Sunday, December 30, 2012

Favorite Apps - 2012

It is that time of year where the year ends and a new one begins.  I am going to go over my favorite apps this year.  Now, these apps were not created this year or discovered this year.  However, this post should help those who bought or received a new Android tablet and/or smartphone this holiday.  Yes, I am only talking about Android because I own both an Android tablet (Nexus 7) and an Android smartphone (Samsung Galaxy S3).  My list will be primarily focused for a tablet but you can use them on either device unless otherwise indicated.  Let's begin....

For my main apps, I use the following:

  • OfficeSuite Pro - Microsoft Office compatible. I have not compared this to others but I use it and have no issues.
  • Evernote - the best note taking app. On a tablet, it is easy to use and well organized. 
  • Whiteboard - If you need to quickly draw something, this is a great app. You just draw on a whiteboard.  It is customizable so you can change color, thickness of lines, and draw squares/circles/freehand.
  • Flixster - Not designed for tablets per se but it works.  Allows me to see what movies are out and what the showtimes are.  I do not use it to watch movies through Ultraviolet.
  • eBay - If you buy and/or sell using eBay, this is the app to have.  You can manage your account (buying/selling/watching). 
  • Stock Watcher - This is a basic app that lets you quickly view prices on your stocks.  You add them individually but the prices are not real-time.  There is also various information that you can view such as news, Twitter mentions (although not really accurate), charts and more.  The information is pulled from Yahoo Finance. Again, it is basic but does the job.
  • Amazon Kindle - If you read books, nothing else to say.  This is a required app.
  • Zinio - If you read magazines, this is the best subscription service/app.  They added bookmarking (which allows you to save a page as a favorite) which makes this a 5 star.  Prices are not bad.  I do not use Google Play Magazine. Although the number of stars given for Zinio and Play Magazine are almost identical (3.6 vs. 3.5 respectively), I think Zinio is better.
  • Pulse - My favorite RSS reader.  I follow multiple websites and this app allows me to track all in one.  My favorite feature is that I can "save a story" so I can read it later.  This is similar to Pocket (formerly known as Read it Later) but the "save" is built-in.  I can then view my saved stories later. 
  • Pocket - Similar to Pulse, but I use this when I am reading directly an article or story using my Internet browser (Google Chrome).
  • GTasks - Create task lists and save using Google Mail Task.
  • Netflix - If you have Netflix, no reason not to have the app.
  • MoboPlayer - I find that this video player plays the majority of the different formats available.  Because of this, MoboPlayer is the preferred player at TabletConnect.  We test all tablets using this app to play various formats such as .avi, .mvk, .mov, .mp4, etc.  Download this video player and make it your default.
  • Xfinity Player - If you have Comcast cable, this app allows you to view certain movies and shows that you would have access to via your Comcast cable.  If you have premium channels (such as HBO),  you can view those HBO shows and movies.  
  • WiFi Analyzer - Vital app to analyze your Wifi.  You can view the networks available to you, view what channels are congested, strength of Wifi signal, and track Wifi signal over a period of time. 
  • Lookout - The free version analyzes a newly installed app to determine if it is safe from viruses/spyware. The app also allows you to locate your phone if you cannot find it and cause the phone to sound a loud alarm. The paid version allows to you do additional things such as remotely lock your phone, wipe data from your phone remotely, backup and restore contacts/pictures/call history, block dangerous URLs, and more.
  • Android System Info - This app allows you to view various items about your device.  You can view remaining available storage (both internal and external), view apps/services running in background, view all installed apps, view logs and view system information. Maybe not the average user will use this often but it is nice to at least view the dashboard for the important information.
  • App List Backup - This apps allows you to create a list of all your installed apps.  This is great if you update ROMs or change devices (assuming you save the data on an external memory card).  No need to write down or try to remember all the apps you have installed.  This app creates a list and then will provide a direct link to the Google Play Store to reinstall the app.  
  • DocuSign Ink - App allows you to sign documents without the need to print, hand sign, scan and email the document.  You can sign right on your tablet and email back to whomever needs the signature.  Perfect for the traveling person who may not have a computer and printer readily available.  This is ideally designed for tablets.  Definitely one to have even if you do not plan on using it often.
  • AirCalc - This is a simple calculator that floats.  Therefore, you can keep your calculator open above any running app.  You can also move, resize and minimize the calculator. Perfect for quick calculations.
  • Financial Calculators - Various financial calculators in one app.  It has pretty much any financial calculator that you would need.
Games (I can write a whole article on Android games but here are my favorites apps that work great on a tablet):
  •  Foosball cup - If you love playing foosball on a game table, you will love it on a tablet.  You control the players and move them just as if you were playing on a real table. The larger the screen, the better the experience. It is a basic game but it is fun. Not recommended for a smartphone due to the small screen size.
  • Airbag Frank - Game similar to Angry Birds but you fling Frank across and the goal is to get him across the field at the longest distance. Looks great on a tablet and should work on a smartphone.
  • NFL Pro 2013 - I had Madden 12 but it was not an easy game and buggy. This game does not only look good and is not buggy but it is free.  Of course, there are some in-app purchases but the game is not overly complicated.  Graphics are great.  I like it better than the Madden 12 game which was not free.
  • Beach Buggy Blitz - This is pretty good racing game for all ages.  You do need a decent table to run it.  Graphics are good.  One major negative is that it takes a long time to accumulate the coins necessary to do upgrades.  It is a good game to keep you busy.
  • Asphalt 7 - My other racing game.  Graphics look great and it sounds great.  Another game where you need a tablet with decent processor.
 That is it for now.  I know I did not include the typical apps like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram as those are mainstream apps that most people automatically install.

As I discover more apps, I will post them.  Take care and Happy New Year.


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