Sharing is caring—at least that's what those creepy anthropomorphized Care Bears used to say—and in the app world this week, those sentiments are particularly true.
App stalwarts from Windows Phone make their way to Android and other platforms, including the MSN suite of apps, a long-awaited
addiction freemium game comes to WP, and iOS gets one of Android's quirkiest alarm clocks.
After all, sharing is caring, and our smartphones are better for it.
Google Maps is good. Very, very good. But some change can be a good thing, and Here Beta, a longtime exclusive for Windows Phone, officially launched for Android after a trial period on Samsung devices (you could also sideload the app for the past month). Nokia's Here Maps has tried to cross the platform divide before and this is a MUCH more successful attempt. Unfortunately, if you're currently slinging an iPhone, you'll have to wait until spring to see what Here Maps is all about.
In many ways, Here Beta is comparable to Google Maps. Both offer solid turn-by-turn directions, up-to-date traffic and public transit info, all packaged in pretty great design. Google offers further suggestions for bike routes and has a well-integrated nearby search function whereas Here Maps has wonderful offline maps and speed limit warnings if you happen to have a lead foot. Each have their own strengths, and for free, there is no reason to not give Here Beta a test drive. Like, literally get into a car and give it a test drive. [Free]
Are you the active crowdfunding type or more the casual observer who likes to see some of the exciting, crazy, and downright ridiculous ideas that are out there? Whatever the case, Indiegogo just made it easier to peruse projects on Android. The app is similar to the iOS equivalent, letting you follow certain categories, search for certain projects, and save any that interest you. But remember, crowdfund responsibly. [Free]
My contacts list is bad, embarrassingly bad. A toxic hellstew of friends and family members with Star Wars-related nicknames that I thought were clever when I was 15. They've haunted me for more than a decade. (Mon Mothma for "Mom?" Smfh.)
Humin has been lending its organizational skills on iOS for quite awhile, now Android is officially invited to the party. The developers say their app organizes contacts in the way you "naturally think," meaning you can search for where a contact lives or when you met them. Anything that can help tame the mess my 15-year-old self left behind is a welcome addition to my app drawer. [Free]
"Wakie ... lets complete strangers dial you up to help get your ass out of bed, and I couldn't think of anything more terrifying." That was my original summation of this strange little app when it launched for Windows Phone and Android earlier this year. Although I still believe in my original assessment, the app is quite unlike any other alarm clock out there, and now iPhone owners can get in on the fun(?). You can sign up to call people or be on the receiving end of your own personal wake-up call. In theory, this app has the potential for users to meet all kinds of people around the world. But trust me, no one—and I mean no one—wants to be the unfortunate soul tasked with waking me up in the morning. [Free]
When someone says the words "stock market," my eyes immediately glaze over with what I can only assume is a mixture of boredom and economic intimidation. But when Robinhood announced earlier this week that it was finally opening up its limited beta to every interested iPhone ownes, bringing with it the promise of a simpler way to trade stocks, I had an altogether different reaction. I was actually interested.
The app takes advantage of the iPhone 6's integrated Touch ID for logging into the service. From there you swipe left and right among different stocks, add certain ones to your watchlist, and when you're ready, just swipe to buy. Robinhood uses different color schemes to help users quickly identify when stocks are open for trading, but the biggest news here is that the app takes no brokerage fees in the U.S., so you can trade on the cheap.
Robinhood is only now beginning the on-boarding process, but you can still download the app and test out some features. Happy trading. [Free]
Automation on smartphones can be tricky, but Workflow tries to simply the experience and make you the absolute master of your mobile. This app creates automation "workflows" similar to services like IFTTT. Obviously the most efficient use of Workflow is building your own creations that perfectly suit your life, but the developers also include a gallery so you can look at what the app's community has dreamed up. If you're interested in taking a first step into automating your digital life, Workflow for iOS may be as simple as it gets. [$3]
Need a comic reader for your WP smartphone? Of course you do, and Cover is a great option. This app can read all kinds of file formats (CBR/CBZ/CB7/PDF/EPUB) and organizes your collection within the app's elegant UX. The app even has a manga mode, three separate fitting modes, and you can pin comics to the Start screen. Try it out for free. C'mon, your digital collection deserves it. [Free]
Two years and a lot of tears later and Candy Crush Saga is finally available on Windows Phone. Now you WP users can now experience first hand all the guilt-wracking addiction everyone has been talking about. Lucky you. [Free (kind of)]