App Review; Space TV

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Space TV is a Built for BlackBerry app written by OSBB Code Labs and selling for $.99 in BB World. It’s about an 11 MB download and is about 37MB on my device, I assume due to all the sync’d images and content. It get’s 5 stars on 73 reviews.

If you’re a bottom line guy, here it is. I love the app even though I don’t refer to it every day. I can tell the dev is a space geek or fan and put a lot of love and hard work into the app. You get good content and brilliant pictures. The app pulls news from 9 well-respected news outlets and live video from 2 others and video and audio podcasts from many more. It’s straightforward and all the functionality works well on my Z30 and Q10. I have used the app for about a month although, not every day, it’s more of an occasional check-in for me.

I have a couple questions about this app that I need to ask the dev, but they are not huge issues, which is why I’m publishing this review anyway. I believe the dev is a UTB friend, so it shouldn’t be difficult to get answers.

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The 5 tile images rotate…

The “Launchpad:”
The launchpad (seen above) is what is presented when you open the app. There are 5 sections of the app presented in the launchpad, also available when you click the menu button on the lower left: 1) astronomy pic of the day, 2) news, 3) podcasts, 4) live video, and 5) images from the Curiosity rover on Mars. You can click on any of these sections to open it, or they are available in the menu. The 5 sections are all live tiles and have content that rotates while you look at the launchpad, which is a cool effect.

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Amazing! Look how small the shuttle is…

Astronomy Pic of the Day:
This is fairly straightforward and provides you with what appears to be 15 different pictures you can scroll through. Each pic is very high quality and there are options for sharing, setting as wallpaper, saving, and information. The information tab is very cool as it gives you a paragraph of information explaining what you’re looking at. This is a great feature and part of the entire experience of the app, which I would describe as being one of quality of content and passion for space. As you can see from the pic above, there is currently an awesome and highly unusual pic of the ISS (international space station) and the STS Orbiter (shuttle transportation system) docked together and orbiting earth. The information about that pic (shown below), explains why this is such an unusual picture.

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News:
There are about 9 news articles from at least 8 sources at any given time synced into the app. Some of the sources are newscientist.com, sciencedaily.com, nasa.gov, space.com, universetoday.com, spacedaily.com, astronomy.com, and phys.org. I know many but not all of these sources and to my knowledge, they are all popular, respected sources of space and science news. The news section offers options for readability mode and something called “instapaper,” which is one of the questions I have for the dev; I do not know what it means. If you are in readability mode or instapaper mode you have the option of turning readability on or off. When you turn it off, you get the actual webpage. As you scroll through the news in the app, you can see the title and the publish date. From this page you also have the option with the touch of a button to visit the dev’s BBM channel PIN C0012331C which he describes as a “…supplemental BBM channel for astronomy buffs and space enthusiasts.”

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Podcasts:
There are two main categories of podcasts: audio and video. There are about 12 video podcast feeds or sources and there appear to be 10 or more entries in each. The theme of the high quality nature of this app content continues in the podcasts, with feeds coming from several NASA options, and the Jet Propulsion Lab of the California Insitute of Technology, among others. On the audio side of the podcasts, there are currently 7 feeds, including one from Neil Degrasse Tyson, (physicist you’ve probably seen on TV before) with 10 or more entries in each. The audio podcasts have about 2 minute soundbites preloaded and include a link for listening to the entire podcast, and the video podcasts seem to last about 2 and 1/2 minutes long. I have tried all this and it works flawlessly.

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This is so cool…

Curiosity Rover Images:
This is a neat section where you can enjoy images taken by the Mars rover, Curiosity. Part of what is neat, is you have the option of enjoying images taken from 4 different cameras on Curiosity that offer different angles. As you can see from the pic above, there are three boxes detailing where the cameras are on curiosity (two of the cameras are in the top box). The images you can review are pretty otherworldly (sorry for the pun), and very interesting, but I haven’t figured out how often they change, so this is another question I have for the developer. At the time of this review, there appeared to be about 400 pictures spread evenly across the four cameras, and they are fun to look at. As I said, some of the pics are pretty surreal and very cool.

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Live Video:
There are two sections of live video or TV in the app, a NASA feed and an international space station feed. I have had the app for about a month and don’t refer to it every day, but as far as I can tell the NASA feed appears to offer more content than the ISS feed. I have tuned into a couple good programs on the NASA feed, one of which featured two astronauts floating around in the ISS that were answering questions from a live audience at an elementary school somewhere in the US; that was fun.

Active Frame:
When you leave the app open in an active frame, it offers a scrolling view of the current assortment of astronomy pics of the day.

As I indicated before, I freely recommend this app to any astronomy/space program enthusiast or even someone who likes to keep casual tabs on what’s going on. It is a very well done app that offers high quality content and was clearly written by a real space enthusiast who spent a lot of time on it getting the deets right. For 99 cents, this app is a slam dunk.

Go and check it out on BB World!!!

james pisano

RIM/BB fan since 2009. Wouldn't consider entrusting my career, life or privacy to another platform. Foremost, I am a student of life. Some likes: longboarding, nature, Baltimore Orioles, technology, driving, music, reading and Taoism. Politically independent.

  • Canuckvoip

    Buying now, thanks James!

  • veeru789

    Cool! will check it out.

  • Anthony

    I bought this app when it first appeared in BlackBerry World. The daily picture is an excellent feature. This is a great app. locco_smiley_10

    Other great space apps are Star Tracker, Planets, APOD, and Solar Explorer.

  • razrrob

    Likewise I bought this app when it first came out. Not so much because of my love for space but to support a Dev and occasionally save one of those fantastic pics to use as my wallpaper

  • Blackjack

    Wow good work. Extensive review James. I know a few space junkies I will recommend this to. Thanks.

  • Brad

    Very in depth review James! Wow! Great job!

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