APPY AWARDS
 
FINALISTS ANNOUNCED
April
  27

Good Luck To All!

Award Ceremony Will be Held in NYC on May 17





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FEATURED APPS / TRAVEL

Beautiful Planet HD 


Beautiful PlanetI work 9 to 5 (in reality it is more like 10 to 6). My eyes cross from staring at reports, newsletters and spread sheets, and if I have to look at one more PowerPoint presentation, I might lose my cool. I'm constantly skimming through emails from crazy clients, irritable colleagues, and emails from my mother warning me on the dangers of opening virus-laden emails. Ah, life. Sometimes I just need to escape. And now there's an App for that. Beautiful PlanetI can't physically or financially jet around the world in an hour, but I can continent-hop on my lunch break thanks to the photography of Peter Guttman in Beautiful Planet HD. The App features photographs from all seven continents: Lounging seals in Antarctica, babushkas bundled for the cold of Red Square, and a Pied Piper playing in the street in Germany. I open the Gallery Map and see the world according to Google providing the exact locations where each photo was taken. When I click on the photo in the middle of the Indian Ocean, I'm instantly immersed in the tradition and culture of the Malagasy people. The Beautiful Planet HD App showcases photos in a gallery, and allows me to pause, click the 'caption' icon, and get details of the image from the photographer. More icons allow me to share on Facebook, view as a slideshow, and even add my own music to create a playlist for the slideshow; all excellent features if I want to show my friends these photos as if they were my own. Guttman's photographs are striking - excellent compositions and a diverse range of subject matter and landscapes. He's captured the deep emeralds of the Philippines' oceans to the stark color contrasts of the Kenyan deserts - black and white zebra rumps included. My favorite image is the courtship of two giant tortoises in Aldabra, Seychelles. Nothing takes me out of my cubicle and in to nature faster than two 600-pounders knocking shells. Available for iPhone and iPad, the $1.99 App is a bargain for a true photographic journey around the world. Available in the App Store
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FEATURED APPS / PRODUCTIVITY

LogMeIn Ignition 


LogMeIn
IgnitionLogMeIn IgnitionIt sounded easier than it turned out to be. Still, it wasn't hard to figure out. And it delivered everything it promised. I'm talking about a tantalizing app called LogMeIn Ignition, a marvelous little app that is part of the LogMeIn suite of products that allow users to remotely access, log into and control their computers from any PC, tablet or mobile device. When I first read about it, immediate uses sprang to mind. Forgot to update that InDesign file, PDF it and send it to your client? No problem, whip out your iPhone, log into your home computer, fire up InDesign, adjust the file, export the PDF and email it, all from the comfort of your bar stool or picnic blanket. And surprise of surprises, this let's you do just that, among many other things. LogMeIn IgnitionYou do need to download and install LogMeIn's free software on any computer you plan to access. The app itself isn't free ($29.99 in the iTunes store where I got mine). However, the basic service is free. You can upgrade to a variety of pro levels, but you don't have to. For an individual, the free level is enough. Once you've set up your free account, you can log into it via the app. That delivers you into your computer where you will still need to log in to your user account to fully access it. Once inside you can either go right to the monitor view, navigate through a folder and file hierarchy to access and transfer files, or check the information screen on the computer. In the monitor mode there are a host of multitouch commands to help you scroll, pinch zoom and use the cursor to click buttons. Tools at the bottom of the screen deploy an easy to use keyboard with clearly marked command, control, option and shift buttons. More than one monitor? Three fingers left or right to toggle between them. It takes a little getting used to, especially on an iPhone like the one I have, but it works and it works well. In the hierarchical mode, you can work your way through folders to a file you want, open it if you have the appropriate app in your device, copy, move, rename, even delete the file. The interface is slick and for the most part intuitive. LogMeIn gets major kudos for a simple list of multitouch gestures that pops up when you first log into your computer. That's a huge help. On a small screen it can be a bit awkward and challenging to navigate in monitor mode, but the results are surprisingly accurate. I have to say for the Appy Awards I get to load up and test drive a lot of stuff, most of which I play with for a while and dismiss. However, I am happy to report that LogMeIn Ignition is a keeper and well deserving of it's nearly five-star rating in the iTunes Store. Available in
the App StoreAvailable on Android Market
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ENTERTAINMENT / FEATURED APPS

Movie Night Out 


Movie
Night OutPicture the scene. You just finished enjoying Real Steel, and you're feeling great about yourself because you talked your girlfriend/wife into it ("Hugh Jackman's the main character," you said. "I think he's shirtless."), and she actually liked it! But now you're standing on the corner like an idiot because you have no idea where to go for post-flick drinks. Almost a perfect night... you blew it! Movie
Night OutWith National Cinemedia's "Movie Night Out" app, you can permanently remove "I don't know, where do you want to go?" from your lame-o phrase repertoire. The app helps you plan an entire evening - romantic, casual, or anything in between - with plenty of backup options for changing your agenda on the fly. For starters, it's terrific strictly as a movie-finding app. You can locate theaters, find show times, read reviews, watch clips, even purchase tickets. And all of your after-movie options (dinner, drinks, dancing, you name it) are conveniently displayed by proximity and preference. Oh yeah: what app would be complete without social networking options? Movie Night Out allows you to share your experience with all your friends, followers and fellow mayors on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. (Though isn't tweeting about what you're eating pass? Or is that cool again? Sheesh, it's so hard to keep up.) Available in the App StoreAvailable on
Android Market
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COMMUNICATION / FEATURED APPS

TalkBox Voice Messenger 


TalkBoxYou spend more and more time liking, tweeting, following and checking in, and not nearly enough time using the telephone for what it was intended for - talking to someone. Language skills not what they used to be? Fear not - there is a happy medium between LOL and a live conversation. Give your thumbs a break and work your voice box. TalkBox Voice Messenger brings sound back to communication by integrating voice, music, laughter and crickets with social networking and instant messaging for iPhone and iPad users. TalkBoxTalkBox blends push-to-talk messaging and visual voicemail, allowing users to send short voice messages to their contacts. Messages can be read immediately, or played at the convenience of the recipient. Voice messages can be one-on-one conversations or group discussions, across the street or across the world - messages are instant, free, and do not require a cellular network to be sent. First you have to add friends and contacts, but after the initial setup, recording and sending a thought is as easy as dialing 1-2-3. The app integrates with Twitter, Facebook, your Address Book, and a special "Voice Broadcast" contact which will send a message to all of your contacts at once. TalkBox is available on the App Store for free. Singing happy birthday in your best Marilyn impression to your BFF and posting it on her Facebook wall - priceless. Available in the App Store
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BRANDED GAMING APP / FEATURED APPS

Trident Vitality Falling Stars 


Falling
StarsWanna play a game four out of five dentists recommend? Well, actually, judging from the five-star rating from 900-odd reviews and more than 415,000 downloads, a lot more folks than dentists recommend this sweet treat for both iPhone and iPad users. Created to promote the new Trident flavor "Awaken," a peppy blend of peppermint and ginseng, the app is essentially a digital music box for the app-enabled age. Branding takes a back seat to beautiful design, inventive user interface and the intriguing challenge of music creation. The Trident Vitality brand appears on the home screen and lower corner of all other screens, but really this is essentially just a fun musical app to play with. Falling StarsBring up the main screen and you're presented with what looks like a tropical landscape midnight view. Above everything shine several stars. Tap on them to release falling stars that create a percussive rhythm when they hit the ground. Tap on the bottom of the screen and a menu of various plant species slides up. Select one and drag your finger on the screen to create a foliage obstruction the falling stars will strike and bounce off of, creating a variety of tones and sounds. Stars behave a bit like pinball balls, often ricocheting off musical plants repeatedly in fascinating and often unexpected ways. You can control the speed and number of stars falling by tapping directly on the source stars again. The share features seemed a bit spartan. What looked like a cool idea - share a melody I'd created with my friends through Facebook, Twitter or email - turned out to share a soundless JPEG of my creation and a link to download the app. While the images are pretty, absent the unique melody users create I found the share feature wanting. This would no doubt limit the number of shares. On the plus side, the share feature was easy to use, and unlocked a few additional sounds to play with - a feature that pretty much guarantees at least one share per user. Overall, this is a wonderfully amusing time-waster, and well worth the free download. Available in
the App Store
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BOOKS / FEATURED APPS

Cinderella animated picture book 


CinderellaSpoiler Alert! At the end of Cinderella, the glass slipper fits. The King falls in love with our heroine, and all is well with the world. It's a classic feel-good story that's been told countless times in cultures far and wide. The book delivers the goods. So can an iPad app improve on it? Well, as long as you're not a storybook purist, oh yes it can. CinderellaThe Cinderella animated picture book for iPad enables your child to play an active role in the story, without straying too far from the general plot. There are no game elements - no scores to beat or baubles to collect - just active participation, as if your child is a featured character along for the ride. They can help Cinderella tidy up the kitchen, select her clothing, and even control each character's physical placement within a scene, like a digital storyboard artist. Very cool. Whether in "Read to Me," "Read by Myself" or "Read & Play" mode, the app combines modern illustrations and animations with character-specific and scene-setting music. In one of my favorite touches, your kids can insert their image into the story with the iPad's built-in camera. Not to spoil the ending again, but they'll love seeing themselves live happily ever after. Available in the App Store
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COMMUNICATION / FEATURED APPS

MediaPad Pro for iPad 


MediaPad
ProThe MediaPad Pro app for iPad was co-developed by Craig Orsini, an award-winning photographer and director who wanted a better way of presenting and sharing work with potential clients. He custom-crafted MediaPad Pro to allow artisans of any discipline to easily construct their portfolio of content into an intuitive and highly customizable format, ideal for photographers, artists, models, designers, or just about anyone with a portfolio. It comes equipped with all the tools you'd need to bring your portfolio into the modern digital lifestyle. MediaPad ProThe app is really big on personalization, so the entire interface is fully customizable. Initial upload of your media files is fairly straight forward, you simply do it through iTunes while the iPad is plugged in. Once all the media is in, you can organize it into sections on the iPad, adjust the color palate and modify the font scheme. Select from one of the included background images, or upload your own to make it consistent with your personal branding. MediaPad
ProWhen presenting your work to the clients, you can choose from a variety of included transitions and timing options to automate your content into a seamless slideshow. If you have a VGA adapter, you can even mirror it on a TV monitor or an overhead projector. If however you suddenly notice a mistake or decide to reposition an image while on your way to a meeting, just swap out the pieces you choose and you are instantly ready to go. We also like the way MediaPad Pro helps you stay in touch with potential clients, for that the app includes a guest book for viewers of your portfolio to sign and leave comments. You can easily keep track of who viewed your portfolio, delete individual records or disable the guestbook entirely. Mediapad Pro was clearly born out of an immediate need for a better tool, and it shows. It creates an environment essential to people showing off their multimedia content, it's impressively powerful, yet simple and friendly. Its modern take on the traditional portfolio format not only makes your work come alive in your hands, but also eliminates the costs of paper stock, print runs and portfolio cases, not to mention the constantly increasing costs of shipping - it's a win-win for everyone. Available in the App Store
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FEATURED APPS / TELEVISION & VIDEO

Baby First Mobile HD 


Baby FirstThere are two kinds of people in the mobile world: those okay with babies handling their device, and everyone else. If you're in the first category (and especially if you look after or know a baby in need of sharply-produced educational distractions), you'll be plenty pleased with Baby First. Baby FirstMy youngest niece is now eight, so it's been a while since I've racked my brain for baby-entertainment ideas. (Where were you when I needed you, Baby First?) Babies can actually choose the videos they'd like to watch based on icons that strike their fancy (that is, unless you guide their playlist with parental controls, though I'm not sure why you'd exercise that option - everything on the app is wholesome and cute). And once a video starts, it'll play through - the baby won't be able to accidentally stop it by touching the screen. Pretty much everything you'd want your baby to get a head start on is represented: vocabulary, numbers, animals, colors, all within short, beautifully animated and live action videos. Lots of cute characters too, including Harry the Bunny, Bonnie Bear, and a zippy squirrel who loves hide-and-seek. Baby First really does put your baby first - kudos! Available in the App Store
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FEATURED APPS / HEALTH AND FITNESS

Couch-to-5K 


Couch-to-5KWith so many exercise programs and related apps geared towards experienced athletes looking for an edge, it's nice to find a clean, simple, well-thought-out app for the beginner in need of motivation. The Couch-to-5K app takes the exercise novice by the hand and leads him/her from their living room sofa to the finish line of their very first 5K race. Couch-to-5KThe training workouts are layered and varied, allowing users to spice up runs with music and chart their routes via GPS to track distance and pace. A seamless integration with social media allows participants to share progress and encourage each other through Twitter and Facebook. And the app incorporates three different personal trainers (lithe ladies Constance & Billie, and no-nonsense Sergeant Block), each with their own motivational messages and advice. The trainers slowly increase the difficulty of the workouts as the runner progresses. Individual training sessions last roughly 30 minutes, and the recommended program is three times a week for a total of nine weeks. As a neat bonus, after users complete the program, they're eligible to receive discounts off select 5K race registrations in their area which they can conveniently register for through the app. Cheers to Couch-to-5K for removing every roadblock from getting in shape! Available in the App Store
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FEATURED APPS / SOCIAL NETWORKING

Viddy 


ViddyIt's hard to believe that Viddy has only been available in the iTunes store for a little over four months. In that time more than 750,000 people have downloaded the slick app that is essentially a video form of micro blogging on a mobile app platform. More than an app, Viddy is also social Web site Viddy.com, where Viddyers and their followers can see, share and like each other's videos. But the heart of the whole Viddy experience is this marvelous little app. ViddyViddy let's you shoot video and share it. Tap the share button and you're immediately presented with a host of options including Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. You can also upload the video to your Viddy account. Much like Twitter limits posts to under 140 characters, so Viddy videos are limited to under 15 seconds. The app let's you post as is, or style your video with a host of themes, such as "Retro" and "3D," with music to match. The themes are impressively professional looking and easy to apply. And they do add that something extra: A video showing the vapid questioning stares of unsuspecting co-workers was amusing enough, but after run through the "Junkd" filter it was actually whimsical and funny. You can also import video shot on the iPhone camera, or videos edited in other apps such as Adobe's PhotoShop app. One of the best features is that the app knows when to to stop recording so videos are never more than 15 seconds long. It's easy to see how this app might lead to yet another interesting variant form of storytelling. What can you film in 10 to 15 seconds? Viddyers are testing those limits for sure. As I skimmed through the video snippets posted by a young woman I had randomly chosen to follow, I became aware of a fascinating, sometimes choppy, montage-like portrait she -- whether wittingly or not -- was painting of herself and her life. Goofy song parodies, random observations and pranks played on friends, combined with her infectious laugh, made for a moving picture of "TaylorMaylor." Viddy is quite simply, Twitter for the mobile video age. Available in the App Store
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