Short review: BeardMe, the choice of the discerning pogonologist.

July 22, 2009

Update: I don’t know why but the images keep vanishing from this post. If you can’t see any pics of the app in action, then just imaging some things, with beards on them, in a fairly convincing way.

When it comes to iPhone-enabled novelty facial topiary, there is only one serious choice: BeardMe.

The app features 32 mustache and beard styles that you can overlay on a new or library photo, and a range of colours, stylings, and photographic effects (sepia, B&W).
The positioning and rotating controls are pretty intuitive, and surprisingly deep – there’s a set of perspective tools included that should mean that you can match your ‘tasch to pretty much any face at any angle. I found them a bit fiddly, but worth persevering with if you want a high-quality effect.

bear3

SkyBeard approves

Negatives?

  • It’s subtle enough to be missed much of the time, but the app puts a watermark on all pictures (“BeardMe” in the lower right corner)  – I can excuse that in free camera apps, but I don’t expect it in paid apps.
  • The gorgeous interface design is inexplicably let down at the “email picture screen” (very minor niggle).

Quote from the BeardMe product page:

In a matter of seconds, give your child the political savvy of Theodore Roosevelt or your cat the historical prominence of Frank Zappa. Bestow on your grandmother the infectious gusto and zest of beloved movie critic Gene Shalit or on your roommate the pulsating star power of actor Billy Dee Williams.

Tested on: 3G, 3GS.  ||  Price: 0.59p, or 0.99c

Developer Site: beardme.com ||Buy from: Apple iTunes Store link

Our Rating: 5/5: Hard to see how this could be bettered.  ||   App store score: Not Yet Rated


Party Whistle by Ideo Toy Lab

April 15, 2009

It moos, it crows, it baas…they forgot the turkey noise though

Price: $0.99/£0.59

I’m a big fan of Ideo, a reknowned design and innovation company, headquartered in Palo Alto, California. Amongst other things, they are known for designing the first Apple mouse and the Palm V PDA. I’m also particularly keen on their much lauded internal culture, which fosters a spirit fun that in turn leads to an environment where innovation and collaboration are allowed to blossom.

One part of Ideo is Toy Lab, who have turned their hand to iPhone apps. The first of these is called Party Whistle that promises to help iPhone users “celebrate whenever and wherever they want. Just blow into your iPhone’s microphone and enjoy the realistic sounds and animations of a party whistle. Party Whistle is filled with fun, little surprises that can transform the dullest occasion into a rocking whistle party!”

Party whistle

Party whistle

Once the app loads, a rolled up party whistle is seen at the bottom of the screen. You know the type…you blow into a plastic mouth piece that buzzes while simultaneously inflating a rolled up paper…erm…tickler. Blow into the microphone and the party tickler unravels and the whistle makes that cheesy noise. All you need is a paper hat and you’re having a rocking time, if you believe the spiel. Blowing into the mike subsequently, will make random farmyard noises (moos, clucks etc.) and sometimes the tickler will inflate and either explode or shoot off like a balloon.

The rolled up tickler

The rolled up tickler

Apart from using your finger to unravel the tickler…ahem…manually, that’s about it really. You can tap the info symbol and see your “Party score”, which seems to increment each time you blow the whistle and make the Toy Lab logo make a few silly noises.

Inflated tickler

Inflated tickler

Party Score

Party Score

It only costs $0.99 and I didn’t even pay for it because James gave me some cash to install it on my phone because the speaker on his phone isn’t working. However, I still feel ripped off!

If you go to the Party Whistle website, you can see a demo of the app and that’s all you need really. Use the dollar you save and go buy a coffee.

Having said that, I am a lot older than Toy Labs’ stated audience for the app, 2-6 year olds. So if you have a pre-schooler that you want to loan your iPhone to, they may well enjoy it. Likewise, if you can connect with your inner pre-schooler, then you may also find that Party Whistle is value for money.

Store link for Party Whistle | Developer site: Ideo Toy Labs Party Whistle (demo).

Version: 1.0 | Size: 4.4MB | Tested on: iPhone 3G, 2.2.1 | Works on: iPhone with 2.2 software update