The widespread kudos received by Barclays bank following the launch of Pingit – its mobile money-transfer app – back in February, is long forgotten.
However, putting aside the recent rate-fixing scandal that subsequently eclipsed Barclays’ innovations in the mobile space, you could be forgiven for assuming that the UK bank already had a dedicated mobile banking app. But it seems it didn’t until recently.
Hitting Apple’s App Store and Google Play last week, the native app lets you manage your Barclays and personal Barclaycard accounts on the move. You can check your balance, view recent transactions, transfer funds between accounts, pay people that you have already added to your payee list and even locate your nearest Barclays branch or ATM.
To use the service, you have to be 16 or older, and you must register your UK mobile number with your current account. Your initial log-in to the app will require you to confirm your identity using PINsentry, or at a Barclays ATM.
It’s also worth noting that whilst business customers can use the app, it’s restricted to those with a debit card and who can make payments from their accounts without the need for extra signatories.
Both the Android and iOS apps can be downloaded for a fixed-rate (sorry, couldn’t help it…) of zero pounds, zero pence. Free, in other words.
Feature Image Credit: Peter Richmond | Flickr
Last month we reported that telecoms giant Orange was bringing its hugely popular second-screen app TVcheck to the UK, after launching first in France last September. Well, the app is now live in the UK App Store.
The social TV app is free to download, and isnt’ restricted to users on the Orange network, meaning anyone with an iOS device, on version 4.1 or above, can use the app.
The concept behind the app is pretty straight forward – it lets users interact and discuss programmes with other people, friends or otherwise, whilst watching TV in real time. It’s a little like Zeebox, another second screen app we’ve covered before. Whilst Zeebox is also compatible with subscription TV channels through its BSkyB partnership, at launch TVcheck will be restricted to 25 free-to-air channels in the UK, including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.
The Next Web was given a demo and walk-through of the app earlier today in London, and one of its most alluring features is the live TV image recognition tech it employs.
During any programme, you can point your device at the TV screen and the app recognises the show and automatically registers that you have ‘checked in’. Here, I try it out with Aussie soap opera Home and Away:
However, if you prefer the manual approach, you can simply scroll through the list of channels and choose your favorite show, or opt for the ones that are currently trending according to TVcheck. It registers who’s currently checked-in through the app, and also gleans information from Twitter according to who’s discussing what programme the most.
Once you have checked in to a TV show you can make use of the app’s other features. For example, you can participate in live quizzes (Orange has people behind the scenes watching the shows too, who formulate quizzes in real-time). And they’ve also gamified the app, letting users earn badges and challenge other viewers to become ‘top dog’ of a specific programme or channel.
It perhaps goes without saying that TVcheck also lets you connect seamlessly with the social sphere, with Facebook and Twitter integration allowing you to chat and send messages about your favourite programmes.
TVcheck is available on iOS only for now, though we’re told that it will be landing on Android in the coming weeks. Interestingly, they’re also working on an HTML5 version for the browser, letting those who like their laptop in on the second-screen action too.
Looking to the future, it’s likely that Orange will enter into partnerships with the main TV channels, as it has done in France with the likes of Channel NT1 (You Can Dance); Channel NRJ12 (Les Anges de la Téléréalité/Angels of Reality TV) and Direct Star (Direct Star sur Scène/Stars are on Stage).
Linking the app directly into TV content will help them deliver exclusive interactive features, and also offer giveaways and other incentives for users to tap-in to the second screen experience.
Read the original post: Orange brings its social TV app TVcheck to second screens across the UK
National Geographic has launched a new app offering extensive guides to twenty of the most visited national parks in the US to mark National Park Week, which is running from April 21-29. During this week, all of America’s 397 national parks are offering free admission.
National Geographic has grown to become one of the most recognizable publishing brands around geography, science, history and culture since it first went to print way back in 1888. And it hasn’t been slow to embrace the digital revolution either.
Last year National Geographic partnered with app developer Fotopedia to launch a new iOS app called Dreams of Burma, a visual feast packed with more than 1,000 photographs of Burma. This was followed the month after by Above France, an app providing a bird’s eye view of France’s beauty with more than 2,000 photographs taken by helicopter pilot and professional photographer Frank Mulliez. And earlier this year, AllTrails partnered with National Geographic Maps to build a comprehensive online platform for outdoors enthusiasts.
Now, National Parks by National Geographic, will let users plan their next park vacation. Whilst the app itself is free, most of the individual guides are available for in-app purchase, covering the likes of Death Valley and Hawaii Volcanoes. You will, however, get the first one for free.
The app was developed and designed in conjunction with Rally Interactive, and whilst it currently features guides to only twenty parks, it plans to roll out more in the future.
For each park, the app provides general park information, including travel tips, contact and entry information, park rules, recent related tweets, current weather and special advisories. There are also photo galleries for each park, which are compiled both from National Geographic’s archives and user-submitted images.
Photo tips from Michael Melford, who has previously photographed many national park stories for National Geographic magazine, advises users on how to shoot like a pro.
In the user hub, travelers will find picks from National Geographic editors of their favorite hikes and activities, park news and related events.
Detailed maps also allow users to locate park points of interest, filter them by activity and seasonality, get directions from their current location, add them to a customized park itinerary or a list of favorites, or share the information on their social networks.
There are no shortage of apps to help you get fit and healthy. But whilst running, cycling and hiking are all pivotal parts of the keep-fit process, it’s important not to underestimate the role that sleep plays in our mental and physical wellbeing.
We’ve previously written about the likes of Lark, which recently expanded from a simple sleep monitor to a full on coaching service, whilst Jawbone’s UP wristband automatically tracks all aspects of your sleep including hours slept, time to fall asleep, phases of sleep (deep versus light) and overall sleep quality. And then there’s Sleepyti.me, which tells you when it’s time to clock-off for the night.
Launched at the Edinburgh International Science Festival by psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman, the app is underpinned by the concept that not all sleep is the same. It’s widely accepted that most of our dreams take place during REM sleep, a phase during which our minds are also more sensitive to other senses. And it’s this that Dream:On seeks to capitalize on.
You put your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch on the corner of the bed close to your head before going to sleep, and Dream:On begins monitoring your sleep pattern. Given that it’s based on movement, it will work best with only one person in the bed, however it claims it will still function with more than one person present.
When the app senses that you are dreaming, it plays a ‘soundscape’ which has been designed to help create your desired dream.
There’s even a ‘Dream Store’, which lets you specifically select the type of dream you want – this really is getting in to Total Recall territory. You only have two soundscapes to choose from for free though, and the Dream Store will charge you £0.69 ($1.10 USD) per each additional soundscape.
It’s also important to note that this whole idea is still an experiment, and you – the dreamer – are very much part of it.
“We have created a new way of carrying out mass participation experiments,” says Wiseman. “We still know relatively little about the science of dreaming and this app may provide a real breakthrough in changing how we dream, and record and track those dreams.”
Dream:On constitutes a monitoring and optimisation engine – which changes based on your feedback, so you will need to remember to record your dreams and experiences. Wiseman notes that it may take several nights before you begin being influenced by the app, given that people vary in their ability to incorporate soundscapes into their dreams.
You can view a graph of your movement during your sleep, and as with any modern-day app, you can even tag Facebook friends who appear in your dreams, and include a short description of what happened.
Whilst Dream:On clearly has a major gimmicky factor to it, it is a genuine endeavor to explore how human dreams work. The incorporated ‘Dream Bank’ will be used to examine lots of different issues, including whether gender and age differences in dreams, and whether global events impact on them.
Dream:On is compatible with iPhone 3GS and above, iPod touch (3rd Generation and above) and iPad, and it requires iOS 5.0 or later.
Meanwhile, check out the official Dream:On demo video below.
Read more here: Dream:On: This iOS app promises to influence your dreams