App: Texas Historical Landmarks Platforms: iPhone, Android Web Site: Atomic Axis Cost: Free (lite version), $3.99 (full version)
Texas Historical Landmarks rolls quite a few things into an app that I like. It's easy to use, has quite a surprisingly dense number of features -- from check-ins and photos to detailed maps and information -- and it is easy on the eyes. It also happens to be a great way to learn about Texas landmarks. I could see this being a fantastic teaching tool for parents with their kids or even educators on field trips.
Unfortunately, the only thing I can seem to focus on is the discrepancy between the "lite" free version and the pricey full version.
I don't normally balk at the cost of apps. The reality is it takes money to build these things, so developers should be able to recoup their costs. I also don't have a problem paying for a very good app. I've paid $10 and more for apps I thought were completely worth it. Even with this app's limited functionality -- sure, looking for landmarks is fun, but is this something you'll use as much as, say, a weather app? -- it could be worth the $3.99, though that is a fairly steep price tag for any information app. But it seems weird to offer a free version that is limited not only in functionality but also in information.
It would not surprise me to find a free version limited on features. The "lite" version of this app does have some limits on what it can do, but more important, it lowers the number of landmarks in it to 50. The paid app has over 14,000!
To me, that makes the free version more of a "trial" than "lite." To me, a "lite" version would simply remove features and maybe limit the number of landmarks to major ones or ones within a certain radius of your location. But to go from 14k to 50 feels more like just a way to entice you into buying the app.
Maybe I'm hung up on semantics, because the app really is very good, but someone should rethink the "lite"-version strategy.
The Bottom Line
If you are a teacher, parent or just a Texas explorer, this app is very likely worth the four bucks you have to drop to get it. But pass on the "lite" version because, when they say "lite," they aren't kidding.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.