Voxer. iPhone and Android. Free. Voxer is a walkie talkie push-to-talk voice service, much like Nextel - like text messages but with voice instead of text. Send instant Audio, Text, Photo and Location messages to one friend or a group of your friends. Your friends can listen to your message while you talk or check it out later. Works over WiFi or 3G or other data network. Create a new identity or log in with Facebook, sync it with your phone’s address book and/or Facebook, then start chatting with other individual friends, or groups that you join or create. The interface shows a text message style interface. You hold a talk button to record a quick message for the other party, although there’s also an option to listen live to an incoming message that a friend is recording. You can also send text messages within the flow of correspondence. The look of the app is sharp, making it fun to use. When you need quick communication and you don’t feel like typing, turn to Voxer.
Any.DO. Android. Free. Another great to do app, this time for Android users. The biggest frustration for me with to do apps is the time consuming nature of typing, setting alarms and managing the app themselves. Any.DO resolves much of this frustration with gestures and voice input. Add tasks by voice, manage them with simple gestures, and use its predictive features to instantly add common tasks to your to-do list. Tap the microphone and tell the app what you need to get done. Shake the device to clear completed tasks and swipe a task to mark it done. Reminders, notes, sorting, invite others to work with you on a task, with notifications when shared tasks are updated. Sync with Google Tasks right now, or wait for the app to open sharing up with other popular GTD applications. Customize the look with either black or white screens. It’s free and it’s great - add check out Any.DO to your to do list.
Thumb. Android. Free. Do you really need an opinion right now and there is no one around to ask? Well, if you have an Android phone, you’re in luck. With Opinionaided’s Thumb app, you can crowdsource your questions to other users and get instant feedback. The app allows you to vote and comment on questions, receive responses to your questions within seconds, select the audience for your questions by posing to everyone on Thumb, select a gender, or just send to Friends, respond to questions in a specific category, connect with people who share similar interests, and reward people by giving them Stars for helpful responses. If you need someone to help you decide whether those new pants look good, snap a pic and send it along - you will find out in no time with Thumbs.
Lapse It. Android. Free & $1.99. Because fair is fair, following hot on the heels of Frames, I want to feature Android’s time lapse answer Lapse It. The app automatically shoots a snapshot every few seconds (which is user-changeable). Put together all the shots and you have a video flip book of action. The free app is very basic and easy, the paid version gives you some more settings to mess with. You also get full 1080 p resolution with the paid version, while only 240 p with the free. But that’s enough to see if you like the result. You can aso set geolocation, schedule a recording, and modify the scale from seconds to minutes. You can select encoders, recording quality and the frames per second render of your movies. Export videos in a variety of different speeds. Play around with effects. And, of course, share your masterpieces with your favorite social networks, as well as Lapse It’s own gallery. Sounds cool - I recommend a tripod for this one!
Ivona. Android. Free. Need to replace that built in Android voice with something more human? Try Ivona, an Android Text-To-Speech replacement that’s currently in beta. Ivona can read aloud directions while driving with Google Navigation, e-books with apps like Book Speech and ReadBoox, SMS messages for safe driving with Handcent SMS, Drive Carefully, etc., system menus with Spiel, and other speech-enabled applications. When beta testing ends, the developer may add some limitations, but right now every voice enabled app can work with Ivona. The voices sound pretty amazing - I opted for Amy the British female voice for my Android phone and it is pretty convincing.
Dragon Go! iPhone & iPad & Android. Voice control apps are all the rage, with the massive press around Siri on the iPhone 4S. But Dragon has been making excellent voice control apps for what seems like ages. With the very recent release of the Android version of the popular Dragon Go!, it may be time to take another look at the option. Simple speak your question and Dragon Go! will direct you to the most popular or relevant mobile site at which your answer can be found. The Carousel feature allows you to swipe across comparable sites to get related information. Share results with a pop up bar that offers access to email and social sites. The app requires wifi or 3G edge connectivity, iOS 4 or later, or Android 2.1 or later - Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) is coming. Try it, you will like it.
Card.io. iPhone & Android. Free app, $.15 per scan. Another mobile payment option besides Square and Google Wallet, Card.io works for both iPhone and Android devices. No need for separate devices, though - Card.io works by taking a picture of your credit card. The app reads the information and transmits for payment. While Card.io does “read” your data, it does not save card numbers or payment information. All server communication is protected with SSL encryption, and servers are hosted in secure facilities. No contracts, set up fees, or requirement that the app be tied to a certain merchant account or payment gateway. Sounds simple? It is. Card.io has released its SDK to developers to enable them to leverage this very cool and simple payment method. Smartphone as wallet? All signs point to yes.
Lemon. iPhone & iPad, Android, Blackberry. Free and Premium. If you want to get a handle on your receipts and expenses, look no further than Lemon. Easily scan paper receipts and Lemon will turn the images into useful information that’s taggable and searchable. Help you get organized and identify your expenses. Set up your free account on Lemon.com with your dedicated Lemon email address to which you can email receipts. Then download the mobile app for your platform and get going snapping images and sending to Lemon for your database. You can give the Lemon address directly to merchants so your receipts go straight into your organization system. As a side benefit, you get a marked reduction in spam in your main inbox. Visualize your data in graphs to help you understand your finances. Free gives you lots of functionality, first tier premium gives you no ads, the ability to create and export reports, and multiple users per account, and second tier premium gives you the ability to capture purchase details, including line items and tips. It’s a very slick way to keep track of your finances.
Llama. Android. Free. One thing that Android can accomplish over iPhone is automation. One of the first apps I downloaded onto my Droid was Llama. Llama allows you to locate via cell mast towers and set profiles based on your locations. In other words, if Llama determines that I am at work, it can drop down my ringer volume, turn on vibrate or use different ring tones. You can adjust profiles so that certain calls always come through, or toggle tons of other actions. Turn on bluetooth, start music when a headset is connected, turn on or off apps or settings, and create events based on a variety of conditions. Llama does not use GPS, so its effectiveness depends on the number of cell masts nearby. Nonetheless, even in my fairly remote area, Llama knows I am home and can reset my ringer to normal with ease. Why not let your smartphone carry some of the weight? With Llama, you can set it and forget it.
The Warhol: Art. Android, iPhone and iPad. $2.99 and $3.99. If you like Andy Warhol and his iconic art, you must check out The Warhol app. Newly released by The Warhol Museum, this app collects information and images from the Museum’s collection of the late, great, 20th century pop artist. Archival materials include letters, source images, film and video, spanning his career from the 20’s to late 80’s. Or, if you are more of the do-it-yourselfer type, check out the The Warhol DIY Pop app for your iPhone or iPad. More graphic fun than you can shake a stick at.