Apple

In a World of Check-Ins and Social Discovery Apps, EchoEcho Keeps it Simple (and Useful)

Just like last year, this year's edition of SXSW is once again heavily focused on location-based application. While the genre is slowly moving away from check-ins and virtual badges and more towards "social discovery," though, it's still rather debatable how useful apps like Highlight or Glancee are outside of the conference and Silicon Valley bubble….

Reviews

Kevin Rose’s Oink: Stop Rating Places – Rate the Stuff Inside Them Instead

Oink, the first product to come out of Digg-founder Kevin Rose’s Milk project, launched earlier this week. At this point, the thought of yet another location-based app that lets you rate things may induce some involuntary yawning in you. After testing it for a while now, though, I have to say that while I was highly skeptical of yet another app in this space, Oink actually puts enough of a twist on the genre to be interesting and to become a potential challenger to similar services like Foursquare (or even Yelp) in the long run.

Reviews

Adobe Carousel: What Apple’s Photo Stream Should Look Like

Photo Stream is one of the signature features of Apple’s iCloud initiative. It allows you to automatically sync all the photos you snap on your iOS device with every other iOS and Mac you own. It’s a smart system that makes managing photos across multiple devices a bit easier. With Carousel, however, Adobe has developed a set of photo sharing and editing applications for iOS and the Mac (with Android and Windows version coming soon), that easily rivals Apple’s efforts and easily best it in many areas. Carousel, just like Photo Stream, automatically keeps your photo libraries in sync. But unlike Apple, Adobe also includes numerous editing features (using the processing engine found in Photoshop Lightroom) and makes sharing your photos with friends and family members a lot easier.

Reviews

Hands-On: Why Spool Could be the First Real Instapaper, Read It Later Challenger

Just a few minutes after I posted a story about Instapaper’s latest updates yesterday, I received my private beta invite for Spool, a free Instapaper-like tool for the browser, iOS and Android. While Instapaper and Read It Later mostly focus on making articles and other written content available for offline reading on mobile devices, Spool also adds audio and video to the mix. For iOS users, this also means that they can watch Flash-based videos on their devices with Spool that would otherwise be unavailable, as Spool’s backend handles the conversion automatically.

Reviews

Pearltrees Finds its Natural Home on the iPad

Pearltrees, the Paris-based curation and discovery startup, just launched its long-awaited iPad app earlier this week. The company’s service allows users to bookmark interesting websites and arrange them into hierarchically organized tree structures – or “pearls” in the company’s parlance. I’ve been a fan of Pearltrees ever since I first met the team in Paris about two years ago and have been using their service here for my daily “Catching Up” posts. What makes the service stand out from its competitors is the visual appeal of how you collect and organize your “pearls.” The drag-and-drop interface takes the work out of bookmarking, but while the web interface works quite well, one can’t help but feel that the touch interface on the iPad is actually the most natural way to use the service.