Weekly App Store Roundup: Nov. 15, 2008

This week we’ve covered a multitude of methods for relaxing and socializing: Apple squeezed a new ultra-cheap “Movies of the Week” section in to iTunes; Google announced an update to Talk, now incorporating video chat; and we reviewed Event Box, a powerful tool that rolls all your social networks in to one neat application.

So in keeping with the spirit of chilling, we’ve done all the hard work for you and hand-picked a few bright young additions to the App Store this week. Light some incense, breath deeply and let our wave of recommendations gently wash over you.

This week we’re looking at Yoga Stretch Lite, Sniff_Jazzbox, and Live Poker.

Yoga Stretch Lite (free) – Flexing your Chakras can be an expensive affair, with yoga sessions costing a fair few bucks. In this time of economic uncertainty, there’s a cost-effective solution to the pricey problems of relaxation: Yoga Stretch Lite is a free app that effectively squeezes a proper yoga sesh in to your iPhone. The app features audio instruction, sixty different poses and specially composed background music to help you stretch and chillax.

Unfortunately, in testing the app out, I discovered that the music is terrible and the softly-spoken female instructor had been recorded with the wail of a police car in the background. Very relaxing indeed.  Setting that aside, you can switch the music and voice-over off and it’s supremely helpful to have clear guidance for a yoga session squished on to the iPhone.

Sniff_Jazzbox (free) – Ever browsed for a Wi-Fi hotspot in the middle of a city and noticed all those locked networks? Unless you’ve got a password, they’re all but useless. Sniff_Jazzbox puts those networks to good use, converting them in to music, so as you walk round the city your iPhone spurts music like a fountain full of abstract jazz. It’s all a bit abstract, but certainly intriguing to hear those invisible networks rendered as an endless jazz odyssey.

Live Poker (free) – An incredibly polished poker app, with full multiplayer capabilities and connectivity with other players on Facebook and Myspace. Plus it costs absolutely nothing! It sounds like the ultimate poker app for iPhone and, despite a few version one bugs, it really is.

The free version comes with 1000 chips — replenished for every day you play — but there’s also a paid version ($9.99), which kicks the game off with 40,000 chips in the bank for you. I recommend that beginners and sharks alike grab the free version today and work your way up to the big money using your skills alone.

FriendBook from Tapulous
FriendBook from Tapulous

And finally, before you jump over to the App Store for a flurry of downloading, Tapulous have released their long-awaited contact management app Friendbook. Tapulous are the awesome development team behind Tap Tap Revenge, the free rhythm action game for iPhone/touch.

Available for free, Friendbook was originally released several months ago, touting an intriguing new feature called Handshake. Using the iPhone’s GPS functionality, Handshake enabled users to wirelessly share their contact details with each other. Unfortunately, it didn’t work quite as planned, and Friendbook users ended up receiving the contact deets for total strangers. Tapulous yanked the app before any serious damage was done.

Now the app is back in the store, still touting the Handshake feature (which we hope has been fixed) yet no longer free, priced at $0.99. Is it worth it for a buck? Several months ago, perhaps, but now there’s a raft of contact list management apps available (some free, some for a few bucks). Plus, there’s even a free app called Handshake which we covered right here on TAB a few weeks back.

That’s all from the App Store this week, I’ll be back next Saturday to delve in to the mixed bag of new releases and pick a few highlights just for you. In the meantime, drop by the comments and let us know which apps you’ve tried over the past week.