I wish all consumer products were like mobile apps. Think about it: What other products or services do you use that are either free or inexpensive yet they (usually) improve over time—at no additional cost to you?
Consider the following iOS and Android apps. All are free, and each one was recently updated with new and useful features. Of course, I still have suggestions for additional refinements.
Google Drive (free)
Current iOS version: 1.1.0
Current Android version: 126.96.36.199
Google Drive, which was already a fairly sweet app, has gained several new, essential tools—though the iOS and Android versions aren’t equivalent in terms of features.
The iOS app now lets you create new Google doc files and edit existing ones. In addition, you can see your collaborators’ edits to a doc in real time—a cool feature that makes working in Google Docs a time-saver for teams. (Both features were already available on Android.)
On the Android side, Google Drive now lets you add and reply to existing comments in documents and view tables within documents. Both apps let you view Google presentation files (including speaker notes) and organize your Google Drive files, including the ability to create new folders and move files between folders.
Google says the abilities to edit and collaborate in real time on Google spreadsheets are coming soon in a future Google Drive version. No word yet when you’ll be able to edit Google presentation files.
Current iOS version: 5.0.8
Current Android version: 2.4.7
LinkedIn recently added push notifications to its iOS and Android apps. When someone likes your LinkedIn status update, checks out your profile or accepts an invitation to connect, the LinkedIn app on your mobile device lets you know. In the past, you were only notified if someone messaged you or wanted to connect. While these new features aren’t exactly revolutionary, they’re welcome additions.
LinkedIn executive Joff Redfern wrote in a blog post that LinkedIn mobile apps will soon let you edit your profile, too, though no specific date was given.
LinkedIn did a nice job with its mobile apps, particularly on the iPad. I reviewed the iPad app in April (see “iPad Finally Gets a LinkedIn App”) and named it one of my three favorite iOS apps for summer.
Stitcher Radio (free)
Current iOS version: 5.0.0
Current Android version: 2.13
Though I never seem to have much time to use it, I’m a fan of Stitcher Radio, a streaming music service that aggregates audio content from live radio, podcasts and more into one slick app. Even better, both the iOS and Android apps now automatically download your favorite programs for offline listening—meaning you don’t have to endure withdrawal during a Wi-Fi-less airplane ride. By default, Stitcher Radio is set to download files only when you’re on Wi-Fi and not a cellular network, to preserve your data plan.
Updates to Appreciate—or Denigrate
Have any of your favorite apps been updated recently with especially cool new features? Or do you use an app that’s grown less valuable or more cumbersome with recent updates? If so, let me know in the comments.