Monday, October 28, 2013

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

The week of All Hallows’ Eve, holiday of screams, scares and sweets. Or in my case the night of hiding in the living room, turning off the lights with a bottle of wine and ignoring the knocks on the door. Give me hordes of the undead over hordes of children in costume any day. Never mind, I’ll survive â€" I hope. These apps will be keeping me amused on the scariest night of the year (because of the children) â€" feel free to join me:


iPhone Apps

Seene [1] : We all like photography apps, but here’s one with a difference â€" it’s all in 3D. It reminds me of Instagram, being as much about sharing your 3D pictures as it is about taking them. How does it work? Basically, you take a video and move your iPhone a short way around the object you’re focusing on. Then Seene uses that footage to produce a 3D picture. You can then share it with your follower. It’s pretty nifty. [Free]

Mobile Energy [2] : I’m going through hell at the moment arguing tooth and ear with a certain energy company, as they’ve been charging me based on the meter readings of the neighbour. How does that even happen? So I now have a new appreciation for conveniences such as this. Simple, easy to use, and does what it says on the tin. Plus it does the splitting of costs between you and any other responsible person/people. Saves arguments with the gas company, saves arguments at home â€" two birds, one stone, or rather, app. [Free]

Launch Center Pro [3] : Version 1.1 of LCP has been available since March of this year and version 2.0 came out last week. If you had been using LCP (and I don’t know why you wouldn’t have been) then I’m sure you were massively excited about this. I was nearly going to go as far as to say this app changed my life, but that drops me to a new level of smartphone reliance that I’m not ready to admit to. However, it’s immensely useful. The basic idea is that you use one touch rather than two or three to get what you want done, such as “call mum”, or “go to” (had to do it), and it works. It has a permanent place in my dock, and that’s saying something.  [£2.99]

LVL Cam [4] : Want to take nice shots of the view, the landscape, or seascape, or any scape you want, but can’t get the bloody horizon straight thanks to shaky hands, weird vision or whatever else? Rather than trying to pull off a diagonal shoreline as “artsy”, you should give this app a whirl. It uses the phones internal leveller to make sure you take that shot straight, hugely simple idea, but the simple ones are usually the best.  [£0.69]

Type:Rider [5] : Type:Writer. Typewriter meets Tomb raider? This game was the editors’ pick on the App Store last week and after being immersed in its world of calligraphy for a while (all week), I can see why. You play as two little dots traversing through the evolution of typography with various obstacles to prevent you from getting from Rock Paintings to Times New Roman. Fun, immersive and interesting. *Gripe alert* the punctuation and grammar in the integrated textbook â€" not good, not good at all.  [£1.99]


iPad Apps

Narrato [6] : A journaling app for iPhone that takes some of the redundancy out of saving our favourite moments. Outside of being able to create unique private journal entries, Narrato also allows you to import moments from your social streams. This is its real strength and puts it slightly above its numerous competitors. Another cool little feature is that the app is intuitive and intelligent. The more you update it, the more accurate Narrato becomes. It draws conclusions from the logs and data you add, and becomes more able to anticipate what to grab from your various profiles. Nifty. [Free]

Paperless Post [7] : Paperless Post boasts “the web’s most beautiful cards and invitations.” Big claim, I’ll let you decide on the aesthetics yourself. You can use this app to manage your RSVPs and keep tabs on your social calendar, and communicate with your friends and family. While the app itself does feel like it’s lacking something at the moment, the Paperless Post site itself does boast some very attractive invites. They are truly gorgeous, with something to suit any party, any mood, and any personal style. So I’ll look to the future and hope the app will match it. [Free]

iMotion HD: I think this is a pretty special stop-motion film creator app, with the time lapse option making this app so damn special. In reality, I don’t have a huge amount of experience with this type of app, but it allows you to choose the interval of time before it automatically takes the picture which is great for those who get tired of pressing pause and start recording for every single frame. Which to me sounds time consuming, and boring. When you’re done with your film, the app lets you export your finished movie to YouTube, email and the iMotion gallery so others can judge it. [Free] [8]

50 years of the National Theatre [9] : It’s the National Theatre’s 50th Birthday this year, and what better way to celebrate than by releasing an app? And honestly, for a theatre buff, this app is toe-wigglingly good. It has production posters, rehearsal stills, performance stills, and other graphics and information for every single production that has gone through the National Theatre’s doors in the last 50 years. Not only that, you get your hands on exclusive video interviews with the writers of some of the productions (Philip Pullman’s is a standout). If you were one of the lucky individuals who managed to see His Dark Materials in 2003, I want to be you. Jealousy doesn’t even come close to describing it. [Free]

Comics [10] : This app has managed to reignite my interest in one of my favourite adolescent diversions: comic books. I’ve been out of the loop for quite a while (“a while” meaning over 10 years) until the last week or two when I started fiddling with Comixology’s free iPad app. The generically Comics app offers over 30,000 digital comic books and graphic novels for you to read that are shareable on various devices. However, before you think you’ll go on a comic-buying rampage, the price of each purchase (although markedly lower than the paper version) may deter you from rebuilding your childhood collection. [Free]


Android Apps

BBM [11] : It’s finally here. It was scheduled for release, then it was postponed, then it was released again, sort of . Probably the most highly-anticipated Android and iOS app this month, I’m not gonna lie â€" I’m still on the waiting list. Eagerly waiting. I really hope it lives up to the hype, I’d be a tad disappointed if it didn’t. [Free]

GetYourGuide Tours Activities [12] : When you go on holidays for two weeks, and after two days you’ve run out of things to do and don’t want to sit on the beach or drink yourself stupid in the nearest bar again, this app is a good one to consider having handy. It has over 23,000 activities, tours and attractions to choose from that might amuse you â€" at least for a few more days. You can do a search by city, activity type, or just browse through the library. That or let your phone/tablet’s GPS do the work and recommend something to do. It’s pretty good for a day off in London as well. [Free]

Burton [13] : This isn’t particularly innovative or new for a shopping app, but the content is as tempting to the male fashion fan as visiting one of their physical stores. I managed to pick up a pair of decent shoes from this app for £7, so check it out for a between-season sale. [Free]

Stormfly [14] : Stormfly brings you live weather information in the form of changing wallpaper based on the current weather conditions. Not a new concept, but Spiderfly Studios has managed to throw it together in a pleasingly aesthetic way that doesn’t munch on your bandwidth too much. [£0.61]

iCube [15] : Did anyone have one of these puzzles when they were younger? I LOVED them. Being a big maze fan, it’s not too much of a surprise. The basic idea is obvious, guide the ball through a 3D cube maze and get it out the other end. Like a Rubik’s Cube, it can be a fun and stimulating experience, or so frustrating that you want to throw your phone out the window. I keep going back for more though. [£0.61]


Windows Phone Apps

Rotation Lock [16] : I’m not sure how much I can say about this app, apart from the fact that it does exactly what it says on the tin. I haven’t found another app that does it in the WP marketplace, and it’s a feature sadly lacking in many WP models. But here’s the solution to that small oversight. [Free]

Facebook Messenger [17] : The Facebook app for Windows Phone is good, not great, but the chat feature leaves a lot to be desired. Another simple concept to improve the newest OS on the market, this independent dev app gives you what the official app lacks, if you need to use Facebook for IM, which inevitably, we all do. It’s nearly better than face-to-face chat these days. [Free]

Lloyds Bank [18] : Lloyds Bank (not Lloyds TSB) has jumped on the bandwagon in the last couple of weeks by releasing their app for WP, joining their previous releases on Android and iOS. Exactly the same as on the other devices, it provides Lloyds customers with the basic internet banking facilities, locations of ATMs and branches, and contact information. Not as extensive as the website, but allows you to do what you need on the go. [Free]

Phonly [19] : The most beautiful way to use Feedly on any mobile device I’ve seen so far. And being only version 1.1, there’s a promise of more features on the way. Useful to keep on top of your news and other sites or blogs, it’s perfect for those who miss the ‘ol Google Reader. [Free]

Imagine Cam [20] : The one area of the WP marketplace that isn’t lacking is photography. And Imagine Cam is one of the more recent additions. It’s a pretty simple camera alternative that provides an equally simple editor to add a ‘lil something extra to your shots. There’s room for improvement (that’s what updates are for) but if you’re looking for simplicity for your casual photography, you’ve found it. [Free]

  1. ^ Seene (
  2. ^ Mobile Energy (
  3. ^ Launch Center Pro (
  4. ^ LVL Cam (
  5. ^ Type:Rider (
  6. ^ Narrato (
  7. ^ Paperless Post (
  8. ^ iMotion HD (
  9. ^ 50 years of the National Theatre (
  10. ^ Comics (
  11. ^ BBM (
  12. ^ GetYourGuide Tours Activities (
  13. ^ Burton (
  14. ^ Stormfly (
  15. ^ iCube (
  16. ^ Rotation Lock (
  17. ^ Facebook Messenger (
  18. ^ Lloyds Bank (
  19. ^ Phonly (
  20. ^ Imagine Cam (

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