BARCELONA, Spain--We hit the App Planet section of phone shindig Mobile World Congress to check out the most innovative new software. The first app to catch our eye is Touchalize, which soups up video such as this fashion show. You can change the color of the dress, even as the model struts her stuff, and then buy it, straight from the app.
Touchalize also sucks you into your phone, a bit like "Tron"...if "Tron" took a picture of you with the phone's camera, then put your face on a billboard for your car to crash through in Need for Speed.
Commute is a suite of apps that takes charge of the transport in a city, a bit like Michael Caine's gang in "The Italian Job." But instead of creating a colossal traffic jam to pull off a daring bullion heist, Commute allows you to do things like find parking spaces and pay for exactly how long you park, or get train and bus tickets via your phone. Meanwhile, authority apps help ticket inspectors, taxi drivers, and other transport officials to do their jobs. It's making its city-wide debut in Vilnius, Lithuania, which clearly pleases this chap no end.
Immersion isn't a consumer app, but provides the technology for apps to add nuance to a phone's vibration. Tapping on the icons produced a surprisingly subtle buzz of tactile feedback, from the kick of a gunshot to the rasp of a blade, and even the delicate waft of a flower. The technology appears in apps and games including Max Payne and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
Speaking of NFC, here's the Visa PayWave app from the U.K., which lets you pay for things with your phone.
All you have to do is tap your phone on the chip-and-PIN credit card reader, and the NFC signal coughs up the cash without having to dig out your wallet.
And finally, Frameblast, described as Instagram for video, is a super-quick video editor. This is the new tablet version for Android. You can endow your phone-shot mini-opus with effects such as a vintage film look, or even automatically create your own Harlem Shake.