The other day I left my job to move onto another company. My colleagues had kindly chipped in and bought me a £25 Google Play voucher as part of my leaving gift. Now, I was stuck because I knew I’d no longer have enough time to sit and watch a film on my phone like I used to do on the long commute to work on the train – they kind of frown upon you watching films and driving – so I had to think of something else to buy.
Music was the obvious next choice, but I also wanted to spend money on apps. See if I could get any good ones. I asked friends for recommendations but opinion was mixed. Dave said he rarely buys apps because they are so hit and miss, another friend didn’t have a clue. One recommended Locale which is basically an app that changes your phone settings based on your location but £7.99 is too much for any app in my humble opinion.
So I went off to Google on the hunt for paid apps that I shouldn’t be living without. The results were mixed, but I found a couple of good ones and realised I should probably compile my own list in case this ever happens to you.
There are a lot of non-standard keyboards out there. I’ve tried a few of them and I suppose what you like depends on your style of typing and how much you type. I’ve tried Swype, Minium, the thumb keyboard and the standard Google keyboard. But Swiftkey is a cut above the rest. The reason is simple – it’s personalised to you. The more you use it, the better it gets at working out the sort of words and phrases that you regularly type. You can customise it further by letting it read your sms, Facebook posts, Twitter updates and even you RSS feed so it knows how you write.
Once it has learnt Swiftkey will then let you insert a prediction by simply pressing the space bar. This means you can write out whole sentences by just pressing space. Especially if it’s something you regularly write. Though it’s not quite at mind reading level yet and sometimes it’s a bit bonkers. The following line is just me pressing space a few times.
The big tech companies just show up in the world is a lot of money for the holidays and flights.
See? Still, it saves me a lot of key presses. Add other benefits like ‘flow’ which allows you to swipe your fingers across the keys rather than tapping them, cloud storage that keeps your personalised dictionary in the cloud for access to all your devices (tablet, mobile, etc) and customisation options and you are onto a winner.
Swiftkey – worth every penny.
Phone launchers, for those that don’t know, are basically a way of customisation the look and feel of you phone without going to the trouble of rooting and finding a custom rom.
There are quite a few different launchers out there and each have their own merits and appeal – Nova, Apex, Go Launcher, even the ridiculously over-priced Next launcher. Most of these launchers allow a lot of customisation for your phone. Some probably offer too much and might be overwhelming to most users.
Action Launcher goes entirely the other way. It’s a simple, minimalistic launcher that doesn’t offer many options because it doesn’t need to. It’s designed to be clean, user-friendly and useful. At a basic level Action Launcher drops your traditional app drawer in favour of a drawer that opens from the side drawer. This a quick search and a-z functionality which makes it slightly easier to find apps, plus a host of other small features like swiping up on apps that have been turned into ‘covers’ to open a folder of apps hidden behind and more that make this one of the most appealing launchers out there. Especially if you like the minimal style.
Download Action Launcher for a minimalistic home screen experience.
Glovebox is a strange monkey. It’s a launcher that’s not actually a launcher. At the simplest level it’s a folder for your apps that’s hidden off the side of the screen. You swipe to open it and access those apps (or widgets). It’s dead easy to use and if your a fan of the minimalistic look but have a certain set of ‘go to’ apps then this is for you. I stick my favourites in there and when not in use they out of sight, but I don’t need a folder for them on the home screen and I don’t need to go digging for them in the app drawer either.
It works with icon packs too, even if your main launcher doesn’t. Which is nice.
Check out Glovebox, you won’t regret it.
This is a gem I stumbled upon that I have become very fond of. It’s one of those simple apps that just works. It’s reasonably well priced too which is always nice.
Put simply Clipper is basically a clipboard management app. It keeps track of the text you are copying and allows you to go back and pick out old copies (for want of a better word) and re-copy them. Very handy if you do a lot of writing, emailing or instant messaging from your phone.
There’s not much else more that needs to be said about it really. It’s just awesome.
Download Clipper from Google Play.
I won’t go into a great deal of depth here as Cerberus has already been reviewed on here. But it is an excellent app that’s got lots of praise across the web. If you look, you’ll find stories of people not only finding their lost phone due to Cerberus but also helping with the arrest of the offending criminal at the same time. It’s a must-have paid app and is even more effective for rooted phones.
Download Cerberus on Google Play.