Engadget's celebrity iPhone app showdown

Joseph L. Flatley
J. Flatley|09.24.10

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Engadget's celebrity iPhone app showdown
It all began on a lark, really. When we realized that Jersey Shore's very own Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino had an iPhone app (and he had the temerity to charge $5 for it), we started thinking: Which other celebs have apps? How bad can they get? And who would win in an app store shoot-out between Kim Kardashian, Shaq, and Justin Bieber? The answer, as they say, will shock you. Journey past the break for Engadget's guide to the best and the worst (well, actually, just the worst) of the celebrity iPhone apps. %Gallery-103158%

Jersey Shore apps:
Since we started our journey with Mike "The Situation," we figured we would see what his housemates were up to in the App Store. Not much, apparently. It seems that of the bunch, only Snooki and Pauly D have apps of their own, both of which cost 99 cents. At least DJ Pauly D makes claims of usefulness, with some original content in the form of music, videos, and a "fan wall," while Spread Snooki limits itself to adding Snooki clip art to your party pics. In our slog through celebrity apps, we've found that most fit into one of two categories: either totally inane amusement featuring a star that has licensed his or her likeness (the digital equivalent of Beatles Bubblegum or Monkees trading cards) or an alleged utility for fans of a particular artist (and we use the term "artist" loosely here).

Star gazing.
Guess what, kids: MC Hammer is alive and well. He also has an app called Hammer Time, which will inform you of his every move, and since he knows how important it is that his fans keep stay "in the loop," as it were, it's available for free. But be careful! There is another app out there called Hammer_Time (note the underscore), which does little more than superimpose a dancing cartoon Hammer onto your pictures. Which, to be honest, sounds like a better deal, even if it does cost a buck. (And yes, there is an iPad version available too).
If basking in the reflected glow of The Hammer isn't enough for you, The Shaq App might get you through those long, lonely nights. With features that include a collection of Shaquille's "legendary" quotes, his workout routine and diet, a selected reading list (mostly William T. Vollmann) and his Twitter feed, this one-ups the utility (and the self-importance) of Hammer by several notches. However, all of that pales in comparison to It's Britney! ($1.99) which is "updated daily and diligently for Britney [Spears]'s fans by Britney's team!" This one features video / audio content, links to social networking sites, some sort of Federline simulator (superimpose your face on one of Britney's backup dancers), and what might possibly be the most game-changing feature of them all: when you shake the app, your phone announces: "It's Britney, Bitch!"

Is a more upscale type of mindless drivel your style? There's always The Official Kim Kardashian Application, which lets you ask Ms. Kim for advice on relationships, beauty, health, fashion or style. And let's not forget Be Like Lady Gaga, which will let you alter your pic until you, too, look like the world's most over-hyped drag queen.

Games celebrities play. Let's face it -- most of us don't want career advice from a Perez Hilton regular, we want to have fun! And mindless diversions we have seen, from Ask The Hoff (99 cents), which is essentially a David Hasselhoff-branded Magic 8-ball, to Samuel L. Jackson's iSamJackson. This is a soundboard that features the star swearing, and little else. Then again, we suppose that alone is worth a buck to someone (someone who's sitting in a dorm room, probably high). But none of the above holds a candle in shear absurdity to Bieber Ball (99 cents). We'll let a few screencaps do the talking here.

The verdict.
If you thought it would be impossible to choose a winner when judging between the self-importance of Shaquille O'Neal, the sheer absurdity of Justin Bieber, or the frivolous nature of Snooki, you'd be spot on. Because in the end, it's not about which app is "better." No, the lesson is much more important: when celebrities go wild in the app store, everyone loses.

Are you as weary of the Hollywood star machine as we are? Engadget has its very own apps for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and webOS... and they're free! And celebrity free! Unless, of course, you count the occasional talk show appearance or installment of CE-Oh no he didn't.
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