Boston Financial’s top 10 app list for 2014, details apps that offer useful information, simple design and a fun user experience. Browse through this list to learn about free or low-cost apps that deliver on their promise of making your life easier.
Camera Awesome – Android and iOS – Free
Take control of your photo taking with everything from composition guides to exposure adjustment to focus tools that let you make the most out of your snapshots. An” auto-awesomize” feature lets you do one-touch improvements to your images and integration allows you to share the finished product with others. Camera Awesome also comes loaded with transform options, textures, filters and other tools.
FlightView – Android and iOS – Free
One of the best flight tracking apps that not only alerts you when things are late, but also lets you see where your plane is coming from to get a better handle on delays. Requires a username and password to maximize functionality.
Inbox from Gmail – Android and iOS – Free
A step above Gmail, Inbox tries to replicate how we think about emails using some predictive behavioral technology. Auto-sort like messages (e.g., order confirmations, travel plans) based on your tastes. It also highlights messages of note with previews. Select snooze for messages you aren’t ready to reply to, and see your to-do’s with help to get them done along the way. A smarter inbox that only Google can pull off. You can request an invite online.
Microsoft Office – Android and iOS – Free
Microsoft Office you say? Yes, that’s right, Microsoft Office. Feeling the pressure of Google Docs and others, Microsoft dropped the Office 365 paid subscription requirement and made it available at no charge for Android and iOS. Download the individual product apps to see Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents on your phone or tablet with all formatting intact. Free is a good thing.
QuizUp – Android and iOS – Free
Ranked the #1 app in 10 countries, QuizUp features a great interface, more than 400,000 questions in 550 trivia categories and a diverse following of gamers to play against worldwide. Simply choose a category you want to compete in, and the app quickly matches you up against 25 million gamers worldwide. QuizUp has a strong social element, allowing you to play against friends, chat with other players and discuss questions and categories.
WhatsApp Messenger – Android and iOS – Free in year 1, $0.99/year thereafter
Remarkably easy setup, automatic syncing with your phone’s contacts and a feature-rich, ad-free experience all have combined to make WhatsApp a wildly popular mobile messaging app. Users can send text, photos, voice and short video messages to their WhatsApp contacts across operating platforms. Easy to use and a user base of more than 450 million people explains why Facebook was willing to pay $19 billion to acquire it.
Dark Sky – iOS – $3.99
The best weather app, bar none. Most weather apps give you radar, hourly breakdowns and the normal forecasts. Dark Sky goes further to give you minute-by-minute predictions and, with location services enabled, can actually alert you a couple minutes before it’s going to actually rain where you are standing. Pretty slick and perfect for the weather bugs out there.
Fantastical 2 – iOS- $4.99
One of the best calendar apps for iOS, Fantastical 2 for iPhone has been updated to include a Notification Center widget that will show you a month-at-a-glance view or your upcoming events for today.
CamDictionary – Android and iOS – Free to try, $4.99
In a foreign country and need some help to translate text? Simply point your camera at the text you would like to translate and let the app work its magic to help. No need to take a photo, just point and focus on the text and the translations appear from over 37 languages. It is currently on sale for $1.99.
Alarm.com – Android and iOS – Free
Monitor everything and anything in your house from a single interface…security, fire and carbon monoxide, cameras, locks, thermostats, garage doors, gates, lights and more. It brings the “Internet of Things” together in a great interface with alerts if things at home aren’t as planned. Of course, it does require that you buy an alarm.com security system in order to outfit your home with the requisite hardware to feed the app-based monitors, but wow…
The quiet moments of the holidays offer the opportunity to purge your devices of deadwood, those apps that aren’t delivering on their promise of productivity or organization or lifestyle automation. And with our app recommendations above, you can download new tools to help you start 2015 smarter, more productive and exceptionally efficient.
What were your favorite apps in 2014? Let me know on Twitter, @MelterBFDS.