Vlingo: Vlingo's updated their popular (well, BlackBerry popular) voice transcription app with a new interface. The core functionality—voice actuated calling, web, Facebook and Twitter updates and mapping—is still there, and the newly organized homescreen literally spells out how to use each function. The catch, though, is that to use the new features, like the email and SMS transcription, you have to pay either $8 each, or $10 for both. This feels steep, considering that equally capable transcription apps like Dragon Dictation are free, and offer shortcuts for copying transcribed text for pasting into emails or SMSes. There's still enough in the free version to justify a download, though.
Step one: watch this preview.
Step two: watch it again.
Step three: Make your friends watch it, so they understand why you keep injecting this soundboard into your conversations.
Step four: Bask, smugly, in your role as king of a miniature comedy empire that you created, and that you'll rule until the day this movie comes out. Then, it will crumble. But hey!
Buzzie: The first native iPhone app for Google Buzz sadly isn't free, but it's good enough to justify its $2 price for avid Buzzers (whoever you are):
As the first iPhone app for Buzz, Buzzie gets a lot right. The minimalist UI recalls thhttp://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ragdoll-blaster-2/id353846826?mt=8e classier breed of Twitter apps, like Tweetie, why the local and map views are a treat to see rendered natively, in the app and on a Google Map, respectively. My only reservations? I don't see a way to post images in a new Buzz, which is kind of a big deal for avid users. That, and I've found that even when I check the "Remember Me" box, I'm sometimes logged out when the app starts up.
Poynt: Another BlackBerry transplant (Hey, BlackBerry devs, why now?), which works as a multi-purpose concierge app—you can search through businesses, restaurants, movies and people. "But there are other services that do that," you might say, "like CinemaSource and SuperPages and CitySearch and OpenTable!" Well, what this app does, basically, is draw directly from all those services. So it's really just four apps in one, and it works fairly well. Free.
Fart Hero: Rhythm games are popular, and a lot of people resent this. Fart apps are also popular, and even more people begrudge that. So, it is a proud moment for me when I can present to you the most resentable app of all time: Fart Hero! It's like Guitar Hero, except instead of playing an imaginary guitar, you're playing an imaginary anus. You may max out the game's humor potential in a matter of seconds, but using it will bring you one broad step closer to understanding the ineffable essence of the App Store, as we know it today.
This game is philosophically problematic. Why must these poor human-like things be launched into dangerous situations? And in the service of solving a seemingly infinite set of puzzles? I don't know. The ragdolls don't know. It's a sad situation. It's also an extremely catchy game, especially if you appreciate a good physics game.
Kid Care: If I suddenly found myself possessed of a child, I would panic. (For a variety of reasons!) Beyond the issue of the child's mere existence, I would flip the hell out at every tiny problem I encountered. When are you supposed to feed this? How much does it eat? Why is it making these noises? Kid Care tries to answer newbie parent questions of a medical variety, so you don't rush your kid to the hospital every time his vomit changes viscosity. Free.
Movie Mystic: A movie finding and ticket booking app, with a small twist: select an occasion, like "Date Night" or "Time for Tears," shake the app, and it'll actually suggest a current movie, and offer your the option to buy tickets to see it at a local theater. The aesthetic can be a bit garish, and I ran into the occasional slowdown, but it's a fun alternative to more straightforward movie apps like Fandango or Movies, and beyond the crystal ball start screen, it can do just about everything those apps can. Free.
Expedia: Expedia's updated their TripAssist app to include trip itinerary importing from other sources (like individual airlines), a revamped interface, SMS and email alerts, and flight seating charts. Free.
Happy Hours: Finds you nearby bars with running drink deals and happy hours, with a respectably full and well-maintained database. It's useful in the cities where it's available, and obviously useless in the ones where it's not. Either way, it's free.
All-In-1 Gamebox: We've written about how there's massive pressure on app developers to hit rock bottom prices in the App Store, wondering, earnestly, how can a developer thrive in a 99c economy? It as an interesting question! Well, ha ha, we were so naive. All-In-1 Gamebox is a single app with 25 unique games packaged inside. They're all distinct. Most of the are fine. Some of them are good. A couple of them are worthless. A handful of them could have easily been sold for 99c. And each is sold here for roughly four cents, minus Apple's cut.
Granted, it's not like 25 developers are going in on a single app here—the games all come from one source, as far as I can tell—but still, an app like this sets our price expectations hilariously low. Alas, you are not devs, so here's what you need to know: aside from the best of the best of the $1 games, it's hard to imagine a better timewaster that AI1 Gamebox, at least for the price.