Have no fear, the best apps of the week are here. That was corny. Sorry. But really, there are some interesting apps out this week–and these are the best of the bunch.
A few of this week’s crop seem reminiscent of other popular apps, but they can still stand on their own—and that’s key. Borrowing a concept is allowed, but it’s how a developer sets their new app apart from its familiar peers that matters. These new apps are starting to do just that.
Think of this first app as an augmented reality geo-photo tagging app. Uh—let me try that again. TapTag is an app that lets users leave photos at locations so other people can discover them later. What makes it kind of cool is that fact that your smartphone becomes the lens you look through to find and view the cache—er—the photos.
The app feels like Instagram in that you can follow people and be followed. The community is still small but the concept is great, and there’s an iOS app in the works too—so there’s definitely potential for TapTag to grow. [Free]
Google’s Creative Lab has put out another awesome app that’s also a tad geeky. Meter lets you display statistics and other information about your phone—like app usage, battery level or missed calls—in real-time on your Android’s wallpaper. It’s basically a live wallpaper, except instead of just showing a pretty picture you get to see useful information. The data is actually interesting to look at too, because it’s being visualized using these minimalist shapes that can be manipulated by tilting the handset. [Free]
Remember when the original Tweetbot app was a great substitute for Twitter’s own app? Me too. It was a long time ago, before third party developers lost a lot of freedom and lost access to newer features. Tweetbot 4 isn’t a return to that glorious time but it’s actually a really good replacement for Twitter again.
To make up for some data that might not be available, the Tweetbot devs came up with Activity tab—a solution to get notifications (like when someone follows you, retweets you or mentions you) back on the app and in one column again. Stats, which lets you see data on how your tweets are performing, is also new in Tweetbot 4. [$4.99 for now, normal cost $9.99]
The newly updated Houzz app is kind of like Pinterest, except it’s completely centered around your home. The app has some 7 million high-resolution examples of how a professional would design a room or even the exterior of a home.
There’s also a marketplace, and the app can actually connect you with a remodeling or design professional. What really sold the app for me was how clean the interface felt. Remodeling can get chaotic, so being able to open up a simple-looking app for inspiration is nice and not stressful at all. Houzz is also available for Android. [Free]
The Weather Channel
Having a good weather app can really help you start your day off right. Chance of rain today? No problem, because your weather app told you so and you’re prepared. Snow? (Yes, winter is coming, folks.) It’s cool, because you’re in the know.
The Weather Channel app got an update this week (it’s now officially a universal Windows app), including several new features. App users can get customized push alerts for severe weather, rain or even pollen counts. And there are advanced radar options plus Cortana support. One more thing: the app also tracks flight changes—which is awesome. [Free]
Here’s a news reader app for people who really just want to read. LeadStory’s design is very minimal and the design is plenty airy. It’s also simple to use, which is great because you’re likely ready to relax a bit anyway. Adding sources for stories and more general topics of interest is easy too. Plus, you can create a Live Tile that will pull in the top story. [Free w/ ads, $.99]