CIO.com blogger James A. Martin shares the three best iPhone, iPad and Android apps that he reviewed during the past three months. Each app offers cool, unique features and adds new functionality to your mobile device.
By James A. Martin
When someone says to me, “I have good news and bad news,” I always ask for the bad news first.
That’s why I’m following up yesterday’s post—about the most disappointing mobile apps I found during the past three months—with today’s look at the best iOS and Android apps I discovered since I started this blog on Feb. 2, 2012. The three iOS and Android apps that follow are my personal favorites. All three, ranked in order of preference, offer cool features and let you do something you couldn’t do before.
A number of apps exist for reading magazines on Android tablets, including the popular Zinio service. But in my experience, no tablet newsstand app works as well as Next Issue.
The free app (current version, 126.96.36.1997) is like a magazine version of Netflix’s streaming-video service. A monthly fee of either $10 or $15 lets you download as many digital editions of popular magazines as you want. And they aren’t just scanned copies of print issues. The magazines come alive on Android tablets, with real-time Twitter feeds, interactive elements, video clips, and more.
Navigation is easy, issues download quickly and you can try the service for free for 30 days. An iPad edition is apparently in the works, too. One caveat: the app is compatible only with tablets that run Android 3.0 or higher and have a screen resolution of 1024 x 600 or 1280 x 800 pixels.
I rarely bother to look at my friends’ vacation photos on Facebook. And yet, when they’re all gathered together in one place, as they are in the social-travel iPad app Jetpac, I suddenly find the photos to be fascinating and even inspiring.
Jetpac (current version 0.0.8) is by no means alone in the social-travel space. But the free app stands out by taking a great idea—turning your Facebook friends into tour guides—and executing it with style. Also, the app doesn’t simply feed you geotagged pictures from your Facebook friends’ photo albums. It also has the smarts to figure out the locations of many pictures that aren’t geotagged—though it served up a few misfires here and there. And its “Hot 100 Cities” slideshows provide enticing images of interesting places from people you don’t know.
Tablified is on my list because it does something that Google’s official Play Store should, but oddly doesn’t. It’s an Android tablet app that makes it easy to discover other Android tablet apps.
There are two versions of Tablified: Tablified Market HD Lite, which is free, and Tablified Market HD Pro, which costs $2 but spares you the free version’s ads and includes a few additional features. I recommend the paid app, because it lets you filter apps by star ratings and sort by price.
When I reviewed Tablified Market HD Pro, the current version was 2.1 and it cost $1.49. The latest version, 2.1.2, costs an extra fifty cents. Perhaps the developer, Tablified Apps, is feeling extra confident. The company has every reason to feel this way—though I’d be worried that one day, Google Play Store will get its act together and make Tablified redundant.
What are the best iOS and Android apps you’ve discovered in the past few months? Please share your favorites in the comments section below.