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ZDNet App Wrap: March 18, 2013

Apps under the snark-o-scope this week include ABC, Sydney Royal Easter Show, Road Mode, Citrix Mobile Enroll, Feedly, Meeting-Recorder, Kickoff, and Flickr.
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By Chris Duckett, APAC Editor on
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1 of 8 ABC

ABC

Platform: iOS, Android

Price: Free

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation updated its flagship ABC app today.

New features in the mouth-watering iOS version include a new look, new navigation, and an alarm called "Wake Up with the ABC", which will sound an ABC News theme alarm, then start streaming your choice of ABC News 24, one of the ABC's radio streams, an ABC podcast, or ABC News in 90 seconds.

Meanwhile on Android, it has some new formatting in the news stories and not much else. It's barely up to the functionality of the original iOS release.

In response to this disparity, I inhaled one standard non-recommended dosage of Sydney Institute, and questioned the ABC on its clear bias in favour of Apple products. Mark Dando, head of Online and Mobile for ABC Innovation was on hand to answer our questions.


How does the ABC address allegations that it is suffering from iOS bias?

The ABC prioritises mobile development resources by considering the numbers of visits using each platform to access the ABC. Of all the visits to ABC online on mobile devices, 67 percent are using iOS (down from 72 percent a year ago), 20 percent are using Android (up from 13 percent a year ago). All other mobile devices make up 13 percent of visits.

Are we ever likely to see feature parity between Android and iOS versions of the ABC's apps?

We first released the flagship ABC app for Android in March 2009, updating it again several times most recently in April last year and again in February this year.

Yesterday, we released v2.1 of the flagship ABC app for Android, which now offers ABC News in 90 Seconds bulletins and has a much stronger news offering. We resolved some bugs to improve the presentation of stories, and have also added inline audio and video to those stories.

A further update of the ABC flagship app for Android is already being prepared in order to match all the features and navigation of the iOS apps. We plan to release this soon.


While this all sounds good, I am still concerned that the taxpayer-funded broadcaster does not have a single Android commentator on Radio National.

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2 of 8 Royal Agricultural Society of NSW

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2013

Platform: iOS, Android

Price: Free

Here's an app that fits into the "as it says on the tin" category.

The app contains entertainment listings, full showbag listing, rides, food and drink, map, and where to see all the cute farm animals.

Interestingly, one feature is called "New Sense cam" that lets you "select one of the Five Sense characters to be in your pic, and share it with your friends".

Photo-bombing your own Show pics is now the done thing, and it saves one poor person having to sweat it out in a mascot uniform.

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3 of 8 VicRoads

Road Mode

Platform: Android

Price: Free

An app that could save your life? They don't arrive very often, but here is a good idea put out by VicRoads.

The app silences the phone and sends automated text responses to people who call or SMS your phone while it is enabled. Upon disabling the app, a summary of calls and messages received is shown.

Unfortunately it appears to only have standard replies, a few more minutes of development time could really make this app much more useful.

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4 of 8 Zenprise

Citrix Mobile Enroll

Platform: iOS

Price: Free

If your IT infrastructure team has a XenMobile Device Manager server buried in the basement, and you want to access your corporate email, then you'll be needing this app.

Working across iPhones and iPads, the app gives access to work email, calendar, address book, and documents; sets up automatic configuration for company's Wi-Fi; and the ability to find, locate, and lock your lost device.

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5 of 8 Feedly

Feedly

Platform: iOS, Android

Price: Free

From the exodus created by Google Reader, Feedly has quickly picked up quite a few users.

This app is great for quick or casual perusal of your RSS feeds. It looks nice, has some good gestures (which they recently switched the orientation of, presumably to allow for Flipbook like page flipping), and opens the linked stories in its own WebView, rather than jumping the user over into a browser session.

For people that consume RSS items by the hundreds, ie, journalists, Feedly isn't quite the RSS-munching app that is needed.

For everyone else, it's worth a look as your Google Reader replacement.

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6 of 8 Lin Pei

Meeting-Recorder

Platform: iOS

Price: $1.99

Here's a nice way to organise audio memos: In calendar format. Add to this the ability to add sound and video to the recording with iCloud support, and it's a great mix.

Certainly a step up from the default recording apps available on various mobile platforms.

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7 of 8 Michael Villar

Kickoff

Platform: iOS

Price: $7.49

If your team is making use of Kickoff collaboration software, then well done on being in such a homogenous office environment.

This companion app for iOS provides the on-the-go functionality that we've seen before in collaboration apps.

The desktop app is available in the Apple Mac Store for $27.99.

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8 of 8 Yahoo

Flickr

Platform: iOS

Price: Free

The venerable Flickr app received an update over the weekend, and the new feature that warranted this release was, drum roll please, hashtags.

That's right, rather than using tags that Flickr has had for many, many years, it's copied from Twitter and maintained the same functionality.

It's OK, though; Facebook copied Twitter first.

#facepalm.

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