Life in your hands: smartphone apps
RIGHT, you’ve got the latest kit, the iPhone 4, iPad 2, BlackBerry Bold Touch perhaps, but your smartphone’s home screen is looking ever-so bare. Remedying this involves a trawl through app stores and user reviews without even knowing what you’re looking for. Fear not. We look beyond the social necessities of Facebook and Foursquare, and the casual gaming of Angry Birds to bring you the essential apps that you’ll want to use both in and out of the office.
Best for: Reading documents on the go
If you’re constantly reading, editing and reviewing documents, this is definitely for you. Preferable to iBooks, the default reader app on Apple’s portable devices, this reader accepts all types of files and is brilliant for anyone with a long commute.
For iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. £2.99
Best for: Business and finance…
…until City A.M. launches its own app, of course. Bloomberg’s data is hard to beat, and City A.M.’s editor Allister Heath is a daily user. “The market data is very accessible and of course spans fixed income, commodities, currencies and equities.” Very good on the iPhone.
For iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, Android smartphone, Android tablet and Nokia. Free.
Best for: Keeping note
If there was anything that could act as your virtual memory, it’s this. Evernote’s best funtion is the ability to record your voice, convert what you say into a typed note, which you can search and file for later on.
For iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, BlackBerry and Android. Free.
Best for: Long phone calls
Viber is the new Skype. Think free calls and text messages to anyone who also has the application. This is the app that will revolutionise your phone bill.
For iPad, iPhone, iPod touch and Android. Free.
UK Train Times
Live departure information at your fingertips. This app does everything from saving the journeys you look up the most to displaying the platform of the departures you need. You’ll find yourself using it more than you originally thought.
For iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. £4.99
Best for: Restaurants and bars
Hot date? Client lunch? Post-work bevvie? Urbanspoon provides all the answers to your culinary conundrums. Sort by cuisine, location, and price to find your venue of choice. And if you need opinions, both blogger and press reviews are easily accessible.
For iPad, Phone, BlackBerry and Android. Free.
Best for: Going out for good food
Jamie Oliver is the king of being current, and following the success of his 20 minute meal app, here he is again with this brand new social number that capitalises on our love of sharing food recommendations. Upload photos of your favourite places and synch dates of future visits with your calendar.
iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. £2.99.
Rugby World Cup
Best for: Rugby trivia
If you’re a rugby fan and haven’t already got this app on your smartphone, then downloading this is a must. With live match coverage, stats, and highlights from each match (great if you’re always caught out by the early-morning starts), and information on each team, this is an essential episode-guide to accompany the drama of the world cup and useful when you’re planning the weekend.
Also, for sports fans, special mention has to go to the Sky Sports news app, which has the best up-to-the-minute sports coverage of cricket, football, tennis, Formula 1, rugby league and union, golf and boxing.
For iPad, iPhone, iPod touch and BlackBerry. Free.
THE NEW YORKER
Best for: Sunday afternoons
Particularly stunning on the iPad, this is one of the best digital magazines. The content is identical to the physical copy, but cheaper, and particularly good are the share buttons at the end of certain articles that will let you send them to friends.
For iPad, iPhone, iPod touch and Android.
Free to download. Individual magazines normally £2.99.
LONDON CYCLE HIRE
Best for: Cycling around London
Complete with maps of the city, the app uses your location to find the nearest docking station. You’ll never be caught without a Boris bike again.
For iPad, iPhone, iPod touch and Android. Free. BlackBerry, £1.99.