6 Cool Apps and Upcoming App Updates for 2012
The Recapp contributing writer P.K. Lassiter reports back from the 2012 Consumer Electronic Show with his picks for this year’s app all-stars.
I just got back from CES in Las Vegas. It was my first visit to the largest consumer electronics convention in the world.
It was a bit overwhelming, incredibly crowded and visually exhausting. Not only did I see more TV’s than I could ever have imagined, I also did some thorough app browsing. Let me tell you, I was busy.
I saw some interesting things. Blippar, an augmented-reality advertising app, had a cool demo, and I talked with a few designers about ESRA, a Siri-like voice-recognition app.
But those apps aren’t making the cut for my list of cool apps to look out for in 2012. The apps I think will have a big impact in this year (and beyond) are: Vlingo, a virtual assistant for your TV; So You’re Dating a Vampire, a choose-your-own-adventure game app; Crash Corsage, a super-fun wedding-crasher app (yep, you read that correctly); and Airtime, a video-chat app inspired by Chatroulette. As for some major updates, I’m noting Instagram for Android—the popular photo sharing app—and TiVo for Android, which allows you to leave the remote control alone for good.
Read on to learn more about six cool, anticipated apps for 2012.
Vlingo is another Siri-like app (even though it’s been around longer than my intelligent assistant from Apple, which I have programmed to call me “Master”). Thanks to a cool, new app update, Vlingo is expanding its features even more—to the television.
If you’re like me, you turn on the tube, you hit Guide on your remote to watch a program you’re sure will entice you, and you scan, scan, and scan some more. And even with 259 channels, you can’t find anything you want to watch. Perhaps that’s why they call TV the vast wasteland.
But with Vlingo, your days of endless scanning are over. Not only can you now command Vlingo to view a certain program, but you can simply ask it for a specific type of program, and that’s what it will find. You want to watch downhill skiing? Just speak that into your phone. If your cable or satellite company provides it, Vlingo finds it.
You can also find movies from Blockbuster and Netflix or update your Facebook page. If you mindlessly hit the page down or page up button on your remote as shows you don’t want to watch fly by, Vlingo is a cool app to look for in 2012.
For pure, unadulterated, gregarious and potentially troublesome fun seekers, this is the app for you. Crash Corsage is basically a tutorial in wedding crashing. It scans all local- and destination-wedding web listings (everyone puts their weddings online these days) and offers them up to you with groom data, bride data, stories about their relationship, etc. You can find anything and everything anyone has said about them, even to them, on their sites via any public web listing.
Crash Corsage then gives you instructions on how to successfully crash their wedding (actually, it focuses on the reception) in order to achieve a numerous assortment of game-like “goals.” Some of these goals could make your cummerbund a little cumbersome, as hooking up is one of them. That’s the ultimate goal for any wedding crasher, isn’t it? Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson would agree.
Is this utterly hilarious and all in good fun, or a blatant enticement to break the law? Either way, it’s an interesting concept for an app and sparks an important dialogue about aggregating public information.
The app’s creator, Eric Schlakman, tells us via email that it will be “ready to rock by wedding season” 2012, and concluded with the salutation: “Looking forward to meeting you on a stranger's dance floor.”
Instagram for Android
The newest version of the massively popular photo-editing and sharing app for iPhone is coming to Android. Instagram’s claim to fame is arguably its fun photo filters—that transform your images from bland to bold, funky, retro or antique—and its large social community. Expanding the app to the Android platform is a huge win for photo lovers and social media gurus alike.
And according to a report from CNET, it’s also going to be a huge win for Instagram. The company told CNET that it believes its membership of more than 1.5 million as of December 2011 could double with the launch of Instagram for Android.
Airtime, yet to be released, is inspired by the Russian website Chatroulette. Yes, that video-chat service where you never know what you’re going to get (aka, a lot of naked dudes). Why are we noting Airtime here, then? Well, we’re hoping it’ll be more innovative than creepy, offering semi-curated, extended-network video connections rather than 100% strangers, and on a much more mobile platform than a desktop.
No one knows exactly how it will work yet, but publications such as TechCrunch think that Airtime may introduce users by personal interests. Airtime masterminds Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker, both founders of Napster, aren’t revealing much about the app’s function until Airtime releases. Stay tuned.
The second app (and this one just recently hit the market) is So You’re Dating a Vampire. Kudos to the app’s developers and designers. It’s a fun, visually compelling and vastly entertaining film. Yes, you read that right—you’re participating in a film. I’ll clue you in.
Your name is Grace, and you’ve got to get ready for your date. You start by picking your wardrobe, jewelry, etc., then your date Vincent shows up. And—you guessed it— he’s a vampire.
So you go out on your date, which is rife with possibilities. What makes this choose-your-own-adventure app so cool is the production value and cinematic quality. You’re not only determining the outcome with every choice (careful with that cross necklace), but the more you play, the more you realize that there’s a backstory to these characters.
And there’s a cliffhanger, which means that we can expect more from the people at Neutral Ground Films.
Finally, there’s the TiVo app, new for Android. The TiVo app literally puts the popular video-recording service on your Android phone. You won’t miss your remote control for a second, we assure you.
Once the app locates your (or a friend’s) TiVo box, you can sign in to your account and manage it as if you were at home. Want to watch Mad Men and forgot to program a recording of it? No problem. You can schedule recordings on the go from your mobile device. The TiVo app also allows you to post comments about your favorite shows on Facebook and Twitter.
Overall, 2012 promises to be a year filled with significant advances in the app arena. Follow us to stay tuned.
What big launches or major app updates are you looking forward to in 2012?
Tweet us and we’ll check it out.