Cell phones primarily used to be used for phone calls, but that’s no longer the case. Hundreds of thousands of smart-phone apps are designed to make life a little easier or more fun. At International CES 2013 opening January 8, many new apps will be presented.

If you’re in Las Vegas for the show, check out the Wall of Apps in the North Hall Lobby, which will feature mobile and CloudBase3 Apps and offer a hands-on interactive look at some of the newest apps that will make your connected life more productive and entertaining. There also will be the Mobile Apps Showdown on January 10 to see which apps are “most likely to succeed.” Pick your top apps at mobileappshowdown.com. Here are some of our top choices:

1. The MyScript Calculator performs mathematical equations using your own handwriting.

• MyScript Calculator: The MyScript Calculator performs mathematical equations using your own handwriting (Fig. 1). This Android/iOS app lets users write the mathematical expression on the screen and then converts the symbols and numbers to digital text, quickly delivering the result. It supports basic operations, powers, trigonometry, and more. Testers have agreed that this app feels more natural and works just as well as a calculator. More information is available at www.visionobjects.com/en/.

2. The SecuraFone Health app combines GPS tracking, 24/7 emergency response, and remote monitoring of vital signs to deliver individualized mobile health and safety solutions.

• SecuraFone Health: This new iOS app uses system-on-chip (SoC) semiconductors, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) accelerometers, and advanced signal processing to combine GPS tracking, 24/7 emergency response, and remote monitoring of vital signs to deliver individualized mobile health and safety solutions to seniors, children, or mobile employees engaged in potentially hazardous activities (Fig. 2). The app uses “SecuraPatch,” which looks and feels like a Band-Aid, to monitor your vitals and location. Authorized caregivers and doctors who will be alerted when a vital becomes too low or high can access the app. It also allows users to call for help with the press of a button. Details are available at www.securafone.com/subpages/health.php.

 

3. The Runtastic apps interact with your GPS to show where you have run, monitor heart rates, and use your smart phone’s built-in sensors to count repetitions of exercises like sit-ups and push-ups.

• Runtastic Fitness App Collection: This new app collection for Android and iOS takes fitness apps to the next level. Not only do these apps track distance and calories burnt, they also interact with your GPS to show where you have run, monitor heart rates and use your smart phone’s built-in sensors to count repetitions of exercises like sit-ups and push-ups (Fig. 3). The app makes exercising a little more fun by allowing you to set goals, earn badges, and compete with other app users. For more, go to www.runtastic.com/en/pumpit.

4. Unified Remote for Windows Mobile and Android allows you to turn your smart phone into a universal remote control for your Windows PC.

• Unified Remote: Unified Remote for Windows Mobile and Android allows you to turn your smart phone into a universal remote control for your Windows PC via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, letting you control Windows Media Player, iTunes, Web browsers, NetFlix, and all other programs from a distance (Fig. 4). For further information, see www.unifiedremote.com.

5. MindMeld is the first voice and video calling app that actually understands your conversation and augments it with related material from across the Web.

• MindMeld: Developed for the iOS platform by Expect Labs, MindMeld is the first voice and video calling app that actually understands your conversation (Fig. 5). It enables you to make calls with up to eight people, and while you’re talking it searches for relevant pictures, videos, articles, and documents from across the Web to contextually augment the conversation. More information is available at www.expectlabs.com/mindmeld.