Handy little apps well worth a try

JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin

Smartphones and tablet sales are doing very well. Better than PCs and laptops that’s for sure. Just like PCs and laptops though, there are a bewildering array of programs available for them. So to help ease the pain of finding the right app, here is a list of some pretty good ones.

1. SwiftKey has been around on Android for a while now. It is a replacement keyboard which learns the way you type, based on information it gathers from connected accounts. It can learn from Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Gmail to name a few. It is startlingly brilliant at predicting what you are going to type and offering up accurate suggestions.

2. The rains and the bad weather have played havoc with our roads. The pothole problem has got increasingly worse and the poor souls tasked with fixing it all have a massive task ahead. Well, you can help by reporting potholes and one way of doing that is with the Love West Sussex app. Download it, sign up and start reporting.

3. Cloud storage is the way of the future and with Google Drive, you not only have access to your files, but you can create, edit and share Drive documents too. It is amazingly good for productivity and collaboration, whether you are working on a PC or a hand held device.

4. Snapseed is a handy little app available for Android. It gives you a ton of features that allow you to edit photos before sharing them with friends, family and the world. Some of the effects are quite advanced and really make images you create stand out from the crowd.

5. Where would I be without Google Maps? Lost is probably the answer. I use Google Maps a lot while travelling and combined with GPS capabilities, it makes a really good replacement to those expensive Sat Navs you see in the shops. The other good thing is that because it is always online, you get the most current version of maps at all times.

6. Okay, this is a catch all because there are a few that do the same thing, to one degree or another. Backing up your all important photos! The Google+ app automatically backs up your photos to your Google+ page, where you can share them, keep them private, edit them, etc. The point is they are backed up. Ubuntu One and Drop Box can both be set up to do this too, but don’t include the same sharing and photo editing features that Google+ has. They are all good, which is why I use all three.

Now, with the exception of SwiftKey, which costs less than a fiver (and is worth it in my opinion), all of the other apps are free. Experiment a bit, try them out and see what works for you.

Alan Stainer