Following all the great apps released for iOS and Android in March, it seemed like we were in for an April letdown. That is not the case. Some huge names published great apps this month, including Google releasing its Drive app for Android and Instagram making its debut outside of the iPhone. Taken by themselves, that would make for a notable month of apps. But, we have more. A lot more. What were the top apps this month? Check out the second edition of our ReadWrite Recommends Apps of the Month for iOS and Android.
GiddyUp is the next evolution of group messaging apps. Generate an event, select the friends you want to invite from your phone’s address book and GiddyUp will send them a text message. Keep people up to date with a built-in group chat. Add notes, geo-tagged locations, share to Facebook or Twitter, save events in your calendar and use the real-time attendance tracker.
MyHeritage is an Ancestry.com competitor with many of the same features. Create a family tree, a profile page and take it with you on the go. It also lives in the present with the ability to capture and share family moments within the app and stay in touch with relatives.
There is no shortage of cloud and document syncing apps. Most are built to function well in a mobile environment but CTERA does it specifically for mobile device. The iOS app was released in February but the Android app came out this month so we will let it slide into our cross platform section this month. Designed to work with the CTERA Portal and CTERA Cloud, the app securely downloads documents and allows you to store them on your device. Supports .doc, .xls, .pdf, .mp4 and other standards. Allows you to save attachments from emails and upload them to your CTERA Cloud. Supports photos as well.
Springpad as a service is nothing new. What is new about Springpad this month is pretty much everything. We got at what Springpad was up to in its Boston offices in January and came away impressed. GigaOm described Springpad as, “Evernote and Pinterest just had a baby.” With all new iOS and Android apps this month, Springpad has been relaunched for the mobile generation. Create notebooks of your interests and share them with your Springpad friends. Content could be your shopping list, wish list, movies you want to see or have seen, recipes or pretty much anything that you can think of. Do comparative shopping, scan barcodes, save audio notes and save all your data for offline use. Springpad used to be more of a service that operated as a personal cloud that helped you organize your files. It is now a full-fledged consumer app with as much or as little functionality that you might desire.
Jon Mitchell — Writer
Drafts — ($0.99 — iPhone)
For an action the length of a note (or a tweet), there’s no faster way to get it out than through this app. It launches to a new, blank note each time. Drafts saves your notes in a list, and they can be found quickly with full-text search.
Now that your note is out of your head, you can relax and decide what to do with it. That’s where the action menu comes in. You can send a note directly to a variety of text editors, including ones that sync with iCloud or Dropbox. You can tweet a draft, email it, send it as a text or iMessage, or copy it to the clipboard.
Robyn Tippins — Community Manager
Call me old fashioned, but I still love forums. I read forums relating to video games, parenting and health on a regular basis, especially while I’m watching television in the evening. One of my favorite apps for iOS is the Tapatalk forum app, because it makes reading forums on an iPad easier. Navigating through a forum on an iOS device isn’t particularly difficult, but because of the size of the text on webpages, I do often click the wrong threads. Tapatalk prevents these fat finger moments, and makes my time on forums on the iPad an enjoyable experience.
ReadWrite Recommends iOS App of the Month:
Onion Browser — ($0.99 — iPhone, iPad)
Onion Browser is a Tor-capable Web browser that lets you surf the Internet anonymously and privately. There was a time that Apple would not have let a third-party browser, let alone one that is Tor enabled, into the App Store. But, after allowing Dolphin and Opera in as third-party options in 2011 and deprecating the Unique Device ID (UDID), it seems Apple has shifted its thinking on browsers and privacy. The Onion Browser should be heralded both for its open source roots (Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation), its commitment to privacy and its implementation. Websites do not see your real IP address, your connection is encrypted from the device (not the Web portal), third party cookies are blocked and Web accessed is tunneled through the Tor onion network. Will bypass restrictive firewalls. It is one thing to use a personal VPN like Hotspot Shield but it is another to have a mobile browser that functions in much the same way.
Fragile Earth — ($2.99 — iPhone, iPad)
HarperCollins is on an app spree. This is the second month in a row we have chosen a HarperCollins app to be included in Apps of the Month and both have been well worth the consideration. Last month it was Brian Cox’s Wonders of the Universe, this month we get Fragile Earth. From the App Store description, “The app contains some of the best environmental images showing before and after scenes of our natural world. This is one of the top photography apps for showing the changing world giving you detailed ecological snapshots from around the globe.”
Lonely Planet — (Free — iPhone)
Lonely Planet provides travel guides for your iPhone. The app is free but you have to pay to download the actual country and city guides. We have seen a lot of city guide types come to smartphones and tablets but many of them are just the physical copy of travel books republished in app form. Lonely Planet’s guides actually function as apps. They are downloading and can be used offline (helpful when there is spotty data connections abroad) and can use GPS without a data connection. Audio phrasebooks for 25 languages and has Lonely Planet and BBC content you can read and listen to while you are galavanting across the world. Next time I am traveling, this is probably the app that I am taking with me.
MokaFive — (Free — iPhone, iPad)
The iPhone is replacing the BlackBerry as the go-to corporate device. MokaFive is capitalizing on that trend and provides secure access to sanctioned corporate networks and files. Files can be downloaded and stored locally in an encrypted “bubble” known as the LiveData container. MokaFive can be securely managed and secured by an enterprise’s IT department.
FileMaker Go 12 — (Free — iPhone)
In keeping with the enterprise theme, FileMaker Go 12 allows users to access FileMaker databases from their iPhones. Import and export FileMaker data in Excel, CSV, Tab and HTML files. Record video or audio and integrate it to the database from the iPhone and adds multi-tasking support.
Ourcast Weather — (Free — iPhone)
Weather apps are not exactly the height of innovation. The Weather Channel App (especially for the iPad) is probably still the best out available but there is still room for some cool stuff to be done (see the Android section for another cool one). Ourcast reminds me of Back To The Future II when Doc Brown can tell the precise moment that it will stop raining. That is what Ourcast tries to do. From the App Store description, “Ourcast is the weather app that tells you if there will be rain, or snow, in any location you choose, during any minute over the next 2 hours.” Predictable, location-aware weather in your pocket? Now that is pretty cool.
ReadWrite Recommends Android App of the Month:
Instagram — (Free)
This was pretty much a no-brainer choice for Android April App of the Month for ReadWrite Recommends. If you are not familiar with Instagram, well, where have you been hiding? Thirty million iPhone users cannot be wrong, can they? When Instagram released an Android app earlier this month the service added five million users in a matter of days. The company was then acquired by Facebook for a billion dollars and added another five million users. For the uninitiated, Instagram is a photo-sharing based social network that provides cool filters to make your photos look like a Hipster’s Paradise.
Google Drive — (Free)
Android apps this month are top-heavy with some big releases by major publishers. Instagram is one, Google Drive is another. Google has done well within the last year in releasing fully functional Android apps for services it launches. The Google+ app had good reviews when the search company released it social network last June and Google Drive for Android delivers as well. That is, if you care anything about Google Drive. This is Google’s Box, Dropbox, Evernote, Amazon Cloud Locker competitor and integrates with Google Apps like Docs and allows you to upload files directly from your Android device to Drive. Offline access, document editing and video, photo, file access are the primary features of Drive.
Clarizen — (Free, Subscription-based)
Another business app. There was a time when we thought that the Apps of the Month was becoming a little game-heavy but, oddly, we did not find many new decent games this month (Max Payne’s release was delayed until May). Clarizen is a collaborative, cloud-based task management app that can help organizations manage work, projects and portfolios. Good for sales teams, project managers and keeping track of expenses when working with a client. Available for iOS but the Android app is new this month.
WeatherWise — (Free)
WeatherWise came to Android this month and it is one of the coolest and quirkiest weather apps out there. It is an animated, theme-based app with the Zen Tree the default theme and additional themes available for $0.99. All the stuff you would expect from a weather app with high degree of visual diversity. Worth a look.
Generate All The Memes — (Free)
You ever wonder how people created those weird picture and video-based memes that are all over the Web? I never really did but apparently it is becoming a lot easier to do so. Generate All The Meme (GATM) is an app that allows you to create a picture with some funny text and share it with your friends. 140 different memes, 10,000 user made image memes to browse and a ton of laughs. If you are in to that sort of thing.
500px — (Free)
500px is not new, but it is new to Android. What is significant about this app is that it is specifically design for Android tablets. We do not see a lot of those these days. 500px is a photo discovery app that acts like a picture frame that generates beautiful landscapes, treasured moments and stunning photography. It is the standward Web-based photo sharing website (like Flickr) brought to mobile with a fury.
It 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.
Note, with the short turnaround on Apps of the Month, this list is not as long as it would normally be.
- Draw Something Free, Slacker Radio, Washington Post for iPad, Clear, Google Catalogs, iBooks, Rdio, Scanner Pro, Google Play Books, Plants Vs. Zombies HD, Square Card Reader, Flixster, Cosmic Top, Triple Town, Living Earth HD, Netflix, NFL ’12 for iPad, Spotify, Official Twitter for iOS, Cut The Rope HD, Dropbox, Quora, LinkedIn (iPad optimized)
- Spotify, Angry Birds, Barcode Scanner, E-Trade Mobile, Firefox, FxCamera, Google Goggles, Lookout Security, Google Maps, Minecraft Pocket Edition, Flixster, News360 for Phones, NPR News, Opera Mobile, Pocket (Read It Later), Rdio, Retro Camera, Skype, The Weather Channel, Tumblr, Official Twitter for Android, Facebook for Android, Fandango, LinkedIn, Path