App Reviews: The Doors, Google Hangouts, Skyscanner

The Doors



A welcome sign that boxed sets will live on, The Doors app gives you all the rare photos, interviews, cultural stories, and secret tracks of a limited edition collection, but without the need to buy the albums all over again. The music is still included as embedded iTunes clips, so there is the option to purchase if you’re new to the band, and peppered throughout the material so you can listen to it as you explore.


The use of page layouts filled with articles and photos give it the feel of a boxed set booklet, but with buttons that trigger iPad interactives. There’s a timeline mapped to the radio controls of Jim Morrison’s Shelby GT500, a map of Los Angeles with a tour into the band’s past, and a graphic novel packaged with scans of arrest reports and audio clips that delicately detail the band’s most infamous clash with authorities in Miami.


For the sake of anyone who has drooled over a boxed set they couldn’t afford I hope this app does very well and will lead to more like it. Having to buy the same albums over and over in order to access new material has long been a major complaint amongst music fans. This bold step from Rhino and Warner Music is the first move I’ve seen to really address it.

Google Hangouts



Google’s new messaging service comes awfully close to being ideal. It allows for group chats in a way that makes it visually easy to see who’s writing and who’s reading. You can share photos and videos during the conversation, even make video calls, and connect between both desktop users and those with iPhone or Android smartphones.


It falls short in not being able to handle SMS text messages and in needing a Google account to use (it pushes for a Google+ account, but is included with Gmail for access too). Unless you don’t want it to, Hangouts will keep a searchable history of all your conversations, which I think is handy, and the design is both clean and easy to use.


From the newly expanded BlackBerry Messenger to Facebook Messages, it seems like every major industry player is trying to launch the one messaging service that will meet all consumer needs. Google Hangouts covers enough of today’s demands to be considered a very strong competitor.




With just a few taps, Skyscanner can fill your screen with flight comparisons, expressed powerfully with scrolling bar graphs and interactive maps that make it easy to see prices and dates at a glance. That it is so indecision-friendly is what sets it apart from other services. You need to only give it your current city and it’s happy to fetch options from that so you can playfully narrow down the choices until you know what you’re looking for. Again, it only needs simple taps from you and will grab updated information very quickly.


The visuals make it very easy to explore the rates. You can spin an interactive globe and as the countries pass by see floating price tags that represent the average cost to visit them. Newly updated to version 3 for iPhone and iPad, you can now open searches in different windows, and when you do have your trip details locked down, import them to your calendar.


Although it’s still worth checking with a travel agent and other sources for the best price, Skyscanner is a must=-have tool for working out the details in the first place, to know exactly where you want to fly and when will probably be the best time to leave.

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