Tuesday, April 21, 2009

TwitterFon: Quick App Review

I can't tell you how many Twitter apps I've tried on the iPhone. I went through at least 5 or 6 before I got to TwitterFon, which I've now been using for the past several months. Does it have every single feature you could imagine? No, but I'll bet you'll find it has everything you need.

What do I love about TwitterFon? First, it's free. OK, I'm a cheapskate, but still, TwitterFon stacks up well against any of the paid Twitter iPhone apps. Second, it's fast. No matter how many tweets I'm behind it seems to load them in no time at all. Next, as with all good iPhone apps, the user interface is intuitive. The developers managed to put all the right controls on one screen without it seeming overly crowded. Then there are the nice, subtle touches, like how you can quickly get to a hot Twitter topics list from within the search screen.

Others have complained that TwitterFon doesn't support multiple Twitter accounts. I suppose if I was working with more than one Twitter account that would be a drawback, but I only have one.

If you're looking for a great, simple and free Twitter client for your iPhone you can't go wrong with TwitterFon.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

MLB's At Bat 2009: Quick App Review

I'm a baseball nut, I admit it. Until recently I had only bought 3 or 4 iPhone apps and the most expensive one was $1.99. I had been using MLB's At Bat 2009 Lite edition before opening day and I didn't even flinch at the thought of paying $9.99 for the full-fledged version. I'm glad I pried open my wallet for this one.

The pitch-by-pitch, in-game interface is nice and all, but the killer app for At Bat 2009 is the audio feed service. No matter what game I want to follow I always have the choice of not one but two radio feeds from it (home team or away team). So when I'm catching up on the Yankees game I can always be sure to hear the wonderful John Sterling as well as the annoying Suzyn Waldman. (See? She even spells her first name annoyingly! She's begging to be parodied on SNL, if she hasn't been already.)

I've been on the road a bit since the season began and I'm happy to report that the audio feeds have been terrific. I've tried them via 3G and wifi and couldn't tell the difference between them.

The video features are nice for highlights but I have to admit they're awfully grainy on 3G but spectacular if you're on wifi. But if you're committed to running wifi while using this app I hope you're close to a power source. The audio streams for At Bat 2009 will suck your battery dry faster than you can say "Batter Up!".

Overall though, if you're a fan of the game this app is a must-have.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The iPhone "Gold Rush" Indeed!

Here's a great recent NY Times article about developers looking for the pot of gold at the end of the iPhone rainbow. It's wonderful hearing stories like this where a developer working for a struggling company moonlights and comes up with a game that generates a significant, six-figure bump to his income. Unfortunately there just aren't enough of these stories, especially when you consider the App Store currently features more than 25,000 products. The odds of getting rich are better than they are for buying a Super Lotto ticket, but then again, how much work is involved in paying a buck to the lottery?!

One of the things that's got to change here sooner rather than later is better discoverability. Sure, there are 25,000 apps but how many have you looked at? And even though featured lists, new release lists and other methods help increase discoverability, if you're like me you figure there are probably dozens of apps you'd be interested in but you haven't come across them yet.

I wonder if Apple will do something to better address this problem or will a third-party intervene with a clever solution?...