U.S. Open Golf Championship, iheart radio among this week’s free apps

Jun 14, 2010
Tech

Between the constant playing of vuvuzelas during the World Cup and the addition of Vuvuzela 2010 to my iPhone, I’m starting to feel a bit woozy from all that buzzing. But worry not, free app fanatics, as the weekly list of freebies returns this week with an updated U.S. Open app, a massive radio app from Clear Channel, the much-advertised Layar Reality […]

Between the constant playing of vuvuzelas during the World Cup and the addition of Vuvuzela 2010 to my iPhone, I’m starting to feel a bit woozy from all that buzzing.

But worry not, free app fanatics, as the weekly list of freebies returns this week with an updated U.S. Open app, a massive radio app from Clear Channel, the much-advertised Layar Reality Browser, as well as a couple of games.

The U.S. Open returns to the iPhone

The next big sporting event in what has been a year full of big sporting events is golf’s U.S. Open, and that means the U.S. Open Golf Championship app has been updated for 2010. It’s not too different from last year’s version, but then again, the 2009 app didn’t need a whole lot of improvement. Probably the biggest selling point of this download is the video features it offers, including live coverage of newsworthy groups, video of specific holes and on-demand highlights. Of course, there’s also live scoring, news and the return of the cool course flyover feature. U.S. Open Golf Championship would be a good app if it cost a couple of bucks, so when you consider this is a free download, it’s a must have for golf fans.

Learn to love radio again

For those of you who aren’t yet on the Internet radio bandwagon, Clear Channel’s iheart radio is a nice alternative to the Pandoras and Rhapsodys of the app world. While you’re still technically listening to radio via the Internet, the app gives you access to more than 750 radio stations from all over the United States. You can filter the stations by city, format or personalities, though it has to be mentioned that some of the bigger shows (such as Dr. Laura, Sean Hannity and Jim Rome) will cost you money. This app also has some nice features, such as the necessary favorites section and a “Shake It” feature that randomizes your station in case you’re not quite sure what you feel like listening to. Even if you are already loyal to another music app, I recommend you give iheart radio a chance; you may just remember how much you “heart” radio.

Reality browsing

You may have seen Layar Reality Browser advertised on Droid commercials, but the free app is also available on the iPhone, though admittedly with mixed reviews. The term “reality browser” is a pretty accurate description of what you’re getting here; you hold up your phone as if you were using its camera and icons pop up on the screen that show nearby businesses or specific users. You can click on the icon to get more information about it, such as directions. You can also download different “layars,” most of which are free, to find things such as local bars, Twitter users in your area or places to eat. There are also paid layars, including a crime layar from SpotCrime.com and a layar for the South Africa World Cup. The most recent update seems to have worked out a lot of the kinks, but the app is still slow and it has some way to go before it is ideal. Still, Layar Reality Browser is a great idea and functional enough for you to check out.

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Education has never been so fun

The classic grade school math game Number Munchers appeared in the iTunes App Store late last year, and earlier this year a lite version (Number Munchers Lite) was released. In case you missed out on this game as a kid — and I use the term “game” loosely – it’s as much an educational tool as anything else. You control a muncher and your game board is made up of boxes with numbers. Not only do you have to eat all the numbers that apply – depending on your game mode, you could be challenged with eating all the multiples of seven or eating all the numbers that fit a specific equation – but you also have to avoid bad guys who are out to eat you. There are even classic cut scenes that lend a very vintage feel to this title, and the $1.99 price tag for the full version seems perfectly reasonable. This game will be most valuable to kids, but there’s no doubt it will also appeal to those who grew up with the game.

Free lite game of the week

FaceFighter Free is about as goofy as iPhone gaming gets, but the release from Appy Entertainment also has a surprising amount of polish and depth. Simply put, you create foes and put your friends’ (or enemies’, I guess) faces on them. You can then go to battle with them, kicking, punching and using special weapons such as lead pipes and frying pans to beat them into submission. As you fight, your friend will develop busted lips and black eyes, and it can be pretty amusing to watch. The gameplay is actually pretty solid as well, so this button masher will have some lasting value to some. The latest full version of the app is called FaceFighter Gold, and it has 13 pre-made fighters, 14 weapons and 14 finishing maneuvers.

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David Lister

David Lister is a freelance writer in Chicago. He is a former editor and writer at the NationalSportsReview.com and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. 

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