The Mobile World Congress, which ended Thursday in Barcelona, has produced a wealth of new products, including plenty of applications for mobile devices. These are the five most original apps to be found at the fair.
Newscron. Concealed inside the Swiss pavilion, the content aggregator Newscron came out in October 2012 from the mind of Elia Palme, a PhD student who spent four years developing the right algorithm. “All my press applications took up two cellphone screens, and I asked Elia if his algorithm could be used to group them in a single page,” explains Patrick Lardi, one of the three founders of an aggregator that soon received requests for inclusion by the likes of The Guardian.
Newscron allows readers to choose news according to subject matter, or news source of choice. The service is free and available in English, French, Italian, German, and since May of last year, Spanish. “The application values which media outlet carries the best quality story, whether it’s because there is more information, more photographs...if several newspapers carry the same story, it detects that it is a wire story, and it will not be repeated twice.”
The startup is working on a premium version, whose price will be around 2.50 euros a month, providing access to for-pay online media.
Xooloo App Kids. According to the National Statistics Institute, in 2013 around 26 percent of 10-year-olds had a mobile phone. If television was once the ideal tool to keep kids busy, smartphones have taken over that role. The French company Xooloo has developed an app that lets parents share their phone with their children without worrying about them accessing inappropriate content. The touch of a button changes the interface, which displays only the apps that the parents selected for their children. It can be configured to display games, photographs, videos and more, and there is a timer function. The target users are kids aged five and under. For now the app is only available on Android, although an iOS version is in the pipeline.
Lok lok. This is the newest of the new, given that it was only released on Monday. It allows users to be in touch with the people they really care about without bothering to unblock the phone - or even use words, for that matter. Touching the screen makes it light up and allows the user to draw on it and hit send. Immediately, all the people on the list will see the same drawing displayed on their screens. The moment anyone erases their drawing, it will also be erased from the screens of all the contacts as well. This is the first creation by the start up Lok lok, which is headquartered in Lisbon but headed by the Madrid native Guillermo Landín.
Cam Me. The Israel-based company PointGrab on Tuesday won the prize for Most Innovative Application at the Global Mobile Awards. Cam Me takes “selfie” fever even further, extending it from the face to the entire body. When users raise their arms and squeeze their hands, the app understands that this means a photo is being requested. The camera takes the shot a few seconds later. For now, it is only available on iPhones.
Liopa. Not everything introduced at MWC is available on the market yet. For those of us who have trouble remembering all their passwords, Liopa (which means lips in Gaelic) displays five random digits, which the user must read out. Their lip movements helps the app determine, using the camera, whether the reader is the right person. To do this, the app uses 70 points that it places around the image of the user’s mouth the first time he or she reads out a number, in order to identify the way their lips move.