The holiday saw a bit of a downtick in the world of apps (developers have families too!), but there were still some solid additions to every major app store. Here are the best of them.
Now here's an interesting idea. We've all been out with friends only to realize that our smartphone is on life support. As the last percentages of battery drain away into nothingness, you must now float around untethered from our device. With Hotel My Phone, you can borrow a friend's phone, sign in, and send and receive texts and phone calls with your phone number. Just don't hog your friend's phone all night. That ain't cool. [Free for iOS and Android]
At first I didn't really understand the appeal of FlashChat. So I can talk to everyone on the same wifi? Who cares? But I wan't thinking big enough. When you think of sprawling wifi on college campuses or at massive businesses, FlashChat becomes handy for easy communication among friends and coworkers. It's also anonymous and as soon as you leave the wifi range, you're immediately signed out and your conversation is scrubbed. [Free for iOS and Android]
Shou.TV is a fun one. Like a hyper-focused Twitch for mobile games, this app lets you live broadcast your screen or simply record your screen as separate files you can use later. There's also a discovery function to jump into watching popular mobile games like Clash of Clans or Minecraft. Right now, the app works wonders with Android Lollipop, but you'll need a rooted device if you're running anything else. The app is also available for iPhone, jailbroken that is. [Free]
SnoopSnitch is a really interesting idea born out of the recent Chaos Computer Congress in Hamburg, Germany. The app uses radio signals to sniff out any devices that might be snooping. It's main targets are "stingrays," gadgets that fool phones into connecting with them. SnoopSnitch detects if your data is at risk. Don't let the ratings on this one fool you. SnoopSnitch just has very specific requirements in order to work, a Qualcomm chipset, root access, and Android 4.1 or higher being chief among them. Be sure to pay close attention if you're going to give it a look. [Free]
iOS 8 brought us third-party manual access to our iPhone's camera. But how you package all those new tools into a UI that makes sense has been the primary challenge for developers. No doubt some great options already exist, but Reuk takes advanced level photography controls and boils them down into a super clean and straightforward interface. [$1]
That same great sports app on Android and iOS finally makes it way to Windows Phone. Sign in with your cable provider and get access to all the ESPN content you pay for on your phone! You know, Sports! [Free]