App Roundup is a new monthly feature which will highlight a select number of mobile apps that we find to be not only useful, but fun and stable as tested by our techs. At the end of each month we’ll put together a short list and give some basic feedback and details on each app.
For our inaugural list we’ve chosen some popular apps but ones that could always use another mention. Stability rank based on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being most stable.
1. Google Voice App.
If you have a google voice number and like using that number for everything, then the Google Voice app is just what you need. The app has just about every feature the online interface has, including ‘Do Not Disturb’. The app runs in the background and you do not need to open it everytime you make a call. Simply select the call recipient and based on your preference it will call them automatically with your Google Voice number or prompt you for confirmation. One of the most important criteria for us is stability and the Google Voice app is stable. It works nearly flawlessly. The only drawback seems to be integration with cell provider voicemail. At times the cell provider voicemail will pickup the call before Google Voice can. There is a workaround or two for that but its a small inconvenience that we can overlook.
Stability Rank: 5
2. Advanced Task Killer
If you have a hard time saving battery life on your smartphone then you need to try Advanced Task Killer (ATK). Smartphones have a lot of running background apps which don’t need to run all the time. Some come preinstalled on the phone, others are added over the lifetime of your phone ownership. ATK can force those apps to close which saves resources and thus cuts down on battery usage. ATK has 4 different predefined levels of auto kill so you can decide how extreme you want to be. Additionally, you can deselect specific apps so that ATK ignores them, giving you complete control over which apps get ‘killed’.
Stability Rank: 5
3. Opera Mobile
If you use the default browser on your phone, but wish it was more feature full, then Opera Mobile might be right for you. If you aren’t familiar with Opera, you can check out their website to find out more. Opera Mobile is Opera’s desktop browser just suited for mobile devices. It loads relatively quick, is easy to navigate between tabs, settings, downloads, etc. and fetches websites fast. Opera Mobile has the browser engine loaded right on your phone which means there are no dependencies on outside servers. If you are short on phone space, consider the Opera Mini which has the browser engine located on a server not your phone. Both work equally well but we are recommending Opera Mobile in this roundup.
Stability is going to be subject on many of the browsers since they, unlike any other app, have contact with so many different things including endless websites. While we find Opera Mobile to be stable, there have been rare occurrences when failure means a phone reboot to get it working again. Mostly the lockups deal with links from other apps such as Twitter or readers.
Stability Rank: 4
Keep in mind although we test the apps, some react differently given the wide range of phones. Always read reviews to help with decision making and make sure you read the app descriptions and info for additional details regarding functionality.
Let us know your thoughts on any of these apps in the comments. Have you used or tried any of these apps? What has been your experience?