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It’s an apptastic world out there

About time we moved beyond the usual suspects. You’d be surprised to know the undiscovered gems in the app world A few weeks ago, I wrote a column called So Many Apps – So Little Time.

india Updated: Jun 23, 2012 16:18 IST
Rajiv Makhni

About time we moved beyond the usual suspects. You’d be surprised to know the undiscovered gems in the app world A few weeks ago, I wrote a column called ‘So Many Apps – So Little Time’.

It was all about how the very success of the apps world is also its own self-fulfilling prophecy of doom. Too many apps, impossible to discover the real gems within millions of mediocre ones and how new ideas and amazing new apps had virtually no chance of success. Ever since that column came out – I’ve been constantly asked for my top apps, apps that I use, apps that I believe are way ahead of the mundane and the mediocre. And I’ve resisted doing that. For many reasons.

For starters, apps are a pretty personal thing. A great app for one person can be an unmitigated disaster for another. Then there’s the limited amount of space I have here. Any listing here would be at least 50 apps too short. And, of course, the most important one is that this is a sure-shot recipe to get flamed. As soon as I’ll have a list out, I’m going to be told just how much my app choices suck.

But the pressure to reveal all has only increased and has now reached a crescendo. Thus, today’s column is all about hidden gems. Away from the usual suspects like Angry Birds, the FlipBoards and the Dropboxes of this world – these are apps that are amazing and very innovative – and yet may be undiscovered for some.

Action Movie FX – Blow your socks off
Only on iOS: If you ever wanted to be a Steven Spielberg and all you had was an iPhone – well, this app proves you don’t need anything else. In fact, what this can achieve with just the camera of the iPhone or iPad is nothing short of astounding.

Action Movie Fx has movie quality special effects

Shoot a five-to-10 second video with the help of the app, choose the special effect and wait for the app to do its magic. I’ve had missiles take off from people’s heads, a car that crashed through my bedroom, a crater that landed in my garden and massive stones falling on my TV.

And I’m not talking about cartoonish animation effects – these are full blown, movie-quality special FX that will blow your socks off. Hours and hours of fun with the four free effects and the library has a large number of other packs.

City Lens blends maps and augmented reality

City Lens – Augmented Reality Everywhere


Only for Nokia Lumia Windows Phone: I’ve seen a lot of mapping software and I’ve seen a lot of augmented reality apps. This is the first one that puts them both together in the most brilliant fashion. All you have to do is point your phone camera literally anywhere and a whole world of augmented reality comes pouring into your screen.

Even if you’re sitting inside a room or an office, this will work. Your screen immediately pops up with different points of interests and these can customised to your own categories. And it works in real time.

As you turn your phone around in different directions, it gives you info and landmarks as you move. Touch a location or area of interest and it can dial a number; give you directions to get to that place and a whole lot more. It’s fun, it’s smart and it works fast. All the others have some serious catching up to do now.

Spell Tower – Word Insanity
Android, iOS and others: If you’ve had enough of mindless action games like Angry Birds and Temple Run and want something that gives you a cerebral rush, then you’ve come to the right place. Spell Tower is smart, clever, fiendishly difficult and seriously addictive.

This takes the best of Scrabble, Tetris and puzzles and mashes it up into perfection. Multiple modes like Tower Mode, Puzzle Mode and Rush Mode can elevate your heartbeat as well as get that brain ticking like nothing else can. This is classic gaming with a very futuristic twist. Whether you’re a word gamer or not – this is the one game that will have you hooked deep and solid.

A 15-minute time-killer, it’s an all-action fun game

JetPack Joyride – A Blast of adrenaline


For iOS and others: Yes, this is mindless fun and yes, this is an all-action game and yes, some of you may have tried it. I’m just shocked that everybody on this planet hasn’t already. Experimental Prototype Jetpacks, amazing missions, mind-blowing graphics, evil scientists, super power-ups, awesome weapons and incredible gameplay make this my ‘go to’ game every day.

This is your 15-minute time killer and your adrenaline-rush-giver all packed into one. This is a game that pushes the limits of device hardware and truly delivers in every which way.

Thumb – Be OpinionAided
For Android, iOS and others: Ask a question and get an immediate opinion. Thousands, actually! What started off as just simple fun has suddenly become an intense phenomenon and truly shows the real power of social networking. People send a photo of a dress they are about to buy, a table setting, new sunglasses, what they are planning to wear for dinner – and boom! Opinions pour in.

On Thumb, any query gets an immediate opinion

You can get some silly ones but most are actually great. This is personal counselling, stylists and advisors multiplied by a thousand and it all happens from all over the world. Thumb is the all new phenomenon and if you aren’t on it – you’re a thumbs down.

There you have it. My list of apps that do something different, innovative and push the envelope. It’s time for you to flame me for my choices or tell me one app from YOUR list that you think is incredible, amazing and yet undiscovered. Let’s meet on Twitter and discover some hidden gems from this incredible world of apps.

While choosing ‘the’ app is a personal thing, there are many hidden gems that push the envelope

From HT Brunch, June 24

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