Archive for May, 2010

TomTom GPS Apps on Sale

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

While Mother’s Day is celebrated in months other than May in many countries, TomTom let their email newsletter subscribers know yesterday that TomTom iPhone apps are now on sale and they would make an ideal Mother’s Day gift. We’re sure that many mothers would appreciate a full-featured GPS app for their iPhones though we don’t think you should feel guilty if you just want to get the TomTom GPS app for yourself at a significant discount. Discounts range from $10 to $25 off normal prices – more than enough to shake a stick at.

Here are just a few of the TomTom apps for sale and their current prices:

TomTom has not indicated how long this sale will last so hop to it if you want to take advantage of the sale prices.

Review: IM+ Makes It Nearly Impossible to Stay Out of Touch on iPad

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

IM+ by Shape Services has been optimized for the iPad and hit the App Store in universal format just a few days ago. At $9.99, it’s not cheap but it offers a way to stay in touch using 10 different chat and social networking services all in a single app.

IM+ supports the following services: Twitter, Skype Chat, Facebook (chat only), Google Talk, Yahoo, MSN/Live Messenger, AIM/iChat, ICQ, MySpace and Jabber.

As an instant messaging client, IM+ is quite capable and we had no problems using it with a variety of accounts. If you only use AIM, IM+ probably has far more features than you need and the official – and free – AIM for iPad app is probably sufficient for you. If you use Twitter, Facebook chat, and have multiple instant messaging accounts, IM+ will serve you well.

IM+ allows you to manage your contacts through adding and deleting buddies and groups (Facebook friends cannot be edited within IM+). Preset status messages are available and you can also create your own. If you want to be more than “Away” from a specific service or all of them, the Accounts settings will let you switch accounts off or delete them entirely.

IM+ also uses Apple’s push notification service to push messages to you even when the app is closed and the iPad is in sleep mode. We have encountered an error message after not opening IM+ for several hours telling us that our push notification session had expired and that we must open the app again to start a new session. Looking through the app’s Settings, we found that the push notification session can be extended to 7 days though the default is set to 12 hours.

You can enter text in landscape or portrait orientation using the iPad’s virtual keyboard (external keyboards are supported as well) and can make use of standard emoticons included in the IM+ app or the Emoji native to the iPhone OS, though IM+ does not activate Emoji for system-wide use in other apps.

In landscape mode, the pane on the left side can be toggled between your contacts and Inbox. The Inbox is where unread messages can be quickly seen and replied to.

There’s an in-app browser so you won’t need to leave the app to open links sent to you or if you want to browse while waiting for a response from someone. The browser is pretty simple and doesn’t offer bookmarking or other features, though this doesn’t disappoint us since it serves its primary purpose of offering you a quick way to browse as you chat.

IM+ also offers a speech recognition feature where the app will convert spoken words into messages. This feature costs $.99 per month as an in-app purchase. The recording of your spoken message is sent to IM+’s servers for conversion and the converted text is inserted to the outgoing text field. We found that this feature worked relatively well at understanding our speech though punctuation is another story entirely – converted dictations appear as a single sentence without punctuation no matter how long the recording is and saying punctuation out loud (as you would do in Dragon Dictation, for example) doesn’t work. As such, this is really just a feature for short exchanges if you find it easier to speak instead of type.

Using IM+ to stay on top of your Twitter stream, including replies and direct messages, works well, particularly with the in-app browser to view links within tweets. Facebook users may be disappointed to find that IM+ works with the site’s chat function only and can’t be used to view or make wall posts.

Like we said, IM+ is not cheap at $9.99 but it offers a boat load of functionality for those who want an all-in-one app to handle instant messaging plus Twitter and chat via Facebook and Skype and more. Considering this, IM+ turns out to be a bargain.

Pandora App Optimized for iPad

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Pandora, the popular internet radio service that first debuted in the App Store for the iPhone in early 2009,  joins DropBox in releasing an iPad-oriented update to its app within the past day. Pandora Radio (free) is now a universal app that is optimized for the iPad’s larger screen.

Pandora Radio was one of the apps used to demonstrate the new multitasking abilities coming in iPhone OS 4.0 at an Apple media event last month. At that event, Pandora’s founder, Tim Westergren, described that the iPhone app had “singlehandedly changed the trajectory of Pandora,” nearly doubling the service’s growth rate overnight after its release.

With this update to add iPad optimization, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Pandora continue to grow even faster as the iPad gets into the hands of more users around the world later this year.

ABC Player Updated to Stream over 3G

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Well, that was quick! It was just yesterday afternoon that we found out that ABC had submitted an update to its ABC Player iPad app to allow video streaming over 3G cellular data networks and that update became available in the App Store last night.

ABC Player (free) now streams video over AT&T’s 3G network and no longer requires a Wi-Fi connection. Additionally, the app now offers landscape orientation for all views and supports the iPad’s orientation lock feature.

DropBox Comes to iPad

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

The app for DropBox, a popular online file storage, sharing, and backup service, hit the App Store yesterday in universal format, adding compatibility with the iPad.

In addition to offering on-the-go access to files stored in a DropBox account, the updated app also takes advantage of the iPad’s file sharing feature, allowing users to export documents stored in a DropBox account to other apps that also use the file sharing feature. For example, we are able to send documents stored within DropBox to PrintCentral, an app we previously reviewed that also uses the file sharing feature in iPhone OS 3.2 for the iPad.

DropBox is a free app. The company offers varying levels of service, with a free account offering 2GB of storage all the way up to 100GB of storage for $19.99/month.

ABC Player App To Stream Video Over 3G

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

MacRumors points out a report by Silicon Alley Insider that describes an upcoming update to the popular ABC Player app that will allow it to stream video over 3G networks in addition to Wi-Fi. The ABC Player app debuted at the iPad’s launch in early April and quickly made it into the Top 20 list of free iPad apps and stayed there. With just the Wi-Fi-only version of the iPad available until a few days ago, the app’s ability to stream over a cellular network was never an issue. However, the availability of the 3G iPad starting on April 30 brought the issue to a head as 3G iPad users found that the app would not play video when not connected to a Wi-Fi network.

Silicon Alley Insider notes that the app update has already been submitted to Apple for approval. Shortly after the app’s release, an ABC representative reportedly told the publication that the Wi-Fi only limitation was “based on a variety of business and technical considerations” though an explanation for the upcoming change to the app’s capabilities has not yet been provided.

CoPilot Live HD Now in App Store

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Just a few days ago, ALK Technologies announced that the iPad-specific version of its CoPilot Live GPS app was coming to the App Store soon and it apparently made it through Apple’s approval process very quickly. CoPilot Live HD is now available in the App Store priced at the promised $29.99. As far as we can tell, this is the first full navigation app available for the iPad and it’s priced very aggressively and requires no subscription or other fees to use. The app weighs in at a hefty 1.35GB so it will eat up a bit of room, particularly for those with 16GB iPads.

The app’s arrival coincides with the release of the 3G iPad models that include GPS receivers. ALK Technologies notes in an FAQ on the CoPilot Live HD product page that the app is not compatible with the Wi-Fi-only iPad models and that the iPhone version of the app will not work on the iPad:

Q: Is CoPilot Live HD available for both the Wi-Fi and 3G version of the iPad?

A: No, CoPilot Live HD is only available for the GPS-enabled 3G version of the iPad. It is not compatible with the Wi-Fi only version.

Q: Does the Copilot Live iPhone app work on the iPad?

A: No, currently the CoPilot Live iPhone app is not compatible with the iPad.

CoPilot Live HD is currently available for North America only though versions for other countries are planned as the 3G iPad becomes available in more countries later this year.