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Archive for the ‘Mobile Content’ Category

Top 10 iPhone Bike Apps

Friday, May 21st, 2010



Following on from my post on iPhone Bike Mounts, here is the list that I promised containing the top ten iPhone Bike Apps. Some are free, some are paid but they’re all available in the app store now and are designed to make tracking your movements and recording your progress as easy as possible, in addition, some of the apps will provide some form of navigation or integrate with maps from the Ordinance Survey.

Whether you commute to work  on your bike, cycle for fun or to keep fit, there will no doubt be an app here that will come in handy. I’m not going to pretend to be a cycling enthusiast – my bike only comes out of the shed about 4 times a year, but writing this gave me a good excuse to fetch it out and take it for a spin to see how these apps measure up.

Reviewing 10 apps in full would probably have killed me, so I only tested the main, basic features of the app. For a more detailed review of some of the features, you’ll need to read the reviews in iTunes, but you’ll find a summary of the app and my initial thoughts listed below.

Download MotionX GPS in iTunes1. MotionX GPS

I was keen to try Motion X as it’s had a lot of mentions and recommendations on various iPhone forums. As with most of the apps here, there are two versions, a Lite version and the fully functioning app. The full version has more features than the lite version and is well worth the £1.79.

It’s one of only a few apps that have iPod support built in, allowing you to change/control your music without having to quit the app and lose your data. Controls on screen are clear and simple and can be used even when cycling. It can store over 300 waypoints, 100 routes and has the option of sharing them using Google Earth, Google Maps or Facebook/Twitter. As well as recording your route, it will allow you to monitor your speed, distance and journey time.

MotionX Lite – Free MotionX GPS

MotionX GPS – £1.79 MotionX GPS

RunKeeper for iPhone 3G & 3GS2. RunKeeper

There are two versions of this app available, the free version and the pro version – I tried the free version and was pretty impressed. The App isn’t just for cycling, it can be used for a number of sports and has the ability to change activity in the app settings. It tracks your speed, distance travelled and number of calories burned off and tracks your progress on a map. All workouts can then be synced to a website where you can monitor your progress

It has built in support for iPod so you won’t need to close the app to change tracks or switch playlists, but as with every app on this list, if you get a call or a text it can interfere with the data it records. Hopefully when iPhone OS 4.0 comes out next month this kind of app is one that will be able to run in the background.

The extra features in the Pro version don’t add any extra features to the core purpose of the app, but allow you to do more with the camera & iPod, as well as giving you audio updates on your progress through your headphones.

RunKeeper – Free Download in iTunes

RunKeeper Pro – £5.99 Download in iTunes

Cyclemeter for iPhone 3G & iPhone 3GS3. Cyclemeter

At just under £3 this is a great app. In terms of functionality it’s similar to RunKeeper, (to be fair, the functionality of all the apps on this list are very similar) but the main difference is that this app has been designed specifically for cyclists, with other dedicated apps for running & walking. Featurewise this is a real challenger to RunKeeper as it’s half the price, but has pretty much all the same features – possibly a couple more.

I liked the fact that you can start and stop tracking by using the answer button on your earphones instead of having to touch your phone. Voice prompts and alerts are another prominent feature of the app – you can set up alerts that tell you your speed, distance etc at pre-defined intervals, or just tap your headphone remote for an update.

Recorded routes can be uploaded to Google Maps and shared with others and it’s got twitter and facebook support too -but to be honest most of your friends will be too busy playing farmville to notice that you’ve just been on a bike ride.

Cyclemeter – £2.99 Cyclemeter GPS Cycling Computer for Road & Mountain Biking

Download SportyPal Bike in iTunes4. SportyPal

SportyPal is essentially a speedometer for your bike. It uses GPS data to calculate your speed and distance travelled. It stores your routes and lets you upload them to the SportyPal website, where you can analyse and review your trips.

It’s simple, works well and has a nice clean interface. It’s jumped on the Facebook/Twitter bandwagon, but I’m not really sure what the point of it is.

It’s a good app if you’re just looking for simple tracking and speed data, but there are other apps that do more for slightly less, although none of them are quite as clean and simple to use.

SportPal – £2.99 Download in iTunes

Download B.iCycle in iTunes5. B.iCycle

This is a really nice app that’s been designed specifically for cyclists – and it shows. The screen layout is clear and uncluttered. You have 3 screen options – split screen shows your speed and position on a map, big map for full screen tracking on a map and a data screen that shows all the stats you could possibly want to see.

There is an export option – at the end of your trip the app will ask you if you want the route emailing to you as a KML or GPX file. You can then use this file in Google Maps/Earth to see where you’ve been. Maps in the app are downloaded as they’re needed, but once downloaded, it saves it on to the device, allowing you to continue to use the app even if you’re out of signal.

It’s not as fully featured as some of the others in this list, but it’s still worth looking at, although there’s no lite or trial version, so you’ll need to pay to try it.

B.iCycle – £5.99 Download in iTunes

OutDoors6. OutDoors

Outdoors is a great app, but not one for the casual cyclist. Mountain bikers, trekkers and walkers who enjoy venturing cross country will absolutely love it, but for your average city commuter it’s probably got way more than you’re ever likely to need.

It has maps from Ordnance Survey maps included with the application that allow you to browse and plan routes across your chosen region. As you’d expect with OS maps, the level of detail is excellent and in 1:250000 scale. Maps are stored on your phone, so even if you lose signal you can continue to wander about. You can build and plan your own routes on the device or import them from the web and save them on your phone.

The App isn’t designed exclusively for cycling as it gives you the choice of either walking or cycling. The only downsides to this one are that it’s not cheap – The main app is free but for more detailed regional maps, you’ll need to download them as an in-app purchase – these are currently going for around £10 each – so for the whole of the UK, it could get expensive. Having said that it’s still an awesome app. Tracking isn’t as detailed as some of the others in the list, but this is more about route planning and navigating than it is tracking your route and recording your progress.

OutDoors is free, but regional maps are £9.99 via in-app purchase Download in iTunes

Download EveryTrail in iTunes7. Every Trail

EveryTrail is similar in a few ways to Trails but has a lot more functionality. It allows you to track your routes, attach geo-tagged photo’s to your route and then share your routes with friends and family either through Facebook & Twitter, or through the EveryTrail website (Pro Version only). You can save your trips and can also search through trips made by other app users.

To be honest, for commuters and those who cycle to keep fit you might struggle to find a use for this. It can be used for walking as well as cycling, and I’m more likely to use this again then next time I go camping or on a trekking weekend than I am the next time I go out on my bike. It’s a great app for recording and sharing where you’ve been and is a must have app if you enjoy leisurely walks or bike rides out in the country.

I tried the free version which is ad supported and didn’t really bother me too much. The free version doesn’t give you the option to sync your routes with the EveryTrail servers or let you save maps for use offline, so if you’re out cycling in the middle of nowhere and lose signal, you could have problems. Start off with the free version to make sure it’s what you need, and if it is upgraded to the Pro version – the £2.39 is well worth it.

EveryTrail – Free Download in iTunes

EveryTrail Pro – £2.39 Download in iTunes

Download The Bike Computer in iTunes8. The Bike Computer

The Bike Computer is a relatively simple, no frills app that tracks your route and displays information on your progress. It’s from the same developer as EveryTrail, but is clearly their budget offering.

It does an ok job, information is clear and easy to read while you’re cycling, but I found it a little on the buggy side. Updates are promised soon, so if you only cycle for a hobby and don’t need anything too serious it’s an ok app to go for.

Cost: Free Download in iTunes

Download Trails from iTunes9. Trails

This is more of a tracking app than a monitoring app. It’s all about recording where you’ve been, recording gps data for photos. It has got some monitoring ability, but speed is recorded as minutes per mile, suggesting that it’s aimed more at walkers than cyclists.

I tried the free version, which was fine, but it only lets you store 5 routes at a maximum of 5 minutes in lenght, so if you’re often going out and about and want to record where you’ve been, you’ll need to pay for the full version which gives you unlimited routes. Routes can be imported and exported in the GPX and KML formats – standard formats for handling GPS data to geo-tag photo’s and record your journeys in google maps and various other online sites.

Trails Lite – Free Trails

Trails – £2.39 Download in iTunes

Download Trailguru in iTunes10. Trailguru

This is a really simple, basic tracking app. It tracks distance, speed and elevation. You can view where you’ve been on a map and post your route to the Trailguru website. It’s pretty basic, but does what it sets out to do.

There’s no iPod integration either, so you’ll may lose data when trying to change track. Although it’s a free one, there are other, better alternatives.


Trailguru – Free Download in iTunes

One app that’s worth a small mention that I already had on my phone was CoPilot Live. While strictly speaking it’s not a biking app, it does have a cycle mode and is better at getting you from point A to point B than some of the others listed above. What it lacks though is any form of tracking – but if like me you end up in a random field in a part of town you’ve never seen before you’ll be glad you had it!

So there we go, that’s my top ten iPhone Bike apps. If you use any of the apps listed here, let me know what you think of them, or if you think I’ve missed any out add it to the list by leaving a comment below.


Top 10 Apps for the HTC Desire & Android phones

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010


Following on from my post on the Top HTC Desire Cases, I thought I’d take a look at some of the other ‘must have’ items for the HTC Desire – the Apps.

It’s been just over 7 months since I posted my last top ten of Apps for Android and though it was time to take another look at what’s out there.

Android Market is available on the HTC Desire

Android Market is available on the HTC Desire

I’ve been playing with the HTC Desire & Android Marketplace for a few days now and have been trying out some of their most popular apps. I’m still using my iPhone 3G so again you’ll see some comparisons between the two, but having spent some time with the Desire I’m extremely tempted to switch!

Shopsavvy

ShopSavvy was featured heavily in T-Mobile’s first TV ad (the one where they all start dancing in the train station). It allows you to scan in the barcode of a product using your phone’s camera and it will then compare prices locally and online so that you can check to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

You can also see reviews of the product and set the app to alert you when the price of the item falls below a set limit. This is a great app that is currently only available on Android.

shopsavvy-for-android

ShopSavvy for Android

Movies

I’ve been using Movies on my iPhone for about a year now and it’s definitely one of the best movie apps available, so when I saw it available for Android it’s gone straight into my top ten. Movies allows you to search for nearby cinemas using your GPS location, search by film, see upcoming films & trailers and share ratings with your friends on Facebook.  It provides contact details for all cinemas, but lacks the ability to book your tickets through the app – hopefully this is on it’s way.

movies-for-android

Movies by Flixster on Android

Opera Mini

Opera Mini is probably the most popular third party web browser that you can get for mobile phones. Instead of rendering pages in the standard way, your request to view the page is handled by Opera’s servers instead of the phone. This process strips out any unneccessary information and compresses the data being sent to your phone. Not particularly exciting to the end user, but what it does mean is that your web pages load almost twice as fast as they would using the default browser – especially when you’re connected to 3G.

Layar

Augmented Reality is still the next big thing to hit Smartphones. Layar is still leading the way, but we’re still way off from it being a llife changing app! Having said that Layar really takes a step in the right direction. If you’ve not come across augmented reality before it’s where the ‘real world’ and internet based information services come together.

Your Desire uses its GPS and compass to determine where you are and which way you’re facing and then uses the camera to show your surroundings on screen. Augmented reality applications such as Layar then display information on top of what you’re look at – hence the name. These ‘layers’ of information can be turned on or off and there are layers available to show you information such as nearest cashpoints, train stations hotels – even which of your friends are nearby.

As you move the camera around this information updates in real time, with Icons on screen indicating where things are. To find out more information about a hotel for example, just press it’s icon and you’ll be presented with information such as address, phone number, website, reviews etc.  It’s still in its early stages but it’s growing quickly and you now have a number of ‘layers’ that you can turn on and off as and when you want..

layar-for-android

Layar for Android

Seesmic

I’m still not a huge Twitter fan, but this app is highly rated by staff and customers.Twidroid used to be the leader in twitter apps on Android but Seesmic has knocked it off it’s perch.

Seesmic shows more than just your friends tweets. It brings all your timelines into one simple screen, allows you to share videos, photos and location information with your tweets as well as the usual direct messaging and tweeting options.

Seesmic Twitter Client for Android

Seesmic Twitter Client for Android

Meebo IM

Meebo is an Instant messaging application that allows you to communicate with your friends regardless of the messaging program that they’re using. Meebo can connect to AIM, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk/Jabber, MSN, ICQ, Facebook Chat & MySpace IM using just one log in.

meebo-for-android

Meebo IM for Android

Locale

I loved this on the Hero and still love it on the Desire. It uses your location to adjust settings on your phone. It might seem a little confusing at first, but you can program your phone to perform certain functions when you get to predefined locations. For example – You can set the phone to remind you to charge your battery when you walk through your front door or you can set it to switch to silent mode as soon as you arrive at the cinema.

Recent updates to the app allow it to post messages to twitter when you get to work or sms relatives when you’ve arrived home. The list is endless and you can configure it to do exactly what you want.

Locale

Locale for Android

Shazam

This is one of those apps that really makes you wonder how they do it. Shazam has been around for a few years now, but instead of paying premium rates for dialling 2580 on your mobile, you now have a free of charge app that can tag songs for you.

If you’ve not come across Shazam before, it’s a music tagging system. If you hear a song that you like but don’t know what it is, launch the app, press ‘tag now’ and hold the phone towards the speaker. Within seconds you’ll get information on the song, including Name, Artist, Album, Year of release, Amazon MP3 Store link, Artist MySpace Page and YouTube Video Links. It’s amazingly fast and surprisingly accurate.

shazam-for-android

Shazam for Android

Thick Buttons

One of the most frustrating things that I’ve come across on the Desire is the keyboard – particularly in portriat view. With the iPhone, it knows which letters should come next when you’re typing and (invisibly) greys out the letters that you are unlikely to need. This makes typing a little easier as you don’t need to be 100% accurate when pressing the letters.

Android doesn’t have this as standard, but thankfully this App adds a similar feature which makes typing a lot faster and easier. Instead of ‘greying out’ keys, it makes them laarger or smaller, depending on how likely they are to be the next one pressed.

Check out the video below to see it in action.

Appmanager

Imagine you’ve spent forever and a day installing the best apps possible on your Android phone. What happens when you switch phones, or your handset breaks and you have to get a replacement? Apple have this covered as your Apps are backed up to iTunes everytime you sync, so how do you deal with this if you’re using an Android phone? Simple – use AppManager.

It allows you to back up all your apps to the Micro SD card in your phone. If you need to switch phones, you can simply move the memory card and restore all your apps once you’ve reinstalled Appmanager. Appmanager is a free download from the Android Market on your device.

appmanager-for-android

Appmanager for Android

These are just my top 10, there might be other apps out there that are even better than these and I’ve just not found them yet, so if you’re using an app that you think should be in the top ten leave a link below!

Top 10 Chart Ringtones of 2009

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

As we constantly blog about accessories and it’s Christmas, we thought we’d take a look at ringtones for a change. There have been some great songs in the charts this year, and with most available as a ringtone for your phone I thought I’d take a look at which ones were the most popular – so here are Mobile Fun’s Top 10 Ringtones of 2009.

Kings Of Leon

Kings Of Leon

  1. Kings Of Leon – Sex On Fire
  2. Lady Gaga – Poker Face
  3. Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling
  4. Cheryl Cole – Fight For This Love
  5. Alexandra Burke Ft Flo Rida – Bad Boys
  6. Black Eyed Peas – Meet Me Halfway
  7. Black Eyed Peas – Boom Boom Pow
  8. Flo Rida – Right Round
  9. Lady Gaga Feat Colby Odonis – Just Dance
  10. The Killers – Human


This top 10 is based on the number of downloads from Mobile Fun in 2009. If you’re looking for the latest releases, take a look at the UK Top 20 or browse our most popular ringtones.

Top 10 Apps for the HTC Hero & Android handsets

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009


Following on from my post on the Top 10 HTC Hero Accessories and Top 10 HTC Hero Cases, I thought I’d take a look at some of the other ‘must have’ items for the HTC Hero – the Apps.

Since Apple launched the App store for the iPhone, the way that we use our phones has changed. Almost all touchscreen smartphones now have a version of the App store, where you can download free and paid for applications to your phone to increase it’s functionality.

Android Market

Android Market

I’ve been playing with the HTC Hero & Android Marketplace for a few days now and have been trying out some of their most popular apps. As my phone is an iPhone, there are a few comparisons to the iPhone in here but these are my favourites Android Apps so far.
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Top 10 Apps for your Nokia Phone – Symbian S60

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Since the launch of the iPhone App Store by Apple last year, we’ve seen an explosion in the amount of applications, games and ringtones for mobile phones. Phones are now getting smarter than ever before and many now allow us to install extra applications and add functionality to our phones.  Over the next few weeks I’m going to be compiling a list of the top applications for each of the different mobile phone operating systems; Symbian S60 3rd edition, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Android, iPhone & Java.

Symbian S60 V3 Handsets From Nokia

Symbian S60 V3 Handsets From Nokia

I’m starting off with Symbian 60 3rd Edition (also known as S60 V3). If this doesn’t mean much to you, don’t worry, S60 V3 is probably the most common operating system and is found in most Nokia N-Series (N95, N96) and Nokia E-Series (E71, E66)  handsets.  Over the last few months there have also been a few handsets from Samsung that run S60 such as the Samsung INNOV8.  The latest touch screen phones from Nokia – the N97 and the 5800 XpressMusic run on Symbian software, but as they are touchscreen, they run on S60 V5 so the applications listed here won’t work on them.  I’ll be compiling a list of Symbian 60 5th edition applications shortly.

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