Kia Ora!

Being one of those few punters who owns both an iPhone and a G1, I’d like to start of by sharing a fascinating article over on Pocket Picks that takes a look at the Android’s lack of multi-touch.

To be honest, even the iPhone doesn’t use multi-touch all that much – other than when it comes to web surfing - but for that, it’s invaluable. But whether it’s because of Apple's patent, or there's some other reason, Google has not implemented multi-touch, so we’re pretty much stuck with single finger controls.

The forthcoming HTC Magic phone might have an alternative though. The new circular zoom feature brings up a round dial on the screen, which zooms in and out as you rotate it with a single finger. Pocket Picks has a video showing it in more detail. I think Android users will find it interesting.

Anyway, this week I thought it’d be nice to take at a new area of Pocket Picks that’s proving to be massively popular. The Pocket Gamer sister site is filling in a gap in iPhone, Android and smartphone coverage by reviewing non-gaming applications.

Without scouring the App Store (or Market) by hand – which is a laborious task – hunting down the most useful applications isn’t easy. They tend not to advertise, and most publications concentrate more on gaming. So let’s have a goosey at some of Pocket Picks top application reviews.

So let’s start off with a way for your Android phone to help you get down from a mountain. No, it’s not a go-go-gadget ‘copter accessory (although that’d be sweet), but a detailed GPS data application giving you longitude, latitude, altitude, acceleration and a full compass.

Obviously this is more for the orienteers among us, but GPS is all about navigation, and GPS Status provides a whole new range of statistics regarding your whereabouts.

Intrepid explorers might also require Earthquake!. The Android app links into data from the US Geological Survey, alerting you whenever an earthquake occurs. Neatly, you can set up filters for distance and power, and while it's a litle buggy, the link to Google Map presentation is neat. The app's also free.

All this cool new tech is undeniably fascinating, so you’ll probably want to read all about the other cool gadgets and tech out there. The Slashdot Reader gives you access to the English and Japanese Slashdot pages, so you can cruise through the millions of nerdish entries and uncover this year’s hottest gizmos.

It’s an unofficial app, so while the pages are clear it takes quite a while to load up. Still, Slash addicts should be pretty happy.

Trawling the Slashdot pages can be a mammoth task, mind you – just the same as grinding your way through the iPhone’s App Store. Finding out about new games is easy enough, but digging out applications can be prohibitively tedious. Step in AppSniper – an iPhone app about iPhone apps.

It lists the day's newest software, and allows you a bunch of categorisation options as well as direct links to buy any applications that catch your eye while browsing. The extra functionality of AppSniper is making this something of a must-have alternative for many users, so technophiles should check out this review in detail.

Other news concerning future apps is also spilling out. For example, it looks like music streaming website Spotify is coming to iPhone, Android and Symbian, while social traveller site Dopplr is also planning to expand its mobile offering, including its new Social Atlas feature.

Normally we like to end the Pocket Picks round-up with some hardware news, but in the spirit of our application review special, we thought a look at Air Mouse Pro might kill both virtual birds with one iStone.

This super-slick application turns your iPhone (or iPod touch, of course) into a feature rich touchpad for your computer. Naturally it requires client software on your PC, which comes bundled with the app purchase. Air Mouse Pro then gives you right and left mouse buttons, a scroll when, a complete row of function keys and the cursor keys. There are even programmable hot keys so you can fine tune the application to suit your needs.

So, some great stuff filling up the pages over at Pocket Picks, but be warned – these reviews are likely to give you the app bug, and that can become and expensive hobby. Expensive, but damn entertaining.

Kia Ora!