App stores are crowded places these days, and because storage space on your phone is often at a premium, you’ll want to find and fill it with not only the best, but also the most helpful apps out there. Because they come and go quicker than the latest fashion trends, and digging through Google Play, the iTunes App Store, or any of the others is such a mission; a little nudge in the right direction is often very welcome. Here are the apps we think you need to check out this week.
Facebook often makes several attempts at competing with a popular product, if it can’t simply buy it outright. When it couldn’t convert everyone to Messenger even after forcing a standalone app on everyone, it bought WhatsApp to get more mobile users. When Snapchat blew up, it made Slingshot—which it continues to update despite it being unclear if anyone actually uses it. Now it’s taking aim at Vine, but tackling it from the same direction as HTC’s Zoe app.
Facebook Riff is a collaborative video making and sharing platform. The side project from the company’s Creative Labs team falls into the experimental category, where Facebook will deal with flops as long as they do something new and interesting. Riff qualifies. Users can record an up to 20-second video which friends can then add to, creating a mashup of people and ideas that are unified under a basic, starting concept labeled with hashtags. It’s a fun way to see just what you and your friends can make, even if no one else ever sees it.
There’s a new trend that seems to be taking off: temporary phone numbers. They serve a wide range of purposes, from functional and useful to more nefarious, and there are new services offering you a random assortment of digits popping up all the time. Flyp is the latest, and its has the distinctive feature of being extra affordable. While most services charge by usage, Flyp has a flat fee for a month ($2.99) or a year ($29.99) of use. Users can have up to 5 numbers, which they can dedicate to different purposes.
AppSlinger is actually just a bridge between you and other apps. It’s an app designed to help you find apps that you’d like. Silly as it may sound, it’s a welcome service when compared to the barely functional suggestions that most of the app stores produce. AppSlinger takes into account your tastes and needs, then produces download suggestions, and even points you to apps that are on sale so you can grab popular favorites without paying full price.
Basic upkeep and device management is an important part of getting the most out of your mobile device, but it’s a pain because in a digital world of sleek user interface and presentation, most maintenance apps are ugly and too technical. Castro may be the solution to this problem. It provides basic information about your device that you should know, like RAM and internal memory usage, battery status and temperature, plus mobile network and WiFi information. It does this through a slick interface that for once, you won’t mind looking at.
Since many of us bounce around from device to device – tablets and phones to desktops and laptops – an easier way to move files around would be most welcome. If you’re regularly sending files to yourself via email or hooking up data transfer cords because you’re out of space in your Dropbox account, give File Transfer a try. Compatible with Android and iOS devices as well as desktop machines, the service allows you to shift files at lightning fast speeds—2GB in less than 10 minutes—whether it’s between your own devices or to share a file with a friend.