Best of AppStorm in May

We’ve collected the top four reviews, roundups and how-to articles from across the AppStorm network in May. Whether you’re interested in Mac, iPhone, iPad, Web, or Android apps, there’s bound to be something you didn’t spot over the course of the month. Now would be a good time to explore a part of the AppStorm Network you’ve never seen before!

Thanks for reading AppStorm, and I hope you enjoy looking over some of our favourite posts from last month!

Best of iPad.AppStorm

Is an External Keyboard Really Worth It?

When Steve Jobs launched the iPhone in 2007, pundits thought he’d lost his mind launching a phone with just a touchscreen. Surely no one wanted to tap on glass all day! Then, the iPhone proved the pundits wrong, and even Blackberry launched a phone with an on-screen touch keyboard.

Then we got the iPad, and discovered that you could actually type quite fast on a full-sized touch screen. So much so, in fact, that many declared the iPad the perfect writing device!

So, is there still any need to get an external keyboard for your iPad? I’ve recently picked up an Apple Bluetooth Keyboard for mine, so keep reading to see what advantages a “real” keyboard brings to the iPad and whether it’s worth getting – or not.

The Future of Handwriting: UPAD (3/4)

There are handwriting apps and there are handwriting apps. Some of the best we’ve introduced in our series already, but then there is UPAD.

Of course, your personal style of note taking will decide which app will fit you best, but UPAD has such an amazing feature set that it will be hard to find a user that can’t incorporate it into their workflow.

The iPad: Changing Education for the Better?

In the brilliant, and certainly emotional, ‘Year One’ video at the launch of the iPad 2, Apple would say that the arrival of the iPad in 2010 was the arrival of a new category of product – something significantly different to what has come before.

Something different should make a difference.

Apple highlighted the dramatic effect that the iPad has had in a huge variety of industries; from the medical profession, right through to education. Is this change for the better, or is money simply being wasted on gadgets that would be better spent on textbooks (50 textbooks to 1 iPad).

Can the iPad be a profoundly positive influence within the education system?

30 Beautifully Designed iPad App Icons

I have a healthy amount of appreciation for those developers who understand the importance of their icon and succeed in the ever so difficult task of creating a great one!

We’re going to have a look now at a solid collection of excellent apps that have made it here by virtue of their icons. Be warned, however, lovers of good design may find themselves out of pocket!

Best of Android.AppStorm

The 10 Best Launch Apps for Honeycomb

The 10 Best Launch Apps for Honeycomb

As I wrote in my Honeycomb review, there are currently only about 120 applications available on the Android Market that are optimized for Honeycomb (meaning that their interface has been redesigned or upgraded to suit a larger screen). Having said that, most of the applications available right now are practical and very functional in their performance, and certainly do Honeycomb justice rather than being white elephants and simply hogging space on your tablet.

Hereís my rundown on the top 10 apps to download onto your new Honeycomb tablet right now. All the apps listed below (apart from MoboPlayer) have been optimized for Honeycomb and were tested on my Motorola XOOM.

Get Back in Shape with the Polar WearLink Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor

Get Back in Shape with the Polar WearLink Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor

With the rise of obesity and sedentary lifestyles we have also witnessed a surge in services and applications that help you stay healthy or track your progress on the way back to better habits. From Appleís Nike + iPod integration to Nokiaís push of Sports Tracker with the special N79 Active package, and thanks to modern smartphones sporting an accelerometer that can also serve as a pedometer, there has been, for the last few years, a great choice of gear and software for the sports addict who also happens to be a technology enthusiast.

One such piece of gear that we donít often see is the Bluetooth heart rate monitor. Today we will look at the Polar WearLink Transmitter With Bluetooth and its integration with several Android applications.

Which Barcode Scanner Gets You the Best Deals?

Which Barcode Scanner Gets You the Best Deals?

Shopping can be tricky. Since products can be bought online and in stores, finding the best deal can be time consuming. Thatís why there are several barcode scanning applications on the Android marketplace and we have rounded up five of the best.
Each application has a primitive barcode scanning function but some offer additional searching options including online and store pricing.

To see which app is best suited for your bargain hunting needs, read onÖ

Boost Your Pictures with BeFunky Photo Editor Pro

Boost Your Pictures with BeFunky Photo Editor Pro

BeFunky is a photo editing app that lets you apply various effects and frames on your pictures. While there are quite a few apps that do the same, Iíve found myself using BeFunky most of the time.

I need to mention that BeFunky is built with Adobe AIR and therefore needs this runtime to be installed on your device. Iíve always hesitated installing apps requiring the bloat of additional frameworks, but for such a promising looking photo editing app I had to make an exception ó and I didnít regret it.

Best of iPhone.AppStorm


100 Universal Apps That Run on Both iPhone and iPad

Today we’ve got a collection of some of the best universal apps in the App Store. By “universal”, we mean that these apps will run simultaneously on your iPhone and iPad. Many of them even offer free online syncing so that your data is always the same no matter which device you’re on. Enjoy the list below and be sure to check out our sister site iPad.AppStorm for more great iPad apps!


Zootool: The Web’s Best Bookmarking Tool Finally Arrives on the iPhone

“Zootool is an outstanding free online bookmarking service packed full of features and crammed into a stunning interface. Until recently, Zootool has only existed as a web app, but it has finally made the jump to iOS.

Today we’ll briefly introduce you to what the service is all about and walk you through the functionality of the new iPhone app. Can Zootool thrive on the small screen? Read on to find out!”


Microsoft Buys Skype, Time to Switch to FaceTime?

As we all know, when Microsoft jumps off on its own on some endeavor, the results are uncertain at best. The software giant is definitely no stranger to success, but you have to admit, doomed projects like the Zune and Kin aren’t exactly rare (Microsoft fans, feel free to rant about the Netwon and G4 Power Cube).

What Microsoft is good at is using its mountains of capital to acquire companies that are successfully innovative and this week they reached a deal with Skype for their biggest acquisition yet at $8.5 billion. This is an interesting move that has everyone speculating on just what Microsoft plans to do with everyone’s favorite chat client. Following is a brief discussion on what you can expect both as a Skype user and a Mac/iPhone owner.


The Heist: MacHeist Goes Mobile

For fans of mock sleuthing and good-natured detective work, the folks over at MacHeist have been running clever “games” for years in an effort to offer Mac users a more engaging way to take advantage of software bundle deals, discounts, etc. These challenges are not easy, but there are always generous rewards awaiting those wily folks who make it through.

After all this time, it should come as no surprise that they’ve turned some of their attention over to the mobile world, and their first venture is hardly a modest experiment: The Heist is a thoroughly entertaining and well-polished puzzle game with a prize at the end. Read on to unlock our (spoiler-free) review!

Best of Web.AppStorm


100 Web Apps to Rule Them All

Thereís so many web apps today, itís hard to keep up with them all. From the apps weíve all used for years such as Gmail to newer apps that just came out this year such as Flow, web apps have increasingly become a part of our daily lives.

Whether youíre just getting started using web apps, or are a longtime fan of web apps and would like to find more exciting apps, youíll be sure to find something interesting here. Thereís no way to include every web app, but weíve included the apps that we think are the very best in their categories. Enjoy!


Meet the New Chromebooks

On June 15th, Google and its partners will be releasing the new Chromebooks. While many of us already use the Chrome browser on our Macs and PCs, could you live with a computer that only ran Chrome? Are Chromebooks only a lofty dream, or could Chromebooks and their companion Chromebox desktop computers be the computer of the future?


Manage Time Simply with Coolendar

Coolendar is a neat mix of a calendar and to-do list app. You can enter your tasks in full sentences, and Coolendar will recognize time-related words such as tomorrow and automatically schedule your tasks. Most interesting, it is designed to work great on the Kindle browser, too.


Creating Charts With Google Docs

At first glance, Google Docs seems like it includes far fewer features that Microsoft Office or iWork includes. However, Google Docs is actually suprisingly powerful, and it includes the tools most of us need to keep up with our office work. Google Docs spreadsheets let you create nice charts just like you would in Office on your desktop. Best of all, you can embed the charts into your websites, which is one of many ways web apps can integrate into your work better than desktop apps.

Best of Mac.AppStorm

Fantastical: Menu Bar iCal Events in Plain English

Fantastical: Menu Bar iCal Events in Plain English

It is a rare but welcome occasion when an app is developed to do something I’ve always wanted an app to do. Fantastical is precisely that app. Often, when adding an event to iCal, getting frustrated with date and time fields, and giving up on adding any details but the name, I’ve pondered “shouldn’t there be another way?”

The developers of Fantastical have endeavoured to answer this plea with a menu-bar iCal tie-in promising the ability to quickly add events in natural language.

25 Superb Mac Apps for College Students

25 Superb Mac Apps for College Students

Macs are becoming much more popular with college students nowadays, owing to Apple’s generous student discount (around 15%) upon purchase. Today I’ve created – for all the students out there – a list of 25 superb applications recommended for you. I’ve tried to keep this list relevant to any major and, in order to save on costs, I have tried to include free software wherever I can.

The Perfect Backup Strategy for Your Mac

The Perfect Backup Strategy for Your Mac

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of a tried-and-tested backup solution. One that ensures all your data will be safe – whether you suffer a simple hard drive failure, or your house burns down. This type of system gives you immense peace of mind, and removes that guilty feeling in your subconscious caused by not backing up.

Today I’m going to walk through a few options for creating what I would consider to be an “ideal” backup solution for the Mac. This is by no means the only way to handle the safety of your data, but one that’s particularly robust and cost-effective.

6 Minimal, Full-Screen Writing Apps for Mac

6 Minimal, Full-Screen Writing Apps for Mac

There are so many buttons, windows, and gadgets that can distract you when working at a computer. Have you ever tried to sit down and write something while an icon bounces away in your dock? It’s a frustrating experience.

Minimalist, full-screen writing apps are great for keeping these distractions out of the corner of your eye, providing a simple, clear environment where you can let your mind roam free.

Share Your Ideas

Is there something in particular you’d like to see on the site next month? We’d absolutely love to hear your suggestions for articles, topics and giveaways. Just let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading AppStorm!