Readers probably don't need to be reminded that each month, we distill all of the Play Store's latest entries into a selection of the very best apps of the previous month, hand-picking a shortlist to save you both time and money in testing everything out. This month, though, there were just too many worthy apps to cut down to the usual five, so we've got a slightly-less-short list of the best six apps from April 2013.
For the unfamiliar, Ashley Madison is a dating site that enables couples in monogamous relationships to find partners for illicit affairs. That's the baseline we're starting from. The company's new app, however, takes this concept one step further by providing users with disposable phone numbers that can be used for calling and texting without your spouse finding out.
The BlackBook app doesn't include access to the social network itself, so it's purely used for correspondence.
Google Voice is a great service for replacing your carrier's voicemail and texting options. If you need something that's a bit more robust, however, SendHub has launched on Android and allows business-class users to set up a phone number (or set of numbers) and get texting and calling for free or cheap, depending on what class of service you need.
Free users can get 60 voice minutes, 500 messages, and 3 groups of 50 contacts for their first line.
Talkray, from the makers of the incredibly popular touch-talk app TiKL, is an ambitious app – it looks to be your one-stop shop for mobile communication on the go, communicating through text, pictures, videos, and voice all for free. Until now, though, the app has had a fatal flaw – its design. While not the worst design we've seen, Talkray had, shall we say, unfortunate looks. Inconsistent styles, gradients mixed with flat elements, and Gingerbread-style tabs abound.
Google Voice is a great service burdened by a lack of support, integration, and easy way to sign up (unless you're on Sprint, of course). Those who do decide to jump the hurdles and either get a brand new number—or port their existing one to Google—will find themselves in an uncomfortable paradise. On the one hand, you can text from your desktop, tablet, or phone completely for free which is awesome.
It's becoming increasingly common for users to share files over mobile devices instead of more traditional methods. The biggest problem here is that there isn't really a "standard" form of sharing - unlike with emails, SMS messages can't handle file attachments, and MMS isn't the most practical way of sending most files (not to mention that not all phones can receive MMS messages). There are, of course, things like Dropbox and Google Drive that store files in the cloud and make them easy for users to share, but that can be a cumbersome process on a mobile device.
Ok - here's the deal. A Google Search update happened, which means it's teardown time. Normally I post about unreleased, work-in-progress stuff, but Google Now is so context dependent, that it's pretty much impossible for me to tell if something is implemented or not. The one thing I've learned from my months of using Now is that Google Now is in charge, and you're just along for the ride. So, for today's post, we're just going to shoot for "new things that didn't make it onto the 'What's New' list." If you can get them to show up, awesome.
Today, Facebook made an announcement that's probably bigger than it seems at first glance. Now, if you want to use Facebook Messenger, you no longer need to have an account with the social networking giant. This, quite simply, is a really big deal that could easily go overlooked. The app can be used to message contacts via just their phone number, create group conversations, and share photos. Of course, you could do this with Messenger before, as SMS was an available option.