released the new iPad and Google rebranded the Android Market as Google Play. Developers have been hard at work creating apps for each platform and some great games, social apps and utilities have been recently released. Whether you are looking to draw on your iPad, make VoIP calls with your Android or just learn a new language, the ReadWriteWeb Apps of the Month for March has a little something for everybody.It has been a great month for apps. Both iOS and Android had big markers in March, as Apple
We also have a new feature this month: recommended apps. We choose one app on our list from both Android and iOS and give it our official stamp of approval. See below to learn what apps take the top spot this month. The updates section for March is extensive, as developers updated their apps to be compatible both with the new iPad and iOS 5.1.
Did your favorite app released this month make the list? Do you think it should have? Lists are always a little subjective, so let us know in the comments if you think a particular app should have been included.
The era of the branded app is upon us, and there is no better way to showcase it than to go to the movies. AMC Theaters' new mobile app pits itself against the likes of Flixster and IMDb to give consumers movie showtimes, offers, social commentary, theater locations and ticket purchasing. Itching to see where Hunger Games is playing in your city? Get tickets on the go.
As a pilot, you live a busy, hectic life. The only time you actually get to relax is when your co-pilot takes over the controls for a while, and you get to just relax and watch the clouds go by. Navigation company Garmin cares about your needs. Its new Pilot app allows aeronautics experts to plan flights with weather and route information, file a flight plan with easy-to-use forms and then determine where they are in the air with real-time navigation. This is a great example of how mobile apps are growing out of the realm of social, games and news and become truly useful to consumers with stressful professions.
Nokia Maps -- (Free -- HTML5 Web App)
Outside of Google, one of the biggest providers of consumer-grade maps has been Nokia. The Finnish cell phone giant is trying to take a little thunder out of Google's map domination by releasing an HTML5 Web app that works on both Android and iOS. Available through your mobile browser at m.maps.nokia.com. Nokia Maps offers most of what you would expect from a maps application, from directions and navigation and even voice-controlled prompts (only when you are walking, no texting and driving). We have been expecting to see better HTML5 Web apps come to the Apps of the Month column, and this entry from Nokia is one of the more advanced feats we have seen yet.
The saga from Rovio continues. Who knows how the irate fowl found their way to the outer reaches of the atmosphere and then away from near-Earth orbit, but here they are, bringing dynamic physics lessons to a mobile device near you. It is really the physics that makes Angry Birds Space so fascinating. Gravity, or lack thereof, plays a major part in the game and creates a degree of difficulty unseen in either the original version or Rio. Angry Birds Space gives new meaning to "the eagle has landed."
We bring the staff picks back for the third month in a row. This month we get an entrant from The Big Boss, our founder and Editor-In-Chief, Richard MacManus.
Jon Mitchell -- Writer
Byword ($2.99 -- iOS)
There are a million text editors for iOS, but Byword is the Cadillac. No, that's a bad example. Byword is the MacBook Air of text editors. It's slimmed down to the barest, sleekest, most essential design, but it still packs everything you need. It barely has preferences (but it has enough to keep you sane). There are only a few fonts, but they're carefully chosen. The UI is almost invisible. It's just you and your writing.
Byword will work for anyone, but it has special benefits for people who write in Markdown, the simple, human-readable markup language that can be easily converted to HTML. Byword's custom keyboard puts all the basic Markdown options right under your thumbs, and you can preview the formatting with two taps.
It also lets you turn autocapitalization, autocorrection and spell checking on or off within Byword as you wish. It integrates with TextExpander, so you can use your keyboard shortcuts. It even lets you export into various formats or print.
But text editors on iOS have to be good for drafts and doodles that can be picked up again on a bigger screen later. Byword offers iCloud syncing, so you can always access your notes on the iPad or Byword's original Mac version. Or you can use Dropbox, so you can access your text files from anywhere.
Richard MacManus -- Editor-In-Chief
iOS)SpinCam -- (Free --
SpinCam allows you to take 360-degree photos. It's kind of halfway between a photo and a video. While there are dozens of photo apps for your smartphone these days, this is more than just an Instagram copy. It may not have a whole lot of applications, but if you've ever wanted to take a photo of your friend doing a move from The Matrix and share it, then SpinCam is your app.
We are adding a new feature to the Apps of the Month column. From here on out, we will pick one iOS and one Android app as the official "ReadWrite Recommends" app, our top pick for the month. It is subjective, sure, but trust us to lead you to some of the most dynamic mobile apps that get our official stamp of approval.
ReadWrite Recommends iOS App for March 2012: Tapose -- ($2.99 -- iPad)
This is a Kickstarter project made good. When the Tapose founders submitted the binary of this app to Apple for approval, Cupertino's app reviewers had never seen anything like it. Hence, the approval process was delayed longer than expected, but Tapose finally made it to the App Store as one of the most ambitious content creation and productivity apps ever released. The inspiration for Tapose was the would-be game-changer tablet, the Microsoft Courier. The Courier was supposed to be a dual-screened beast but the project was scrapped by Microsoft. Sodden with grief, the two founders set to remake the Courier as a great iOS app. The list of what Tapose does is long. Consider it an "ultra flexible collaborative Journal feature." Write, draw, edit, share, pull in content, push it to the cloud on an app that splits screen real estate in two to mimic the Courier. Tapose has a cloud subscription feature for those who want to save content from the app. We took a look at Tapose in February and found it very intriguing.
Now on to the rest of March's iOS apps.
Brian Cox's Wonders of the Universe -- ($6.99 -- iPad)
Brian Cox is a English particle physicist, a Royal Society University Research Fellow and a professor at the University of Manchester. He teamed with HarperCollins to create this excellent iPad app that contains more than 200 interactive articles about the cosmos. Learn about red giants, nebulae and the mysteries of space with hundreds of infographics, video from the BBC and 3D models. When it comes to using the iPad as a learning tool, Wonders of the Universe is at the top of the heap.
Khan Academy -- (Free -- iPad)
Speaking of the iPad as a learning tool, Khan Academy is ushering in a revolution of free education utilities that will likely become part of the future of online and classroom academics. Khan Academy offers 2,700 videos on, "K-12 math, science topics such as biology, chemistry, and physics, and humanities with playlists on finance and history." Featured recently on 60 Minutes, Khan Academy can help teachers revolutionize how students learn.
Paper by FiftyThree (Free -- iPad)
Speaking of the Courier, Paper comes to us from a team of engineers that worked on the tablet while at Microsoft. Paper is simple as can be: a blank sheet of "paper" that comes with a simple set of tools to draw, sketch, write, outline and color. More tools are available through in-app purchases. If you are looking for a simple app that accomplishes one goal extremely well, Paper is for you.
Givit -- (Free, iPhone/iPad)
The Givit team from VMix Media updated its iOS app this month and it is worthy of a mention in Apps of the Month. Givit is a way to record and privately share videos from your mobile device with family and friends. Users can share videos without having to email large files, manage who that person can send the video to, and stores the content in a private Givit account. This is a social app that is not a social "network" app. Sharing without the platform. Also available for Android since Jan. 2012.
Arqball Spin -- (Free -- iPhone)
Think of the ability to create a panoramic picture but with a spinning object instead of a landscape. Spin allows users to create a 360-degree view of an object that can be used for a variety of purposes. The app is free, but Arqball suggests buying a "stage" that spins the objects while being recorded. Spin is a productivity app that gives the power of advanced video studios to regular users with an iPhone and an object.
ReadWrite Recommends Android App for March 2012: Language Learning Apps from Babbel -- (Free)
The popular Babbel language learning app comes to Android this month with 11 languages available through Google Play. Babbel has been available on iOS for a while and finally brings its suite to Android. Learn English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portugese, Swedish, Dutch, Turkish, Polish and Indonesian on your device, which includes 3,000 free words. The apps are free, but a Babbel.com account will cost a monthly subscription. For anybody that has tried to use Rosetta Stone and realized that it is outrageously expensive, Babbel may the option for you.
Temple Run -- (Free)
Another popular iOS app that finally makes its way to Android, Temple Run is the game to download on Android this month. Temple Run is a class of game considered to be a "running app" which means you are going to be chased the entire time while trying to escape the a temple with some sacred artifact. Another popular running app is Monster Dash. Be careful, Temple Run can be addictive.
Slice -- (Free)
We have written about Slice several times at ReadWriteWeb. Slice is a service that tracks your packages and online receipts. Keep track of spending, vouchers from the likes of Groupon and Gilt and notifications on online items. With tax season upon us, Slice is a great way to keep track of your spending and expenses to find what might be a deductible item. One of the great features of the mobile version is tracking packages from FedEx, UPS and the Postal Service.
If you have a rooted Android device, you know that managing permissions on it can be a little tedious. That is where an app called Superuser is very useful in helping to track those permissions every time you open an app. SuperSU takes that a step farther and automates much of the work for you. Note: this app is not for the faint of heart. If you have rooted your Android device then there is a fair likelihood that you know what you are doing, but if you have a rooted device and are not sure how to manage it, consult an expert. Otherwise, there may be a good chance you can fry your phone.
Zite -- Zite is the de facto favorite reader app for most of the RWW staff. It is a must-have on the iPad and recently was released for the iPhone as well. Zite now comes to Android. If you have set up a Zite account on an iOS device, you can log in with Android and already have all of your personalized content at your fingertips. If you are curious into how Zite brings you personalized, serendipitous news, see our breakdown published in January.
RingCentral -- (Free)
RingCentral mobile is a virtual phone system for business users. Imagine an IP-PBX that can take your business voice calls, messages and faxes (yes, those still exist) anywhere. It is a cloud-based system that allows you to make VoIP calls over Wi-Fi or 3G/4G and hold those calls, forward or transfer them. The RingCentral Android app is free, but the mobile service will cost you $9.99 a month. For many business professionals looking for an integrated third-party unified communications service, RingCentral may be worth the look. There is more to RingCentral than can be described in a simple paragraph, so go take a look at its user guide (PDF) to see if the service fits for your business.
Notable UpdatesIt is always important to remember to go into your device and update apps on a regular basis. Updates provide new functionality, performance and security upgrades and ensure that the bugs from the last version have been taken care of.
This month, many of the updates are designed for the new iPad to comply with the higher resolution screen. If you have an original iPad or an iPad 2, it is best to update anyway. Just because an app says that it is updating for the screen resolution it does not mean that some bug fixes are not also included in the new binary. Best tip: always keep your apps up to date.
- Kibits, Kinetik, Infinity Blade II, GQ, Google Earth, Comics, Kindle, Qwiki, Google Search, Dolphin Browser, The Weather Channel, Slacker Radio, Spotify, IMDb, Triple Town, The Washington Post, Google+, Pulse for iPad, WebMD for iPad, Google Play Books (formerly Google Reader), Star Wars Pit Droids, Flipboard, Bank of America, t Chess Pro, Living Earth HD, ABC Player, Slice, PlainText, Twitter, Draw Something, HBO Go, Zaarly, Tiny Tower, Foursquare, Angry Birds Rio, Facebook Messenger, Order & Chaos Online, The Onion Tablet App, Ancestry.com App, Netflix, NBC Player, Skype for iPad, Highlight, The Wall Street Journal, NYTimes for iPad, Flixster, Evernote, NPR Music, Square Card Reader, Instagram, Opera Mini Browser, Read It Later, Word With Friends Free, Nook by Barnes & Noble, RunKeeper, Wired Magazine, Hipmunk, Path, Waze, Rdio, Slate Magazine, Zite.
- Automatic updates: Adobe Flash Player 11, Angry Birds Rio, Dante: The Inferno Game, Dolphin Browser HD, Easy Task Killer Advanced, Evernote, Facebook, Firefox Browser, Foursquare, Glancee, Google Maps, Google Voice, IMDb, Kindle, LinkedIn, Lookout Security, Minecraft Pocket Edition, Flixster, Norton Mobile Utilities, News360 for Mobile, Opera Browser, Pandora, Skitch, Words With Friends.
- Manual Updates (permissions have changed): Fruit Ninja, Eventbrite, Google Earth, LevelUp, OpenTable, Path, SoundHound.