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

By Tom Pritchard on at

Today is a big day. It's one of the days where Apple makes a whole bunch of new announcements and makes sure that nobody can watch until unless they cough up the cash for an Apple device. It's so incredibly annoying, especially since the only Apple device I own is the piddly-screened iPod Touch.

I'm sure that Tim Cook and co. will have a few app-based announcements up their sleeves, but until we find out what those are here is this week's batch.

iPhone Apps

Hang Keys: Many a school child/bored university student has casually scribbled down a game of hangman to pass the time. Sadly we live in the age where paper is less common than a kindly internet commenter, so what's to be done? You could manually type out a game each turn, or you could avoid the hassle and use Hang Keys. It works with pretty much every messaging app out there, including SMS, so what are you waiting for? [Free]

Spark: Email apps are all the rage these days, but they're all mostly the same: an inbox, a sent box, archive, etc. Spark is different because it's fully customisable, and it automatically sorts your email based on whether its personal, a notification, or a newsletter. On top of that there are smart notifications that only disturb you with important emails, the option to save attachments to your cloud storage option of choice, and much more. [Free]

SmartUp: This one is a virtual mentoring programme and business simulator designed to help entrepreneurs and start-ups make better decisions. The simulations are there to help you sharpen your business skills, and you can access insights from some of the world's top entrepreneurs. Oh and if that's not enough, you can take part in quizzes to win real mentoring sessions. [Free]

Opener: Sometimes when you're using a mobile browser you come across a link that would be better suited for an app you already have installed. Normally you'd have to copy and paste a link manually, but Opener lets you open it up in an app instead. Just click the link, and you get a list of the compatible apps to choose from. [£1.49]

Charlie: If you're going into a business meeting, you need to be prepared. That means knowing what you're talking about, and who you're talking to. That's where Charlie comes in. Charlie briefs you before every appointment on your calendar, briefing you on the people you're meeting with lots of of information about their company. [Free]

iPad Apps

Curator: Curator is a presentation tool that stores your ideas and work into a mosaic-style portfolio. Show off text, websites, and images pulled in from a variety of sources and presented in a visually appealing way. It's been updated, and that brings in bigger boards, more text tools, Pinterest support, and the ever-important option of collaborating with your peers. [Free -- with premium in-app purchases]

TodayTix: Looking to buy yourself some theatre tickets? If you're looking to see something in the West End or the Edinburgh Fringe, give this a try. TodayTix will give you 24-hour access to the best prices and deals, so you don't have to spend an absolute fortune. It's all fairly standard in terms of functionality, but saving money is saving money. [Free]

HowStuffWorks: Let's face it we all love machines and stuff, so of course we want to see how they all work. HowStuffWorks' new iPad app has a selection of videos, articles, podcasts, and quizzes that are updated on a daily basis. [Free]

Powered Now: If you're self-employed, you know all about having to create invoices to bill your clients. If you want an easy way to get it done, Powered Now lets you do the lot, along with loads of other aspects of business management, on your iPad. Build your invoices, manage your quotes, keep track of all your appointments, and accept PayPal payments all within the app. [Free -- with in-app purchases]

Lumy: Any photographer knows that there are set hours in the day where your photos look great, the 'golden hour'. How do you know exactly when this time is then? Doesn't the whole sky situation change depending on where you are, and what time of year it is? That's what Lumy is for, it's an app that tells you the optimum times for photographic gold along with the current weather situation. [£1.99]

Android Apps

Photos: Obviously one of the biggest releases of the last couple of weeks, Photos is Google's revamped cloud photo-storage platform. It's been getting universal praise for the fact that it has unlimited storage (albeit with limits on file size and resolution), and automatic organisation. [Free]

Popcorn Buzz: So group texting isn't your thing. It's annoying and requires you to read everyone else's nonsense. That said you still need a way to communicate with multiple people at the same time, so why not group calls? If that's all you want, Popcorn Buzz is what you need. You can call up to 200 people in each call, and it's 100 per cent free. Now you can talk to your entire family on Christmas Day in one fell swoop. [Free]

Heads Off: A lot of people love Lollipop, but the general consensus is that its 'Heads Up' notifications are the spawn of Satan and should be eradicated. Personally I've never had an issue with notifications in Lollipop, but if you have then you might want to give Heads Off a try. The free version of Heads Off will let you disable all Heads Up notifications on your phone and lock screen, leaving you not having to deal with them immediately. [Free -- with in-app purchases]

Wire Flow Wireframe Design: One for the more creative types, Wire Flow is a tool for creating wireframe designs on your phone, without any real hassle. You can't always be at a desktop computer or laptop when you need to get some design work in, but you always have your phone -- so why not take advantage of that? Wire Flow is minimalist, simple, and, best of all, completely free. [Free]

SMS Integration for iChat: For Mac users sporting an iPhone, Apple's own Messages takes the stress off your phone and lets you send texts from your computer instead. But what about Mac users who use Android phones? That's what SMS Integration for iChat is for. It's not free (there's a $13/£8.50 annual subscription if you send more than five messages a day), but it's there if you really must text from your Mac. Plus, unlike a lot of competitors, your texts won't be stored on external servers. Also be aware that this isn't compatible with iMessage. [Free -- with subscription]

Windows Phone Apps

Dropbox: Dropbox has slowly been slowly getting updated on Windows Phone, and this week's latest batch of new features go a long way to making it more like other platforms. The latest version has a new user interface, improved sharing functions, and now videos will actually appear in your gallery. [Free]

GoPro: If you've got a GoPro camera, having the companion app is essential. Not only can you remotely control your camera's functions, you can also use it to copy files to your phone and manage the camera's memory card. It's had a small but hefty update, and now works with the Hero+ LCD camera. [Free] 

HERE Maps: Nokia's mapping service is one of the biggest competitors to Google, and with good reason. Not only are the maps available offline, you can also see an augmented reality view of what's around you using your phone's camera. The app has just been updated, and Nokia promises that there are 'millions' of changes included. It hasn't specified what most of those are, but that main one is that it now comes with public transport information for cities across the country (and the rest of the world). No need for a separate app! [Free]

4castr: 4castr promises to be the most advanced weather forecasting app on Windows Phone, with customs icons and live tiles, notifications, and organised data panels. It's just had a major update, and with it comes hourly weather forecasts, new weather sources, and a load of changes to the design and user interface. [Free -- with in-app purchases]