If you haven’t seen an iPhone ‘there’s an app for that’ ad then you haven’t been watching tv…at all. And I’ve been shouting at the tv each time they come on about how I have the same app on my Fuze and typically I’ve had it for a while – there just isn’t a glossy tv ad about it. Finally the commercial about leveling a bookshelf with an iPhone threw me over the edge. When I got my Fuze I remember showing off the gsen configuration that’s just a bubble level and everyone greeted my shiny toy with a bunch of mehs. Now that it’s on the iPhone those same people tell me how cool the iPhone is and when I remind them I showed them the same thing on my phone months ago I get ‘yeah it’s really neat that it’s on the iPhone just like all of those other apps it has”. The time has come to go through their commercials one by one and compare apples to windows… And let’s remember the ads claim “there’s an app for that only on the iPhone’. The ads are on Apple’s site here, so let’s see how honest Steve is with us.
The first ad is named Check:
If you want to check snow conditions on the mountain there’s an app for that
In our forums back in December I posted about this but never thought it had enough popularity for the main site. It’s the REI Ski and Snow Report which is a Zumobi panel (essentially a widget). They describe it as follows
Winter is never long enough, so make sure you spend your time at the mountain with the best snow this year! The REI Ski and Snow Report will keep you up to date on the best conditions at over 1800 resorts worldwide.
You can track New Snow, Lift Status, and Weather Forecasts — all easily accessible from your phone.
The download link is here and it is free.
If you want to check how many calories are in your lunch there’s an app for that
There’s a host of WinMo apps that do this. One of the fancier ones is VidaOne’s MyPersonalDiet which has a library of 7500 foods but it goes beyond this and has monitoring and tracking functions, can synchronize with your PC and has a host of other functions that go far beyond calorie tracking (it is $25).
If you want a free application that just tell you calorie count there’s Calorie Tracker or Calorie Counter. In fact Microsoft wrote an entire article on this stating “Believe it or not, you can easily transform your Windows Mobile phone into a portable personal trainer, step counter, meal planner, and even heart-healthy food database. ” You can read it in full here.
And if you want to check where exactly you parked your car there’s even an app for that
We wrote up on GParkS last month. Just to belabor the point, we could also always use FootPrints to take a photo of the spot, use the GPS to map it and go back to it (or just GMaps without GPS), leave a voice note about the spot and we may as well add a written note all of which will be bundled together and linked to Google Maps.
The next ad up is Fix
If you need to find a taxi cab in a strange city there’s an app for that
Ok I don’t think we have a standalone ‘taxi’ app and I presume there never will be. We have two great apps on our phone that handle this already. Just fire up Live Search and it will locate you (either off of GPS or using cell tower data) and you can search for a keyword of taxi or in the case of Live Search say the word ‘taxi’ and it will search for you or you can go to Categories – Transportation – Taxicab Services (or Limousine Service if you’re feeling up to it:)). In Google Maps it’s similar (without the ability to speak a search query) and just go to Search and type in taxi and it will find you a taxi.
or figure out your share of the bill for a table of 5
You can try Fuzzy Bill Splitter or Tippy or KshrTips. They’re all pretty much identical – it’s just a question of which look you prefer. They’re all free and work to split the bill for you if you’re not up to using the old calculator:)
or fix a wobbly bookshelf there’s even an app for that
Go to Settings – System – GSensor and you’ll see the gsensor calibration tool which is a bubble level. You can also try Bubble Level which is a larger bubble level with degrees (so you can tell if it’s exactly even or 1 degree off) and it even has a light meter included.
Next ad up is Read
If you want to read a restaurant review there’s an app for that
Again I’m going to cheat because I don’t need 100 different apps – I’d rather have an app like…well let’s say Google Maps and when I go to search for a restaurant the reviews are included in a tab.
If you want to read an MRI there’s an app for that
You could use heartit.com which is entirely web based. If you want an application you can use a DICOM viewer like DICOM Viewer Medial Image Tool. Obviously viewing on our high resolution VGA screen like the Fuze should be considered a minimum something as sensitive as this. If your doctor is too busy to look at the MRI on a full screen and opts for a handheld you’re probably at the wrong office though.
And if you just want to read a regular old book there’s an app for that
Microsoft has the Microsoft Reader for free and it even links to an online ebook store. Google also has a host of free and paid ebooks.
The next ad up is Shazam
You know when you don’t know what song is playing and it’s driving you crazy? With the Shazam app from the AppStore you just hold up your iPhone to the song and within seconds you’ll know who sings it and where to get it.
If you want the same exact app for your phone just download Music ID from AT&T. The pricing is different (it’s a monthly fee instead of a one time fee) but it’s otherwise identical.
Let’s move on to the next ad called Loopt
Staying in touch with friend can be tough but if you have Loopt from the AppStore you know what they’re up to, where they are and if they want to grab lunch.
This is almost identical to Google Latitude which links to text messaging and as we all know Latitude automatically keeps your friends posted on your location and without GPS to save battery life so it’s a neat app and it’s cross platform (it can even be viewed from a PC, on a BlackBerry, on a G1…). And similarly you can manually ‘update your status’ with whatever you are doing. Of course, with multitasking this will run in the background if you want it to so it can keep tracking you without you manually doing it (yup, that’s a dig:))
Next up is Urbandspoon
You know that aged old dilemma, where should we eat tonight? Well with the Urbanspoon app from the AppStore you can find restaurants nearby.
Urbanspoon is actually a website so feel free to just browse over there. I’ll give the iPhone one here – there’s no ‘shake until the phone randomly picks a place to eat app’. Can’t image why – sounds far more advanced than the old throw a dart at the phone book method :) There’s no shortage of apps to find places to eat. Take Google Maps, Live Search or just head over to EarthComber.com (if you do it using the Iris browser it will have the iPhony look you want and it is location based as well). They all locate restaurants based on location.
Next up to the plate is GameChanger
So what do you want your iPhone to be today. From the MLB App from the AppStore it can be a score checker, live pitch updater or a video highlight reel.
If I wanted to see what was going on with a game I don’t need to look at a cartoon image of pitches. I’d fire up the old SlingBox or maybe even Orb and just watch a real time stream of the game. You know, the real game, not something like the game. If I wanted a score update just about every mobile website has that at a glance so just add a bookmark.
Last up is Lonely Planet
The audio from this one is just promotion of the AppStore. The app itself speaks 600 Chinese phrases (I think it came out right before the Olympics).
Lingvosoft has paid software that has phrase books for English to each of the following: Spanish, Russian, Italian, Portuguese, French, German, Greek, Polish, Chinese mandarin (simplified or traditional), Japanese, Korean, Thai…wait, there’s pages of this – I think I’ve made my point:) If you don’t need it spoken you can use Help2Speak (there may be VGA resolution issues) or Wolf’s Translator.
That’s all of the commercials actually. The difference is form over substance. iPhone has some standalone apps that are one-trick pony’s while the Windows applications are often bundled together so one app (like Google or Live Search) do what the iPhone has a few apps to do. And we all know that with the history of Windows Mobile there are multiples of more applications for Windows. The difference is the lack of glossy ads (and sometimes glossy interfaces). For each of the apps that I listed there are a few similar apps that do the same thing that I did not mention so please feel free to chime in and note your favorites in the comments.
And we shouldn’t forget that there are more than a good handful of serious apps that Windows Mobile has that the iPhone doesn’t (I won’t even start with multi-tasking, MMS, video, etc).
Let’s say I wanted to take a photograph of a business card and let my phone convert it to text and add it to my contacts then I’d just use World Card Mobile which is included on my Fuze.
Or maybe I wanted to navigate through my phone with my voice and even have my phone read my text messages out loud as well as my appointments, reminders and other items for a true hands free experience that’s almost identical to Ford’s ‘Sync’, then I’d just use Windows Voice Commander (also included and located under Settings).
If I wanted to have an Internet experience just like the iPhone I’d use Iris which runs on the same engine and views websites all iPhony but if I wanted the real real internet (you know with streaming media, flash, etc) then I’d use SkyFire.
And if I wanted to use hand writing on my phone and let it convert that to text I’d just change the onscreen keyboard to transcriber and it would do that.
If I wanted to compare prices of items by just snapping a photo of the barcode there’s an app for that called Barcorama.
Or I can take a photo of an object to figure out tis size with Dark Ruler.
If I wanted to print from my phone that’ll work out of the box (thanks to JetCet).
Listening to FM radio (the real one that’s local and not internet based radio) or viewing my Fuze on a television (even watching movies from my Fuze on a tv or using it for presentations) is no problem.
Streaming all of my music from my PC to my Fuze is no problem (Orb works as does Didiom).
Or if I wanted to know how far away the front, back or middle of the golf green is from my current gps location on over 700 courses I’d just use GudenSoft Golf GPS.
If I wanted to connect to my PC from my Fuze I would just use Remote Desktop Connection (included on my phone) or any of the third party apps like Remote Touch or GoToMyPC works. Of course if I was sitting next to my PC I could use MyMobiler to view my Fuze on My PC and use the keyboard and mouse to navigate my Fuze. And if I wanted to use my phone as a remote for my PC (gsen enabled air mouse, or use the keyboard, or use it like a joystick,or a drawing pad) then I’d use GRemote.
I could go on and on. In the end the claim that the apps are only on the iPhone is misleading at best but looking at the larger picture there are far more apps and tasks that Windows can do that the iPhone simply cannot do. Put all of the gimicks aside if you just compare OS to OS you’ll probably agree with the guys over at areamobile that Windows is more feature-packed. This posting has nothing to do with iPhone bashing – it’s actually about uplifting the lonely Windows Mobile phone. If the iPhone is so great with all of its apps then just imagine how great Windows is with all of the same apps (in some cases the Windows version was better) and all of these extra apps as well as a phone that isn’t locked by Apple, is fully customizable, has different form factors to choose from… You see with Windows it’s not just a phone, it’s your phone.
Now Microsoft – you’re finally getting the PC glossy ads going, now let’s see some glossy Windows Mobile ads already, ok?:)