This Week's Best Apps

In this week's super stellar app roundup: beasts, boxed; reminders, reminded; songs, bumped; villages, nurtured into cities; the fiddle, made magical; cross platform messaging, simplified; Muji, in app form; melodies, scribbled; and much more!

iPhone

Time Flies: Jesus says:

Time flies, which is why Absent Design made this application called Time Flies. It's quite simple: You can quickly record the things you do, look at the list chronologically and bookmark the most important ones. Brilliant.

$1.19Kik: Tell it, Rosa:

Kik Messenger's a no-frills app, but it could easily become your favourite way of keeping in touch. It's a simple cross-platform instant messenger which'll work for you and your friends - no matter which mobile platform or country you favour.

Think of the app as being like BlackBerry Messenger without the mobile operating system limitations.

You'll get push notifications and little S, D and R indicators showing if a message has been sent, delivered or read. Simple and basic, but pretty great.

The only genuine annoyance I've encountered with Kik is the lack of an option to turn off message previews on the lock screen. Don't get me wrong, I like knowing who messaged me, but I don't always want the content of the message displayed on the lock screen. But considering the stability and simple awesomeness of the app in general, that's an easily overlooked flaw for now.

The app's free and available in the iTunes store right now. If you've got friends who are Android or BlackBerry users, just point them toward their respective app markets.

Free.

Bump: Bump, the app that makes you physically touch the person you're trying to share data with (gross!) has a new update that allows for songs to be swapped via bump. Once shared, users can listen to a full song via YouTube or check out previews and buy the track on iTunes. Free.

Beast Boxing 3D: Matt plays lots of video games. He's something of an authority:

Beast Boxing 3D is in the Punch-Out!! mould of boxing games, which I can't get enough of. It stands out for a few reasons.

It oozes style. The "story" is the tried and true Rocky/Little Mac trope - a puny fighter pummels his way through an onslaught of wacky and progressively more difficult fighters - but the combatants are monsters. Mixed with a slick 2D/3D animation style, it simply looks better than most of the other boxing games around.

The simple game mechanics are well-worn - dodge, punch, don't get worn out or beaten into the ground - but the controls are nicely designed for a touchscreen, a straightforward palette of taps and swipes, while you tilt to dodge.

The major thing that's missing is multiplayer, but even as a solo campaign, if you're at all a fan of the Punch-Out!! genre, it's worth considering plunking down $4.

mScribble: The iPhone, we well know, can be a serious music-making tool. But what if you're not a serious music-making person? Well, then there's mScribble, an app that lets you doodle melodies by drawing with your finger. I have a feeling kids would go crazy for it. $1.19.

Trade Nations: Does the world need another freemium micromanagement game?! Well, probably not, and while the gameplay in this one, in which you grow your village into a big old city, isn't especially innovative, it has a very nice look to it. Free.

iPad

Aweditorium: An incredibly beautiful app for finding new music with a wealth of content. It's free, so you should really just give it a spin.Magic Fiddle: Rosa's the fiddler on the roof:

Smule, the maker of the popular Magic Piano iPad app, has just shared its new Magic Fiddle app with us. It's cleverly designed, produces lovely sounds and will only briefly frustrate the hell out of those with nonexistent musical talent.

Despite being initially frustrating for a beginner, the app will actually leave you fiddling a mellow tune in little time. Magic Fiddle guides you through the proper way to hold your iPad - yes, you're supposed to rest your chin on it - and then gradually walks you through some simple songs. Once you're confident in your fiddling skills, you can compete against folks around the world and work your way up the Magic Fiddle leaderboards.

$4.

Muji To Go, Muji Calendar, Muji Notebook: Kat gets minimalist:

Anyone familiar with the minimalist Japanese store Muji (which has shops all around the world) will expect these three apps to be cleanly designed and stylish. The Calendar app is my favourite, but Notebook is bound to be the digital Moleskine-equivalent.

Both the Calendar and Muji To Go are free, but the Notebook app costs a few bucks-$4, to be exact. Muji To Go is a neat little app that bundles in relevant services for jetsetters, such as world clocks, Forex currency converters, weather and a cute calculator.

Calendar actually syncs with Google Calendars (though works just fine on its own too), and is a worthy extension to their stationery line. It supports pinch-to-zoom and has varying shades of grey and red to organise events properly.

While there are heaps of sketching apps out there already, Notebook looks really minimal and works with both sketching and note-taking. It recognizes handwriting and also lets you import photos and PDFs for scribbling and drawing on - which can then be emailed on to other people.

A nice way to resign from a job using that month's PDF report?

There's a fourth app, which is also free, though it's just a glorified catalogue for their clothing range.

Calendar and Muji To Go: Free; Notebook: $4

Android

Twitter for Android: The official Twitter app for Android gets an update and it's now more like Twitter for iPhone. Which is actually a good thing! What's new? @brbarrett says:

As part of the update, you can now pull down to refresh your feed, swipe across a tweet for options like sharing or replying, or quote a tweet. In all, it seems mostly like Twitter for Android's finally reached parity with its brethren mobile apps.

Tweet on.

YouTube Remote: You can now use your Android phone as a remote for YouTube. No more keyboard for you! Kyle says:

The new app, YouTube Remote, pairs Android devices with any screen playing YouTube Leanback, be it a TV set via Google TV or just a trusty old computer. Then you can search for videos on your phone, beam them to Leanback, and control their playback right from your smartphone. Setting it up's a snap...

All you have to do is pair your phone and YouTube Leanback together, which is basically just signing into your YouTube account on both.

Firefox 4 Beta: The Firefox beta gets updated and it's way faster. The install size is down to 17MB (from 43MB) and Mozilla is pimping that it's 40 per cent faster than the previous version and 25 per cent faster than the stock Android browser. Just as importantly, it looks a lot better too! The new good looks come with new usability in terms of sharing links and easily undoing closed tabs too.8pen: To tell you the truth, my brain just melted a little after watching that video try to explain what 8pen is all about. Here's what I can gather: 8pen is a gesture based keyboard… that doesn't have a keyboard. The idea is to mimic the motion of handwriting… without actually writing anything. I applaud 8pen for trying something outside the box but I'm not sure I can type faster with 8pen if it's too hard to learn how to type with 8pen. Free.

StumbleUpon: If you like finding new and cool apps (and if you're reading this, you probably do) StumpleUpon has launched an App Discovery (beta) feature in their StumbleUpon App. It's supposed to make it way easier to find, well, new and cool apps. Kyle explains:

The App Discovery feature is in beta in the new version of the Android StumbleUpon app. It'll ask you permission to check out what apps you already have, look for those you don't have that have been downloaded by similar users and send you on your way. Early reports suggest that things are a bit wonky to start, as they often are with these sorts of crowdsourced efforts, but this sort of semi-social service seems like a brilliant way to find out about new apps, and if anyone can do it well, I'd imagine it'd be StumbleUpon.

Evernote: Evernote got an update to two point oh, and it improves on it's "everything in one place" nature with faster searching, a refined note-browsing interface, a Google Search Widget and offline note viewing for premium Evernote users.

Mobile Nanny: Protect yo kids from themselves! Or just use Mobile Nanny to block certain activities, apps or games so they have no choice. You can set the blocks to a schedule so they're not busy texting when they're at school. It costs $US50 per year to use the Mobile Nanny service, but I'm thinking some parents will find it well worth it.

ZipList: It's a shopping list app that connects with its website to make it even easier to keep track of what you need to buy at the supermarket. It sounds great too, as you can scan barcodes for stuff to add, sync with other mobile devices and grab the exact ingredients of over 500,000 recipes on the fly. If you've been looking for a grocery list app, give it a whirl.

We are so crazy about apps right now you wouldn't believe it. If you have recommendations, tips, or just want to let us know about your own app, drop a note in the comments.