21 of the best smartphone apps

You have a new smartphone but don’t know what apps to get. No wonder.

Between Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store, there are two million apps.

Many of these — such as Venmo, which enables you to transfer money from your bank account into a friend’s; Shoot the Messenger, which enables you to retract texts you’ve sent before they reach their destination; and Third Love, a NASA-scientist-designed app that measures your bra size — are not available in the Irish stores.

Of those that are, here are our 21 favourites:

Umano: Unless you have a Google Glass headset, accessing the newspapers or online media can be challenging when you’re on the move. But while reading’s not an option, listening is. Using Umano, you can listen to extracts from the New Yorker, Mashable, Forbes, and more. The overall experience is that of listening to your own, personalised radio station. Free — iPhone, Android.

Brian Cox’s Wonders of the Universe: Zoom through the cosmos on a 3-D tour led by Professor Brian Cox. An out-of-this-world experience enhanced by BBC-produced videos, awe-inspiring photos and information-packed articles. €2.69 — iPhone.

Carrot To-Do: Carrot is a to-do list app with attitude. Complete your tasks in a timely manner and you’ll be rewarded. Fail. and you’ll incur the wrath of a punishing, robotic master. Carrot is the 50 Shades of to-do-list apps. €1.99 — iPhone.

Shazam: When you hear music you like on the radio, or in a club, Shazam ‘listens’ and delivers the name, along with the that of the artist and the album. Free: iPhone, Android, Blackberry.

Vine: Twitter’s six-second, video-sharing app was the fourth most downloaded in 2013. Use it to post looping videos to Facebook and Twitter. Free — iPhone, Android.

Headspace (on-the-go): Ten guided, ten-minute meditations, courtesy of a former Buddhist monk. Free — iPhone, Android.

Moves: Records how many steps you take each day and how many calories you burn. Running and cycling are also tracked. So too are the places you go. €2.69 (iPhone) free on Android.

Snapchat: Sends photos and videos that self-destruct seconds after being opened by the recipient — provided they don’t take a screenshot, or save them with an image-capturing app, such as Snap Save for Snapchat. Free — iPhone, Android.

Sleep Talk Recorder: Five percent of adults talk in their sleep, 45% snore. This app records the sounds you and your partner make as you slumber, while omitting the (blissfully) silent intervals. €0.89 — iPhone, free on Android.

Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock: Calculates the duration and quality of your sleep and tracks how stress and diet impact on that. The alarm wakes you when in your lightest sleep phase, so you feel refreshed as you start your day. €0.89 — iPhone; €4.49 — Blackberry.

Kindle: Read books from Amazon’s book store on your iPhone. Free — iPhone, Android, Blackberry.

IMDb Movies and TV: This app is a treasure-trove of trivia, trailers, biographies and reviews. Free — iPhone, Android, Windows Phone.

iMovie: Make professional-quality HD movies and Hollywood-style trailers on your device. €4.49 — iPhone.

Curious iPhone: Choose from thousands of short video lessons to learn new skills and pursue your interests. Topics range from philosophy and 3-D modelling to dog-training and organic vegetable gardening. Free — iPhone.

Duolingo: Want to learn French, Spanish, German, Italian or Portuguese, but too busy for classes? With Duolingo, Apple’s top iPhone App of 2013, you can learn them on your smartphone. Free — iPhone, Android.

iTube Pro: Create personalised music video playlists and watch them on your device, or switch to audio mode and listen while you’re doing something else. €0.89 — iPhone.

Birds of Britain and Ireland: A beautifully illustrated field guide, with songs, calls and facts about 271 species of bird. Perfect for both amateurs and birders, it’s well worth the cost. €15.99 — iPhone.

Cartoon HD: Cartoons, movies and lots of laughs. Definitely not just for kids. Free — iPhone.

Over: Turns smartphone photographs into e-cards and personalises them for sharing on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by overlaying them with text and artwork. €1.79 — iPhone.

Dropbox: Perfect for backing up, Dropbox saves photographs from your phone to the cloud and enables you to access, and share, your files on all of your devices. Free — iPhone, Android, BlackBerry.

Irish Examiner: Sure, we’re biased, but a listing in the top-grossing apps in the App Store speaks for itself. Irish Examiner e-paper delivers the entire newspaper to your device, while our free news app informs and entertains. Free — iPhone, Android e-paper from €0.55/day.


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