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This Week at 148Apps: September 10-14

Posted by Chris Kirby on September 15th, 2012
iPad App - Designed for iPad

This week at 148Apps.com, everything was about - what else? - the iPhone 5. Site founder and all-around iPhone guru Jeff Scott provided some much-needed advice for anyone interested in switching carriers when upgrading: "So you, like many, have decided to switch carriers with the iPhone 5? You could go data only but perhaps you still need the phone part of the iPhone. Let’s say for instance you are tired of the customer-hostile management at AT&T and want to move to Verizon. Just, you know, as an example.

Let’s rundown what you will need to make the switch and any pitfalls you might hit. It’s a fairly simple process, but there are some things you should know first, before starting."

Read all of Jeff's great advice at 148Apps.com.

Meanwhile, GiggleApps headed to the Great White Way, courtesy of Amy Solomon's review of Broadway Barks: "Broadway Barks is a lovely interactive story, written, narrated and sung by Tony-winning actress Bernadette Peters, based on the previously published children’s book with CD of the same name. Versions for both iPhone as well as iPad are available.
This is a cute and charming story of a dog who no longer has a home and is all alone in the park until he is discovered and given a chance to be seen at Broadway Barks – a charity event in New York City to promote the adoption of animal, ultimately finding a new home."

Read the full review at GiggleApps.com.

Finally, 148Apps.biz featured a how-to for creating a better mobile app from Prince Arora: "You just came up with a great idea for a mobile app or you are working on a new feature to add in your existing app. You have laid out all the screens, primary & secondary actions, and interaction flow in your head and you get down to write the code.

Great! However, this scenario is the same as starting to build a house without a blueprint. Wireframes are like blueprints and visual design is like interior decoration for an app.

So before you start writing code, work on a blueprint — this includes writing down the features/user stories, designing the flow charts, defining the primary & secondary action and designing the wireframes. These sounds like a lot but I’ll walk you through each step to show you how simple it can be."

Read all of the steps at 148Apps.biz.

And that, my friends, brings us to the end of a very busy and exciting week. Stay abreast of the latest news, reviews and contests by following us on Twitter and Liking us on Facebook, and be sure to meet me back here next weekend for a rundown of what you might have missed. See you next week!

CarrierCompare Can Help You Pick the Best Mobile Carrier for You. Or Can It?

Posted by Lisa Caplan on April 20th, 2012

For those in the US shopping around for the best carrier, a Boston-based start-up, SwayMarkets, launched an app late last week that serves up data that AT&T, Verizon and Sprint usually keep obfuscated. CarrierCompare has received a lot of media attention, but users and critics have mixed reactions.

The app itself is easy to use and provides useful information for finding the carrier with the best coverage right where users actually use their iOS devices. The trouble, according to CNN Money, is the way the app gets its data. Dave Goldman explains:

Here's the catch: The app is only as good as its crowd-sourced data. SwayMarkets has a starting data set pulled in from its previously released NetSnaps app, but CarrierCompare will only become really useful if a critical mass of people adopt it.

Another more recent issue that's hurting CarrierCompare is the removal of one of the three key metrics - Signal Strength - leaving only Response and Speed measurements. Users are not happy, and SwayMarkets explanation is confusing. In the App Store they state:
This update removes the ability to measure signal strength as one of the metrics we use to compare carriers. Luckily, when compared to our other measurements, signal strength has the smallest impact on the quality of your data service.

We are actively working to find a way to bring this feature back in the future. If it is important to you, please let us know by emailing us from CarrierCompare or our website.

But on their website (on a page that looks bizarrely, if not deceptively, like a page from Wikipedia) they politely blame Apple and urge users to take up their cause by leaving comments about the app:
We had to remove signal strength in order to remain in compliance with our developer agreement with Apple and avoid having our apps removed from the App Store entirely. Apple has been very cooperative through this process, and we are pursuing ways of bringing signal strength back in the future. ... However, we recognize that signal strength is an important metric for comparing voice quality, so we encourage you to mention it in your reviews and emails to us - it can only help raise awareness.

Some users report the app crashes or doesn’t work, but Philip Elmer-DeWitt in his article for CNN Money had no issues with his testing in Brooklyn. The app is free of charge and ad free so if you give it a test run, let us know what you think.

Canada to get 4th iPhone Nation Wide Carrier

Posted by Ryan Filsinger on November 25th, 2009

In a recent press statement (which I had trouble tracking down), Virgin announced that they will be offering the iPhone in the "coming months" to Canadians (all indications are that it will be in February 2010). Recently here in Canada (Ryan, the author, is from Canada - ed.) we saw the addition of two more iPhone carriers in Bell and Telus but both offered very little in terms of competitive plans against the previous carrier, Rogers. As a consumer I was really hoping this increased competition would see an improvement in the available plans, but it appears that they all have a pact to not even make an effort. All of them offer almost the exact same plans, rates, and contracts with extremely little variation.

In most countries iPhone purchasers have the ability to pick up the devices for $199 on 2 year contracts, but not here in Canada. All 3 carriers offer 3 year contracts only. It also rumoured that Virgin will be offering the same forced 3 year contracts on us consumers. Now, Virgin has been establishing itself as a budget carrier with free phones, cheap plans, and generally the place to go if you are a very light phone user. So how they come at the release of the iPhone on their network should be very interesting. I believe that they have a real chance to steal a significant market share if they offer up something unique and flexible with this famous device. I'd love to see Virgin take a risk in it's pricing structure and allow a la cart pricing plans, pay as you go data, and 2 year contracts. I'd even be willing to fork over an extra $100 at purchase to get one less year on my contract.

With this addition, we are one of the leading countries in terms of carrier choice for the iPhone, but sadly still behind on pricing and contract options. If Virgin misses this opportunity to steal a decent size of the market, I'll be sad, because I really want to get one, but no one has provided what I'm looking for.