Whether you’re an Android or iOS user, it’s the apps that make a smartphone worth the price. There are a huge number of high-quality apps available today for the two operating systems and choosing the right ones can be a little overwhelming.
We’ve listed our 10 favourites for each platform, with some of the best new apps along with some favourites which never go out of fashion.
10 Android apps
Best new picks
This app, still in beta, streams all the music stored on your local drive, for as long as the latter is turned on.
Angry Birds Star Wars (free)
Join the Angry Birds in their biggest adventure yet! New gameplay mechanics include the use of lightsabers, blasters and Jedi powers to wreak havoc on the imperial pigs!
Need for Speed Most Wanted ( Rs. 350)
With awesome graphics, EA’s Most Wanted pushes the mobile platform to its utmost limits. Buckle up, hit the gas and hold on tight, you’re in for the ride of your life.
Blood Brothers RPG
Blood Brothers RPG is a dark fantasy game, a tale of a hero turned vampire, who must bind an army in a pact of blood in order to exact vengeance on a corrupt empire. Choose one of eight heroes—knight, samurai, high elf, dark elf, ape, lizardman, dwarf or goblin—to lead your army to victory.
BBC’s mobile app doesn’t disappoint, letting you watch video reports, listen to live radio, clip articles for offline reading and read the latest updates on the fly.
Classics you can’t do without
AppGarden Lite (free)
The interface looks dated, but AppGarden Lite is a lightweight, backwards-compatible (utilities from older versions will keep working with the new version) container with dozens of useful utilities—from conversion charts to a barcode scanner to a password generator. You can bookmark your favourite utilities for quick access. Our favourites folder includes the QR scanner, stopwatch, tip calculator, currency calculator, Urban Dictionary lookup and a calorie calculator.
GO SMS Pro (free)
Go SMS Pro is the SMS/MMS app for power Android users. You can send “short” messages containing text, voice, doodles and photos. There’s a lot of room to customize themes, messages and folders for storage.
Armed with the right software, it’s pretty easy for someone to tap into your cellphone network and read all the text messages and chatting you’re doing over your device. Gibberbot obscures all this data so that it looks like “gibberish” to a hacker. This free, open-source chat client offers fully encrypted chatting over Google Talk, Facebook and Jabber. It must be used in conjunction with Orbot, the official Tor client for Android.
Bump lets two users tap their phones together to immediately share photos, contacts and apps. Amazingly, it works cross-platform between iOS and Android users as well.
Not every smartphone-running Android has a great camera, so get better photos with the help of a little software. FxCamera adds filters and effects such as “ToyCam” and “Fisheye”, to enhance even the most modest of pictures. It also helps to arm yourself with additional tips for getting better photos from your phone.
10 iOS apps
Best new picks
Here for iOS (free)
Nokia’s rebranded Drive navigation app, Here, is here. While it doesn’t match up to some of the features of Google Maps for sure (especially with respect to alternative routes), it is definitely excellent as far as giving routes is concerned.
Converter Plus (free)
This all-in-one calculation app delivers numbers on nearly everything, from currency conversions to loan-interest figures. It converts metric to imperial measurements for temperature, cooking volumes, length and more.
BBC News (free)
Among news apps, BBC has one of the best interfaces—clean, with relevant headlines, good photos and no advertisements. As far as international news organizations go, the BBC has correspondents in every corner of the globe, as well as varied and widespread topics.
The Brewster iPhone app may be one of the most visually appealing contact managers you’ll find, tapping into multiple social networks for images of people you know. It insists on having access to your iPhone Contacts and either Twitter or Facebook to work, though.
Chrome for iPhone is just Safari with a better interface and a few more features, but it’s a must-have app for desktop Chrome users. Anyone who has fallen in love with the “Omnibox” or combined URL address bar and search bar, won’t want to use anything else.
Classics you can’t do without
Draw Something Free
Draw Something Free, the latest app craze, pits both iOS and Android users in simple gesture-based drawing competitions.
Pick a word from a list of three, draw it on your screen with your finger using a variety of colours and brushes, and then send it to your friend to guess what you’ve drawn. You win coins if your friend guesses correctly. It’s very simple and, like Words With Friends (a word game), the addiction lies in the robust social aspect.
Adaptu Wallet: Personal Finance and Money Management To Go (free)
Adaptu Wallet for iPhone is ad-free and is the closest thing to a mobile wallet on an iPhone yet. It features bank-grade security, keeps track of your latest account balances in real-time, sends you bill reminders, tracks loyalty programmes, forecasts your spending and lots more.
Real-time picture chatting is now available on the iPhone. Claiming to be the fastest way to share a moment with friends, Snapchat allows you to control how long friends can view a message, lets you know if they take a screenshot, and “build relationships, collect points and view your best friends”.
Adobe Photoshop Express (free)
Digital photography editing, until very recently, has been a task best suited for desktop and laptop computers, but Adobe proved that it could be done in the mobile space with Photoshop Express, a free photo-editing application for the iPhone and other iOS devices. Photoshop Express is a powerhouse of a mobile app, and can even handle noise reduction (extraneous particles that show up on photos). All in all, Adobe Photoshop Express is a solid tool for making light photo edits on your iPhone.
If your files live all over the place—your office computer, home desktop, laptop, etc.— having a dependable syncing program is a must. Dropbox, the service and productivity tool that lets you store your files in the cloud and access them from anywhere you have a signal, fills that role nicely with a Dropbox iPhone app. It has a simple interface, easy uploading, and swift syncing across all accounts.
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