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Phone and Tablet Apps

What Is Your Favorite App?

| Sande Caplin |

is like Candy Crush, that very colorful game, but better. And it’s free for Androids.  Vine – Twitter’s (TWTR) strange little video-sharing app is still figuring out exactly what it is, but it’s growing legion of experimenters are beginning to answer that question. Free for iPhones and Androids.  Hangouts – After years of amassing Gmail chatters, Google FINALLY created a truly unified, cross-platform messaging solution for all its products. It also means iPhone users’ days of using horrible third-party apps are over and iPhones and Androids get it free.

VSCO cam  technically debuted in 2012, but the second generation of the app has been so thoroughly overhauled that it’s essentially a whole new app. It’s the best one-stop shop for photo taking, photo editing, photo organizing and photo sharing. Now that’s worth downloading to your iPhone or Android for free!

What Is Your Favorite App?Some cross platform apps: Snapchat – The self-destructing photo and video sharing app first appeared last year, but it wasn’t until the second half of this year that the service really took off.  The fun is undeniable and free to iPhones and Androids. WhatsApp  may not be the BEST chatting or texting app, but you will find this service on more devices, used in more countries, with more active users.  Again free to all users.  SoundCloud  is like a mixture of  the old MySpace Music with Twitter, ending up with SoundCloud. And it’s so much better than it sounds. Follow your favorite artists, labels, publications or users, and every time they upload new music to their profile, it ends up in your music stream. This is radio for a new era, free to iOS, and Androids.  

There’s a very good chance that if you’re using a cloud service, it’s Dropbox. There’s also a good chance that’s what your friends are using too. Might as well have your account within tapping distance on your phone.  It’s iOS, Android, Free.  The Kindle app is not only the best and most flexible way to consume e-books on your phone or tablet, but is also great for reading other documents including PDFs. It’s free to IOS and Androids.

Some good phone apps:  Google Search – Once upon a time this was maybe the most worthless app Google offered for an Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) device. But once Google baked in its voice recognition technology and its Google Now predictive search, it’s a must-have. Neither feature is quite as good as you’d find on a device like the Nexus 5 or Moto X, but it’s close and it’s free. Fantastical 2 is great.  If you don’t like the stock calendar app on iOS 7.  Fantastical may be the substitute that meets your needs and costs $2 for a limited time.  Level automatically sets up a daily, weekly and monthly budget for you, and then quickly and simply keeps you updated on your spending habits. Mailbox – If you happen to be a mailbox zero devotee, you won’t find a better mail client. Figure is an easy way to make yourself sound like a musical genius when you have 10 minutes to kill, and it’s only $1!

And finally, 5 apps for Android devices.  1Weather – There’s not really a great default weather experience baked into Android, so 1weather offers the best combination of usable information and clean design, and it’s free.  Google Now Widget is Google’s contextual/predictive search and is baked into the default search app that comes preloaded on most Android devices.   Google Now’s contextual/predictive search is baked into the default search app that comes preloaded on most Android devices. But sticking the widget on your home screen gives you the info you want before you even know you want it, via Android home screen.  SwiftKey 4 – Once you get the hang of it, gesture-based keyboards are faster and more accurate than tapping at the screen. And, though Android has its own default solution, Swiftkey is still the best of the bunch at $2.  

Favorite Apps to DownloadAviate  is the stock Android home screen and it’s pretty good, but if you’re looking for something different, give Aviate a try. It’s certainly cleaner than anything you’d find on phone from Samsung, LG, or Sony and its free.  Car Widget – If you commute to work every day, you should not be navigating your way through the normal Android UI. Car Widget puts the apps you need front and center for free.

I had to put this in last minute because of it’s great reviews and the surge of new interest in cooking with both men and women.  How to Cook Everything  for Tablets is an excellent aid in the kitchen and there are few books on cooking better than Mark Bittman’s opus.

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