @(mention) integration, Chrome extension to share content with Moped contacts.

Cons – only twitter login, no WP client

Jongla

Jongla is different from the others for one main reason: the target audience. It’s targeted at kids. Well, 15-20 year olds. It’s got most of the “fun” features from the other apps; stickers, etc.

Pros – Stickers, Web Login.

Cons – iOS, Android and Web only. Beyond stickers, there’s no other “fun” content sharing options.

Hike

Hike is another example of a service created by an Operator (India’s Bharti Telecom and Japan’s Softbank telecom provider) to try and catch up with the rest of the crowd. A standard IM client with one extra feature, 100 Free SMS/user/month for those times when you have flaky internet connectivity.

Pros – All platform IM client(BB coming soon), 100 free SMS/month and other rewards and incentives for stuff like connecting with you Facebook and twitter accounts

Cons – very low user base

Relay

Relay is all about the GIFs. It lets you share animated content from your own gallery, or you can search the web and send animated content to your buddies. Unfortunately, it’s an iOS only app.

Pros – GIFs! Animated!

Cons – iOS only.

GroupMe

GroupMe has been around for a while now. It started off as a messaging app with the focus being on creating groups and staying in touch with them (set up a group when you’re out at an event or conference, with people you have as contacts and others). It recently got updated with some really neat features, including what they call “Split”. You can track the expenses in each group, or add expenses and have others chip in. It also lets you message people who do not have the app, say, someone without a smartphone. It just sends them a standard text message that they can reply to. GroupMe is meant to be a bit more serious, at least when you compare it to some of the other clients out there. It is owned by Skype after all. Which in turn, is owned by Microsoft.

Pros – Sign in online. Manage and edit groups from any device or from the web. iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry (no bb10) and Web clients. Texts sent to phones that do not have the client. Split – expense tracking and management per group.

Cons – Focus on Group messaging (can’t really be counted as a con though).

Yoke

Yoke is similar to most other messaging apps, with stickers, scribbles (drawings), etc. It also allows you to edit your message if it hasn’t been read yet, and you can edit it upto 5 minutes after it has been read.

Pros – Sign in with phone number. Edit your chat. Avatars, Scribbles.

Cons – iOS and Android only.

Cubie

Cubie is a new entrant to the social messaging field. It tries to focus on the “fun” aspects of messaging, with a lot of features seen in Line, such as stickers, animations, etc. It does have a few unique features though, enabling you to create your own content, of sorts. You can sketch, edit photos, etc.

Pros – Sign in with phone number. Stickers, Create your own sketches, animations, customize the look of your chat.

Cons – iOS and Android only. Account can be used only on one device. Tied to one phone number, you’ll need to create a new account for a new phone number.

Image credit: rido / 123RF Stock Photo

BlackBerry Users – Your Must Have Apps

Are you a BlackBerry lover who is pondering to get the best out of your Phone? If yes, then this is the right post for you. Though there are a lot of apps available in the market for which the developers charge, I have compiled a list of apps that might be a valuable one for you. Some are available for free while others are charged.

Check them out and give a try.

Dropbox – This is one of the best services ever which will allow you to have a back up and allows you not to email a file again. And, having Dropbox on your BlackBerry for absolutely free is probably a great thing. Moreover, it allows you to connect to what you consider to be more important and is considered to be a more secure and safe way of browsing files. Share your photos, documents and videos easily with this app from anywhere. Give it a try. [Link]

Evernote – Designed especially for taking notes and archiving, Evernote is easy to use and is available for free. Since it has a multi-platform, you can use it to make a note of whatever you think of. In the latest version, you can add an attachment with an existing note and remove the parts that are not necessary. Also, they are fast and have better power management. Check about the latest releases here. [Link]

Tripcase – Do you get stressed during travel? Though there are a lot of travel management apps available, what makes Tripcase unique is its capability of intelligent messaging. You can use the information in your itinerary in a more organized and efficient way. Also you can have a direct import of your itinerary information and the app will automatically update the itinerary if you do any changes to it anywhere and anytime. Also, find free flight alerts and alternate flights for the same day are made available in this app without the need of upgrading to a premium where you will have to pay to get this information. [Link]

Personal Assistant – This app is used by over 2 million people and recommended by a lot of people. Personal Assistant is an app that will help you in monitoring your transactions done with a credit card, reviewing your bill statements in a detailed manner, checking the balance of your account without requiring the need to enter the data. It allows you to have everything you are looking for and has a lot of extra options too. It can automatically synchronize with your online banking, travel accounts and bills in order to get track of your balance and transactions. And when you have lost your phone, all you will have to do is to deactivate your profile from pageonce.com. It is very simple to prevent unauthorized entry to your phone and the information logged on to it. [Link]

InstaPhoto – A picture says a lot more than words. And it feels even good when you share it with your friends in a social network. With a lot of preset effects available, InstaPhoto allows you to capture moments and customize it while sharing it in social media. [Link]

I am sure, the above apps, when installed by you on your BlackBerry, will make your life that tad bit easier.

Schedule your future using Future Scheduler App for iPhone and Android

Did you ever wish you had a secretary to help you with your chores like sending Birthday Greetings, scheduling Tweets and Facebook updates, sending out emails at certain times of the day, or night to show your boss that you’re working late into the night?

Here’s a productivity app called Future Scheduler which allows you to do just that. This app is available for the iPhone, Android and Blackberry. The App retails for $1.99, much cheaper than what a secretary would cost you. You can get the download links at the end of this post.

Apart from having these tasks performed, you can also set alerts to remind yourself of tasks to do. The good thing about this app is that these alerts and tasks are synced with your calendar, so even if you forget you phone at home, you can check your calendar to check on these alerts you had set.

Features

• sync the device with Calendar
• Snooze function for reminders.
• Import contacts from Facebook.
• Log of scheduled activities.
• Use templates for text and email.
• Recurring events – once, daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly.
• Intuitive and user friendly interface.
• Multiple recipients for text and email.
• Integrates with phone book to let you add recipients conveniently.

App Screenshots:

Download Links:

Download from iTunes |Download from Google Play for Android | Download from Blackberry AppWorld

Scope offers ‘Social Hub’ for all your Social Avataars

The popularity of social networking sites is ever growing. Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus have proven to be faithful social sites in connecting people for personal and business interactions. You might have opened an account in each of these social networking sites and would have faced difficulty to manage these accounts separately. Scope is a useful application which works like a social hub as it will let you manage different social networking accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Tumblr. As you will access every social site from a single interface, your life is made easy. It’s available for Android for Blackberry users.

Let us explore more details about Scope.

New Developments – Scope is a wonderful application and as such there is no equivalent substitute for it at the moment. As per the new update, the interface has undergone drastic improvements compared to the earliest application released for Blackberry. Even though it takes some time to acquaint with the application, once you go through the learning phase you will fall in love with the application and there will not be any need to remove the application from your phone. You will be able to access the pictures in Twitter without clicking on the links separately. You will be able to access all the recent social posts quite easily through Scope.

CapabilitiesScope acts like a social authenticator, which manages the accounts list. As the application has the support from the hardware, you will be able to capture the image through the mobile’s camera. Scope can access your location information. It has the capability to create network sockets. The application has access to all the contact information stored in your mobile phone or tablet device. Hence, you should be extremely cautious in downloading and installing other applications and you should ensure they are free from malware. The application has the capability to track the phone call related information. You can transfer the data to memory modules like USB or SD cards. The application has the capability to modify your system settings as well.

Issues to be Resolved – As the application is in the budding stage, it has to go through the improvement phase as well. Users complain the lack of search options, inability to update the profile and difficulty in responding to messages. There should be a proper way to check the notifications without breakage. You should be able to view the comments posted by yourself. You should be able to view the number of likes, number of retweets, etc. Whether you name these requirements as drawbacks or errors or malfunctions, these should be addressed to offer users a more fulfilling experience.

Improvements – Scope was first launched on Blackberry and later on it was released for Android phones as well. The concept of providing an easy interface to access various social sites is welcomed by users. The team behind the development of the application should cater to the needs and aspirations of the user community. The application should introduce support for groups and fan pages on Facebook. The changes are required to be introduced in a fast paced manner. If the expectations are not implemented at the earliest it is likely to face challenges from other similar applications.

Download Link

For Android Devices on Google Play | Blackberry Devices

Read Newspapers the new way using PressReader for iOS and Android

Conventional Newspapers world over are seeing a steady decline in their subscribership. Indian newspapers still haven’t seen such declines due to a variety of reasons, the internet & smartphone/table penetration in India still has quite a way to go in order for consumers to make the switch to online news sources for their daily news fix. Well don’t wait for the times to catch up, you can go digital today.

Here’s an app which brings you your daily newspaper home from anywhere on the globe on your Tablet or mobile. PressReader is an app which gets you the latest editions of newspapers from around the world, on a variety of devices. They support Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows Phone 7 apart from Windows and Mac desktop.

The world at your Fingertips

One aspect of the app which amazed me, apart from the number of device platforms they support, was the shear number of newspapers provided on the app to subscribe to. India alone has around 129 publications, in a range of languages – English, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam and Marathi among others. There are around 1297 English language sources to choose from. Don’t let the numbers run away, some of the numbers can be attributed to the same publication from different cities as well, I spotted more than one Times of India (one for Delhi and the other for Mumbai) in the listing. Apart from newspapers,  you can also find a few magazines in the listing, which are available to download using this app. Why just stop with your regular local newspaper? You can use PressReader to subscribe to newspapers around the world.

If you are looking at language based publications, the app also allows you to filter the list of publications based on languages, making it easy to find out if you have any sources in your preferred language.

News in time for your Morning Coffee

Downloading a newspaper is as easy as clicking on the newspaper you wish to read and choosing which date you’d like to download the news paper for. In this window, you can also set an automatic download of future issues as well. This way, your tablet or phone can download the latest issue and have it ready for you in time for your morning coffee. You can also download back-issues of the newspapers if you missed reading one of the previous few issues.

You can also go in there and download older editions (though limited to a few days worth) of the newspapers if you missed reading out a column or two from the previous days.

The Reading Experience

I love the way the app presents the Newspaper reading experience from the standard Newspaper layout into a “Smart Flow” mode. If you prefer to read it like you’d do with a print one, you can do that as the default view. In the iPad and Android Tablets, the Smart Flow mode switches to a more device friendly method for navigating and reading the content. Here are a few screenshots from the app showing you the different modes of reading. (Click on the images for a larger view)

Newsprint Format
SmartFlow News Navigation
Article Reading Mode

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From these you can make out that the SmartFlow mode really improves on the standard newsprint layout, leaving out all the clutter and focussing on what you need to read. In the Smartflow mode, you can also change the font size to customize for a more comfortable reading experience.

I had asked the PressReader folks about how they managed to get this done. PressReader a digital solution developed by NewspaperDirect, which is a well known company in the industry. They get  content from publishers from near and far in a standard PDF format. Once they receive it, each issue is processed with XML features like clickable headlines, on-demand audio and SmartFlow. This process they say is largely automated but there is quite a bit of human intervention. That’s quite a lot of data to crunch in a day, considering the number of publications they feature within the app!

Download Links

iPhone/iPad | Android GingerBread Devices | Android Devices HoneyComb & ICS | Windows Phone 7 | Blackberry

Screenshots from the PressReader

 

Useful Travel Apps

Technological innovation has made life easier on Earth and when it comes to travel, it is indeed a great joy. Are you ready for the long awaited vacation which you planned for several months?  Your Smartphone could be really useful when you’re travelling (or planning your next trip).

 

Here are some of the best  travel apps that everyone must have for their vacation or even for a day-to-day commute. Having these apps on your mobile would help you book & track your flights, plan your stay and find stuff you need in the city.

TripItTripIt (Short for Trip Itinerary) was born when three young men decided to build something useful while they were sitting in a crowded Mexican restaurant. This intelligent travel organizer makes your trip smooth. Just forward your travel confirmation email to [email protected] without having to worry about where you have done your reservation. TripIt plans everything perfectly. You can share your travel calendar and have access to schedules and collaborate on planning trips either with an individual or among a group of friends in TripIt network. It’s available on iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone. Get it here.

HipmunkHipmunk is a service that lets you search for flights (and now Hotels) from the web or using your iOS or Android Device. What makes it stand out is the special “Agony” search for flights, apart from sorting by time & price, that takes into account the number of flights you’ll have to switch and so much more. You can search for your flight on your device and book it via the web which takes you to Orbitz. Get it for your iOS device, here, or your Android device, here.

• Orbitz – Orbitz is a booking service for Flights, Hotels, Rental Cars, Cruises and more. You can get the Mobile apps for iOS or Android here, or you can visit m.orbitz.com on any mobile browser.

Booking – Booking.com is a service that focuses on giving information of variety of hotels across the world, with support for more than 170 countries across the world. You can place your order by using the app without having to call the hotel. You can also find reviews of all the hotels. Get if for your iOS or Android device here, or visit m.booking.com from your mobile browser.

Travel Interpreter – The worst thing that would happen when you are on a travel is the language barrier. Now this can be overcome but with a price. Travel Interpreter is an app that has databases of phrases which can be downloaded to SD card over Wi-Fi. Priced at $9.99 ($4.99 on iOS), you can get access to 28 languages. Select the language you need and download it to your phone. When the download is complete, you can turn off the Wi-Fi. However it is just a phrase book and not an exact translator. This app provides you with a huge list of phrases along with an illustration both in the target language and English. Get it for iOS here and Android here.

• Google Translate – Of course, if basic translation services are what you want, Google Translate should do. It’s a free service, available on your mobile device as an app or via the mobile browser. Get it, here.

• Boingo Wireless – Roaming cellular data charges are really expensive, and you may not be able to or want to use a local sim with a data plan on your mobile phone (let alone tether that connection with your laptop). Boingo Wireless helps you find Free WiFi hotspots around the world (it could be in the cafe across the road). It also provides access to Boingo Hotspots, based on what tariff plan you select (and there are many). Get it on your Windows Laptop, your Mac, iOS or Android device, here.

• Google Maps – Google Maps works for more than just finding your location and Points of Interest (Coffee Shops, Petrol Stations,  Super Markets, etc) near you. You have turn by turn navigation (in some countries), In-Building Navigation (again, in some countries) and Public Transport timing and more. Get it, here.

Hopefully, these apps (and everything else that your smartphone can do) will make your travel much easier.

 

Image Credits: Google Lat Long Blog

Shootout: Molome vs Streamzoo vs Picplz

If you are one of the guys who think photo sharing apps do nothing more than uploading photos to Facebook in their own interfaces and they are not even improving your experience with your phone at all, do read this article, because this is written by a guy who thought exactly the same way. And if you are not one of them, read and see how a man’s opinion changed.

We have Molome with its loveable icon, PicPlz and Streamzoo in our hands here.

Molome and PicPlz have their own networks besides Twitter and Facebook. This is cool, because if you don’t want those apps to be connected with your profiles, you have an option to do that. You sign up to their networks and you don’t have to link this app to your accounts. When signing up to Molome, I was asked to activate my account whereas I wasn’t asked when signing up to PicPlz network. Streamzoo doesn’t have its own network like the other two apps. Well, actually, it has it a little different one. But you don’t sign up to it. You link the app with Twitter or Facebook and then you go settings, Edit Profile. Pick a username and enter your e-mail. Then, you have access to its network.

Of course, you can link PicPlz or Molome to your Facebook and Twitter accounts too. To do this for Molome, go to Profiles and you will see Social Network section where you can log in to Twitter and Facebook. In PicPlz, go to Settings. Here, you have two choices to get to the same screen; either by tapping Account Settings and then Connections tab or just tapping Other Services. Here, picplz has taken this one (or maybe five) steps further by supporting flickr, tumblr, posterous, foursquare and Dropbox in addition to Facebook and Twitter. Although I personally do not have accounts on many of them, I still can see that this is important for ‘sharing crazies’.

In terms of settings, PicPlz takes another step by giving us more options than the others. You can set the app to launch when you press the camera button for example. You can share your location too, this is disabled by default and you have to enable it from the Settings menu. Developer knew that most of people are not comfortable with sharing their locations and some users wouldn’t bother to check settings before uploading photos, so this is a good thing. With PicPlz, accessing to your account settings takes time. It seems it connects to a website or something to apply your changes in your accounts. It might have been better if we could see and set our options faster.

In Streamzoo and Molome, you don’t have a detailed settings page. Streamzoo actually has chosen ‘simplicity’ as its motto. Besides editing your linked accounts and your actual Streamzoo account, only option you have is to enable and disable notifications. Molome isn’t very different, you can only set shutter sound on/off and set auto refresh and background notifications on/off and set their intervals.

In Molome and Streamzoo, there is a mechanism to encourage you to upload and share videos whereas picplz doesn’t have that. Molome gives you badges and Streamzoo gives you points for accomplishing things, well uploading photos. Actually, Molome did take this a step further but we will get there later.

Three of these apps have a method to keep you busy with them. Even if you do not have any friends in their networks, you can take a look at “Popular” photos in Molome and Streamzoo and you can look at “Interesting” photos in PicPlz. These photos are not private photos of course. You see more artistic works in these streams and you can like, comment these photos and add to your collection, this is pretty much what a person expects from a photo sharing network, right?

Look and feel things depend on the people’s delights mostly. The same picture looks different to the people. One loves it, the other hates it and one guy doesn’t even bother to turn and look at it. So this is all a personal opinion I am going to share with you. In my humble opinion, Molome has a more eye-candy looking than the other two. And I couldn’t see enough difference between others to rate them second and third. But you might find them both better than Molomo in terms of design of course. I already expressed my opinion on how cute and loveable Molomo icon is :)

Before taking a look into effects to be applied to photos where you wish, let’s talk about upload and share mechanisms. In Molome, you can take a picture or choose from gallery. After taking or choosing the picture, it lets you zoom in and out and after you are satisfied with the size, you are taken to the effects page and after that, you give a name to the image and upload. You can cancel uploading by tapping yellow UPLOADING text on the screen which appears after you start uploading. This will take you to another page and you will see a red cross on your photo being uploaded. Your effect-applied photos are saved to your phone even if you don’t upload them. To be able to do this, just tap next after applying effects. It will take you to upload screen, but you do not have to upload.

In Streamzoo, besides taking or choosing image to be uploaded, you can shoot videos or choose a video to be uploaded. After you choose or take your photo, it takes you to effects screen. After that, you are taken to the uploading page. You name your photo and start uploading here. Unfortunately, I don’t seem like to find a way to cancel my uploading process. One bad thing I noticed is that it doesn’t save your effect-applied image to your phone if you don’t upload it. About videos, you can’t apply effects to them. But this was what we expected, right?

In PicPlz, after you choose or take your picture, you are taken to the effects page as expected. And of course, after you tap Next, you are taken to uploading screen and you name your image and start uploading. I don’t know if there is something I am missing, but I couldn’t find a way to cancel my uploading process too. And again, you can’t save your effect-applied image to your phone if you don’t upload it. After your image is uploaded successfully, you get an e-mail from picplz which includes the link to your photo. Using this link, you can share your photo with your friends. Here is one of photos of my PC case.

None of these apps have picture effects to apply on the actual photo taking time as you could understand. Instead, you are taken to an ‘effects page’ after you choose or take your image. Molome and picplz are pretty much the same in this aspect. This is where Streamzoo says “You won’t regret if you choose me too.” Besides applying the effects which are also offered by Molome and picplz, you can add cool borders and you can add ‘tilt shift’ effect. Tilt shift effect can be applied one part of your photo and you can apply it to the whole photo if you wish. I told you that Molome had a different method to encourage you to share photos and didn’t tell you what this is. Well, you cannot choose three effects if you do not have 10, 20 and 30 uploaded images.

To come to a conclusion, you should choose which one best suits you. Every one of them has strong and weak aspects. Actually, the only common thing among them is that they are free. So you can try them out on your own and maybe keep them all in your phone. It feels good to be aware that you can try them all doesn’t it?

Didn’t they seem like they offer the things you look for in a photo sharing application? Of course, there are other photo sharing applications in the market. You can try them out too. Or, if you don’t feel like doing it or you don’t have time, you just let us know that you want the app to be compared with these three. I promise that we will do our best to compare and help you choose the one which will satisfy your needs.

While all these apps were reviewed on Android, they are available on multiple platforms, so you should have similar experiences on all platforms.  Molome is available on Symbian, Android and Blackberry. Download from the Ovi Store here, the Android Market here and the Blackberry App World here. Streamzoo is available on iOS and Android. Download from the Apple App Store here and the Android Market here. Picplz is available on iOS and Android. Download from the Apple App Store here and the Android Market here.

Check out the Gallery below for all the photos taken using these three applications.

News360 – Multiplatform News app for Tablets and Phones

It learns from your cloud and uses semantic analysis to inform  you on major ongoing events and give you content that is relevant just for you.” News360.com

News360 is a news app which collects stories from different news sites and presents you these stories in a more visual and nicer style. The app analyzes your Facebook, Twitter, Evernote and Google Reader accounts and the way you use the app, with your permission. Then it tries to bring you more relevant news.

When you first run the app, it briefly tells you about how to use it. You can change the story you read by swiping right and left. And tapping on the story opens the detailed story. On the top right side of the screen, you can see four icons. The first one is to filter the news for your location. I tried that, it found my place and brought the news related to my city and country. That was brilliant. The second one is the search icon. When you search a keyword, the stuff related to your keyword is included in the results too. And under the results, the most relevant articles are listed for you to tap and read. The third icon is for settings obviously. This is also where you connect your social accounts to the app. After that, you will be ready to share articles. There are five sites you can connect the app: Facebook, Twitter, ReadItLater, Instapaper and TripIt. You can also send feedback and gain more information about the app in this screen. The last icon on the top right side of the screen is a star for your favorites. It doesn’t add articles to your favorites; it shows the favorites you added before.

At the bottom of the screen, there is a menu which you can tap and open. You can see My Stories and News here. In My Stories, you can add categories to be added to My Stories. Just tap My Stories, and then tap “Add More”. You can search and add the topics you want here. News shows the categories. You can see the articles on a certain category by tapping on it.

When you tap the story you want to read, it opens a new page. On the top of the screen, there are 5 icons now. First one brings you back to main screen. The second one marks the important people, places and organizations in the article when it is activated. You can tap on the marked text and get information about it. The third one changes the size of the font, there are three options. The fourth one is to share the article on your social network accounts and the last one is to add the article to your favorites. When you swipe down the page, you can see that it gives a link to the source and gives more links related to the story. You can tap them and read the full article from their website. It doesn’t open the browser and shows the full article directly, which is cool.

News360 has a widget for you to put on your home screen and read articles. The widget is pretty simple. When you first add it, it asks you to choose a category to be shown in the widget. You can change the category later by tapping on the gearwheel symbol on the top right side of the widget.

The tablet version, apart from being bigger, has a “360 view” option. Which is basically a 360 degree carousel with snapshots floating around. You can tap on one, and that article will be brought to the foreground, where you can chose to open and read it. It is a MUST have if you have a tablet.

Check out the gallery below for more shots of the app.

You can download News360 from the Android Market. The tablet version is here and the phone version is here. It is also available for iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone 7, Playbook, Android at the moment. You can find the iPhone app at iTunes, here, and the iPad app, here. The Playbook version is available in the Blackberry App World, here. You can download the Windows Phone 7 app, here.  And do visit the News360 webpage, where they have a Web App for Desktops in development, http://www.news360app.com/.

For those who want to keep updated about the events around them, News360 is a very good app. Categories, filtering stories by your location, adding to your favorites, searching for particular topics… If you want to keep updated, this should be the way of doing so.