It's nearly mid-January, and CES is over, so it's fair to say that 2016 is now in full swing. But as much as has happened in the past week and a half, we still have a big year ahead of us.
We already know virtual reality is going to kick off in a serious way, but what other technological marvels might we see? What gimmicks will pop up to try and entice us into buying new phones and TVs? Will they be proper gimmicks, or something actually worth including? Who knows. Eleven-and-a-half months is a very long time.
In any case, we still need to look at the present. Here's your weekly dose of mobile apps.
Android: Camera MX (Free)
One of the big things Apple wouldn't shut up about when it launched the iPhone 6S was that it came with a feature that let users create their own
WebMs animated 'Live Photos'. Since then a few apps arrived to give that feature to older iPhones, and now Camera MX brings a similar feature to Android phones.
It's an update to an existing app, rather than something brand new, so what you're looking for when you download it is the 'Liveshot' button at the top of the screen. It's incredibly simple too, and not too dissimilar from actually taking a normal photo. Just hit the camera button on screen, and it'll capture the few seconds preceding the shot and converts it into a short animated clip. Unlike basic animated images like GIFs, these Liveshot pictures follow the same example as Apple's Live Photos and does a quick rewind to take you back to the beginning.
Very simple stuff, but as I said before that's not all Camera MX can do. It's got all sorts of settings, including photo effects, customisable resolution, EV correction, and 'scene mode', which alters things to match where you are. It's also got a bunch or photo editing features so that you can tweak your photos after you've finished taking them.
You should also try:
Human - Activity Tracker: A tracker that automatically tracks how active you're being throughout the day, and then compared it to people similar to you. [Free]
Newslet: A small minimalist news reader that delivers you three news stories at a time based on topics that you enjoy. [Free]
Forage - Restaurant Picker: An app that uses your location to find places to eat based on the category of your choosing. [Free]
iPhone: Listapost (Free)
This one is for the intrepid Instagram user who loves to save their favourite images, but without cluttering their phone with too many screenshots to keep track of. The idea here is that you can use Listapost as a dedicated tool for saving and organising your favourite Instagram posts in a nice organised fashion.
Using it is remarkably easy. You sign in with your Instagram account, and from there you'll see the images that have been uploaded by the accounts you follow in list or grid format. That means you browse through everything, and if you see something you like then you tap it to save it to a custom list, share it, or open the image in Instagram.
There's also a search tool that lets you search for tags, and find content from specific users. It's basic, but it works. The only downside is that you can't actually follow any of the new users you might come across.
While you get to browse, this isn't really a replacement for the main Instagram app. You don't get to comment or like pictures you find, just the option to keep track of them for later reference. If you're not interested in uploading images or the social stuff, then it could work for just keeping track of the stuff you follow.
Listapost is very much a one-feature app, but if you like your Instagram and you want a way of keeping track of your favourite images in a nice organised manner without taking up all your iPhone's valuable storage then you've got the perfect thing right here.
You should also try:
Microsoft Selfie: A selfie-taking app that snaps pictures and automatically enhances them, taking into account things like gender, skin tone, age, light, and more. [Free]
RecMix Recorder: A tool for DJs to record, mix, and instantly share their sets with other like-minded people across the net. [Free]
iPad: Disney Life (Free - with subscription)
For a mere £10 a month, you can get yourself access to Disney Life, a service that gives you access to a whole variety of Disney films, TV shows, music, books, and other apps. Essentially it's the Disney streaming service you always wished existed. The subscription is tied to your Apple ID, which is convenient since it means you don't have to hand over your financial information to yet another service.
Obviously it's mainly designed for kids, which means there are parental controls involved to control what they do. This is a Disney app, though, so there's not too much adult content involved here. That being said, you can restrict what they watch by age rating (U, PG, and 12), as well as setting limits on how much time they can spend using the app during the week and at weekends. There are no in-app purchases either, so you don't have to worry about an obscenely large credit card bill at the end of the month.
As for the content, it's all fairly standard stuff and there's an awful lot of it. There's a nice mix of old and new content, with all the Disney stuff you know and love along with a few surprises. Did you know that The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a Disney movie? Apparently it is. Some of the more recent Disney movies, like Frozen or Big Hero 6, aren't included, but 2012's John Carter is. You can even download stuff for use offline, which is handy for those long car journeys or times the Wi-Fi goes down.
Still, for your £10 a month you get access to one hell of a lot of content, and if you need a way to keep your kids quiet for a few hours then this is ideal.
You should also try:
Freeletics - Bodyweight: An app for showing you all the ways you can exercise using your own bodyweight, and without the need for fancy equipment. It was available in iPhone, but now it's finally available on the iPad. [Free]
Pennultimate: (Update) One of the best handwriting apps out there just got a bunch of new features. All papers are now free, iPad Pro users get integrated Apple pencil support, multitasking is supported, and more. [Free]
Gousto: A recipe app that updates weekly with brand new stuff for you to cook and enjoy. No need to go shopping either, because you can get the ingredients delivered to your door. It's been on iPhone before, but now it's on the iPad. [Free]
Windows Mobile: Sky Sports Football Score Centre(Free)
This is a fairly basic app that should prove incredibly handy for football fans. If you're looking for score from matches being played across the UK and Europe.
Simply tapping the Fixtures and Results button will take you to a screen showing all the matches that are taking/have taken place on that day, organised into league-specific lists. It's a glorified calendar, really, but the fact that it automatically sorts by league is handy. If you don't care about the Scottish Cup, the Greek Super League, or whatever friendly games have been played, then you don't have to.
The homescreen also has a Vidiprinter with all that day's results and goals, a list of what games are showing on Sky Sports (naturally), news, and videos. The rest of the app is hiding away in the menu, and there you will find your saved teams and their respective results, league tables, access to Sky Bet, and a tool for finding your nearest pub showing Sky Sports games.
There's not much to it, but if you're a serious football fan then you need something to keep track of football results. If you're a Windows Mobile user, then this one is ideal for you.
You should also try:
Spotbright: A useful app for grabbing images from Windows Spotlight, since the only other way to get them isn't that convenient.[Free]
Fitbit: (Update) A new year often means new resolve to exercise, and Fitbit has updated accordingly. This new version now has a brand new dashboard to make itself a little bit more visually appealing. [Free]
Cast: A podcast management for you to keep track of all your favourite podcasts and download them onto your phone. [Free]