FRAMINGHAM, 22 APRIL 2011 - Overall, the upcoming Royal Wedding between Prince William and Catherine Middleton doesn't seem to be igniting the same degree of creative frenzy among Android developers as with their Apple iOS brethren.
The Android Market seems laden with gussied-up countdown apps (The Wedding equivalent of a flashlight app) and apps that just link up with media websites filled with videos and news about Prince William's receding hairline, his "former flings" and the couple's portrait-in-a-pizza (by the Papa John's Pizza chain).
Here's a sampling of the best, worst and in-between mobile apps, for Android smartphones and tablets, being touted as indispensable for keeping track of and connected with The Wedding, set for Friday, April 29, at Westminster Abbey in London (and which will be streamed live on YouTube).
Royal Wedding Countdown, by EJC Labs. Free. Press the Royal Coat of Arms, hear a trumpet fanfare, and see the time left before The Wedding, down to the seconds. Either the trumpet fanfare is by some genius like Wynton Marsalis (here performing Hayden's Trumpet Concerto in E flat Major) or users are totally wowed by the app's calligraphic text, because 17 reviews give it a 4-plus rating.
A Royal Wedding Celebration, from Onteca, a Liverpool, U.K., games developer. Price is about $1.62 given the current exchange rate with Euros. In a disconcertingly lurid, rather than regal, purple, ARWC offers the apparently required countdown, a "massive collection" of "intimate" photos from the U.K.'s Press Association, and a scrollable, clickable storybook format. Details of The Love Story, and The Ring; along with a collection of famous quotes from Royals and Celebrities, the quotes being in many cases no doubt more famous than the people speaking them.
W&K Royal Wedding Countdown, from Darkstar, a company that specializes in Android "live wallpapers" which, when touched, set off clouds of floating sparkles for example. (They also do games like "one of the best casual bubble popping game for all ages.") Price is $0.99. This app, too, is a live wallpaper that shows a Wedding countdown, complete with interactive sparkles, and background images that change every 15 seconds. No chance of boredom with this baby.
Kate and William, from Fun2Learn, a mobile app developer based in the Netherlands. Price is about $1.14, based on current exchange rates. This is for serious celebrity news gluttons: The app promises to "constantly monitor the internet" and send you ASAP "all news stories about William and Kate from over 4000 sources." Think about that: four THOUSAND news sources. That's not counting the official royal updates on Twitter and Facebook, photos, and new YouTube videos. Not recommended for men and women who are, like Kate and William, engaged. Or already married for that matter.
The Royal Wedding Album, from an outfit called The Royal Wedding Album. It's free. Intriguing premise: In a sense, this app invites downloaders to focus on their participation in and enjoyment of The Wedding, instead of The Wedding itself. Download the app, register yourself on the website, and then on April 29, you can start uploading your own photos of yourself, family and friends in London or anywhere on The Day, contributing to an online record of the entire world in a royal frenzy.
Royal Wedding Trivia & Countdown, from Taposaurus Apps, which doesn't seem to have a website. The folks at Taposaurus were clearly deeply dissatisfied with all those Wedding apps that were just countdown clocks. So, they added to their own countdown clock something really worthwhile: "over 40 pieces of trivia in total!" New trivia is unlocked every day leading up to The Wedding. Like, "If Prince William had chosen to marry prior to his 25th birthday, he would have required the consent of Queen Elizabeth II." [NW British trivia addition: Queen Elizabeth II is the reigning monarch of Great Britain.]
The Royal Wedding, from ITN, the U.K.-based news and multimedia content company. It's free. Like most media companies exploiting (excuse us: "covering") The Wedding, ITN's app seems to be about 1) merchandising, 2) repurposing existing news and video content and 3) merchandising. The main ITN website already has an extensive section devoted to The Wedding. Two recent videos suggest the genius of the company's approach: "Boys choir practice for Royal Wedding" and "Soldiers prepare for wedding." Next: "Groundskeepers prepare for wedding" and "Westminster Abbey silver polishers practice for Wedding" and "London plumbers ready backup plan for back-ups." Don't miss the "Classy Kate Middleton doll [an instant classic contradiction-in-terms] -- get yours NOW!" -- the 16-inch-high doll in her wedding dress (apparently an artist's conception since the real thing hasn't been unveiled yet) for about 120 Euros ($172 U.S. dollars).
Royal Wedding, from AppSNow.co.uk. $1.62. The Android version appears to lack the recent "MASSIVE UPDATE!" the developer offered for the iOS version 2.0, which added a bunch of interactive features and live feeds. The Android version pulls news from a pack of British newspapers, and a selection of blogs and Twitter feeds. It links to Twitter, Facebook and email for sharing.
Royal Wedding Insider, from BBC Worldwide. Free. It doesn't get much more "official" than this. The app promises "insider access" to breaking BBC news, exclusive video, wedding tips from Brides magazine, etc. But it's not clear if this "insider" info is any different from what you'd get on the BBC's main website. It does offer a blog with "daily updates" on all wedding activities. The opulent, picture heavy screens are somewhat marred by prominent promotions for BBC America's TV premiere of "The Tudors." Those were royals who knew how to be royal: warring, wenching, conspiring, betraying and beheading.
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