So is anyone else getting sick and tired of waiting for Windows 10 Mobile? The official upgrade, I mean, not an Insider Preview. It's been nearly six months since the OS arrived on PCs, and even longer still since the damn thing was announced. What's the hold up? We know it's ready. Everyone is tired of Windows Phone 8, and everyday it feels like there's good reason for it.
Anyway, rant over. Let's take a look at the apps thrust upon the world this week.
Android: Pushbullet (Free)
Pushbullet is an incredibly useful app to have on all of your devices, and for Android/Windows users it just got even better thanks to the introduction of remote files. Pushbullet has always been great for quickly sending small files between your devices, but now you can access them whenever you want, as long as both devices are connected to the internet.
Setting it up is a breeze, as most Pushbullet features are. The first step is making sure you've installed it on both devices (the Windows version, not a browser extension), and activating 'Remote Files' in the settings on both. You might need to restart your computer before you're able to do anything (I did), but after that everything is good to go. It really is that easy.
From there your phone has access to all of your computer's files, provided they're not hiding away in the system or program files. You just have to navigate to the folder in question, and grab the files you want. Provided it's not too big, it'll then get sent across to your phone like any other Pushbullet transfer - the only difference being that you don't need to be in close proximity with your computer.
The new feature is free but only people with Pushbullet Pro accounts get unlimited file transfers up to 1GB in size. If you're a non-paying member you have only have a limited number of transfers each month (how many isn't made abundantly clear), and the maximum file size is 25MB.
You should also try:
Picture2Clock: Tired of the boring standard clock faces available in Android? Picture2Clock lets you create a clock widget that uses your own photos as the background instead. [Free]
GeoGebra: Maths software designed to help people of all education levels learn calculus, geometry, algebra, spreadsheets, graphing, and statistics. [Free]
PlayStation Messages: For some reason Sony decided that messaging wasn't necessary in the main PlayStation app, so if you want to keep in touch with your PSN friends you'll need to download this. [Free]
iPhone: Marvel - Design Apps on Your Phone (Free)
I wonder what this app is about? The name doesn't really give much away... I'm kidding, obviously. It's pretty self explanatory, but to go a bit more in depth it's an app that lets you build a design for your app from scratch and link it all together.
This being an iOS app, you can only create stuff for Apple products. Sadly there are a couple of iterations missing, since you have to choose between the iPhone 4, 5, 6, iPad, or Apple Watch. If you had your heart on creating an iPad Pro app, you're out of luck.
You do need to have some designs for what you want your app to look like, whether they're saved in Dropbox, on paper, or just happen to be floating around in your mind. If they're in your mind you have the option to draw them yourself, otherwise they're pulled in as a still image. I had no ideas, so I did what any person would do and drew a smiley face and took a picture of my laptop screen. Once you have all your screens pulled in, you can link them using buttons which are then used to navigate the final thing.
It's all fairly simple, to use, but you're not going to be creating any full functional apps with marvel. It's a place for you to pull all your designs together in one place as a prototype of sorts, linking different screens together to show what your app will be like when it's finished. All the programming needed to actually make it work has to be done in the usual ways. I guess that it's easier to use a different service to show an app off like this while it's still a work in progress, rather than having to code a your own working prototype from scratch.
You should also try:
Focus by Firefox: A content blocker for Safari, but rather than indiscriminatingly blocking adverts, Focus is about blocking trackers. Whether it's ad trackers, social media trackers, or what have you, this will make sure nobody is snooping on your browsing habits. [Free]
Storehouse: A new way to share photos with people, letting you share entire albums in a webpage-style layout that people can browse at their leisure. [Free]
Unibox: Another email-organising app, designed to make the email experience better and faster. Unibox supports all major email formats, and only requires a single window to get everything done. [Free]
iPad: A Levels 2016 (Free)
Just after Christmas, students across the country will sit down for a batch of A-level exams, and will no doubt be revising their arses off so that they don't have to do resits. (They still do resits, right?). Apps are all the rage, so it makes sense that there is an app specifically designed to help with revising the syllabus.
A Levels 2016 is easy enough to use. When you load it up you select which country you're in (UK, Spain, or France), and you tell it whether you're doing AS or A2 levels. From there you get to read through a number of different topics in different subjects, and answer quiz questions.
It's very basic, and certainly shouldn't be seen as the entire brunt of revision work, but it's still a handy little tool to fall back on if you're sitting on the bus, or in a car, or something like that. You will also have to make sure that you know which topics are covered in your specific exam board syllabus, because the app doesn't differentiate.
One final note is that there is a dictation feature that will read out the content to you, but it happens to be in a very strong (and I mean VERY strong) French accent. So strong that I thought it was the French language at first. Hardly ideal, really.
The app is free, though, and if it happens to cover topics that might pop up on your A-level exams, then it's a handy little tool to supplement the rest of your work. The built-in quiz feature is nice as well, since it means you also get to test how well you've retained your memory without asking someone else to help you out, or by going through an entire past paper.
You should also try:
Fallout Shelter: (Update) Bethesda's mini game that puts you in charge of your own Vault-Tec fallout shelter has had an update. The new version includes dogs, the option to permanently evict residents, and improvements to vault dweller task management. [Free]
Pixelmator: (Update) The iOS equivalent to Photoshop snagged an update this week, which improves the functionality for those of you with an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. The iPhone version is also compatible with 3D Touch. [£2.99]
Duet Display: (Update) This app lets you use your iOS device as a second display for your Mac, and now it's been updated for use with the iPad Pro. It's also had performance improvements that lower CPU usage on iOS and OS X, uses less power, and even works with splitscreen. [£7.99]
Windows Phone: Achieve It! (Free)
This one is fairly simple. Achieve It is designed as a way for you to document your progress towards achieving a goal. It doesn't matter what that goal is, as long as you know what you want to achieve and when you want to achieve it.
The app is primarily for tasks that can be set into incremental progress points. So say, for instance, that you want to improve your fitness towards a goal, a record can be made in the app whenever relevant exercise and progress is achieved. It doesn't define when the next session must be, giving the choice of going daily, on set days, or just whenever you feel like it.
So if you're looking for an easy way to track goals, this is an app worth trying.
You should also try:
Uber: One for Windows 10 Mobile users, the universal Uber app just got a new interface. [Free]
todoNotes: An attractive note-taking app that styles everything in a to-do list format and uses location and photos to add some extra information. [Free]
Waterlogue: A painting app for Windows 10, designed around creating images and artwork with a watercolour effect. [£2.29]