App happy

 

CONOR POPE rounds up some of the most useful smartphone apps

SNAPSEEDThere are loads of good photo apps to choose – Hipstamatic and Instagram are the big boys – but Snapseed is biting at their heels. It lacks the social sharing functions of Instagram, but has more and better filters and turns the dullest shots into atmospheric snaps. Also, check out 8mm which turns your phone into a superbly retro super8 camera and don’t forget the utterly insane Paper Camera which turns everyday pictures into cartoons, line drawings and other vaguely unsettling formats.

BUS TIMETypical, you wait years for ways to tell when your bus is arriving then two come along at once. The Dublin Bus displays at stops are welcome but this is even better and will reduce the amount of time you stand in the rain waiting for a bus. And while we’re talking travel, the Aer Lingus app is very impressive. You find and book flightsaswell as using it instead of a boarding pass, allowing you to circumvent the need for a printer. It’s the future. Why have Ryanair not followed suit yet? They could even charge for it?

FILM ON PLUSWe’re not sure how long this will last before the TV stations who own the content come calling, but right now it’s a remarkable little service that gives instant access to live TV from all over the world. Granted watching the telly on your phone is not quite the same as watching it on a 42” plasma screen but when you’re stuck on the bus, who cares?

WIKIPANIONThis is a fast, hassle-free way to access a world of information on your phone without relying on the web or dodgy third-party servers. Not all the information on the site may be true so if you’re using it to cheat at table quizzes be warned.

TUNE IN RADIOThere are loads of radio apps but few are as good as this. With access to more than 50,000 stations, it gives recommendations and allows you to pause and rewind live radio. If you upgrade to the premium version you can record any station to your phone.

SHAZHAMThis app indentifies almost any tune ever recorded in less than 30 seconds. It tells you what you are listening to, shows you where you can buy it and where the artist might be playing near you. We thought it couldn’t be topped until we found Soundhound, a completely free service that can even identify a song that a person is humming –as long as the humming is in tune, which, in our case, it wasn’t.