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101 Recommended Apps (Part 2)

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7.    Spotify

Price: Free

If there is one thing that the iPhone has over an Android handset, it is Runes. The link between iPhones and Jobs’ music service is one that Google’s chiefs and overlords could only dream about. Until now, that is.

Spotify

Spotify

Spotify is the next best thing for those looking for a music fix. To run the app on your Android phone, you need to subscribe. You also need to make sure your phone contract allows a lot of web use because you will be streaming music to the handset. This is OK if you are using Wi-Fi, but on the go it will be 3G, and this could get pricey.

Layout-wise, those familiar with the desktop version will feel right at home. There are nice additions, such as the What’s New tab, and unlike the iPhone version, it can run in the background while you still enjoy games or update your Facebook status.

The real drawback is if you are using an Android handset without a 3.5mm jack. This is a bugbear because the supplied headphones aren’t great. If you have a Hero, though, Spotify on Android is for you.

8.    Triplt Travel Organizer

Price: Free

Triplt Travel Organizer

Triplt Travel Organizer

Triplt is one of those apps that can become indispensable. Simply forward your confirmation email from your airline to the dedicated email address, and all your travel information is accessible from your smartphone or via the website

If you use a merged corporate calendar, this is a great way of letting people know you’ll be out of the country should they need you.

Sending the email with the travel plans is quick and painless, then the rest is pretty much done for you.

We’d perhaps like the ability to edit the information from the app itself, but as a general base for all your travel knowledge, Triplt is tops.

9.    SwiftKey 3 Keyboard

Price: $4.99

Predictive text goes to a new level with Swiftkey’s snooping of your messages.

Predictive text goes to a new level with Swiftkey’s snooping of your messages.

While we’ve all become more nimble fingered when it comes to touchscreen phone tech, if you don’t message using text speech, you’re going to be slower than your average teen. So to get faster, you have a choice: forget all you learned about grammar and embrace text shorthand, or use SwiftKey.

SwiftKey is the Mystic Meg of apps, predicting what you’re about to text. Download is fast but you must add a 3MB language pack.

The layout is much like any texting app, except you have the predictive words at the top. This is the scary part; the words that appear at the top are the ones you will want to add into the text. This isn’t done by magic but by analyzing the texts you have sent in the past.

It’s a little like a stalker who learns the way you walk to work then jumps out of the bushes offering a number of shortcuts for your journey, but a lot less scary.

Yes, there are some privacy issues, but we don’t see a problem with the app rooting through texts for familiar words and not context.

We do have a problem with the fact that you have to use a full QWERTY keyboard - it would have been nice to have the choice of keyboard size. Minor niggles aside, SwiftKey is an excellent texting app.

10.  Music Beta

Price: Free

Music Beta

Music Beta

Music Beta for Android is a strange beast, given that it is currently only available in the US and the service it is for (the cloud music service offered by Google) is invite only. If you manage to become part of this exclusive club, this app will allow you to stream all your uploaded music straight to your smartphone. If not, then it will merely act as a normal music player.

There’s no denying that adding content to the cloud is the future of computing, so it is great that Google has decided to enter this space. Its official music player for Music Beta is interesting, in that it is not as slick as we would have hoped.

The Android app offers a similar view to that on your desktop, and there’re also things such as cover flow so you can switch seamlessly through albums. Other options include the ability to make an instant mix, create a playlist or search your content.

The app gobbles 3G so it’s best to use over Wi-Fi. Couple this with an ugly widget and what you have is the start of something great but with enough bugs to deserve its beta tag.

11.  BBC News

Price: Free

BBC News

BBC News

Each row on the app is populated with around 10 stories; to see them all, you just have to swipe to the right. You can configure the categories you see by going to the bottom of the app and clicking ‘Add Category’.

Once you find a story you like, click it and the article appears almost immediately. From here you can tap the screen and make the text bigger or share the article through social networks and the like.

Once you are in an article, you don’t have to go to the homepage to rifle through more stories - simply swipe the screen and another article in that specific category appears.

There’s a lot of video that can be accessed and all this uses the same iPlayer-style video player. So, even if you click on a video within an article, you are transported to a separate page. Wait a few seconds and the video loads. Obviously, we recommend doing this on Wi-Fi, as it would cane your 3G.

12.  Train Times UK

Price: $5.25

Train Times UK will help you catch a train, even if the railways aren’t so reliable.

Train Times UK will help you catch a train, even if the railways aren’t so reliable.

Train Times UK wears a big badge saying that it is recognized as an official app for offering train times in the UK but it is not the app recognized by National Rail Enquiries - that one is Rail Planner Live. This is because UK rail information is now available to anyone who wants to create an app.

It uses all the same information and presents it in a nicer way than its rival. As both apps cost the same, there is not much to choose between them.

Train Times UK allows you to look up train information across the whole of the UK but not Northern Ireland. It also gives you live departure info and offers directions to your nearest station. We did notice problems with the app working with Gingerbread (Android 2.3) so we are hoping that there will be an update to sort this out.

Apart from that, Train Times UK is a great guide to the UK’s rail system - no mean feat, considering how complicated and unpredictable it is

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