The 10 Coolest Apps Of 2017

Apps To Try

Thanks to an array of new and updated apps, mobile devices got even more useful and fun in 2017. Apps for improved file storage, document scanning and task management on smartphones and tablets were among the major productivity boosters of the year. Meanwhile, the introduction of enhanced augmented-reality capabilities in iOS 11 spurred the development of new AR apps for the iPhone and iPad. Apps for all of these purposes and more debuted during 2017 -- some for iOS, some for Android, and some for both platforms.

In the following slides, we've rounded up the 10 coolest apps we've come across in 2017.

Get more of CRN's 2017 tech year in review.

Adobe Scan

Platform: iOS, Android

Adobe Scan is a mobile scanner app that not only converts your paper documents to PDF, but also automatically recognizes text and turns it into digital text (using optical character recognition, aka OCR). That means you can edit, search and highlight your scanned text inside PDFs created with Adobe Scan. Notably, the app is also free, and scans are saved to the Adobe Document Cloud (which also offers a free account).

Duet Display

Platform: iOS
Duet Display is an app that allows users to turn their iPad into an external display for Macs or Windows PCs -- particularly useful for tasks such as drawing or writing with the Apple Pencil. Essentially, the app allows the iPad Pro to become a Wacom tablet. The newest pro version of the app, Duet Pro 2.0, includes cool new features such as customized pressure settings and a number of additional gestures. It costs $20.


Platform: iOS

With Files, which debuted as part of iOS 11, Apple is aiming to make the iPhone and iPad better for productivity through the addition of new file management capabilities. The Files app provides improved organization, browsing and searching for documents on Apple devices. The Files app also connects to documents stored in cloud services such as Dropbox and Box – and of course, iCloud. In addition, working on documents via the Files app enables collaboration with other iCloud users in real time.

Google Assistant for iPhone

Platform: iOS

One of Google's biggest app announcements this year actually involved iOS rather than Android, as Google brought its intelligent voice-controlled assistant to the iPhone. The Google Assistant aims to offer more sophisticated capabilities than Apple's Siri, including for tasks such as sending emails, setting calendar events and answering questions. The assistant also offers the ability to make phone calls, launch driving navigation, and play music.


Platform: iOS

Hopper has made a name as an app that offers money-saving airfare predictions to travelers -- such as predictions on the cheapest time to fly and book a ticket. This year, Hopper expanded into offering predictions around hotel booking, as well. The app now predicts when the best hotel prices will be available, along with a suggestion on whether to book right away or wait. Hopper Hotels is initially just available in New York but the company says 10 additional markets -- including San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami -- will be available soon. The hotel feature is also only launching on iOS, with plans to launch in the Android version of Hopper in the near future.

HP Smart

Platform: iOS, Android

The successor to the HP All-in-One Printer Remote app, HP Smart is an app for using and managing an HP printer from your mobile device. The app offers setup and management of an HP printer as well as scanning documents and printing wirelessly. HP Smart also provides document sharing over email, text messaging, cloud services (such as Dropbox and Google Drive), and social media (such as Facebook and Instagram).

IKEA Place

Platform: iOS

Among the major new features launched with Apple's iOS 11 are capabilities for a better augmented-reality experience in apps on iPhone and iPad. And one of the best efforts to seize on those capabilities so far is IKEA Place, an app for seeing how furniture might look inside your actual room. The app first takes a scan of the room, and then lets you browse for IKEA furniture (or other furnishings, such as a holiday tree). After that, you're prompted to place the virtual furniture wherever you'd like it to go in your room -- ultimately helping you make a better decision about whether the item is a fit.

Insight Timer

Platform: iOS, Android

Initially launched in 2009, Insight Timer has gained popularity with aspiring yogis as a simple way to time and track meditation sessions. In August, Insight Timer introduced what it called the app's biggest update since the start -- with the introduction of a huge library of guided meditations. Insight Timer now features nearly 5,000 guided meditations from more than 1,000 teachers. And the meditations are broken down into categories such as meditations for stress/anxiety, recovery/healing, sleep, and creativity.

Microsoft Teams

Platform: iOS, Android

Microsoft has ramped up its collaboration game with the debut of Teams. Available for Office 365 subscribers, Microsoft Teams is a "chat-based workspace" that aims to provide easier group communication (like Slack). It also enables hosting online meetings, file sharing, and integrating with other apps (both from Microsoft and outside vendors).

Things 3

Platform: iOS

Perhaps the most ambitious effort yet to offer the ultimate to-do app -- it took developer Cultured Code five years of work -- the third iteration of Things aims to bring task management to a whole new level. Things 3 enables users to "Collect Your Thoughts" (brainstorming your tasks ahead and pulling in data from other apps); "Get Organized" (create a project for each goal and come up with the necessary steps); "Plan Your Time" (crucially bringing together your to-do list with your existing calendar events); and finally, "Make the Most of Your Day" (with the "Today" feature, which provides a quick scan of your to-dos and what is coming up in your life). Ultimately, Things 3 is aiming to pull together all of your priorities in one place so you can finally achieve the sort of productivity you've longed for. Things 3 costs $9.99.