Like most Internet applications, Twitter connects you with people who seem to exist in a vast, abstract, cyberspace. Now, a new iPhone app from the French company Presselite uses augmented reality to show you exactly where your friends are tweeting from.
Mercedes-Benz and partner Hughes Telematics hope buyers will embrace a new in-car telematics system tied to smartphone apps. The system, branded "mbrace," will let drivers use their iPhones or BlackBerry devices to lock and unlock car doors, locate their vehicles on a map, and contact roadside assistance. Mercedes is the first carmaker to offer the service, which was developed by Atlanta-based Hughes.
Cell phones have increasingly become mobile labs and tech tools for researchers, and now NASA has gotten in on the act. A postage-stamp-sized chemical sensor allows iPhones to sniff out low airborne concentrations of chemicals such as ammonia, chlorine gas and methane.
A puff from a "sample jet" helps sense any airborne chemicals. That information gets processed by a silicon chip consisting of 16 nanosensors, and then passes on to another phone or computer through any Wi-Fi or telecom network.
Earlier in the week, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen announced that a mobile implementation of the full Flash Player 10 would be making its way onto several smartphones by October. In addition to Android, other mobile operating systems, including Windows Mobile, Palm's WebOS, and Symbian have signed on. Missing from that list, to absolutely no one's surprise, is the iPhone.
Talk about meta: Zoho Creator is a Web 2.0 application for creating Web 2.0 applications. Sound intimidating? It's not. There's no coding; everything is done through menus and buttons. And there are a number of premade apps—including an expense tracker, a dating-profile form and an app to sort your albums—that you can use as templates and then customize to fit your needs. You can share your final app with the world or keep it private. Check out the Expense Tracker I began futzing with here. —Mike Haney