We’ve collected the top four reviews, roundups and how-to articles from across the AppStorm network in November. 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
One of the most popular Android replacement browsers out there is Dolphin Browser which we’ve written about before but has come a long way since. There are several unmistakable reasons why Dolphin has become the default browser for so many Android users. Here are 6 of them in no particular order.
Your Android tablet comes pre-installed with a browser that, for most, is a clean and efficient way to access webpages. It certainly does the job well, but there are many instances when you might need something else, maybe more speed or options, so you’ll be looking into alternatives. There’s a variety of both first and third-party Android browser, including the well-received Chrome for Android.
Holo first saw light in Android 3.0 for tablets and has since found popularity in Android 4.0 and above with Ice Cream Sandwich and Jellybean. No doubt the best looking aspect of stock apps, it was only a matter of time before the design principles started to make their way into third-party apps.
In this roundup, we’re going to take a look at some of our favourite Holo apps that you can install to give your phone the design unity it deserves!
Let me start by saying this: I am a huge Star Wars fan. I love the movies, I love the collectibles, I love the video games. So of course when Rovio announced they were making a Star Wars themed Angry Birds game, I was all over it. I kept looking at video clips and screenshots while patiently awaiting the release date. And then it came, and I quickly picked it up.
Best of iPad.AppStorm
The iPad mini is an interesting concept. It’s something that consumers everywhere have been talking about for a long time, but now that it’s finally here, there’s been a lot of talk from the tech media about how the product really doesn’t measure up to expectations. How it’s not good enough because it doesn’t have a Retina display, or that it doesn’t have enough RAM. Yes, a lot of the tech press says that the iPad mini is a disappointment all the way around, but there are still a lot of people who bought them this past weekend, including me.
The iPad mini has now been in my hands for the past few days. So what’s the verdict? Is it worth it as a purchase or should the general public hold off? Is the tech press correct in their judgement? Let’s get into it after the jump.
The iPad currently has three major social networking apps available on it: Facebook, Twitter and Google+, the last of which is rarely used. Most people use Facebook so they use that app, but there are some who still enjoy Twitter’s much declined (it now looks like a large version of the iPhone edition) official app. Then there are the rare few who prefer Google’s solution to online social networking.
But one service has not been mentioned because it was originally exclusive to the iPhone. This micro social network, as some would call it, is Path. It’s been around since March 2011 and, while it received a lot of praise at first, was recently criticized for an issue found in many iOS apps (accessing contacts without the user’s approval). An independent developer released a Mac app named Journey that allowed users to browse their Path news feeds, but other than that, an iPad app has been needed for some time. It finally released on November 1, but can it match the greatness of the iPhone app?
Let me start by saying this: I am a huge Star Wars fan. I love the movies, I love the collectibles, I love the video games. So of course when Rovio announced they were making a Star Wars themed Angry Birds game, I was all over it. I was looked at video clips and screens shots while patiently awaiting the release date. And then it came, and I quickly picked it up.
After having a little more than a weekend to play with it, I can say I am not disappointed. Let’s check out Angry Birds Star Wars HD after the break.
It’s only been out since 24th October 2012, but Letterpress (the new iOS app from Loren Brichter of Tweetie fame) has taken iOS gaming by storm. The crashing of Game Centre — the weekend following the launch of Letterpress app — has been attributed to it’s huge success. So what is the appeal of Letterpress, is it really the perfect word game? Following it’s update to version 1.1, on 17th November, is there really any room for improvement?
Best of Windows.AppStorm
It’s been a long time since writers were forced to become accustomed to the clickety-clack of a typewriter and now with writing on your PC becoming normal, more and more software is being released to make this task easier, more enjoyable and improve the overall quality of your writing.
If you’re reading this you probably have an interest in writing, whether you already write or thinking of taking it up, writing is not only a fun and cheap hobby, it’s also extremely productive and helps enhance skills necessary for everyday life. When I first started writing on my PC I used Microsoft Word to do this, but I quickly grew tired of how many features were in my face when all I really wanted to do was tap-out a short story.
Fast forward several months and it’s been a long time since I’ve had to look at the often over-complicated Microsoft Word on a daily basis to type out an English essay. Instead I have found software suites that offer a perfect place to type out my thoughts. I’ve also come across software that helps me plan out my writing, get it done faster and manage the writing tasks at hand, so read on to find out how you too can get the ultimate software collection for writers on your PC.
By the time you read this, Windows 8 will have been made available for your general consumption, and pleasure. But, as will be the case with most of us who have been wanting to upgrade, but are fearful of the new ModernUI, how much of a shock will it be to all you future users, when you find yourselves amidst the strange waters of the Modern UI?
Well, I’ve been a guinea-pig of sorts, subjecting myself to the the likes of Windows 8 as my primary operating system for quite a while now.
Despite the arguably neutral reception that Windows 8 has received, it has several very useful and improved features over Windows 7 that thousands of people enjoy using. However, if you think that Windows 8 has a bad experience overall, you can use several apps and tweaks to get these features on your Windows 7 installation.
This post will outline some of these apps and show what you can accomplish. It will not go into depth for any of the apps listed here, but you can find out more about each one from its website.
Explorer may not be the most advanced file management tool that’s available, but it does get the job done. If you’ve been a Windows user for any length of time, youíve probably grown used to hitting the Windows key and E to fire up Explorer.
This is the reason that it can be difficult to move to an Explorer replacement, your memory muscle will almost invariably default to using the known shortcut and you may well find that you end up defaulting back to Explorer. Clover is an Explorer add-on that enables you to stick with Windows’ built in file browser while gaining some extra features.
Best of iPhone.AppStorm
Developer Loren Brichter is perhaps best known for his work with Twitter. He’s the man behind Tweetie, an app that was purchased by Twitter and eventually morphed into an official offering from the social network. Brichter left Twitter and, until recently, has been teasing a new app.
That new app is not a Twitter client. It’s actually a game named Letterpress. A mixture of Scrabble, Boggle and real estate-style gameplay, Letterpress is an addictive, very competitive game. Let’s take a look after the jump.
Everyone typically becomes bored of something at one time or another. It’s the inevitable loss of interest that causes people to give up that great hobby they’ve been doing for so long, or to stop eating oatmeal for breakfast every morning simply because it’s become stale. Change is good, yes, but eventually the redundant pattern of quitting something and starting another task can start to show — very much so.
One of the most prominent topics of interest is mobile gaming. The industry has been around since the 1970s, but lately it’s evolved to something beyond the classic Donkey Kong Country on a Game Boy and the first iteration of Tetris on a mobile phone. Tense games of Snake were classic back in the day when Nokia ruled the mobile phone market. Now, however, Apple and Google govern the domain. The App Store and Google Play Store have brought many fabulous first-person shooters, adventures of evil swine and vexed avian, and role-playing ventures like Bastion. With all this innovation, something was left behind — what was it?
I’ve always enjoyed a good match of strategy. Tower defense games are one of the best ways to devise those nefarious tactical plans on a mobile device. I remember the days when Java games dominated the mobile market, and even though the selection wasn’t always great, the only way to get a game was to pay your wireless carrier up to $10 for it. You could then play it on your Motorola RAZR or other basic phone using the wondrous keypad to conquer the world. Those were the days.
Now we’ve become too developed for such devices and have moved on to Apple’s sublime iPad. Tower defense made it to the tablet as well, in the forms of Plants vs. Zombies, Kingdom Rush and Fieldrunners. Now we have the sequel, Fieldrunners 2, and I’ve been playing it since launch day. Is it good? Let’s find out.
I’m a calendar junkie. The way some people collect to-do apps, I tend to have lots of different calendars all over my iPhone, iPad and Mac, and very few stick. I’ll use one for a month or two, then off to the next or back to an old favorite. I have lots of different options.
But one that has stuck on my Mac is Fantastical. Not only is it quick and easy to use, but it’s just so natural. When I was contacted by the developers and given a sneak peek at the app, well I just had to jump on it. Will the magic transfer to my iPhone or is Fantastical a Mac-only purchase? Let’s find out after the jump.
Best of Web.AppStorm
With my current job position, I have a lot of moving parts in my schedule and am constantly scheduling a lot of meetings throughout each week. Inevitably, they get cancelled or postponed to a later date, and there are times when I can’t keep up with who I am meeting and when. Anyone else have this problem?
With the technology and smartphones that we have, I know it is a lot easier to take control of your calendar and see when things are happening. Sometimes I just want to know what is coming up for the current day. That is where Sunrise.im comes into play. It is a simple way to take a look at your daily schedule without all of the clutter and it is so easy to use. Let’s take a look.
For the last fifteen years that we’ve been using email clients — webmail or desktop — the basic concepts and features remained the same. Anyone may have its own workflow to deal with emails and get things done, but almost everyone has to struggle with the same old, rigid logic provided by almost all clients on the market. However, we’re doing more and more with email these days than we did in the nineties. Something, it seems, needs to change.
The Kickstarter-funded Mail Pilot web app, still in beta, aims at redefining the way of dealing with emails. Let’s see how it might help you actually get things done.
Over the past few weeks on Web.Appstorm, I’ve covered two web apps which have really impressed me: Pixlr and PhotoRaster. Both of these are photo editing web apps that are powerful and easy to use. After raving about these apps in separate reviews, I decided it was time for a comparison so we can find which is the best online photo editor.
If you’ve read my review of Pixlr, you’ll know that it is split into three different apps. Thus, we will be looking at Pixlr Advanced, the editor which is most similar to that of PhotoRaster’s. Read on to find out which app we like the best!
When I think of AOL, I cannot help but also think about the “You’ve Got Mail” tone that they made famous. As you take a look back on email, AOL was a pioneer in the field as they were one of the first companies to offer it to the masses, way back in the late 90′s. But outside of that and Instant Messenger, they have been very quiet now for quite some time.
Well, that all has changed recently, with their newly, upgraded email client called Alto. Yes, email has come a long way since AOL last came out with a client, and some would even say it is an already crowded space. When I got into the beta for this, the main thing that I wanted to see was whether or not this could replace the apps I currently use for email. I tried to use it by itself for the last couple of weeks and I came away with some interesting thoughts about it.
Best of Mac.AppStorm
With the advent of the shift to a Paperless world, OCR has gained even greater importance. It’s the often overlooked detail that you may take for granted. That is of course until you try and search a PDF you scanned and realize it’s just an embedded image. Chances are that you may already have a good document scanner that does OCR. If, however, you don’t, then Prizmo 2 may just be what the doctor ordered.
Now I could just say that Prizmo does OCR with style, but the truth is that it does so much more. Read on after the break to find out what I mean.
Jelly Belly rang this morning, saying they wanted their selling point back. While I do enjoy their delicious sour variants and assorted flavours always have been quite delicious, iTunes 11 also matches this little catchphrase. Take its new icon, which is conveniently sitting just above this paragraph. It appears to be bubble-like, does it not? In fact, it looks like the designer took the iTunes 10 icon and added a few layers to it in Photoshop to give it a more 3D look.
That’s not why we’re here though. iTunes 11 is a big release and it shouldn’t be reduced to the size, or design, of its icon. All proportions aside then, I’d like to take you on a ride into a different kind of Apple. Whether this is just something the company will be doing with iTunes or we may be seeing it in other OS X apps, the 11th edition of a Mac music player is a big deal. Let’s see what the company decided to change.
Outliners are handy for a lot of different things: task lists, outlining longer manuscripts, or note taking to name a few. For some users, bullet list functions available in your standard work processor or note taking app are all you need, while other users prefer the functions provided by dedicated outlining apps.
If you are—or think you might be—in the latter category, read on to for a review of three of the top outlining apps. We’ve taken Scribe, Tree, and OmniOutliner Standard for a run and compared their features in-depth, so you can find the best Mac outlining app for your needs.
When you bought your Mac, or perhaps another smart device, chances are you didn’t plan on just using the bundles apps that were already installed on it. There’s dozens of apps we all use every day that make our machines vastly more useful than they’d be on their own. When we don’t know what to use for a job, a quick visit to the App Store is usually all that’s required to find an app that’ll fit the bill.
Problem is, there’s too many apps for any of us to ever use, much less master. And there’s always that nagging suspicion that there’s a better app that could let you do what you’re doing faster.
If only you had the best app.
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!