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App Recommendations #2 – Bejeweled Live, Dragon Dictation, Google Latitude and Shazam

Welcome to my second article that is part of a series of posts featuring Apple iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Google Android and also now includes Windows Phone 7 apps. App Stores are absolutely crammed packed with software and games that feature the very best of functionality and enjoyment, although finding the right selections can be quite a daunting task.

So let’s continue our journey where I reveal my recommendations and you of course can share your discoveries within the comments section.

Bejeweled Live – Windows Phone 7 [£3.99 / Free Trial]

My first experience of the Bejeweled series came from the original Xbox, when the Xbox Live Arcade feature that we possibly now take for granted as part of its successor the Xbox 360, back then came on a separate disk rather than part of the system. Since then, Bejeweled has appeared on numerous devices with slight variations – yet retaining the same basic charm its first incarnation enjoyed. Bejeweled Live for Windows Phone 7 continues the gem busting antics with a few additional features that will appeal to both casual and even hardcore gamers.

No matter which mode you select, the basic idea remains the same. You must match at least three coloured gems in a row to remove them from the screen allowing others to drop from above. Matching 4 or more reveals a special gem that when next matched or selected has an explosive effect on the rest, hopefully resulting in a massive point scoring cascade. There are three modes, the first being ‘Classic’ that declares ‘Game Over!’ when you have no more gem matching possibilities, second on the list is ‘Action’ which ends when the time expires and lastly ‘Endless’ which as the title suggests never ends and is meant to allow you an uninterrupted pleasure of just playing.

As this is a Windows Phone 7 title, you can even unlock achievements. If you have been an Xbox 360 gamer, you will already have an appreciation of achievements as these are your gaming bragging rights and also a great way of tracking your overall progress within a single game or all of them combined. Also included are leaderboards, so if any of your friends have the game as well, you can compare your statistics with theirs.

Google Latitude – Apple iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad [Free]

iTunes Store Link: Google Latitude

There are many apps that inform you of where you are, the locations of interest around you and how to get there – however there is one other question that you often need answering when you are meeting up with family, friends or business colleagues… Where are they?

Google Latitude provides this all important answer, allowing you to monitor the locations of people who have chosen to share this information. There are many uses for Google Latitude, which may include a little peace of mind knowing where your son or daughter currently is, tracking how someone’s long distance journey is proceeding and also viewing who is in your local area – handy for arranging a quick last minute social gathering.

Privacy is of course paramount and within the settings you can select individually who can monitor your location and how detailed the information is provided to them, which can be set to a far more simplistic city location rather than a best possible position within a very small area. You can also disable the feature altogether if you wish to only have the app sending out your location at certain special occasions. The app can also send out your location by running in the background, so you aren’t required to have Google Latitude open to constantly work.

Also built into Google Maps on Google Android devices.

Dragon Dictation – Apple iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad [Free]

iTunes Store Link: Dragon Dictation

Many touch screen devices have replaced the traditional keyboard with a virtual replacement. This offers a fairly robust alternative to the real thing, however it may not be a winner for everyone. Typing in itself is a skill and we all have our own varying speeds at entering individual letters that eventually create meaningful sentences .

Dragon Dictation gives you the opportunity to actually input text by simply speaking, rather than tapping away on a touch-screen alone. This app analyses your speech and translates this data into text and this same text can then be used within your emails, text messages and social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter.

This is a fast alternative to entering text information without the hassle of a virtual keyboard and the accuracy is pretty impressive, however mistakes will inevitably be made on occasion which can be edited as you wish.

Shazam – Google Android [Free]>

Android Market Link: Shazam

I am sure we have all been there. A catchy memorable tune appears on the radio or at a restaurant and you are left totally frustrated attempting to identify the artist and track title. Traditionally slapping your forehead or clicking your fingers may have been your only escape at inducing the correct answer, however there is a far better and far less painful modern method available.

Using the Shazam app, you trigger by simply touching the screen indicating your desire to identify the music. Recording a small snippet, it then sends and analyses the song and then gives you the result in very little time at all. This function alone is worthy of great praise and respect, but you can go the extra mile by then sharing your fascination with others.

Also available on the Apple iPhone / iPod Touch, Apple iPad and Windows Phone 7.

All recommendations are that of the author James Woodcock and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Tech Depot and their related companies. All prices are the rates at time of writing and are subject to change by the developers/publishers. Please check app compatibility with your device before purchasing/downloading