TotalHotspots goes free

Total Hotspots today have dropped the price of their iPhone app to a free download from iTunes.

The app which uses the Rummble API for trust relationships between users etc allows users to search for WiFi locations and also rate them, other users can then search for nearby WiFi hotspots and get a user rating.

The app works with both free and paid for hotspots and has various WiFi databases as well as user supplied entries.

If you're using an iPhone then it's a sensible app to download if you're ever in need of a WiFi location. Of course all the data is available through the website too.

Apple release their tablet or is it a sanitary pad

Apple has released their long rumoured tablet (well announced it anyway, it's not actually available for a couple of months in WiFi only versions or 3 months for the 3G version) and it's actually called the iPad.

It comes with an Apple designed 1GHz CPU called the A4 (using the skills of the chip design company Apple bought recently) which is ARM based. Apple don't specify how much memory (RAM) it comes with, but storage comes in 16/32/64 GB of Flash.

The screen is a very crisp 9.7" LED backlit IPS display which is of course (multi) touch sensitive. Battery life is 10 hours of use and it comes with a 30pin dock connector. WiFi is 802.11n.

Unfortunately the iPad is more like a big iPhone rather than a MacBook and uses the iPhone OS. Developers need to download the new iPhone SDK version 3.2 to take advantage of the new features and directly support the iPad (it will run existing iPhone/iPod Touch apps out the box). It syncs with a PC/Mac using iTunes just like an ipod Touch.

Apple have released a version of iWork for the iPad that's compatible with the Mac versions but optimised for a touch screen. iWork actually means Numbers, Pages and Keynote and the iPad versions cost $9.99 each available from the App store.

The iPad itself costs $499 for the 16GB, $599 for the 32GB and $699 for the 64GB. 3GB versions come in at $130 more (which is $629, $729 and $829 respectively). There's not yet any European pricing or availability.

As a suped-up iPhone/iPid Touch, the iPad also doesn't have multitasking capability (yet) and there's also no on-board camera though these can be added as accessories through the dock (a Keyboard/iPad dock will be available on launch). Once nice feature is the iBook store which allows iPad users to download books, papers and magazines. The eBook element of the iPad has been done nicely so tapping the right of the screen flips the page forward - this might actually be the killer app, though you could also buy a Kindle (who now also allow writing apps) or a Nook.


Getting Google Voice in the UK

Well in theory it's not possible to get a Google Voice account in the UK. Even if you get an invite, which you respond to, Google comes back with "Sorry Google Voice is not yet available in your country".

So Google know where you are and do sensible things, or do they?

If you happen to have bought an unlocked Google Nexus One phone which has been dutifully shipped to the UK, then it comes with an Android (obviously) version of Google Voice pre-installed. Ensure all the Google settings have been set-up (i.e. your Google Mail address and all the other nice info Google wants from you) then just run the Google Voice app.

The app does all the magic and sets the account up and then tries to configure voicemail, which instead of being your normal network's voicemai, sends calls to your Google Voice account. This fails as the UK networks don't like sending voicemail to a US number, but no worry at least the Google Voice side of things is set-up and you get a US number (which you can change to a nicer one for $10 if you wish).

Going back to the web and trying to configure personalised greetings then doesn't work, as normally Google does this sort of thing by phoning the registered phone (the Google Voice app nicely passes all the phone info to Google) and it wont phone a UK number (unsurprisingly).

So though you now have a Google Voice account, it's almost useless. It does give you a US number where people can leave you messages which will then get transcribed and sent as email (which also can have an attachment of the recording), but not much else.


Asterisk gets an app store (almost)

Asterisk the open source IP PBX from Digium now gets an app store of sorts.

Asterisk Exchange is a site where vendors can upload product information on products that work with Asterisk. These may be physical products such as telephony cards and phones etc or software.

Software may be end-user software such as soft-phones, Asterisk add-ons that increase functionality or distinct apps that work with some aspect of VoIP.

Some of the sections already available are: -

Asterisk Components
Desktop Tools
Interface Cards
IP Phones
Network Components
Platform Hardware

Though not really an app store, Asterisk Exchange allows people to search a single resource for Asterisk related products (much of the information is already available, just harder to find as it's spread on to lots of sites). This can only be a good thing for the large Asterisk community.

Mobile Premiere Awards Innovation Finalists

The Mobile Premiere Awards are being held in Barcelona on February 15th 2010 (during Mobile World Congress).

The 20 finalists for the Innovation Award" will pitch or present at the event.

The initial submissions went through local Mobile Monday groups and the finalists were selected by a jury of Mobile Industry Experts.

The finalists are: -

MobileMonday Austria - Mobilizy
MobileMonday Barcelona - fonYou
MobileMonday Berlin - spendino
MobileMonday Bogota - RedSalvavidas
MobileMonday Chennai - mobiSiteGalore
MobileMonday Copenhagen - Cepa Mobility
MobileMonday Edinburgh - Mobile Acuity
MobileMonday Estonia - TaxiPal
MobileMonday Lithuania - SendFlow
MobileMonday London - Audioboo
MobileMonday Milan - Soundtrckr
MobileMonday Munich - Aloqa
MobileMonday New Delhi - Voicetap Technologies
MobileMonday New York - PercentMobile
MobileMonday Oslo - Bipper Communication
MobileMonday Rest of EMEA - Layar
MobileMonday Silicon Valley - CloudMade
MobileMonday Slovenia - Visionect
MobileMonday Stockholm - MoSync
MobileMonday Tel Aviv - waze

The Mobile Premier Awards are the point of reference in startup premiers during the Mobile World Congress on February 15, 2010 in Barcelona and are organized in collaboration with some of the main networks in the industry including MobileMonday, Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF), MEX, MobileActive.org, Women 2.0 and the Women in Mobile Data Association.