The 30 Coolest Android And iOS Apps Of 2014
Appreciate These Apps
If you're like us, your smartphone has about five or six apps that you use all the time and a whole bunch that just gather dust. Here are 30 cool apps worth looking at, and some that just might end up being favorites.
We've seen apps like this before, but this one is way cool. To translate text from a foreign language into one that's understood, simply launch CamDictionary, point the smartphone's camera at the foreign text and viola! The text is instantly translated between any of 36 different languages, including Chinese, Japanese and Russian. There's no need to take a picture and wait for a response from some far-off system. The app also performs text-to-speech.
Android, iOS; Free
No need to ask "Dude, where's my car?" ever again. But if you did, Carr Matey would answer using the voice of a pirate. After parking, just put an X to mark the spot and Carr Matey uses GPS to find the treasure at any time later. There's also a timer feature that sends a reminder when it's time to feed the meter.
Except for meteorologists and the eternally weather-paranoid, Dark Sky will probably fall into the only-used-once-in-a-while category, but it's extremely cool. It uses GPS and weather data to forecast up-to-the-minute conditions in the immediate area or wherever in the world it's directed to look. Push notifications will sent alerts of coming inclement weather and a widget that can display info without opening the app.
Here's one that the IT department will want to standardize on for all the Android devices it's in charge of managing. Changelog Droid not only can control updates on all apps individually (which the Android OS does anyway), it does so centrally, and it keeps logs of which apps were updated, what was done to them and when. Better still for IT, it also provides a central way to prevent apps from being updated at all, helping prevent that dreaded "my app was updated and now it doesn't work" 2:00 a.m. help desk phone call.
The later versions of Android provide plenty of control over lock-screen notifications and widgets. For those wanting more, there's Dashclock Widget, which replaces the functionality of Android 4.2 and above with even more power over the Android's initial screen. Display missed calls and unread texts and gmails, show current weather, and get an at-a-glance view of your upcoming alarms or appointments.
Who entered the building today? With daVinci Inside, ’the app at your front desk,’ such information need never be in doubt. This simple visitor log app for iPad can be useful to virtually any company that's interested in keeping track of who came in and when. DaVinci Inside replaces the legacy paper visitor log with a free modern app that can handle multiple instances for multiple entrances, saves and syncs visitor data in the cloud, can be customized with downloadable skins, and integrates with an employee directory to help visitors figure out where to go. According to daVinci, Inside is in use at hundreds of companies and organizations, including banks, schools, fitness centers, daycare centers, federal contractors, construction businesses and hotels.
Dell Software K1000 GO
Enterprises using Dell's Kace K1000 Systems Management Appliance will be happy to have Kace K1000 GO, a new app that gives Android and iOS devices visibility into Dell's asset, configuration and service management system. The app allows IT admins and help desk staff to review and respond to service desk notifications, prioritize and expedite problem resolutions and deploy software right from the device. It also allows end users to submit service desk tickets, access the knowledge base and check on existing ticket status. Users can create, review, update, delete and resolve service desk tickets; attach images from their camera roll; call or email from within a service desk ticket; and view detailed inventory information. Push notifications can be used for real-time alerts of ticket events and status updates.
Android, iOS; Free
For those about to travel abroad who want to brush up on the native language, there's no need to spend a small fortune on language learning systems. Duolingo is a highly rated free tool that uses visuals and audio to teach seven major languages in small, manageable doses with rewards along the way.
Android, iOS; Free
EMC Syncplicity for iPhone
Cloud-based storage solutions afford easy file sharing among corporate colleagues, but they can represent huge problems for companies worried about data security, management and compliance. EMC Syncplicity is a Dropbox-like solution with the ability to add enterprise-grade controls and security. Acquired by EMC in 2012, the Syncplicity app has now been totally rewritten with an all-new 3-D paneled interface for functions and folder navigation, native Office document editing and PDF viewing, and predictive analytics to anticipate user behavior and present relevant content and automate tasks such as file sharing with groups via email. For example, when mailing a whiteboard photo captured at a meeting, the app can pre-populate the email with all of the meeting's participants. Forgot the name of a file but remember who sent it? A feature called visual search shows co-worker faces and selecting one or more instantly filters the file list.
Supply chain management is the beating heart of any business that makes or sells. For many of those, Salesforce.com is the lifeblood of customer relations. Combining the two is FinancialForce SCM, which uses the Salesforce CRM engine to automate the logistics and order fulfillment process, allowing a company to efficiently acquire, manage and sell inventory. The FinancialForce SCM mobile application also provides visibility into customer and supplier activity from anywhere there's an Internet or data connection. The app works with the company's billing, accounting, revenue recognition and PSA applications to provide access to shipment status, contract changes, reverse logistics information, invoices, payments, professional service project status, discrete margin analysis and general business profitability. FinancialForce SCM pricing starts at $99 per user, per month.
Android, iOS; $99 per user, per month
FireEye Mobile Security
The need for strong security can never be understated, and the Android platform has taken more than a few knocks. Helping to prevent any further black eyes is FireEye Mobile Security, a free app that the company says was built for Android from the ground up to identify and halt threats of all kinds. With the FireEye Mobile Threat Prevention ecosystem at its back, FireEye Mobile Security identifies advanced malware, compromised ad-ware and software vulnerabilities from mobile applications in real time using behavioral analysis and blocks malicious apps from execution. Immediately upon installation, the tool scans existing apps and interrupts new app installations to provide a detailed analysis and threat score. The FireEye Mobile Threat Prevention Management add-on gives IT administrators an enterprise-wide view of mobile threats on devices and their network.
Now that iOS can handle third-party soft keyboards, they're cropping up like fruit flies on an old banana. One that soars above the others is Flesky, which presents cool-looking color schemes and comes with auto-correction and prediction that works so well it barely requires a glance.
Android, Free; iOS $0.99
Juggling apps on a mobile device can be a challenge, particularly when it involves the pressures of real-time collaboration. For organizations that use SharePoint and other Microsoft back-end systems, Harmon.ie Mobile offers a top-notch solution. For $19.99 plus $4 per month per mobile user, Harmon.ie Mobile puts Office 365, SharePoint, OneDrive, Yammer and Enterprise Mobility Suite into a single pane of glass. When a communication arrives, the app pops up within the user's current work context and facilitates a response or tasks, such as sharing or modifying an Office document, assigning a task, or responding to an email or text, all in as nondisruptive a way as possible. The back end of the solution is implemented as a SharePoint add-on. A free version offers read-only document access.
Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Mobile/Phone; $19.99 plus $4 per user, per month
It's not a graphic organizer, but it does keep photos and videos straight. Horizon uses the gyroscope to automatically keep videos and photos perfectly parallel with the ground. And if a video is recorded in portrait mode, it shoots it in landscape anyway. It captures images in 1:1, 16:9 and 4:3 ratios and can post directly to social networks.
Android, Free; iOS $1.99
Hotspot Shield VPN
Easing access to the web also opens up vulnerabilities. Clamp down on them on the cheap with Hotspot Shield VPN, which secures Wi-Fi connections with "banking-level" HTTPS encryption, whatever that means. The app encrypts all inbound and outbound traffic, masks device IP addresses, blocks malware and hijackers, and unlocks websites that might be blocked by routers in the local area network.
Android, iOS; Free
Business people make hundreds -- perhaps thousands -- of personal connections every year. And while the human brain might be good at remembering faces, names and other details can be elusive. That's where Humin comes in. It permits device-contact searches using natural phrases like "met last week" or "works at IBM." The neural networking app identifies common relationships between contacts, automatically populates fields when entering a contact and saves the context of new acquaintance meetings. It also provides visual voicemail, prompts of missed calls and displays interaction history.
For those accustomed to working with Android devices but for some reason are now using an iPhone, Iconical might offer some relief. The app permits complete control over the appearance of app icons on the iOS home screen, something that's been an option on Android but not on iOS devices. It also supports creation of shortcuts for common tasks like creating an email and can prevent selected apps from unauthorized usage. A recent update for iOS 8 added support for AirDrop.
Find that inner radio talk-show host with Mixlr. This app creates live, high-quality "broadcasts" from the device over 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi that can be heard live on social networks or saved in the cloud and "aired" later. Promote a new product or service or rant about that unfriendly store clerk, uncaring bank teller or unresponsive supplier. A push feature can notify contacts when new content is available.
Android, iOS; Free
As hard is it might be to believe these days, some people still walk around with mobile devices that lack a data connection. While that might put Google Maps off the map, Navfree doesn't care. This app carries the open-source map database under its wing, and presents 3-D maps and voice-guided navigation without a data connection. It also provides automatic rerouting, walking mode, points-of-interest and Google Street view.
Android, iOS; Free
Here's another app that might not be used every day, but can be a lifesaver when it's needed. Net Scan turns an unfamiliar network into a familiar one by identifying all the devices on the LAN. Just attach to an access point, open the app and hit the scan button. Within seconds it lists all of the IP and MAC address of devices, along with device names or makers. Info for the access point and scanning device (your smartphone or tablet) are clearly marked. Double-tap on any address to see its open ports and other info and even log in, if applicable.
NetSuite TribeHR Mobile for iOS
Human resource managers keep track of a lot of moving parts. For getting help on the road, NetSuite offers TribeHR Mobile for iOS, a free app for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch that enables entrepreneurs and enterprise HR managers to securely access corporate HR information and social tools to organize and engage employees for boosting productivity and morale and conducting any required company businesses while on the road. Other specialized tools include those for managing recruitment programs, employee rewards and joint customer engagements. Changes made on the app are kept in sync with the back end. There's also a searchable employee directory, time-off management interface, and social news feed for worker recognition, birthdays, service anniversaries and goals, time off and company calendar events. The app works with existing NetSuite TribeHR employee, manager and administrator accounts.
New Relic Mobile
Android, iOS; $29 per app, per month for the SaaS back end
People are visiting your website and using your apps. Great. But what features are they using, for how long, and are they coming back? In business to answer these questions is New Relic, a software analytics company that puts a simple interface atop the billions of data points resulting from the interactions of millions of applications and their users each day. Getting the Appy is New Relic Mobile for Android, a free app that provides access to push notifications for app performance and availability issues and real-time and historical data for browser and server-side apps, native mobile apps, server resource utilization, end-user satisfaction ratings, performance of key business transactions, event notifications and app errors. Also available for iOS, New Relic Mobile lets app developers and IT departments access performance metrics of their applications anyt ime. Pricing for the SaaS back end starts at $29 per month, per app.
Not sure what to charge for that old mouse you found in the back room? Scan it with RedLaser and eBay's free app not only identifies it, but will search the databases of thousands of retailers and display their prices with links to purchase, directions to stores and product descriptions.
Android, iOS; Free
Ruckus Smart Positioning Technology (SPoT)
This year's Editors' Choice for Enterprise Applications takes location-aware applications to a whole new level. Ruckus Wireless, the dog-loving wireless infrastructure maker, this year took SPoT out for a walk. The company's new Smart Positioning Technology uses data coming from its Smart Wi-Fi access points to pinpoint a user's location and deliver it to applications to enhance the user experience, promote products or offer a special deal just for walking in the door. An API for the cloud-based app gives enterprise developers the means to gather data from Ruckus' terrestrial devices to deliver an unlimited variety of location-based services to add value and boost their bottom line. The system consists of three main components. The SPoT Location Engine pinpoints in real time a user's location in any indoor environment. The SPoT Location Analytics Dashboard presents the data in a way similar to Google Analytics. The SPoT Engagement API provides hooks for building location-aware apps. For example, while at a ball game, a box might inform the fans in section 12 that there's a Shake Shack 80 feet to their right.
Android, iOS; $25
Shush! Ringer Restorer
The only thing worse than forgetting to turn off your smartphone's ringtone is missing an important call because you forgot to turn it back on again Okay, a few things might be worse than that, but solving that first-world problem is Shush! Ringer Restorer, which asks how long to keep the ringer off when silencing it by any means, including the volume control.
Synnex Insteon for Hub
Gartner predicts that by 2020, the world will contain 25 billion smart, interconnected devices talking to one another with no human involvement whatsoever. Helping reach that prophecy is Synnex Insteon for Hub, a free app for Insteon building automation and control technologies that turns any smartphone into a remote control and monitoring appliance. The tool can control light bulbs, wall switches, outlets, thermostats and other common devices. A notification system can alert administrators of unexpected motion, water leaks or other activities via email or text. A scheduling system can automatically control lights, temperature, cameras and other electrical devices as desired for security, comfort or economy. Building settings are stored in the cloud for free.
Android, iOS, Windows Mobile/Phone; Free
Star Trek fans will want this app just so they can whip it out at conventions. The iOS version doesn't actually do anything except look cool and make sounds like a Tricorder, but it will be the coolest buck you've ever spent. Known as Sci-fi Scanner on Android, this version does a few practical things like measuring Wi-Fi signal strength, ambient noise and displaying solar and weather info.
Android, Free; iOS, $0.99
For that obnoxious co-worker who always seems to forget his wallet when it's time to pay the lunch tab, try Venmo. This free app provides an easy way to send or collect money from friends and associates using a smartphone or tablet. From the makers of PayPal, Venmo connects with your bank account using 256-bit encryption and transfers funds without fees.
Android, iOS; Free
These days, the office can be anywhere you are. And apps such as Voxer keeps teammates in constant contact regardless of the mobile device they happen to be carrying. This innovative communication and collaborative Android, iOS and Windows Mobile/Phone app for businesspeople and enterprise workers enables instant communication through push-to-talk, recorded voice messages, text, photos and location sharing. Unlike two-way radios, Voxer's push-to-talk messages can be recorded and played back at will. A recent update to the subscription-based Voxer Business for Android includes a redesigned interface, a walkie-talkie mode and an Easy Talk Widget, permitting headset communication without unlocking the screen. For the enterprise, there's complete data retention, single sign-on and encryption. A back-end app permits administrators or dispatchers to listen in and communicate with groups from a single console. Voxer is free.
Android, iOS, Windows Mobile/Phone; Free
Wi-Fi File Transfer
Wi-Fi File Transfer from smarterDroid combines the convenience of a browser with the long range of Wi-Fi to move files to and from Android smartphones or tablets. Simply launch the app on the mobile device and when a special URL appears, enter it in the browser of another device. Files (and folders too, if using Chrome) on the device's internal, SD card or USB storage can be uploaded or downloaded, copied, deleted, renamed and compressed right from the app's in-browser file manager. A gallery tab applies a media-only filter with image preview right in the browser. The free version limits file size to 5 MB.
Android; Free - $1.40