Business

The best apps of 2012

Independent News & Media

APPS: where do you start? Mobile apps for the Android, Apple and Windows Phone platforms have multiplied massively during 2012.

The latest total for iOS, Apple's software for its iPhone, iPod and iPad hardware is over 700,000. But Android has caught up, matching that number last month. Windows Phone is way behind, as is BlackBerry. But the point is every phone and tablet platform has more apps than you can possibly use, even if the very one you have set your heart on isn't always there.

Apple may no longer have a big lead in total numbers, but the company is keen to stress that it has 275,000 apps optimised for iPad, while Android has mostly phone apps which are scaled up for larger screens.

And it's still the case that Android's store, called Google Play, can't match Apple's for consistency of quality - though it's certainly no longer the Wild West it was a few years ago, with untested apps that would work well on one handset and quit on another.

As for Windows, there's a quick way to spot a really good app: anything beginning with Nokia. The Finnish company's adoption of Microsoft's OS brought with it great benefits in terms of mapping, music and other apps designed immaculately by Nokia's engineers.

Read on for our guide to ten of the best apps of the year.

Google Maps

iOS, Android. Free

Apple rarely puts a foot wrong, but it went down a cul-de-sac when it replaced Google's mapping program with its own. Unforgivably, the new app had erroneous information in it. It's not that there was that much, necessarily, but the perception was that you just couldn't trust it. The app is improving on a near daily basis, but if you want maps that are reliably accurate, the free download of Google Maps is the way to go.

Google had held back certain features from its iPhone app - one of the reasons Apple wanted rid. In its Android app it had turn-by-turn navigation, StreetView and more. Now, Google has put them into the iOS version, so iPhone users have them after all. Funny how things work out.

Nokia Maps

Windows Phone, Symbian. Free

Only available in full form on Nokia handsets, this is a compelling app in one way Google cannot match: overseas use. With Nokia you can download the maps easily in advance, and they're free. One of the bugbears of overseas phone use is the exorbitant level of roaming charges, but Nokia's phones allow you to turn off roaming and still find your way around. Genius.

Clear

iOS,

This is a to-do app that looks gorgeous and works brilliantly. Swipe, pinch and pull to complete, add and delete items easily, complete with cool sound effects. It's easy to navigate, customise and more. You can even save to-do lists remotely so they're updated on multiple iDevices. It's deeply satisfying to use. Note that Android users can turn to Koalcat's Clear which is surprisingly similar.

Where's My Perry?

iOS, Android

This is one of the most addictive time wasters to arrive recently. You must help Perry (a platypus secret agent, naturally) to move through a series of underground dungeons. Spray water through channels in the earth to progress. But you need to avoid poisons, freeze or steam the water and direct it with great precision. Oh, and there are three gnomes to be dissolved in each chamber, too. More than 80 puzzles, with more arriving regularly, will keep you hooked.

Netflix

iOS, Android, Windows Phone.

Once you've paid Netflix's monthly subscription, you get to watch it on a range of devices, from TVs to games consoles to computers. And most phones and tablets. There is a huge catalogue of movies and TV series - Breaking Bad is a very popular Netflix choice - that's growing all the time. True, it doesn't have the latest Hollywood blockbusters, but the selection is vast, and growing.

Angry Birds Star Wars

iOS, Android, Windows Phone. From free

If this sounds like a crass attempt at moneymaking by shoving two big names together, you're wrong. It has the same mechanics as earlier Angry Birds games (catapult different birds at naughty green piggies) but now there are piggies dressed as Darth, familiar vehicles decked out ingeniously and so on. Tremendous fun.

The Sonnets

iPad,

One of the most rewarding apps yet. Scores of big-name actors perform Shakespeare's 154 sonnets. Beautifully. There are notes, facsimile editions and scholarly introductions. But you don't need any of those as you listen to David Tennant, Dominic West, Harriet Walter and Sian Phillips effortlessly make these poems accessible. Check out the lesser known performers, too: Ben Crystal speaks a sonnet in Elizabethan pronunciation. And Cicely Berry, the RSC's doyenne of voice coaches, who is wonderful. Berry has set actors' voices free for decades and her reading of sonnet 129 is glorious, even down to her self-deprecating shrug at the end.

Via

iOS, £1.99

This is a great running app which gives audio directions so you don't need to interrupt your exercise to check your way at the next intersection. Get to the end of your run and you're presented with plenty of statistics, including the distance you've run, the calories you've burned and how long it took you. You can listen to the music on your phone as you're going, of course, and it's easy to personalise routes.

Fantastical

iOS,

Just as Clear improves on the built-in to-do list on the iPhone, so this upgrades the calendar. It's fast and elegant, making data input simple - you use regular phrases, it turns them into appointments. The interface is exceptionally user-friendly (and that's saying something when we're talking about an Apple device) and it's very quick to get to grips with. You may never use Apple's calendar again.

British Airways

iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry. Free

This is one of the most elegant and simple apps on any platform, and has just been revamped for iOS. You can book flights, check in, display your boarding pass and even check the wi-fi password in the lounge. Passbook integration on an iPhone - where your boarding pass is stored in a different app so it will pop up onscreen automatically when you're approaching the gate - isn't here yet. Virgin Atlantic has this, so surely it's only a matter of time before it arrives.
 

Topics:  android, apps, ios


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Beachmere's Steiner School to relocate

STEINER SCHOOL: The Steiner School's board member Francis Klugman, chairman Hugh Thompson, and principal Chris Jack in one of the current classrooms at the school.

Moreton Bay Birali Steiner School principal Chris Jack said the new

Caboolture's Gymbaroo focuses on creating clever little kids

EARLY LEARNING: After two-and-a-half year old Alex flourished in GymbaROO, a program focused on advancing early development through play, his mum Penelope decided to start up a local group.

Alex's mum Penelope is on the cusp of opening her own Gymbaroo group

Change ahead for Moreton Bay region with disability access plan

ACCESS PLAN: Matt McCracken wants a disability plan from the council with more accessibility and pathways.

The council will join Logan, the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Brisban

Local Partners

Orphans of Watoto share their stories through music

Each child in the choir has lost one or both parents and now lives in a Watoto village but they have found a future with their voices.

Teen girl goes missing in Burpengary

Police are seeking public assistance to help locate a 14-year-old girl reported missing from Burpengary.

The girl was last seen around 9.15am at an address in Hedges Avenue.

Beachmere's Steiner School to relocate

STEINER SCHOOL: The Steiner School's board member Francis Klugman, chairman Hugh Thompson, and principal Chris Jack in one of the current classrooms at the school.

Moreton Bay Birali Steiner School principal Chris Jack said the new

Caboolture's Gymbaroo focuses on creating clever little kids

EARLY LEARNING: After two-and-a-half year old Alex flourished in GymbaROO, a program focused on advancing early development through play, his mum Penelope decided to start up a local group.

Alex's mum Penelope is on the cusp of opening her own Gymbaroo group

Change ahead for Moreton Bay region with disability access plan

ACCESS PLAN: Matt McCracken wants a disability plan from the council with more accessibility and pathways.

The council will join Logan, the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Brisban

Better security for staff at Caboolture Hospital

Caboolture Hospital's Emergency Department's Dr Samantha Simpson, Dr Jonathon Thomson and nurse Rod McGregor are a lot happier and safer thanks to the arrival of security officers Vicky and James.

The majority of emergency department staff have experienced assault.

Fishing club helps support crime prevention programs

Senior constable Kris Parker, Deception Bay PCYC head gymnastics coach Megan Howie and Sergeant Jeremy Arato.

Caboolture River Fishing and Boating Club's fundraiser is on Oct 16.

Rio Paralympics heroes welcomed home

WINNING HAUL: Swimmer Lakeisha 'Lucky' Patterson returned home with six medals from the 2016 Rio Paralympics to add to her collection.

Three athletes from the Moreton Bay region earnt nine medals at Rio.

Classic car auction draws buyers from US, Dubai

"He wants everyone to enjoy the cars, the collection got too big'

Bribie pharmacy aiming to help raise $1million

FILM NIGHT: Priceline Pharmacy Bribie Island is holding a movie night fundraiser on October 5.

Priceline Pharmacy Bribie Island is holding a fundraiser on Oct 5.

Channel 9 orders second season of Doctor Doctor

Rodger Corser stars in the TV series Doctor Doctor.

RURAL medical drama finds a loyal following.

MOVIE REVIEW: Storks delivers family fun

A scene from the movie Storks.

ANIMATION can be hit or miss but when it hits, it hits hard.

Nick 'the snake' to call the shots on Survivor jury

Australian Survivor contestant Nick Iadanza.

LATEST evictee is out of the game but will still have a say.

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber split

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber have split after 11 years together.

Orphans of Watoto share their stories through music

The Watoto Choir performed at RSL Care Fernhill Retirement Community on Wedensday  as part of its tour of Australia.

The Watoto Choir performed at Fernhill Retirement Community Care.

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

First stages of $25 million housing development underway

New development on Madsen Rd - The Springs.

The blocks of land are much bigger than usual

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Rocky proves prime real estate in latest REIQ report

Kas Woch sold this Wood St home in Depot Hill for $107,000 in August.

A new investor's market as Rocky house prices hit lowest in state