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

By A Kennedy on at

No more bank holidays until Christmas; now we can only rely on evenings, weekends and sick days to play with our new gadgets -- massive sadface. I hope you're not as sad about this as I am. Here are a few apps to try and free up some more of that time and lift your mood, or perhaps just spend more time staring at your device. Whatever.


iPhone Apps

Lime&Tonic - Your Social Concierge: This is an app for foodies. I'm a foodie, so I'm going nuts over it. You live in London. You have a bit of of disposable income. But you just can’t find the time to work out how to spend your spare time. Don’t despair first-world problem-ers, here's Lime&Tonic. Described as a digital concierge service for the slightly more affluent, the app provides personalised recommendations of what they describe as “unforgettable” experiences to help users fill their social agendas. Taking a look through the schedule, it's mainly food-based events, which as you can tell, is just fine by me. [Free]

Contacts+ for iPhone: Something different to Apple's iOS contacts app -- Contacts+ grabs your data from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn; lets you sort your many friends into groups, and has a clean, simple design that makes navigating through your contacts quick and easy. [Free]

Tadaa 3D: I like photography, and as far as I'm concerned, tadaa 3D is worth a look. It's a site to create 3D-like photos that "react as you move your phone," along with more standard photo-app features like filters and social sharing. [£2.49]

Harris + Hoole: I just started getting my coffee from Tesco's coffee shop arm Harris + Hoole recently; it's actually decent coffee, and unlike a lot of bigger places, the baristas make your coffee exactly as you ask for it. Next step, download the app. You tell the app what "My Usual" is in terms of size, espresso shots, milk type and temperature, then check into any H+H shop to get it. Loyalty card features are also included. It means you have to deal with fewer people each day, which is always a relief. [Free]

Hot5 Fitness: Can you get fit in a workout in five minutes? Hot5 Fitness shows you how; it's a series of video workouts that last for five minutes, although you can string them together for a longer workout. You have various different strains of exercise to choose from, such as yoga, pilates and regular cardio routines, with a few different difficulty levels. Five workouts are free, then you can get more through a combination of earned points and in-app purchases. [Free -- In-app Purchases]


iPad Apps

Henri le Worm: This app aims to get children interested in cooking. Some big names are involved -- Raymond Blanc provides the recipes, while Simon Pegg provides voice narration for the characters. Henri the Worm includes storytelling with Henri and the rest of his mini friends, interactive activities and 10 recipes for kids and parents to cook together. [£2.99]

Carrot Alarm: I hate alarms. Useful, but annoying. Why not have an amusing alarm to make you feel less like throwing your iPad out the window when it wakes you up at stupid o'clock? Carrot is a ‘hilariously twisted AI construct,’ jammed full of witty phrases and songs to tempt you out of bed. She’ll even have you doing some pretty bizarre tasks to really wake you up. Go back to sleep at your peril though. That’s when she gets really mad… [£1.49]

iPad Apps of the Week: The Converted, Blackbar, ReadQuick, And More

The Converted: This is a handy conversion app that gives you a better overall comprehension of the conversion you're interested in, rather than an accurate "throw a number in, and it spits a number out' type of program. Needs a new icon, but it's pretty good. [£1.99]

iPad Apps of the Week: The Converted, Blackbar, ReadQuick, And More

Blackbar: This immersive game takes you (as character Vi) on a puzzle-solving adventure while you try to decipher many of your sister's letters that have been censored due to her position in the (fictional) Dept of Communication. It's sort of like hangman -- you fill in blacked-out words in the letters with various possibilities to try and clear everything up a little better. [£1.99]

iPad Apps of the Week: The Converted, Blackbar, ReadQuick, And More

ReadQuick: This app is amazing -- it teaches you how to speed read, but is also really interesting as a self-imposed experiment. It speeds up reading by cutting out all the distractions -- you get one word at a time. One. That's it. Link it up to any number of news and tech sites; set the speed (100 -- 800 WPM) and go. It'll even tell you how long it should take you to read it. [£2.99]


Android Apps

Android Apps of the Week: Digg Reader, Dynamic Notifications and More

Digg Reader: Digg’s app showed up on iOS back in June when Digg launched their new service, Digg Reader, just days before Google Reader went down, giving users the chance to browse through Digg’s Top Stories and share them across several social media channels. When users Digg or save a story, they can send it to Instapaper, Pocket or Readability or share on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, WordPress, Buffer and Dropbox. Works well enough that you might actually read on it. [Free]

Android Apps of the Week: Digg Reader, Dynamic Notifications and More

DynamicNotifications: Here is one of the intrepid app developers' answers to the coveted features in the New Moto X. Running on devices with 4.0 or higher, the app will discretely light up the screen once you get a notification and will let you peak at it by tapping on it. You can then either unlock your phone swiping downwards, or jump straight into the app by swiping upwards. Won't be the Moto X, but it's one step closer. [Free]

Android Apps of the Week: Digg Reader, Dynamic Notifications and More

Open Mic+ For Google Now: Similar to the above: you've seen the new Moto X and wish you could get touchless control for your phone. Open Mic+ can bring it to you. The app lets you set a voice phrase that it'll listen for, integrates with Google Now for voice searches, and even integrates with Tasker for more advanced actions. If you're worried about battery life, you can toggle the app on or off as you see fit, but by default the app runs quietly in the background so it's always available. "Okay Google"[Free]

Buy Me a Pie: Loads of people are already using the shopping-list creator Buy Me a Pie on various other platforms, so Android fans can now jump on the bandwagon. It lets you create and share shopping lists with friends and family members, synchronising the details between people and devices. [£0.64]

Minuum Keyboard: Pitched as "the little keyboard for big fingers," Minuum is a great idea that shrinks the size of your on-screen keyboard, while using auto-correct to detect what you're typing on the reduced number of keys. The company behind it is looking at expanding their products to smart-watches and other wearable devices in the future, so this is an early look at how its technology is shaping up. It's really great for us with chubby fingertips. [£2.48]


Windows Phone Apps

Lessons in Life: if you're looking for some lessons in life, here's an app jammed full of beautiful and interesting quotes. You can share these with your friends through Facebook and Twitter and if you want to revisit some inspiration, you can keep the quotes you love in the favourites panel. [Free]

AA Restaurant Guide: The popular AA guides have brought out this app for those who need a hand deciding where to eat. The app features 2,000 recommended AA Restaurants in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and provides you with all the contact details you need. If you are a fellow indecisive eater, the ‘Inspire Me’ feature helps you find an AA Restaurant in an inspirational location. [Free]

Tesco Groceries: Similar to the web version of Tesco's online food shopping service, this app gives you a list of all the foods you may want to order to be delivered to your door. You can set orders on repeat and choose from you "favourite items" too. [Free]

Chiltern Railways: A great app for train journeys, with this app you can get your ticket instantly on your phone as a barcode for journeys on Chiltern Railways. But that’s not all, you can also buy tickets from other train companies nationwide and collect them at your chosen station. You can check real time information including delays, cancellations, platform numbers and service progress. [Free]

Mathematicus: If you're interested in mathematics, Mathematicus is a fairly convenient source of your mathematical formulas. It covers 20 topics including area, volume and coordinate geometry. The app displays data in a sleek and interactive interface, making it easy to access and use. [Free]