Sci-Tech

Five apps for 2014, and one you can't do without

Sean Bacher

Sean Bacher reviews new apps for 2014, including Tagaboom, App Stalker, Active Fitness, I’m Bored and ICEPlus – an app that no one should be without.

Apps have made every-day tasks easier, and many are free. (AFP)

In his first 2014 roundup of the latest apps, Sean Bacher highlights five of his favourites.

Tagaboom
With Tagaboom, users can now turn their images and animated gifs into audible conversations by adding comments, sounds and music. The app lets users add doodles and include additional images and visual effects – ultimately creating an animated slideshow. Once the mashup is complete, it can be shared with friends and family via Facebook and Twitter.

Platform: iOS
Stockists: Apple App Store
Expect to pay: Free to download.

App Stalker
Most people like freebies, and this is especially true when finding a free app that previously had to be purchased. The App Stalker app for BlackBerry automatically alerts users of apps that have recently become free or have been discounted. It is designed to work with the BlackBerry operating system, so alerts will be visible with a user's messages and notifications. It also integrates with BBM, allowing users to update their profile boxes with App Stalker updates – ensuring a bargain is never missed.

Platform: BlackBerry OS 7 and above
Stockists: BlackBerry World
Expect to pay: A free download.

Active Fitness
It is that time of the year where New Year's resolutions are made. The top of many lists will be to shape up, but making and keeping these resolutions are two different things. However, now there is an app to help you achieve your goal, in the form of Active Fitness. The app is suitable for most outdoor sports, including running, hiking, cycling and even skiing. It allows users to set goals, measure the calories burnt, record the distances run or cycled and even lets them compete against others using the same app. Active Fitness recognises speech, allowing users to keep track of their progress while on the go. It doesn't need an internet connection when in use.

Platform: Nokia Lumia handsets running Windows 8
Stockists: Visit the Nokia Collections option on the Windows App Store
Expect to pay: A free download.

I'm Bored
Sometimes finding a suitable activity for the whole family can be a difficult task. The children want to do one thing, while the parents prefers something completely different, all the while having something else on their minds. With the I'm Bored app, users can now pick activities near them, categorise the activities according to interests, for example action, nature or indoors. Once an activity has been found that may suit everyone, they bookmark it in their favourites and set a reminder for when it starts. Events can be added directly to a user's phone and events can be opened to reveal costs, times, contact details and, in many cases, other visitors' reviews of the event.

Platform: Android.  An iOS version will be available towards the middle of the year.
Stockists: Google Play Store
Expect to pay: A free download.

ICEPlus
In an emergency, the last thing you want to do is fumble around with your cellphone, trying to decide whom to call. With the ICEPlus app, a single button is installed on the phone's home screen. When this button is pushed, up to four pre-determined emergency contacts are sent an SMS with your GPS co-ordinates. Future app versions will allow users to contact medical response, the SA CAN Network, and even armed response teams.

Platform: BlackBerry, iOS and Android
Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.
Expect to pay: A free download, but pushing the panic button costs R3. – Gadget.co.za

Sean Bacher is editor of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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