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101 Recommended Apps (Part 9)

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52.  Go Launcher EX

Price: Free

Unused app shortcuts and ignored widgets can clutter up your home screen. Go Launcher EX is a solution to simplify the experience of navigating around your phone and keep things nice and tidy.

Clearing your screen initially of any widgets, you’ll now find in their place app shortcuts for key communication apps such as Google Talk, Gmail and Places. Below the string of shortcuts you can find icons to make a call, search contacts, text, surf the web, and an icon to open other apps. Further app shortcuts can be added by scrolling through the dock.

Go Launcher EX

Go Launcher EX

If you want to add more home screens, you can do that by simply gliding your finger up on the screen to preview available screens and see exactly what lives on them. You’ll still be able to add widgets, change your wallpaper, search your phone, share the app, and view set-up preferences and settings.

For what is essentially a launching application, features like the task killer and new-look app drawer make this even more useful to own. All makes for an intuitive experience that will benefit those who often find they need help keeping their home screens tidy and more accessible.

53.  Firefox for Android

Price: Free

Firefox for Android

Firefox for Android

Firefox seems to update its full-blown browser every single day. But when it came to updating the Android version, we knew we would be in for something special. This update is one of the best we have seen, offering up massive improvements in page load times, zooming and panning, and so on.

It takes the slightly annoying mobile browsing experience and massages it, making it feel less tense and a whole lot better for surfing the web.

There’s a redesigned user interface that’s packed with stuff (maybe a little too much) and from here you can import data from your desktop version of Mozilla Firefox.

Opening up tabs is easier than ever before and the experience on the whole feels completely intuitive.

Other features include the ability to save web pages to PDF, and tiny text is easier to read thanks to a small text inflation tool.

With built-in Flash and HTML5, Firefox for Android is how mobile browsing should be done, and when it comes to speed, no other browser comes close. Chrome, it is over to you!

54.  Eurostar Trains

Price: Free

Eurostar Trains

Eurostar Trains

The Eurostar app enables you to book trains, check times, and use mobile- ticketing, all in an effort to make your trip that little bit more manageable.

Focusing first on the home screen, you’re greeted with visual simplicity itself, consisting of a series of sliders, which enable you to select where you travelling from and to, when you want to leave and whether it’s a return ticket.

Using it is an dream. The sliding options enable you to construct a journey in seconds, then it brings up train times, prices and which ticket type you’d like. Once that’s done, you can use the billing profile you’ve previously set up to pay for the tickets, leaving you with the option of a paper ticket collection or a mobile ticket in the form of a QR code, which can be scanned at the barriers.

It’s a rare example of an app that makes what could be a mundane and complex task simple and stress-free.

55.  Foursquare

Price: Free

Set up Foursquare on your smartphone and you’ll soon become addicted

Set up Foursquare on your smartphone and you’ll soon become addicted

Foursquare is the Eyes Wide Shut of the social-networking world; you don’t quite know what it is until you join and then it’s too late to go back.

The social-networking site rewards you every time you go to certain venues in and around your area. The more times you visit, the more chance you have of becoming ‘mayor’ of the place, and the better your odds are for being rewarded points and even badges.

Essentially it gets you out and about in your town, with the community offering information about local bars, cafes and so on.

The Android version doesn’t run down your battery like other location- aware apps and it has the real look and feel of an app made for Android.

If you are familiar with Foursquare, the shortcut check-in options will be welcome. Newcomers will also find the site easy to understand and navigate.

56.  Endomondo Sports Tracker Pro

Price: $5.99

For fitness freaks, Endomondo is the perfect app, keeping track of your efforts

For fitness freaks, Endomondo is the perfect app, keeping track of your efforts

Since it was first released in 2008 for Symbian, the Endomondo Sports Tracker has been coming on in leaps and bounds, fixing pesky glitches and becoming a firm cross-platform fave.

It can track almost any exercise, from running and cycling to snowboarding and Kitesurfing. Using your phone’s GPS, the app lets you track your progress over Google Maps, recording your average speed, distance travelled and route. The app holds all this data in a handy History tab, with a whole host of other data uploaded to Endomondo.com for more precise analysis. Give the app your weight and it calculates how many calories you burned during your session, and with an external monitor accessory, it can monitor your heart rate, which is really useful data.

All the data collected by the app is uploaded to the Endomondo website, where you can share your achievements (or lack thereof) with the rest of the Endomondo community, as well as share routes with other users.

57.  Paper Camera

Price: $1.99

Paper Camera

Paper Camera

The quality of cameras on phones may be improving at a rapid rate but sometimes you need an app to give your images a distinctive makeover, something Paper Camera offers.

Paper Camera is not an app for those who like to subtly change their images, because the filters the app offers are pretty striking.

Once you load the app up - it does take a few seconds - the most striking filter is first, and that is Sketch Up. This turns your own photos into a sketch and they look great. We tried it on images taken outside and inside, and the ones with shadows work better, but the app is worth it for this filter alone.

Although the other filters aren’t as good, they are plentiful. Neon Cola gives your images a glowing hue, there’s also a pop art filter as well as an old-fashioned filter, and one that makes your images look as though they have been printed on a dot matrix printer.

The app also enables you to change images already taken or you can take images through the app. There are other tweaks you can do, including changing the brightness and contrast.

This may be a paid-for app but it is one of the best camera filter apps we have seen for Android smartphones.

58.  Chord!

Price: $2.99

Chord!

Chord!

Those who can tell their G-strings from their plectrums know what a pain it is to figure out new chords. The Beatles may have based their entire career around three chords but sometimes a musician wants to veer away from A-D-G and do something a little bit crazy. This is where Chord! comes in. The app is so good that we don’t even mind the extraneous exclamation mark in its name.

Load it up (it’s only 1.8MB) and what you have is a digital gateway to every chord in existence. The app’s user interface may be clothed in drab grey but the information it offers is gold. And it is not just for guitarists either. If you are partial to a bit of banjo, ukulele, bass or mandolin, then this app is also great for you.

The best thing we found about this app, though, was the reverse chord search. If you think you have found an awesome chord on the guitar but don’t know its name, you simply need to enter in the tablature of that chord and the database comes up with the nearest match.

For those who haven’t the time to swot up on music theory, Chord! is an essential purchase.

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