Must-Have Android, iOS Apps for Fall 2013

CIO.com mobile-apps blogger James A. Martin shares his six favorite apps from the past three months, including one that's ideal for do-gooders and another that just might bring out your mischievous side.

Every three months, I look back at the Android and iOS apps I recently reviewed and pick my favorites. Most were new or recently updated apps at the time I looked at them. A handful struck, and continue to strike, my fancy.

These are my favorites since my last best of post back in July 2013—the apps that I’m not going to delete, no way no how—in alphabetical order.

Overall Favorite: Circa News for iOS and Android

If you’re a news junkie and just want a quick fix, download Circa immediately. The app delivers top headlines; gives you context; is good looking; and it's easy to read on a smartphone. Circa is perfect for today's busy, short-attention-span culture. The developer’s team of editors and journalists do a bang-up job delivering what you need to know, when you need to know it. The app is free, there are no ads, and it’s available for Android and iOS.

Circa News

Key Rings Reward Cards for Android and iOS

I ditched all the loyalty cards in my wallet and on my key ring, thanks to the aptly named, and free, Key Rings Reward Cards app for Android and iOS. The app scans each of your loyalty card’s barcodes. You can also take pics of a card’s front and back as backup. Then, when you’re at the checkout counter, just fire up the app and let the cashier scan the appropriate loyalty card barcode.

One Today for Android

The premise of this free Android-only app is simple: Make micro donations with one click. One Today by Google (free) lets you choose between several projects, to which you can donate $1. The app is attractively designed and easy to navigate, making charitable contributions to worthy causes not only easy but a pleasure, too.

Slydial for Android and iOS

Need to return a friend’s call but don’t really have time or don't want to talk? Slydial them. The free Android and iOS app dials directly into a mobile phone’s voicemail, so you can leave a message directly. I’ve had good luck with this app, but I’ve seen reviews from disgruntled users of both the Android and iOS software, so experience may vary.

SpeakingPhoto for iOS

SpeakingPhoto for iOS lets you add short audio snippets to photos. It’s practical; I can see real estate agents snapping photos of properties and making verbal notes for their clients (or themselves). And it’s fun. Adding a voice-over to a friend’s picture (and sharing it on Facebook) offers all sorts of potential for mischievous ribbing. SpeakingPhoto for iPhone and iPod touch is free. SpeakingPhoto HD for iPad costs $3. (As of this writing, it hasn’t been updated since Nov. 2012.)

TripIt for Android and iOS

TripIt’s iOS 7 update added a cool Google Now-like card interface to this indispensible app for frequent travelers. Swipe through the cards to view your airline, hotel and car-rental reservations before you travel. While you’re on the go, the app displays relevant notifications and cards automatically. When you land, for instance, your hotel and rental car cards pop up. As of this writing, TripIt for Android (available for free or as an $1 app without ads) doesn’t have the card-like interface. TripIt for iOS is also available for free or for $1 without ads.

What are some of your favorite apps you found during the past few months?

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