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‘Awareness!’ by Essency is an application that uses your headphones’ microphone to enhance important sounds that could save your life, such as shouts, horns, sirens, warnings and alarms, while blocking out other, less useful background noises.
If you are a driver, there is nothing more annoying or scary as an unsuspecting pedestrian suddenly marching in front of your vehicle.
The AA recently described these as the ‘iPod zombie trance’ people, and warned that mobile devices were chiefly responsible for causing many roadside collisions, resulting in serious injury and even death.
Now iPhone/iPod users can download the ‘Awareness!’ app for just £2.99 and potentially save themselves from walking in front of a lorry.
That said, safety always comes first so we always advise that you turn the volume down when walking down the street. Remember what the lollypop lady says, ‘look both ways and don’t run!’
In case you were wondering, Android, Symbian, Blackberry and iPad versions of the app will soon follow.
By subscribing to a monthly subscription plan for about £6.50, users will be able to access Napster’s 10 million-strong library, with the option of storing the last 100 tracks you played on the device for listening even when you’re on the Tube or anywhere where you can’t get online.
The service aims to compete with the likes of Spotify and Rhapsody, which operate a similar subscription-based model on mobile platforms.
The app boasts a simple, easy to navigate interface with an ‘explore’ menu to discover music from Billboard charts dating back to 1955 and the most popular tracks from Napster’s own Top 100s. Users can also create their own playlists and search playlists created by others.
Napster is currently one of the biggest music streaming services in operation. It originally launched as a free music service but had to change its ways to stay in business as a legal music provider.
The app is available for download right now on iTunes.
Microsoft has found an unusual way of celebrating the Release To Manufacturing (RTM) of is upcoming Windows Phone 7 operating system – by holding a funeral procession of its rivals’ handsets.
It’s not uncommon for rival companies to take a dig at each other whenever and wherever possible, but when Microsoft employees took the streets of its Redmond campus dressed up as undertakers, hearses and mourners as they paraded giant mockups of iPhone and BlackBerry handsets you know they mean business.
To top it off, they even performed a nerdy rendition of Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video.
It’s a bold move indeed, but one which will come back to haunt the company for years if Windows Phone 7 fails to take off and suffers a premature death of its own.
Still, it’s good to see Microsoft employees being buoyant about the operating system, which many consider to be a make or break release for the company’s bid to regain lost ground in the smartphone market.
The first Windows Phone 7 phones are expected to go on sale in Europe next month, with LG, Samsung and HTC among some of the major players working on handsets. Microsoft is rumoured to be planning a less grim event on October 11th in New York to officially launch the OS.
The number of apps for Android phones has swelled to 80,000, amid a surge in developer support for Google’s operating system.
Google’s Vice President of Engineering Andy Rubin announced an official figure for app numbers in a press release for this the forthcoming T-Mobile G2 smartphone.
The release also revealed that the search giant expects the range of wares on its download software market to hit 100,000 in a matter of months, as momentum behind the Android OS continues to grow.
The 80,000-apps landmark is a significant achievement for a platform that was only launched two years ago, but still leaves Android some way behind Apple’s iPhone App Store, which now boasts 230,000 titles.
Mr Rubin said: “One of the advantages of an open platform is the opportunity for developers to create rich mobile experiences and seamlessly get those experiences into the hands of consumers.
“From new services, such as Voice Actions, to mobile applications, developer-led Android innovation is flourishing.”
Not speaking the same language could soon be no barrier to having a phone conversation, thanks to a new app showcased by Google at the IFA event.
Demonstrated by Google product manager Hugo Barra at the expo during Chief Executive Officer Eric Schimdt’s keynote address at this week’s expo, Live Translate’s near simultaneous translation capability was shown to allow a German speaker and Englishman to converse nigh on seamlessly.
However, perhaps unsurprisingly for an app in its experimental stages it required two attempts before they were able to converse successfully.
Mr Schmidt stated: “Live translate is the next logical succession, and may be possible in the future.”
Google also highlighted its acme, all-new voice search app that allows users to conduct searches through voice commands as well as its much-touted Google TV service,
Release dates for Live Translate and the voice search app have yet to be confirmed.
Telecoms giant BT has announced a new smartphone app that will allow customers to automatically connect to its Wi-Fi hotspots in the country.
The BT FON application, currently available in the Apple App Store and Android Market, gives BT Total Broadband customers free and unlimited access to BT’s 1.6 million Wi-Fi hotspots around the UK, without having to manually connect through a portal.
Once downloaded, the app only requires users to login using their btinternet account and select whether or not to be logged in automatically when they are in a BT Wi-Fi area.
It also includes a mapping service, which will be updated weekly to help users find the nearest hotspots.
To celebrate the launch, BT has pledged to donate 50p to Children in Need each time the app is downloaded until a target of £10,000 is reached.
X Factor fans can now watch exclusive videos and interact fellow enthusiasts with a new app exclusively for Nokia phones.
Available now from the Ovi Store, the app offers photo galleries, competitions and clips of Cowell and Co’s backstage antics.
The interactive facet of the application takes in a forum, where users can let their feelings be known about the judges’ decisions, as well as integration with Twitter and Facebook.
Robert Marsh, head of Talkback Thames digital, said: “Phone apps are a key area of development for us when we look at the digital extension of our entertainment brands.
“We are always looking for new ways to deliver great content to fans, working alongside our partners such as ITV and Nokia, and The X Factor app puts all of this at their fingertips”.
Nokia was sponsor of the show between 2004 and 2007, before the mantle was taken up by Carphone Warehouse.
The decision to make the title exclusive to Nokia is an odd one, given the massive potential market of Android smartphone and iPhone owners.