Hot Mobile Apps for Summer!

By Anton Molodetskiy

After an unconventional start (record-breaking rain in June… really?) things are heating up in Silicon Valley and Summer 2011 is kicking into high gear.  With that in mind, it’s time to get into summer mode with several mobile apps that can help make the most of any vacation, staycation or day trip:

Weber’s on the Grill App ($4.99): I’ve had to sell grills as a job before and hold a particular appreciation for the Weber brand. This manufacturer consistently delivers quality merchandise and support for products that fit a range of budgets. Their range of accessories and books is also top notch, the books in particular providing both a wealth of practical knowledge and tasty looking recipes. Although this app will set you back a five-spot, it is another quality Weber product, offering videos, high-quality picks and time guides for different food. It also features a grill timer which tells you when your steak is done; this way, you don’t necessarily need a meat thermometer if you have to have it medium-rare like I do. Available on iPhone and iPad only though, so Android owners will have to settle for their less-powerful Weber BBQ Guide app.

Gas Buddy(Free): I actually use this app on a regular basis; it shows current gas prices at gas stations around your location, cataloguing them by distance or price. When you choose one, it links you to directions and often provides a picture of the station itself, as well as reviews. I’m the type of person who will drive a slight distance if there is a dramatically lower gas price, especially filling up before a big trip, so this app is super helpful. It can also help you not run out of gas in the middle of nowhere. As long as you plan ahead, of course. It is available for both iOS and Android.
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Tripcase (Free): Although Business Week raved about this app back in 2009, which is on-par with the Stone Age in the mobile world, Tripcase still feels like a solid travel app.  The streamlined main menu allows access to all app features, including arrival times, flight schedules and various maps and phone numbers. As with most apps, Tripcase aggregates hotel pictures and car rental information, but it’s solidly put together and its’ PRO version adds nice features like airplane seat maps and conversion for currency. It is available on both iOS and Android.
Word Lens (Free application + $9.99 charge for language):  If you’ve ever found yourself in a foreign country, staring at a sign and wondering what it says, Word Lens might just be for you. This app is still in its’ early-adopter stage, able to only translate things into Spanish, but the process is already comprehensive and convenient. Simply aim your smart phone camera at the offending letters – those you cannot read, and they are immediately translated on your phone screen. It is available on the iPhone and iPad only for now, so Android users will have to rely on other methods of getting around in Cancun this summer. ¡Una Cerveza, Por Favor!
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Wikitude (Free):  If you haven’t been paying attention, one of the next big things in mobile tech is Augmented Reality.  Wikitude is an app that combines data with the images of the world around you, allowing you to discover and interact with your surroundings in various ways. Through different filters (or layers), you can pan your device around you to discover nearby locations. From there, you can interact with them – get directions, info, call, etc. If they could only integrate this technology into a headset, we could all have terminator-like vision. This app is available on both Android and iOS and is free!
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