iPhone apps of the week

This week's apps include a program that lets you quickly get information about products by snapping a picture and a fishing game that's as fun and challenging to play as it is beautiful to view.


Note: The iPhone 2.2 firmware update is now available. Connect to iTunes to get all the details. My app update issue is fixed!

One of the great things about my job writing about iPhone apps is I sometimes get to look at what's coming up in the future for the iPhone. I was invited to a small gathering of developers and reviewers this week to see the latest games and apps from premiere software companies. The future of iPhone apps looks great.

While many of the apps were must-haves, one of the best of the bunch was a game called Rolando, from ngmoco (view the trailer here). The first rumors and teaser trailers of this unique platformer hit the Web in July and, while I was impressed, it wasn't until I actually sat down and played the game this week that I realized they were really onto something great. The game combines all the unique features of the iPhone, including the touch screen to draw platforms and move objects and the accelerometer to move your Rolandos to the goal. With challenging puzzles, excellent graphics, and an exclusive soundtrack designed just for the game, Rolando is a something that anyone who likes platform games can look forward to. I'm told the game will go for $9.99 at the iTunes app store and should be available in time for the holidays.

While we wait for what promises to be an exciting season for iPhone apps, check out this week's iPhone app picks.

SnapTell keeps your searches so you can pull it out at the store when you're ready to buy. (Credit: CNET Networks)

SnapTell is a fascinating free app that lets you find out about CDs, DVDs, video games, and books simply by taking a picture with your iPhone. Let's say a friend recommends a great book or DVD. Simply touch the camera icon and use your iPhone to take a picture of the product. SnapTell quickly matches your picture with its database and returns an image of the actual product complete with links to IMDb, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Wikipedia, along with prices and availability so you can either buy the product or get more information. Every book I tried, SnapTell was able to find a match and I was even able to hold up a DVD disc and Snaptell quickly found the product. You also can save your matches if you want to do your shopping later. Even if you can't find the product right away, you can use the application settings menu to set up more thorough searches, though they take a little longer to return results.

Flick Fishing
Keep an eye on your line tension as you slowly reel in your fish (Credit: CNET Networks)

Flick Fishing ($0.99) from our old friends at Freeverse software is a fun and challenging fishing game that will appeal to just about anyone. Choose from several locations from a beginner fishing hole to deep sea environments and make sure to open your tackle box to pick the right bait for the job. When you're ready, flick your iPhone to cast your line. Beautiful living environments set the perfect scene as you wait to get a bite. Once a fish takes the bait, reel it in slowly--you need to watch your line-tension meter so you don't snap the line. You can fish casually at several locations or you can participate in tournaments. You also can play against your friends on the same network. With several locations, dozens of varieties of fish, and numerous types of bait, this game offers great replay value. Complete with fun music and excellent sound effects, Flick Fishing is a lot of fun and one of the best games so far for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

What's your latest iPhone app? Do you find SnapTell useful? What's the biggest fish you have caught? Let me know in the comments!

About Jason Parker

Jason Parker has been at CNET for more than 13 years. He is the Senior Editor in charge iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.