Like clockwork each week, I would like to propose a list of 5 free or paid mobile applications and games that are worth checking out on the Google Play Store and Apple's App Store. In addition to my own research on the respective app stores, I'm also going to include gems that were discovered and shared by the NextPit community over our forum.
Without further ado, ranging from mobile games to productivity apps, here are the 5 free and paid Android/iOS apps that left a mark on us this week at NextPit.
Split Screen Launcher while you wait for Android 12's "App Pairs"
If performing multitasking or having a "split-screen" mode available is a "must-have" option for you on Android, then there are only selected apps that enable you to automatically launch two applications simultaneously. Google has every intention to integrate this feature in Android 12 with "App Pairs", but in the mean-time, you will have to make do with the Split Screen Launcher of which was recommended to me by a NextPit reader.
In a nutshell, Split Screen Launcher is not an alternative to the Android launcher, but it is simply an application that enables you to create application shortcuts on the home screen so that you can launch two applications simultaneously in split-screen mode. Split Screen Launcher relies on the Android Accessibility API in order to trigger the multitasking mode.
Using it is a no-brainer: Simply create a pair, name it and pick from two applications that you would like to pair up and you're good to go. You can also change the way the apps are displayed by switching between the upper and lower apps. Split Screen Launcher is a free application, and best of all is, there are no ads or in-app purchases to grapple with, not to mention ditching any need for system authorization. What more can you ask for?
Anycode Wallet: Perfect to rid yourself of loyalty cards
I hate loyalty cards. They are practically useless, and add to the bulk of my wallet, not to mention filling up our landfills with additional plastic.
If you share my dislike for loyalty cards and have jumped aboard the app bandwagon, then Anycode Wallet is a useful addition to your app locker. This application is a virtual that carries all of your physical loyalty cards in a digital format. It lets you scan and store all your barcodes in a single place.
Loyalty cards, important membership cards, postal transit notices, everything is game. The app scans the codes fairly quickly and detects the EAN number (European Article Numbering, the European standard used by commerce and industry). You can name each code individually, add a description, an expiry date (handy when it comes to a voucher, for example), copy/paste the code reference, or simply share the barcode.
The application is free but it does include ads. It will cost you €3.29 if you would like to rid yourself of irritating pop-up ads. Thankfully, this is a single purchase and does not require a monthly subscription. The paid version also lets you create your own barcodes and store an unlimited number of codes (the free version is limited to just 5 codes). The developer has ensured that everything is stored locally in order to maintain data privacy and protection, and in a sly dig against WhatsApp, claims that they do not want to have anything to do with your barcodes "unlike other similar apps that share them with their partners".
Smart Contact Reminder helps you stay in touch
"Out of sight, out of mind", or so the saying goes. If you are anything like me, being a specialist in the "Seen" messages and monosyllabic response category even after replying to the initially ignored text message after three weeks, Smart Contact Reminder would definitely come in handy to help you be on top of things.
It is free, and after all, it doesn't really cost you a single penny to drop a message or call someone who is close to you just to check up on that person (and vice versa). Especially during this lockdown season, where even the most antisocial among us would applaud this effort as it makes sure we are not alone and isolated from the world completely. I am quite an authority about silence and being solitary, trust me.
I am pleased to note that Smart Contact Reminder allows you to define three types of social circles, ranging from the closest to the most distant. All you have to do is set up weekly or personalized reminders so that you don't "forget" to contact a friend or family member.
The application is free, but a paid version will require you to pony up €3.29 so that you can unlock additional advanced features including being able to save an unlimited number of contacts. It does not look likely that there will be ads displayed in the app, but it is a given that you will need to give the app permission to access your contacts if you do not want to enter them manually - a tedious affair considering how many of us have hundreds, if not thousands of contacts.
Selection helps you create reminders using your clipboard
Selection is an application that allows you to create reminders based on text snippets that you have copied/pasted. The app will show an interactive option each time you copy a message or a group of words, but this option is only available when you are able to highlight said text.
This is something that doesn't work in Google Messages or Slack since the entire copied message will be automatically saved to your clipboard. Personally, I preferred to head to the app and copy/paste the text directly.
If your colleague asks you to send him/her a document at a certain time, for instance, all you need to do is to copy/paste the message in order to receive a notification so that you are able to meet this important "deadline".
The interface is extremely simple to reflect the execution of the app. However, I am peeved that the free version limits me to just 15 uses, after which I will need to fork out €0.99 for lifetime unlimited use.
I also find it to be a waste that I am unable to set the time and frequency of the notifications, as a notification that has passed its deadline would disappear. This was done on purpose according to the developer, as it is believed that a permanent reminder that is erased once the deadline has passed is far more useful compared to multiple, repeated reminders. I concede that the latter does get on one's nerves after a while.
Goal Focus: finally, a non-anxiety-producing productivity app
In this weekly selection of apps that I've been working on each Saturday for the past few months, I have often mentioned productivity apps. They range from task planners to lists, goal tracking, etc. One particular thing in common that all of these apps have is this: at one point in time or another, they tend to induce stress and elevate anxiety levels.
As a serial procrastinator, I tend to get the feeling of being watched by a digital watchdog, one that is simply waiting to snap at my digital heels by reminding me that there are simply too many things on my plate, and I am running out of time to complete them. The very thought of that throws all of my productivity down the drain.
Thankfully, Goal Focus is not meant to induce such anxiety by being like other available productivity apps that dictate your daily routine. The principle is simple and based on breathing exercises. You enter a goal that you have set for yourself at a particular point in time. As opposed to setting a series of reminders and other notifications, the app will then ask you to contemplate on this goal, which is presented in black and white on your screen, while providing inhale and exhale cues for a few minutes.
Breathe in, breathe out, and relax. You will then be able to take the time to think about your goal, without facing any pressure or interference. After a couple of minutes, you would hopefully be able to clear your head and concentrate, ignoring all of the other stressful worries that hamper your productivity.
The application is free of charge but sports banner ads at the bottom of the screen. A premium version will retail for €1.19 (one-time purchase), zapping those ads for good. Oh yes, and your data privacy is retained since there are no requests for system permissions.
What do you think of this selection? Have you already checked out some of the apps on this list? What would your apps of the week be? Share your opinions with us in the comments!