We’ve collected the top four reviews, roundups and how-to articles from across the AppStorm network in February. Whether you’re interested in Mac, iPhone, Web, Android, Windows, or iPad apps, there’s bound to be something you didn’t spot over the course of the month. Now would be a good time to explore a part of the AppStorm Network you’ve never seen before!
Thanks for reading AppStorm, and I hope you enjoy looking over some of our favourite posts from last month!
Best of Android.AppStorm
$70 canít get you as much these days as it used to. A tank of gas or maybe two? A dinner with a cheap bottle of wine? Pay your electric bill?
What if I told you that 70 greenbacks could get you a quality phone, Ice Cream Sandwich, and a no-contract plan on Big Red (Verizon for those outside of the States)? Well, to my surprise, it can. However, itís not without a bit of homework, eBay browsing, and some technical obstacles. But with a bit of effort, you can turn that chump change into a serious return.
Over seven months ago, I decided that I was finally ready to have a tablet in my life, justifying the price versus its added benefit in between my iMacs, Macbook, iPod Touch and multiple Android and Symbian smartphones. As a person quite invested in the Apple ecosystem, it was rather surprising to my friends that I didnít even consider getting an iPad. Instead, I spent a few hours searching online for the perfect blend of features and compromises, and ended up with an Acer Iconia A100, a 7″ tablet. Why? Simply because there is no place in my life for a ~10″ tablet. And I am not alone.
Seven months later, with a 7″ tablet, Iím more convinced every day that they’re a totally different beast compared to 9.7″-10″. Thereís a place for both sizes in the tablet market, as they each target divergent audiences and distinctively separate needs. I will share with you below my findings in terms of the 7″ tablet usability and why I think Google made a perfect choice when it comes to its new Nexus 7 tablet.
The Nexus brand has made some major strides since it was first introduced to us back in 2010. At that point it only represented a phone with a vanilla version of Android. Its purpose was simple: show people the true power of the Android operating system.
Since then, the brand has grown to mean more than just the name of a specific phone; it now describes a specific experience. These past couple of months, starting with Google I/O, gave us much deeper insight into what Google plans to do with the Nexus program — and I couldnít be more excited.
Early in 2012, Google released a set of design principles to aid developers in creating apps that complement the Ice Cream Sandwich user interface, also known as ‘Holo’. These guidelines aimed to allow for apps to ‘enchant’ and ‘amaze’ users, and simplify the user experience.
Now, while developers do not have to oblige Google and adhere to this aesthetic, many have embraced it with good results. This roundup highlights a few such applications worthy of your attention. Some youíll know and probably already use, but there might be a few surprises too.
Best of iPad.AppStorm
Nearly a year after their hit game Tiny Tower was released, Nimblebit has contributed yet another tycoon-style game to their arsenal. This time around you get to rule the air. Pocket Planes has flown to the top of the App Store charts, but can it fly to the top of ours? Find out after the break.
A long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away) when iPad AppStorm wasn’t even its own site, we looked at one of the most popular productivity apps for iPad, Things, and we gave it a highly praised 8 out of 10. We liked its stylish interface yet didn’t particularly like its expensive price tag back then, which seemed a little excessive for just a simple productivity app.
Well, a lot has changed with Things since then, so let’s revisit the app to see whether it can still live up to that 8 out of 10 score.
When I first bought my original iPad, I never thought once about getting a stylus. It didn’t really seem necessary, and why should it? Our fingers are the intended tool to use here, right? But when I bought my new iPad a few months ago, things changed. Suddenly, I felt like a stylus wasn’t just an accessory, but necessary.
Why? What changed with the new iPad versus my original? Is there really a reason why anyone needs a stylus? Maybe, maybe not. Let’s find out after the jump.
We all stumble upon YouTube videos different ways. Sometimes it’s a coworker at the office who passes around a clip, or maybe a friend says, “You’ve GOT to see this.” I don’t remember how I found out about the Epic Meal Time crew, but I did, and I’ve been a fan ever since.
Now they have an app for the iPad and iPhone — the appropriately named Epic Meal Time — and it’s a doozy. Will their success on YouTube parlay into more Internet money made in the App Store? Put on your sunglasses and your Expos hat, because we’re going to find out.
Best of Windows.AppStorm
Anyone who has used Windows for a number of years will remember the occasional requirement to work with DOS. Although Windows has a rich and powerful graphical user interface, there are still times when the command line, if not DOS from the days of old, is still useful.
But the command prompt that is available by default is both limited and restricted, and this is where PowerCMD comes to the rescue.
Google is one of my favorite web companies because of all the incredible free apps they offer. They are my go-to for email, calendar and photos, and now they are my first choice for online file storage.
After many months of its rumored existence, Google Drive was finally launched on April 24, 2012. Now that it’s been a little over a month, it’s time to see how Google Drive stacks up against its competitors.
Over the past ten years, the gaming industry has significantly evolved, rapidly growing to provide for the consumer market. As technology has become more advanced, the games we play have needed to progress with them. This has meant factors such as graphics and game play have changed the way they are presented.
Today, games bore me. I’ve found over the last few years that every single game seems to play exactly the same way. This has ultimately encouraged me to join the MMO world. But, that’s a different story. This story starts with a love of Harry Potter.
A few years ago, I was recruited by my dear mother to set up my grandmaís new computer and bring her up to speed on computing in the modern world. No big deal, right? Explaining the keyboard and mouse is fairly straightforward. Windows operates in a user-friendly manner most of the time so no problems there. And then thereís the Internet: one of the most powerful inventions of the 20th century with the power to connect users to family, friends, and free knowledge, and the evil to empty your bank account into the hands of a skivvy email spammer.
Where does one begin when laying out a framework to explain the ins and outs of the World Wide Web? How does one go about relating the etiquette of never using all-caps to type an email or the self-preservation of never falling for a Craigslist buyer’s promise of sending a freight truck to pick up your used car? I’m about to make an attempt so here goes: an Idiot’s Guide to Good Browsing Habits.
Best of iPhone.AppStorm
I’ve used plenty to-do list applications in my day, and shelled out quite a bit of money for them, to say the least. Some boasted much more features than others, while some were better designed. And, well, some were better than others. I have found that I prefer the simple to-do app, so I resorted to using Clear.
Then a nifty little app called Cheddar came out. It was similar to Clear because of its simplicity of design and function, but seemed to be a bit more robust when it came down to features. But does Cheddar make the cut and replace Clear as my go-to to-do list application? Find out after the jump.
One of the Mac apps I could never live without is Alfred. It just makes everything so much quicker and easier to do — just a press of a keyboard shortcut and the action I want to carry out is just a few letters away. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen an iOS app that can streamline our actions just like Alfred.
That is, until now. App Cubby’s newest release, Launch Center Pro, is the Alfred that iOS has been missing ever since its debut. Launch Center Pro will completely revolutionize the way you use your iPhone by bringing several features into one place. Learn more about how this app can make your iPhone that much more efficient after the break.
To-do apps are a dime a dozen on the iPhone, and it’s hard for any one of them to stand out. To make a real impression, there has to be something new and useful brought to the table. What I always need and am always looking for is an app that lets me share my to-do list. I don’t live in a bubble, and sometimes I want to collaborate with my family and friends to get the job done.
After hiding its to-do light under Android’s bushel, Astrid recently brought social to-dos and task management to iOS. With a snappy interface and to-do sharing amongst my contacts, Astrid may be the task management app I’ve been looking for.
Marvel’s The Amazing Spider-Man hit theaters in July, becoming the second movie this summer from the House of Ideas (the first being The Avengers). Whenever Spider-Man gets a flick, a game is guaranteed. In this case it’s the film’s eponymous release from Gameloft.
Peter Parker’s alter ego has been featured in video games since the 1970s. In the digital world, he’s probably faced his entire rogues gallery. He’s also been playable in every beat-‘em-up, fighting, role-playing and side-scrolling fashion imaginable. But The Amazing Spider-Man is where fans get the Spidey who does all of those ⎯ and has been missing from other adaptations. Let’s find out more after the jump.
Best of Web.AppStorm
You can’t sit down and design a new app or site every time inspiration strikes. Even if you were going to actually make a new app, you need to plan it out before. You could just pull out a napkin and pen and start drawing, or you might want to use a prototyping app to get a more polished design a bit quicker. Prototyping and wireframing web apps are not exactly few and far between, but a fairly new release has enough notability to let us take a look.
Codiqa is a prototyping tool for mobile interfaces that, in a similar fashion to actual development environments like Xcode, lets you visually build up an interface for a mobile resolution and then export an interactive, useable, jQuery-powered prototype that you can load up on a device. Rather than just throwing together a mockup of your idea, you’re actually taking the first steps towards making your app a reality. Let’s take a look.
Not long ago, I took an in-depth look at a new interesting website feedback app called UserReport. It came with everything a webmaster would need to effectively get feedback about their website to allow them to make important changes that benefit users and overall just ensure that users were satisfied with the website itself. Recently, its launched several new updates that make the app even more user-friendly and as such, I thought it’d be worth taking another look.
Read on to find out more about UserReport’s new and updated features!
LayerVault: Seamless Design Version Control
If you’re a graphic designer who works with other team members on projects, you probably know the pain of keeping them up to date with revisions and updated files. Whether it be in Photoshop, Fireworks or other creative applications, there aren’t any easy ways to share realtime updates and files with your teammates, until now.
In this article, we will be showing you a cool new web app which goes by the name ‘LayerVault’. LayerVault allows you to easily share your progress and other information with your teammates and clients. Your team members can enjoy realtime viewing of revisions via the web app and can keep their own files updated seamlessly with whatever creative application they may be using.
Nowadays, the cloud is a hyper inflated buzzword that seems to flow from the lips of everyone 5 to 95 years old. Despite the word itself, using the cloud simply means you’re storing your files on someone else’s server instead of on your local computer. The problem is, some may not feel quite so secure about storing their private files on a server owned by someone else, but they would still like to take advantage of the conveniences of online services. Pogoplug is the product for those individuals.
PogoPlug allows you to roll your own cloud with ease and style. Using your own network connection and a relatively cheap mini-server, you can create your own hosted services that give you everything web apps promise without having to save your files on a 3rd party server unless you want to. It’s an intriguing tool, so let’s take a look and see if it’s the cloud tool you’ll been looking for.
Best of Mac.AppStorm
Today, Apple has finally released their latest addition to the OS X family with version 10.8, also known as “Mountain Lion“. This new version brings with it a whole host of improvements, most of which focus on bringing features such as the Notification Center and iCloud from iOS to the Mac. In addition to those new features, 10.8 also includes systemwide refinements, which make the OS feel like what Lion should have been. And, at only $19.99, it’s the most affordable version of OS X yet.
Read on for our in-depth review of Apple’s latest big cat, and a chance to win a free copy of Mountain Lion!
For a while now, members of the Tapbots team have teased an upcoming release of Tweetbot for Mac by using it to Tweet, leaving the footprint of “via Tweetbot for Mac” all over their timelines. While there was a rumor going around Twitter claiming that the full version of the app would be making its debut today, the developer instead decided to release a free public alpha to let everyone be a part of testing a new robot masterpiece.
I spent a few hours using Tweetbot for Mac version 0.6 today and have jotted down all my thoughts on the new client. Is it worth trying out, or should you stick with the official Twitter app? How many bugs does it have? What’s the difference between it and stable alternatives on the Mac? Find out the answers to these questions and more after the break
There are so many different ways to keep notes on the Mac, but even with the advent of Notes on iOS and now OS X, Simplenote has remained one of the most popular apps for taking notes. Simplenote on its own is a convenient way to access text notes via your web browser from just about anywhere. Matched up with the literally dozens of apps for Mac, PC, and mobile, you can have complete control over your notes wherever you go.
We’re going to look at five of the Mac apps for Simplenote and see where they succeed and where they fail. Whether you’re a Simplenote veteran looking to try something new, or you’ve never even thought of using an app to manage your notes, we’ll take a closer look at what makes a good notes app. While there’s still more Simplenote apps to be had out there, hopefully this list will help you break free of pen and paper.
Welcome to the land of multiple monitors. The land where you can sit on your desk and immerse yourself with your work, your gaming, and your media. A land where our inner geek comes out and takes complete control over you while salivating over the amount of real estate those screens possess – not to mention how amazingly cool it looks.
But. This land can get a bit daunting. There is a lot of space to use, as well as applications to manage and keep organized. To facilitate this process, we have put together a list of a few apps (old and new) that will help you manage windows, the menubar, and even use other devices as your external monitors.
Share Your Ideas
Is there something in particular you’d like to see on the site next month? We’d absolutely love to hear your suggestions for articles, topics and giveaways. Just let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading AppStorm!