If you’re a baseball junkie, this app will blow your mind. Bill James is the king of baseball stats, and now you can get an app for your iPad or iPhone called Baseball IQ that gives you an unbelievable about of information. Check out the video above and you’ll get a feel for all the possibilities with this app, but it just scratches the surface.
One of the best uses will be for fantasy baseball. Right now, you have access to tons of stats if you play fantasy baseball, so it’s hard to gain a real advantage over the other teams. But with this baseball app from Bill James, you get a level of information on stuff like match-ups that goes way beyond what you can find on the web.
On Sunday Skype launched the latest iteration of its iPhone app, which now allows users to make VoIP calls over a 3G connection. As of last night, the application had been downloaded nearly 5 million times, a number that has surely been passed by this point.
There is some bad news with the good, though. Skype has said they may start charging users for Skype-to-Skype calls made over 3G as early as next year. Skype has always been free for in-client calling. There are still no specifics on pricing, though Russ Shaw, Skype’s mobile GM, said he wanted to stay competitive. “We’re not going to want to price ourselves out of the market,” he said. “I can’t ignore the fact that consumers (currently) use us for free.”
You know, Mr. Shaw, even $.03 a minute is more than free. You probably won’t find many people who will be happy about the change.
With the iPad launching tomorrow there are a lot of apps to get excited about, not the least of which is Pandora. Pandora has been a huge success on every mobile platform. It’s also saved me from many a dull road trip with a virtually limitless pool of musical styles. The app got an update this week to include the iPad version and it looks great.
The update includes a large screen version for the iPad, making the artist description and album art that much more accessible. The update also adds album artwork for every station and improves streaming for quicker song selection and less service dropouts. I gotta say, I’ve never had serious problems with streaming, though it does occasionally seem slow, so the improvements will be great.
The really nice thing for the iPad is that everything is on one screen. There’s no flipping back and forth for stations and artist info and all that. The new app seems focused on users getting to know the artist’s their browsing which will be great for Apple with iTunes integration.
If you want to show your Jersey Shore pride, you’re going to have a little trouble turning your iPhone into a Duck Phone. Nick Bonatsakis at Atlantia Software developed an app that would do it but he got rejected. The reason? Something Apple calls “minimal user functionality.”
Now I could be wrong, but I seem to remember the App Store as a place crowded with fart apps and other useless crap. So Duck Phone only makes your phone quack like a duck. Would people download it? Of course they would. Try telling that to the App Review Team. Here’s their note:
“Dear Atlantia Software LLC,
We’ve reviewed your application DuckPhone and we have determined that this application contains minimal user functionality and will not be appropriate for the App Store.
If you would like to share it with friends and family, we recommend you review the Ad Hoc method on the Distribution tab of the iPhone Developer Portal for details on distributing this application among a small group of people of your choosing or if you believe that you can add additional user functionality to DuckPhone we encourage you to do so and resubmit it for review.
iPhone App Review Team”
Ouch. Fart app developers beware. You just might get pulled.
If you live in any major metropolitan area, you’re probably familiar with OpenTable. The restaurant reservation service seated its millionth reservation this past October, a year since the iPhone application launched. The company has since branched out to other smartphone platforms and seated another million restaurant-goers – quite a feat for four and a half months.
The news came alongside an earnings report, which showed $19.2 million in revenue for Q4 2009. Those are some damn fine numbers for an internet startup. The company is about more than just reservations, though. It also offers management software to restaurants for a monthly subscription. The company increased its number of participating restaurants by 17% this past year and estimates it has helped generate more than $100 million in sales for the restaurant it serves.
Wolfram Alpha recently released an update for its overpriced iPhone app. The update includes some new keyboards, graphics, and tables. The one thing it didn’t improve on was the price. The app still runs $50, back up from the $19.99 it cost during the holidays.
It’s not that the app blows everything else out of the water. An app called BarMax runs a full thousand dollars. But BarMax isn’t available on the web. Wolfram Alpha is. All of it. They removed the iPhone-optimized version of the site some time ago, presumably to encourage sales for the app. You can still get everything out of Wolfram Alpha, though, if you just visit the website on your phone. The only thing you’re missing is screen specific formatting.
If you really need that kind of formatting and have $50 laying around, maybe this is for you. Personally, I’ll keep my Wolfram calculations on my laptop.
A few weeks ago I was in a crisis. I had an 11-hour drive in front of me and for some reason I missed a week of my This American Life podcast. It took a good bit of scouring, but I finally found a place to download it (no, it wasn’t available on iTunes any longer). Well no more!
My favorite radio show (and many others’ as the podcast rankings prove) finally has its own iPhone app, replete with on demand access to any episode of the show. You can stream for free or download any episode for the usual $.99. The app itself will run you $2.99.
If you haven’t listened to TAL, you need to. It’s just that simple. There are some truly incredible stories on the show, and often some very informative ones as well. They did a show about the sub-prime mortgage crisis that simply blew my mind. For my money, there’s not really a better way to spend a long drive.
Remember that app called “I Am Rich,” the one that served no purpose other than making the developer a couple grand if people actually bought it. Apple pulled the app for the fear that a glut of such products would appear, polluting the App Store with useless junk. And yet, we still have fart apps.
Well there’s a new super-expensive app on the market, and it actually might be worth something. The app is called BarMax and it’s a preparatory tool for would be lawyers headed toward the bar exam. So why a grand? Well, the prep classes often cost as much as $4,000, so a 75% discount isn’t such a bad deal.
The coolest part of the app, in my non-litigating mind, is the audio lectures. The app itself is over a gig, which puts all sorts of papers on your phone, but you also get a huge selection of lectures to listen to. Good stuff.
Google has been notoriously quiet about the number of apps available in the Android Marketplace. After this week’s announcement that the mobile OS has 20,000 available apps, the search giant stepped in to set the record straight. As it turns out, there are just over 16,000 apps available, not that 20k AndroLib reported.
Google contacted TechCrunch with the updated stats, and mentioned that it was looking at new ways to disclose information about marketplace growth to consumers. Google wouldn’t confirm the ratio of paid to free apps. AndroLib claims the discrepancy is because Google is only counting the apps available to US customers, or not including anything since the end of November. I’d guess the former, since it’s highly unlikely 4,000 apps have been added in 16 days time.
There should be no remaining doubt that 2010 is Android’s year. The mobile OS will finally have some compelling handsets, and we’re likely to see exponential growth in global adoption. This latest bit of news will certainly make Android look a little better for consumers. The Android Marketplace has hit 20,000 apps.
True, the iPhone has over 100,000, but that’s not really what Google is after. There will be a few people here and there that avoid the iPhone like the plague, but Google will really be poaching market share from companies like Nokia and Microsoft. It’s going to be a while before Google is competing directly with Apple in the mobile market, but the data giant is rushing toward that goal at about the same pace Apple did when the App Store blew up. It’s taken just five months since the 20,000 app marker. We could see 40,000 as early as April 2010.
If one thing still stands in Google’s way, it’s the wide variation in handset hardware. That’s still something that makes Android less attractive than the iPhone OS, where just about everything is controlled. The Nexus One can serve as a sort of roadmap for manufacturers, but it is by no means the gold standard for a perfect phone. Google is also using the phone to flout American cellular practices, a gamble that will likely end in very low adoption rates for the handset unless it’s subsidized some other way.