Thursday, December 4, 2008

iPhone apps of the week

Before I get to this weeks apps, I found out about some bargain basement prices for a small selection of apps from Ambrosia Software. Aki Mahjong Mobile, Mondo Solitaire, and Mr. Sudoko are all on sale for 99-cents at the app store until November 30th (usually $9.99). If you have any interest in these games, now is the time to start downloading!

For this weeks apps, I'm including one free and one paid app.

The Weather Channel

Choose the 36-hour option to get detailed forecasts for your location

(Credit: CNET Networks)

The Weather Channel for iPhone and iPod touch offers a wealth of weather information beyond what you get from the free app that's already on your iPhone. In addition to local temperatures, you can check out hourly, 36-hour, and 10-day forecasts, conditions for specific landmarks in a neighborhood, and you can share weather information with anyone in your iPhone address book. You can also view current weather videos (launches in YouTube) and look at local severe weather alerts. My favorite feature is the ability to view weather maps and pick layers to show where it's raining or whether its cloudy, or what the temperature is in specific locations. If you want more weather info, download this free app.

Aurora Feint II: The Arena

Check the top of the screen to see how many of each block type you have

(Credit: CNET Networks)

Aurora Feint II: The Arena ($7.99) is the sequel to one of the first games out for the iPhone, Aurora Feint: The Beginning. Like its predecessor, most of the action in the game requires that you move and match three or more blocks together to get points. Stringing together matches increases your combo multiplier so a certain amount of strategy is required to get the most points. While you match blocks, you collect minerals and crystals which can be used to buy items that make your mining easier.

What sets this new version apart from other puzzle and blocks games is the asynchronous massive multiplayer component, The Arena. In the Arena you can play against other players ghosts or create your own ghost so players can challenge your best effort. You also can chat with other players in The Tavern and brag about past winnings, though the game automatically gives you the option to brag or complain at the end of a match. With solid gameplay, RPG elements that let you upgrade, and online multiplayer, Aurora Feint II: The arena has plenty of replay value. At first I thought $7.99 might be too much for an upgrade to the free game, but once I got to playing and challenging other players I realized it was definitely worth it.

What's your latest greatest iPhone App? Are you happy to see a more comprehensive weather app for iPhone? What's your screen name in Aurora Feint so I can destroy your high score? Let me know in the comments!

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All of Amazon on your iPhone

Simplified searching and purchasing Amazon products are the hallmark of this free iPhone outlet to Amazon's Internet store. If you're a registered member, you can view your shopping cart and items you flagged online. From that view or from a search results page, you can quickly purchase new items using Amazon Prime, 1-Click, or any credit cards associated with your account.

A new, 'experimental' feature, Amazon Remembers, works much like the free iPhone application SnapTell to photograph any item to jog your memory later, and to further attempt to link that item to a product in Amazon's extensive catalog. If you use it, it's a powerful sales tool that also saves you some busy work--though it could save you more if you were able to purchase the product directly from the result page and not just add it to your wish list.

Amazon Mobile is a great application overall for regular Amazon shoppers to make purchases on the go from a clean mobile interface. It wouldn't hurt for future versions to let you flag items to peruse offline (especially if you're a thorough reader of reviews), or browse categories rather than search. Most people may go directly to the search bar, but those options should be available.

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