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More mobile apps with local ties in the works

Maybe the underwhelming response to Verizon Wireless' iPhone launch means the release of mobile apps with local ties has gone unnoticed, too?

Last summer, the Farmshed CNY app put a free comprehensive directory of CNY's organic, sustainable and direct-market farms at iPhone users' fingertips, and even released an update to the app in November. Since then, daily deal giants Groupon and Living Social added the Syracuse area to their reach, giving locals with a penchant for discounts two more mobile apps worth downloading.

In January, the Connective Corridor announced it would go mobile with a soon-to-be-released free iPhone app developed by a team of SU volunteers. The USE app, a play on "SyracUSE," will feature four components, including a bus tracker, event listings, social networking tools, and "augmented reality," (though we're not really sure what that last one means). The bus tracker is set to debut this month and will tie into Centro's GPS infrastructure to displays the buses moving along their routes in real time on the iPhone screen.

The New York State DOT also launched an app last month for iPhone, Blackberry and Android phones that provides users with real-time weather and traffic conditions. The 511NY app was part of an upgrade of the DOT's web presence that also included a cell phone-friendly mobile website at 511ny.mobi. Both the mobile site and smartphone app allow users to create and save up to six traffic or transit trips for quick access.

Just last week, state-wide law firm Finkelstein & Partners introduced the F&P Car Accident Toolkit, a mobile app for iPhones and Android devices that includes built-in utilities to capture the details of an accident that could be handy later but are easily overlooked in the hectic aftermath of a crash. An automatic GPS location identifier retrieves street names, the camera and voice recorder help take down details and a data sheet organizes information from other drivers.

Now, the Downtown Committee is working to create a business directory mobile app that would allow users to search for businesses by category, geography and personal favorites, and create a "to-do" list of downtown businesses to visit.

The app will be free to download and use, and there is no charge for businesses to be included in the directory. Submit your business information to Elle Stasz with Downtown Committee by Feb. 25 to be included; e-mail estasz@centerstateceo.com. The app is set to debut March 24.

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