With Samsung's slew of announcements today and the steady march towards the IFA electronics show in Berlin and the iPhone event in September, all eyes seem to be on hardware — but it's the apps that make any of these things worth using.
Here are the very best from this week.
Translation apps have gone from inconsistent and wonky to downright impressive, and Microsoft's new Translator app — available for iOS, Android, Watch OS, and Android Wear — can help you translate phrases in 50 different languages. Translator can also speak phrases for you in case you're nervous about accidentally saying something insulting through pronunciation. And with support for the two major wrist-based OSes, it's literally on-hand right when you need it. [Free - Android and iOS]
Robinhood was one of the best apps you could download on your phone last year, just because it did something pretty novel — stock trading. The idea was to take a complicated subject like stocks and actually make it accessible to people who may not be power brokers on Wall Street. The Robinhood team is now bringing that mentality to Android. Once you're identity is verified through the app, you're ready to start zero-commission trading. [Free]
Another iOS favourite, Ninja Jamm is an app that lets you listen, interact, and create your own music. It's a confluence of consumption and creation in one app. The app already has 300,000 downloads on iOS and now it finally comes to Android. Give it a shot. [Free]
Wildcard isn't a new app, but its latest update makes it feel like something else completely. This app's mission is an ambitious one — try to reinvent the way we consume the web. You could think of Wildcard as part news reader, part browser. It's a lot like the defunct Circa, but doesn't create any new content. It simply repackages the web in a more easily consumable way. Plus, it looks great. [Free]
Mood tracking (if that's even a thing) is a strange concept. Stranger still is having an app doing it for you, but that's what Moodnotes does. The app is a type of journal that helps keep track of your mood and offers advice in certain situations. The app was created in partnership with healthcare professionals and designed by the creators of the wonderful Monument Valley. If you often find yourself needing to take a chill pill, Moodnotes may be worth the money. [$4.99]
The filters on Instagram are all fine and good, but if you want to create your own custom filters to get that perfect selfie juuuuust right, well, RNI Films can help. The idea is super simple: Take a photo, create a filter, and then export it to your favourite social media website. Think of it as an impressive filter-focused add-on to the Instagram main app. [Free]
Sharing photos is easier than ever, but a crap ton of still images isn't exactly the most compelling way to place your viewer right in the moment. Photo Story helps give your photography life by taking a bunch of photos from an event — let's say a concert for example — and create an animated story with an included soundtrack you can tweak and edit. It's not like you're going to be the next Spike Jonze or something, but it's worth trying if you want to liven up them pics. [Free]
As much as many would hate to admit, Windows Phone's major Achilles' heel is it just doesn't have nearly the depth when it comes to apps. Luckily, it has a small but active developer community to help fill in the gaps, and Nimbus is the fruits of that labour. Nimbus is a client for Soundcloud that lets you tap into the service on Windows Phone, and its rainbow-themed colour and design are pretty welcoming. Search by genre, artist, or just what's trending. But most importantly, just start listening to good tunes. [Free]