The Week's Best Android, iPhone, iPad and Windows Phone Apps

By Tom Pritchard on at

I've spent the last week reinvigorating my love for all things Nathan Fillion by having a Castle marathon. Something tells me this means I'll end up re-watching Firefly at some point in the near future -- time well spent, if you ask me. But you're not here to listen to me talk about sci-fi actors; you're here to look at new apps -- what kind of person would I be to deny you that joy?

 

iPhone Apps

PingTune: PingTune is an app designed to make sharing music with your friends far easier. Before people start fretting over copyright laws and piracy, it doesn't involve sending music files directly -- instead it allows you to send music from Soundcloud and YouTube. Not only can PingTune be used to send your discoveries to friends, it also functions as a messaging service. Could this be the next big social platform? Who knows, but it's a very cool concept nonetheless. [Free]


Camscanner+: Sometimes you might need to scan something but you’re not in a position to use one -- it’s unlikely sure, but it does happen. CamScanner is a lifesaver in such a situation. Using your phone’s camera, you can use the app to quickly load a document onto your phone. The latest version is redesigned for iOS 7 and to celebrate, the premium version of the app is free for a limited time, so get in there quicksmart. [Free -- with optional subscription]


Inlight App:  The internet is great for communication, but have you ever been so overwhelmed with the amount of information available? Inlight is designed to try and fix that, curating some of the best lists and articles from around the web so that you can stay in the know. [Free]


Simbol: It may not be something you'll need on a day-to-day basis, but occasionally you may need a symbol that is not included in your phone's keyboard. Simbol is a comprehensive list of universally-used symbols and their HTML codes. It includes the Greek alphabet, maths symbols, what have you. It even has an Apple logo should you need it. [Free]


Readability: The problem with mobile browsing is that websites designed for desktops don't tend to work very well on such a small screen. Mobile sites are one way to deal with it, but I'm not a huge fan. Readability turns any page into a clean, customisable page for easy, comfortable reading. On top of that it can be used to save pages for offline use. The newest version has been redesigned from the ground up and introduces recommendations so you'll never be without reading material. [Free]

 

iPad Apps

Caribu: Sometimes life gets in the way and young children don't get to spend time with the adults in their life, for a variety of reasons. Caribu is aimed at families who are separated geographically so that someone can still read their kid a story. Within the app is a video messenger for communication, and both devices are synced so that the story can be followed in real time. The app includes one book, with many more to purchase. [Free -- with in-app purchases]


Shifter Interactive Graphic Novel: Like motion comics, Shifter is comic that is brought to life on the screen of your iPad, with voiceovers, soundtracks, and animation. What makes it slightly different is that Shifter also features reader interaction. So rather than sitting there watching the comic unfold on screen (which is basically just you, watching a video) the reader has to interact at 65 key points for the story to progress. If all that hasn't sold you, it also features the voice talents of Wil 'shut-up-Wesley' Wheaton. The first chapter is free; the remaining eight can be bought in-app. [Free -- with in-app purchases]


Korg Gadget: A collection of 15 different synthesisers and drum machines, all contained in your iPad -- all so you can use them to create and combine your own electronic music. For an app, this one isn't cheap (and this is the sale price), but considering what you actually get it's a bargain. If you're a budding musician, DJ, or maybe you just want to mess around, this should appeal. [£19.99]


Behance: Behance is a way for creative types to showcase their work, and for the rest of us to keep track of it all. There are millions projects to browse, with photography, fashion, and advertising being just a few examples. New updates introduce a redesigned app, all based around iOS 7, as well as brand new ways for you to showcase your own work. [Free]


Code Academy: The idea of Code Academy is you can learn the basics of coding a new programming language in around 60 minutes. In a world where computing is becoming more and more necessary, it’s a useful skill to have. The app and its online counterpart can help you learn HTML, Javascript, CSS, Python and more. It's been around on iPhone for a while, but Code Academy is now available on the iPad so you have a nice big screen to learn on whilst on the move. [Free]

 

Android Apps

Agent: Agent is an app that really strives to make your life easier and simpler with five distinct functions. These include your basic run-of-the-mill battery saver, which will take care of unnecessary power draining function; Drive Agent, which will automatically read you your texts and let you screen your calls whilst driving; Meeting Agent, which silences your phone during times designated for meetings (or you know, you could just turn it off); Sleep Agent, which only lets the most urgent calls come through when you're sleeping, and last, but by no means least, Parking Agent, which tags where you've parked the car with GPS. [Free]


Udemy: Udemy is a depository of online courses, readily available for people to learn new skills via videos, presentations, and articles. Whether it's work related, or if it's just to satisfy your own curiosity, there are thousands of courses available covering a wide variety of topics. [Free]


Ergo: There are some pretty useful ways to lock your phone and ensure security; this one is rather, erm, unique. Ergo uses your ear in order to unlock your phone -- it's one of the few things handily situated and unique enough to keep your phone secure. [£3.99]


The Cleaner: Phones, like computers, need maintenance to keep them running optimally. The Cleaner is designed to clean up your phone and keep it nice and speedy. It'll clear out the RAM, delete redundant files, and save your battery life by turning off unnecessary functions. [Free]


Deus Ex -- The Fall: The fourth game in the Deus Ex series is continuing its award-winning streak by launching on Android. Set in 2027, you play as Ben Saxon, a mercenary and former member of the SAS searching for the truth behind a global conspiracy that threatens his life. With direct references to Deus Ex: Human Revolution and an engaging story set to continue in future installments, this is a must for any fan of the series. [£4.99]

 

Windows Phone Apps

AE Jewel 2 -- Island Adventures: A bejeweled-esque game with the same simplistic gameplay -- match three jewels to make them disappear and earn points. Play through island levels to unlock mysterious totems and unlock new powers. It's not an original concept, but it's a fun way to spend any spare moments throughout your day. [Free]


BBC Radio: Many phones have FM Radios these days, but many do not. Either way, you may want mobile access to ad-free radio without having to buy a pocket radio. BBC Radio gives you instant access to all the radio stations the BBC has to offer through the power of the internet. [Free]


Romans from Mars: The great thing about games is the opportunity to experience ridiculous situations that would never, ever, happen. Romans from Mars is one such scenario. You take control of a Roman soldier up against hordes of Martian invaders -- oh, and you've also been bestowed with magic power by the gods. It's a ridiculous concept, but it's definitely worth a try. [Free]


Windows Remote Control: A handy little tool for those of you who use your computer for a variety of entertainment purposes, Windows Remote Control will turn your phone into a mouse and remote control for your computer. Meaning you can watch Netflix from the sofa without having to get up, natch. Better still, the app can directly interface with a number of desktop applications, like Powerpoint, browsers, and even control over your computers power. [Free]


The Huffington Post: One of the world's best known digital-only news sources, this app gives you real-time news updates from the topics that you care about. Whether you want tech, politics, entertainment, sports, it's all there for you. Currently this is only the US version of the website, but it's still worth a look. [Free]