The apps world brought us redesigns, updates, and brand new offerings this week, none of which are pumpkin spice flavored. Put on your touchscreen gloves and get apping!

Multi-Platform Updates

BBM for iOS and Android

Wow, has it been a rough road for BBM. It's finally here, and it's great. It remains to be seen whether the app will do anything for Blackberry's morbidly uncertain future, but it's definitely worth checking out the free app. [Android] [iOS]


Jealous of all the super cool stop-motion and optical illusion Vines you see? This week's update brings two editing features that make Vine perfection attainable. "Sessions" lets you save up to 10 Vines-in-progress, while "Time Travel" lets you move, re-record, or erase a sub-par shot without having to start from scratch. [Android] [iOS]

Dead Trigger 2

This first-person zombie slayer just got a major update, with real-time global play mode, a choice of touch or "virtual joystick" controls, and eye-popping graphics. Add new zombie bosses (with great names like "Vomitron") and bonus weaponized chickens (really!), and you've got plenty of new reasons to love an already-great game. Plus, it's free! [Android] [iOS]


Facebook Home

Remember Facebook Home, the customized Android phone? Or Facebook Home, the app launcher thing? This week Facebook updated the regular Android app to give the signature features of both to everyone, not just beta users. Basically, this turns your lock screen into a scrolling Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr feed. It'll also launch you directly into said apps from the lock screen, if you so choose, allowing you to like, comment, pin, retumble, or whatever else all those newfangled social apps do. [Free]


A slick, deeply-customizable app switcher (go figure!), Switchr lets you define swipe gestures to choose or close apps, with a nice full-screen preview like you've probably gotten used to on your computer. Swipe sensitivity and area are customizable, and it'll even self-diagnose and fix problems if it's not running right on your phone or tablet(!). The download is free, while the $2 Pro variant gives you even more knobs to fiddle with. [Free]


The cloud-based DVR for broadcast TV has finally made it to Android! Like the web and iOS app, this gives you access to whatever channels you'd theoretically get with an old school TV antenna, plus the pause and record capabilities of DVR, without any sort of cable contract. The Android app is in beta for now, and only runs on 4.2 or higher. But if you live in New York, Boston, Atlanta, Miami, Salt Lake City, Houston, or Dallas, and want to watch broadcast TV, Aereo's cooler than rabbit ears and cheaper than cable. [$8/month]

Call PopOut

It's a real pain how an incoming call blocks out your entire screen — especially when you're playing Temple Run reading important world news. Call PopOut replaces that with a handy little photo icon and option buttons to answer, dismiss, mute ringer, or turn on speakerphone. You can set it to pop up for every call, or only in certain apps, like YouTube or your various readers, and the appearance and layout are nicely customizable. [Free]


RIP VIP, The Death Alert App

Just in time for Halloween (which has been going on for like a week already on Twitter), this morbid news app alerts you whenever a headline-worthy person passes on. "Priority" deaths come with a tolling bell alert, Poe style, while the less-important departed bring a silent alert. All deaths can be shared to email, text, or social media, because these days you haven't really died until someone's tweeted about it. [$1]

Tweetbot 3

Heavy Twitter users know that a good client app can make tweeting a joy. Tweetbot's new update brings slick iOS 7-optimized design and faster reactions to an already handy setup. You can mute people, hashtags or keywords (say, to ignore TV show spoilers without unfollowing everyone), sync activity between your phone, tablet and computer, and completely customize the way you navigate the Twitterverse. [$3 for a limited time]

Google+ Hangouts for iOS

Google's biggest updates to this app are all about calling. Users in the US and Canada can now call domestic phone numbers or Google Voice numbers using only a data connection — handy for saving voice minutes. Perhaps more importantly, you can now send and receive GIFs that play right in the message — handy for GIF nuts like us. [Free]

Hulu Plus

The big news here is for Chromecast users — this week's update allows you to stream directly from your iOS device to your TV wonder-dongle, a feature previously limited to Android users. Plus, you can sync your spot between devices, meaning you can start an episode on the train ride home, then finish it on the couch. [Free]

Windows Phone

Smart Resize

Phones take rectangular pictures, but pic sharing social sites often require you to chop them down into squares. Smart Resize boasts an algorithm that crops out the superfluous stuff, keeps the main subject front and center and resizes the image, automatically. No more fiddling with tiny crop brackets on your touch screen. [Free]


This app lets you jot down notes by hand, right on your phone. Perfect for making a reminder note, a to-do list, or a colorful doodle, InNote offers a broad color palette and multiple pen types. Plus, you can use it to annotate documents from CamScanner or pictures from your album, and share the results as PDFs. [Free]

Taking social photo sharing in a bit of a different direction, lets you swap shots with other users nearby, perfect for getting a new perspective on an art exhibit, historical site, or just your own neighborhood. You can also share images the old fashioned way by email, or turn off your location when you don't want strangers to see what you're snapping. [Free]