Simply Irresistible: Top 10 Apps We Love4:00 PM EST Wed. Feb. 13, 2013
Here in the CRN Test Center, we love apps. We download, test and use apps all day long, and even use them at night. We love apps for Android; we love apps for iPhone. We even love apps for Windows -- in all of its variations. So take a look at our list of the top 10 apps that we think are the most efficient and responsive. For at least one, we think it will be love at first sight.
DineTonite is a free app that will pay you back for dining out. Although there are existing food apps like GrubHub and Yelp, DineTonite provides restaurant guidance and even makes the reservation. Built by independent developer PDA Trade, this Android and iOS app provides deep discounts when dining at participating restaurants.
Users can search by city, location, cuisine and/or date. They are then sorted by availability, pricing and even by discount. Also great, the discount is discreetly deducted from the check at the end of the meal. This means no fussing for printed or forgotten coupons. The cities available for this app are only within the U.S., and include Baltimore, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Las Vegas, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Orlando and West Palm Beach, and various cities throughout New Jersey. Even though there's a $5 dollar booking fee for reservations kept, the savings more than compensates. We think DineTonite is dynamite.
When traveling, there's often ample time before or between connecting flights. However, when the clock is ticking, GateGuru for Android and iOS is an efficient app to help travelers seek out food and amenities during a layover. Developed by Mobility Apps LLC founder Dan Gellert, this free app provides not only flight information, but ratings for airport restaurants, shops and newsstands for more than 120 airports across the U.S., Asia, Canada and Europe. GateGuru offers more than 25,000 reviews, providing opinions, tips and photos on the quality of food, services and atmospheres in airports and terminals. Users can also view their TripIt and Kayak itineraries, and airport security wait times as well. There's also a link for tagging memorable locations in Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to keep the network posted. Dealing with a layover is easier with GateGuru.
BeyondPod for Android goes above and beyond for people who thrive on podcasts. Not only does this app play podcasts and manage subscriptions, it also manages RSS feeds. Developed by the BeyondPod Team, which specializes in podcast management and RSS feed readers, this convenient Android app is available for both tablet and phone, and perfect for those on the go.
Integrated with Google Reader, this app automatically imports a user's podcast subscriptions and can schedule podcast downloads using Wi-Fi or 3G. BeyondPod even will automatically turn Wi-Fi on, update feeds and then turn the Wi-Fi back off again. It has a Smart Playlist feature to generate playlists according to a user's listening preference and lets users organize podcasts into different categories and import music files and audiobooks. While BeyondPod is initially free, after a week there's a cost of $6.99 that's surely worth it. A free version is limited to managing one feed.
Traffic is frustrating and inevitable on roads that are constantly fluctuating. Drivers are left clueless when maps and GPS devices fail to show those changes. However, Waze, a free navigation app for Android and iOS, helps users to avoid traffic jams. Developed by Israeli startup Waze Mobile, this app combines GPS, turn-by-turn directions and the social networking to help choose the best way to get around traffic. What makes Waze so great is the concept of keeping the driving community connected. Everyday users, also known as "Wazers," provide in realtime the current state of traffic and other information relevant to fellow drivers.
By simply driving with the app open, users contribute to traffic and road data. Waze recognizes when the host vehicle slows down and asks if it's stuck in traffic. Users can specify if there's an accident, hazard, police trap or other delay. So whether a driver wants to shave five minutes off their regular commute or get help steering around an accident, Waze will always show the best routes. Waze is an efficient app that we absolutely love; veering drivers to their destination by the quickest "Waze" possible.
It's handy knowing what you're walking into especially within networks that can easily be threatened. Network administrators no longer have to walk in blind thanks to Net Scan, which can easily find holes and security flaws within private or public networks. Built by independent developer Nick Circelli, Net Scan for Android is a free app that scans, identifies and reports device names, IP addresses, MAC addresses, open ports and other network data and potential vulnerabilities.
When the app is first opened, an initial scan is performed and within a matter of seconds Net Scan reports the MAC address and SSID of the access point it's attached to. A complete scan brings up their device's Wi-Fi controls plus IP and MAC addresses of every device on the network, including names and NIC info. It also detects errors within a selected range of ports to identify problems that are potentially blocking network access. This app is great for recommending security enhancements and for field techs to scan resources or to confirm that a resource is still available.
It's one thing to have "bring your daughter to work" day. But when employees start bringing their own devices, it opens up a can of security worms that make IT departments cringe. Addressing the issue is Bigtincan Hub for Android and iOS, which allows workers to easily access their classified company files from their own devices without compromising security.
Developed by Bigtincan, a mobile content solutions distributor, this content management app combines security, intelligence and social aspects. Bigtincan Hub protects sensitive information by ensuring that the content is only viewable and/or editable by the intended recipient. The app also allows users to directly mark up, edit and organize Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, videos and podcasts. Bigtincan Hub also wins points for productivity; content is sorted and prioritized based on role, location, effectiveness and popularity. This app's social features allow employees to stay connected with each other and to be engaged with their content. Users can collaborate with colleagues via video, and a newsfeed even shows all the activity done for a project. Although this app is free to download, the pricing depends on the client. Starting prices begin at $15 per user, per month. For what this thing does, we'd expect IT admins to fall in love on the spot.
Nobody loves giving speeches, but organization and confidence can go a long way toward a great presentation. With Teleprompter Pro for Windows 8 RT, speech-givers will need only work on their organization. Developed by utility toolsmaker Purple Wizard, this $2.49 app is mobile and customizable, yet a simple and effective tool that emulates a professional teleprompter for practice and the real thing.
Teleprompter Pro offers a script editor for creating, editing or importing text from a file. Users can configure the smooth scrolling speed, text size and color. There's also a mirroring option for use with reflective glass. This app is simple, perhaps too simple. With no help text provided, a user will have to play around with the app to figure it out. Still, Teleprompter Pro will surely help an executive practice and deliver a scripted speech.
After speaking with a client, it's crucial to follow up with a call or email. For the forgetful, CallFlakes for Android will act as a personal assistant. Developed by independent app developer Callsome Solutions, this app will enhance the primary two functions of a smartphone: calling and texting. Immediately after an incoming, outgoing or missed call, a window will pop up with options to send email, text, call back, schedule a meeting, create a note, set a reminder, share on social networks such as Facebook or Twitter and/or search the web.
What's great about CallFlakes is its integration with Facebook. Users can make or receive a call/text to/from a Facebook friend and also receive recent updates from their pages. While this can be great, it also can be an inconvenience for those that do not want to mix business with pleasure. Although the pop-up feature is helpful, it also can become quite annoying. When a user doesn't want to choose to make a decision right after a call, the options menu will continue to keep popping up, and there's no way to disable it. Nonetheless, this app will help preoccupied users from forgetting to return an important phone call.
Easily manage your tasks without leaving your to-do list at home with Remember the Milk for Android and iOS. This app provides ease and functionality for those who otherwise would write a to-do list.
Users can simply add on tasks due today, tomorrow or overdue. Once the task is completed, it is marked as such. Tasks can be postponed, priorities set and a weekly planner can be created as well. Remember the Milk will also show the number of times a task is postponed. This app's interface is polished and easy to navigate, it's great at helping keep appointments, and with a subscription, it can synchronize with multiple devices.
For busy executives, it's impossible to attend every conference. However, catching up on important and inspirational speeches has never been this easy or interesting. Developed by TED, a nonprofit devoted to "Ideas Worth Spreading," this is the official free app for Android, iOS and Windows 8. TED brings together speakers from "Technology, Entertainment, Design" ecospheres. They contribute "riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world."
There are currently at least 1,200 enlightening and informational videos and audio clips. It is constantly being updated with the latest talks. TED's interface is simple and highlights certain videos at the top with a list of others below, with subtitles in at least 90 languages. It supports playlists and full-video download for offline viewing. A search feature allows the curious to be led from one video to the next. TED is an app that can educate, enrich and provide power through the distribution of knowledge.