iPhones. iPads. Android. Windows Phone 7. We've updated all of our essential apps lists to include a few forgotten favorites, some long awaited arrivals and, as always, even more amazing apps. Check them out!
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The end of the month is here, and that means it's time to do a little housekeeping on our list of the absolute best iPhone apps. Who will be inducted?
Google+: It's Google's big soiree into social "sharing". The app has it all: a stream that shows what your friends are talking about (like Facebook), Huddle which is an easy to set up group chats (like GroupMe) and will even automatically upload the pictures you take on your phone to the cloud (like iCloud). Once you get a Google+ invite, one of those features will pull you in.
Spotify: Spotify is as close to a great streaming service we can get. The iPhone app lets you listen to all of Spotify's 13 million track library and with an offline mode, can even do it without a data connection because you can wirelessly sync your local files to your phone, create and sync playlists and more.
Capture: The quickest video camera you'll find on iOS. Once you launch the app from the home screen, it starts recording instantly, like seriously instantly-so there's no valuable seconds missed. So technically, it's just a home screen button that automatically records (through an invisible app). $1
Surfline: Premium Surfline users get live HD cameras (at over 90 destinations around the U.S. and Hawaii). Free users get a still camera image updated every 10 minutes, as well as surf reports that include wind speed, surf height, tides, weather and the like. The app also boasts surf forecasts as well as the ability to bookmark favorite spots and watch various surf videos. Free.
GIF Shop: It's a camera app that stitches together pictures to create the GIFs that populate the Internet. You know GIFs! At Giz we call GIFs the Internet's greatest treasure. Personally, I think it's the only form of online communication that can truly translate emotion (albeit bite-sized) over the Internet. $2
Android gaming is getting a lot better with one long time favorite and another brand spanking new side-swiping action game. Of course, the much hyped Spotify is joining the list of best apps too.
Fieldrunners: The endlessly popular tower defense Fieldrunners is finally on Android. There's over 400 levels across 4 battlefields, 7 different weapons to guard your territory with and hours upon hours of fun. I've lost myself in this game when it was on iOS and plan to lose myself for the rest of the weekend now that it's finally on Android.
Spotify: Released to much fanfare, Spotify is as close to a great streaming service we can get. The Android app lets you listen to all of Spotify's 13 million track library and with an offline mode, can even do it without a data connection because you can wirelessly sync your local files to your phone, create and sync playlists and more.
Snaptastic: An excellent photo editing app that's currently in beta, Snaptastic allows you to quickly tweak your pictures anyway you want. There's 15 presets already built in, custom presets you can set yourself and controls for brightness, contrast, temperature, tint, vignetting, etc. Make your pictures look better and share them immediately to all your favorite social networks.
Roboto: A beautiful looking action game where you play the role of a teen robot in love with a pretty robot and have to shoot a bunch of bad guys to win her. Silly, yes. But the graphics are awesome and though it's ostensibly a classic side-scrolling game, the world occasionally flips upside down to keep you on your toes. $3
Sketchbook Pro: For Honeycomb tablets, it's a canvas for you to draw and paint on, with virtual tools and brush styles that can be really used to create art. You can save up to six layers per file and export files to photoshop for further working. Great for professionals who want to use their tablets for ideas and amateurs like me who can only hope to draw a straight line. $5
A slower than usual month for the iPad, there was at least a new browser that mimics Chrome and an excellent NASA app that shows you what they do other than space travel.
iChromy: It's an iPad browser that looks and feels like Chrome. And since I use Chrome every single day, that's a good thing! It has tabbed browsing, an incognito window, and an omnibox (a shared box for typing in URLs and search terms) too. As close as you'll get to Chrome on an iPad. Free
Infographics: The app has about 50 different infographics created by the design company for its clients. There's trivia-filled images for technology, sociology, learning and more. Perfect for those moments when you have a few minutes to spare and want to read something besides boring news.
NASA Visualization Explorer: The NASA Visualization Explorer app brings a new topic from the space agency to your iPad each week. It's chock full of images, videos and scientific information. From Polar studies based in Antarctica to the movement of marine deserts, you'll get to see a side of NASA that doesn't often make the front page news. Free
Windows Phone 7 is impressively rounding itself to an awesome OS. This month they did a great job checking off the apps that have existed on other platforms.
Stacks: The best Instapaper app for Windows Phone 7, you'll be able to see your Unread, Liked and Archive folders. If you haven't been using Instapaper—it's the lifechanging service that saves articles for offline reading—you need to start now. You do, however, need a paid Instapaper acount.
NY Times: All the news that's fit to print. No matter how much we joke about print dying, the Times is still a must read. Like the NY Times apps on other platforms, you can read through Top News for free and save articles for offline reading. With a paid subscription, all the content is unlocked.
GroupMe: A godsend of a group messaging app, GroupMe killed for us at CES. The idea is simple: your friends are grouped together via a phone number and when you text that number it sends the message to everyone (with your name in front). Like a SMS chat room. Free.
Vevo: The new MTV! Or something like that. Vevo is an app that lets you watch a ton of new music videos you never see on MTV anymore. There's push notifications to alert you of a premiere and some trivia questions to keep you in the know. Free.
Kayak:Sometimes it seems like the internet can make traveling more of a hassle, what with all the different rates to sort through and confirmation numbers to manage. Kayak actually makes the process easier-from booking your flights and hotels to organizing your itinerary. Free.