All posts by ahmad

Bump Review [iOS]

Bump was the winner of the prestigious ‘1 billionth app’ download on the Apple App Store. Bump is a great utility app to have on your iPhone and serves the basic purpose of transferring contact and photos from one iPhone to another. The concept of the app is very simple, but it executes this concept in a rather clever and innovative manner!

How it Works

Usually if you want to share camera photos with another phone, you have to go through the tedious process of enabling Bluetooth, pairing phones, choosing which photos to send and finally send them to the phone. Bump entirely changes the way you do this.

The app functions in a unique way: what you have to do to transfer contact or photos from one iPhone to another is to simple bump them together. Yup, that’s it! Open bump, choose the photos and/or contacts you want to transfer, hold your phones in your hand and bump your hands together and the transfer shall begin.

Bump uses your smartphone’s accelerometer for this purpose, and wireless Bluetooth or Wi-Fi for transferring data wireless across your phones.

Therefore Bump makes stuff like business cards, papers, napkins or remembering important information extremely redundant.

Both devices that are being bumped together need to have bump installed for it to function as advertised. With the new version (more on it in a bit), you are not restricted to sharing photos and contact just between iPhones, it can now be done with any iDevice or any Android device as well.

New Version

Bump Technologies recently released an all-new, updated version of the app, which is a marked improvement over its predecessor. In a nutshell, this new version makes ‘bumping’ much more easy and straightforward. The interface is much better than previous versions. You have three pages – one each for sharing your business card, photos and contacts. Switching between these takes a simple swipe.

Sending photos, for instance, is extremely simple. Bump displays all photos from your phone’s photo app, the user simply needs to select the photos he or she wants to share by tapping them one-by-one, which puts a checkmark against them. And after that, well, its bumpin’ time!

Application

Whether you want to share your contact information with someone, transfer or sync contacts between your iPhone and iPad, want to share those birthday party photos with your friends there – Bump’s potential usage applications are endless.

Concluding Words

Bump, I feel, is one of those must-have apps for your iPhone, and should be on every person’s smartphone at all times.

The best part is that the application is a free download from the Apple App Store. It’s a small 6.3 MB download so go get it now! 

Soundhound Review [iOS]

Nowadays, the sort of things your phone can do is truly amazing, nay, mind-boggling at times! Short of doing your laundry, cleaning your car and making a sandwich for you, your smartphone can do just about everything – from simple things to some truly awe-inspiring stuff!

Soundhound is the perfect example of the modern-day smartphone’s capabilities.

If you’re the proud owner of a smartphone such as the iPhone or any Android-based device, you’ll probably already know that Soundhound is a very popular music recognition app on these platforms.

Function

Soundhound’s basic function, or the premise of the app, if you will, is simple: when there’s music playing, whip out your phone, start Soundhound and it will tell you the name of the song, along with the artist, lyrics and just about any other information related to it!

How Soundhound works to achieve this incredible feat is a well-kept secret from deep with the Soundhound labs, and is hence anyone’s guess. But basically, the app listens to a sound-byte, connects to its servers, matches the song with its own database and voila! And it does all this in as little as four seconds! Although it depends on your connection speed.

Yes, Soundhound requires an active internet connection – Wi-Fi, 3G or Edge – to connect to its database. But having an internet connection is not mandatory. You see, even if you aren’t connected to the internet, the app will work, as it will simply save the sound-byte on your phone, and connect to its database to give you the song information whenever you’re connected to the internet.

All you need to is open the app whenever there’s music playing – any sort of music – hit ‘What’s that song?’ and watch the app do its magic. So next time if you’re in a club or a bar, or simply listening to the radio in your car and want to know the name of the song, well, you know what to do!

Soundhound stores and maintains the complete list of tracks that it recognizes on your phone, accesable at any time.

The Good Stuff

There are quite a few music recognition apps available on the App Store. However Soundhound provides a couple of features not found in any of them. For instance, the app gives you the ability to simply hum a tune, and it will recognize it and return with the name of the song.

I’ve been using this since a while now, and the thing that really impresses me is the fact that it has a near 100% success rate, and seems to work really well in noisy and loud places as well – be it in a gathering with lots of people or over the road noise inside a car.

Final Words

So there you have it. A simple app that doesn’t do much. But what it does do, it does it well. Soundhound is truly an amazing bit of technology and a true representative of how far technology has come in a few, short years. It is apps like these that make the smartphone ‘smart’ and showcase all its prowess!

Soundhound is a $6.99 purchase on the Apple App Store, and is available on all cellphone platforms.

Tilt To Live Review [iOS]

Tilt To Live is another absolutely brilliant game for the iPhone, an absolute gem! For me, it’s one of the best games on the iOS platform, right up there with the likes of Angry Birds., but perhaps surprisingly, not as popular as them. Nonetheless, it’s a critically acclaimed game, and the recipient of numerous App-of-the-Year awards and praise. And once you pick it up, you’ll know why!

The Premise

The concept of Tilt To Live is as simple and straightforward as they come. With the help of your iDevice’s accelerometer, you have to maneuver an arrow around the screen whilst trying to avoid the many red-colored dots out there to get you. Touch even one of these dots and you’re done.

The game screams ‘simple’ from top to bottom, but as they say, the best ideas are often the simplest ones! There are no on-screen controls or thumbsticks to worry about, no button-mashing, no nothing, just good old plain fun! The controls are simple, and so is the concept. It just you and your accelerometer-equipped smartphone, and the product of it all, is nothing short of epic!

The Game

In Tilt To Live, you control your arrow using by tilting the phone, with the simple objective of avoiding the red dots. The baddies, aka the red dots will use cunning and devious ways to try putting an end to you and your game. They will multiply in numbers, use formations, work in groups or try charging towards you with a burst of speed – all with the single objective of destroying the arrow in your control. Fret not however, since you can fight back!

Your arrow itself doesn’t have any onboard weapon systems, but you can pick weapons that appear randomly on the battlefield. There are quite a few interesting weapon systems that can be picked up, each represented by a specific color and logo. You have a nuke, which vaporizes any red dot within your vicinity. You have a force-shield which keeps the baddies at bay. Another weapon system fires heat-seeking cluster missiles at the dots once you pick it up. Rack up combos and points, and you’ll be able to unlock a whole slew of some really badass weapon systems!

You can control the speed of your arrow-ship by tilting your iPhone – a larger tilt will make your arrow travel faster, while a smaller tilt will give you more control to sneak your way past the conspiring dots. There are three different control modes, which tweak the sensitivity and angles of gameplay. The tilt mechanism is quite responsive as well.

The Game Modes

To keep things interesting, Tilt To Live comes with five separate game modes:

  1. Classic – your regular kill-as-many-dots-as-you-can mode.
  2. Code Red – ‘regular mode on crack’. Within seconds, you’ll be overwhelmed by the enhormous number of red dot baddies!
  3. Gauntlet – make your way through waves of red-dot formations, sans weapons!
  4. Frostbite – annihilate frozen red-dots, free-falling to the ground, because once they’ll be not-so-frozen and hell-bent to kill you once they reach the ground and are ‘reanimated’.
  5. And finally, an awesome multiplayer mode, which works over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

The Verdict

If you thought Angry Birds was addictive, wait till you give Tilt To Live a go. It takes addiction to a whole new level! I can guarantee that it will not be easy, by any means, to put down your phone once you pick this up, and frankly, it’s games like these which make owning an iPhone so totally worth it!

Tilt To Live is a $2.99 purchase at the Apple App Store, and I don’t need to stress any more on this than I already have: pick it up now, and tilt for your life!

Documents to Go Review [iOS]

Documents to Go has got to be the perfect MS Office Suite out there. I do know that there are quite a few alternatives available, however most of them lack in functionality, are either missing a feature or two, or just aren’t good enough. Documents to Go however, is like having Microsoft Office right on your iPhone, and probably the next best thing to actually having MS Office with you.

 The Interface

Documents to Go has an extremely clean and easy-to-navigate interface. I was disappointed to see that some of the icons used across the app were low-res and appeared pixelated on the retina display of the iPhone. But apart from the minor aspect, the interface is actually very well put.

Opening, browsing, reading and going through your documents is extremely easy. You can pinch to zoom in our out, flick or swipe to move through the pages (or slides), and use other standard iOS gestures. Tapping anywhere within a document lets you edit it by bringing up the keyboard, more on all that in just a bit.

You have your standard ‘browse documents’ window, where you can view and access all documents from, and sort them alphabetically or by size or type. And then separate tabs for other funcstions.

For instance, a separate tab let you sync documents with your desktop – you’ll need to download and install the (free) Documents to Go desktop application for this purpose, which would then allow you to sync documents with your desktop wirelessly over Wi-Fi.

Then there’s a tab for retrieving files off the cloud – which includes all popular file sharing and cloud services like Dropbox, Google Docs, and a few more. No iCloud in this list, but I’m certain the developers will add this to Documents to Go in the upcoming versions.

A recent tab, as is obvious, lets you see recently-accessed documents, and a tab called ‘more’ brings up a very powerful search tool and access to settings.

Editing Documents

Editing options are quite powerful, with text-formatting, undo/redo, and bullet support at your disposal in MS Word files. You can also view graphics, tables, comments, footnotes, text boxes, table of contents and hyperlinks in a Word doc. You can even open password-protected files here.

In an Excel file, you have access to 111 functions! You can freeze rows/columns, open password protected files, perform cell & number formatting insert/delete/resize/hide/unhide rows & columns, rename/insert/delete sheets or use the find/find next feature.

Features

One of the best things about Documents to Go, by far, is its ability to let you not only read MS Office files, but edit, write and create new files as well. Goes without saying but it is an indispensible tool, to be able to edit your PowerPoint presentation right from your phone, when you’re on the go or before a meeting, for instance.

Another thing that I really like about Documents to Go is its compatibility with all versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Adobe PDF files. You can open, read, edit and create .doc (and .docx) files, and .xls files.

PowerPoint and PDF files, of course, are read-only, and you’ll probably need to buy a PDF editor in case you want to edit those. However being able to access PDF files while travelling for instance is a Godsend, importance of which just cannot be overstated!

Usage

During testing, I did get the odd crash or two, but nothing serious or frequent. However if something like this were to crash in the middle of editing or making a document before that all important submission or presentation would be nothing short of disastrous! Apart from that, I really don’t have any complaints.

Documents to Go doesn’t do so badly on the 3.5” screen of the iPhone, but the experience on the larger screen of the iPad is just brilliant!

Overall, Documents to Go is fast – the documents load up quickly, there is zero lag during browsing through a document and it doesn’t keep you waiting at any point of time, even if you’re dealing with large-sized or graphic-heavy documents.

Final Thoughts

Like I said in the beginning, this is probably the productivity app to have in your phone, for professionals and students alike! The best MS Office suite I’ve come across, that simply does it all – from viewing to creating to editing MS Office files right from you iDevice!

Documents to Go costs $9.99 on the Apple App Store.

Where’s My Water? Review [iOS]

If you haven’t heard of Where’s My Water? (regardless of whether you’re a smartphone owner or not) or don’t know what the game is about, or don’t even know that it’s a game, now would be a good time to come out of that rock you’ve been living under!

The Introduction

Where’s My Water? has got to be one of the most popular and entertaining smartphone games, on all platforms… of all time! I can tell you that it has been developed by Disney, is extremely popular and has a huge fan-base (probably second only to the Angry Birds and Cut The Rope franchises). It has also been the recipient of many ‘Game of the Year’ awards, and has received some very rave reviews over the years.

And it’s not hard to see why. The game oozes brilliance, and with over 200 levels to play for, could potentially have you hooked for hours, or at least until your phone’s battery dies out. I know because that’s precisely what’s happened with me a couple of time!

Where’s My Water? is all about Swampy, who is the game’s central character. Swampy is someone who loves taking a nice, long shower. Which brings us to…

The Concept and Gameplay

The premise of the game is simple. A group of alligators have conspired against Swampy and have damaged his plumbing, depriving him of water and hence, his showers. We, the players, are responsible for ensuring that water gets to Swampy once again.

Water is usually present somewhere on the level, away from Swampy of course, and the player is supposed to use their phone’s touch screen to carve a way for the water to pass through the dirt (using simply your finger), so that it can get to Swampy and he can continue with his shower.

However it’s anything but as straightforward as that. Where’s My Water? places different hurdles in the way of the player. For instance you might need to route the water through many different pipes or siphon it, in order to get it to Swampy, or have the water interact with motors and machines to clear blockages and open up paths. Then you have rocks, acid, poison, bombs and algae to contend with.

Once enough water gets to through to Swampy, the level is cleared.

The algae, acid and poison work in a way that is similar to the rock-paper-scissors concept in some ways, and all three add a really interesting dimension to the game, especially as the game progresses. For instance algae absorbs water and grows, poison contaminates water and acid burns everything in its path.  The only thing common between all 3 is that if either gets to Swampy before (or even after the water) does, the level must be replayed. As you progress, you’ll also have bombs or mines to deal with.

Three Rubber Ducks are also present on each level in Where’s My Water?, which can absorb water and can be collected for bonus points.

Overall, the game, with its intricate levels and many strategically-placed obstacles and hurdles to deal with, can be pretty challenging, and can keep you immersed for hours on end!

The Stories

Where’s My Water? version 1.4 includes two stories, Swampy’s and Cranky’s. Cranky is the alligator responsible for messing with Swampy’s water, however his story is completely different from Swampy’s, opposite in fact. In Cranky’s story, you have to use the purple-colored poison to clear algae off Cranky’s plate so he can eat his food. Works in the same way as Swampy’s story, and is equally interesting, if not more!

The Game

Both stories in Where’s My Water? are extremely entertaining, are presented in a humorous manner and I give it a full 5 stars for presentation. The graphics on a retina display are top-notch. The fluid physics are extremely realistic as well. And to top it all off, the game even comes with an excellent soundtrack and effects!

I should also mention the in-game character here. Even though you don’t interact with either one of them a lot, both Swampy and Cranky shine throughout the game, are funny and entertaining with their actions, and the developers have done well to give a personality to both of them!

Should You Purchase It?

Absolutely, a hundred-percent yes! For 99c, it’s probably one of the best things you’ll ever buy! And the best part is that you’ll be entitled to free updates to Swampy’s story!

But beware, since this game has some serious potential to have anyone and everyone hooked for hours. You have been warned!

It’s truly a fantastic game for people of all ages. A great way to kill some time! Just keep an eye on those battery levels.

Angry Birds Space Review [iOS]

One Small Fling for Bird, One Large Leap for Birdkind!

Introduction

I’ve rarely been more excited and looked forward to writing a review than this. Angry Birds is back (with a bang), and this times, it’s not just an upgrade – well it sort of is, but with a twist or two! The game was release yesterday by Rovio Mobile, the studio behind the Angry Birds franchise, and is the 4th installment in the series, adding to the already-impressive series of games – namely Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio. All of which have been downloaded a massive 700 million times, with 12 million copies sold on the iOS platform alone!

Angry Birds

Anyone, who’s just about everyone, has played or at the very least heard about Angry Birds. It’s one of the most popular games in the world out there, and close to being a household name. In my experience, the game is a great time-killer and have saved me from what would’ve otherwise been countless hours of boredom.

I’m sure everyone’s familiar with the concept of the game. You are required to use a slingshot to launch birds and catapult them across the screen to eliminate pigs positioned on or inside various types of structures. As you progress through the game and make your way to more advanced levels, the pigs find new ways of protecting themselves from being destroyed and provide a bit of a challenge, but the player also gets access to birds with special abilities.

Angry Birds Space

Angry Birds Space adds a unique and interesting twist to the concept of the game. While the previous three installments were very similar in concept, Space sets itself apart from all of them by adding ‘Space Physics’ to the series, adding variety to the franchise.

While the previous games had flat worlds, where the user was required to simply sling the birds from one end to the other, Angry Birds Space, as the name tells, is based in space, and has celestial bodies such as planets and asteroids which have their own gravitational fields. While the game still sticks to its original formula of slinging birds from one end of the screen to the other, with the aim to destroying all the pigs, the gravitational fields affect the trajectory of the birds once they’re launched, and the players need to consider the effects of this gravity. Outside the gravitational fields, the birds, once launched, travel in a straight line, but once inside a planet’s gravity, are pulled towards it. This adds a completely new and an extremely interesting dimension to the game, which is different from the previous iterations of the game.

The game has 60 levels right now, with more on the way as (free) in-game purchase or expansion packs, to be released on a regular basis.

The Birds

During the time I had playing the game, I also discovered the addition of some really cool new bird types in the game. Each bird comes with its own set of ‘super-powers’, akin to the birds from the previous versions of the game.

A whole host of new birds, each with their own unique super powers, have been added. This, along with the all-new space physics, makes for some extremely fun and addictive gameplay!

Angry Birds Space keeps that same trademark comical style of gameplay which has made the series so popular worldwide. The birds look like Star Trek counterparts of the birds from previous versions!

The Launch

Angry Birds Space, like the previous versions, has been launched on all major mobile and desktop platforms, including the iOS, Android, Windows and even Facebook. Rovio hopes that Space will help it cross the one billion downloads mark sooner rather than later.

As expected, Angry Birds Space was launch amidst a lot of fan fervor and zeal. Various types of merchandise such as shirts were also launched in tandem with the game launch.

Final Words

If you’ve not played the game before, you’re missing out, big time! I recommend you grab one of the originals or Space right now, since they’re all available on iOS, Android, WP, Google Chrome and even for Facebook.

If you have played Angry Birds before, I’m sure you’re aware what the hype’s about. Pick your copy of Angry Birds Space right now. It’s cheap ($0.99), and a brilliant way to kill some time, whenever or wherever you might be!

iPhoto Review [iOS]

iPhoto is Apple’s flagship photo-editing and image-manipulation app, and has been around for quite a while on the Mac OS. The Mac version is well-known known as a popular alternative to Picasa and other such picture-organizer/gallery suites. And it serves the same basic purpose as all these other applications and programs, which is to organize your albums and photos, and allow for minor editing and touchup to be done.

Apple recently ported iPhoto to the iOS and launched it with the release of the ‘New iPad’ in March 2012. iPhoto for iOS v1.0 works only with the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, namely iOS 5.1, and is only compatible with iPhone 4/4S and the second and third-gen iPads. It also serves the same purpose as its Mac counterpart (albeit with limited and/or slightly varying functionality): manage photos, quickly edit or touch-up photos on the fly and share them online.

First impressions: iPhoto on the iOS is trademark Apple. It loads quickly and comes with a clean interface. Upon loading, it scans your phone for images and loads them up in its own library. You can browse the images in iPhoto in pretty much the same way you do using the Photos app that comes with the iOS.

iPhoto faces some seriously stiff competition in the cellular market, particularly on the iPhone, where powerful image manipulation and editing tools (a few of which have been reviewed on this very blog) are already present. In the limited time I had testing the app, I can say that iPhoto does not seem to offer anything which would help set it apart from its competition. You can do some basic editing such as auto-enhance photos. And you have your more advanced editing options, such cropping and straightening, adjusting exposure, red-eye removal, color, using brushes, and adding other similar effects to your photo. All editing using iPhoto is non-destructive, which means the original photos are always left untouched.

Once you’re satisfied with any editing you might’ve done using iPhoto, you can share the images online and iPhoto gives you a reasonable amount of options for this purpose (but once again, nothing out of the extraordinary) – Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, email, iTunes, and (export to) Camera Roll. You can also print the photo, ‘Beam’ it to another iDevice via Bluetooth, or add it to your ‘Journal’.

‘Journal’ is a mildly interesting feature of iPhoto. It allows you to create virtual photo journals of images of your choosing, where you can move, resize and place these images anywhere you want, as well as add notes, text and more. These journals can then be shared as webpages.

From what I’ve seen, iPhoto is vastly more powerful and better to use on the iPad, and maybe it does offer a better experience on it, which won’t be a coincidence since the app was launched with the New iPad. But it’s a pity that, for me, it will be ‘just another photo editor’ on the iPhone.

And then there’s the price. Its $4.99 right now, and maybe Apple will bring it down after a bit (apart from offering it at a discount from time to time). But for me, that a tad too much to pay for an app which does nothing out of the ordinary. Besides, there are dozens of iPhoto alternatives available on the App Store, all of which provide more or less the same functionality, at half or less than half the cost. I expected better from Apple, but what I don’t expect is to pay $4.99 for an app that does offer a slick interface and maybe a few bells and whistles, but no real innovation and nothing out of the ordinary. That’s just not the Apple way.

Garmin Fit Review [iOS]

A couple of weeks earlier, we review the Nike+ GPS app for the iPhone here on DailyAppBlogger. Today, we look at another similar app, the Garmin Fit.

Whilst Nike is said to be the worldwide leader in the sports industry, Garmin is the undoubted king when it comes to mapping, avionics and global positioning systems (GPS). They have products which include consumer, aviation and marine-based positioning systems, and has more recently ventured into the personal fitness market as well (more on that in a bit). The company, whilst may not be a household name like Nike, is still a large multinational, with several subsidiaries and companies operating worldwide. Its annual revenue and sales figures are well into the billions.

A few years back, Garmin ventured into the fitness industry, and the Garmin Fit is the product of those efforts. Garmin Fit, in a nutshell, is an all-in-one fitness app for the iPhone, and has its merits and demerits when compared to Nike+ GPS, as we shall soon find out.

Where Garmin Fit’s real strength lies, is its ability to allow the user to change activity types – you have the option of running, cycling, walking or any other activity. And you are presented with the option to choose the activity type upon tapping ‘Start New Activity’. This menu, like the Nike app, also gives you the option to set your music, toggle location between outdoors or indoors, and access any sensors (heart rate monitor, foot pod or a speed sensor) that you might have attached or paired with the app.

Even if you haven’t attached a sensor, you can use the app to track your runs, including lap times (something that I noted was missing in the Nike+ GPS app), total distance travelled, speed and of course, calories burnt. In order for Garmin Fit to make accurate calculations about the calories you burn, make sure you configure your profile (height, weight, age, etc) in the options from the homescreen, prior to starting your runs.

The app tracks your route, using Google Maps, provided you granted it permission to access your location. During the run, it displays this information on two separate screens – one for map information and another for pace, distance other data – and the user can switch between both by simply swiping left or right.

Garmin Fit works very well as a personal fitness app, and it works without the need of any extra addons or sensors. That is the whole point of having a fitness app on your iPhone – doing away with all those wires and extra accessories. It had the ability to track laps, something which its competitors lacked. Plus it provided accurate information about my runs, all calculations were precise, and the app acquired GPS lock very quickly – something that Garmin will be proud of, since it is their forte.

The menu looks nothing like the brilliant UI of Nike+ GPS, and is actually quite ‘plain’ to look at. Which in a way could also be a good thing, since it’s not overly complicated and simple to operate. The top displays stats such as total time, distance and total calories burnt across all your workouts, and swiping sideways reveals weekly and monthly statistics. Personally, I find Nike’s interface to be much more attractive and user-friendly.

You can also view all your activity history from the main menu, with each run or workout listed individually. If you’ve signed up for a Garmin account, you can sync your activities easily from this menu.

Garmin Fit, all things considered, is a good app, not great, but simply good at what it promises to do. There are were no crashes during testing (unlike Nike+ GPS), there is the ability to track laps (unlike Nike+ GPS), and change activity to cycling as well (unlike Nike+ GPS once again), with the latter providing Garmin Fit the access to a large market of cyclists. Garmin Fit has the potential to be an even more powerful ‘personal health and training’ suite, if used with the wide array of sensors which can be purchased separately from the Garmin store.

Its available for $0.99 on the Apple App Store and can be purchased using the link below.

Justin.tv Review [iOS]

What’s better than that shiny, brand-spanking new premium cable TV subscription that you just got, which comes with 200 premium channels?

How about the power to watch 10 times as many channels than that, right in the palm of your hand? And for just 5 bucks one-time cost!

Which would you rather pick: paying 200 bucks a month for 200 channels (on top of the installations costs, hardware costs and what not) or paying 5 bucks to get 2500(!) channels?

That’s what Justin.tv does for you!

Justin.tv, as many of you might already know, is a well-known website which lets anyone with an internet connection stream just about anything online. Taking a page right out of YouTube’s book, anyone can make a user account, create their very own ‘channel’ and start broadcasting. What started off as a simple idea is now a full-blown video streaming network that’s second only to Youtube, and made up of 2500 channels, millions of broadcasts, covering all spheres of life – Sports, Politics, Entertainment, Business, Health, Gaming, Animals and Science and Technology.

The Justin.tv iOS app is compatible with both the iPhone and iPad. The app lets you view any of the broadcasts or channel right from your phone. All you need for it to work is an internet connection and that’s about it.

You can watch football, hockey, tennis or even poker games live, and in HD! In addition, there are channels broadcasting TV show episodes, movies and news bulletins from all across the world. The app is universal, since just about anyone can make an account and start their very own channel, reaching out to the thousands logged on to the Justin.tv network via phone or internet.

The picture quality and sound is exceptional in most cases, however only a relatively small fraction of channels are in HD.

If you have signed up for an account, you can add your favorite channels and ‘follow’ them easily. You can also search for a channel or a broadcast very easily.

But perhaps the best thing about the Justin.tv iPhone app is that it gives you the power to start broadcasting yourself immediately, even if you haven’t signed up. All that’s needed is a good internet connection and the iPhone’s front or back camera, and Justin.tv does the rest. So let’s say you happen to pass by something interesting, or perhaps you’re at a sports event, just whip out your phone, turn on the app and start broadcasting! Just beware that anything you broadcast can be virtually seen by anyone, live, from anywhere in the world, and is stored in Justin.tv’s servers.

The app did come with its set of drawbacks. For one, it has the tendency to crash. Secondly, some channels work really fine (even on EDGE or 3G) even if they’re HD, while others lag quite a bit.

Justin.tv is a $4.99 purchase at the App Store.

iTV Shows Review [iOS]

iTV Shows is an app for all sorts of TV buffs. It lets you follow all your TV shows right from your phone, view episode summaries, check air-dates and get recommendations based on the shows you’re already watching as well as the top-rated TV shows.

When iTV Shows runs for the first time, you’ll need to add all TV shows that you might be watching or following. This, as is the apple standard, requires you to simply tap the plus (+) button on the top of the app, type the name of the show and press search. iTV Shows’ database is impressive to say the least, however at this moment it’s limited to US and UK-based TV shows only. So if for instance you’re a Spanish Telenovela fan, you’ll probably need to look elsewhere. However all currently-airing as well as old shows were available upon searching, and all it takes to add a show is a simple tap.

Once you’ve added the shows you follow, you can see the upcoming episodes arranged in a chronological order in the main tab of the application. You can switch between the list of upcoming and previously-aired episodes (through the ‘next’ and ‘last’ buttons).

Tap on any episode and you’ll be taken to that show’s page. Here you can look at sorts of information on that show – stuff like the show’s premise and summary, the channel it airs on and its genre. You can also view the complete episode list on this screen from any season, tapping an episode shows its summary (a 2 or 3-liner), airdate and an image from the episode, all of which can be shared with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or via email.

Perhaps iTV Shows’s greatest strength is its ability to send you reminders before an episode airs. You can configure your time-zone and the amount of time before you’d like to be reminded, and the app does the rest for you. It even integrates with the iOS 5’s notification center and leaves a reminder there. For instance I’ve got the app configured to notify me about an episode 2 hours before it airs, which means I can clear my schedule 2 hours before that all-important Homeland finale, or I can get home in time to see which Celebrity Apprentice is fired by Trump! And once the episode airs, marking them as ‘watched’ is as simple as a tap of the button.

The genius tab comes up with a whole host of TV show recommendations by analyzing the ones you’ve added to the app. It does this by looking at the genre of shows you’re already watching, and present shows belonging to similar genres. Furthermore, you can also view the most followed shows by switching to the ‘top’ shows.

Apart from the standard chronological-list view, there’s a calendar view in iTV Shows as well, allowing you to view all upcoming and previous episodes in a nice calendar-like layout.

iTV Shows does come with its set of pitfalls. For one, the updating process is painstakingly slow, and if you’ve got a full list of shows that you’re following (like me), iTV Shows takes what seems like ages to update them. Which is a problem because you’ll need to update the app at least every week in order to ensure you have the latest schedule at your disposal, especially with all the episode cancellations, mid-season breaks, super-bowl breaks or any other reasons the network might want to move the schedule. Yes, it is good to know if that episode you’ve been looking forward to the whole week will be airing today or not, but if only it wouldn’t take an age to do so!

Secondly, iTV Shows is quite prone to crashing. It constantly crashed on Edge and 3G, and only remained stable once I had my phone connected to a Wifi signal.

So yes, there you have it. That’s about all that iTV Shows does. Quite pointless (and sometime a pain to use), but can be useful if you’re forgetful like me, and need to be reminded when (date and time) a particular episode would be airing.

The iPhone version costs $1.99 on the Apple App Store, and there’s an HD version available for the iPad as well. Both versions are compatible with iOS 4 and 5.