We have a week to go until the next big tech event of the year. CES has been and gone, so it's time to head to the more mobile-orientated MWC in Barcelona. What are we going to see? Probably a decent chunk of VR-related stuff. More info on the release of the HTC Vive is all but a given, and we've already heard a bit about the third generation of Google Cardboard.
But let's take a look at another section of the mobile world, this week's list of apps.
Android: Draw My Story (Free)
So you want to create some hand-drawn videos, but you don't feel like setting up a system that involves a video camera and a white board. No problem, because there's app for that. Draw My Story is a fantastic little tool for creating your own hand-drawn videos, presentations, and more.
Everything is all nice and simple. The first thing you end up on is a screen where you actually draw the different scenes of your video. There are plenty of different tools to choose from, letting you throw in text, images, hand-drawn stuff, and even emoji. So even if you have absolutely zero artistic talent, you can still throw something together. The thing to remember is that whatever you draw is recorded, and that's what the brunt of the final video will involve. Any extra stuff, like images, that you throw in will appear in the final video at the same rough time you added it in.
Once you've finished up all your scenes (you can create up to 99 per video), you're taken to the preview page where you can see a rough cut of the final video, change the pause delay between scenes, add some background music, and record a voiceover. The voiceover feature plays the video for you, and you can add whatever narration you like as it happens. Once all that is sorted, you can export the video to your device's storage ready to be used or uploaded wherever you see fit.
You should also try:
iDisplay: (Update) An app that turns your device into a second screen for your computer. This new version has big speed improvements, and if you're using it over Wi-Fi it should be much more usable. Just note there is no Windows 10 support just yet. [£3.13]
1Password: (Update) The ever-popular password manager got a nice update this week. It's now got fingerprint scanning support, and a brand new Material Design-based interface. [Free]
Adblock Fast: If you are using a Samsung device, or use Samsung Browser on your phone, this will block all the adverts for you. All you need to do is press the big button. [Free]
iPhone: JAUMO (Free)
Yesterday was Valentine's Day, and some of you not with someone might be thinking of changing that situation. If that's the case, or you feel like making some new friends, then give JAUMO a try. It's a little bit like a traditional dating app, but mixed with some Tinder-like features for good measure.
You've got your standard timeline of matches, a selection of people nearby, and a Tinder-like interface with the typical swipe-right-to-like feature. Profiles feature a bunch of different things, including their location, what they're looking for, pictures, and all the basic information you'd find on a typical dating site. Obviously this is mobile-centric, so you don't have to worry about reading through some essay-like profiles. There are also lists of people who like you, and people you liked back.
It's also nice that you don't need to log in with Facebook to use the app. That's an option, but all you need is an email address. Though it does have a problem with figuring out where you are. It took a little while for the app to realise I wasn't in Newcastle. It can also feel a bit cluttered, but it's a nice bonus way to give online dating a try.
You should also try:
Victories: A to-do list app that helps you along with encouragement and analytics, all to keep you motivated as you do your tasks – even if its as simple as doing the dishes. [Free]
Bound: An audiobook app that lets you download audiobooks from your Dropbox account and play them on your device without dealing with iTunes. [£2.29]
Fetch!: A fun little app, from Microsoft's Garage Project, that identifies dog breeds for you. It also has a mode that lets you see what breed you and your friends are, as well as a bunch of important facts about each one. [Free]
iPad: Serato Pyro (Free)
When you're playing music from any device, there's always a bit of a gap between songs. If you're having a party you generally want to keep everything flowing continuously. Clubs and the like hire DJs to do that and make sure the punters are kept happy. Most people don't have the money to do that, or the skill to do it themselves, so there are apps like Serato Pyro to do it for you.
It pulls in music from your iTunes library or Spotify Premium account, and sorts it into a playlist for you. This isn't one of those apps that automatically sorts music for you, though, and you get complete control over the order of your queue. What the app does, though, is mixes the songs together so that there isn't a big gap between tracks. That said, it can identify the songs' tempo so you can order things in order to avoid any disruptions.
It's absolutely effortless to use, and once a song begins to end the Next button turns into a little flame to tell you that mixing is happening. It then merges the two tracks together, so that as one song winds down the next is beginning. How much of a mix is done differs from track to track, but its consistent in making sure there there is always some music playing. Even if the two tracks playing simultaneously sounds a bit strange. The mixing also happens if you decide to manually skip to the next song before the last one is over.
Whether you're having a party, or you just want to make sure there are no sudden interruptions when you listen to your music, this is a great app to try out.
You should also try:
Sonos Controller: (Update) The controller used to control a variety of SONOS wireless sound systems just got updated, and now you can wirelessly stream Apple Music to your devices.
Windows Mobile: Voice Wake (£1.49)
A few years back I discovered that my laptop at the time could be turned on by hitting a specific button on my remote control. It was handy to be able to turn it on without walking across the room, but since that was all it could do it wasn't so great. If that sort of situation sounds appealing, give Voice Wake a try.
Voice Wake uses Cortana voice commands to remotely control Windows 10 PCs on the same network. Setting them up is done automatically, provided both devices are running the Voice Wake app. Once that's all sorted, you can use voice commands to tell your PC to wake, hibernate, restart, sleep, and shutdown. It also lets you see the computer's processes in real time, so you can see how much work its doing at any given time. Those can be viewed with a voice command as well.
It may be limited to a few commands right now, but it's a handy little tool if you feel like being lazy. Or you just want to get your computer up and running before you get to it, so you don't have to sit around and wait for it.
You should also try:
Fhotoroom: This one's been a popular photo editing app on Windows Phone for some time, and now it's finally available on Windows 10 Mobile. [Free]
Glide: A video messaging app that aims to be more like texting than calling. Send out short snappy video messages to your contacts, rather than boring old words. [Free]