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Cloudy days ahead – What Mobile’s 10 essential cloud apps for your smartphone

Allan Swann
February 7, 2013

Most regular smartphone users use their smartphones as smartphones, and little else. But there’s a world of possibilities due to cloud services that can make your phone a truly essential device – music, movies, work and news reading can be made a hell of a lot easier. For the complete rundown of all things cloud, pick up What Mobile’s March issue – on stands February 14.  Here’s our top 10:

 

 

goodreader100pxGoodreader

iPad and iPhone, £2.99

Goodreader is the ultimate reader app. It allows you to import and view almost any type of text file (and take notes), in a handy high powered browser.

It is wonderfully simple ‘ you can pretty much view any kind of media, from comic books and PDFs to movies. It also works brilliantly well with other apps. For example, you can import a work document from Google Docs, scribble notes all over it by hand, and then export it instantly. It works with Dropbox, email or any other filesharing/synching function.

9/10

 

dropbox100pxDropbox

All plaforms, free

This is the standard. The simplest interface yet, and the widest compatibility with apps across all the major platforms ‘ and even your desktop/laptop computer. Essential.

10/10

Runner up: Box ‘ a more business focused Dropbox, with a focus on document collaboration for workplaces. Drop one document, anyone can edit it remotely, with changes and edits all marked. It also focuses on large file sharing and the highest level 256-bit encryption (that’s pretty much un-hackable)

 

cloud magic100pxCloudmagic

Google Android, Apple iOS, Kindle Fire, WP8 – free

As you may have noticed from the rest of this feature, the choices are incredibly varied. What happens if consumers use more than one cloud service? How will you remember where you put that one particular document or photo? Cloudmagic solves that ‘ it’s effectively a search across all cloud platforms ‘ so a single search box for your Facebook, Gmail, Dropbox and Evernote (and others). A pain to set up however.

7/10

 

Pocket-icon100pxPocket
Google Android and Apple iOS, free

Formerly known as ‘Read it Later’, Pocket is the best free app for doing just that; saving old webpages or online content to view later. Presentation wise its wonderful, while you’re browsing through the internet you can keep stories you didn’t get to finish or you simply want to preserve. Design wise, it lays it all out in app like a newspaper or magazine, and now also works with video.

8/10

Runner up: Instapaper is slightly better in terms of usability, but costs £2.49. Readability has also come on in leaps and bounds (and is free) but seems to warp some webpages when saving them.

 

kindle-icon100pxKindle

Google Android and Apple iOS, free  

Nevermind Google, Microsoft and Apple’s own book store offering, the original is still the best. Use Amazon’s online cloud book store to buy and read all of the world’s best books on your tablet or smartphone. Better suited to Retina Display class tablets, rather than smartphones ‘ but if your eyes can take the punishment…

10/10

 

Evernote-icon100pxEvernote

Google Android, Apple iOS, free

Evernote lets you take notes (handwritten or text), capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders all while making it completely searchable on any compatible device. Essential for working on the go. Tough to use for newcomers though, it is a worker’s tool.

8/10

Runner up: Notability ‘ it costs £1.49, has most of Evernote’s functionality (but is more free with its handwritten notetaking) ‘ but is limited to Apple’s iPad and iPhone.

 

flipboard_100pxFlipboard

Android, iOS, free

Flipboard produces your own magazine based upon your preferences, drawn from all across the internet. Love cars? Turn Flipboard into a concise summary of everything car related from all your favourite titles, it will then self update and learn to suit your preferences. This is especially brilliant on a tablet.

10/10

 

shazam_100pxShazam!

Google Android, Apple iOS, free

Do you get annoyed when you’re stuck in a bar and an awesome song comes on ‘ and you can’t remember its name (or never knew it in the first place)? Shazam will listen, compare the song to its records in the cloud, and bounce back the answer within 30 seconds. It also can direct you to Metacritic reviews and online shops to purchase from.

9/10

 

RunKeeper_100pxRunkeeper

Google Android, Apple iOS, free

Track every bit of outdoors exercise you do ‘ Runkeeper uses GPS to track your location, your speed and your distance, constantly giving you updates on your performance. You can even input training programmes (such as losing 10kg in 3 months) and it will work out a training regimen for you. All the data is stored online, so you can compare your fitness to a year ago, your friends, and even plot new routes via maps. Brilliant. You can also add heart rate monitors, pedometers and the like to increase accuracy.

9/10

 

Spotify_100pxSpotify

all devices, from £4.99

The king of online ‘radio’ stations hasn’t earned its reputation lightly; quite simply you can find almost every song you can think of – key in world dominated by piracy.

It is wonderfully simple ‘ simply sign up to a cheap monthly subscription and you can listen to your hearts content – and it saves you filling up your phone’s storage with your own songs. There’s a free option supported by ads (and desktop computer only), a £4.99 option which allows you to stream ad free, and the premium option ( £9.99) which actually allows you to download the songs – vital if you’re going out of cell phone reception. Now isn’t that easier than rampant piracy? Record companies take note.

9/10

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