Four pages of apps!!! That’s what I got with my HTC One V. This was my first Android phone after a 3 year relationship with Blackberry. So all those tiny icons were kind of overwhelming. For someone whose desktop doesn’t have any icons or folders besides the ‘recycle bin’, the HTC menu was a nightmare. Even my iPad 2 is extremely organised with limited number of apps neatly organised in clusters. Games are downloaded, played and deleted the minute I get bored. One look at page 1 of the HTC menu and I was ready to delete at least half of those apps that came pre-installed. Many of them were similar just made by different companies. Also with a few I was used to the competitor app, so they just had to go. A few hours into figuring out the phone I had a ‘Favourites’ folder with just 15 apps on the home screen. Those are all the apps I actually use everyday. If you are wondering if that number includes games, the answer is no.
Anyways of these 15 apps there are 3 that I highly recommend – TuneIn, Flipboard and Stumble Upon. I have all 3 on my iPad too (actually that’s where I first discovered them) and the apps are great to use on both platforms.
TuneIn: My day begins and ends with this app especially given the fact that we have just one local radio channel that plays international music and a bunch of others that swear allegiance to Bollywood. Before anyone starts dissing me, I love Bollywood and item numbers… nothing against it I promise. But listening to the same 10 songs on all 4 channels over and over again can be quite annoying. Same goes for 94.3, the only channel that plays English music. There’s only so much variety they can offer in 12 hours of programming with popular, commercial hits taking up the prime time slots.
TuneIn gives me music across genres, decades, countries… you name it, it’s there. The only thing you need is a good connection. It works well on my phone’s 2G connection with a 2GB data plan. On the iPad I have a 3G plan, it streams without breaking at all. If you have a good Wi-Fi connection, all your troubles are sorted. The interface is simple with a great ‘search’ feature. It even recommends based on your previous choices. Some of my favourite channels are Hot 101.5
Flipboard: Personalization at it’s best. I read a lot of articles through links posted on Twitter. Often it’s a little tedious to move from the Twitter app to the browser and back. Once I downloaded Flipboard, I linked my Twitter and Facebook accounts to it, chose a few of categories of interest from their list and voila! Within minutes I had my very own digital magazine or flipbook as it’s called. The interface is beautiful. If you like something you’ve read you can share it immediately via Twitter, Facebook or email. The content is equally great. I’ve read some really interesting stuff through Flipboard. Sometimes when you are travelling or waiting for someone and don’t have a book to keep you company, this app gives you ample of reading material. I often flip through the pages when I want to just take a break for a few minutes.
Having used this on the iPad first, I was a little hesitant about downloading it on the phone. It’s a smaller screen, so wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it as much. But the experience is surprisingly quite similar. And because I had already linked it to my Twitter and Facebook accounts, once I signed in, it gave me the exact same content as that on my iPad. The only thing I wish they add is sharing through Pinterest.
StumbleUpon: When you are looking for something new to break through the routine, this app is one option. It gives you random blogs and articles from the World Wide Web. Once again you pick your categories of interest and the app picks some fun stuff for you to read or browse through. The interface is simple and works well on the iPad as well as the phone. I’ve found some interesting blogs to follow and articles to share through StumbleUpon. But the app has a few bugs… it hangs very often. Apart from that and the fact that they don’t have Pinterest connect yet, it’ good fun.