Fresh from CES
Last week, manufacturers from all over the world gathered in Las Vegas â as they do every January â for International CES, a giant electronics show where they displayed televisions, computers and weird and wonderful gadgets. Nowadays, apps are also showcased or previewed alongside the hardware.
So which apps stood out at CES? Hereâs a rundown.
First on the list is one that has been causing a stir: MeVee. It is a social network for sharing live video clips, and its user numbers have grown rapidly since its introduction at CES .
With a few taps, you can broadcast a video live from your phoneâs main camera or the selfie camera (so you can make a âtalking headâ style video). MeVeeâs makers suggest you stream for longer than 15 seconds to make the experience meaningful for viewers. As you transmit video using MeVee, you see alerts as viewers join your stream, which lets you say hello to them in real time. Viewers can click âlikeâ and make comments.
All of this will sound familiar if you have previously used Meerkat or Periscope, which are live streaming apps that became popular last year. But MeVee is aiming for high-quality audio and video to set it apart from its rivals.
MeVee also has a few tricks for viewing video, among them making it easy to share a stream on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. That means viewers do not have to have MeVee installed to watch a stream that has been created. The appâs makers are also trying to separate streams into different categories, like sports and music, to make video easy to find.
Since MeVee is new, it has run into issues, including one problem that makes it easy to block a particular user by accident. The âchannelsâ system isnât working yet, either. But the app has promise and is easy to use. It is free on iOS.
Several other apps that made headlines at CES were previewed ahead of their release dates, including Edjing Scratch. From the makers of the successful app Edjing (free on iOS, Android and Windows), Scratch is an attempt to give digital smartphone D.J. apps a retro feel.
Scratch emulates a vinyl record that is scratched with the needle of a turntable. The app is said to have access to more than 50 million tracks already available online via SoundCloud or Deezer and usersâ own MP3 files, and it presents the tracks through a touch-screen mixing interface that looks like a real record deck.
If you already own a time-code D.J. turntable, you may be able to connect it directly to Scratch through your phone to add all sorts of features, such as the ability to mix seamlessly between tracks coming from vinyl and an MP3 source. It is free, and will be introduced soon for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
Apps were the main attraction at another CES event: the Mobile Apps Showdown competition. In it, the public was asked to vote on which of a group of recently released apps was most likely to succeed. For me, the most interesting was one called myEmerg.
MyEmerg is primarily a chat forum for family and friends to discuss health and fitness matters. You may, for example, worry about a mole on your body; you can upload a photo of it for your peers to offer their opinions. MyEmerg also shows where urgent care centers, pharmacies and hospitals are near you, and can act as a database for health information like vaccination history. Itâs free on iOS.
Another free offering for iOS, VidMob, was also an interesting entrant in the CES competition. VidMob connects users to video editors online, who can professionally edit your holiday smartphone videos, for example, into a polished final product. Itâs free, and unusual, because instead rather than concentrate on special effects or clever filters, it is focused on the quality of the final product. You do have to pay the editors (prices vary depending on the editor and the job), but VidMob could really transform your shared Facebook videos.
Human, a popular exercise monitoring app, has finally hit Android devices. Human operates in the background, keeping track of your walking and running steps during the day, and then prompts you if you fall behind your target. Itâs free.