Best of AppStorm in January

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

2011 in Android: A Retrospective

2011 in Android: A Retrospective

A lot has happened with Android this year: weíve gone from Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwich (via Honeycomb); the Marketís had two big upgrades; Flash Player has been dropped; mobile games have really taken off; and more. On the other hand, Siri put Android Voice Actions to shame; Google withheld Androidís source; and lawsuits have been flung back and forth.

Read on for our overview of everything that happened in 2011!

16 Quintessentially Scintillating Word Games

16 Quintessentially Scintillating Word Games

I donít know about you, but I love a really good word game. Whether Iím on public transport or just trying to wind down, an immersive and challenging word puzzle is often just the tonic for me. I canít be the only ëwordieí either as there are literally hundreds of word games in the Android Market.

Therefore I have compiled what I believe to be a definitive list of the best. Is your favourite included here? Or have I missed out on an absolute gem? Has a meritorious masterpiece been inexcusably cast asunder? Read on to make absolutely sure…

Create a Minimal Lock Screen With WidgetLocker

Create a Minimal Lock Screen With WidgetLocker

When it comes to design, I am a minimalist. But, more than that, I am a perfectionist. When I work on a new design, I do everything I can to get it exactly right. The same thing happened when I sought to make myself a minimal lockscreen after buying the new version of WidgetLocker. So, this is my attempt at a minimal lockscreen, using a couple of widgets to show the date and time, a SMS/Missed call counter, the current weather, battery percentage remaining, current music track, and of course the actual unlocking slider. Mobile Keeps Your Internet Speed In Check Mobile Keeps Your Internet Speed In Check

In a perfect world, your carrier should deliver the kind of mobile Internet speed they promise: 3G, HSDPA or 4G. If youíre an advanced user, or had a lot of experience with mobile Internet, you should know the difference between these speeds, and can instantly recognize when it is present ñ or not ñ in your phoneís Internet connectivity.

In reality, however, this may not be the case. Your browsing experience may slow down at certain hours of the day. If it comes to a point where you simply cannot get anything done, itís time to check your actual connection speed. Thatís when an app like Mobile becomes handy.

Best of iPad.AppStorm

Why I Don’t Read Books on My iPad

I’ve been a Kindle user for a few years now. I love it, mostly because it’s great at one thing and one thing only: immersing yourself in reading. Everything from the screen, to the store, to the battery and the size, provides a perfect experience for reading books.

When I got my iPad, I didn’t know what would happen. Would I end up selling my Kindle and replacing it with my iPad, or would I end up using both. I think you can guess for yourself what happened. Here’s why…

iPad: Wi-Fi Only Please

The explosion of the iPad is nothing short of amazing! If you compare the iPad’s growth to that of the iPhone over the first two years, you’d be hard pressed to find evidence that its success is slowing down any time soon.

While reading through the inevitable, yet somehow still intriguing, technology predictions for 2012 I found a point made by Shawn Blanc to be a rather interesting one. He predicted that;

I think Apple is going to sell more of the 3G models. Just a hunch, but as people start to realize that their iPad can serve as a primary computer then an extra $129 to get 3G becomes a valuable upgrade.

Will the 3G iPad become the dominant model in 2012? Are there good reasons for you not to upgrade to a 3G iPad?

50 Amazing iPad Games

Is there a task in this world iPad isn’t perfect for? From reading to research to gaming, the tablet ensures that the users are hooked to it the entire time. iPad games, like apps from every other category, have created a benchmark that has made it almost impossible for other tablets to catch up. Coming up with a list of iPad games that are downright awesome is no easy task…

They are all great. Heck, even if somebody created a list of 500 great games, there would still be a ton of phenomenal games left out. That said, we have compiled a list of cool games spanning a variety of categories to have some fun. Check it out!

Textastic: Code Editing on the iPad

I know that you’re sick of reading this. Frankly, I’m sick of writing this, but it bears repeating: the iPad can be used for something besides watching videos, reading, or other leisure activities. While it certainly excels at those types of tasks, it can also be used to create things as well.

Enter Textastic. Textastic is a text editor for the iPad that allows you to write in several different programming languages, with many of the features of a desktop text editor. If you’re ready to begin coding from your iPad, Textastic just might be the place to start.

Best of Windows.AppStorm

Supercharge Windows File Management with Listary

Supercharge Windows File Management with Listary

How often do you come across an idea that seems pretty unnecessary, but quickly becomes such a habit that you can’t imagine having ever lived without it? Remember how we used to communicate before cell phones, for example?

Along those same lines is Listary, an awesome little app that will supercharge your Windows file management operations to the point where you will wonder how you ever survived without it!

Top 20 Free Apps For Your New PC

Top 20 Free Apps For Your New PC

We’ve all bought a new PC in our time only to turn it on and look at two rows of shortcuts for trial software on our desktop. Heck, we see most of these apps on almost every PC we’ve ever worked on. Most of them are incredibly successful applications that have been around for a long time, and most people don’t know that there are alternatives.

In this roundup, I’m going to show you 20 free applications that will knock your socks off in both performance and features. Not only are they better than the full versions of the trial software, some of them are new applications that will extend the functionality of your PC. From here on out you’ll never want to use the old software again, and you’ll be telling all your friends about these free apps!

Why I Will Always Love Windows XP

Why I Will Always Love Windows XP

It’s been over a decade since it first came out, but in my opinion Windows XP is one of the greatest versions of its series to ever be released. A combination of stability and simplicity led to it being adopted quickly wordwide, and it remains amongst the most-used operating systems today, despite the distribution of it’s successors Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Though it becomes officially obselete and unsupported in 2014, I would like to explain why Windows XP remains best for me.

Expectations for the Windows Phone: From an iPhone User

Expectations for the Windows Phone: From an iPhone User

I have been called an Apple fanboy. It might have something to do with the fact that I own an iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Air; it might have something to do with my love for Golden Delicious and applesauce; there’s no real way of knowing. Still, despite this apparent bias, I find myself in possession of a Windows Phone 7 device, allowing me to stay current with the rest of the mobile scene and giving me a chance to try out this far-too-neglected operating system.

What do I think coming into this? As an iPhone user, how am I seeing my future with this device playing out? Are you even still reading this, or are you preparing to raid my home and declare me a ‘fanboi’? Read on to find out.

Best of iPhone.AppStorm

Unlock Your Closet With Cloth

Unlock Your Closet With Cloth

Fashionable types will love Cloth, but so will the fashionably challenged set. An attractive and easy-to-use app, Cloth makes the most of your iPhone’s camera and your sense of style, or at least, sense of stylish experimentation. With the app, you can save and share photos of your outfits, making it easier to remember favorite looks, as well as pull together a tried-and-true ensemble for your next dress-to-impress appointment.

Whether you want to be sure you don’t repeat your wardrobe for social events or just engage in a friendly competition among friends to see who can come up with the savviest outfit, Cloth allows you to become your own stylist. Experiment with different looks and decide what works best. Want to know more? Click through and I’ll give you the details.

What an Android User Expects From iOS

What an Android User Expects From iOS

Recently on Android.Appstorm, Nathaniel Mott wrote about What an iPhone User Expects from Ice Cream Sandwich, citing what he’s looking forward to and what has him worried as he patiently awaits his new Galaxy Nexus, a phone I claimed was the best on the market. In what seems to be a serendipitous coincidence, I recently received an iPhone 4S from my job, and I too have some expectations as I begin to use iOS more often.

An Open Letter to Hollywood

An Open Letter to Hollywood

Although SOPA and PIPA may be temporarily shelved, we all know that they’re going to come back in one way or another. It’s just a matter of time before one of those bills or an aspect of it slips through the cracks, and it’s all because Hollywood thinks we’re stealing their movies.

But pirating isn’t the problem. No, the reason why we aren’t buying your music, movies and TV shows is dangerously simple, yet no one is willing to do anything about it — with the rare exceptions like Apple being ignored by Hollywood. See, it all comes down to friction.

40 Secret iPhone Features and Shortcuts

40 Secret iPhone Features and Shortcuts

There are lots of things that you can do with your iPhone, sure, but we’re willing to be that there are a few more that you either don’t know about or haven’t used before, particularly with all of the additions in iOS 5. Did you know you can put in typing shortcuts similar to Text Expander? Or that you can make custom vibrations for each person? If you didn’t — or just want to brush up on your iOS trivia — hit the jump and find 40 top secret, ultra-cool tips for the iPhone.

Best of Web.AppStorm

40+ Tips to Get the Most Out of Web Apps

There’s so many things you can do from your browser, you could get by quite nicely without any other native apps. The internet is full of amazing web apps, ranging from powerful tools for enterprises to little tools that do one thing great.

While the web apps and sites we love are powered by servers, usually running Linux with Apache, MySQL, and more, our browsers feel more like the “operating system” on which web apps run. We’ve gathered the best tips we can find to help you get the most out of web apps, both from the apps themselves and the browsers you use to access them.

Wunderkit Beta: A Beautiful Task Management System

Last year, we saw the rise of a startup company that began with the simple idea that everyone needs a way to remember, organize, and prioritize what they want to get done. They took that idea, and built an app called Wunderlist that was both beautiful and functional. However, the company, 6Wunderkinder, knew that they could take that idea a step further, and began to work on a bigger product: Wunderkit.

Wunderkit has been carefully designed by the team at 6Wunderkinder, and over the past year as they’ve released updates to Wunderlist, they’ve also been working away at designing Wunderkit. It’s finally in private beta, and we’ve been able to get in and try out out. Keep reading to see our first impressions of Wunderkit.

Keeping Your Books In Check With LessAccounting

Accounting is one of those frustrating things that we all have to deal with in business. Recently, I looked at two web-based accounting systems, Crunch and Kashflow, both designed for small businesses with limited IT funds. These systems, along with having low maintenance costs (which usually come in the form of a monthly subscription fee), can be tailored to fit the company’s exact needs and allow for far greater flexibility when it comes to managing the company’s books.

Up till now, I have only reviewed accounting systems for UK-based small business which, due to different accounting practices, are not suitable for US companies. There are plenty out there (just Google ‘web accounting’ for a few) however LessAccounting seems to be a strong contender for a simple, easy-to-use accounting system owing to its intuitive user interface and the fact it integrates with your bank’s data which, according to the developers, can cut down the time you spend doing the books by up to 80%.

Is this the one accounting system for U.S. small businesses? Let’s take a look at it in a bit more detail to find out.

BugHerd: Beautiful Bug Tracking

Bugs happen everywhere on the web, and it’s really annoying when one presents itself. Therefore, bug tracking systems exist in order to squash out problems by tracking a bug’s progress from being found to being fixed. If you’re making a website or web app, you sure don’t want your users to be wondering why your app is so buggy. Bug tracking systems have long been ugly system, however. While I’ll avoid naming names, some pretty major bug trackers just don’t look nice and aren’t presented in the user friendly way that they should be.

BugHerd is a breath of fresh air, bringing a beautiful interface and user friendly, responsive design to the bug tracking world. In addition to a beautiful interface, BugHerd provides a streamlined, straightforward bug review process that makes the procedure from reporting to fixing, testing and closing bug related tasks incredibly simple.

Best of Mac.AppStorm


Is iOS the Future of the Mac?

When I used an iPad for the first time, I couldn’t help but think that it felt like the future of computing. The iPad not only impressed me with its beautiful interface, but also delighted me with an effortless user experience. No matter how much I used the device, it never became cluttered or disorganized like my Mac. Apps launched quickly and I never had to spend time fiddling with window sizes or knowing what apps were running. Everything simply worked.

Apple has touted OS X as the most advanced operating system, but with iOS revolutionizing many computing paradigms, it is beginning to feel outdated. If Apple is to truly make the Mac the personal computer of the future, we will need to see some bold changes; changes that may eliminate some of the staples of desktop computing that most of us can’t imagine living without.

I think that Apple can, and will, successfully transition us to a future where iOS runs across all of its hardware. Read on for my take on why our computing world is headed this way.


40+ Super Secret OS X Lion Features and Shortcuts

OS X Lion has now been around long enough for us all to dig in and really find some interesting functionality that is either completely hidden or just enough below the service that many users don’t even know it exists.

We’ve spent hours combing through Lion for secrets and put out a call on Twitter for your favorites. This post brings over forty such hidden tricks and tips for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!


Sonora: For When iTunes Is Overkill

I love iTunes. As Apple’s native music player and iOS powerhouse command station, it is unlikely that anything will ever wholly replace iTunes for me. It’s an integrated hub for surfing the iTunes music store, buying iOS apps, making playlists, the Ping network (even though it’s somewhat barren), managing the media and content on my iPhone and iPad, and more. But in spite of my love for iTunes, I will be the first to admit that with a music library the size of mine, it can be a bit slow, unwieldy, and bloated when all I want to do is play some tunes.

When I began reading up on Sonora, a beta-phase app coded by Indragie Karunaratne and designed by Tyler Murphy, I was impressed with the obvious target niche that Sonora was appealing to. At the risk of sounding “scoff-y”, independently developed music players rarely appeal to me because they so often claim to be an iTunes replacement–which, for the reasons listed in the above paragraph, is unlikely for me. Sonora, on the other hand, markets itself as a companion player, humbly leaving the heavy lifting of music purchases and iOS management to iTunes and providing a lightweight player for the express purpose of playing music. Hit the jump to read more about Sonora.


The Top 10 Mac Apps to Watch in 2012

We recently went over the best apps of 2011 and it’s safe to say that last year was an amazing time to be a Mac user. Not only did our favorite apps see major updates, there was a nice influx of brand new apps that were simply too good to pass up.

Today we want to reverse things and start looking forward instead of reviewing what has already come. We’ll introduce you to ten apps that are going to make big waves in 2012. Interestingly enough, most of them happen to be geared towards designers and web developers so if you fit that description, you’ll definitely want to take a look! We’ll also look at an awesome new Google Reader app, what’s in store for Spotify and even get a glimpse of the gem that 6Wunderkinder has been keeping up its sleeve.

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!