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Here are 5 brilliant apps you need to download this week

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.

Google Handwriting Input

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 3.08.36 PM

Android

One of the issues that mobile devices have had since embracing the touchscreen has been the typing experience. We communicate a lot using our smartphone, but the on-screen keyboard can sometimes be less than ideal. It’s one of the reasons why alternate keyboards that try to make life easier by providing suggestions, gestures, and autofilling words as we’re typing have become popular.

Google wants to make typing feel a little more natural, so it has introduced Google Handwriting Input. The new Android app swaps out the traditional keyboard for handwriting recognition, so you can scribble anything from a search term to a full paragraph of text with your finger, and watch it get instantly digitized. You can even doodle out an emoji and see it pop up in real time in your text box.

Hooks

Hooks
iOS

This app helps push notifications to your iPhone about things that are important, even if there’s no dedicated app to provide them, but can also help out if you’re looking for a way to cut down on unwanted alerts from multiple apps. Subscribe to a Hooks channel, and get notifications on everything from lottery results to sports scores, and even Alexa ranking or server information. It’ll also include social media mentions, or new articles posted on sites such as Hacker News. The new update adds support for the Apple Watch, so notifications will show up on your wrist.

Linkagoal

LinkaGoal
iOS

Sometimes all you need to get things done is a little motivation. Linkagoal aims to provide you with encouragement by connecting you up with likeminded, driven people, who give you the extra boost you need to help you get them done. Those with common goals can link up, share motivational advice, and help one another reach the finish line. It’s a social network designed to help you get things done instead of waste your time. How novel.

Hearthstone

Hearthstone
Android

Blizzard Entertainment is known for producing games that people love to keep playing. Just ask the folks who started playing World of Warcraft a decade ago, and are still grinding to new levels today. The company’s latest addict generator is Hearthstone Heroes of Warcraft, and if having it on your PC isn’t allowing you to get enough of a fix, now it can live on your Android device as well. The card battle game will be sure to help you pass the time, much to the dismay of your boss.

Halo: Spartan Strike

HaloSpartanStrike
iOS

Halo was the defining franchise for the Xbox and Xbox 360 games console. Given its strong ties to Microsoft, it’s rather funny to see it pop up on iOS, but Halo: Spartan Strike is here to introduce Apple aficionados to the popular shooter. The concept is a little different to the standard Halo series, and the game plays out with an overhead view instead of a first person perspective. This means it has a casual, arcade feel which suits the mobile platform, but the amazing atmosphere of the franchise remains fully intact.