Thursday, December 25, 2014

The 3 best apps of 2014 for Android and iPhone

For most people with a smartphone or tablet, their most-used apps weren’t released in 2014. Facebook, Twitter, Google Maps, Candy Crush Saga, Kindle, Spotify, Clash of Clans, YouTube... these apps have been out for years, albeit regularly updated since their original releases.

Does that mean there aren’t any good new ideas in the world of apps? Nope. There were plenty in 2014, from useful productivity apps for iPhone and Android smartphones, to inventive tablet games and creative, educational children’s apps.

I’ve been tracking new releases throughout the year in the Guardian’s Best Android Apps and Best iPhone and iPad Apps columns, and rounding up the best of them in a series of pre-Christmas roundups.

If you’ve unwrapped a new device for Christmas, or simply fancy browsing the best apps that 2014 has to offer, here are some tasters of the top apps in those roundups, with links to the full articles, and to similar pieces from previous years.
For most people with a smartphone or tablet, their most-used apps weren’t released in 2014

The best Android apps of 2014

   1. “Mailbox: one of the better ways to attain the fabled Inbox Zero – or at least try to – by swiping unwanted emails aside like they’re unwanted matches in Tinder. Slick design, its integration with Gmail and the ability to “snooze” non-urgent emails made it a useful productivity tool...”

   2.WhoSampled:  If you love your music, WhoSampled is a marvellous rabbit-hole of sampling culture, exploring the samples used in hundreds of thousands of songs and tracing them back to the original tracks. Once you start along this discovery path, don’t expect to surface for a while.

   3.Sunrise Calendar:  Just as Mailbox provided a genuinely-appealing alternative to Gmail, so Sunrise Calendar has taken on Google’s cloud-calendar service. It makes neat use of colour and social data on top of the usual diary management features, and if you’re not quite ready to break with Google, it works fine with that too.
For most people with a smartphone or tablet, their most-used apps weren’t released in 2014.

The best iPhone apps of 2014

    1SwiftKey Keyboard: “The most popular keyboard-replacement app on Android, SwiftKey Keyboard, made the leap to iOS in time for the launch of iOS 8, with its emphasis on the way it learns your writing style – with Facebook, Twitter and Gmail logins able to give it a head start – to make its predictions even smarter...”

    2.FireChat: FireChat seemed like an innovative novelty when it came out, with the ability to text-chat to people even when internet access was down. But then came the Hong Kong protests, where it proved its mettle as a way to communicate in those kinds of situations, when rival apps struggled.

    3.Replay: Now billed as a “video editor for Instagram”, that’s selling Replay a bit short, since it’s a slick standalone video editor in its own right too. You can add in up to 200 photos or video clips, then pick styles to turn them into professional-looking videos for sharing on various social networks. Instagram included.