By Reid Kanaley The Philadelphia Inquirer
When a video won’t run on your smartphone’s native browser, or you need to scan and share a document, it would be good to have some software applications on hand that serve the moment. Here are some to keep in mind.
Skyfire Web Browser, by Skyfire Labs Inc., is $2.99 on Apple devices and $4.99 for the full version on Android after a three-day free trial.
Skyfire’s usefulness on the iPhone is its ability to play many videos that run on Adobe’s Flash software — something Apple’s Safari browser doesn’t do.
The Skyfire trick for both Apple and Android devices is to compress incoming video, dramatically shrinking your data usage. That’s a handy feature with wireless carriers turning enthusiastically to metered pricing, as Verizon announced this week.
Also of note about Skyfire is that the browser integrates contact with your Facebook and Twitter accounts. No need to switch apps to check your feeds.
Genius Scan (Plus), $2.99 for Apple devices from the Grizzly Labs, is an easy way to take a photo of a document, or of anything, and turn it into a PDF document. It can stitch PDFs together into a single file for emailing or posting.
Part of the “genius” is the app’s ability to take a photograph of a document at almost any angle, and then correct the document’s dimensions. Send your saved documents to Dropbox, Evernote or other cloud destinations.
When the lights go out in a crowded room, it’s common now for someone to reach for his phone as a flashlight. App makers have capitalized on that impulse. The iHandy Flashlight from iHandy Inc. for the iPhone uses the phone’s bright camera flash as the flashlight. Novelty features include a compass along with strobe settings on the light, and an option to have it flash “SOS” in Morse code. Well, you never know when you might need help.
A “Pro” version for 99 cents adds even more toys that, if not particularly useful in the dark, are fun to play with.
These include a wide selection of animated images of candles and cigarette lighters — possibly for use in concert audiences — along with illuminated bulbs, glow sticks and neon signs. A screen of links offers other free and “full version” apps from iHandy, such as a tip calculator, bar code and QR code scanners, iPod-playing alarm clock and translator.
AppZilla 2 by Fossil Software LLC is 99 cents for Apple devices, and that’s less than a penny per app. Yes, it has a flashlight, too. And a lighter. And a Morse Code generator. Among the more interesting options are a body mass index calculator and a “path tracker” that uses the phone’s GPS function to plot your path of travel on a map.
There’s a song-lyric finder, decibel meter, loan calculator, bar code price checker, weather map, motion detector, a playable drum set and a slew more.
Gag and game apps include an “Alien Radio” and a button for playing voices shouting “Shut up!” or “What are you lookin’ at?”