This Week's Best Apps

This week's best apps!? You must mean the week's best iPhone apps? Nope, from here on out it's just the very best apps, every week, for iPhone, Android and iPad.


LandFormer: Puzzle games come a dime a dozen, and to have some staying power they have to be truly fun to play or exceptionally nice to look at. LandFormer is both. Basically you have to level a plot of land with increasingly complex sets of manoeuvres, which starts off pretty simple but quickly runs into that classic Rubik's Cube problem of having one tile that needs shifting but only having tools that also alter the three squares around it. If the mountain look doesn't do much for you, you can purchase different themes in-app, as well as additional levels. The app is free to start and an additional package of levels is free through to July 5. Also works on the iPad.

Predators: Kudos to Chillingo for understanding, with their companion game to the new Predators movie, that I don't want to play as a Predator-hunting Adrian Brody but rather an Adrian Brody-hunting Predator - and that's just what they made me. The new game, which also works on the iPad, looks gorgeous on the iPhone 4, and lets you slash your way through people with all of Predators tech: wrist blades, cannons, net-guns, as well as transparency and thermal vision - that one's particularly awesome. Good controls, great gameplay, and all-around excellent human-slaying action. $4 Also works on the iPad.

IncrediBooth: IncrediBooth, a iPhone 4-only project from the makers of the much-lauded (and frustratingly not-yet-updated) Hipstamatic, turns your front facing camera into a beautiful, pocketable shopping centre-style photo booth. Remember how much fun you and your friends had mugging in front of Apple's Photo Booth when it came out? This is kinda like that, but anywhere. You snap shots in rapid succession, and then you can mail your snazzy black and white strip to friends, post it to Facebook, or save to your photo roll. At $US1, it's worth having on your iPhone just to facilitate some drunk PDA down the line, if nothing else.

Pulse News Mini: The wildly popular visualised RSS reader for the iPad has been shrunk down for a palm size version on the iPhone. Their mosaic style of sorting through news isn't quite as compelling as it is on the iPad, and heavy RSS users will scoff at the 20-feed limit, but if you're just a casual RSS-er looking for an attractive way to sift through some image-heavy favourites, this is the way to do it. $4 Also available for the iPad.

Oddy Smog's Misadventure: Help Oddy, a little ball of smog, escape from a factory by jumping and double-jumping from gear to rotating gear. The gameplay's simple but difficult enough to keep you involved, and the whole premise and aesthetic make this seem like some sort of weird spin-off starring those little dust dudes from Spirited Away. Obviously that's a good thing. $1.19.

Diacarta: I imagine there's a huge group of people, like me, who don't keep fastidious hour-to-hour calendars on Google or Outlook or whatever but whose days could benefit from a little more organisation. Diacarta, a visual day planner, offers that type of organisation (and offers it beautifully). The main screen of the app is a small clock that can be populated with icons for all manners of activity - sports, sleep, gold, dry cleaning, working out, etc. Just pick what you need to be doing and drag it to the time of day when you need to be doing it. It might not be quite full-featured enough for people who pack their days with activities like Tetris blocks, but for those who have just been managing by trying to remember where they should be, Diacarta's a beautiful way to stay on top of things. $2.49.

PixelPipe: Here's Mark:

The 720P video capabilities of the iPhone 4 are fantastic-really calling into question the need for a camcorder-but there's one gimpy limitation. You can't upload HD videos wirelessly….Pixelpipe is a free app that will upload your videos and pictures in full resolution to "over 100 supported destinations". Pretty much any social networking bloggish overshare service you could possibly use looks to be compatible. And you can even upload your files in the background while you check your email or something.

HD cat videos, directly to YouTube, straight from your iPhone 4. Free!

Remodelista: Everyone wants cool stuff in their place, but when you're faced with redecorating it's easy to just get a bunch of decent stuff from Ikea, make a quick stop at Crate and Barrell and call it a day. Remodelista looks to at least inspire you to aim a little higher, showcasing everything from sofas that are too expensive for you to ever even consider owning to DIY projects that are actually decidedly doable. The interface still has some kinks to be worked out, but it's updated daily with new content and it's free, so it's at least worth checking out so you can feel less guilty when you do end up at IKEA. Also works on the iPad

GetGlue: Take it away, Kat:

Instead of checking into pub after bar after pub, show your friends you're not just a boozehound on Foursquare, but quite the literary creature on GetGlue's free iPhone app, which lets you "check-in" to whatever media you're consuming.

This can be a book, film, TV show or even music - with the updates being shared across Twitter and Facebook (if necessary). Instead of earning badges, you can earn stickers for the amount of check-ins you make, with various partners such as Warner Bros, Random House, Universal Pictures, Wired and so on offering up rewards.



NFB Films: The National Film Board, Canada's public film producer and distributor, has a new app that lets you tap in to their expansive library of over 1000 films, documentaries and animations, and the stuff you pick is stored on your iPad for 48 hours so you can watch offline. So next time you have a long flight somewhere, peruse through the NFB's listings, find a few you like, and get to know what Canada's really like. Free!

The Colbert Report's the Word: Every "The Word" segment from every episode of the Colbert Report ever aired - you either know you need to get this right now or will figure out you need it at some point in the future. A little crashy at the moment but presumably Colbert himself is slaving away over the code to fix it for an update. $4.

Compass HD: The iPad doesn't come with a standard compass app, which is a shame, because as Compass HD shows, having a huge slate of a compass can be a pretty awesome thing. In addition to the four swish designs, Compass HD has Google Maps integration, tagging and distance calculation. OK, I'm not sure exactly when or what I'll use it for, but all I know is that I'm not going to be the one kicking myself when I'm short an iPad compass. $2.49.

Kindle: Kindle on the iPad ain't nothin' new, but this week's update brought support for embedded audio and video, putting Kindle on the same level as iBooks for reading multimedia texts on the iPad. Looks like Matt was right: Amazon's more concerned with where you're buying your ebooks than what device you're reading them on. Free


IMDB: Who's that guy? Where's he from? Should I even watch this movie? Solve all your movie questions with Android's official IMDB app. The IMDB app is basically IMDB's website optimised for your phone - that's a good thing. Along with all the movie info, you can also watch trailers, see the top 250 movies of all time, find local movie and TV listings and even add IMDB to Android's universal search. Free. Android 1.6+

Wunder Radio: Wunder Radio, a beloved radio streaming app on Windows Mobile and the iPhone, gives you access to over 36,000 radio stations on your Android phone. You can tune in to AOL Radio, Bloomberg, BBC or search for more stations manually or by your location. It's different from Pandora, in that you're actually listening to real stations and not customised playlists. $US6.99. Android 1.6+

Kindle for Android: As Matt says:

One of the last major apps I've been waiting for on Android is finally here: Kindle. It syncs all of your Kindle books, as you'd expect, though it's missing features like full text search and in-app purchasing.

Free. Android 1.6+

eBooks by Kobo: Kindle's not the only ebook game in town. Kobo, Border's horse in this race, is now offering its two-million ebook library to Android users. You can tweak font types, change background colours and buy books in the app. If you're anti-Kindle, this is the one to get. Free.

Soundhound: Like Shazam, it's an awesome music recognition app that'll tell you what song is playing on the radio. Unlike Shazam, you can also sing or hum a song and it'll give you the results complete with videos, lyrics and a link to the Amazon MP3 store. Sadly, the free version limits you to five song tags a month. If you need more than that, you'll need to pony up $US5 to get the unlimited version. Free, $US5.

SlingPlayer Mobile: Slingbox can now stream whatever is on your home TV to your Android phone. With the Android app, you get full control over your at-home DVR box and remote, so you can pause, fast-forward, rewind the live and recorded shows you're watching and even schedule DVR recordings. Works over 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi. $US29.99. Android 1.5+

Wi-Fi Analyzer: It shows you the quality of the Wi-Fi hotspots around you in a nice little graph. So you know which Wi-Fi is speedy and which one has too many people connected to it. Sadly, you can't connect to the Wi-Fi network from the app.

Kellog's Recalled Products: KNOW YOUR CEREAL (and other Kellogg's products). Kat says:

It lets you scan the barcodes on Kellogg's items, with the results compared against a recalled products database-so you know what's edible and what may contain traces of glass/metal/human skin.

Apps! We love 'em, and we know you all do too. So we're going to try to bring you the best apps, for every platform, every week in this very space. If you come across any over the course of the week - or are a developer who's making your own - that you think we should check out, post 'em in the comments here or shoot me an email. That goes for WebOS and Blackberry apps, too!

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