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Royal Wedding: The best, worst and indifferent Apple iOS apps

Will and Kate's wedding has sparked ingenuity among some iPhone, iPad developers

By Network World Staff, Network World
April 19, 2011 11:49 AM ET
Prince William and Kate Middleton

Network World - There's nothing like celebrity frenzy, especially a long-in-the-planning one like the Royal Wedding, to bring out the best and worst of mobile application development.

Here's a sampling of the best, worst and in-between mobile apps for Apple iPhones, iPads and other iOS devices being touted as indispensable for keeping track of and connected with The Wedding -- the royal nuptials for Prince William and Catherine Middleton on Friday, April 29, at Westminster Abbey in London.

THE BIG DAY: Will & Kate & YouTube

Royal Wedding, from Neon Play, which focuses on mobile games for iOS. Free for iPhone, but the really good stuff -- 100 "exclusive photographs from one of the world's top royal photographers, Ian Jones" -- is only available as an in-app purchase. The rest is fairly routine, and static, data about Will, Kate, Westminster Cathedral, etc.

Royal Wedding, from AppSNow.co.uk.; $1.99, for iPhone. Version 2.0 promises "MASSIVE UPDATE!" which focuses on interactivity and live feeds: It pulls wedding news from a pack of British newspapers, and a selection of blogs. It promises a "complete social network integrated" just for app users: You can "favorite" and comment on stories, see what's being read by others, and it has tweets from Clarence House, the official residence of William, his brother, Harry, and his father and stepmother, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

Royal Wedding Countdown, from Innovative Video Solutions; $2.99. The name refers to the main screen which shows you the time remaining -- down to the second if you're a true Royal Celebrity Obsessive -- before The Wedding begins. The support page is mainly devoted to pleading with users not to write a negative review if you encounter a problem but send them a crash report instead. Good luck with that. Version 2.4 offers an "updated user interface" but doesn't say what's changed, and adds, somewhat belatedly it seems, a link to the official wedding website.

The Royal Wedding by NBC News, from MSNBC, and it seems to be one of the relatively few explicitly designed for iPad. Bankrolled by a "Lamestream" media heavyweight, the app is visually rich. But some of the interactivity seems forced. For example, on "The Dress" page, where the app offers links to content on past royal brides and to "Designers' ideas," it invites you to "Tweet your guess about who the designer will be." That's like a grown-up's idea of Good Tweeting.

IN PICTURES: 10 iPhone and iPad apps to download, then delete

The Royal Wedding by Hello!, from Hello! magazine, a British celebrity site; free, for iPhone and iPad. The app seems to be mainly a way to plug into the website's mind-numbing wedding coverage, where no detail is too small, trivial or mundane. Sample of current headlines: "Kate's jewelry dilemma on her special day"; "'He arrived late': lecturers recall William's first tutorial"; "The team helping transform the future Queen into a style icon."

Royal Wedding Insider, from BBC Worldwide; free, for iPhone and iPad. 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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