This Week's Best Apps

In this week's jailbreaky round up: dogfights, fought; dates, creepily charted; Osmos, miniaturised; friends, made into zombies; your workout routine, streamlined and much, much more!

iPhone

1951 - World War One: A truly beautiful 3D, top-down shooter, 1951 lets you manoeuvre, feint and barrel-roll for some classic dogfighting action. There's a backstory that lets you know why World War One is happening in 1951, but I have not clicked it, such is my impatience to zoom past the loading screens and into the game itself. $2.49.

Osmos: My favourite game for the iPad is now available, in smaller form, on iPhones and iPods touch - Osmos, an at-times-frantic, at-times-meditative romp as a tiny little mote trying to move your way up in the mote world, loses a little bit of its magic on the smaller screen, but it's still an undeniable achievement in giving a full, immersive gaming experience. $3.99.

Zombie Guide Survival Scanner: Have your iPhone turn your friends into zombies… before your friends actually turn into zombies. Released by Random House as a supplement to Zombie Survival Guide, you can scan friends, determine their level of infection and post their zombified photos to Facebook. Free and gruesome.

Vonage Mobile For Facebook: Vonage, the VoIP company with the head-whacking commercials, has a new app for Android and iOS that lets users make free calls to Facebook friends over 3G and Wi-Fi. Finally, your reward for cultivating that extensive friends list.

Logging into Facebook with the free Vonage Mobile For Facebook app will indicate which of your friends also have the app installed, prompting you call them with a touch of your finger - that means no new contacts to add and no phone numbers or user names to remember. Free and nice!

Trailhead: It's made by the North Face, so you know it'll be high quality (or do serious outdoorsmen despise the ever-trendy brand?) Anyway, Trailhead, powered by EveryTrail.com, shows you location-aware bike routes, hikes and more, tracks your distance, speed and elevation on those routes and, obligatorily, lets you post any snapshots you might've taken along the way to Facebook or Twitter. Oh, and it'll always let you find the nearest North Face dealer. But still, for the type that likes to compensate their app addictions with actual time outdoors, Trailhead's definitely worth a look. Free.

NanoStudio: Complex apps walk a fine line between functionality and usability - there's nothing more frustrating than a feature-laden app imprisoned behind an inscrutable interface. NanoStudio pulls off this tightrope act gracefully, packing everything you need to tap out drum loops, tweak synths, record and edit your own samples, and sequence and master it all, right on your iPhone.

At $18, it's a bit expensive for just noodling around with some synths, but if you suspect you'll ever have the hankering to get a little more ambitious - to get your sounds just right, or to start to pile tracks and takes on top of one another - NanoStudio's just the ticket.

Preach it, Rosa:

The basic idea of DateMate is that it allows you to enter details about your partners - birthdays, contact information, silly things that you should recall - and track your encounters with them. The app offers a calendar so that you can keep track of whose bed you were in on which night and a way to rank the dates and create notes about them. Once you've got a bunch of dates under your belt, you can even generate graphs of your activities and compare frequency, quality and progress.

DateMate may seem a bit sleazy to those of us who prefer monogamy, but it appears to be a well-designed app that might make life easier for those who have somewhat open arrangements with their partners.

$4 and a certain amount of dignity.

iDisk: Apple's official iDisk app got backgrounding support and controls for music streamed from one's iDisk. Not a huge deal, necessarily, but anything we can do to convince ourselves that Apple's slowly but surely working on their arse-kicking entry into the cloud is enough to get us a little hot. Free, though MobileMe is required.

CNET News: Our pals over at CNET got themselves a slick new iPhone app - nothing too crazy, just a nice, easy way to check up on CNET's news and blog postings and share them with friends and colleagues. It's free and thus definitely worth checking out for fans of the site.

Adidas miCoach: Sam, big time workout buff, says:

MiCoach uses your phone's GPS to monitor your speed keep up with a targeted pace. After assessing just how sad of a state your body is in, the free app will whip you into shape with personalised daily running or jogging workouts of varying speeds. The "virtual coach" (read: creepy computer voice that yells at you) will let you know when to speed up or slow down to stay on pace. After each workout you'll received an analysis of your run, including distance and calories burned, and your data will be stored on the MiCoach site so you can track your progress. The app is free, though it does say it "tracks your shoe usage with wear alerts" in the hopes that you will burn through your soles and right into your local Adidas distributor.

Android

Facebook: Android's Facebook app just got an update that makes the app... decent. Unsurprisingly, it looks a heck of a lot like the iPhone version. Here's the new features Jesus found:

• There's a notifications bar.
 • There's a new photos drawer on the home page, for easy access to photos and videos from your news feed. • Events support. 
• Now you can update your status with one click.
 • Video playback inside the app.

To my eye, it's still not as full-featured as the iPhone version (no Facebook chat and some may cry for other features) but it's a whole lot prettier than what Android users were using before. Free.

Nimbuzz: It's a VoIP app that lets you make Skype calls over 3G and Wi-Fi. Since the official Skype on Android app is exclusive to Verizon phones, it's a great alternative to have for non-Big Red customers. You could use Nimbuzz' own services but really, why start another account if you're already on Skype. No video calls, though. Free.

Jigz Lite: Jigsaw Puzzle Maker: It's a jigsaw puzzle that's simple, fun and oddly therapeutic. The neat thing is that you can use your own pictures to create puzzles. Nothing like throwing yourself in the game, right? The pieces are fairly large so it's not too complicated, but finishing a puzzle is always rewarding no matter how easy it is. Free.

Don't Forget The Lyrics: Channel your inner Wayne Brady and play Dont Forget the Lyrics on Android. I hardly watch the television show and am actually pretty terrible at the game, but it churns your brain (or turns it into mush) trying to remember song lyrics. There's a heavy rhythm aspect to the game (which I don't really love), but it's silly fun. If you like the TV show, you should enjoy the game.

Vonage: Vonage for Android lets you make free VoIP calls (3G or Wi-Fi) to your Facebook friends. Kyle, who's always on the phone, says:

Logging into Facebook with the free Vonage Moible For Facebook app will indicate which of your friends also have the app installed, prompting you to call them with a touch of your finger - that means no new contacts to add and no phone numbers or user names to remember.

PayPal: It's a smallish update, but it gives you more creative ways to collect money. Rosa:

Android users can now simply bump their devices together to send money. There's also a new feature "which lets you automatically calculate the total cost of a bill and then collect money directly from friends when out to dinner".

We are so crazy about apps right now you wouldn't believe it. If you have recommendations, tips or just want to let us know about your own app, drop a note in the comments or shoot me an email.

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