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Macworld Expo 2011: Vito Technology updates the Walk apps

Mike Schramm
Mike Schramm|February 1, 2011 3:00 AM

Russian company Vito Technology was in one of the booths around the Mobile App Showcase at Macworld 2011 last week, and they kindly sat down to show off new versions of their apps, all coming up in the next month or so as free updates on the App Store. Popular astronomy app Star Walk was first. It's getting a visual enhancement in the next version, with a brand new sky and a new look to the stars that's more visually interesting than the current setup. The other feature that will be added is a "calendar of celestial events," where things like meteor showers or lunar eclipses will be tracked (per your location) so that you can see when something interesting is coming up.

Later on, Vito wants to add other cultural displays to the app, including constellation charts and other star maps from Hawaiian, Arabic and Native American viewpoints. Star Walk is also going to be integrated into some of Macmillan's science textbooks, so students will be able to work directly with the app as they learn.

We also got to see updates for the other Vito apps, including Solar Walk and a very different Geo Walk.

Solar Walk is probably the slimmest of the three updates. It's also sporting a visual upgrade, though it's not as sweeping as the update to Star Walk. There's a new "galaxy view" featuring a zoomed-out view of the entire Milky Way, with stars aplenty shining all the way across the galaxy. There are also some interactive "movies" to view, which automate the app to show various heavenly bodies in motion. There's a size comparison in the app as well, so you can compare various stars.

Geo Walk is by far the most updated app in the latest beta; it's been completely redesigned. The globe is now placed in a classroom setting, and it's much more dynamic and colorful than the current version. There's a brand new view that lists points of interest from around the world in a browsable circle, so users looking for information have an easier method than just randomly wandering the globe. There's also a trivia mode, with information about POIs turned into a nice and casual trivia game. From what I saw, there aren't a lot of extras to trivia mode (it doesn't penalize for wrong answers or even keep score), but it's another interesting way to get at information in the app.

Vito is definitely keeping up on all of their apps, and customers are benefiting. All of these upgrades will be free to app owners, and we should see them on the App Store within a few weeks.