National Geographic and Fotopedia launch ‘Above France’ app

National Geographic and Fotopedia app Above France is available nowNational Geographic and Fotopedia have once again joined forces to offer a new app that is sure to be a hit with Francophiles (or anyone else who loves great photos!) everywhere. The just released Above France app offers stunning views of that country from a unique perspective that few ever get the opportunity to see.

As the name implies, this app comes packed with more than 2000 images, all shot from the air, of some of France’s most famous and memorable locations. The images were taken by professional photographer and helicopter pilot Frank Mulliez, who combined his two occupations to capture the beauty and wonder of the French countryside from above. Some of the sites that were photographed from the sky include Mont Blanc, the famous castles in the Loire Valley, the streets of Paris, and of course, the Eiffel Tower.

In addition to the great photos that are centerpiece of this app, Above France also includes a host of navigation features and interactive maps so you can find the sites for yourself. There is also a personal trip builder that can be used to create custom trips of your own, both real and virtual. The app integrates nicely with Facebook, Twitter, and email as well, so you can share your favorite images with friends, while the “instant slideshow” option will automatically create a custom display of stunning photos for you to enjoy on your own.

This app is the second collaboration between Nat Geo and Fotopedia. A month ago they released their Dreams of Burma app, which offered similar features for that country.

Above France is available in the iOS app store now for just $2.99, and runs on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and the iPad. An Internet connection is required for use.

National Geographic iPad app offers 50 Places of a Lifetime

National Geographic has released an iPad app for the 50 places of a lifetimeThere is no doubt about it, the iPad has changed the way we consume media and altered how we define what a magazine is. Those of us who use Apple’s insanely popular gadget have gotten use to the idea that our “magazine’s” now include audio, video, and interactive elements that just aren’t possible in the print versions. This is demonstrated perfectly in a new app from National Geographic, which highlights their list of the 50 Places of a Lifetime compiled by Nat Geo Traveler.

As the name implies, this new app spotlights some of the greatest destinations on the planet, which are broken down into five categories. Those categories include “Urban Spaces”, “Wild Places”, “Paradise Found”, “Country Unbound”, and “World Wonders”. Selecting any one of those items will present you with a list of 10 places, which stylishly appear on the screen complete with animation and music. From there, you simply navigate through the individual destinations by swiping left and right. Scrolling up and down presents the full article on the location, offering insights to that place, and why it deserves a spot on the list. It is all very intuitive, and easy to use, with gestures that are second nature to any iPad owner.

The individual articles that accompany the various locations are typical Nat Geo fare. That is to say, they are well written, insightful, and will likely inspire you to want to visit the places being described. The stories are penned by the likes of Bill Bryson, Jean-Michel Cousteau, and George Plimpton, amongst others, who share their personal thoughts on what makes these places so magical. Places like the Serengeti, the Seychelles, and Venice, Italy.
The trademark National Geographic photography makes an appearance as well, of course. Stunning images accompany the travel essays, bringing each destination to life and offering tantalizing glimpses of what travelers can expect at these places of a lifetime. As you would expect, the photos are one of the highlights of this app, and many of them will have you drooling all over your screen.

Other features of the app include videos, interactive “fast facts,” expanded photo galleries, and the always popular Nat Geo maps. I was particularly fond of the 360-degree panoramic images which take full advantage of the iPad touch screen, and built-in checklists that allow you to highlight the destinations that you’ve already visited, while adding others to your own personal bucket list.

The app weighs in at a whopping 464 MB in size, which means it takes awhile to download. If you intend to read it while on your next vacation, be sure to download it well ahead of time. Once installed, everything is self contained however, which means you won’t need an Internet connection to take advantage of everything it has to offer.

The best part of this great app? It costs just $1.99! Where else can you get this kind of interactive content for so little money? Even a print magazine cost more than that! You can find it on iTunes by clicking here.

[Image courtesy of Victor R. Boswell, National Geographic]

Logitech Alert home monitoring now available for the Apple iPad

logitech alert for iPad

Last year, we reviewed the Logitech Alert HD home monitoring system. This easy to use home security system is of course perfect for people who rarely see their home, but still want to keep an eye on what is going on. At its launch, it came with an iPhone and Android app – and last week, Logitech added a fantastic iPad version of the remote software.

When installed on your iPad, you gain full screen HD access to all your cameras, and because the Alert system offers secure remote access, you’ll be able to watch your home or other area anywhere in the world.

The app is free of charge (like the other Alert mobile apps) and is available from the App store. If you don’t have a Logitech Alert system yet, check out the lineup of cameras and master kits at Logitech.com.

The Gadling gift guide for the iPhone and iPad traveler

iphone

Shopping for iPhone or iPad accessories is never easy – unlike any other device on the market, the assortment of extras for Apple devices is just insane. Whether you need an iPod toilet paper dispenser, or one of over 1000 different types of headphone, you’ll never run out of options.

So, we are here to help, and share some of the best products we’ve come across in 2010. There is something for everyone in this list. Got something better you use with your iPhone or iPad? Leave a comment, and share your favorite product with the world!

Soundmatters foxL speaker

iphone

Why? You’ll have a hard time finding anything that sounds this good without investing in a massive home theater system. This compact battery powered Bluetooth speaker is simply amazing.

Review: April 19, 2010

Product page: Soundmatters foxL

Price: $199

Jawbone Icon Earwear

iphone

Why? Top notch sound, noise cancellation, Bluetooth music and apps. Bluetooth headsets don’t get much better than this.

Product page: Aliph Jawbone

Price: $99

Product review

Mophie Juice Pack Reserve

iphone

Why? Power boosting battery pack small enough for on your key chain. Built in LED flashlight.

Product page: Mophie

Price: $39.95

Review: September 16, 2010

Creative Labs Bluetooth speaker

iphone

Why? Compact room filling Bluetooth audio. Can be powered off AC or batteries

Product page:Creative D100 Bluetooth speaker

Price: $79.99

Joby Gorillamobile for iPhone 4

iphone

Why? Multi-functional case lets you use it as camera tripod, movie mount and more.

Product page: Joby Gorillamobile for iPhone 4

Price: $39.95

XtremeMac 3-in-1 Microdock

iphone

Why? The smallest portable speaker and alarm clock you’ll find for your iPhone. Install the (free) XtremeMac Alarm Clock app and you can forever forget about lousy hotel alarm clocks.

Product page: XtremeMac 3-in-1 Microdock

Price: $59.99

Scosche motorMouth II

iphone

Why? The smallest Bluetooth hands-free system in the world. Stream Bluetooth stereo music and phone calls to your line-in equipped car radio.

Product page: Scosche motorMouth II

Price: $79.99

Scosche sneakPEEK II

iphone

Why? The Schosche sneakPEEK II is the only 2-in-1 iPhone/iPad video cable on the market. In a single cable, you get component and composite outputs.

Product page: Scosche sneakPEEK II

Price: $59.99

Otterbox Defender Series iPad case

iphone

Why? Because your iPad isn’t designed to battle the elements, Otterbox steps in to help. The Otterbox Defender series cases for the iPad protects it from all corners, plus its rear cover slides off to protect your screen.

Product page: Otterbox Defender Series

Price: $89.95

Gelaskins

iphone

Why? Gelaskins protect your device, and offer thousands of different designs. Their 3M adhesive material provides a barrier against scratches, while keeping your device looking cool.

Product page: Gelaskins

Price: from $14.95

V-Moda Vibrato Remote headphones

iphone

Why? Good looks and good price, without sacrificing sound quality.

Product page: V-Moda Vibrato remote

Price: $129.99

Urbanears headphones

iphone

Why? Instead of radical new designs, Urbanears sticks to great old school designs with superb audio quality.

Product page: Urbanears

Price: from $40

Case-Mate cases

iphone

Why? Because Case-Mate designs some of the best looking cases on the market. Plus, if you don’t like their designs, you can design and submit your own.

Product page: Case-Mate

Price: from $24.99

Bioserie cases

iphone

Why? It isn’t easy being green, but these cases sure can help. Instead of plastics, Bioserie cases are made of a plant based matter, and are fully bio-degradable.

Product page: Bioserie

Price: from $29.95

Kensington PowerBack iPad case

iphone

Why? Protection, power and sound from a single case. The PowerBack features a powerful built in battery pack, amplified speakers and a kickstand.

Product page: Kensington PowerBack

Price: $129.99

Dexim P-Flip

iphone

Why? Nightstand and movie stand plus a battery pack in a single product. Brilliant and compact.

Product page: Dexim P-Flip

Price: $69.90

iMainGo X

iphone

Why? Rechargeable sound for on the go. Access to the touch screen of your iPhone, even when it is inside the case. Speakers can be daisy-chained for massive volume.

Product review

Product page: Portable Sound Labs

Price: $69.95

Grace Eco Extreme

iphone

Why? Going to the pool or beach no longer means you need to leave your iPhone or iPod behind. Loud, clear music from a waterproof amplified case.

Product review

Product page: Grace Eco Extreme

Price: $49.95

Griffin PowerDuo Reserve

iphone

Why? Wall, car and battery power from a single product. Never find yourself with an empty battery again.

Product review

Product page: PowerDuo Reserve

Price: $59.99

Future Sonics Atrio Special Edition

iphone

Why? Better sound than you’ve ever heard from a pair of headphones. Pricey, but not insanely expensive given how great the sound.

Product review

Product page: Future Sonics

Price: $229

Griffin Travel Stand

iphone

Why? An all-in-one case that acts as a movie watching stand and a headphone case.

Product review

Product page: Griffin Travel Stand

Price: $14.99

2010 Holiday shopping: start of the new tablet era?

Long before we start with our first batches of 2010 Holiday gift guides, and spend countless hours picking the best gear of the year – a trend is appearing in the mobile device world. Tablets are here, and they are going to be big.

The foundations for this new trend were laid when Apple announced the iPad earlier this year. Ever since that announcement, they have been selling them faster than they could produce them. Like a lot of what Apple does, the competition is paying attention. Before the end of the year, stores will be offering tablets from some of the largest brand names in the world.

Yesterday’s big news came from book Goliath Barnes & Noble who unveiled the Nook Color – a $249 Android powered ebook/tablet hybrid. In October, Samsung will start selling the 7″ Tab with 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity.

At Best Buy stores, you’ll soon find a $299 Huawei Android powered tablet and earlier this month, Dell launched their first compact Android tablet – priced at $299 (on a two year AT&T agreement). Even Blackberry joined the fun with the announcement of their PlayBook tablet.

While none of these tablets will probably come close to chipping away at the massive success of the Apple iPad, they do show that tablets are here to stay – and that is one development I’m really excited about.

In recent years, we already saw our luggage load decrease with the arrival of the netbook, and now we can look forward to even more travel friendly innovations with the tablet. But the best part is that we’ll have choice – we’ll be able to pick devices with a 5″ screen, or a larger 10″ device. Apple fans can stick to iOS and Android users will have a whole assortment of choices. Even corporate users who cling to their Blackberry will find something soothing.

While manufacturers battle each other, those of us in need of something portable that travels well,may have already won.

[Image credit: Getty]

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