Monday, January 9, 2012

2011 was a great year for apps. Both the Android Market and the Apple App Store grew exponentially and users now have so many choices that it is hard to sort all of them out. December was an especially big months for apps as publishers revved up for consumers to unwrap new devices during the holiday season. Christmas is the biggest app-downloading day of the year for many publishers. From empirical observations, publishers started ramping up a few days before the holiday with Dec. 22 one of the biggest days of the year fo the App Store, with literally thousands of apps published. What was new and exciting in the last month of 2011? Check out our selections below.

After several months of putting app updates in the column, we have noticed a trend: about a third of your apps will be issued updates on any given month. See the popular updates section at the end of the column.
The list, as always, is a bit subjective so please let us know in the comments if we missed an app or you have found one that you cannot live without.

Cross-Platform Apps
QuickOffice Pro is a mobile office solution for the businessperson on the go. Everybody that needs QuickOffice probably already has the free version but the pro version adds much more capability to the app such as the new SmartTouch capability for easy editing and an all new PowerPoint editor for when you need to change your presentation at the last minute. The price is a bit hefty but imagine if you were to put this on your PC? $15 seems like a steal. The app was updated with new functionality in December for both iOS and Android.
Google Currents Watchout Flipboard, Zite, News360, Pulse ... really, any of your favorite news reader apps. Google has gotten into the game and is feeding Google News into this new mobile user interface that gives the reader a whole new dynamic when checking out the latest Google News headlines. Unlike other Google apps made for iOS, the iPhone and iPad versions function well and give the user a dynamic interface for surfacing the best stories of the day in a variety of topics. Beaver's Revenge Twisted Games brings us this beaver ... and he is pissed off. The lumberjacks have invaded his home and now he is out for revenge. This Angry Birds clone gives a new meaning to launching furious wildlife. Skyscanner: All Flights A new entry into the world finding cheap flights fast. Skyscanner allows users to search for flights across 600 budget and scheduled airlines with over 700,000 routes. Available in 28 languages and completely independent from any carrier or search engine. If you find Kayak or Hipmunk not to your liking, check out Skyscanner.


Flipboard For iPhone -- (Free, iPhone)
Six months after telling us it was working on an iPhone app, Flipboard finally delivered in December. It is everything you have come to expect from the iPhone version, just slimmed down for your iPhone. If you have not done so yet, grab the one of the best and most innovative readers out there for your iPhone.

Michael Jackson: The Experience HD 

Dance along with MJ in this iPad game that brings the King of Pop to Apple's tablet. Trace shapes to get Jackson and his entourage to dance to some of the most iconic music to ever be released. The game comes with four tracks to start and puts Apple's in-app purchasing to the test with the ability to buy more song when you have mastered the originals. Great HD graphics set with historic pop music and Michael Jackson. Kind of like Rock Band meets Tap Tap Revenge and with some furious moves.

AppStart for iPad: 2012 Edition 

There are multiple great ways to find new apps for your iPad. First, you can read the monthly Apps Of The Month column at ReadWriteWeb. Or, you can download and app that will help you get the most out of the "magical" device. AppStart is one of the best apps out there to learn how to use your iPad and do just about anything with it. It is a tutorial inside of a guide inside of an ... iPad! Even iOS veterans like myself or the staff at RWW can find value in AppStart. Perhaps you can even recommend it to your family members that have new iPads after the holidays. Great user interface and simple dynamic to learn about Apple's tablet.

Grammar Express: Active & Passive Voice

This one is for my editor. Grammar Express is a popular series of of apps that teach people how to use the English language ... properly. Active & Passive voices is just one new app that was released in December but the company also launched several new Grammar Express apps such as Articles, Parts Of Speech and Prepositions. Great for kids learning how to write or for writers that might need some brushing up on their grammar skills from time to time.


Who does not love Mickey Mouse? He now has his own puzzle game on Android. It is a drag and drop tile game with 18 levels of jigsaw goodness. Once you have completed a puzzle you can turn it into a wallpaper and enjoy your accomplishment whenever you take your smartphone out of your pocket.


DroidEdit is a free source code editor for Android. It has Syntax Highlighting for the most popular coding languages and can open files from Dropbox or other file managers. Need to edit some code while away from your computer? DroidEdit is the app for you.