January is over, the tax returns are in, and we've headed into the shortest month of the year. A lot happened in January, like Apple making a fuckton of money (even though iPhone sales stalled), a number of tragic celebrity deaths, Netflix promising to crack down on VPN users yet again, and flowers growing in space. Oh and we can't forget about CES, that manic week filled with tech and gadgety announcements.
Looking forward into February, let's consider January's cream of the crop to see what you should be taking with you into the new month.
Avast Wi-Fi Finder & Passwords: Most networks are still incredibly stingy with their data allowances, so free public Wi-Fi is a godsend for a lot of people. But how do you know you can trust it's not going to pinch your bank details or Facebook login? That's where Avast's app comes in. It lets you search for verified safe and speedy networks for you to connect to on the go, without having to worry about various levels of identity theft. [Free]
Blind Tool: Navigating the world is bad enough when you can see, let alone when you can't. Thankfully smartphones are making the world for the visually impaired easier with Blind Tool. It uses your phone's camera to work out what's in the world around you using neural networks, vibrating more and more as you get closer. [Free]
Camera MX: Last year Apple wouldn't shut up about amazing the iPhone 6S's Live Photos were, even though they were just glorified GIFs/WebMs. Well there are now plenty of ways for Android users to get in on the world of Live Photos thanks to an update to Camera MX. The features called 'Live Shot', but it's exactly the same. Taking a picture also shoots a small video which is then played on a loop. [Free]
Chromer: When you click a link in an app you either get transferred to some rubbish in-app browser, or you get sent to your default browser which might take ages to load the pages you want to see ASAP. Chromer is an app that functions as a fix of sorts, opening up links from apps into a very cut-down version of Chrome that's a heck of a lot faster. Plus, because it's based on Chrome you can access all your saved Chrome info without having to wait forever. [Free]
Caffeine: We all love our liquid energy, whether we ingest it as coffee, cola, or Red Bull. Still, have you ever wondered exactly how much caffeine you're putting into your body? It can play havoc on your body if you're not careful, and I've experienced plenty of sleepness nights brought on by a bit too much caffeine in my system. Regardless of how you drink it, Caffeine will be able to keep track of it all so you know what you've been drinking and when. [£0.79]
Jukebox: Sick of dealing with iTunes when you want to send your music collection over to your iDevice? Jukebox is here to help you out, because it lets you play your music collection by using Dropbox as an intermediary. Just upload your collection, then log into the app to pull it all down from the cloud. Sure, you still need to use an extra tool to make your music portable, but Dropbox is a heck of a lot nicer than iTunes and doesn't need a USB cable to work. [Free]
Laundry Day: Do you not have a clue what all those confusing symbols on your clothes labels mean? Are you forever ruing perfectly good clothes because of it? Laundry Day is going to put all that behind you, because it will translate them all so that you know exactly what you're doing. Just point your camera at the symbols and you're good to go. [Free]
Disney Life: Disney has a streaming service, and it's a pretty impressive one at that. A Disney Life subscription gives you unlimited access to a massive amount of Disney films, TV programmes, books, music, and apps all in one handy place. And unlike the UK Netflix library it isn't totally crap. There is an awful lot of good stuff to be found - including most classic Disney movies. More recent stuff is curiously absent, but you can live without Frozen can't you? [Free - with subscription]
Playcast: There are no official apps that give Windows Mobile users access to things like Google casting, Apple Airplay, or the many other media casting standards that exist. Thankfully Playcast fills in the gaps, letting you streaming photos, video, and audio from your Windows Mobile device over to pretty much every media device you can imagine. Chromecast, Apple TV, Miracast, games consoles, you name it. Just make sure you have the right file types to get everything running smoothly. [£3.09]
6tin: Tinder isn't officially available on Windows 10, but when has that ever stopped anyone? 6tin is almost an exact replica of the Tinder app available for Android and iOS, and gives Windows Mobile users the chance to swipe their phone to find true love. Or just a good time, whatever you think is best. [Free - with subscription & premium purchase]
SpotBright: Microsoft's Spotlight images are pretty impressive, but sadly getting hold of them for yourself is a pain. Or at least it was, because SpotBright makes it as easy as tapping at your phone. It only does the one thing, but it's damn good at what it does. [Free]
Cortana Triggers: If you're the kind of person who uses Microsoft's virtual assistant and have smart home devices in use, this is an app you need. Quite simply, Cortana Triggers lets you use the pseudo-AI in your phone to control all your smart home devices without needing to go to their respective apps. Whether it's turning off the lights, sorting out your morning coffee, or whatever else, Cortana can sort it for you. [£3.89]