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

By Tom Pritchard on at

Recently I found myself out testing out a contactless payment band, and I was struck by how few places accept it as a form of payment. I'm talking big national chains here (including one supermarket), not tiny local businesses. It got me thinking about how well something like Apple Pay is going to do, especially since Apple wants to kill the wallet. That £20 spending limit certainly isn't going to help things.

We'll have to wait and see what happens with that, so until then let's distract our minds with some good ol' mobile software.

iPhone Apps 

Timeline – News in Context: Timeline ensures that you get the correct context when you consume the news, so rather than just giving you the story it will also give you a timeline of events that led up to what just happened. If you understand the events leading up to it, then you can understand the story in a much better way. [Free]

Complete: Completing tasks might be difficult, but with Complete you have a to-do list with a built-in social function that lets you interact for help and support. Need some help or advice? People are there instantly. Want to help some people? Same situation, but you earn points for doing so. If other people are seeing see what you accomplish, it becomes a great motivator. [Free]

QWERKY:  The limited screen space on mobile keyboards is frustrating: you have to keep flicking between different screens to get what you want. QWERKY has a feature that lets you flick between text, numbers, and emoji with a single swipe, no need for hitting the buttons. [£1.49]

Camu: By now you've probably burned out every filter in your Instagram roll. They're all so done. Experiment with Camu, a selection of live filters that you can apply before you take the photo, and then adjust the strength.  [Free]

Funny or Die Weather: Weather forecasts are boring, which is probably why many news outlets employ overly attractive (usually rather busty) weather reporters. Funny or Die decided to do something about dreary weather apps, by injecting humour. That's right, this is the world's first humorous weather app and you should definitely try it. [Free]

iPad Apps

My Widgets: Widgets are a great addition to iOS 8, but if you want to keep them all in check then My Widgets is there for you. There's lots of stuff included, like horoscopes, quote of the day, customisable calendars, and so on. Be warned, though, you do have to pay to unlock the majority of them. [Free -- with in-app purchases]

The Lego Movie Video Game: The official video game of the film is now on iOS, giving you the opportunity to foil the plans of the evil Lord Business on your way to work. With over 90 characters from the movie, and 45 levels to play through, you should enjoy yourself -- especially if you play as Batman, because you can growl "I'm Batman" and get an entire row to yourself. [£3.99 -- with in-app purchases]

Handle: A great way keep track of of your activities, when you don't want to have to switch between apps to organise yourself. Handle is an app with email, a to-do list, and a calendar built-in. That means you can use the timeline to organise yourself, and see everything you have to do in a single place. [Free]

Be My Eyes: This is one for helping someone out where they really need it. As much as they can manage their day-to-day lives, there are times when blind people do need a pair of eyes on hand to help out. With the app they can do that, asking for help from the community and a sighted person can help them out through a live video feed. [Free]

Khan Academy: Khan Academy is an app for learning new skills, since it has 150,000 free lessons that will help you study almost any topic you can think of. Watch the videos, complete the exercises, and read the in-depth articles to help yourself prepare for exams, or just for the hell of it. [Free]

Android Apps

WhatsApp: Big news from clan WhatsApp this week, because they've finally crafted a Chrome-based version of the app (also available on WP and BlackBeyry). Just connect your phone to the browser via QR code, make sure you've got stable connections on both devices, and you're good to go. Just make sure you don't switch off the internet on your phone, or it won't work. [Free]

Field Trip: a Google AR app that runs in the background while you explore the world. Should anything interesting pop up, it'll tell you and if you're wearing a headset it can read that info out to you. Freshly updated, the app has a new design, more info from hundreds of publishers, making it even easier to discover new things. [Free]

Amazon Music with Prime Music: Amazon's cloud music service has just had a shiny new update, bringing with it a new section dedicated to Prime Music, improved searching methods to fill up your library, and now the opportunity to play music without having to add it to your library first. [Free]

Citymapper: Citymapper is a great transit management app, covering public transport, roads, cycling, walking, and taxis in select cities in real time. It's had an update for 2015, and now includes real-time traffic information, smarter systems, and the option to find public transport stops near any location. [Free]

QualityTime: If you feel addicted to your phone, QualityTime is an app that monitors your smartphone and app use, and shows you with a selection of different graphs how much you've been using it. You can also set your own timed limits to try and keep yourself away from the screen so you can get something important done without distraction. [Free]

Windows Phone Apps

Dropbox: Dropbox has officially launched on Windows Phone, meaning you don't have to entrust your data to third-party developers to manage your files on the go. It's pretty much the same as any other mobile version of Dropbox, letting you upload files, photos, and videos for safe keeping -- as well as giving you access to everything you've previously uploaded. [Free]

Spotify: Spotify's latest update brings a new design (similar to the one found in the iOS app), new ways to help you browse and organise your music collection, and finds content that is localised, and more relevant to you. [Free -- with optional subscription]

Mega: It might seem strange to include two cloud storage options in one list, but if you're concerned about the privacy of your files then you'll want to know about Mega. With it you can upload and access files from your Windows Phone, all encrypted so that only you can actually see what they are. Plus, Mega offers more free storage (50GB) than Dropbox and OneDrive combined. [Free]

World Cup 2015 Calendar Sync: Cricket fans out there will want to keep themselves up to date with the World Cup when it starts next month, so why not let the app make sure you know when everything is happening? It'll connect and sync with your phone's calendar and stick in all of the events so you don't have to worry about scheduling clashes. [£0.79]

Twitter: Windows Phone is often ignored by apps developers – even the big ones. For that very reason Twitter on WP is rather different to Twitter on Android or iOS. Fortunately the app has finally been updated with functions everyone else has enjoyed for ages. You can now tag people in photos, see a preview of photos in your timeline, share photos via DM, interact from your timeline, and more. [Free]