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

By Tom Pritchard on at

I don't really understand the need to drink on public transport -- yes, train travel can be brutal, but is it that bad? I say this because some idiot decided to spill her glass of wine on my laptop on the train back from London. Cue panic when it then switched itself off and refused to start up again, leading to me ripping it open to inspect the insides. It's fine now, thankfully, which also means I can give you this week's selection of apps:


iPhone Apps

BBM: After much anticipation and delay BBM is finally here! Just in case you're part of the 0.0001 per cent of the world's population who has never heard of BBM, allow me to bring you up to speed: BBM is an app designed for you to chat with your friends, a bit like texting, but via the magic of the internet. Chat isn't restricted to other iPhone BBM users either; you can send messages to any BBM user you have in your contacts list. [Free]

Tweetbot 3: Redesigned for iOS 7, Tweetbot is a third party Twitter client that some would say is better than the official app. Updated features allow you to block people without unfollowing them, as well as mute hastags, people, and if you're sick of hearing about Justin Bieber, you can even mute specific keywords so you don't have to see anything offensive. Best of all, you can sync your timeline position across your devices, so you don't have to scroll through stuff you've already read.  [£1.99]

Telegram Messenger: Another messaging app, but Telegram is aiming to fix problems that have been plaguing similar apps that are available. Their prime motivation seems to be not having gaping holes in their security and providing a fast, efficient service. Plus they're offering unlimited cloud storage, so you can access your message archives from any of your devices. All that, and it has no ads. Bargain! [Free]

Bandcamp: Bandcamp is a service designed designed to allow bands and musicians to sell their music directly to fans, for the price and format that the they choose. The Bandcamp app is designed for fans who want instant access to their purchases on the go, as well as the option of listening into the app's native radio show. A great little piece of software if you're into indie music. [Free]

Avira Mobile Security: Mobile security has never been as much of an issue with iOS users compared to, say, Android. But you can never be too careful with all those people out there who are hellbent on making your computing life miserable. Avira will scan your phone and incoming apps to ensure they're all safe. It also includes a built-in tracking system in the event that your phone is lost or stolen. [Free]


iPad Apps

Chippy: Ever wanted to run your own chippy, serving Fish & Chips to the great British public? Well you can, now. Sort of. Chippy is the ultimate Fish & Chip shop simulator. Serve food, pass health inspections, and above all, keep the customers happy. With 28 levels and more to come, you should be able to waste away the hours. Who knew frying food could be so much fun? [£1.99]

Manga: Manga from Crunchyroll is set to become your one-stop-shop for adding to your manga collection. As soon as the latest issues are released in Japan it will be available for download in the app. Premium members also get a whole host of bonus features including the option of keeping entire series available on demand. [Free -- with in-app purchases]

HarperCollins Reader: The new e-reader app from publishers Harper Collins will allow you to browse and purchase their entire catalogue of reading materials, including the entire works of CS Lewis. There isn't much in the app that Amazon's Kindle store doesn't have already, except Harper Collins hasn't been accused of tax dodging -- so there's that. It's a useful alternative if the Kindle Store isn't your thing. [Free -- with in-app purchases]

Thor -- The Dark World: Another mobile movie tie-in, this time for Marvel's latest superhero offering. The Dark World sees you take control of the titular character in his quest to save the Nine Realms from chaos. With 90 levels to complete and a number of weapons and armour upgrades to unlock, this should be an enjoyable way to spend those boring commutes, especially if you're a comics fan already. [Free]

Life in the Womb: A great app for expectant parents or those studying Human Biology. Life in the Womb is a visual guide to the nine months of pregnancy, with illustrations, animation, and various forms of interactivity. All to help people understand the stages involved in the development of a brand new person. [£2.99]


Android Apps

YPlan: Ever been bored one night with no prior plans to occupy your time? But it's last minute! You can't do anything meaningful! Well now you're wrong -- if you live in London or New York, that is. YPlan is a nifty app that has a list of ticketed events going on over the next 48 hours, whether it's comedy, music, stage, or even cocktails. Simplicity and ease is key to the apps success: In two taps you can have your tickets booked and stored on your phone. There are plans to expand and a cool reward scheme for recommending your friends. [Free]

GTA V iFruit: A couple of weeks ago a few of you were moaning about iFruit being mysteriously absent from Google Play. I empathise, it's very annoying when iOS users get all the nice apps way in advance. But iFruit is finally here on Android! Play with your virtual dog and customise your in-game car, all from the palm of your hand. A must for anyone who loves all things GTA. [Free]

Virgin Media Smart Call: Plenty of apps exist that allow you to call without using your minutes. Smart Call is one of these, but with a twist. Rather than just using your data to connect to another person, the app connects to your home phone (if you're on Virgin of course) and re-routes the call through it. So unlike say Skype, or Viber, where you're limited to contacting whoever has the app installed on their device, Smart Call lets you call any phone number, anywhere. Pretty cool eh? [Free]

Assassin's Creed IV Companion: Another app designed to complement your in-game experience. The Assassin's Creed IV Companion isn't much of a deviation from others, essentially functioning as the game's menu on a second screen. But just because it's not unique doesn't mean it's incredibly useful; if offers everything you could need from a companion app: maps, game progression, collectables, you name it. Incredibly useful if you're planning to spend any length of time playing the game. [Free]

Mech Conquest: Mechs are awesome, especially when you're fighting with them. Mech Conquest is your basic 'customise and fight' game -- collect new parts and new pilots to give your Mech the advantage to help it win the next fight. Better yet, you can challenge your friends or compete against complete strangers across the globe. [Free]


Windows Phone Apps

CamScanner: Sometimes you might need to scan something but you're not in a position to use one -- it's unlikely sure, but it does happen. CamScanner is a life saver in such a situation. Using your phone's camera, you can use the app to quickly load a document onto your phone. Direct from the app you can then turn scanned documents into PDFs, email them and for premium users, you have access to an OCR function that will transform them into a text document. I have used CamScanner on my Android in the past; it may not be perfect, but it's really quite useful. [Free]

InNote: A app for making notes with a cool feature. Rather than having to type it out, InNote uses the touchscreen for you to write out your notes by hand using your finger, or a stylus. I'm sure many people out there will prefer typing out notes, but if you're like me and prefer to write them out by hand, InNote is the app for you. Better yet, it can be used in conjunction with CamScanner to annotate your scanned documents. [Free]

AA Theory Test: It's the bane of the learning driver and sadly doesn't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon, The Theory Test. Unfortunately it's also not the kind of test you can wing your way through, practice is key to getting that coveted pass. AA Theory Test has an extensive database of the 970 questions that may crop up on your test, with practice and test modes, all to help you prepare. Sadly there doesn't appear to be any Hazard Perception included in the app, so you'll have to learn that elsewhere. [£1.99]

Viber: Not got many minutes or texts on your contract? Got Wi-Fi or plenty of data? Sounds like you need Viber. The staple app from iOS and Android has come to Windows Phone, meaning you can call and text your friends over the web rather than using up those precious finite resources given to you by the network. [Free]

How to Draw Cartoons: Drawing is not something everyone is naturally good at, but practicing does help. How to Draw Cartoons shows you step by step guides to help you draw some of the world's best known characters from animation and gaming -- with the likes of Pikachu, Homer Simpson, Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog. It may not turn you into an artist overnight, but it could help you get better. [Free]