7 must-have iOS apps that still haven't reached Android
Let’s face it: All the best apps come to iOS first. Even though Android is the most popular mobile operating system in the world, it has to wait patiently for developers to port their wares over to it. Popular video-sharing app Vine launched on iOS in January of this year, for example, and it’s only just recently made its way to Google’s mobile OS.
But Vine isn’t the only iOS app that Android users have been pining for. We’d love to see plenty of other hot iOS-only apps join the Android party, including these seven—sooner rather than later, please.
What it is: Camera Awesome is a feature-rich camera app crammed with tools for quickly and easily enhancing your photos. Once you take a photo, the app lets you “awesomize” it by running it through a complex photo-processing algorithm that adjusts the colors and brightness of the image to make it look much more vibrant. Camera Awesome can also handle photo cropping and rotation, and it comes with more than 261 filters, frames, and textures for personalizing your masterpiece.
Why you want it: Aside from the camera augmentations HTC and Samsung package with their phones, most of the camera software on Android downright sucks. A quick search through the Play Store unearths a number of third-party camera apps, but none of them perform as well as Camera Awesome—let alone offer as many features. If you’re serious about taking photos with your phone, you want this app.
Is it coming to Android? I asked whether an Android version of Camera Awesome was in the works, and received this response from developer SmugMug’s CEO and cofounder, Don MacAskill:
“We’re absolutely working on a Camera Awesome for Android. We focused on iOS first because it was a simpler target—an easier software platform to develop for with fewer hardware variations, which is particularly important for a rich camera application like ours. We’re focused on shipping it only when it lives up to our own high expectations, so we don’t have a date to announce yet, but we’re all very excited to get it into everyone’s hands as soon as we can.”
What it is: When used in conjunction with the accessory of the same name, the Nike+ FuelBand app lets you track how active you are compared to other Nike+ users. You can track your activity by day, week, month, or year, and the app syncs your fitness info back to your online Nike+ profile.
Why you want it: Though fitness fanatics already have access to the Jawbone Up and Fitbit apps on Android, the Nike+ FuelBand app uses achievements and leaderboards to make staying in shape a lot more fun. Nike’s app also lets you set daily goals for yourself, which can help motivate you to take the stairs instead of the elevator every once in a while. Android-only users could get a FuelBand and connect it to a Mac or PC via USB to upload their data to Nike’s website, but plugging things in is so last year.
Is it coming to Android? The email I received from a Nike spokesperson seems to suggest that an Android app won’t be arriving anytime soon:
“Thanks for reaching out. To deliver the best experience for all Nike+ FuelBand users, we are currently focusing on the FuelBand experience across iOS and nikeplus.com, where you can sync your activity, push yourself to achieve new goals, and get motivated by your friends. Longer term, we will continue to explore other platforms that can help us get people to be more active.”
What it is: AnyList is a simple app that lets you create and share lists with other people. The lists sync automatically to reflect changes made to them, and the app has a recipe mode that can suggest meals to prepare based on ingredients you already have.
Why you want it: You’re sick of your roommate/spouse/friend/dog going grocery shopping and consistently forgetting to buy something basic. The recipe mode is also extremely helpful if you’re looking to cut back on eating out and want to cook more meals at home.
Is it coming to Android? Jeff Hunter, cofounder of AnyList, told me that the company plans to release an Android version of the app in the future, but is staying focused on iOS right now so as not to stretch itself too thin.
The Transit App
What it is: One of the best-looking and most functional public transportation apps around, the Transit App is a must-have for anyone who relies on public transportation. The app lists all of the bus and subway stops in your immediate vicinity, so you can quickly peek and see whether you missed the last train home. The app’s trip-planning mode can tell you how to get to your destination via public transit and how long it will take.
Why you want it: Google Maps is everyone’s go-to app for driving directions, but it falls a bit short when you’re looking to travel via public transit. The predicted times shown in the app generally don’t match up with reality—and that can leave you waiting 40 minutes for a bus that was supposed to show up in 4.
Is it coming to Android? According to a tweet from one of the app’s developers, an Android version of the Transit App should become available sometime next month:
What it is: Mailbox aims to help you regain control of your email. The app focuses less on how many unread messages you have than on keeping your inbox clear of email altogether. With simple gestures you can quickly archive or delete email, and the app lets you organize messages into lists. Mailbox also has an interesting feature for “postponing” an email message and having it reappear at a later date.
Why you want it: Mailbox teaches you the almost Zen-like practice of maintaining an empty inbox. Gmail is still better for responding to and organizing email, but Mailbox wins the prize for offering peace of mind.
Is it coming to Android? A spokesperson from Mailbox told me that an Android version of the app is in development, but couldn’t share much more than that. Hopefully we’ll see it in the coming months.
Amazon Instant Video
What it is: A rival to Netflix, Amazon’s Instant Video service lets you stream hundreds of movies and TV shows to your smartphone or tablet. The service has a nice mix of content, and it often carries videos that aren’t available on Netflix or Hulu. Amazon Instant Video is free to Amazon Prime members, and even if you aren’t a member you can try the service free for 30 days before committing to anything.
Why you want it: People may scoff at the idea of watching longer videos on a smartphone, but there’s nothing like catching up on the last few episodes of your favorite show while commuting in to work or waiting in line. Netflix may fill that niche for some, but a little variety is never a bad thing.
Is it coming to Android? An Amazon Instant Video app is available for Google TV, but not for Android phones or tablets. I asked Amazon if it planned to introduce a version of the app for other Android devices, but I haven’t yet heard back from the company.
Since Amazon Instant Video is a major selling point for Amazon’s line of Kindle Fire tablets, the app is unlikely to grace the Google’s Play Store anytime soon.
What it is: Tweetbot is one of the few Twitter apps worth paying for. It lets you manage multiple Twitter accounts and keep up with the people you follow. With Tweetbot you can view Twitter conversations as they unfold—and temporarily mute people who show up a little too often in your feed.
Why you want it: Not only does the app look better than the official Twitter app, but it prevents those god-awful sponsored Tweets from showing up in your feed. Tweetbot is a must-have for any and all Twitter enthusiasts.
Is it coming to Android? Sadly we may never see this app on Android. I asked one of Tweetbot’s developers whether an Android version of Tweetbot over Twitter might ever appear and got this response.
@megapenguinx nope, never.— Paul Haddad (@tapbot_paul) June 3, 2013
For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.