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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Royal wedding iOS apps offer a glimpse of the crown to the commoners



img_0867.pngWith just 15 days to go until the royal wedding of Catherine (Kate) Middleton and Prince William on April 29, it's time to look at an assortment of iOS apps offering content that may be the closest most commoners will get to seeing the real thing.

The Apple app store currently shows about 40 iPhone apps related to the wedding with 15 optimized for the iPad. Sorting through the available selections, three rise to the top due to their design and content. And the crowning jewel? They're all free.

The Royal Wedding by NBC News

This app is very polished and loaded with content about the courtship and engagement and includes profiles on William and Kate, a royal family tree, a map of the royal wedding route, a daily diary, more than 300 photos including details of the royal jewels, wedding dress sketches from the various designers, a special section on Princess Diana, an interactive royal family tree, instructions on how to host a watch party and make a proper pot of tea, Twitter and Facebook integration...they haven't really left anything out. Lots of videos too, and the title page of the app has a countdown. This is an excellent app for those who want to follow the happy couple all the way to the altar.

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ROYAL WEDDING 2011: Your Guide to Will & Kate's Big Day by 2 For Life Media Inc.

mzl.faarakoc.480x480-75.jpgThis app has a lot of features too and the iPhone/iPod version is fine but it's the iPad version that really shines. On the iPad a feature called 2MAG is a slick, digital magazine with smooth page swipes, integrated links, embedded videos and clever topics. Some topics in the magazine include "How to Snag a Real-life Prince (And Keep Him!)," "Wedding Wagers (without losing your shirt!)" and "Royal Registry Picks," showing various gifts appropriate for the happy, royal couple. The "Newswall" feature is like a bulletin board of photos, and clicking on each one brings up a brief caption. A second click takes you to a related story page. Facebook and Twitter buttons take you to those feeds and you can sign a guest book (no telling if they'll ever see it though). One cool feature? When in vertical mode turn to landscape to play a video. Both apps, iPhone and iPad, are nicely done.

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Royal Wedding Insider by BBC Worldwide

I'm throwing this one a bone because it's from the BBC, it does have some good content and it's free. This app, however, has quite a few flaws and in some section appears to be missing content, showing instead "coming soon" messages. (Uh, the wedding is in 15 days so snap to it!)The app obviously was designed for the iPad first because the iPhone version looks fuzzy and some of the buttons are so small you have to use your finger nail to press them. Also, it is not orientation-aware so when you turn your iPhone or iPad horizontal is stays vertical. Tsk, tsk!

On the content side users can get breaking news from the BBC, videos, wedding tips from BRIDES magazine, rules of engagement (wedding etiquette, royal facts of the day, a personal wedding planner that allows you to design and share the perfect day of your own, blog posts and and more! This app has untapped potential and hopefully the developers are working on it because they're almost out of time.

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It would have been nice to see these apps integrate live streaming video of the wedding to complete the package. There will be plenty of online ways to see it, both on computers and mobile devices, and I'll post some links for those later.

[Last modified: Thursday, April 14, 2011 9:22pm]


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